Tomorrow is the International Day of Happiness and one thing that makes me happy is sharing all the wonderful events and activities for families in our London Kids Weekend Scoop.
This weekend there’s a pop-up colouring restaurant in Camden, a family day to treasure at the Barbican, a fairytale exhibition in Leicester Square, kite flying lessons on Parliament Hill, the return of Disco Loco in Hackney, and the Hogwarts Express steams into the Harry Potter Studio Tour.
Thu-Sun: Ready Steady Colour (top pic) at Oxford Playhouse, Camden Lock, Unit 7, East Yard, NW1 8AF (Camden Town tube/Camden Rd overground)
Enter a make-believe restaurant where you can sit, choose your ‘food’ from the menu and then colour a la carte. The pop–up colouring restaurant is back with its glittery ketchup, yellow paint mustard and entertaining wait staff who are apt to burst into song, jokes or stories at the drop of a chef’s hat. Ready Steady Colour is an interactive theatre experience aimed at ages 3-8, suitable for all ages. 10am, 1.30pm & 4pm (Fri), 11am, 1pm, 3pm (Sat & Sun); adult £5/child £4/group of 6 or more £3.50 each (Mar 18-22)
Thu-Sun: Hogwarts Express, WB Studio Tours, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden WD25 7LR (Watford Junction rail)
You’ve been to Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station, now head to the Harry Potter studio tour to climb aboard the Hogwarts Express exhibit that launches today. Pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the station wall, explore the interior carriage set of the locomotive that’s been painstakingly recreated with special effects steam! From 10am, adult £33/child £25.50/family £101/under 4s FREE (ongoing)
Thu-Sun: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at V&A Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL (South Kensington)
The long-awaited retrospective paying homage to one of the greatest creative talents in fashion design is drawing rave raviews. The V&A will be crammed to the rafters with fashionistas, but if you get there early, you can score a day ticket and prepare to be dazzled. 10am-5.30pm, tickets from £16/child under 12 FREE (Mar 14-Aug 2)
Thu-Sun: Plantastic at Horniman, 100 London Rd, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ (Forest Hill overground)
Friendly flowers, crawl-through installations and exploding cucumbers are all part of this interactive exhibition focusing on the world of plants. Kids will enjoy getting up close with all types of plant life to learn how they reproduce, move, feed and survive. Horniman Museum is a great family day out and on a combined ticket you can also visit the popular Horniman Aquarium. 10.30am-5.30pm; combined adult £8.50/child £4.50/family of 4 £22; Plantastic only ticket adult £6.50/child £3.50/family of 4 £16.50/unders 3s FREE (until Nov 12)
Sat: Barbican Family Day: Magnificent Collectors at Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS (Barbican tube)
Calling all collectibles fans, this is like a pop up Antiques Roadshow for big and small. Bring your treasures (or photos of them) to the Barbican to be assessed and appraised by Christie’s experts; pose for a portrait with your object of affection; take part in live gaming with Mufti; create life-sized insects from waste paper and card with Crafternoon; then take a family tour of the Magnificent Obsessions exhibition that’s inspired it all. 11am-5pm, FREE but email to reserve your place with a Christie’s expert or on a family tour firstname.lastname@example.org (Mar 21)
Sat: Grant Museum of Zoology: Fossil Forage and Strange Creatures, University College London, 21 University Street, WC1E 6JJ (Euston/Goodge St tube)
Go back 50 million years to an era when London was underwater, patrolled by sharks and stingrays. You can dig for actual fossils by sieving through the ancient sediment, and it’s finders keepers too! While at the museum, take in their brand new exhibition Strange Creatures that explores how artists have illustrated newly discovered animals across the ages. All ages. 1pm-4.30pm, FREE (Mar 21)
Sat: Soho Hotel Children’s Film Club: Big Hero 6, 4 Richmond Mews, W1D 3DH (Piccadilly Circus tube)
Indulge in a Saturday buffet lunch, ice cream, movie and popcorn (+ prosecco for grown-ups) in the cozy comforts of the Soho Hotel where you can catch hilarious animated flick Shaun the Sheep. Buffet from 1pm, movie from 1.30pm, £20 with lunch/£10 film only (Mar 14)
Sat-Sun: Disney’s Cinderella Exhibition in Leicester Square Gardens, Leicester Square, WC2H 7DE (Leicester Square tube)
To mark the UK premiere of Disney’s live action Cinderella, there’s a special exhibition in Leicester Square. Get up close with 30 gorgeous gowns and more than 100 props from the film including the stunning carriage and the Swarovski glass slipper. Experience five multi-sensory zones in what promises to be a fairytale experience for all the family. 10am-8pm (hourly entry); FREE but advanced booking recommended via Ticketmaster to avoid disappointment (Mar 21-Apr 10)
Sun: Disco Loco at Hackney Showroom, Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace, E8 2BT (Rectory Rd rail)
The East London rave for party people with little ones attached returns in spectacular fashion at the newly launched Hackney Showroom. DJs Earl Gateshead, the Lovely Emily, Reverend Milo Speedwagon and special guest hoola hooper Obie from Marawa’s Majorettes provide the afternoon’s entertainment. There’s yummy food from Mama’s Jerk Kitchen, Little Tart plus chill-out space for babies, bar and a really good vibe. 3-6pm, £5 early bird/£6 adv/£7 door/babes-in-arms FREE (Mar 22)
Sun: Muddy Puddles: Let’s Go Fly A Kite, Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath, NW3 (Hampstead tube/Hampstead Heath overground)
Hot on the heels of the popular mudlarking event on the Thames foreshore last November, Muddy Puddles has teamed up again with the Adventure Walks duo for another outdoor family event. Inspired by Mary Poppins, kids and grown-ups of all ages are invited to come and learn some kite-flying skills on one of London’s most famous spots. You can also make paper boats to float along the Hampstead ponds. Pack a picnic and enjoy the stunning views and surroundings of Hampstead Heath. 11am-1pm, FREE but RSVP essential to: email@example.com (Mar 22)
We also like
Enjoy musical storytelling for young ones with LSO Orchestra Concerts for under 5s at Jerwood Hall (Fri); get free taster sessions on musical instruments at London-wide venues on National Learn to Play Day (Sat); support literacy with the Where’s Wally Fun Run in Victoria Park (Sun); Disco Kids at The Albany in Deptford invites you to party like a pirate. Aaargh!