With London’s decidedly changeable (read: wet) weather, a great list of soft play areas in London is a must-have for every parent. My kids are like a couple of mischievous puppies when they’re cooped up in the house for too long, so I’ve become a bit of a connoisseur on ball ponds and indoor climbing frames.
I have a confession to make - a day out with my kids can be hard work. Every outing starts with a dispute about whether or not a skin tight crocodile costume (for the kids, not me) is the best thing to wear in central London. Then there are the last wees, the interminable tube ride and the near heart-attack every time they forget to ‘mind the gap’. By the time we arrive at our destination all I want is a stiff drink. The British Museum is one of the few places that makes the effort and palpitations worthwhile. Here’s why:
Until very recently my knowledge of London in the Victorian era was pretty much limited to what I learned in The Muppets Christmas Carol. My six-year old daughter, the expert on all things Victorian, has taken it upon herself to educate me properly. ‘Yes’, she acknowledges, ‘the Victorians did have the most excellent hats.’ She rolls her eyes when I ask whether they really had rats for book-keepers.
There are so many things to do in London for free that it can be a little overwhelming to say the least. Here’s five unforgettable attractions and days out within a short walk of one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world: Trafalgar Square.
Finding a good London gym with a crèche or kids club can be pretty tricky. Here are my favourite three London gyms for families.
With toddlers in tow, the merest hint of drizzle can be enough to make any parent want to cry. Here 5 best toddler-friendly rainy days out in London.
Housing thousands of skeletons, skulls, and bug-eyed animals suspended in formaldehyde, the Grant Museum of Zoology isn’t your average museum. The first time I came across it, I had been strolling around the higgledy-piggledy collection of buildings that make up UCL’s central campus. It started raining, so I ducked into the nearest building… and came face to face with a jar of moles.
My kids seem to have enough energy to power an entire neighbourhood, so I jump at any opportunity to wear them out. Thankfully, in and around Muswell Hill there seem to be countless things to do, with everything from adventure playgrounds and skate parks to slightly creepy swan-shaped pedalos. My top picks are three year-round activities they’ll never forget.
A ‘great time’ used to mean laughing so hard my sides ached or climbing a mountain just because it was there. I’d spent years embracing life with optimism, self-assuredness and pluck. But, one day... poof! My zing had disappeared. Suddenly, the height of excitement meant watching The West Wing while extolling the virtues of my friend’s slanket.
As a fantasy fiction fanatic, I’d spent years of my life entranced by the realms of Middle Earth, Winterfell and Tigana. No surprise then, that when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone appeared on shelves in 1997, I fully embraced Hogwarts and London’s magical parallel world. Embarrassingly, I think I recall being shushed for shouting at the screen in excitement when I recognised Leadenhall market in the very first film. Chances are, you’re one of the 450 million* others captivated by Harry Potter, and quite possibly one of the people who shushed me in that cinema. Either way, you’ll love this five step guide to London for Harry Potter fans!
The Phoenix Cinema has been around for over a century. Old schmold, right? I mean, in London I seem to be surrounded by thousand year old buildings so, in comparison, 100 years doesn’t seem all that impressive.