One of London’s most loved walk-through immersive family experiences. Disappear into the world of Far Far Away as you encounter an array of characters from the iconic Shrek film franchise at Shrek's Adventure!. Non-stop adventures abound for the little ones with captivating storytelling, dramatic special effects, extraordinary DreamWorks animations and an amazing 3D ride, plus of course photo opportunities with everyone’s favourite ogre.
South Bank’s world-famous tourist attractions, wide-open car-free spaces and abundant child-friendly restaurants all come together to make this one of London’s most popular destinations for a family day out.
Here's a look at where to take the kids for a fun day out in South Bank this half-term.
Tricks and Treats at SEA LIFE London Aquarium
One of the biggest aquariums in Britain, the London Aquarium at County Hall is a must-see. Marvel at the biggest collection of aquatic creatures from tropical fish and colourful jellyfish to turtles, sharks and the cutest little penguins. Pick up one of the brilliant Tricks and Treats!-themed family activity sheets at the entrance and plot a route across the aquarium solving puzzles and learning new facts along the way. The regular keepers' talks throughout the day are also well worth making time for.
Fri 20 Oct, Tue 24 Oct and Sat 28 Oct
This lavish triple-Oscar-winner from 1940 ranks alongside The Wizard of Oz as one of the most dazzling technicolour masterpieces of the era. Showing at the BFI Southbank as part of the Powell + Pressburger season, this fantastic tale is packed full of ancient prophecies, genies, enchanted jewels, magic carpets and daring escapes and is a bonefide family favourite.
Wed 25 Oct and Sat 28 Oct
Join one of two special dedicated family tours of the National Theatre and go behind the scenes at one of the world’s most famous theatrical institutions. Journey behind the curtain to see what’s being created in the on-site workshops and get the chance to play with props and costumes used in previous productions. Booking is essential as space is limited. Aimed at kids aged 7–11.
Half-term Sessions at The Garden Museum
This beautiful museum dedicated to all things gardening and botany is hosting a series of free family workshops throughout the half-term week (booking is essential as space is limited). Activities include clay plate making, painting and charcoal sketching. Beyond the free workshops, the museum is also a super family attraction in its own rights. Pick up an interactive family activity sheet and explore the exhibits before climbing to the top of the medieval tower for great riverside views. Workshops are aimed at kids aged 3–10.
Military Nursing in Focus at Florence Nightingale Museum
The museum presents a variety of military nursing-related activities aimed at young audiences including ‘Meet Miss Nightingale’ storytelling sessions (on Sat 21, Tue 24 and Sat 28 Oct) and talks by British Army Nursing Veterans from Wed 25 Oct to Fri 27 Oct who will also be presenting hands-on interactive demonstrations on how to apply bandages and slings, how to perform medical checks and handling medical equipment. Suitable for kids aged 9+.
London’s biggest bar, the epic BrewDog Waterloo at The Sidings at Waterloo Station is a great stop for families with duckpin bowling lanes (£2.50 for kids under 12, £5 for adults) and an awesome slide that takes you down from the bar’s upper level to the ground floor as well as a good value kid’s menu and of course a huge selection of craft beers for the adults.
London’s original board games bar Draughts, located inside the famous Leake Street graffiti tunnel, is the ideal spot to while away a rainy afternoon in South Bank. There are more than 1,000 different board games to choose from, covering every possible interest, meaning even the fussiest kids will never be bored. Gaming admission (for three hours) costs £7 per adult, £3.50 for kids aged 13–17, kids under 12 play for free.
The annual London Literature Festival brings more than 60 different literary-focused events to Southbank Centre this month. The festival programme includes loads of events that specifically have kids in mind including
Sun 22 Oct at 12pm | Fred and the Fantastic Tub-Tub The magical, musical adventure for children is brought to life at this London premiere at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, presented by the Orpheus Sinfonia with narration by Zeb Soanes. For ages 7+. Book tickets.
Thu 26 Oct at 11am | Jacqueline Wilson: The Best Sleepover in the World The adventures continue for the Alphabet Club in this long-awaited sequel to 2001’s bestselling Sleepovers, presented by the beloved children’s author. Wilson is joined on stage by illustrator Rachael Dean, who draws some characters from the book live on stage. For ages 7+. Book tickets.
Fri 27 Oct at 2pm | Jeffrey Boakye: Kofi and the Rap Battle Summer Join Jeffrey Boakye, author of Musical Truth: A Musical History of Modern Black Britain in 28 Songs, as he introduces his fun new adventure for kids. Take a trip back to the 90s in this fun interactive game show-style event – and learn how to write your very own rap lyrics at the same time. For ages 8–12. Book tickets.
Sat 28 Oct at 3:30pm | Trish Cooke & Ken Wilson-Max: Catch! Immerse yourself in the heartwarming story of Catch!, as Trish Cooke, playwright and children’s author, is joined by illustrator Ken Wilson-Max for this live drawing and reading session that takes you on a journey filled with joy and connection. For ages 3–7. Book tickets.
Fri 20 Oct at 10:45am | Rug Rhymes Poet, rapper and performer Arji Manuelpillai is the special guest at this festival edition of the National Poetry Library’s regular song and rhyme session for under-5s. Book tickets.
Deals, Discounts and Special Offers
Each month we round up some of the best deals and offers in South Bank.
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10 ideas for a South Bank family day out
London's favourite riverside destination is packed with iconic attractions that will appeal to all ages.