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London fun for book-loving families this spring

Discover

Are you a book-loving family? If so, read on. Here’s a selection of some fun things to do in or near London, over the Easter holidays and into Spring.

Watch Roald Dahl’s The Twits at the Rose Theatre, Kingston-upon-Thames

The Twits

The Twits, from Roald Dahl’s book of the same name, are the most spiteful and revolting couple you could ever hope to meet. They spend their days playing wicked tricks on each other, and mistreating Muggle-Wump monkeys. This new theatre show is a co-production by the Rose Theatre and Curve Leicester, the same team behind the magnificent The Witches. It returns to the Rose after a successful tour of the country. We’ve been invited along to review the show, so check back later to find out more.

The Twits is at the Rose Theatre, Kingston until 16 April 2017.

Visit the Discover Story Centre, in Stratford, east London

Discover

Picture copyright Tim Mitchell

Discover was re-opened last year, after a big refresh and refurbishment. This Easter bank holiday, there will be a special Dr. Seuss-inspired Green Eggs and Ham Hunt in the Story Garden. The centre’s line-up of spring events also features fantastic authors and illustrators Matt Carr, Adam Frost, Jo Williamson, Laura Ellen Anderson, Harriet Whitehorn, Matt Robertson and Lucy Rowland plus Simon Philip and Kate Hindley, the creators of Sainsburys Children’s Book Prize winner You Must Bring a Hat. 

Discover’s Easter activities run from 3-17 April 2017, with book-themed fun taking place throughout the year.

Explore the interactive Adventures in Moominland exhibition at the Southbank Centre

Adventures in Moomin land

Adventures in Moominland is part of a timely one-year Nordic Matters festival at London’s Southbank Centre. It’s a playful but reverent exploration of the Moomins, and how they developed in the 1940s out of the imagination and life events of Tove Jansson. Sandi Toksvig narrates the words of children’s writer Laura Dockrill. A guide takes you down corridors, into a tent and a snowy forest, on a raft to a rocky beach, and through other evocative, well-thought out spaces. You can read our review of the exhibition here.

Adventures in Moominland is at London’s Southbank Centre until 23 April 2017.

Visit the Forbidden Forest at the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour

Forbidden Forest

The Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour, where you can go behind the scenes of the popular films, has been one of north London’s most popular attractions since it opened in 2012. From 31 March, visitors will be able to go inside the new Forbidden Forest. The tour includes one of Rubeus Hagrid’s original costumes,  a full size model of Buckbeak, and Aragog the Acromantula.

The Forbidden Forest will open on Friday 31 March 2017. Entrance will be included in the ticket price.

Watch fairy tales brought to life at the Little Angel Theatre, Islington

The small but perfectly formed Little Angel Theatre, in the genteel north London enclave of Islington, has some fairy tale treats to offer this spring. In April the home of puppety will host performances of Little Red Riding Hood, The Ugly Duckling, Peter and the Wolf and Rapunzel. If you’re quick, you might also catch The Curious Adventures of Pinocchio, on until 2 April. The performances vary in target age, from 4 up to 11 year olds.

Fairy tale performances at the Little Angel Theatre run throughout April. Check the website for more details of dates, times and age suitability of specific performances.

See Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre

Matilda

Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin’s gleeful adaptation of the ever-popular Roald Dahl book has won over 75 international awards, including 15 for Best Musical. The Royal Shakespeare Company performance opened at London’s Cambridge Theatre in 2011. It’s been wowing audiences ever since. The show producers have just announced some new names to play the ongoing role of Matilda from March 2017.

Matilda the Musical is booking at Cambridge Theatre in London’s West End until December 2017. Ticket prices vary.

Immerse yourself in Adventures in Wonderland at The Vaults, Waterloo

Adventures in Wonderland

This breathtakingly designed adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is back, two years after its successful run at Waterloo’s subterranean arts space. At the time I thought Les Petits’ immersive show was one of the best children’s performances of the year. You can read my review here. It had all the grotesque, fusty details and manic energy you might expect, as well as a touch of glamour in the ‘after-party’ flamingo croquet, cake, punch and cocktails served in jam jars. Here’s hoping this re-run will do just as well.

Adventures in Wonderland is suitable for ages 5-10, and runs at The Vaults from 13 May – 3 September 2017.

What will you be doing this Spring?

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55 Comments

  • Nicola
    March 28, 2017 at 10:08 am

    What a fabulous post – had no idea The Twits was on!
    Visiting from #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      March 30, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      Yes, it’s been touring. Looks like it’s a great show!

      Reply
  • Alice
    March 28, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Hadn’t realised Alice was coming back to the Vaults – we loved it. Might have to go again 🙂

    Reply
    • Nell
      March 30, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      I know I was very excited when I heard about this!

      Reply
  • Cindy
    March 28, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    This is a brilliant list! I’ve been thinking about bringing my son to a show and both the Twits and Matilda sound great. Also interested in the Dr. Seuss ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ trail at the Discover centre! Great ideas here. The Kew Gardens also have Moomin themed activities going on over the Easter break. #CityTripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      March 30, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      Thanks for letting me know about that, Cindy! I might try and update the post with it, if I get a spare moment….

      Reply
  • Baby Loves Travel
    March 28, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Really useful list, thanks. I definitely want to visit the Harry Potter studios sometime soon. #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      March 30, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Me too! I can’t quite beliee we haven’t made it there yet.

      Reply
  • Allison
    March 28, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    There are so many activities for book lovers! I personally can’t wait until my daughter is a little older to start taking her to children’s theaters to see her favorite stories come to life. #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      March 30, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      Oh, you’ll have an amazing time when you do.

      Reply
  • Nicky kentisbeer
    March 28, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Finally, my daughter has started reading Harry Potter and we will soon have lift off on the HP World. I can’t wait to go! I need to check out the Alice one too. Thanks for the tips! Nicky

    Reply
    • Nell
      March 30, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      It’s a pleasure, Nicky. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  • Wherejogoes
    March 28, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Your post could not be more timely as my daughters birthday wishes this year are to see Matilda and go to Harry Potter Studios! Great to know the Forbidden Forest will be open as well. #CityTripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      March 30, 2017 at 9:28 pm

      I know – I’m quie excited about that.

      Reply
  • alex
    March 28, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Matilda AND the Twits – my two favourites! How do you choose!? 😉 There are some lovely suggestions here for families #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      March 30, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      It’s a tough decision, all right!

      Reply
  • Plutonium Sox
    March 28, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Oh gosh, it’s not often I wish I was in London but these things definitely make me wish I lived a bit closer! I desperately want to get back to the Warner Bros tour to see the forbidden forest too!
    Nat.x

    Reply
    • Nell
      March 30, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      It sounds as though the place just keeps getting better and better.

      Reply
  • Elizabeth Newcamp
    March 28, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    We are living in The Netherlands and I’ve been toying with hopping over for a play or something with my 5 year old. This may have just given me the motivation that I need. This all looks so fun and right up our ally #CityTripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      March 30, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      There does seem to be a lot of book-related fun around at the moment. You should come!

      Reply
  • Suzy McCullough
    March 28, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Oh goodness. Sounds like we should be in London this Easter. I’m very envious

    Reply
  • Jen from Jenography.net
    March 28, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    What a great list of book-related outings. It’s so nice to build on the stories that kids love in a fun way with the whole family. These look great!

    Reply
    • Nell
      March 30, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      Yes, I like the idea of memories being built around book-related activities.

      Reply
  • Elizabeth (Wander Mum)
    March 30, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Some really great shows going on in London for kids. The Twits looks brill. I really want to take my daughter to see Matilda (slightly selfishly because I want to see it myself too)! She’s been asking about the Lion Ling and Aladdin too. Thanks for linking #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      March 30, 2017 at 9:49 pm

      Yes they all sound like incredible shows.

      Reply
  • Catherine's Cultural Wednesdays
    April 2, 2017 at 10:04 am

    I must go to that Moomin exhibition! Lots of great bookish tips #CityTripping

    Reply
  • Sarah Ebner
    April 6, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Such gorgeous suggestions. Love the sound of the immersive theatre. And when the kids were young, we thought Discover was amazing!

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 6, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      Yes it’s a great place, isn’t it. Even better since its revamp last summer.

      Reply
  • Mini Travellers
    April 7, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Great round up I am desperate to go to see Matilda. #culturedkids

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 10, 2017 at 10:12 am

      I can’t believe we still haven’t been!

      Reply
  • Suzy McCullough
    April 7, 2017 at 8:44 am

    The Discovery story land and moominland need to go on our bucket list for sure. Your post is really inspiring me. Thank you. We haven’t done any of these things yet. I think a winter trip to London may be on the cards #culturedkids

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 10, 2017 at 10:12 am

      There’s soooo much to do here.

      Reply
  • Jenni (Museum Diary)
    April 7, 2017 at 9:04 am

    These all sound so wonderful, I wish we were closer to London! I’d especially like to see the Moomins exhibition. #culturedkids

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 10, 2017 at 10:12 am

      I think it would be right up your street, Jenni.

      Reply
  • Wandermust mummy
    April 7, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Great round up with some great suggestions #culturedkids

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 10, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Thanks!

      Reply
  • Trish @ Mum's Gone To
    April 7, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    A lovely selection of things to do with families and such a wonderful theme. I keep saying I’d like to go to the Harry Potter studio tour – I might not have a kid in tow but I’m sure there are many adults who go for a visit too.
    #culturedkids

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 10, 2017 at 10:11 am

      I’ll bet. I’d definitely go there myself!

      Reply
  • Tots2Travel
    April 7, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    So many great choices. You are ruined! Think Roald Dahl stands out to me.
    #culturedkids

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 10, 2017 at 10:11 am

      I know! Difficult to know where to start.

      Reply
  • Wherejogoes
    April 7, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    Hmmm, may have changed my mind about the Forbidden Forest at the Harry Potter studios tour now I know Aragog will be there! It really helps bring books to life for children when they can see performances and exhibitions related to what they have read. Thanks for hosting #culturedkids

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 10, 2017 at 10:11 am

      It sounds spooky, doesn’t it!

      Reply
  • Annabel
    April 8, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    Would love to go to the puppet theatre in Islington. I used to live just down the road but never got round to going, typical! Just been to a puppet theatre in Sicily which my kids loved. #culturedkids

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 10, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Oh, I bet that was good. Spanish puppetry’s supposed to be amazing.

      Reply
  • Coral
    April 9, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    What a great list , my middle daughter in particular would be in her element visiting some of these places. I really need to try and get a London trip organised so we can do the Harry Potter film studios and we would love to see Matilda too. Anything involving Moomins get a thumbs up from me ! #Culturedkids

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 10, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Yes the Moomins are a big favourite of mine, too!

      Reply
  • Jenny
    April 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    I am planning to bring my son to London in the summer – so thank you so much for sharing. I will definitely look into getting tickets for Alice in Wonderland and the Discover Story Centre also looks fabulous!

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 15, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      I bet you’ll have a great time, Jenny. x

      Reply
  • Sol Solntze
    April 11, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Moomin trolls please! Although some of the performances also look very cool.

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 15, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Moomins rule!

      Reply
  • JanetT
    April 20, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Theatre is not really my thing but I do love children’s books. I have been kicking myself that we have still not taken our children to the Harry Potter studios, but actually now there is more to see. I should get on with it! #CulturedKids

    Reply
    • Nell
      April 24, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      I really want to go, too. I’ve been hanging on till mine are old enough to appreciate it!

      Reply

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