Thursday 8 May 2014

Our London School Holidays

It feels like I'm only just recovering from the Easter holidays and yet half term is only two weeks away. At Easter we spent the holiday at home and I still can't decide if half term will be another low-key week of London fun, a good chance to recharge everyone's batteries, or should we try to head for the hills... maybe on another camping adventure? It's always fun to go away but takes planning and then having to deal with the aftermath of mountains of washing... sometimes it actually feels more like a holiday when we stay local.
Here are a few London things we did last holidays...

1. The Southbank

Hanging out at the Southbank skatepark by alexis at

Most holidays bring at least one visit to the Southbank, it's easy to entertain the children for a day along this stretch of river. This visit was primarily to go to the Martin Creed exhibition which I'm very glad I saw... even if it was very un-nerving in parts. I came out feeling distinctly odd. The children loved a lot of it (the balloons... the car... the poo... I don't want to publish too many spoilers)! Last chance to visit this weekend I believe. On balance it was worth it, just know that you may be un-nerved.

Martin Creed exhibition at the Hayward,  Southbank by Alexis at

Martin Creed exhibition at the Hayward,  Southbank by Alexis at

If the weather is cold/wet you can always just hang out in the Royal Festival Hall - when we were there the Clore Ballroom was temporarily home to some brilliantly inventive organs which the children spent ages playing with. Buttons galore to please my small boy.

The children on hungerford bridge with big ben in the background by Alexis at

It's a super free-ish day out... my two would happily just hang out on the Hungerford bridge all day. 

2. London Wetland Centre

The london wetland centre by Alexis at

I had never been to the wetland centre despite living pretty close to it for nearly ten years now. Shame on me, I guess I'm not really a bird girl... however we had a great time and I''ll definitely be going back - although it's not a cheap outing. There is lots of see, the planting and landscaping of the site is really well done, there are various mini habitats of diffeent kinds of wetlands plus the amazing views of the natural(?) wetlands towards the Thames with London views beyond. And there was a good play area and good cake. Easily enough to do for a whole day.

visiting the Wetland centre

3. Kew Gardens

Bluebells at Kew Gardens, London by Alexis at

Kew is nearly on our doorstep so we are members and go quite a bit through the year... there is always something to see and it's size means we never get bored... tired yes, but bored, never! This visit was actually just me and Henry as it was after Coco was back at school but before Henry was back to nursery. We went specifically for a bluebell fix which we were lucky enough to get.

Bluebells at Kew Gardens, London by Alexis at
The palmhouse at Kew Gardens, London by Alexis at

4. Richmond Park

Biking in Richmond Park, London by Alexis at

On the sunny Easter Monday we took a elevensies style picnic of left over hot cross buns, chocolate egss and a flask of coffee to Richmond Park along with all our our bikes... We spent sometime on the bike paths while Henry terrified us with his love of speed/lack of brakes on some of the down hill stretches... Coco meanwhile spent a lot of time 'waiting' for us to help Henry and so got to see a lot more deer than we did.

Biking break in Richmond Park, London by Alexis at

Tree climbing in Richmond Park, London by Alexis at

For our picnic we walked into the middle of the park and settled on a spot next to a brilliant oak tree which Coco climbed up and down to her hearts content.
I'm hoping we might make it to the tree climbing at Alexander Palace this month which I found out about via Urban Explorer (a brilliant weekly email of ten things to do in London each weekend - which I highly recommend if you're not already subscribed).

5. The Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens

Diana Memorial Playground, London by Alexis at

I've written about this playground here before... but if it's a sunny day then this is the easiest and cheapest way to keep everyone happy. We like to get there as early as possibly as it does get crowded. This time we got organised and took a flask of coffee and while Coco & Henry played me and Hugh did an online shop for groceries... nothing like a bit of multitasking. Then we wandered through Hyde Park and blew all the money we'd saved on coffee (and some) by having lunch at Brindisa in South Kensington... worth it for some of the best tapas in London (in my humble opinion).

What are your favourite places to visit with children in London? I would love to try some new places if we do stick around for half term...


  1. Fantastic post - and I am definitely showing my daughter that tree-climbing in Richmond pic, very impressive! Would love you to link up this post to new Our London link party - it goes live thursday 15th may, do come join in!

  2. Lovely post - fab ideas. Haven't been over to Richmond for ages, definitely need a repeat trip. Those are some serious trees. Alice @ Outdoors in London

  3. Fab list of things to do. We still haven't been to the Diana Memorial playground, but hopefully soon. Have a lovely half-term!

  4. I love the Wetlands Centre! I agree is doesn't *sound* like a good day out for kids, but it really is!

  5. So many fab pictures from so many lovely London haunts ... we're big fans of the Wetland Centre. Just heard they're going to open another one at the Walthamstow reservoirs. Thanks so much for linking up at #OurLondon ... do hope to see you again this week, Alice @ Outdoors in London