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GO Kids & Families in London

Family Days Out in Greater London Get the kids away from the TV set and let them enjoy the very best in child-friendly entertainment and attractions in the capital.

One attraction that’s sure to keep them enthralled for a couple of hours is Madame Tussauds [map]. The waxwork exhibition has been around in some form or another since the 1800’s and has been steadily evolving into the gallery of stars and celebrities it is renowned for today. There’s also the Spirit of London and the Chamber of Horrors exhibition, which combined should be just gruesome and educational enough to keep the kids entertained (if not the historians).

If your little ones love seeing ritual torture and gruesome operations they’ll be delighted to venture into the bowels of The London Dungeon [map], Tooley Street, SE1, where they’ll come face to face with the nastier parts of 500 years of the past that somehow never seems to make it into history lessons. Brave children can look out for ghosts and ghouls as they step into the torturers chamber and choose your form of execution.

If looking at animals is the best way to keep your children occupied then there’s the Kentish Town City Farm [map] and London Zoo [map] in the area. At the Kentish City Farm kids can learn about sheep, goats, pigs, poultry and cows by taking part in some of the tours and activities. And with programmes like The Pony Club and Young Riders, kids who might not otherwise be able to learn to ride a horse could have access to lessons.

Meanwhile at London Zoo [map] there’s always plenty to see and do for kids. At weekends and during school holidays there is a programme of talks and displays aimed at young people including the feeding of the penguins and an introduction to some kangaroos.

City farms are great places to take younger children where they can see farmyard favourites close up. East London is home to the biggest city farm in the country - Mudchute Farm [map] located on the Isle of Dogs. As well as the usual farm animals Mudchute also has llamas roaming the extensive fields.

East London also has Hackney City Farm [map], which has been entertaining and educating young people since 1984. Here you’ll find chickens, pigs geese and sheep as well as a programme of classes to occupy their young minds.

For aspiring actors Jacksons Lane theatre and arts centre [map] in North London usually has something on that will interest young people. Whether it’s a stage production or workshop class, throughout the year Jackson’s Lane has something in the programme for kids. There’s the After School Club for five-11 year olds and special events are organised during the school holidays to keep the young ones entertained.

Kids have bags of energy and one way that they can channel this need to be constantly on the go is by trying their hand at some of the range of dance activities available in Central London. Biodanza [map], Shelton Street, Covent Garden, WC2, offers youngsters the chance to enjoy a variety of classes from street and breakdance to the latest pop moves that they see on their favourite artiste’s videos.

If you think the wonders of a museum might be more appropriate then there are one or two in the area you could try. The Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood [map] is often a good choice as it can be interesting for both children and parents. The museum holds memories of more than four centuries of childhood including a wide variety of toys to take you back to the days when your toys were the most important thing you possessed.

Older children and teenagers have the chance to earn their stripes by participating in a range of well-organised watersports at The Surrey Docks Watersports Centre [map], Greenland Dock, Rope Street, SE16. This is their opportunity to try their hand at a wide selection of watersports from water-skiing to canoeing, assisted by experienced and respected tutors.

Alternatively let them hone their cookery skills by booking them into The Kids Cookery School [map], Gunnersbury Lane, W3. This unique venue offers cookery classes and workshops for children from the age of the three upwards. Here they can have fun and learn the secrets of the kitchen – as well as the safety aspects – in this purpose-built environment. Trained staff and chefs are on hand to teach and support classes and there’s always someone to do the clearing up afterwards.

If you have younger children and are looking for a far gentler environment head to the world-famous London Aquarium [map], located at County Hall, Riverside Building, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1. Spend a day here with your youngsters who are invited to participate in a range of activities and see some of the oceans’ most unusual fish and mammals. Children have the opportunity to participate in feeding time and can even pet the friendly Rayfish.

Looking for somewhere to stay shouldn’t be a problem and if you want to be in the heart of the action there’s plenty of child-friendly hotels in Central and West London.

Family-friendly hotels offer unique services such as children’s menus, child-sized beds and baby-sitting services. Stay close to your brood by booking into a large family room. Hotels like The Sidney [map], Victoria, SW1, offer rooms that can be used by up to six adults, thus providing great roomy family accommodation.

If you want to comment on our choices or recommend somewhere, why not use our What You Recommend form to let us know.


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