The school holidays are upon us. Long summer days and endless bright evenings stretch ahead, daring you to relinquish the remote to your little couch potatoes and occasionally overlook the rules about snacks. Inevitably, at least one day trip will be expected by your little prince or princess. Panic not. It has been proven possible (though perhaps not by science) to have an interesting and educational day out as a family unit. Up sticks, strike out for London and discover something new.
For curious minds: Ripley’s Believe it or Not
Even the most recalcitrant visitors find themselves compelled by the quirky horde of artefacts and wonders housed in this curiosity collection in the heart of London. Amazonian shrunken heads, a mirror maze and an upside down tea party make up just a few of the 700 curios that were once curated by Robert Ripley himself. If you’re keeping an eye on the pennies, you can reduce the entry price by searching online for a Ripleys Believe it or Not London voucher.
For budding historians: The London Dungeon
Hidden beneath ground level, the London Dungeon is one big, theatrical thrill ride, populated with shadowy figures and sinister villains from the city’s foggy past. Descend in a creaking lift cranked by a leper, become a confidante in Guy Fawkes’s gunpowder plot and be threatened by a giant, holographic Henry VIII on an eerie boat ride, perfectly realised by a giant, holographic Brian Blessed.
For the aspiring zoologist: London Zoo
This animal house in Regent’s Park is home to exotic critters like sloths, tiger cubs and komodo dragons. As well as the usual feedings and talks, the zoo offers special experiences for those who want to get closer to the animals. These range from a straightforward one on one session to the opportunity to become a junior keeper for the day, perfect for aspiring zoologists. Just remember to book in advance.
For mini culture vultures: The Tate Modern
Housing the most famous, the most extensive and perhaps the most hyperbolised modern art collection in Europe, the Tate Modern is anything but dull. If the neon-bright Andy Warhols don’t captivate the kids, the Damian Hursts will certainly snag their attention. You can fuel their imaginations and engage them in a discussion of the various art works. It’s endlessly surprising how insightful kids can be.
Some come to see Big Ben. Some come to see the Houses of Parliament. Some just to say they’ve been there. Fantastic buildings, but where’s the fun in them? Taking the kids to see them will entertain them and they’ll also learn a thing or three. Isn’t that perfect parenting!
This is a promotional post, which is hopefully helpful for all of you who are planning some fun and educational days out in London this summer. Images from Ash Chuan, Anthony Kelly, Pelican and Xiquinho Silva via Flickr.