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OE Guide to Half Term Days Out

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Looking for some last minute ideas for what to do with the kids this week? Here are some of our favourite places to take children for a fun day out that is also inspiring and educational.

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Kidzania

This is top of our half term to do list. This huge 75,000 sq foot ‘kids’ city’ in Westfield allows kids to try out over 60 real life role-play activities. From working as a cashier in a bank and learning how to be a dentist, policeman or pilot, to running a radio station, advertising agency or department store – they can try their hand at a fantastic selection of different jobs.

Educational and fun, Kidzania is a great day out and is designed to inspire children to explore the world around them while learning essential skills such as team work, planning and how to manage money.

It’s aimed at 4 to 14 year olds but they also have an Early Years area for under 4s. It’s a four-hour experience and once children are checked in they are free to explore and join in with as many different activities and jobs at the time allows. Parents can either take part – as a passenger on the plane or customer in the shop for example, wait in the restaurant or, if your child is over 8 you can even leave them safely enjoying the Kidzania experience and pop off to do a bit of shopping in Westfield.

But in our opinion leaving your kids would be the last thing you’d want to do – it will be such an amazing memorable experience for them that you’ll want to be a part of it and see the excitement on their little faces. We can’t wait!

 

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London Bus Tour

London is one of the most exciting and interesting cities in the world, steeped in history and packed with amazing places to visit. There are so many permutations of the ideal day out in the Capital – from museums and exhibitions to the landmarks and parks, but we have found that a great way to show children around is by bus. Little legs don’t always enjoy all the walking sight seeing requires so a bus tour allows you to take in all the key places without the exhaustion.

Older kids really enjoy putting on the headphones and taking in the sights, while younger ones just love being on bus and seeing Big Ben. The Original Tour Company even offer a recorded commentary channel just for kids so they can hear all about the city from a child’s perspective.

Jump on and off whenever you like, so if there is a place you’d like to explore – the Aquarium, Buckingham Palace or the Tower of London – then you can still do it. This is day out they will never forget.

 

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Polka Theatre

The Polka Theatre in Wimbledon is one of the few theatres in the UK that is dedicated solely to entertaining children. And they do it so well. Since 1979 they have been welcoming around 90, 000 children a year.

There is a host of amazing productions for your kids to enjoy. Their packed autumn line up includes the classic Around the World in 80 Days and the musical show How to Hide a Lion.

If you are looking for a fun but cultural day out then this is the place.

 

wakehurst

Wakehurst

We discovered this gem in the Kent countryside just a few months ago. And what a find it is. Wakehurst is the 465-acre country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and houses their seed bank – storing seeds from 10% of the world’s plant species. For older children there is a fascinating conservation programme to learn about and the chance to plant seeds in the kids potting shed.

Our little lot loved the new Treetrunk Trek play space and the Children’s Heritage garden with its Mud Kitchen. Bring your wellies and potentially a change of clothes if you want to let your kids really make the most of all the fun that Walkehurst has to offer.

There are two great café’s and a beautiful Elizabethan mansion to see as well as woodlands and a nature reserve to explore. It’s not somewhere you’ll get around completely in a day but once you’ve been you’ll definitely want to come back again anyway.

 

The new magical garden at Hampton Court Palace. March 13 2016.

Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace

This amazing children’s playground was opened by the Duchess of Cambridge in May and has already become a hit with London and Surrey mums. It’s not hard to see why. There’s sand and water play, an aerial walkway, slides, climbing frames, a magical beast’s lair, an amphitheatre and wobbly bridge.

In the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, it is set within King Henry VIII’s former Tiltyard and takes inspiration from the fairy-tale-like quality of the Tudor Palace with a distinctly Alice in Wonderland feel to it.

Our children had a ball, running around from one brightly coloured section to the next, climbing up the Queen’s tower helter sketler and the soldiers’ encampment. The youngest ones loved the 25ft-long concrete dragon with light-up eyes and smoking nostrils.

The only downside was the moat – a water feature that we deemed to be a bit risky with little children running around, however according to the website this feature is now closed.

It’s a whole day out kind of place where you can set up camp in one place and then let them roam around. Throw in the café and easy on site parking and you have the recipe for a super time. It closes for the winter on October 30th so just enough time to squeeze in a half term visit.

 

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Pottery cafes

A look in our kitchen cupboards will tell you how much we enjoy painting pottery with our children. Mugs, plates, eggcups – you name it and we’ve stuck a little hand or footprint on it.

But while it’s lovely to go to a pottery café with your newborn, it certainly isn’t exclusively for tiny babies. We think this is the perfect activity to do if (like us) you have a wide age range to entertain. Younger children will love popping their little fingers and toes into the paint with your supervision, while older ones can independently work on their own masterpieces.

We’ve tried a few different places and found the Pottery Cafes in Fulham and Richmond to be great. As are Mini Potters in Wimbledon and Dish in Reigate.

Half term is also the perfect time to make gifts for Christmas. Grandparents and aunts and uncles will absolutely love to receive such a personal little treasure, making this a useful, as well as fun day out.

 

Whatever you get up to this half term we hope you have fun!

 

 

 

 

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