Looking for things to do with the kids in south east London this October half term? Check out SESussed’s half term guide for south east Londoners, written by local mum of two Marcela Ferreira…
Lead image: Peckham Levels by Marcela Ferreira
This time last year I was putting together a list for The Resident on things to do in south east London during October half term. It was after all, right up my street.
And here I am again! I have really enjoyed seeing how much more there is going on in the area. Of course, there are a few favourites that always deliver and because of it deserve their place on my list for a second year running, but there is no doubt that us lucky SE Londoners really are spoilt for choice when it comes to family fun.
1 Spooky Inspiration at Dulwich Picture Gallery
Dulwich Picture Gallery has a great line up for families during the holidays. I love the activities they have on offer as well as the age range they cover. The kids can take inspiration from some of their spooky paintings and design and make their own monster at Make a Monster (6-9 years, £35 for the two days) or just drop into one of their Halloween workshops to make a ghoulish mask at Grim Ghouls (all ages, adults £8, kids free). There are also Gory Stories by world class story tellers Nell Phoenix and Ben Haggarty (adults £10, kids free, 6+) and if your kids are a little older (10-12 years), they can make their own comic or repulsive character inspired by artworks in the gallery. Expect gargoyle making, clay and plaster fun in Grotesque (£35 for the two days).
Gallery Road, Dulwich SE21 7AD; dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk
2 Play Time at Peckham Levels
Take the kids and let them lose at Peckham Levels’ communal play area (the ramp will keep them busy for hours) while you order some of the fab foods on offer. Peckham Levels is a great place to let the kids explore, as it has lots of room and plenty to look at. Go early in the day, as it tends to be quieter. You can follow lunch with a trip to Peckham Plex or try some crazy golf at the new Plonk Golf down by the car park. My kids loved it.
Peckham Multi-storey carpark, 95A Rye Lane SE15 4ST; peckhamlevels.org
3 Story Time at Moon Lane Ink & Tales on Moon Lane
This time last year, Moon Lane Ink’s doors hadn’t opened yet, and now it’s fast becoming a favourite bookshop in the area. Both Moon Lane Ink and its sister shop, Tales On Moon Lane, have a great itinerary for half term, with author visits and activities scheduled every day from 22-27 October. Check out their website and choose an event suitable for your child – you must book a space too (£3, which you can usually redeem against the book if you choose to).
300 Stanstead Road, Forest Hill SE23 1DE; moonlaneink.co.uk
25 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill SE24 9JU; talesonmoonlane.co.uk
4 Creative Writing with Write Sparks
I love the concept of Write Sparks, a creative writing club for 5-11-year olds. This half term they have teamed up with another local favourite, Foxglove Forest School, to host Wild Writing: Outdoor Creative Writing Inspired by Nature. Taking place over three days (24-26 October) at Grow Mayow, Mayow Park, Sydenham, the event also includes art, outdoor play, crafts, games and lots of Halloween adventures (4-11 years, sibling discount available).
5 Activities at The Horniman Museum & Gardens
If you have kids and live in south east London, then you know the Horniman is a gift that keeps on giving. Their half term highlights include: Horniman Explorers, where kids get to touch, smell and learn about some of the objects that make The Horniman special like African masks, shark jaws, spice jars and more (drop in, free); Family Art, where the kids can make a fox or rabbit puppet, or a bat headdress (free, but ticketed); and the museum’s newest attraction, pop-up Crazy Golf, which has been extended until 28 October (adults £6, kids £4, family £13.50). The Horniman is also hosting its yearly Halloween Fair from 27-28 October with spooky storytelling, arts and crafts, creepy crawlies, food stalls and treats!
100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ; horniman.ac.uk
6 Splatter Make at Beckenham Place Mansion
Splatter Make will be keeping families busy this half term. The kids can learn the basics of sewing with a machine in their Witches & Stiches class, or how to sew a Pumpkin Pincushion, and even make their very own Dia De Los Muertos doll (all 8 years+). There is skirt making during a Sew a Skulls & Roses Skirt (12 years+) and creating spooky designs at the Hand Print a Hoodie session (6-10 years). But if sewing is not their thing, give their Graffiti Street Art on Canvas workshop a go (8 years+), or if your kids are 12 years or over they can practice their art skills during the Graffiti Large Scale Boards. My favourite is the Sugar Skulls & Headbands workshop (11 years+) where kids can make Frida Kahlo-style headbands and learn some serious Halloween face painting skills! There’s fun to be had for younger kids too: Haggy Moo Witch is also back with stories, crafting and potion making (4-7 years, booking required).
Beckenham Place Park, Beckenham BR3 1SY; beckenhamplace.org
7 Kids Theatre at The Albany & Canada Water
You can always count on The Albany to have something special when you need it most. This half term you can book tickets to watch the re-imagined Oscar Wild classic The Selfish Giant (25-26 October, ages 3+). Also, not many people know that Canada Water also hosts family events. Their space is perfectly formed for family performances, and you really get close to the action. And if the reviews are anything to go by, young children will love Sleepyhead from the Little Angel Theatre (22-23 October). Enjoy tea and cake at their coffee shop before heading upstairs for a visit to the amazing children’s section at the library. A brilliant space for families.
The Albany, Douglas Way SE8 4AG & Canada Water Theatre, 21 Surrey Quays Road SE16 7AR
8 New Galleries at the National Maritime Museum
Did you know that the National Maritime Museum has four new free galleries to explore? You can learn about adventure and piracy in Tudor & Stuart Seafarers, the challenges of extreme environments in Polar Worlds, or let the kids discover voyages of exploration in Pacific Encounters and hear personal stories from the deep in Sea Things. For more interactive activities, try the All Hands children’s gallery (6-12 years, free) or one of their Character Encounters, where you can meet a different character from history!
Park Row, Greenwich SE10 9NF; rmg.co.uk
9 More Educational Fun in Greenwich
You can also visit the Queens’s House; entrance is free and definitely worth it – especially for older children. Beautiful architecture, grand rooms, and an amazing art collection of historical figures and important events in Britain’s history. For kids under 7 a visit to Ted’s Space Adventure at The Planetarium is a must! Ted the bear will take you on a journey around the Solar System, teaching us all about the planets (adults £8, children £5.35. We’ve been a few times, brilliant fun. And don’t forget you can go inside the Cutty Sark too. During half term, admission to the ship also includes access to She Tells Sea Tales, a storytelling festival covering tales of adventure, mermaids and storms (22-27 Oct, online tickets are slightly cheaper).
10 Explore Crystal Palace Park
Checking out the dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park is always a winner with young families, but it’s not the only thing to do at Crystal Palace Park. Kids can enjoy the new skatepark (BMX, quad-skating, rollerblading, scootering and skateboarding are all welcome), or tackle one of the largest mazes in the country! There is even an urban farm (Capel Manor) to visit, with the usual pigs and horses on show as well as a few less farm-like animals like snakes, lizards and five meerkats!
11 Sing Along Films at East Dulwich Picturehouse
Local children’s choir The South London Songsters is hosting a Bugsy Malone Sing Along at East Dulwich Picturehouse. Watch the 1976 musical gangster comedy hit and join in with all the classic songs – dressing up is optional but always great fun! 25 October, 11am. Tickets are £8 for adults, £5 for kids.
116a Lordship Lane, East Dulwich SE22 8HD; picturehouses.com
12 Painting at Punk Me Up Ceramics Café
Drop in, choose your ceramic and get painting at Punk Me Up Ceramics Café – run by former textile designer and busy mum Toni Petruzelli – on East Dulwich Road. There are butterflies, ladybirds, dinosaurs, frogs, coasters, mugs, plates and plenty others to choose from (and a good price range too). The café is open all week during half term, and you even get a free cookie if you turn up in your Halloween costume.
34 East Dulwich Road SE22 9AX; punkmeup.co.uk
13 Pop Up Kids Bookshop in Brixton
Knights Of, an independent children’s books publisher, is all about inclusive children’s books. To celebrate their first birthday, they will be opening a pop-up bookstore in Brixton from 24-29 October, stocking books that champion diversity. Take the family and discover the fabulous new titles being published by them – hopefully you can even take one home.
406 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8LB; eventbrite.com
Good luck everyone. See you on the other side!