Family Life Hillingdon

What to do during half term in Hillingdon

Regular readers will know that I live in the London Borough of Hillingdon. This has to be one of the best London boroughs and is perfectly placed to enjoy all that London has to offer, as well as easy access to the countryside. We’ve lived in Hillingdon for 7 years and always find plenty to do.

This school term is a strange one. My fingers are crossed that schools will remain open as home learning was really hard for all of us. I’m hoping that by planning a little now we will have some lovely events to look forward to over half term. Who knows what will happen, but it’s good to have some plans.

With half term fast approaching, only 4 weeks away, I thought it was time to start planning our half term adventures. Here are some of our favourite ideas for things to do during half term in Hillingdon.

What to do during half term in Hillingdon

Battle of Britain Bunker

We are so excited that the Battle of Britain Bunker has re-opened. The bunker housed RAF Fighter Command’s No.11 Group Operations Room throughout the Second World War, the room from which the RAF co-ordinated most of the Battle of Britain, presented as Winston Churchill saw it on 15th September 1940.

You can make two kinds of in-person visit. A one-hour Bunker Tour takes you down 76 steps in a small distanced group to see the original 1940s bunker, followed by a visit to the exhibition. Or, you can visit the exhibition only, which currently includes a free virtual video tour of the bunker.

All visits must be booked in advance online. The cafe and shop remain closed. Face coverings must be worn in all indoor spaces on site. Find out more here  and read our review here.

Iver Environment Centre

So Iver Environment Centre is not technically in Hillingdon but it’s so close I’m including it. My kids spent a fantastic week there during the Summer holidays and can’t wait to go back during half term. I’ve booked them on a Witches and Wizards Day where activities include wand making, a Harry Potter themed wide game and pumpkin carving. There is also a Halloween Family Fun Day on Saturday the 31st of October. Tickets must be pre-booked and numbers are kept small to keep everyone safe. Find out more on their Facebook page and read our review here.

Little Willows Pottery Studio

We haven’t been to Little Willows Pottery Studio in Ruislip yet but we are hoping to go this half term to try one of their special Halloween painting or decoupage sessions. More details available on their Instagram page.

Ruislip Woods and Lido

Ruislip Woods is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and national nature reserve covering 726 acres in Ruislip, Hillingdon. The woods became the first national nature reserve in an urban area of England back in 1997. The reserve covers four woods: Park Wood, Mad Bess Wood and Copse Wood in Ruislip, along with Bayhurst Wood in Harefield. The Lido is a 60-acre lake with sandy beaches and a narrow gauge railway around it, set on the edge of Ruislip Woods.

Eastcote House and Gardens

Eastcote House and Gardens is a lovely spot to visit. There are Grade II listed buildings which include a historic Walled Garden, wild flower meadows, a Topiary garden and a newly planted Jubilee Orchard, linked by a footbridge over the River Pinn to Long Meadow and an ancient water meadow. It’s open all year round and has a lovely cafe.

Ickenham Marshes

Another dog-friendly and child-friendly place to visit is Ickenham Marshes, an area of grassland and marsh managed as a nature reserve by London Wildlife Trust. It’s a lovely area to explore and lots of trees, birds and insects to look out for along the way.

Ruislip Duck Pond Market

We were so happy that the Duck Pond Market in Ruislip recently re-started. We love the market and the kids are more than happy to wander around. It’s a great place to pick up some delicious food and then sit and enjoy it in the open spaces at Manor Farm. the market will be held on Sunday 1st November.

Ruins of the Battle of Britain House

The Battle of Britain House is ruins which can be found on the edge of Ruislip Woods. During the Second World War the house came into the hands of the Ministry of Works and was leased to the Office of Strategic Services. They used the Battle of Britain House (then known as Franklin House) as a location for the OSS to train before heading off to enemy territory. Destroyed by fire in the 1980s, the site is fun to explore.

Denham Country Park

Just over into Bucks and you can visit Denham Country Park. Between Saturday 24th October and Sunday November 1st you can take part in a Halloween trail. Free trail maps will be available at the Colne Valley Visitor Centre and Riverside Cafe from October 24th. Return your free map to receive a Thank You sticker!

Escaping to the cinema

The cinema. So we haven’t been since February when we watched My Spy but we are itching to get back. There are lots of changes in place including pre-booking tickets, enhanced cleaning and some seats shut to enable social distancing. I’m really hoping that a decent films come out so we can go during half term.

We are hoping to venture further afield too and have already booked to visit the Pop Up FarmHughenden Manor is hosting half term events too.


  • Reply
    October 4, 2020 at 10:43 am

    Ha I would argue that my London Borough is by far the best one to live in with all our history and green open spaces! What I’ve found since the lockdown is just how much there is to, something I suspect I wouldn’t have done under normal circumstances.

  • Reply
    Emma @ Adventures of a London Kiwi
    October 4, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    I love Hillingdon/Ruislip – I’m going to have to tick a few of these off my list, they all sound wonderful – and I’m SO glad the Duck Pond Market is back!

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