It’s a refrain too many parents are all too familiar with from their kids while on holiday: “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!”. Yes, they’re words that strike fear in the heart of mums and dads throughout the world when they’ve trekked off on vacation with their little ones in tow – so what to do when you hear them? Where to look for solutions to sate your little tykes?
Well, fortunately, should you have made London your holiday’s destination (and especially if you’ve made your base one of the affordable but well-reviewed hotels near Pimlico London), then don’t fret, because you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to spoiling the kids with ace vacation activities and things to see and do…
The St. Katharine Docks Treasure Trail
(Tower Hill EC3N 4DJ)
First up, what better than a firmly family-friendly hunt for clues around the fascinating, historically rich and compelling St. Katharine’s Docks area of the city? All you need do is download (and/ or print off) the map and route for this tour and then follow the easy-to-navigate directions and unearth the clues it points to – to be found via the likes of monuments, buildings, plaques and more.
It’s an adventure that’s designed for a full day out in the Docklands district and, in particular, suitable for young ones from six-years-old and up, who’ll doubtless be thrilled whenever they manage to solve a clue and tick off the latest location on their treasure map. Eventually, of course, you’ll find yourself making it to the end of the journey and discover a ‘long lost treasure’. But will this hunt actually take all day to complete – well, no, don’t worry, it doesn’t; but if you pop online to the service’s website you’ll find there are literally thousands of the trails in the area to choose between and give a go, so when you and yours complete one you can simply throw yourself into another. There’s so much in this area to explore!
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
(Battersea Park SW11 4NJ/ open: 10am-5.30pm Monday-Sunday summer; 10am-4.30pm Monday-Sunday winter)
Small but perfectly formed; that’s what all the wonderfully cuddly creatures here can be described as. Offering up the likes of cheeky monkeys, dinky donkeys, über-cute lemurs and marvellous little chipmunks, it’s a location bound to beguile and delight your little terrors, that’s for sure. That said, it’s not just about would-be furry friends because step inside the Reptile House and you’ll discover a realm of slippery and coily classics like snakes, turtles, bearded dragons and even a giant snail. Fascinating – and hissin’ terrific!
Plus, should you coincide your visit with feeding time, you and your little ones’ll get the chance to not just enjoy witnessing the animals munching away on their lunches but also learn about their daily routines and world. Moreover, attending talks give kids another opportunity to get closer to the action and, of course, the animals themselves. And, that’s not all; a trip to this particular zoo can be topped off by the releasing all that pent-up kids’ energy in its adventure playground and sand pits, while you enjoy a well-deserved cuppa or coffee ahead of heading back to your booked accommodation (possibly one of the hotels near Victoria London).
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
(Hyde Park W2 2UH/ 18th November 2017-January 1st 2018/ open: 10am-10pm Monday-Saturday)
Is your gaggle of little ones gaga for Disney’s Frozen? If so, a day or evening spent at the Winter Wonderland Festival in the heart of the very easy-to-reach Hyde Park will doubtless prove an absolute winner. That’s because this attraction deliberately designed for the festive season is jam-packed-full of family-focused treats – everything from an enormous open-air ice rink to magical ice sculptures and giant Ferris wheels to daily shows featuring favourites like TV’s Sooty.
First stop has to be its Magical Ice Kingdom; the ice sculptures bringing to, well, ‘frozen life’ glistening examples of the beautiful and beastly creatures found beneath the ocean waves, while the aforementioned ice-rink is the largest in the whole of the UK and offers music and many refreshment stalls. Live entertainment too is superbly served by the likes of the skating-tastic Cinderella on Ice, in addition to Zippo’s Circus, Cirque Beserk and, as mentioned, Sooty and friends in their own show.
Go Ape Battersea Park
(Battersea Park SW11 4NJ/ check with venue for opening hours)
Finally, this venue’s ideal if your kids are a little bit older or in their teenage years, being an outdoor adventure course par excellence – in fact, of all the Go Ape courses located across the country, you’ll find none of them as big, as challenging and (in their way) as scary as this one!
Located just across the River Thames from the Pimlico/ Victoria area, it rustles up a two-to-three-hour-long adventure for visitors, featuring high-scale treetop bridges to try, knee-knocking obstacles to avoid and outstanding skirmishes to throw yourself into. Yes, here it’s rope ladders, wire crossings and – best of all – zip-wires that are the order of the day. Not somewhere for the faint-hearted then – whatever your age!