Days out in London with children for 2013
- Published on Tuesday, 08 January 2013 13:33
- Last Updated on 08 January 2013
- 6 Comments
First up is the Discover Story Centre in Stratford. If you can drag yourself away from Westfield, this is an absolutely magical place for children. It is the UK’s first hands-on creative literacy centre and is designed to fire young imaginations. Children can explore a secret cave, make a spoon puppet, have a tea party, find the giant's legs, slide down a magic tower, dance on noisy polka dots and run across a trip-trap bridge. If the weather is kind the garden is superb too, with its own monster's tongue, space craft, pirate ship and giant musical instruments and there are daily story-telling sessions which are top-notch.
If the sun is shining, now is a great time to visit one of the farms around London because you’ll practically have it to yourself. Bocketts Farm is my favourite out of town option, because it is small and perfectly formed so you haven’t got to trek miles to get from the duck show to the pig enclosure or the adventure playground. There is absolutely loads to do, much of which will appeal to younger children as well as older ones.
The adventure playground is excellent with lots of different areas for children to explore and there is an indoor play-barn with a safe area for tiny ones. I went in early December with a 6 month old, a 2 year old and 4 year old, they all had a brilliant day and saw some week old lambs which were absolutely gorgeous.
Next up is the National Army Museum. People are always surprised when I suggest this as a kiddie option, but it is a gem of a day out for energetic toddlers. Not only is the museum itself hugely interactive with loads of hands-on activities and games but its Kids’ Zone, a soft-play area for kids ages 0 – 8 is one of the best in London. It has a dedicated play space for babies as well as arts and crafts, dressing-up costumes, books, interactive toys and panels.
Just remember to book your tickets to the Kids Zone on their website – because it’s so popular they limit places which means it doesn’t get too crowded, even on a rainy Saturday.
Another museum which is rarely on people’s radar is the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich which is fantastic for children. I started taking my baby here at about 6 months, but because it’s so interactive, it’s great for all ages. There’s a dedicated children’s area, but it’s definitely worth checking out the rest of the museum as it is all fantastic. The two cafes areas are an added bonus – one looks over Greenwich Park and the other, on the first floor has a huge area for toddlers to run around. If the weather is OK, you should plan to take all day in Greenwich as there’s the Park, the Royal Observatory and the Cutty Sark to explore. If you can, it’s definitely worth getting the DLR or the Riverboat to or from Greenwich – much more fun than the train and part of the adventure.
Finally, January is a great time to visit the more well-known museums. Places like the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum which are packed during the rest of the year are practically empty now because no one really does anything in January. The Museum of London Docklands is particularly good - not only does it have a children's gallery - Little Mudlarks, but they run interactive play sessions every Monday with crafts, music and getting messy as themes - they're absolutely brilliant for an otherwise grey and dismal Monday morning.
For more info about adventures for children in London you can visit: www.capitaltots.com