Part II of our ideas for London family fun this summer.
Street Performers – Convent Garden is a great shopping destination and is where some of London’s best street performers pass the day. There’s usually a mix of magicians, entertainers, the down-right bizarre and jaw-dropping amazing, creating a bubbly atmosphere in the piazza. And look out audience participation is encouraged!
Nearest Station: Covent Garden (Piccadilly Line)
Thames River Cruise – a river cruise along the Thames is a great way to see new and old London. The pace is slower but you get a different perspective of how the city is connected and popular landmarks like Westminster and the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and Tower Bridge. The cruises are scheduled as round-trips or hop on hop off at specific, convenient connecting locations. The cruises often offer meals or snacks, internet access, and you can use your Oyster cards to purchase tickets.
Discover the Children’s Story Centre in Stratford. It’s a bit further out (but East London is very ‘happening’ these days) and a magical place for children up to 11 years old. Focussing on story building, children are encouraged to let their imagination run riot. Activities include an indoor and outdoor story trail and the chance for children to create wonderful stories – it’s excellent fun for children and families.
Cost: £5 per adult/child. Free for under 2’s. £18 for a family of 4.
Nearest Station: Stratford International (National Rail, Central, and Jubilee lines)
White Water Centre
Strictly for 14 year olds and over, the Lee Valley White Water Centre delivers thrills, and occasional spills. There are a range of white water activity from white water rafting, hydrospeeding, canoeing and kayaking, and the chance to negotiate the Olympic standard course, including the rapids the Olympic athletes took on in 2012 with white-knuckle descents of up to 5 metres (16ft)!
Relive the magic of the 2012 Olympics and see where medals where the medals were won and records set. The 560 acre park was created as a legacy to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and covers 560 acres and offers lots of activities and tours to explore the now world-famous site.
Tickets for the 45 minute tour cost just £8 for adults, £4 for children (under 3s free) and £20 for a family of four (2 adults and 2 children) and can be bought on the day.
Nearest stations: Stratford and Stratford International, both served by Docklands Light Railway (DLR). Journey time from central London 40 minutes.
If you’re looking to take a trip to one of London’s amusement park, although strictly speaking they’re all outside London, Legoland Windsor, Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park are all within easy reach to get to on public transport (see details below).
Packed with rides, attractions and shops, Legoland is a the perfect family day out. Dedicated to children ag4ed 2-12 years old there are over 55 interactive rides, live shows, building workshops and attractions, set in 150 acres of parkland. And there is even a rainy day guarantee!
Tickets start from £39.50 but offers are always available and if you book in advance, there’s a 25% saving. Online booking is recommended to avoid the queues.
Nearest Station: Windsor & Eton Riverside (National Rail) – 30 minute journey from London Paddington and there is a regular shuttle bus service from the station to the park.
Chessington World of Adventures
Combining the excitement of a theme park, an aquarium and a zoo, Chessington World of Adventures is a day trip for all the family to enjoy. Ride the sky cart over the tigers and apes, play with monkeys or get up close and personal with the meerkats there’s lots o see and do for animal lovers. There’s also over 40 rides, suitable for all ages, including the Bubbleworks for young children and for older thrill seekers, the new Scorpion Express.
Nearest Station: Chessington South (National Rail) – 35 minutes from central London and the park is a 10-minute walk from the station.
Perfect day out for thrill seekers! Thorpe Park boasts the tallest ride in the UK, The Stealth, an ultimate adrenaline high that takes you from 0-80mph in under two seconds and get fired 205 ft high – give it a go, if you dare. Information on all the rides is available online and some are more popular than others, so it’s a good idea to plan your day in advance.
Tickets start from £25.99 per person and online booking is recommended.
Nearest Station: Staines (National Rail). Approximately 5 trains run per hour to and from London Waterloo, journey time of between 30 to 50 minutes. A shuttle bus (the 950) operates from the station, every 15-20 minutes.