5 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids During Holidays

For most parents, children who are constantly whining and complaining of boredom outside of term-time can quickly become annoying. Thankfully, if you live in or around the London area, there are plenty of family friendly activities that will keep them occupied for hours. Here are 5 things to do with your kids during the holidays. Best of all, they are activities that parents will enjoy too:

childrens activities in London

1) Take a class at the Music House for Children

If your child enjoys singing along to the radio, they are certain to love everything the Music House for Children has to offer. Group lessons are available on a wide variety of instruments including the violin, drums, cello, and more. During the holidays, children have the opportunity to enjoy one of their many workshops, as well as watch different performances and shows. As an added bonus, they provide specially prepared learning classes geared specifically towards children with cognitive impairments, language delays, autism, and more.

2) Visit the Natural History Museum

Free admission (with the exception of some temporary exhibitions), interactive exhibits, 3D dinosaurs, a life-sized blue whale, and an earth-shaking earthquake simulator are just a few of the reasons kids, and adults, love to visit the National History Museum. There’s no shortage of brilliant displays to choose from while you’re here including many special exhibitions throughout the year all of which will enthral and amaze any natural history fan. With three stories to explore, a café for snacks, and a great gift shop, you can expect to spend the full day at the National History Museum. You may even find that you have to come back a second time to take in the full experience!

3) Take a ride on the London Eye

When it opened in 2000, the London Eye was intended to be temporary, but it quickly became a favourite attraction of both locals and tourists alike. At 135m tall, each rotation of the Ferris wheel takes almost 30 minutes. From the top, you can easily see more than 40km on a clear day, which definitely excites both kids and adults.

4) Enrol in a drama class

Studies have shown that acting, dancing, and singing classes can have a powerful impact on children, especially those who are a tad shy and need a confidence boost to help them come out of their shell. There are numerous classes to choose from in and around the London area, many of which are designed for children as young as 2 all the way up to their late teens. One of the most popular is Applause! who run performing arts classes in West London Whether your child is interested in a career in the arts or is simply in need of something fun and different to do during the holidays, they are sure to enjoy taking a drama class.

5) Get dingy at the London Dungeon

A favourite attraction for more than 40 years, the London Dungeon is great for older children though it could potentially be scary for younger kids. The live, interactive shows will provide them with plenty of interesting London history (without being boring), while maintaining a dark, comedic vibe. Outstanding storytelling, state of the art special effects and theming, exciting underground rides, and the possibility of becoming part of the show make this a fun place for kids, as well as adults.

Keeping your children busy and entertained during the holidays can be tricky, so it is important to have a few go-to activities that your kids, as well as you, are sure to enjoy. Hopefully this list will spark your imagination next time the schools break up and you’re looking

East London’s Best Public Parks

Although it may now be best known for one high tech roundabout in particular, when it comes to wide open spaces East London residents are luckier than most other city dwellers. There are stacks of places to go and be at one with nature for a few hours and thanks to the recent regeneration all of them are now family friendly. This makes them great places to while away the hours – whether you’re conferring with the flowers or not!

squirrel in park, london

Let’s take a closer look at some of best public parks that East London has to offer:

Victoria Park, Bow E3
Vicky Park, as it is known to the locals, is a fantastic place to be when the sun is shining. Formally one of the Royal Parks, it is now a municipal and much loved by locals old and new. Its lake is home to all manner of birdlife and there is even a deer enclosure to bring a little bit of countryside to its extremely urban surroundings. Fantastic for kids and home to some of the capitals best music festivals, Victoria Park should be high on anyone’s list of parks to visit whenever they are in this part of the world.

London Fields, Hackney E8
London Fields has been part of London’s parkland since it was first recorded back in 1540. One of East London’s busier parks, London Fields is the place to head to if you are after a more sporting bent to your park life. Home to several teams that make up the North East London Cricket League, this little part of Hackney also sees plenty of running, football, cycling and tennis too – it even has one of the capitals last remaining lidos! Close by Broadway and Netil Markets offer up a wealth of street food to satisfy your hunger after working up an appetite on a Saturday afternoon.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford E20
The newest of all the East London parks by a long shot is Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. Home to the impressive and highly successful 2012 London Olympics, the area boasts not only beautiful parklands but also world class sporting facilities and the fantastic Westfield shopping centre too.

As you’d imagine, there’s no end of things to do here, with pop-up attractions and trails and tours that let you explore the park and take in the impressive stadia at the same time. However, if you are looking to get away from it all then the north side of the park is for you. Opened in 2013, this part of the park is natural haven for various types of meadow plants and wildlife, offering you a relaxing retreat from the hubbub of East London life.

Lloyd Park, Walthamstow E17
The smallest of the parks on our list is probably one of the most beautiful. Set behind the stunning Lloyd House, Lloyd Park is a little known gem in the heart of Walthamstow. Fabulous gardens with a wide and varied array of flora and fauna are complemented by a small expanse of water and a larger open space which includes a tennis and basketball courts, a skate park, climbing logs and outdoor fitness area too. Lloyd Park was restored to its former glory in 2012 and has become extremely popular with the residents of E17 and beyond ever since.

In Summary

So, there you have it, four of the best public parks that East London has to offer. Next time you head out for a run, cycle or just a walk with the dog, why not check out one of the above and get back in touch with nature for a little while to shake off all of those city stresses.

Three of the Hippest Coffee Shops in Essex

Essex gets something of a rough ride in the media. From the Sharon’s and Tracey’s dancing around their handbags in white stilettos during the 80s, right up to the The Only Way is Essex foolishness of today, it’s easy to see how this happens. However, Essex is a huge county and to tar everybody with the same brush is plainly ridiculous.

coffee

So, when it comes to hipper end of the Essex scale, where do these bright young things choose to hang out when they’re not bounding through the streets of East London? We decided to find out and went in search of the hippest coffee shops we could find in the county:

Café Amoore, 3 Moores Place, Brentwood, CM14 4AG
Tucked away on Moores Place, Café Amoore (do you see what they did there?) is something of a gem right in the heart of Brentwood. Serving up excellent food and fantastic, freshly ground coffee, Café Amoore has quickly found a place in many of the locals’ hearts.

Quiet enough to be able to work on a laptop or enjoy a good book whilst supping a latte; it’s also busy enough to provide a gentle buzz of atmosphere too. The staff are exceptionally friendly and welcoming, yet they aren’t overly pushy and you can enjoy your coffee here the way you should – relaxed and at peace with the world.

Dada Café, Station Road, Epping, Essex CM16 4HS
Dada Café in Epping has, like so many other independent coffee shops across the land, seen an influx of big brand coffee houses enter into its midst recently. However, owner Adrian Muica knows that his idea of a coffee shop brings something to the party that the big boys can’t compete with – the personal touch. Customer service is exemplary here in this fabulous example of all that is good about independent traders.

Regulars are greeted with a cheery smile and many of them are on first name terms with the staff here, making it feel more like a home from home rather than a business purely out to take your money. Although the chains of branded coffee shops may continue to spread on to every high street, independents that do it right, like Dada, will undoubtedly remain simply because they do it better.

dandelion coffee shop

Dandelion Coffee Shop, 20 Mill Road, Stock, Essex, CM4 9LJ
This family run coffee shop could quite easily be set in the heart of uber trendy Shoreditch such is its perfect boutique style. Dandelion opened its doors back in February 2012, and husband and wife team, John and Mel, do a fantastic job of serving the highest quality coffee alongside delicious foodstuffs that will probably have you overindulging whenever you visit.

In addition to the great food and drink on offer, Dandelion also has a little craft section where you can pick up some handmade delights that you would struggle to find anywhere else. From beautiful greetings cards through to candles and diffusers that make unique gifts, these additions certainly add to the boutique style and somehow give the whole space a more homely feel. Dandelion is a thoroughly recommended coffee shop for anyone who is fortunate enough to live in or around the picturesque village of Stock.

In Summary

With so many major chains taking up our High Streets, making them increasingly homogenised, it’s fabulous to see that the independents still have something to offer. Whether, you want to sit and catch up with a friend or work your way towards the Holy Grail of ‘Inbox Zero’ on your laptop, coffee shops are the places to be. So, next time you’re in need of liquid refreshment, make sure you try out your High Street’s independent traders; you might just be pleasantly surprised.

The Coolest Markets in East London

For quite some time now, East London has been the place to be in the capital and, arguably, the country. With the regeneration of many areas – thanks to the 2012 London Olympics – and the burgeoning tech startup scene, East London is attracting some of the most cutting edge artists, foodies and musicians from around the world.

raspberries

Not to be outdone, the old-fashioned street markets have been rejuvenated too. Now populated with the young and trendy, they have changed immeasurably over the last decade or so. Let’s take a look at some of best in the area:

Brick Lane, Tower Hamlets, E1
Sundays need never be boring again once you’ve discovered Brick Lane market. Buskers busking, street art adorning nearly every wall and fantastic people-watching moments make Brick Lane what it is. Home to some of the finest street food and weirdest flea market merchandise, this is one not to be missed.

Columbia Road, Tower Hamlets, E2
Just up the road from Brick Lane, Columbia Road Flower Market is an altogether more genteel affair. This is by far the best place in London for cut flowers and the sights and smells make getting up early on a Sunday worthwhile. As with so many parts of East London, the shops found behind the market stalls have been transformed too and you can now find all manner of boutiques and bookshops while you’re out buying your blooms.

Broadway Market, Hackney, E8
Hungry? Head for Hackney. Every Saturday Broadway Market serves up an array of food that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. This is foodie heaven, and it is not limited to just the stalls. Many of the shops that make up the street are food orientated too so you really will be spoilt for choice here.

Netil Market, Hackney, E8
Around the corner from Broadway Market on the boundaries on London Fields, is Netil Market. This tiny market is home to some of the coolest designers offering up some truly unique items, so it should definitely be on your East London market list. If you’re a burger fan you can find the finest in London (seriously) here by visiting the Lucky Chip van – be prepared to queue though!

Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets, E1
Spitalfields divides opinion. It is the Marmite of markets. Many of the old heads who used to get down there prior to the refurbishment now shun it, but we think they’re missing out. Great street food, vintage clothing, books, artwork, jewellery and crafts can all be found here and the bimonthly record market can turn up some amazing vinyl for the audiophiles amongst you.

leadenhall market

Leadenhall Market, City of London, EC3
Although this is essentially a city market it is on the east side so we’re going to squeeze it in. This covered market is extraordinary. Even though it is now made up of shops and doesn’t have a stall in sight, it is still a place that you have to visit. The Victorian glass roof and the cobbled floor make it one of the most remarkable shopping experiences you’ll ever have.

Wapping Market, Wapping, E1
This is the newest of all our markets but it’s also one of our favourites. Brought to us by the guys who run the fabulous Brockley Market over in Lewisham, Wapping is a very small but very special place to spend a Sunday morning. Some of the finest street food stalls are nestled in amongst others selling only the freshest fare ready for you to take home and cook up yourself – don’t miss it.

So there you have it, East London’s finest markets. Armed with this list you can now explore more of what this remarkable and historic part of the capital has to offer – enjoy!