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Summer holidays in London - Let's make this the definitive thread

(106 Posts)
lisalisa Mon 10-Jul-06 14:53:42

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lisalisa Mon 10-Jul-06 15:47:46

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shoppingsecret Mon 10-Jul-06 15:48:24

Somerset House - free art activities most Saturdays, plus Free Time, 4 days of family events between 22nd and 25th July
Covent Garden Theatre Musuem - regular free art, makeup and dressing up activities for kids
Dulwich Art Gallery - 6 weeks of Art in the Garden, on Wednesdays between 2 and 3 30pm, starting 26th July. £2 per child
All London Musuems will have at least backpack type activities, most a lot more. Dd loves Tate Modern, British Museum and the Horniman in particular. Worth looking at their websites
National Theatre has Watch this Space on from now until September. Lots of free events, some suitable for children
Kids Week at London theatres, which is actually from 18th August to 1st September. Booking from 25th July onwards. Buy one adult ticket, get one child ticket free
Royal Parks often having story telling etc, as well as Regent's Park outdoor theatre.

There is loads more, I'll have a think and come back.

frogs Mon 10-Jul-06 16:27:11

Mine are North/East London-centric:

Museum of childhood in Bethnal Green;
Museum of London in Docklands -- a surprisingly excellent day out in the opinion of the froglets;
City farms: Hackney, Shoreditch, Freightliners in Islington;
Geffrye Museum in Kingsland Road;
Sutton House in Hackney;
Hackney Museum in Mare Street is quite fun;
Pirates Playhouse in Green Lanes;
Clissold park play area + paddling pool;
Highbury Fields ditto;
Horniman Museum -- they have a hands-on musical instrument room, and a place where you can watch bees doing their stuff through a pane of glass;
Oxford makes a nice day trip: the Pitt-Rivers museum has just been re-done, lunch by the river and a run around Port Meadow or the Botanic Gardens;
Kew Gardens, where the children can run to the point of exhaustion;
Corams Fields in WC1, fantastic playground with a selection of farm animals as well. Combines well with a visit to the British Museum;
Greenwich: the Cutty Sark, the National Maritime museum and the Naval College. We go on the DLR to the Isle of Dogs and walk through the tunnel under the Thames which is fun;
A river trip. Our aim for the summer is to get to the Thames Barrier which is meant to be good.

I'm sure there are others, but those are our mainstays. Has the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden reopened yet? That's also a fantastic afternoon's worth of activities.

dinosaur Mon 10-Jul-06 16:31:22

I don't think the LTM has reopened yet. Ditto the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green.

Arabica Mon 10-Jul-06 16:36:12

More NE London-centric activity
Museum of Childhood v good but closed until Autumn
Museum of London at the Barbican site, lots to do
Springfield Park in Clapton, no playground but fantastic views, boats, good cafe
Abney Park Cemetry in Stoke Newington, great overgrown nature reserve with eco-friendly kids' stuff
Thames Barrier, have been, would recommend if weather fine, as there is playground and park but not enough to amuse an under-7 otherwise (unless v technically minded)
Highgate Woods
Jacknson's Lane, Highgate (activities in school hols, theatre productions)
Hackney Museum, small but entertaining, there are often activities in the school holidays either there or in library (upstairs, same building).
London Fields lido is being refurbished but don't know when the opening is scheduled--could be Autumn.

Arabica Mon 10-Jul-06 16:36:34

Hi Dinosaur!

hoxtonchick Mon 10-Jul-06 16:38:04

london fields lido is meant to reopen in august, but don't hold your breath.......

discover in stratford is good for pre-schoolers, & you can combine it with a trip on the dlr

lisalisa Mon 10-Jul-06 16:38:40

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dinosaur Mon 10-Jul-06 16:39:10

I think the City Farm in Docklands - Mudchute - is meant to be very good too, although we haven't actually been there yet.

Also the paddling pool in Victoria Park, although DS2 slipped in it and banged the back of his head really hard - he had a lump like a cobblestone!

hoxtonchick Mon 10-Jul-06 16:40:46

oh, the paddling pool in london fields is great too. and there's one in queen's park.

mommie Mon 10-Jul-06 17:16:01

south west london - gambado, massive indoor play centre near chelsea harbour/fulham - ideal for rainy day (www.gambado.com) and under 10s

Arabica Mon 10-Jul-06 21:59:34

hi lisalisa! I'm 37weeks on Weds so just 2wks to go before my C-section.

Hallgerda Tue 11-Jul-06 07:47:22

A few people have mentioned river trips to the Thames Barrier. If you don't want to be sitting on a boat for a very long time with fractious toddlers who have gone off boats long before they get there, start from Greenwich.

Bromley and Croydon have programmes of summer holiday activities (free events in libraries, treasure hunts, sports courses etc). Details are in the publications Mega (for Croydon) and Buzz (for Bromley). Buzz is available online here. Mega is available from libraries in Croydon.

lisalisa Tue 11-Jul-06 14:20:06

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hoxtonchick Tue 11-Jul-06 15:06:15

maybe lisalisa . it's a good trip for us, as we can get the train, much added excitement! hampstead heath is good too, the bit near gospel oak (& you can park in the surrounding streets mostly).

lisalisa Tue 11-Jul-06 15:15:05

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hoxtonchick Tue 11-Jul-06 15:16:57

1 o'clock club, newly redone playground & a paddling pool. at the bottom of parliament hill, if that makes more sense, near the lido.

lisalisa Tue 11-Jul-06 15:20:10

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bakedpotato Tue 11-Jul-06 15:21:39

Gospel Oak Lido has just been renovated, they've lined the pool in stainless steel... Huge shallow end is chest-high for 3/4YOs and there's a babies' paddling pool also. Also cafe where you can get bacon sarnies. Changing facilities grim but serviceable.
£4 for adults, under 5s free

hoxtonchick Tue 11-Jul-06 15:38:16

oooh lets have a meet up

shoppingsecret Wed 12-Jul-06 11:00:45

am bumping as this is such a useful thread.

Come on fellow-Londoners - Marina, Blu, scummy to name just a few, you always have fab ideas....

foxinsocks Wed 12-Jul-06 11:08:21

here's the royal parks children's entertainment page

They basically have something on virtually every week in the summer holidays in Richmond and Bushy Park (the listings are also there for Hyde Park, Greenwich Park and Kensington Gardens).

southeastastra Wed 12-Jul-06 11:50:57

we went to the london transport museum and it was shut! we spend a fortune in hamleys instead!

don't forget ally pally in wood green for lots of open space and a great duck pond with boats.

singersgirl Wed 12-Jul-06 12:12:17

South-West London:

Kew Gardens already mentioned, but excellent for running around, and for little ones Climbers & Creepers is fun - they also have art activities in the holidays

Wetlands Centre in Barnes - new playground opening this weekend! Also pond dipping, indoor children's displays, nature trails and lots of walks. Oh, and you can even look at some birds.

Richmond Park - for cycling (hire bikes and trailers near Roehampton Gate), small playground for under 5s near Kingston Gate, lovely walks in Isabella Plantation and Pembroke Lodge Gardens, great climbing trees near Pen Ponds

Hampton Open Air Swimming Pool and Tooting Lido
Pools on the Park in Richmond has an open air pool too, but it's heaving in summer and the others are nicer

Drop in tennis and football every morning at Rocks Lane Tennis Centre in Barnes - you can buy tokens and just turn up when you want to (sorry, don't have the number to hand)

Kew Bridge Steam Museum - good for train-obsessed small boys

Syon Park - expensive, but lots to do: Butterfly House, Reptile World, a good garden centre with pet shop, the infamous Snakes & Ladders indoor play centre, Syon House and gardens itself which has a train ride in summer

Walk along the towpath from Putney to Richmond and beyond - any section really. We tend to do from Mortlake to Hammersmith or Mortlake to Richmond, coz of where we live, but there are lots of things to see and do on the way.

Hampton Court - haven't been for a while, but maze, gardens and house all good

Bushy Park - big sandpit for little ones

Battersea Park - zoo and adventure playground. Had a good day out there at half term.

There is a programme of outdoor plays on in Richmond's parks, but I've forgotten what it's called and have lost the leaflet.

Will post more later if think of anything else locally.

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