Fun and fantastic things to do with the kids in London this Weekend
Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th November
WINTERVILLE, VICTORIA PARK
If you’re looking for a festive family experience with a little je ne se qua, then look no further – grab the kids and head to Victoria Park and immerse yourselves in Winterville. Free to enter, and promising a groovy mix of family friendly fun, Winterville IS London’s alternative festive destination.
Yes, there’s ice skating, a Snow White Pantomime, the fabulous Moscow State Circus and of course a fairground. And then the ‘alternative festive destination’ starts to shine – head to the Kids Shack and let the kids enjoy a reimagined Santa’s Grotto, designed by Bearded Kitten – it’s seriously silly! The Kids Shack is also home to the Pop Tots Salon, cafe, soft play, a children’s market featuring all things kid related. There’s Plonk Crazy Golf to be enjoyed that will see you and family driving through snow drifts, past evil ice beasts and into foggy valleys! You can then get cosy in the secluded depths of a magical (indoor) woodland with Backyard Cinema and enjoy your favourite festive films in this pop up cinema only accessible through a secret tunnel of trees. There’s Pop Shop, with a Pop Art theme and Bizarre Bazaar, a Vaudeville-Victorian marketplace plus a heated undercover Food Hall and Bar Humbug.
Where: Victoria Park, E9
When: until 23rd December
Cost: Free Entry with tickets required for the various attractions including ice rink, spiegeltent, circus, panto, fairground, Ferris Wheel.
LittleBird’s Top Tip: The Kids Shack will be offering weekday workshops for the kids from 3pm until 6.30pm including fancy dress, Christmas card and antler headpiece making and snowflake & Christmas tree decorating, to name a few. Each workshop will be 30 minutes and start from £5. Check out all the family friendly fun you can have here.
THE HEIGHT OF WINTER AT THE SHARD, LONDON BRIDGE
Experience The Height of Winter from inside the crystalline world at the top of The Shard. The fantabulous British experience designers Bompas and Parr have transformed The Shard into an enchanting, sensory winter experience. Theatrical ice crystals and frost will wow grown ups and kids alike 800ft above the city of London on the open-air Level 72 Skydeck.
Expect super-scaled crystals, carolling plants, gem-studded snow dunes, a touch-responsive iridescent grotto and glowing crystal benches. Bompas and Parr have also created the following edible treats to ooh and ahh over; Snow White Hot Chocolate, Mulled Champagne and Christmas Candy Floss.
With the 360 degree view of London the kids will delight in seeing the entire city decorated and glistening all at once. You can take turns spotting iconic landmarks and enjoy the interactive complimentary audio guides or listening to the interesting facts on the interactive Tell:scopes while you munch on Christmas Candy Floss – want one!
When: until 31st January
Where: The Shard, SE1 9SG
Cost: Adults £25.95, Children £19.95
CHRISTMAS AT KEW
A favourite with all families, Kew Garden’s a great day out any time of the year. This Christmas Kew’s glittering night-time trail returns including dancing illuminated fountains with glowing waterside reflections, a Tunnel of Lights, a Choir of Holly Bushes as well as a scented Fire Garden.
As you make your way around the trail, you’ll be tempted by the aroma of roasting chestnuts, spiced cider and hot chocolate. There is a Victorian carousel, helter skelter and other family rides (£2 per ride) at White Peaks – the outdoor adventure playground providing fun for the young ones and don’t forget to make time for a visit to Santa and his elves. If an evening trail doesn’t suit with little ones, enjoy Christmas in the day – take a walk through the wintery grounds then warm up with a hot chocolate and a mince pie before visiting Santa.
Where: Kew Gardens, TW9 3AB
When: until 2nd January 2016, timed entrance between 5pm – 8.15pm
Cost: Adults £16, Children £10 (advance ticket prices), under 4s free – booking recommended
LittleBird’s Top Tip: The London Museum of Water & Steam isn’t far and this December you can save 43% with LittleBird and enjoy a traditional Victorian Christmas with arts & crafts, carol singers, a Christmas trail and of course the main man himself – Santa!
HYDE PARK WINTER WONDERLAND
Sleigh bells ring, Are you listening, In the lane, Snow is glistening, A beautiful sight, We’re happy to tonight…..Walking in a Winter Wonderland. Yes, it’s back – more wondrous and wintery than ever before. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland returns this year with over 100 rides and attractions for all ages, a Christmas Market, ice-skating, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Bersek and the Giant Observation Wheel – you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Meeting Father Christmas is free and children receive a small gift. Visit Santa and his magical elves in his Santa Land grotto every day (except Christmas Day; he’s very busy then!). An official photographer is on standby to take souvenir shots that are available to buy on the day, but you can also take your own photos if you prefer.
When: until 3rd January 2016, 10am – 10pm daily (except Christmas Day)
Where: Hyde Park, W2 2UH
Cost: Free to enter – rides and attractions are accessed by tokens, which cost £1 each and are available at token booths. Shows are ticketed and booking is advised.
LittleBird’s Top Tip: There are rides and attractions for children as young as two in Santa Land and a Traditional Funfair with carousels, a helter skelter and funhouses. Most of the site is buggy-friendly and there are baby-changing facilities at various disabled toilets across the site. The best time to visit with young children and buggies is weekday mornings and early afternoon. Remember – it’s an outdoor event and if it’s chilly outside you’ll need to wrap up warm!
CHRISTMAS PAST AT THE GEFFRYE MUSEUM, SHOREDITCH
Celebrating 400 Years of Seasonal Traditions in English Homes, the Geffrye Museum’s annual Christmas Past Gallery brings the yuletide traditions of the past to life. Discover how families celebrated Christmas through decoration, light, music, greenery and of course culinary dishes and treats.
Each year, the Geffrye Museum’s eleven period living rooms are transformed to give families a magical glimpse into how Christmas has been celebrated in English middle-class homes over the past 400 years. Step back through the centuries and discover the origins and understand the meanings of some of the rich and vibrant traditions of Christmas past, from feasting, dancing and kissing under the mistletoe to playing parlour games, hanging up stockings, sending cards and decorating the tree.
There’s a cafe with a great value children’s menu plus a shop full of great Christmas present ideas.
When: until 3rd January 2016
Where: Geffrye Museum,E2 8EA
LittleBird’s Top Tip: If you’re up with the larks (aka the little ones) – you could drop by the Columbia Road Shops & Flower Market first and then after the exhibition, head to Rich Mix for their Kids’ Cine Time, there’s a 12pm showing of The Book of Life this weekend and the tickets cost a fab £1.75
HAMLEY’S TOY PARADE, REGENT’S ST
Hamley’s are promising the biggest toy parade London has ever seen. Father Christmas and the Hamleys Elves are making a special appearance along with beloved Hamley and Hattie bear.
Celebrating Hamley’s 255th birthday Regent’s St will be transformed in a traffic-free, all-day extravaganza with cast of hundreds, marching bands, festive floating blimps, dancers, street theatre, music from Heart FM, toy vehicles and a fireworks finale scheduled at 4.30pm. There will be family favourite toy characters joining the parade including Barbie and her pink limo, Bing & Flop, Fireman Sam and his Fire truck, Hello Kitty, Peppa Pig, Power Rangers, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sylvanian Families, The Transformer Truck Optimus Prime as well as ‘Meet and greet stations’ positioned along Regent Street, where children will get to meet their favourite characters including Snoopy and Charlie Brown.
When: Saturday 28th November from 10.30am with a firework finale at 4.30pm
Where: Regent St, W1
LittleBird’s Top Tip: Treat yourself to brunch or lunch at the Heddon Street Kitchen in the Regent’s Street Food Quarter where kids eat free every Saturday & Sunday from 10am – 5pm. The offer is valid for one child per adult dining.
SANTA’S GROTTO IN CANARY WHARF
Canary Wharf Santa’s Grotto is back – hurrah! Visit Santa in his whimsical Grotto in Jubilee Place. Santa’s band of cheeky elves and helpers are on hand to entertain the children as they queue to meet Santa. Pre-booking isn’t required but there can be queues so allow plenty of time to avoid disappointment.
Plus, there’s lots of free Children’s Festive Activities taking place throughout the malls.
Children can have their faces painted with a multitude of seasonal designs as well as take part in exciting festive art and craft workshops in both Cabot Place and Canada Place. With ice skating on hand too – you might well want to spend the whole day!
When: Weekends – on 28 & 29 November, 5 & 6 December, 12 & 13 December and 19 – 24 December at 11am – 5pm
Where: Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf, E14 5NY
Cost: Free with a recommended donation of £2 to the Richard House Children’s Hospice
HAMPSTEAD CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
Festive family fun is in abundance this Sunday in Hampstead Village. The family festivities kick off with a free screening at the Hampstead Everyman Cinema of a children’s movie. There are two main stages, a fairground, Santa’s Grotto where Santa will be giving out small gifts to all the children, Mystical Fairies will be face painting, reindeer are visiting, and of course lots of tasty international food plus over 90 stalls offering an array of Christmas gifts. Punch & Judy are making an appearance too – head to the Pentametres Theatre and catch shows at 1pm, 2pm and 3:00 p.m. The grand finale is the switching on of the village lights at 4.45pm and this year, BBC’s Fiona Bruce is the celebrity guest in charge.
When: Sunday 29th November, Everyman Cinema @ 10am, main stage @12pm onwards
Where: Hampstead High St, NW3
LittleBird’s Top Tip: If the crowds get too much, Cass Arts always have a Cass Kids Activity Table every Saturday between 10am – 12pm. The kids get to be creative and you get to wander around a lovely shop full of some great pressie ideas.
CHRISTMAS FAIR AT THE CHELSEA PHYSIC GARDENS
In need of some inspiration for Christmas presents and looking for something a little bit different? Why not visit the Chelsea Physic Garden this weekend for some festive shopping.With a heated marquee featuring over 90 handpicked stallholders, the Christmas Fair promises a range of unique products including plants, unusual gifts and a selection of artisan food and drink.
They’ll be the opportunity for the kids to get crafty and create seasonal decorations to take home as well as musical entertainment on both Saturday and Sunday morning and the fabulous Tangerine Dream Café will be serving a seasonal menu – yum!
When: Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th September, 10am – 5pm (sat), 10am – 4pm (Sun)
Where: Chelsea Physic Gardens, SW3 4HS
Cost: Adults £6, Children free
LittleBird’s Top Tip: You’re a 15 minute walk away from the fabulous Duke of York Square and Santa’s Grotto. The Grotto is free with advance booking required, book via the website and note it’s open every Fri, Sat & Sun in Nov, then everyday apart from apart from Mondays, from Tuesday 1st until Wednesday 23rd Dec.
SAIL WITH SANTA & CRUISE DOWN THE THAMES – SAVE 20% WITH LITTLEBIRD
Santa’s going on the river – ho ho, ho – and you and the kids can go with him. Enjoy Christmas on the River Thames and treat the kids to a Sail with Santa experience. Sharing the cruise with the main man himself, the kids will enjoy plenty festive fun, story telling, festive music and receive a present too. There’s refreshments for all during the cruise with a soft drink and a cookie for the kids, a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie for the grown ups. This is a circular tour taking in the iconic landscape of the River Thames at a most magical time of year – cruise past HMS Belfast, the Tate Modern, Houses of Parliament, Somerset House and the London Eye either on the top deck or in the warmth of the riverboat! The cruise last one hour.
When: Sat 28th & Sun 29th Nov & weekends in Dec and then daily from 19th – 24th Dec
Where: Boats depart from Tower Pier at 10am, 11.15am, 12.30pm, 1.45pm, 3.30pm.
Cost: Enjoy a 20% saving with LittleBird – Adults; £20 and Children £12 – book your tickets here
LittleBird’s Top Tip: Cross over Tower Bridge and after sailing past it, why not climb aboard HMS Belfast. You can enjoy LittleBird’s exclusive FREE voucher entitling families to a 25% saving. Surrounding HMS Belfast, the London Bridge City Christmas Market returns – it opens on Monday 30th Nov with carol singing and the Hay’s Galleria Christmas tree lights being switched on at 6pm.