25 fun things to do in London for the May half term (and Platinum Jubilee!)

It feels like we only just had the Easter holidays but half-term is nearly upon us again! This year, the May half-term for most schools in London runs from Monday 30 May to Friday 3 June.

Of course, the difference this year is that the Platinum Jubilee weekend falls during the school holidays. The Jubilee, celebrating 70 years of service by Her Majesty the Queen runs from Thursday, June 2, 2022, and will continue over the weekend until June 5, falling right at the end of half term. Yes, that’s two bank holidays that fall during the half term holidays.

Not surprisingly then, there is a lot happening for the May half term and for the Jubilee weekend – but don’t miss the other events taking place in London this May.

If you’re wondering how to keep the kids busy during the half term or looking for some special Queens Jubilee events then this post is for you. We’ve rounded up the best things to do during the May half-term 2022 for the whole family as well as our top picks of special events taking place to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee. Plus, don’t miss our pick of the best Platinum Jubilee souvenirs!

Get your diaries out, it’s going to be a busy week! 

things to do London May half term
Lots of events celebrating The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will be taking place this May half-term

Platinum Jubilee events during the May half-term

From parades and pageants to picnics and even a Drag Queen Bingo, there are lots of fun and varied events on to celebrate the incredible 70 years that Her Majesty The Queen has reigned. We’re particularly looking forward to the London Eye pod that’s been transformed into a 1950s pub, complete with decorations from when the Queen first ascended the throne.

Trooping the Colour 

One of the main events taking place to celebrate The Queen’s 70 years of service is the Trooping the Colour. This annual event has marked the official birthday of Her Maj for the last 260 years. 

The parade will involve the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards and more than 1,200 officers and soldiers from the Household Division together with hundreds of Army musicians and around 240 horses. 

Tickets for seated viewing at Horse Guards Parade are sold out but you can still see the display as the troops parade to and from Horse Guards Parade as it passes between Buckingham Palace and the parade ground. 

The Royal Family will appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace once the parade has finished and a Flypast will take place. 

If you can’t get close to the action then don’t worry, there will be large screens set up in St James’ Park

When: 2 June

Website

Where: Between Horse Guards Parade and Buckingham Palace.

The Platinum Jubilee Pageant 

Watch more than 6,500 performers march along The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace and the surrounding streets to celebrate 70 years of The Queen’s reign.

Dancers, soldiers, essential workers, musicians and volunteers will form part of the Pageant, which will tell the story of the Queen’s reign. Expect music, street art, costumes, theatre and a star-studded line up of attendees including Ed Sheehan and Heston Blumenthal. 

When: Sunday June 5, time TBD

Website

Where: The Mall, SW1 1AA; Free, no booking required

A Platinum Pod on the London Eye 

The London Eye is transforming one of its pods into a 1950s time capsule to celebrate the Royal Jubilee. The glass pod will be turned into ‘The Queen’s Head’, a 1950s pub decorated as it would have been on the day that Elizabeth II ascended to the throne.

The pub will be decorated with vintage bunting, authentic royal memorabilia from the big day, a photo gallery showcasing the Queen and a traditional pub dartboard. Plus, guests will be offered drinks known to be loved by the Queen including Dubonnet-based cocktails. Cheers!

When: 27 May – 4 September; 12pm – 5pm Thursdays – Sundays 

Website

Where: The London Eye; Tickets cost £60 per person and include two drinks plus fast track boarding. Booking opens soon!

Jubilee Celebrations in Covent Garden 

Covent Garden is always a great place to explore with kids but the neighbourhood is pulling out all the stops for the Queen’s Jubilee. Over the Jubilee Bank Holiday Weekend, the East Piazza will host the ‘Great Piazza Party’ with British inspired street food, a pop up bar and plenty of Union Jack bunting.

When: 1 – 5 June 

Website 

Where: The East Piazza, Covent Garden; free

Jubilee events at Westminster Abbey 

Westminster Abbey is hosting a Jubilee Garden Party where families can take part in arts and crafts activities, listen to storyteller Olivia share how Queen Elizabeth II prepared for her coronation and get the party started with a boogie! There’s also a Jubilee Trail to help kids explore the Abbey gardens. 

When: 1 June; 10am – 2pm

Website

Where: Westminster Abbey; free, booking required. Note that the event is currently full but you can add your name to the waitlist as they are hoping to add more spaces.

things to do London May half term
There are lots of things taking place in London this May half term

Zoobilee at the ZSL London Zoo

For the half term fun for young children head to ZSL London Zoo and take part in a Teddy Bears’ Picnic (make sure to bring your favourite cuddly toy with you) that’s being organised to celebrate Her Majesty’s incredible reign. Enjoy family-friendly activities, go bug hunting and pond dipping, and make your own animal crown – and more! 

When: 28 May – 5 June 

Website 

Where: London Zoo; included in ticket admission. Tickets must be booked in advance. 

Brigit’s Bakery Jubilee Afternoon Tea

Brigit’s Bakery are well known for their afternoon teas on board a classic double-decker routemaster bus. To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee they will be decorating their buses with flags, crowns and other royal decorations to make sure that families celebrate in royal style

Official London Tour Guides will share everything they know about Her Majesty The Queen as you tour the sights (while eating cakes!). Learn about her childhood, her achievements and even how the Royal Family like to drink their tea. 

When: 1 May – 31 July 

Website

Where: Departing from Victoria Coach Station or Trafalgar Square; Prices adult from £50pp, kids from £40 per child. 

Royal Celebrations in Hyde Park

Enjoy a day fit for a Queen in Hyde Park by exploring the past, present and future of the Royal Parks. Hands-on activities include making nature crowns, planting seeds and designing a park of the future. Don’t miss the special storytelling session about the royal history of their parks and their connections to the Queen. 

When: 31 May – 1 Jun 2022

Website

Where: Hyde Park; free 

The Tower of London 

June 1 is when the Tower of London’s big Jubilee event, the Suiperbloom, opens. The Tower’s moat will be transformed into a colourful field of flowers until September 18. 

Also at the Tower is the Gunpowder Plot, an immersive experience that launched recently. Taking place at the Tower Vaults next to the Tower of London, the Gunpowder Plot is based on the infamous plot by Guy Fawkes to blow up Parliament in 1605. This experience combines live theatre and digital technology to help you step back in time and try to stop the plot! 

Note that the event is rated 12a so not one for young kids.

When: Superbloom opens on 1 June.

Website

Where: The Tower of London; Tickets from £12 per adult, £6 per child aged 5 – 15 years.

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at IWM London 

For the first time in the history of the Imperial War Museum, there will be a programme exploring the role of The Royal Family in conflict, following The Queen’s personal experience of war through film, photography and items in the IWM’s collection. 

When: 27 May – 8 January 

Website

Where: Imperial War Museum; Free event with general admission.

Jubilee Joust at Hampton Court Palace 

Step back in time at Hampton Court Palace this May half-term when you watch knights compete for the coveted Jubilee Cup. The tournament will see knights joust it out over five days for the right to be crowned champion. The even takes place in the palace’s gardens. 

When: 1 June – 5 June; 11am, 1.30pm and 4pm. 

Website

Where: Hampton Court Palace; included in palace admission

things to do in London in May
Westminster Abbey has some fun family events this month

Make and Take – Jubilee Special at the Gunnersbury Park & Museum 

Art Jar is a local arts organisation bringing communities together through the arts. This half term they are hosting workshops where kids can create their own royal crown, 3D castle, celebratory flags and keepsake memento to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee

When: 2 – 5 June; 11am – 3pm 

Website

Where: The Gunnersbury Park & Museum W5 4NH; no booking required

Drag Queen Bingo at the Horniman Museum 

One of the more unique half term events on offer is Drag Queen Bingo taking place at the Horniman Museum.

This family-friendly Royal Drag Queen Bingo features Timberlina and Antie Maureen and sounds like great fun. Get ready to take part in impromptu dance routines, silly sing-alongs and “witty royal repartee” for all the family. 

When: 5 June at 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm; each session lasts 30 minutes

Website

Where: The Horniman Museum; tickets are £5 per adult, £2.50 per child

Family fun at the Southbank Centre 

The Southbank Centre is always a great day out during the school holidays. This May half term they’ve got a calendar of events on offer including family shows, maypole dancing and, somewhat surprisingly, ceilidhs! Check the website for details, dates and ticket prices. 

When: Various dates, check website for details.

Website 

Where: The Southbank Centre on the South Bank

Kids Rule! At Eltham Palace and Gardens 

Eltham Palace and Gardens in South London are hosting a right royal knees-up this half term to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Look forward to costumed storytellers, hands-on activities and lots of family fun. 

When: 28 May – 5 June; 10am – 5pm 

Website 

Where: Eltham Palace and Gardens, SE9 5QE; £17.60 per adult, £10.60 per child (aged 5 – 17)

The Platinum Jubilee at St Paul’s Cathedral

Here’s one for history buffs. St. Paul’s Cathedral are launching a new exhibition Jubilee: St Paul’s the Monarch and the Changing World, which explores the history of Jubilee celebrations at St Paul’s Cathedral across three centuries. It includes the Jubilee celebrations for King George II, King George V, Queen Victoria and the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

They are also hosting a Thanksgiving service on Friday 3rd June to mark The Queen’s historic reign.

When: Thanksgiving service 3 June; the exhibition is already open

Website 

Where: St Paul’s Cathedral; entry to exhibition included in sightseeing admission.

Other things to do during the May Half Term 2022

things to do London May half term
The Platinum Jubilee celebrations fall over the May half term holidays

Family workshops at the V&A Museum 

The Victoria and Albert Museum always promises a fun day out during the school holidays.

This May half term they have a number or workshops taking place including Design Baby: Imagine and Make, magical musical journey for small children (booking opens on 19 May). In Drop-in Design: Plume Parade families can create spectacular birds using coloured paper and brightly coloured feathers and beaks. During the Theatrical Paper Fashion drop-in event, families can design and make their own paper accessories and items of clothing alongside costume and prop designer Ryan Dawson Laight. 

When: Various dates during the May half term, check the website for details.

Website 

Where: The V&A Museum, South Kensington

Wild Words Festival

This festival is a must if you have any book lovers in your family. Taking place on Colesdale Farm in Hertfordshire (it’s just on the edge of North London!), this three-day event celebrates the written and spoken word with talks, readings, story time, nature activities and a family games tent.

It’s very much a family-festival and promises a lot of fun for everyone (don’t miss the intergenerational silent disco!). They will also be taking part in the Big Jubilee Lunch on the Sunday and having a bunting-decked picnic so you can celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee surrounded by other book-lovers!

When: 3 – 5 June

Website

Where: Colesdale Farm, Hertfordshire; Full price tickets £120 for adults and £60 for kids for the full weekend; day tickets start from £35 for adults, £17.50 for under 18s, and free for under 5s. 

All hands on deck at the Cutty Sark 

Set sail this May half-term on board London’s Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Hands on activities invite children to learn just how challenging a sailor’s life could be from learning how to sail a ship and how to communicate using Signal Flags as well as meeting the colourful characters from Cutty Sark’s past. 

Remember that the Cutty Sark have recently launched a new experience the Rig Climb, where brave visitors can climb the ship’s rigging. 

When: 30 May – 3 June, 11am – 4pm. 

Website 

Where: Cutty Sark, Greenwich; free with entry to the ship 

Back to Nature at the Museum of the Home 

The Museum of the Home is inviting families to get back to nature this May half term break by exploring what gardens can do and how they really can help us feel calm and happy. Create a communal garden artwork, take part in an interactive performance and follow the Museum’s garden trail. 

When: 31 May, 1 June and 2 June; 10am – 3pm

Website 

Where: Museum of the Home; Study, Learning Pavilion and Gardens Through Time; Free, pay what you can for the performance 

Design and Play Family Workshop at the National Gallery 

Celebrate the Platinum Jubilee and children’s leadership through art at the National Gallery this half term holiday. Artist Amy Leung will encourage families to explore the interest and influence of children in the National Gallery paintings and to create playful portraits using fun materials. 

When: 31 May and 1 June; 11am – 4pm (drop-in)

Website 

Where: The National Gallery; free

things to do London May half term
Expect plenty of Union Jack bunting across London this May half term!

Holiday Make Studio at the Tate Modern 

The UNIQLO Tate Play: Make Studios events are inviting kids to rip, snip, stick, cut and be part of creating a huge, colourful collage this May half term holiday. These events are free, fun drop-in workshops for families.

When: 28 May – 5 June; 10am – 6pm 

Website 

Where: The Tate Modern; Free 

Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny in Greenwich Park 

The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny are being brought to life in Greenwich Park this May half term. The two tales by Beatrix Potter are being performed by Quantum Theatre and will take place twice daily in the Royal Observatory Gardens. 

When: 30 May 2022 – 4 Jun 2022

Website 

Where: Greenwich Park; tickets £10 each

Wheel-y creative: May half-term activities 

The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden is hosting nine days of family-friendly events including a creative workshop and storytelling. Kids can collect facts, draw pictures and complete different tasks on activity sheets as they tour the museum and then create their own origami book about their visit.

Other activities include an artist-led drop-in workshop that encourages children to get creative and experiment, and storytelling with an underground mouse (for children aged 7 and under). 

When: 28 May – 5 June, all day 

Website 

Where: London Transport Museum; activities included in museum admission price.

Dippy’s return at the Natural History Museum

The nation’s favourite dinosaur is back at the Natural History Museum after touring the country. Dippy was first gifted to the museum in 1905 and quickly became a firm favourite with visitors to the museum. After travelling around the UK, Dippy is back for a short visit – don’t miss him!

When: 27 May – December, 2022

Website

Where: The Natural History Museum; free admission 

Family events at the British Museum 

Over half-term, the British Museum is inviting families to explore and celebrate goddesses, demons, witches and other spiritual beings with their Ferociously Feminine event. Enjoy craft and storytelling sessions celebrating female power and divinity. 

Other events taking place include an Aztec themed mask making activiy and the chance to explore Stonehenge through Minecraft. See the website for details. 

When: 31 May – 1 June, 11am – 4pm 

Website 

Where: The British Museum; Free entry

The Jolly Postman at The Postal Museum

The Postal Museum has a fun May half term activity inspired by The Jolly Postman book by Janet and Allen Ahlberg’s. Highlights include the new storytelling show plus arts and crafts workshops inspired by the objects, stories and people in the museum.

When: 28 May – 5 June. Drop-in facilitated arts and crafts sessions and timed Jolly Postman themed storytelling show.

Website 

Where: The Postal Museum; included with a museum ticket.

Things to do in London in February

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