Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Ideas for the family in and around London


Browns’ Hotel in Mayfair was, back in my Conde Nast days, a regular post-work pitstop for a cocktail and catch up with girlfriends after a day at work. On more than one occasion, that one cocktail turned into five (or seven!?) and a bleary cab ride home. So it was odd and delightful, all at once, to be checking in (sober) to that same West London beauty with my husband and two girls in tow last weekend.

Discreet but extremely luxurious, Brown’s Hotel has been a home-from-home for many a big name over the years. Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book while staying there (my daughter was particularly taken by that fact) while Winston Churchlll, so legend goes, once said: “I don’t stay at hotels. I stay at Brown’s.” Lola wasn’t quite so blown away by that historical reference.

Brown's Hotel exterior

And so it was on a dark and cold London day we arrived at the warmth and cosy elegance of Browns’ for a night. And I really can’t recommend it highly enough, especially if you’re hitting the capital with your kids. At check-in, our handsome and extremely eloquent concierge George greeted all of us, including the kids (something parents know doesn’t happen often). Lola was given her own Brown’s “passport” to document her stay and, upon arriving in our beautiful Dover Suite, cookies adorned with the girls names were ready and waiting, as was a teddy called Albie, story books and DVDs. Lola, particularly, was made to feel very welcome (as were we thanks to our spoiling confines and the lovely bottle of white waiting on ice, which was particularly appreciated after the traffic jam we endured en route through Knightsbridge). The hotel’s new Families R Forte programme aims to make young guests feel just as welcome as their parents, though I’ve always found the family-friendly offerings of this particular hotel to be of the highest standard. We are Londoners ourselves but the hotel offers a fantastic Kids’ City Guide which, were we new to the place, would have proven very useful. Lola received her own check-in card and comments card so felt very much a part of things.

Children at Brown's Hotel

The Dover suite (which we stayed in) is just one such room that offers huge space for the entire family but also has the option of interconnecting with a neighbouring room if you want even more. Though we were sitting in the midst of Mayfair I was particularly taken by the immense sense of calm and quiet that resulted, I assume, thanks to some seriously good double glazing. Despite being a few floors above Dover Street we could have been in the middle of nowhere. It was that quiet and, given that we had a four month old with us, it was one of the first things I noticed.

Brown's Dover Suite

The suite itself was divine. The attention to detail given to families was unrivalled. Firstly, we were met in the bathroom by a baby bath for Maya and a bevy of Child’s Farm and Burts Bee’s goodies for the girls. The hotel had gone as far as to source the right size of nappy for a baby of Maya’s age and, at the end of our bed, was a beautifully-made (all pink) cot for her to rest in; adjacent to that was a floor mat with toys perfect for her age. Lola had a fabulous bed of her own made up in our ridiculously large and very luxurious living room (complete with personalised television, sweeping writing desk and sofas more comfortable than those I enjoy in my own home). She had her own robe and slippers; Maya had her own hooded towelling poncho. Had we stayed for longer and required babysitting services that would have been no problem and, should you request one, the hotels provides a Kids In-Room Bar complete with healthy snacks and drinks.

Brown's Hotel Dover Suite bedroom

Hix Restaurant downstairs was our dining spot for the night and, as a big fan of Mark Hix, I was particularly excited about our reservation. Being a Saturday night I was well aware, even though we ate early, that we were surrounded by couples on dates. Maya slept the entire way through dinner and Lola was immaculately behaved but I could sense the presence of a buggy raised eyebrows as we walked in. The staff, however, were so welcoming. Lola got a children’s menu that was lengthier and offered up healthier offerings than many I’ve encountered for children. She dined on mini Mark Hix steak burgers, while we shared a Porterhouse steak and a beautiful bottle of Chablis.

And the trip couldn’t have ended on a higher note because Lola spent Sunday morning in the stunning Brown’s hotel spa. In the basement of the building, it is an inner sanctum of calm and tranquility. Again, peaceful and beautifully designed, one feels more zen for just for stepping out of the spa lift and it’s as lovely for children as it is their parents. Lola lay on a warmed treatment bed while the lovely Pru gave her a mini “twinkle toes” pedicure over milk and cookies. (Manicures, facials and massages are also available for children and, though I didn’t hit the spa myself, I’ll definitely be back).

Teenagers are no less loved and, if you’re staying with children aged 13-16, they can enjoy everything from cocktail-making courses to their own specially designed spa treatments (and, yes, there are games consoles for the bedrooms, too). The concierge will also design itineraries across the city should you need them.

Brown's Hotel spa

Lola floated back up to our suite, her sparkling purple toe nails out for all to see, and we had a fabulous breakfast in our room before (very reluctantly) checking out. What makes Brown’s such a fantastic choice for families is how easy they make everything. Lola was considered every single step of the way, as was her baby sister. I needed her nightdress thrown in a dryer at one point – that wasn’t a problem at all. Warm milk was brought to our room before she went to sleep and our car was taken by the valet on arrival so all we had to do was grab our bags and head inside. Because they provide so much for the children, we could pack light and, had I needed bottle warmers or sterilisers, they would have provided those, too. Discreet as Brown’s is, the levels of luxury, thought and service really are second to none. It’s long been a favourite of mine in London and, while that was once thanks to my love of the Donovan Bar, it’s now the experience I’ve had there as a parent.

With Families R Forte, children are divided into age groups. ‘RBabies’ is designed for children from newborn to three-years old, ‘RKids’ is designed for children aged four to 12 and ‘RTeens’ for teenagers aged 13 to 16, with entertainment and gifts throughout their stay. For more information click here.

 


The Lanesborough tea

Like many of you, my television is awash today with images of Her Majesty the Queen, adorned as she so often is in peony pinks and sensational, headline-grabbing hats. But, while you may be neither willing or able to hop flights quite as often as she has done in her decades on her throne, the new Pink Princess Tea at the Lanesborough Hotel will delight princesses and queens of any age.

The Lanesborough Hotel

The Lanesborough Hotel, if you aren’t familiar with it, sits adjacent to Number 1 London on the edge of Hyde Park and punctuates the area surrounding Buckingham Palace itself. A stunning, seriously luxurious property that we highly recommend for stays in London, it’s also a gorgeous and often lesser thought of afternoon option in the capital. And now, to celebrate Princess Charlotte of Cambridge’s first birthday in May and Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday, The Lanesborough is launching a Pink Princess Afternoon Tea. The hotel’s award-winning Head Pastry Chef Nicolas Rouzaud has personally created the tea to include entirely pink patisseries that are offset by glimmers of gold, white and silver decorations, all topped with delicately iced butterflies, flowers and petals. Served in the hotel’s Regency period dining room,  Céleste, (May 1st to June 12th 2016), this is a gorgeous way to make memories with your own little lady (the mass of pink will no doubt delight) and celebrate the Queen’s next decade.

The Lanesborough drawing room

The Lanesborough exterior

And aside from the pink aesthetic, there is plenty to please adults, too. Traditional fresh baked scones with jam and clotted Devonshire cream will be served alongside finger sandwiches and a choice of 38 teas (that include Rose of the Orient, White Rose and White Peony infusions presented by The Lanesborough’s in-house tea sommelier). This is the quintessential Englishe tea served in the most beautiful of surroundings, all to be finished off with either the ‘Flower Dome’ rhubarb cheesecake, strawberry mousse ‘Rocher’ or cherry cream éclair and raspberry sablé biscuit. We could finish up with puns about this being fit for a Queen, but would rather not. We just recommend you get booked and check it out for yourselves. If you’ve never had the joy of experiencing the Lanesborough Hotel, this is the perfect excuse. And, if you have, you’ll know why we are such big fans.

Available May 1st to June 12th 2016 The Lanesborough’s Pink Princess Afternoon Tea will cost from £48 per person or £62 per person with a glass of Champagne Taittinger.


It’s that time of year, when all wishes must be granted. Which is why when Cass Farrar, my BFF travel consultant from Kodomo.com asked me to put together a list of cool family fun, I knew I had to do my duty and grant my Cinderella her special wish.

I always giggle to myself at how understanding kids are when parents try and explain all the weird and wonderful things they come across in everyday life. And this Christmas season, we should all let it go and find something a little bit different to do to amuse ourselves. It beats making chutney, though I do love a spicy plum one with my cold meats…

 

BUMP ROLLER DISCO (Ages 5+) : Until 17th Jan, 2016

Get down with the kids under Hungerford Bridge, just by the Southbank Centre, and book your session at the BUMP Rollerdisco. If you’re anything like me, roller discos were a huge part of your teenage years, so you’ll have had plenty of practice.

Information : It opens on Friday 20 November 2015 until Sunday 17 January 2016. 11am – 11pm daily. Roller skates are available in a range of styles to fit feet from a child’s size 9 to an adult’s size 14. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult, although if they can skate well on their own you can sit back and enjoy watching them.

Prices: Adult £10 & Child £7.50 (concessions available for off-peak times) : Friday & Saturday club nights £12 – £16. Please note, the rollerdisco closes at 6pm on Thursday 24 December and all day on Friday 25 December and Thursday 31 December.

London Gay Men's chorus Christmas

LONDON GAY MEN’S CHORUS, ROUNDHOUSE (Ages 5+) : 11th and 12th December, 2015

The London Gay Men’s Chorus returns to the Roundhouse in collaboration with the London Gay Big Band for The Big Gay Swing! A festive night of song, swing, brass and dance. This has to be the perfect way to get your Christmas season started and children will love it, too.

The London Gay Men’s Chorus is Europe’s largest gay, all male choir and is celebrating its Silver Jubilee in 2016. It has performed around the world and to sell out London audiences in the Palladium, Cadogan Hall, Barbican, and the Queen Elizabeth and Royal Festival Halls.

Information: Friday 11 – Saturday 12 December, Performances 15:00, 19:30. Tickets online via the link above.

PADDINGTON BEARS FIRST CHRISTMAS CONCERT, CADOGAN HALL (ALL AGES) : Sunday 20th Dec, 2015

Here’s a hot ticket for you: a concert at the famous Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, all about Paddington Bear, with some Revolting Rhymes thrown in, and narration from the talented Simon Callow and Richard E Grant.

The charming score of Paddington Bear’s First Concert takes us on a journey with Paddington himself, from his first meeting with the Brown Family right up to his debut as a conductor at the Royal Albert Hall.

The second half of the concert features Roald Dahl’s take on the classic Jack and the Beanstalk tale, using Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes as the narration.

Information: Dates Sunday 20 December 2015, 2.30pm and 5.30pm. Tickets prices from £30, £27, £25. Book online on the link above.

Father Christmas at Fortnum & Mason

STORYTELLING WITH FATHER CHRISTMAS, FORTNUM & MASON (Ages 3-11): until 22 December, 2015

A Very Special Person will read a Christmas story in the beautiful Fifth Floor Boardroom of Fortnum & Mason this December to all good boys and girls aged three to 11. There are plenty of opportunities to join in, and a jolly goody bag to take away to share with friends. It is the perfect way for children to get in the mood for Christmas.

Information: There are sessions at 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm;  Tickets are priced at £20 per child. Places are limited, so early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. Please click here to reserve your place. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times; there is a limit of 2 per booking.

The Royal Academy Christmas

ROYAL ACADEMY. FESTIVE DROP IN WORKSHOP  (All Ages); Sunday 6 December 2015

Get ready for some fancy festivities in this family workshop. These Royal Academy workshops are in my Top 5 (shushhhh…) as they are some of the best in town.  They have the widest range of materials, knowledgable and sweet staff and the RA choose to work with a variety of different artists from all disciplines, which brings something exciting to each session.

At their last family session of 2015, everyone will be able to create their own textile designs, and experiment with beautiful and exotic fabrics. Kids are encouraged to create festive fancy dress and parade their latest designs throughout the RA. It goes without saying that if you haven’t seen the Ai Weiwei exhibition, it’s a must. I’ll say it again: grab a ticket now as it closes on 13th December 2015.

Information: Workshop Times : 11am — 3pm. Go to the John Madejski Fine Rooms, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts.  These drop-in workshops are suitable for all ages.

 


It’s here. It launched yesterday. And, honestly, you must check it out with your children if they are aged 7 or over. Yep, we’re talking the Kidzania launch at London’s Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush. Ok, so there will inevitably be many, many excited and hyperactive children on-site, but it’s educational, great fun for them and, if the going gets tough, you can drink champagne while they’re at it.

Kidzania firefighters

The West London shopping Mecca that is Westfield will be home to this highly-anticipated, educational entertainment experience, which has already proven to be a hugh hit in Dubai, amongst others (this is the 19th international opening of its kind). Set within a 75,000 square foot, child-sized city, KidZania London aims to be a real-life introduction to the world of work, representing experiential learning at its very best. It may sound terribly grown up, but the idea behind all this is that children can begin to understand and learn all about the nature of work for themselves, the diversity and function of businesses, and its overall contribution to our world today. The size of Leicester Square, with a a ceiling height that rivals Heathrow’s Terminal 5, this facility can welcome up to 1,700 guests at any one time. Remember, there is champagne: more on that below.

Kidzania City

On entering their “city”, kids will find the streets lined with over 60 real-world establishments, including a Hospital, Police Station, Fire Station, Airline, and Theatre, each offering real-life role play adventures in a fun and safe environment. They can learn about a vast variety of unique professions from the moment they enter the British Airways branded airport terminal. As they progress through boarding, all will be met with the body of a real A319 aircraft in which the Aviation Academy and Cabin Crew Training School are housed. From there they can study fashion in the H&M sponsored design studio, make their own juices at the Innocent smoothie factory, learn to change tires in the pit lane sponsored by Renault and even learn about housekeeping skills and front of house management, thanks to the partnership between Kidzania and Dorsett Hotels. The Dorsett Hotel Shepherd’s Bush is a great hotel option nearby if you aren’t London-based. It’s family-friendly and a stone’s throw from Westfield. Kidzania all about learning while playing, and it promises to be a huge hit.

Kidzania Japan

Now, there are several packages available, but the one love the idea of is the Kidzania Child Ticket with Personal Shopping Experience and VIP shopping pass for £135. While your little one hits Kidzania, you can kick back with a flute of bubbly whilst a professional stylist from ITV’s popular Style Doctors provides a style and colour consultation.  You can bring a friend with you if you choose to and, once the consultation is over, you can shop the day away, safe in the knowledge that your child is fully-supervised and also learning something, too. That’s a day out for you both sorted then.

Kidzania champagne package

To buy tickets or for further information please visit Buyagift here.

 


Sian Gwilliam launched the fantastic website Creative Bus Stop to share her passion for the incredible cultural, creative and educational activities that are available in London and around the UK. She gave us some fantastic ideas for London fun last summer and she’s back with us again to chat what to do and where to go this half term and upcoming summer holiday.

1. Go Green at the Plantastic exhibition at The Horniman Museum

It’s the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May, and for those in the know, Dan Pearson who won ‘Best Show Garden’ for his stunning Chatsworth Garden started his career in gardening when he was 5 years old, helping his Dad dig a pond. So let’s take inspiration from him, and visit the Plantastic exhibition at The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill. From May 2015, Plantastic will be accompanied by specially designed and themed outdoor displays including a mass planting of sunflowers, a floral picture of the ‘anatomy’ of a flower, and a border themed around plants that attract pollinating insects.   Between 11-2.45pm daily in half term, join in the free craft Family Art Fun sessions too. A family ticket for the exhibition costs £16.50, so take a picnic and make a day of it.

2.  Join Alice and her Queen of Hearts in a Bethnal Green Wonderland 

In celebration of 150 years of this enchanting book, there are a range of Alice in Wonderland events happening around town this Spring. You can choose from free drop in daily events at our favourite museum The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, such as Storytelling at 10,30.11,15 and 12pm, or Mad Hatter’s Hat Making 10.30, 11.45, 14.00, 15.15 or join artist Miriam Baez to create a bonkers hat inspired by wonderful images and imaginings from Alice’s world£5 (with parent or carer / Sign up on the day / For ages 5-12. Not forgetting the Playing Card Print Workshop at 11.15, 12.30, 14.30, 15.45.The Alice Look will run from May 2 – November 1 2015 at London’s V&A Museum of Childhood.

Alice in Wonderland

There is also the show ‘Adventures in Wonderland’ in the Waterloo Vaults SE1 7NN (runs until August) for ages 5-11 . Les Petits invites the audience to find Alice and Wander through Wonderland in a fun-filled, interactive adventure for all the family.Cost: Adults £18.50, Children £12.50. If you’re still hungry for tea and cake after that lot, look out for the family opera Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in Holland Park from 16th July – 1st August and then Damon Albarn’s Wonder.land musical for the National Theatre, in Manchester 29th – 12 July which moves to London from 27th November 2015.

3. Put the Spark back into Electricity at the Royal Institution

Join Marty Jopson at the RI’s half term family event Zap, crackle and pop! Marty is the BBC One Show’s resident scientist and during the show he takes a journey through the story of electricity . From the Ancient Greeks through to Faraday’s genius, the show aims to put the spark back into electricity. A show chock full of demonstrations and a plucked chicken. Expect an electrifying performance in this family-friendly show. Thursday 18 June, (18:00 –19:15) Booking essential : Prices; Standard £12/ Concession £8/ Associate Members £6.

4. All Aboard the Cutty Sark Museum

As far as days out in London go, heading to Greenwich has to be high on the list. It’s easy to get to by public transport (Jubilee line, boat or DLR) there’s the food market which is real tasty, and then you can choose from the Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich Theatre, The Queens House, or just grab an ice-cream in Greenwich Park.

To get you started why not start at the Cutty Sark. You can choose from free half-term events, and join them on a voyage of discovery on Cutty the world’s last surviving tea clipper. If you love hands-on activities, come and design your own weather mobile to take home or create a colourful fish on a dish. Under-5s go free to Cutty Sark and parts of the Royal Observatory. Entry to the National Maritime Museum and Queen’s House is free.

The Cutty Sark

This Bank Holiday weekend only you can join The Big Swing Dance On the Gardens & Vintage Market in Cutty Sark Gardens. It runs from May 23rd-25th from 11am – 6pm every day. Featuring swing dance lessons conducted by The London Swing Dance Society and The Shag Pile dance team. (Shag Pile Lessons from Sat 23rd 12-2.30pm/Sun 24th 12-5pm/Mon 25th 12-2pm) who will be bringing their exuberance and passion for all things swing to the gardens with a heavy emphasis on fun and good times to get everyone going! If you’re a pizza lover, you can’t go wrong with a visit to our favourite double decker pizza bus The Crust ConductorThey serve bespoke wood fire pizza, which really are made with cheesy love. If you want an extra helping of mushrooms, just mention the Creative Bus Stop, and ask for Jonny (the boss) and you will get treated like pizza royalty.

5. Take a Graffiti Tour

We really can’t get enough of the infectious graffiti art that keeps popping up all over town, especially around Camden, Shoreditch and the famous Southbank Skatepark. If you want to be down with the kids, you should book on a Camden Street Art Tour. They run all year long, and this half term they are running on Bank Holiday Monday (Am & PM), Thursday morning, Friday (AM & PM), Saturday morning and Sunday AM & PM). The amazing thing about these tours, is that each one is timeless, as due to the nature of street art, the art keeps reinventing itself. Remember the first rule of Street Art : ‘It’s not meant to last forever’. (£15 per ticket, suitable for all ages). EXCLUSIVE TO KODOMO AND CREATIVE BUS STOP READERS –  ENTER SAVE20 ON CHECK OUT AND GET 20% OFF YOUR TICKET.

Southbank skatepark graffitiCamden graffitiCamden bus stop girls

6. The Southbank Loves You!

As hard as I try, it’s almost impossible not to share the love from the constantly changing line up of events that our Southbank Centre puts on for us all.  I recommend you arrive by foot (and scooter for the tiny tired legs) and either plant yourself near the Southbank Centre which is full of free tap water at the bar, and clean loos for the kids.  You can eat at one of the many chains (Wagamama, Eat, Giraffe, Canteen or Yo Sushi) but the queues are often long. To avoid the queues and a hefty bill, we always pack a few bagels and water for the kids, and venture to the food stalls at the Southbank Centre Market situated behind the Southbank Centre (Waterloo Station side). It is the most adventurous way to eat.

Southbank kidsSouthbank artSouthbank artSouthbank art

Shows

As it would be shy of me not to tell, here is the round up of Summer events you will find at your finger tips around the Bank of the South. Family Shows from critically-acclaimed theatre pop-up, Roundabout by Paines Plough, between the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Waterloo Bridge. Free events such as social dances, talks, workshops, and daily artistic activities. The iconic upside-down purple cow, the Udderbelly Festival (until 19 July) showing comedy, circus and family shows including the return of the popular show Bromance (24 June – 19 July). And (deep breath) London Wonderground(until 27 September) the festival renowned for showcasing the best circus and cabaret from across the world in a magnificent 1920s Spiegeltent. A major exhibition Carsten Höller: Decision, which will present a wide range of the artist’s work, including sculptures, installations and videos, which explore perception and decision making. The Poetry International Festival (23 – 26 July), the biennial festival co-founded by Ted Hughes in 1967. Meltdown (17 – 30 August), whose director this year is the multi-award-winning musician David Byrne, known for his eclectic collaborations and as a co-founder of the seminal new-wave band Talking Heads.

Eat

Bleeker St. Burger, recently rated the top 10 street food stalls in London, ) serving burgers, American Craft beer and milk-shakes, the return of SNOG frozen yoghurt sold from a restored pink 1967 Routemaster bus, Look Mum No Hands! serving coffee, fresh food and British Craft beer, and Bloody Oyster, serving oysters, Bloody Marys and cocktails from the top of a double-decker bus (situated between the Royal Festival Hall and Festival Village).

Play

You can’t really make a visit to London without getting your t-shirt very wet (towel essential trust me) and running through the popular fountain right outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms. Take a walk up the curly staircase to the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, or bring your bucket and spade to the urban beach beside the river, it’s an institution, and all the kids just adore it.

Southbank kids

7.  Get Dirty Down at Fulham Palace

Have you ever been to Fulham Palace, you know the one which from around 700, (when the site was acquired by Bishop Waldhere), it served as a Bishop’s residence for over 12 centuries? I know you also knew that since Tudor times, the Palace was the Bishop of London’s country home, providing the Bishop and his family with a healthy rural retreat in summer months.

Well these days they not only look after the odd Bishop passing through West London, they also host lots of family events. On Bank holiday Monday (25 May between 1-4pm) you can join the Young Archaelogists Club (YAC) for a free drop in event (Ages 8+). Get your hands dirty and join the enthusiastic archaeologist volunteers on the Main Lawn for a hands-on session, introducing you to the world beneath your feet. There is also the Fulham Palace Fun Day, which is a free event on Wednesday 27 May, (10am-12pm and 1pm-3p). It will be a day of family fun including crafts, storytelling and dressing up! In partnership with H&F ALSS.

Looking forward don’t forget the annual Edwardian Garden Party on Sunday 21 June (1pm-4pm). The Bishops of London were well known for holding garden parties at Fulham Palace. Help them celebrate this tradition and come along for a day of family fun around the gardens. Take a turn on the swing boats, have your face painted, dance along to ragtime music and take part in some garden games and craft activities.

8. Join the Wild Network and Be A Wild Thing 

Project Wild Thing and The Wild Network is a people powered movement. The mission is simple to ‘reconnect kids with nature’.

It was born from the concern of a Dad called David Bond who became worried that his own kids’ waking hours are dominated by a cacophony of marketing, and a screen dependence threatening to turn them into glassy-eyed zombies. He was so worried he decided to create a campaign ‘Project Wild Thing’ and appointed himself Marketing Director for Nature. Like any self-respecting salesman, he enlisted the help of a number of bemused professionals, and began selling Nature to British families.

The film charts his humorous journey unearths some painful truths about modern family life. His product is free, plentiful and has proven benefits – but is Nature past its sell-by date? Watch the film, arrange a screening or even request a date for a Q&A with one of the Wild Thing team, who knows you could start a revolution in your own backyard, and all it would take is a launch party with a picnic in your local park.

Their website and App’s (for iOS/Andriod) give you hundreds of ideas of ways to have fun with nature. Or, you can download a free voucher on their site which promises that you spend time playing outside together (cute idea to put in a birthday card).

9.  Kiss A Hedgehoge in Hyde Park

This half term (and on other dates during the year) the award winning building that is the Isis Education Centre, bang in the middle of Hyde Park (to the north of the Serpentine) are hosting twoFREE Discovery Days dedicated to our much loved ‘Hedgehog Heroes‘. You can drop in any time between 11am and 3pm (on 27 & 28 May 2015) for a day of hedgehog themed activities including: Crafting a hedgehog from a paper plate, Paint or colour your own hedgehog picture, Learn to use radio tracking equipment (over 8s only), Help create a huge handprint hedgehog, Follow the Discovery Trail, to uncover prickly facts, Make a clay hedgehog and its very own habitat (for a suggested £2 donation) and finally learn and discover what you can do to help hedgehogs in your garden.

They also have an education day ‘Nature Explorers: Hedges & Hedgerows’ on Tuesday 26 May 2015: 10am – 3pm which is suitable for 8 to 11 year olds (15). Drop off at the Isis Education Centre for a fun filled (and educational!) day of outdoor games and activities this half term. Booking essential.

10. Theatre Tours and Puppet Theatre for your Little Angels

Please tell me you have been to The Little Angel Theatre in Islington? Not to be confused with the famous Little Angel pub in Henley On Thames! This Theatre is an institution in every way. Let me share a little of it’s history. In 1961 a troupe of enthusiastic puppeteers under the leadership of South African master, John Wright (Edgar Wright the film directors Dad), found a derelict temperance hall in Islington and transformed it into a magical little theatre, specially designed for children and for the presentation of marionette shows. It opened on Saturday 24th November 1961.

The Paper Dolls

Today it hosts the most charming and well performed productions, as well as puppetry courses for kids and adults, and the cutest local summer parties right outside the theatre. Running until 28-June is The Paper Dolls. It is a show adapted from the acclaimed book by Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson. The magical tale is brought to life through puppetry and music in this new co-production between Little Angel Theatre and Polka Theatre. Suitable for age 3 to 7. Though worth noting is that they hold baby friendly shows, for babes under 3 (mostly Thursday 10.30, Saturday 11am and Sunday 11am check diary). Call box office for more info. £12 / £10 children and concessions £1.80 booking fee applies to all card transactions. Friday Fives: all tickets £5 for shows at 5pm on Friday .