For anyone planning a ‘staycation’ this summer, a trip to our nations capital may not be top of your list of fun things to do with your children. Expensive attractions, packed sweaty transport and dirty grime filled streets generally don’t equal a good time…
However, you actually couldn’t be further from reality. London is a fun, exciting and unique place to visit – yes, even with children. And with the Olympic celebrations in full throes and the Queen’s Jubilee festivities still fresh in our minds, there has never been a better time to pop along and say hi!
Here are my top five suggestions for fun, family friendly London-based activities for you to enjoy.
London Design Museum
Somewhere a little bit different – founded in 1989 and listed by The Times as number two of their top five museums in the London. It is situated on the banks of the River Thames in a renovated disused banana warehouse. Even the toilets are amazing, attracting visitors from all over the world!
All family visitors to the museum can pick up a family trail at the admissions desk. Led by the Thinkerer (the official family guide) the trail takes young designers around the museum, setting them fun tasks and challenges along the way.
If you happen to visit on a Sunday, your budding young designer will be invited to a ‘design and make’ workshop in the afternoon where they can hone their skills and create to their hearts content, guided by design experts.
22 miles of man-made tunnels in Chislehurst (funnily enough), which is situated in the South East suburbs of London.
The caves have a chequered history. They are first mentioned as far back as 1250, and were originally used as chalk and flint mines. During the First World War they were used as an ammunition depot, in the 1930’s they were used for mushroom cultivation and as an air raid-shelter during the Second World War, when around 15,000 people turned it into an underground city complete with electric lights, a hospital and chapel! The 1960’s saw the caves transformed into an underground musical haven, with some of the most famous names in music performing there.
Touring the caves offers a fascinating step back in time and your children will adore it! However, beware if you are planning to take pushchairs as the cobbled floor surfaces make for a pretty bumpy ride!
Royal Albert Hall
Situated in the City of Westminster, the Royal Albert Hall is best known for hosting the annual summer proms concert. It is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and treasured buildings in London and is affectionately known as ‘The Nations Village Hall’ due to the vast number and variety of acts that perform there every year.
It’s possible to take a tour of the Hall, during which you will find out about the architecture, royal patronage and history. You will also get to peak into the Queens private suites and the royal retiring room.
This isn’t one for anyone with very young children, but kids aged seven and over will enjoy looking around a building that has probably only ever existed to them on the TV before.
(Photo via: http://www.londonsorted.com)
London Zoo can be found smack bang in the centre of the capital, right next to Hyde Park. It has been voted one of the best attractions in Britain and covers around 36 acres. It’s open every day (apart from Christmas) and is fantastic, even in wet weather – which, let’s face has been pretty much every day this year!
There are over 750 different species of animal to be found – my children’s favourites are the gorillas in gorilla kingdom and the big cats. However, by far their best section is the children’s zoo, where they’re able to get up close and personal with some cute creatures and furry farm animals.
You can keep costs down by taking a picnic and eating it in one of the designated picnic areas. Or take advantage of the excellent on site catering facilities.
London Zoo is a must for anyone planning a trip to the capital this summer.
Tate Modern Gallery
For the uninitiated, Tate Modern is a modern art gallery in London and is the most visited art gallery in the world. It is based in a former power station in the Bankside area of London.
Whilst not an obvious place to take your children, I guarantee they will love it, forming their own unique interpretations of the art on display. In addition there are plenty of family activities on offer, including: an interactive zone, which encourages children to become familiar with modern art, a sketching room for them to capture their own modern art ideas, and an activity room.
And the best news of all…it’s free (apart from any special exhibitions)
This article was written by Kathryn Thompson, a freelance writer and mum to three young daughters. Kathryn enjoys saving money when she visits London by checking out the deals available on the Promo Codes website.
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