6 cities to visit with kids in February half-term, 2018
Nottingham – for gadgets and games
If you’ve got a gadget-lover in the family, Nottingham will be right up your street. On February 17th the Explorer’s Fair takes over Broadway for the day and promises lots for technology-loving tweens aged from about 8 to 13. For example, kids can learn to code a mini-drone, or make their own glitch art. For the not-so tech-savvy, that’s the process of using digital or analog errors for aesthetic purposes by either corrupting digital data or physically manipulating electronic devices (thanks, Wikipedia).
For about £5 a pop kids can have a go at stop motion workshops, VR workshops using Oculus Rift, and plenty more hand-on activities. And the good news is, it’s all part of a wider event that focuses on STEM subjects science, technology, engineering and maths – Nottingham Festival of Science & Curiosity – which runs throughout February half-term.
If that’s right up your family’s street, make sure you pay a visit to the National Videogame Arcade while you’re in town. A ticket gets you entry to three floors of fully interactive games for the day, and promises to be a big hit with gamers.
London – for literature and art
As one of the world’s capitals of culture, London is a great place to take the kids when school’s out. And during February 2018 half-term the city’s museums, galleries and landmark sites pack in all sorts of things to do.
Head to the V&A, for example, and you can take in the Winnie-the-Pooh exhibition, which runs until 8th April. Open every day, it’s a multi-sensory dose of nostalgia for parents who remember AA Milne’s books from childhood. During half-term there are lots of workshops running at the same time, too, from mini-picture book making sessions for children, to three-day courses like a costume-design workshop for teenagers.
The Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival is always worth a trip, too. This annual event is aimed at kids up to 12 and the programme is packed with theatre performances and literary activities led by big-name children’s authors. Expect to see plenty of famous faces off the tellie, too. For more in the way of things to do in London, check out this gem of an article by Londonist.
Cardiff – for science and space
The planetarium at Cardiff’s Techniquest science centre is the place to be this February half-term. There are various shows – including a treasure hunt called Space Hunters for under-sevens, and star tours through space for older kids – as well as daily workshops over in the science theatre all about flight.
There’s more in the way of space odysseys over at the Wales Millennium Theatre, too. At Build A Universe, kids are invited to build their own satellite and space ship and embark on an epic adventure into the great unknown. Best of all, it’s completely free, doesn’t need to be booked, and runs every day of half-term until 4PM.
Bath – for history and culture
Head to the beautiful city of Bath – so rich in history that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site – and you’ll find plenty to do, whatever time of year. But in February half-term the focus falls firmly on families, with free activities included with tickets to some of the biggest attractions.
Visit the Roman Baths, for example, and kids can get involved with everything from trying on togas and tunics, to using Julius Caesar’s secret code to create a Roman laurel crown. Buy a saver ticket for the Baths, the Fashion Museum and the Victoria Art Gallery and you get access to even more activities across all three sites – most of which you don’t need to book for.
If you’d rather bask in the great outdoors, head to Bath Skyline for an amazing view of the city. Follow the Family Discovery Trail – a buggy-friendly two-mile stretch where you can go geocaching and search for fairies – or just pitch up at the play area and enjoy the view. For more ideas of things to do, take a look at this list from Visit Bath.
Edinburgh – for alternative treats
Edinburgh certainly has no shortage of places to visit with children, with A-list attractions like Edinburgh Castle and Camera Obscura usually pretty high up the list. But if you’ve done all the usual haunts, don’t panic, because this Scottish city is also a dab hand at days out with a difference.
Head off on one of the city’s tours, for example, and you could discover a hidden secret like the Blair Street Underground Vaults. Mercat Tours run trips for brave visitors aged five and up, and they usually start at 2PM and 4PM.
If you’ve always wanted to take a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia, meanwhile, but aren’t sure the kids will play ball – try popping in over half-term. To keep pint-sized visitors engaged and entertained there’ll be a selection of cuddly corgi teddies hidden around the ship – if they spot them all, they’ll get a little prize at the end. That’s one way to keep them quiet.
London Heathrow Airport – for an overseas trip
Jetting off to a city overseas? Fly from Heathrow Airport and you can expect loads of activities in the airport terminal this February half-term. There’ll be mobile craft trolleys doing the rounds to keep little ones busy, poetry workshops at the children’s play areas and meet-and-greets with Mr Men and Little Miss characters. And yes, you can even get to the airport with megabus, which takes the stress out of finding airport parking.