🖼 There's all sorts of FREE arty fun going on at London Gallery Weekend (13 to 15 May), as load of contemporary galleries across London open their doors. Do take a look at the great round up in The Art Newspaper of the best stuff for kids – link below 🎨
Classical Coffee Mornings
🎹 Watch inspirational performances by hugely talented students from the Royal College of Music in the glorious Elgar Room. Coffee and pastry included in ticket price. Next concert is on 17 April with Ukrainian-British cellist, Nina Kiva and pianist Kumi Matsuo. Selected Sunday's at 11am Tickets £13 Entry via Door 12
Out-of hours Dinotours
🦕 Be the first to step foot inside the NHM with an up close and personal Dinotour! Journey through time and learn how dinosaurs were first discovered, how they adapted to life on Earth and why they're so important to our science today. 9–9.45am, selected dates in March. Ages 11+ Tickets: Adults £30, kids £20
Teen Swap Shop
👕 Clear out the clothes jammed at the back of your wardrobe and dust them off for a brilliant clothes swap hosted by Gunnersbury’s Youth Forum. Receive a 1 token for each item donated (max of 5 tokens) then spend your tokens on new clothing. If you use all your tokens you can still buy any item of clothing for £1. There will also be a free up cycling tote bag workshop from 3–4pm. 18 February, 2022 Ages 14–19. Free but limited space so booking is essential. 2–3pm. Gunnersbury Park
⛪️ Tickets are now available for the National Gallery’s glorious Virtual Veronese, which cleverly brings a sixteenth-century altarpiece back to the Italian chapel for which it was created, for the first time in over 200 years. See Veronese’s painting The Consecration of Saint Nicholas as it would have been seen in its original church setting in 1562 by using virtual reality headsets. Ages 13+ 7 March – 3 April Free with pre-booked tickets
Spell Songs at Cadogan Hall
🍃 One of the most magical books EVER 'The Lost Words' by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris has, together with its follow up 'The Lost Spells' been adapted into a very special musical piece. Seven extraordinary musicians will be joined on stage by Rob and Jackie at The Cadoganhall tonight and tomorrow. A few tickets are still available. It will be joyous. Tickets from £20 "Dazzle me, little sun-of-the-grass..."
Big Garden Birdwatch
♥️ Who doesn't love a robin red breast! Be one in a million this weekend by simply counting the birds in your garden, balcony or local park for just one hour between 28 and 30 January. Head to the website below for full details on how to take part.
🌺 Kew's glorious annual orchid festival returns once again to brighten up the month of February. Transport your family to the tropics as you weave your way through the Princess of Wales Conservatory looking out for the monkey and sea turtle installations. Opens 5 Feb–6 March Tickets included in garden entry. £15 adults, £5 4–15yrs, U5s free
Battersea Light Festival
💥 Brightening up our winter nights once again the Battersea Light Festival returns, running until the 27 Feb. Free for all to enjoy. Battersea Power Station.
Roll up roll up !
🎪 Dandelion favourite Gifford Circus have just released tickets for their NEW show Carpa! Meaning 'tent' in Spanish Carpa will be a fiery mix of Mexican carnival, skill and silliness. Get booking now ♥️
She's behind you !
👸🏻 Everyone loves a Panto - even HRH The Queen! A special display, at Windsor Castle, brings together for the first time costumes worn by Her Majesty and Princess Margaret as teenagers during wartime pantomimes, displayed in the Waterloo Chamber where the pantomimes were originally performed 80 years ago. Hip Hip Hooray! Open 25 November.
🍭 This awesome mini edible city is back once again - this year setting up home in Motcomb Street. Run by the Museum of Architecture this is baking on a whole new scale. Expect towering sweet-laden skyscrapers and epic candy constructions. Book up one of their festive house-making workshops. Following this years theme, Nature in the City, there's a chance to build a greenhouse 🌳 We had so much fun doing them a few years ago. Opens 4 December to 9 January. 6–7 Motcomb Street in Belgravia. Tickets: £14 adults, £8.50- U12s, U3s free. Family workshop £40 (a adult, 1 child) to make one gingerbread house.
🎄The Charles Dickens Museum is dressed for the festive season once again. We have visited this little gem several times in December - it really is charming. Breaking News! Father Christmas will be dropping into the house on 18 December to visit his old friend Charles Dickens. Sounds like he'll have a small gift for any little visitors. Tickets £10 adults, £8 child.
The Healing Arts
🎨 The very first of its kind 'Arts in Health' exhibition opens at the Saatchi Gallery tomorrow. Browse through a selection of 20 bespoke artistic works created to help and inspire patients throughout their stay in hospital. We are looking forward to seeing a new commission created by musician and artist Brian Eno. Many of the drawn artworks capture life in the hospital during the pandemic. Admission: Free entry, no pre-booking required Galleries 1 & 2, Ground Floor.
Ho Ho Ho !
🎅🏼 A very jolly visitor has taken up residence at the National Gallery with the smilest team of elves we have ever encountered! Earn your honorary elf badge, make a magical snowflake before settling down in a winter wonderland to hear jolly Elven stories. After you've met Father Christmas in his log cabin (and grabbed your gift from the Elven sorting office) there will still be heaps of time to stroll through the gallery's incredible art collection. See how many angels you can spot. 👼🏼 Open from 27 November. Click on the link below to book. Tickets: U12s £22, adults £12
Heroes for your Tree
💙 HURRAH for brilliant Daylesford who will be donating 100% of sales from these daring limited edition felt decorations to the NHS. Snap them up before they run out. £5 each
🎄Expect a riotous rainbow of Christmas colour as you travel through 400 years of festive celebrations at the annual Christmas exhibition at the Museum of the Home. Find out who first put a Christmas tree indoors and how Boxing Day got its name. Great Christmas decorations in the museum shop too.
👑 Wintery Family Tours
Exciting news from Buck Palace. For the very first time they are running wintery Guided Family Tours specially designed for little ones highlighting the Palace's wonderful regal history. Tours run from 5 Nov–30 Jan, Fri, Sats, Suns. 🎄NEW Christmas themed Family Tours will also run between 18 Dec–2 Jan with interactive games, activities, dancing and stories of Christmas traditions at the palace. Tickets: £65 adults, £37.50 kids, U5s free
Wish You Were Here
📮 At any time, we would highly recommend a trip to the Postal Museum – including a ride on the Mail Rail 🚇 – but until 2nd January, your ticket includes entry to a super little exhibition celebrating 151 Years (covid-delayed) of the British Postcard. Romantic gestures, messages from soldiers, seaside souvenirs, collector's items, right up to digital versions. And there's a chance to send or keep your special postcard ✍🏽 A delight! (NB despite what the website says, it is necessary to book tickets online in advance 🎫)
Walk with Amal
🚶🏻♀️One little girl. One BIG hope. EXCITING NEWS! Join the travelling festival of art as Amal reaches our shores on the 19 October! Little Amal, a 9 yr old refugee, is on an epic voyage across Europe. In collaboration with the creators of War Horse the Handspring Puppet Company have created this incredible 3.5m puppet who is travelling 8,000km representing displaced children and raising awareness on the refugee crisis. On 19 Oct Amal will arrive in Folkestone. We are definitely heading to St Paul's Cathedral at 10am on 23rd October to walk with her. To donate and for more details click through below.
Arty fun this weekend
🖼 There are a few places left on this Sunday's British Art Tour at Christie's with the brilliant Little Grand Tour. Study paintings by Ben Nicholson, Leon Kossoff and Winston Churchill as well as stunning sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Plus an early collage by Eduardo Paolozzi and other masterpieces by British Pop Artists. 3–5pm. £40 per child including worksheets and snacks.
Clarice Bean is back!
📚Lauren Child is at the Southbank on 23 October talking about her life in books and the comeback of a character who’s sold over six million copies worldwide. Part of the London Literature Festival. 11am, Sat 23 Oct, Queen Elizabeth Hall. Tickets: £12 adults, £9 children. Ages 7+.
Momijigari Trail at Kew
🏯 Follow this fiery foliage trail across the gardens at wonderful Kew. The trail will lead you through Japanese landmarks including the Minka House, the Ginkgo Grove and the Japanese Gateway. Included in ticket price. 2–30 October
📕Panic not! If you missed the live Foundling Museum bedtime stories read by Prue Leith and Lauren Child last week it's not too late to catch up and listen. Settle down and enjoy six different tales of adventure. 📕 Join Dame Prue Leith as she reads the wonderful Cockatoos, illustrated and written by Quentin Blake. 📕Author and illustrator Lauren Child CBE reads Tales for the Perfect Child, written by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Victoria Chess. 📕 Hear former Foundling Hospital pupil John Caldicott read John Patrick Norman McHennessy, the boy who was always late, illustrated and written by John Burningham. 📕Let author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay OBE read you Oh No George, written and illustrated by Chris Haughton. 📕Museum traineeship graduate Sofia Oliviera reads the popular children's classic story Goodnight Moon, written by Margaret Wise Brown. 📕Visitor Engagement Manager Tabitha Paterson reads Not Now Bernard, written and illustrated by David McKee.
🐢 Excellent news for siblings Dolly, Polly and Priscilla! The trio of feisty females are moving into a swanky new island pad, where they’ll enjoy a choice of two lagoon pools to cool off in, a muddy wallow for self-care spa treatments and a tropical forest to explore. From mid-August they will be sunning themselves in their new tropical island pad 'Giants of the Galapagos' where they'll bask in 30-degree tropical heat - the perfect temperature for these 26- year-old sisters. Free with zoo entry.