We have some great ideas and some great deals for half term breaks, but once term starts, availability will go like a rocket. So, as hard as it may be, now is the time to think ahead and plan that half term break or theatre break.
But I warn you now, I am talking to the families amongst you. I will be looking at some more grown-up breaks nearer the time because, on the basis that there are many more hotel rooms in London for couples than there are for families, the rush is for family rooms and not for doubles and twins.
Actually my first choice of Half Term Breaks is to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Warner Brothers. The Making of Harry Potter is a super day out. Those in the know say try and book the 10am entry time – which means getting up early or staying over night the night before – but there we have tour times throughout the day.
If you are driving, pick one of the hotels with carparking because you can drive to the studios and the parking there is free. If you are getting the train, chose a hotel near to Watford Junction tube station as there are shuttle buses that go backwards and forwards between station and studio.
Regarding the studios themselves, apart from a few people who say it is expensive I haven’t heard a bad thing said about it (apart from the lady who complained that there used to be trees and countryside there before the studios ruined it – you could say the same about London really!). As far as I am concerned, the tour costs less than it does to park your car in London for 24 hours so by my reckoning that is a bargain!
Before I get onto what the West End has to offer everyone looking to book half term breaks in London, can I just mention our rater super London Breaks… or rather one attraction-packed break: Our Ultimate London Break which includes fats-track entry to three of London’s top attractions: Madame Tussauds, London Dungeon and London Aquarium PLUS a flight on the London Eye.With breaks including entry for all four attractions and over-night accommodation starting from just £100 and extra discounts for children our Ulitmate London Break is a gret way to entertain the kids. Please note that as the London Dungeon is moving, the London Break is not available over the February half term but will be back in time for the easter School Holidays. However you can book breaks for the other attractions individually during half term: Madame Tussauds, London Eye, London Auarium.
So what does the West End have to offer?
There are three main family shows that are permanently in the West End. The first and most recently opened is Tim Minchin’s musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book Matilda. This opened to rave reviews earlier in the year and is fast becoming a must see show for adults and children alike: just because children love it please don’t think that grown-ups will not. I consider it to be the best new show to have opened in 2012 and possibly the best new show to open for several years. If you have read this far then surely you must trust me a little
Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre is also a show for both yound and old. In fact, like Wicked it is probably not for the very young in that it is quite sophisticated and quite long. But as London hotels recognise children up to the age of 16 so should we! They are also not cheap shows so you don’t want to run the risk of having to spend the second half in the foyer with your child because they don’t like the Hyenas!
Wicked is the perfect show for teenage girls dealing with an identity crisis! Fortunately it is also a great show for Mum and Dad who had to come along cos it’s their credit card!
It is the behind the scenes story to The Wizard of Oz: the witches story, what made them “good” and “bad” and what choices they had along the way.
Older kids will enjoy Billy Elliot too… I say older kids because some of the language is a bit ripe, but that’s up to you: the kids in it understand!
Read More: Billy Elliot
And lastly, as they have all been studying at school: Warhorse. The stage version of Michael Morpurgo’s number 1 bestselling children’s book, Warhorse is the incredibly moving story of one horse’s experience in the deadly chaos of the First World War. Because when all is said and done, your children need to know that the theatre can deliver more than songs, dancing and funny jokes!
Read More: Warhorse
That of course opens up all manner of options for a half term theatre break. Introduce them to the classics, a bit of Shakespeare or maybe Chekhov… or what about The Mousetrap – even though it will prbably still be going when they take their kids to their first London show.
Of course your “family” heading to London next half term may not include children. If you are going with the in-laws or mum and dad then consider Jersey Boys, Once, Top Hat or Singin’ in the Rain - all great shows without a child in sight!