February half term can be tough. Coming shortly after Christmas, funds may be stretched and the weather could tempt you to stay indoors. But there are still lots of great days out that you can do with the kids – and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Here are our top suggestions.

Get Arty Take your pick from Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The National Gallery or the National Portrait Gallery. Entrance is free and there are usually holiday activities. There are also some online resources to inspire you either before or after your visit. learn/painting-explorers/

Image courtesy of Kevin Ireland

Parks We have some fabulous local parks and open spaces. Wintery walks in Bushy Park, Richmond Park or Wimbledon Common. Any one of the dozens of local playgrounds, parks and fields which can be used to walk the dog, play frisbee or even a winter picnic. If you can venture a bit further, the Crystal Palace dinosaurs are fun for any prospective palaeontologist.

Changing the Guard Wellington Barracks Daily, 10am onwards Changing the guard actually happens at 11am at Buckingham Palace. But if you want to avoid the crowds with little ones, you can see the guards from about 10-15am at Wellington Barracks.

Thumbs Up It’s Thursday! Every Thursday during the school holidays, you will find a whole host of kid’s events taking place across Kingston town centre. The events take place at lots of different sites so you will need to check the website for up to date information before your trip. events

Four-legged friends There are some great low- cost options for getting up close to animals. Try Deen City Farm or Vauxhall City Farm if you are heading into town.

Love Your Library Plan a trip to your local library. Flick through the books and enjoy some of the free activities.

Pet Pals If you prefer your animals more domesticated, check out the Pet Pals workshops run in branches at Pets at Home. Booking is required but they are free.

Image courtesy of Kevin Ireland

The new guards are inspected and there will be music before they leave at 10:57am for the actual changing of the guard. For more information on a child-friendly changing the guard. https://changing-guard. com/visit-with-children. html

If you have a great idea for half term, why not share it with other families. You can post on our facebook page timeandleisurejunior or tweet @tlj_wimbledon and @tlj_kingston

Digging in for Spring This one isn’t free – unless you have your National Trust membership – but it is a great opportunity to see a gardening project on a grand scale. Ham House is aiming to plant more than half a million flowering bulbs in the gardens.

Image courtesy of NT Images/Chris Davies

The aim is to create a beautiful display which changes colour, size and shape throughout the season with early flowering crocuses, to species tulips and stunning muscari. The action starts in February and the team is hoping to have lots of opportunities for keen gardeners to participate by planting some of the bulbs. You may not have your own formal garden but why not invest in some pots to try at home. ham-house-and-garden

Image courtesy of NT Images/Chris Davies 27

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