This summer we have enjoyed London and its surrounding areas as tourists with the kids.
Due to the personal nature of this post, I will keep it brief and pictures, as usual in this blog for privacy reasons, will not show my kids.
Places we went to:
Although some years ago we went to Legoland Billund, we wanted to check this one out. As expected, it was a lot of fun (especially if you are a Lego fan… and who isn’t?!) but there were too many people and lines were between half and hour to an hour each. I still prefer the one in Denmark, but this was totally worth it. Added bonus: the Windsor castle.
All Star Lanes bowling
I have only been bowling once before in my life, but my kids like it, and this place in Brick Lane/ Spitalfields does not disappoint. The collection of 80’s toys they have in the entrance is hilarious.
Hyde Park and Serpentine Gallery and Pavillion
Hyde Park is always lovely, and this summer, although not really hot, we enjoyed several sunny days. One of those we had a picnic in the park, played Frisbee, fed (cereals, not bread) the swans, ducks, and squirrels, got a pedal boat, visited the Serpentine Gallery, and had fun at the Serpentine Pavillion.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is always a hit with kids, yet I knew it would be hard to beat New York’s, which we visited last winter. But I was completely surprised by the interest my kids had on the geology part. I guess it is all about how much fun can you make learning, and I came up with some “fun with the rocks”.
ZSL London Zoo
As a general rule I oppose zoos. They feel like a jail for animals. But at the same time, it is a good opportunity to expose urban kids to some animals they will not otherwise have a chance to see live. And that’s probably a prerequisite to take nature’s defense to heart and strive for conservation. Besides, ZSL is an old institution with some impressive record. Having said that, the zoo is a mix: some excellent areas, and some very sad ones.
The British Museum, like the MET in NY, is the kind of museum that you cannot see all in one day. Not even “one wing” in one day. So we focused on the Japanese art and the “mummies” (Ancient Egypt) section. Since my son will be doing home schooling this year, we will definitely spend a lot of time here.
Upon my wife’s suggestion, we decided to visit Kew Gardens. It is a bit out of the way, but it was totally worth it! It made for one very magical day.
If you visit London with kids, don’t forget to check out the “giant slides” at Victoria Park. A fun kid’s park, not too crowded, and definitely worth it.
Museum of Science
The Museum of Science should be named “Museum of the History of Science and a little part of interactive displays”. Don’t expect to find a lot of “hands-on” like in its counterparts in Boston, San Francisco, or Valencia. And when you find it, it will be crowded beyond acceptable. But as “history of science” goes, it is quite interesting, specially the large collection of aircraft.
The last landmark was the most typical one, before my daughter returned home. The London Eye is just a giant Ferry’s Wheel that turn very very slowly, so you get to enjoy London from up high. If you are into that kind of thing, it provides a bird’s eye view of the city, but it lacks the magic of the Empire State Building (although the lines are much much shorter).