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5 Fun Activities for Families to Enjoy

In London

London is a fantastic destination to visit with children. There’s a huge wealth of attractions to see and the majority have included activities that especially appeal to younger visitors. The city’s long history, museums, arts and landmarks ensure there will be something to interest family members of all ages, and you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Blog Family four fun

Emily is a mum of four children living in West-London, she writes a family themed blog offering insights into raising a family in the capital. It includes things to do, places to go, the things they love, wear and lots more. The blog has been nominated for awards for it’s family fun theme and as a top London Mum blog. Named Family Four Fun she says it’s mostly about all the fun things there are in being a family.

Instead of heading straight to the big tourist attractions however, how about taking a more laid back wander past the city sights before deciding where you’d like to spend more time. This is one of my favourite ways to spend a day in the capital with my children, and having spoken to parenting friends many said they loved walking tours too. It satisfies the often short attention span of little ones whilst giving you a real feel for the city. You can find loads of professionally guided tours, or just head out yourself armed with a little local knowledge and imagination. Children love doing simple things like riding on the tube, feeding the ducks or spotting the boats sail-ing by on the Thames. Not rushing around a busy city will help you enjoy it more too. My suggestions are based on these ideas and will take a day or a weekend - but a whole day of entertainment could be had in just one of these areas.

wobbly bridge
Wobbly Bridge

Cross the ‘Wobbly Bridge’…

Our journey starts at the Millennium Bridge, a steel suspension footbridge which is often referred to as ‘The Wobbly Bridge’ after having to be shut down just 2 days after it opened because of the sway walkers felt. My children love to run and jump when crossing it to see if they can recreate the motion - but of course they can’t! They have just as much fun pretending they’re wizards and looking out for the Death Eaters who dramatically destroy this bridge in the film Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. For parents the bridge offers spectacular views along the Thames on both sides, beautifully framing St Paul’s Cathedral on the north side. Crossing from St Paul’s to Southwark, you can visit the Tate Modern Gallery or Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Under the bridge children relish ‘mudlark-ing’ or treasure hunting on the riverbanks of the Thames where trinkets from centuries ago may be found. They were disappointed we didn’t stop this time, but instead jumped on a Thames clipper to Embankment and continued our adventure.

copacabana beach
Copacabana Beach

Fly high in the sky…

Clipper boats are part of London’s public transport - the children revel in the way they speed along the river and as a Mum I love that they have toilets aboard. Disembarking at Embankment we cross the Jubilee Bridge to Southbank where there is always something fun to see! Beneath the Southbank Centre and Royal Festival Hall is a celebration of London’s arts with regular free street entertain-ment, food stalls and so much more. This summer the Cabana restaurant has installed a beach where the children love digging and building sandcastles - and us parents can enjoy something to eat and maybe even a cocktail. Across the footpath my children always want to see the skateboard-ers in the skate park and will watch for ages, fascinated by their tricks. It’s impossible to miss the London Eye which dominates the skyline here. A ‘flight’ on the Eye is a great opportunity to put your feet up for 30 minutes, but if it’s one of those days when not everyone wants to be stuck in a glass capsule for that long, the children will appreciate climbing in the Jubilee Park below just as much. There’s also Shrek’s Adventure, the London Aquarium and the departure point for our favourite tour.

camion london duck tour
Camion London Duck Tour

Ride on a Duck…

By far the most novel of London sightseeing tours, a ride on a London Duck Tour is something as enjoyable for Londoners as it is for tourists. These ex-World War II vehicles are half truck, half boat and show you the best of both sides of London, by land and river. The company offers classic or themed tours at peak times, such as the Pirate and James Bond adventures. My children enjoy the pirate adventure the most because they’re given a treasure map with places to spot and are invited to shout ‘avast’ loudly every time they find something on it. This is incredibly entertaining for every-one aboard, and for some confused looking passersby too. After circling through Westminster, Pic-cadilly and past the Palace, the duck speeds over Vauxhall Bridge and plunges into the Thames be-side MI5 to the delight of children and adults alike. Prior to this my children thought MI5 was just a myth so were very excited to learn where the headquarters were. A leisurely sail down the river gives you a great view of the Houses of Parliament riverside terrace. We waved at the politicians gathered there, but they didn’t wave back - boo!

Hyde Park
HydePark

Picnic by The Queen…

It’s only a short walk across Waterloo Bridge and through Westminster but we caught the District Line (because the children like the new tube trains) from Embankment to St James’ for the perfect picnic spot. London of course has many lovely parks and although they’re all great for a picnic, this one is by far our favourite. Hyde Park is vast and you could easily spend a whole day exploring, whilst Kensington Gardens with the Diana Memorial Playground is wonderful for children too, but is often very busy. St James’ Park has a lake and delightful bridge in the centre and is just so beautiful it brings a bit of calm to a chaotic day in the capital. I enjoy a slow stroll admiring the pretty flower-beds and views up towards Buckingham Palace, and the children hurtle around after the pigeons! I usually treat them to an ice-cream which gives them just the right amount of energy to walk all the way round past Horse Guards. The children’s playground has picnic benches inside so is ideal for picnicking - and there’s always a few ducks happy to clean up the leftovers.

Theatreland
Theatreland

Visit a magical land…

A show in theatre land is an experience that won’t be forgotten for a long time and at the moment there’s plenty on that will appeal to children. I’ve been taking my children to the theatre since they were quite small and it always surprises me how well they sit, completely enraptured by the show unfolding before them. At the moment Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is one of their favourite stories and as they love both the films I knew it was time to take them to see it in the theatre too. The show is absolutely spectacular with sets bigger, brighter and more colourful than you’d ever imagine. The story is of course the same, but the songs and format are entirely its own. It’s a unique performance, which makes it even more astonishing. Heading home after a long and exciting day the children quickly fell fast asleep, but the smiles on their faces told me they were dreaming of the magical adventure they’d had and of even more fun in the future.

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