Newsletter sign up

Keep the Kids Entertained on a Fun-packed London Weekend

By | Blog | No Comments

 

If you’re traveling to the city with the family, it can be difficult to find a balance of activities that keep everyone entertained. While you might want to go and see museums and exhibitions, little ones are quickly bored and need fun activities that will keep them interested and engaged.

There are plenty of things to do in London that have enough to keep the adults happy while making sure that the kids have fun in the process. Plenty of London’s most popular museums have things that will keep the youngsters in your party enthralled while still having something to offer for the grown-ups.

 

The Science Museum

Less of a museum, more of a collection of interactive exhibits, the Science Museum is designed with young people in mind. With lots of fascinating information about advances in science and the ways in which scientific discoveries have impacted on the world around us, the various halls have plenty of places where kids can get hands-on with the exhibits to learn about science and have loads of fun in the process.

Current exhibits in the museum include the history of British innovation and the science of pain, both of which have games and interactive activities for kids to get involved with. Your trip will be interesting, exciting, educational and fun for all concerned as you wander through the halls and find something new around every corner.

The museum is open every day except between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day and has free entry.

 

Gory history

If your kids are fans of the Horrible History series, they’re likely to get a real kick out of the Old Operating Theatre Museum at St Thomas Church, near St Thomas Hospital. The oldest operating theatre in Europe is found at the top of a rickety old staircase surrounded by deliciously macabre exhibits and at the top, the steeply pitched seating surrounding the operating theatre at the bottom.

The theatre occasionally has re-enactments of the surgery that would have taken place before crowds of morbidly curious wealthy patrons and would-be surgeons. These are, of course, somewhat sanitised from the original versions but are likely to have the older kids in your party squirming with gruesome delight.

 

Visit Hamley’s

This might be one you want to save for a time when you have a bit of money in your wallet, because you’re unlikely to leave empty-handed! Hamley’s toy store is the largest in the UK and has floors of toys of all kinds for kids of all ages.

hamley lego queen

Hamley’s Lego Queen, complete with corgi!

The displays of toys and games change throughout the year, and visiting close to Christmas is a particularly magical experience. Its window displays are legendary and kids will have a wonderful time wandering around and ogling all the wonderful toys from small to seriously large.

 

Princess Diana Memorial Playground

If you have a bunch of little monkeys with lots of energy to burn, head down to Kensington for an afternoon at the Princess Diana Memorial Playground. While they run themselves ragged, you can take the opportunity to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Kensington Gardens.

sunny day memorial playground

A lovely sunny day at the Memorial Playground

In sight of Diana’s former residence at Kensington Palace, the playground has a sensory trail, teepees, sandpits and a full-scale wooden pirate ship inspired by The Jolly Roger in Peter Pan on which children can climb and play. There are plenty of areas where children who are less able to run and climb can play with those who are more physically active, making it a wonderfully inclusive place for kids to spend an afternoon.

 

Conclusion

London has plenty of places that are fun and rewarding to visit with children. Whatever it is your kids enjoy, you’ll be able to find something to keep them entertained.

Image Credits: Wingingit and alecea

From Aerial View to Underground – Take a Trip to the London Dungeons

By | Blog | No Comments

 

london dungeon

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Close to Westminster Bridge, something is stirring. The ghosts, ghouls and skeletons in the closet of London’s past are waiting to thrill and entertain you on a gruesome tour through London’s history.

The London Dungeon is a one-of-a-kind look through the history of the city for young and old on London’s south bank. Close to the London Eye and next door to the Aquarium, it’s a stop-off with a difference on the tourist trail of London.

Above ground, the Dungeon might not be much to look at though you quickly get the impression of something lurking as strange apparitions stalk the streets around the area, looking for unsuspecting victims for a horrifying trip back to the past. Once inside, you’ll get a totally different slant on London’s history, leaving no macabre fact unexamined.

 

London’s murky history

While there have been some great tales of derring-do and heroism in London’s past, there have also been infamous villains and historical infamy. The Dungeon takes you through some of the most dramatic incidents from London’s gory history with glee.

bones the london dungeon

Whose bones are these? You’ll have to visit to find out!

A mixture of exhibits and performance, the experiences in the Dungeons takes visitors on a walk through history re-enacted before your eyes. A cast of talented actors take on the roles of some of the most celebrated and infamous characters from London’s past, from Henry VIII through to Jack the Ripper. There will be scares, laughs and jumps aplenty as you make your way through these great histories.

 

Gunpowder, treason and plot

The tale of Guy Fawkes and his Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament is told through the story-telling of actors in the roles of the main players of the attempted coup. In an exciting story for teenagers and adults, you’ll learn all about the conspiracy in a room full of gunpowder. Not for the faint-hearted, the tale of Guy and his co-conspirators will also go into quite some detail about the torture he endured after his capture by the soldiers of Parliament. It’s a grim, gruesome tale told with great gusto by the actors who take their parts perfectly.

 

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Not all of the characters portrayed in the Dungeon are real-life former citizens of London. One exception is Sweeney Todd, the well-known murderous barber who, along with his landlady Mrs Lovett, killed his customers and used their bodies to fuel a grizzly trade in meat pies. At the Dungeon you can visit Mrs Lovett’s Meat Pie shop and have the chance to put your hair – or possibly your throat – in the hands of Mr Todd and his cutthroat blade.

 

Not just entertainment

While the main aim of the Dungeon is to thrill and entertain, there’s a lot that you can learn on your visit and your trip through some of the macabre histories on show. Find out just how far modern medicine has come from its rudimentary roots during the Black Plague where leeches were used for everything from consumption to hysteria. You’ll also have the chance to learn some of the most horrifying facts about Henry VIII’s reign over the British Isles, including what happened to his wives and the kind of tough justice he dished out to his subjects during his time on the throne.

 

Conclusion

Not for those who are easily made queasy by gruesome details and grizzly facts, the London Dungeons are a brilliant place to indulge those who delight in the gore and grime of London’s history.

Image Credits: Wikipedia and .Martin.

Countryside in the City – London’s City Farms

By | Blog | No Comments

 

Although it may not seem like it when you’re in the parts of the city more concrete than countryside, there is a lot of green space in London. Between the Royal Parks, commons and community gardens, it doesn’t take long to get away from it all even when you’re in the middle of the city.

Amongst the green spaces you can visit on your trip to London, the city has a number of small farms that keep small numbers of livestock and allow city dwellers to get closer to our pastoral roots. A perfect place to take kids of all ages, the city farms are an interactive experience where you can get up close and personal with the farm animals and learn more about how our food is farmed.

 

Spitalfields City Farm

Right in the middle of the city, close to Liverpool Street Station, is Spitalfields City Farm. Offering a range of exciting activities for children and adults to get involved with and really get their hands dirty, the farm has plenty to keep you occupied.

donkey poney spitalfields city farm

A couple of the cheery residents at Spitalfields City Farm

With a keen focus on environmental issues and a hub for local volunteers, Spitalfields City Farm has a real community feel and is a relaxing place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

 

Belmont Children’s Farm

If you want something a little bit different for the kids to get involved with on your visit to London, try Belmont Children’s Farm. With over 30 different kinds of animals ranging from the usual sheep and goats through to alpacas and even some wallabies and eagle owls, the farm has really gone all out with getting a whole range of creatures for kids to get to know.

North of the RAF Museum, Mill Hill is a bit of a trek out of the city but does offer a unique experience for the little ones in your family.

 

Mudchute Park and Farm

By far the largest urban farm, Mudchute has approximately 34 acres of land on the Isle of Dogs along with a tea shop and lots of educational activities for young and old alike.

sheeps muduchute farm

Some of the residents of Mudchute Farm, with Canary Wharf beyond

One of the benefits of so much space is the opportunity to take part in some activities that are less accessible on a smaller site. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to ride a horse but never plucked up the nerve, Mudchute might just provide you with the chance to do just that.

 

Stepney City Farm

Stepney has the City Farm that offers the experience that’s probably closest to life on a rural farm of any of the others in London. A fully working farm with livestock used for farming purposes, you’ll be able to see how a farm operates through the regular working processes. Sheep-shearing, milking cows and collecting eggs from the hens are coupled with a farm trail, gift shop and the chance to buy produce reared and made on the site to take home with you as a reminder of your unique experience.

 

Conclusion

While London feels about as far from the rural idyll as you could possibly imagine, there are lots of places where you can get back in touch with nature and learn a thing or two about the countryside, farming and the animals that keep us in food and clothes. With a few unusual and interesting animals thrown into the equation, London has a range of city farm experiences that offer you the chance to see something you’re unlikely to find anywhere else and make yours a trip to remember.

Image Credits: S Pakhrin and Ewan-M

Support London’s Air Ambulance

We are delighted to support London’s Air Ambulance, helping to extend the reach of their lifesaving missions across London. The London Helicopter will match your donation to double its impact.

css.php