Category Archives: Things to do with kids in London

FUNharmonics – London Philharmonic Orchestra for kids

Official London Philharmonic Orchestra logo

Official London Philharmonic Orchestra logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the recommendation of a fellow London-mum blogger I have just booked tickets for the family to see the London Philharmonic Orchestra, FUNharmonics at the Southbank Centre in May. Presented by CBeebies’ Chris Jarvis, and featuring an 80-strong orchestra, it’s billed as  “the perfect introduction to the extraordinary drama and colour of orchestral music.” Continue reading

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The Rain Room at The Barbican

Rain Room, Barbican

Stanley in the rain

My advice to anyone visiting the Barbican’s Rain Room is to treat the two-hour queue as part of the outing. Bring games, books, a picnic. Bond with your neighbouring queuers. The kids can run off and make friends like they are in a Mediterranean holiday club. You can read a book, sit back, relax.

Don’t turn up there with two children, half a Tommee Tippee of watered-down orange juice, one Maisie book and 23% charge on the iPhone.

Ordinarily I would have about-heeled around as soon as I saw the sign: “Queueing time two hours from this point”. Especially as ‘this point’ was about 20 people away. But we’ve all been house bound by sickness for so long – and I was so proud of myself for having made it this far with just me and the kids and public transport – I couldn’t face the idea of going straight home.

In fact, even with my poor preparation, it wasn’t as awful as it sounds. Gertie slept for most of the 140 minutes; Stan didn’t whinge about being bored too much – and it is pretty cool when you do eventually get in there. Continue reading

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Day trips from London: Mountfitchet Castle

Mountfitchet castle

We gave Stan his first castle experience at the weekend with a visit to Mountfitchet Castle, near Stansted. Continue reading

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I heart London parks – Stationers, Mayfield Road, N8

Stationers Park map

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and that was certainly true when we left London to live in Shanghai for a year in 2009. In China entertaining Stanley usually involved a sweaty 45-minute cab ride across the city just to visit a soft play area, such was the dearth of accessible and affordable things to do with kids. Here in London there is an embarrassment of freebies – museums, galleries, children’s centres, city farms etc etc. But my favourite of all, is the parks – specifically, local playgrounds. Continue reading

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My Dad the nutter and London 2012 with kids

I didn’t manage to get any London 2012 tickets. When organised people were busy registering I wasn’t really paying attention. By the time I started thinking that, actually, it might be quite nice to go and see some of the games, seeing as they are here on my doorstep and all, tickets were long gone. I never expected to catch the 100m final or anything, but I did envisage being able to wake up one August morning and say: “Hmm, maybe I’ll go see some netball today”, or some such. Anyway, I’m not bitter, because yesterday I got the chance to take a trip down to the Olympic site (along with 30,000 other people) for a charity event and site test. It was rather exciting seeing the stadium in it’s glory – it really is there, and will apparently be finished on time. Continue reading

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New community cafe in N15

The past few years have seen a rise in the number of community cafes opening across the country. In Haringey alone we already have a couple that I know of: Downhill’s Park (affordable food alongside training and employment for people with learning difficulties); and Station House on Stapleton Hall Road (serving food donated by supermarkets that is past the sell-by date and providing catering training for volunteers). I’m sure there are probably more.

And what’s not to like? Usually run by enthusiastic volunteers – people who care about community cohesion and giving something back, rather than profits alone – they are a place where local residents can get together and eat a good meal, something not always that simple for many in the community.

On Friday I lunched at a new community café opening near West Green Road, here in Tottenham. Filling the Gap N15 is an initiative set up by local parents Rennee Taylor and Kate McMath King. Tired of having to trek over to Crouch End for a kiddie friendly, healthy lunch, they decided to try opening somewhere in our neck of the borough.  Their aim is to provide lunch every Friday for all-comers, charging just £5 per family. Continue reading

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Get your fountain splashing in before the hosepipe ban – Diana Memorial Fountain

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in ...

From April 5th the hosepipe ban across southern and eastern England will mean no paddling pools in the parks and no public fountains will be filled. So with this lovely March weather we’re having I thought I’d get in while I can and took the kids on our first trip to the Diana memorial fountain in Hyde Park. I’ve not much fancied it before because I heard you couldn’t paddle in it in case you fell over and sued the Queen and I also envisaged it heaving with tourists. Continue reading

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Call out for local kids’ events

I want to compile a list of the regular kids’ events and activities in and around Haringey. Every time I find myself with a spare half hour with the kids I have to trawl through several children’s centre timetables or conduct an online search. So I’ve decided to try to list all the events in one place, by day. I’m nearly ready to publish it – I have pretty much all the children’s centres and libraries, but if anyone knows of any groups, please message me or comment below so I can add them. I’m mainly interested in under-fives at the moment, and I’m not including courses, like swimming or football.

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In Praise of … Markfield Park, Tottenham

Despite having grown up in Seven Sisters and having lived in N15 for the past year, I have only just discovered the wonders of Markfield Park. Tucked down off the one-way system at Tottenham Hale, about half a mile down the canal from Springfield Park, is a little unexpected delight.

Markfield Park map

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Sticker Heaven – the Obliteration Room at the Tate Modern

After school today I took the kids to the Tate Modern to see the Obliteration Room – a completely white room, turned polka-tastic with thousands of dotty stickers handed out to children (and kidults) as they enter.

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It’s part of the Yayoi Kusama exhibition, a Japanese artist who is a bit spot and dot obsessed. The main exhibition is supposed to be quite a good one for young children, but we spent so long in this room we didn’t have time for the whole shebang. Plus the Obliteration Room is free and the exhibition is a tenner (kids under twelve are still free) – so winners all round.

The kids loved it – Stan mainly liked sticking stickers on Gertie and Gertie mainly liked eating stickers, but both were happy for at least 45 minutes.

The Obliteration Room is on level 1 of the Tate Modern. Open Sun-Thurs, 10am-6pm; Fri-Sat 10am-10pm. On until March 18th.

Follow this link and check out these really cool pictures in The Guardian of another Obliteration Room in Brisbane:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2012/feb/01/obliteration-room-yayoi-kusama-in-pictures

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