Entries Tagged as 'child friendly London'

charlie and the chocolate factory

Last Friday night we were invited to Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, the musical.   Ever since reading the book as a child, I have been fascinated with Mr Willy Wonka and his incredible factory.  Years later, I was excited to re-live this fantastic tale with Anya and Richard.  As of this year, Anya has really gotten in to Roald Dahl books with her favourites being Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and George’s Marvellous Medicine.  We’ve read both at least twice already so Anya & I were really looking forward to the musical while Richard was less so as he can be a little cynical about musical theatre.

From the start, my companion sat gripped, eyes darting from one performer to another in anticipation of their next line or song, welling up as Charlie became the grateful recipient of the last golden ticket.  It came as a big surprise to me that those eyes belonged to Richard, who had clearly checked in his cynicism along with his coat!  But he wasn’t the only one – all three of us sat glued to our seats watching the incredible spectacle of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory unfold before us.

charlie and the chocolate factory the musical review

Visually, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, the musical is an absolute treat for the eyes.  The sets and special effects are clever and quite stunning.  Imagine seeing Violet Beauregarde balloon in to a blueberry right in front of your eyes. Or the highly strung Mike Teavee transform in to a shrunken version of himself.   But it wasn’t just the amazing special effects that got me.  It was also the performers, each of whom were outstanding. 

charlie and the chocolate factory the musical

Mr Willy Wonka had the right amount of eccentricity without being frightening for kids.  Although personally for me, he could have been a bit more sinister.  Also worth a mention is the relationship between Grandpa Joe and Charlie which was very special and true to the book.  The musical brought tears to my eyes a few times but mostly I throughly enjoyed watching a dazzling show that I think any family with kids older than about 5 years will enjoy.  

charlie and chocolate factory oompa loompas

For the entire performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Anya sat forward in her seat, wide-eyed, never once taking her eyes off the stage.   As much as Richard and I found it hard to tear our eyes off the stage, we also delighted in seeing Anya’s little face changing expressions and reacting to this imaginative piece of theatre.

*We were given tickets in exchange for a review.  The review is in my own words and says what I genuinely thought about the show.  

things to do in South Bank London

The Summer holidays are in full swing and we’ve been getting out and enjoying London.  We rarely go away over the Summer because London is such a great place to be at this time of year and there so many Summer activities for kids in London.  This Summers mission is to enjoy as much of our beautiful city as we can and when I find something super fun to do, I thought I would share it here.  Earlier this week, along with some friends, we headed to the Southbank which is always a fun day out.  There is always a fab atmosphere, food, street performers and so much more.  Our plan was to just wander around and soak up the sights and smells but we ended up discovering the Appearing Rooms Fountain.  And once we discovered this, there was no moving the kids away.

free things to do in London with kidsSouth Bank London things to dofree things to do in London for kids

The Appearing Rooms Fountain is no ordinary play fountain.  It’s designed so that jets of water shoot high in to the air creating ‘rooms’ that appear and disappear as quickly as they appeared.  It’s possible to stand in the midst of fountain and not get wet – the trick is finding the ‘room’ where there is no water shooting up or to move super quick when it does come.  But the pattern of the fountain changes each time so you might get unlucky and get drenched.  The kids headed in to the fountain and the joy on their faces was quite unbelievable.  We thought they would play for a few minutes but they ended up playing in the fountain for hours.  They absolutely loved it.  There were kids of all ages there – from 2 to about 12 – and they were all squealing with delight and joy.

play fountains in London

Right next to the Appearing Rooms Fountain is lots of outdoor seating so we sat there, ate and chatted while we kept an eye on the kids who just couldn’t believe their luck at stumbling across this magical play fountain.  It may seem a bit over the top to go on about a fountain but the excitement was so evident on every child’s face so I think this fountain is a must visit for any kid.  And the best part is that it’s free.  Kids can easily spend 2-3 hours in there – just remember to bring a spare set of clothes or a swimsuit for them to wear while in the fountain.  Because they will get drenched!

Have you discovered any London places that are fun and worth a visit?  Do share so we can all check them out.

Anya wears quirky bear tee by ebabee and floral shorts by Zara (past season)
{all photos by ebabee}

"free summer workshops for kids London"A few weeks ago I attended a bloggers networking event at the National Portrait Gallery.  I got to meet some inspiring bloggers and I also found out that the National Portrait Gallery has loads of free Summer events, workshops and activities for kids.  Most of these events are held on Thursdays, Fridays and the weekend.  So last Friday we decided to check one out.  We attended a clay modelling workshop where kids get to pick a portrait from the gallery, draw it and then create a clay sculpture of it.

"free Summer activities for kids in London"

Even though the workshop was aimed at the kids, I totally got in to the clay modelling part and really enjoyed it too.  And I wasn’t the only mum there that was almost taking over their child’s clay!  Anya wasn’t crazy about the drawing bit but the clay modelling was a huge hit with her.  The clay is cool and soft to the touch so it was lovely to feel and it was really fun to be able to mold and shape it and see a head and shoulders emerging.  I’ll admit our end result looked a bit frightening but we had so much fun making it.

All the free kids activities on offer at the National Portrait Gallery are arty and creative which is why we were drawn to them in the first place.  The clay modelling workshop is only one of many – others include colour workshops, using loom bands to create portraits, drawing sessions and more.  Each year, as I discover more and more of the wonderful free events for kids in London, I feel so lucky that we can take advantage of these.  Have you discovered any?  Please do share in the comments so that others can try them too.

{all photos by ebabee}

"Alice in Wonderland theatre"

With the Summer holidays in full swing, we have been enjoying some of the amazing family events on offer in London.  So I thought I would share a few of our favourite picks over the month of August.  The first one I wanted to share is Alice in Wonderland, the Opera which is held at Holland Park.  I found out about it last year but didn’t manage to get tickets for the 2103 season.  This year I was prompt and Anya and I ended up going twice!

"alice the opera kids theatre London""kids theatre London Alice""alice the opera for kids"

Any concerns I had about a 5 year old child getting bored at the opera were completely unfounded.  The opera was fantastic.  Each and every child sat there completely captivated and even though it’s an opera, every word was clearly understandable.  It’s ideally suited to 4 years and over but there were younger kids who were never once bored.  It’s a very intimate show, where you sit extremely close to the actors so you really feel like you’re a part of it which just adds to the charm.  My favourite character was the Queen of Hearts who was absolutely outstanding but the rest of the cast were great too.  The show usually takes place in the Yucca Lawns of Holland Park, weather permitting (this is London after all!).  We ended up seeing the show once inside due to rain and once outside.  The outdoor performance is probably even better for kids as you get to follow the cast around the gardens but the indoor performance really wasn’t lacking in any way either.

"family friendly operas London"

Even though tomorrow is the last day of the show for this Summer, they will return for the 2015 Summer season but in the meantime there will be other events around the country as 2015 is the Centenary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland.  So check Alice the Opera for updates on interim performances.  Otherwise, if you’re going to be anywhere near London next Summer, definitely put it in your diary now for July 2015; it’s unmissable.    I’ve mentioned how much the kids enjoyed it but I went with my mum and Anya and all three generations loved it equally.  Family events like these are such a treat and I’m wondering how I’m going to top this one.

Disclosure: I bought tickets the first time and was invited the second time.  I was going to share this even before I knew I was going to be invited because I loved it and highly recommend it.

{all photos by ebabee}

"wowmom app"

I can’t believe apps have only been around for about 5 years but for most of us, we probably only really started using them about 3 years ago.  And now, I can’t imagine life without some of my favourites that make life easier and more organised.  Of course I love the fun ones too but it’s the ones that save me time and angst that I like the most.  One app I wish I had when Anya was a baby is WowMom.  WowMom is all about helping you easily find child friendly places (called WowSpots) for baby changing, for eating, for playing, for having a coffee and everything else you do with babies and kids in tow.  So whether you’re looking for a gym with a creche or a playground to entertain your toddler, Wowmom has you covered.

"child friendly places London"

Wowmom not only points you in the direction of kid friendly places based on your need of the moment but also details the facilities available at each place.  So you’ll know if the place has a kids menu for instance or what age group it’s suitable for, if it’s paid or free or even if the venue provides crayons or toys to keep kids occupied.  Handy.  Apart from the useful side, I love the colourful and cute illustrations too making for a good looking app which always gets my vote.  Right now Wowmom has the most WowSpots in London though there are many in other UK cities but they’re growing everyday with plans to include US cities too and if you want to find out more visit their campaign page.  And did I mention, the app is free?

This post is brought to you in partnership with WowMom.  All content, thoughts and words are my own.  Thank you for supporting my work with carefully selected partners.

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