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Walking with Dinosaurs via their website

The Best Family Events in London in 2018

30 December 2017 Katie Da Cunha Lewin

What are your resolutions for the new year? Being more organised? Spending more quality time with the family? Throwing your TV out the window and taking part in cultural events? If you said ‘yes’ to any (or all) of these, you’re in luck, because we have rounded up some of the best family outing for the entire year!

Back to brighten up your January is Lumiere, the UK’s biggest festival of lights. From 18 to 21 January, over 40 artists from the UK and abroad will once again be turning the inner city into a giant, sparkly spectacle. One of the most popular displays of the 2016 edition, The Light of the Spirit at Westminster Abbey, will get a sequel as French digital artist Patrice Warrener lights up the Great West Gate in a riot of colour once more. Another major landmark getting a makeover is the National Theatre, which will see its fly tower ‘animated in a liquid stream of light’.


Image credit: The Light of the Spirit as part of Lumiere (c) Lumiere
 
Opening on that same weekend is London Visions at the Museum of London. In this free exhibition, architects, designers and artists show the public what they think the future will hold for London. Focusing on big themes like the environment and housing, this is not a lineup of robots and flying cars. Instead, visitors can join the debate about London’s hopes (and fears) for the future through video installations, architectural mockups and video games. It’s perhaps less suitable for the very little ones, but we reckon it sounds like a stimulating excursion for families with older children. London Visions is open until 15 April.
 
The February half term will see the Southbank Centre transform into a children’s paradise for the Imagine Children's Festival. There’s a mix of free and paid for activities on offer, including singing and drawing workshops, a film screening accompanied by live music and a BSL interpreted talk by Jacqueline Wilson, creator of beloved characters like Hetty Feather and Tracy Beaker.


Image credit: An Afternoon with Jaqueline Wilson (c) James Jordan
 
Over at the Barbican, the Royal Opera brings a new, family-friendly opera by Mark-Anthony Turnage. Coraline is an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s book by the same name, and tells the story of a young girl who discovers a door into a different world in her house. The show is recommended for ages eight and over, and will run from 29 March until 7 April. Ticket prices start at £10.

Not confirmed yet, but rumoured to hit the West End sometime in 2018, is Big the Musical. The original Broadway adaptation of the film, which famously starred Tom Hanks and a giant piano, had a brief run on Broadway in 1996. It didn’t make it across the pond until 2016, when a reworked edition opened in Plymouth and toured across the UK and Ireland, where it scored high marks for its magical stagecraft.
 
As big as Big will undoubtedly be, it won’t have anything on Walking with Dinosaurs. Last seen in London in 2012, the £15 million-pound production has undergone an overhaul, but the stars of the show are still the 18 huge dinosaurs that roam the stage. They do have to share the spotlight with Michaela Strachan – of Springwatch fame – who stars as paleontologist Huxley. The show tracks Barney and friends through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, as each of the massive creatures is manoevred around the stage by three technicians and a lot of hydraulic cabling. The dinosaurs will once again roam the earth between 14 and 19 August at the O2 in Greenwich, and from 27 to 30 December at the Wembley Arena.


Image credit: Walking with Dinosaurs via their website
 
We’re also very curious about the Videogames exhibition that the V&A will be hosting from 8 September. Details about this major new display have not been released yet, but we do know that the focus will be on game design and culture since the mid-noughties.
 
All and all, it looks like 2018 should be an inspiring year in family entertainment. Time to break out the new diary and start planning!
 
 

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