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Kids half-term – watch out for wild and spooky days ahead

Here’s to a weird and wonderful half term, with plenty of opportunities for a monster week of fun.

21 October, 2019

Zog FUNharmonics family concert

London Philharmonic Orchestra Royal Festival Hall 
Sunday October 27.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra is presenting a live concert performance of Zog – the latest animated film from Magic Light Pictures, based on the storybook written by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Follow the adventures of the eager, but accident-prone young dragon, as the LPO performs René Aubry’s lively score to a big screen projection of the film.

From 10am on FUNharmonics concert mornings, there are free hands-on activities around the building linked to the concert theme. Children with a concert ticket and aged six and over can try different orchestral instruments under expert instruction. This event is extremely popular, and spaces are limited – so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

On every FUNharmonics day, the youngest audience members are invited to join friends from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. OAE Tots workshops offer a magical, interactive introduction to music-making for children aged 2-5. Workshops take place at 10.15am, 11.15am, 12.15am in the Level 5 Function Room, Royal Festival Hall – separate tickets required.

• Zog is performed at 12pm on October 27. Tickets £8-£24. Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX, 020 7840 4242,

Where The Wild Things Are

Alexandra Palace Theatre
October 26

The newly reopened Victorian theatre at Alexandra Palace is hosting Shadwell Opera’s production of Oliver Knussen’s opera based on Maurice Sendak’s classic tale Where The Wild Things Are.

Exploring the themes of imagination, childhood and wildness for audiences of all ages, a cast of young emerging professional British musicians will emphasise the company’s commitment to showcasing the UK’s most brilliant young singing and acting talent.

The Shadwell Ensemble, conducted by Finn Downie Dear will be a full 48-piece orchestra on stage, accompanying the story of Max, a boy in a wolf suit who escapes from the tedium of home life into a wild land populated by strange misfit creatures who recognise him as their King.

This half term Maurice Sendak’s classic tale of imagination and escape gets a musical makeover in Oliver Knussen’s fantasy opera.

Featuring a first half of Ravel’s Mother Goose, this is a concert experience that will delight adults and children alike.

Wild thing fancy dress is encouraged and family discounts are available.

• October 26, 3pm. Suitable for age 4+. Alexandra Palace Theatre, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. 020 8365 2121,

Family Concert: Forests & Fairytales

London Symphony Orchestra
Barbican Hall
Sunday October 27, 2.30-3.30pm
Suitable for 7- to 12-year-olds

Experience the spectacle of a live symphony orchestra as the LSO and presenter Rachel Leach guide you through the enchanted woods of Eastern Europe and their tangled tales of wolves and witchcraft. Explore a musical path through the dappled light and dark glades led by the evocative works of Dvořák, Mussorgsky and Prokofiev.

Fun and informative, the LSO’s Family Concerts are presented in a unique and engaging way, with a themed programme, some music you’ll know and some you won’t. And it’s not just sitting in silence – there’s the chance to get involved by playing and singing along, and you can get into the spirit of the concert with free activities and immersive workshops in the Barbican foyers beforehand from 12pm. (These pre-concert activities are hugely popular and operate on a first come, first served basis. Arrive early to avoid disappointment!)

• October 27, 2.30pm, Barbican Hall, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS. Tickets: £5 under-18s; £16 £12 £10 adults, (£3 online booking fee, £4 telephone booking fee per transaction) 020 7638 8891,

Seasonal Shindig – an autumn celebration

In the gardens of the Geffrye Museum of the Home, Hoxton
Saturday October 26, 12-4pm. 

Celebrate the season with free fun for everyone in the leafy gardens of the Geffrye Museum of the Home in Hoxton.

Enjoy live music and dancing with the Ceilidh factor, browse market stalls for homeware, jewellery and gifts, join in autumnal crafts and warm up with hot street food and drink. Please note that the main museum is closed for a transformational redevelopment and will reopen in summer 2020.

• Saturday October 26, 12-4pm, free. Geffrye Museum of the Home, 136 Kingsland Road, Hoxton, E2 8EA,

Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

Monster season (aka Halloween) is almost upon us, so why not visit Hoxton Street Monster Supplies where your child can write a letter to a lonely monster using its unique Post Mortem Postal Service.

For £5 (£6 if you want the letter sent home, and £2 if you live in the catchment school area nearby), you can write (or draw) to any monster and get a reply within a few weeks’ time. Children will receive a bespoke answer from the yeti, vampire, mummy or monster they have addressed and while visiting, they can also stock up on Impacted Earwax and Brain Food.

All proceeds from Hoxton Street Monster Supplies helps to fund East London creating writing charity, Ministry of Stories, who live behind the shop’s secret door.

The Ministry of Stories is a local writing and mentoring centre in east London, where anyone aged 8 to 18 can go to discover their own gift for writing. Find out more information about the Ministry of Stories at

• Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, 159 Hoxton Street, N1 6PJ,


Half-term Dance

The Place
Activities for 0 to 19-year-olds
Saturday & Sunday October 26, 27

Join The Place for a burst of half-term creativity! With interactive theatre shows for babies experiencing dance for the first time, fun and friendly workshops for young movers and audition tasters for young adults looking to pursue vocational training, The Place has something for everyone.

• The Place, 16 Flaxman Terrace, WC1H 9AT,

ZSL London Zoo

Halloween half term
October 19-27 

Halloween is descending on ZSL London Zoo, promising a week of frightful fun this October half term – promising to enchant little monsters with “an array of boo-rilliant activities”.

New for 2019, daring visitors can embark on Grim Keepers, a tour revealing some of the ghastlier undertakings zookeepers are tasked with and exploring the gruesome side of the animal kingdom.

Gutsy guests will discover how one small bite from a Komodo dragon can take down a water buffalo, or why big cat keepers get bloody making scent trails for our lions, before testing their bravery with a series of fun challenges.

Little ones can journey through an avenue of ghoulish gourds and hair-raising haystacks to take the perfect Halloween family picture at the Pumpkin Patch, before listening to spooky stories on how nature bites back at Halloween-themed animal talks.

Those with a flair for creepy creativity can make bat masks and design pumpkin carvings at Spooky Arts and Crafts before transforming into all manner of fiendish beasts at the hands of the zoo’s coven of frightening face painters.

Once the spooktacular fun is laid to rest, visitors can put on an extra brave face to encounter some of the animals most famous for haunting Halloween; step into the eight-legged world of In with the Spiders, where giant webs will surround the most fearless of folk – or come face-to-face with Malagasy giant jumping rats and Rodrigues fruit bats in Rainforest Life.

• The Halloween week will run from Saturday October 19 to Sunday October 27 with Grim Keepers activities taking place between 11am-4pm. ZSL London Zoo, Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY. Book online for a 10 per cent discount at

Postal Museum

October 21-26

Wanted! Mini detectives are needed at The Postal Museum this October. The museum’s brand-new temporary exhibition – The Great Train Robbery: Crime and The Post – has led to some suspicious goings on at the venue. Luckily expert help is on hand. Take part in arts and crafts specials, thrilling storytelling sessions and a detective training trail. Each day has a special event, and all events drop-in and are included with the museum admission ticket.

The week begins with Mini Detective Tales with storyteller Olivia Armstrong for 5-8s (21st); on Tuesday (22nd) it’s Crime Fighting Gadgets – with wacky arts and crafts activities including an Inspector Gadget-style contraption (5-11s); Wednesday (23rd) is a day of book reading and activities with the author of The Great Brain Robbery, PG Bell, on hand (all ages); on Thursday (24th) you can get creative and make your own “escapee character” and print a “Wanted” poster at a printing workshop led by RCA artist, Susie Foster (5-8s). On Friday (25th) be a Post Office detective and solve clues in a postal mystery (all ages). And on Saturday (26th) it’s Mysterious Mail, a fun arts and crafts activity to make a sliding train postcard, with inspiration from the Agatha Christie Murder On the Orient Express stamp design, pictured above (5-8s).

Check the website for full details and times of all events.

• The Postal Museum, 15-20 Phoenix Place, WC1X 0DA, 0300 0300 700, www.postalmuseum. org/october2019/

Royal Opera House

Half-term activities
October 21-26

There’s an exiting exciting range of immersive activities this half term at the Royal Opera House from lively Opera Dots and Ballet Dots workshops, packed full of singing, dancing, music and stories, to free Live at Lunch performances; there is plenty for all the family to enjoy.

• Full details on the ROH website – click on ‘See all workshops and activities’:


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