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I love visiting London, I couldn’t live there but I think its a great place to visit in short spurts. You are guaranteed that there will be plenty on for everyone, every time you visit. So if you are thinking of visiting London at Christmas or over the festive season, here is a few fab festive ideas, especially for families with young children. Being frugal as ever, we have tried to find as many free things as we could find! We went as part of a large family trip last year (13 of us and it was great fun!)
Hyde Park again hosts the lovely winter wonderland. We visited over the weekend before Christmas last year and it was great. It is free to enter and there are plenty of activities/attractions that are festively themed to get you into the Christmas spirit. Visiting in the evening is lovely, and does feel extra christmassy. However, given the free entrance, every activity is in turn a paid activity and you need to keep an eye on the expenses as they can soon add up. Also, given that it is free it can get incredibly busy so if you are travelling with young children, ensure that they stay close and you dress them in easily recognised clothes!
The London Eye will see a lovely ice rink set up at the feet of the Eye. There are ice rinks all over London and this year they have a ice rink but those visiting prior to 12th December are able to use this fantastic offer which reduces a family pass (2 adults and 2 children) to £23 instead of £49.50. This is a fantastic saving and the offer can be found here.
With the launch of the new Paddington film, London is hosting a few Paddington Trails, where the children have to go around and try to find the various, decorated Paddingtons. I think it sounds like a great idea, to encourage families to get out and walk around London whilst taking in the sights and sounds. They have a special Christmas Trail, details of which can be found here. In our ever busy society I think it would be nice for children to have a go at this and perhaps print off the map and get them doing some map reading. I think it will be lovely to take the children to watch the film one weekend and then take them on the trial. I know a trip to the cinema can amount to the cost of weeks food bills these days, so I have found this great deal, where two you claim a free child ticket for a viewing at Cineworld, by purchasing two packs of Warburton’s half & half range.
A walk around the South Bank any time of the year often provides a new experience or a special treat or two. The South Bank, London at Christmas time is no different and the South Bank are hosting a winter festival with tons of fantastic activities for families to get involved in. They have huge, lantern bunnies out for people to view, knitting activities for children to get involved in to name a free. There are a number of free activities on and lots of other activities running. I love the sound of the Christmas Tree Maze, and the santa train. It sounds like a really fab day out and I think the atmosphere in the area will be great.
No visit to London is complete without visiting the ultimate toy shop in the country. I love Hamleys and seeing the stalls and the interactive toy displays can easily pass a few fun hours. They have loads of events on this year including every day at 5pm being able to watch it snow. I will warn you that Regent Street is crazy busy over Christmas but Hamleys is still worth a visit.
We like to try new festive ideas in the great outdoors. We know its cold but the experience of the outdoors, festiveness cannot be beaten and we have seen that over the weekend of 6 – 7 December 2014, the Wetland Centre in London have a fantastic Christmas event on. WWT London Wetland Centre is situated close to central London, on the banks of the River Thames in Barnes. It is easily accessible by private and public transport. My highlights would be meeting huskies and even young children being able to go for a husky ride, Fullers Shire horse dray rides between 12:00 – 3:00 on the Sunday and again you are able to pop on for a ride. The event sounds like lots of fun and they even have a 6 month baby reindeer. Tickets are £10.11 for adults, £5.64 but under 4s are free.
I really wanted to visit last year but ran out of time. The gardens look beautiful and over the festive season they have a special illuminations on between 26th November and 3rd January. So once night sets in, the Kew gardens are transformed into a glittering, fairy tale like scene. Visitors will be guided by snowflakes and will follow a new one-mile glittering trail as it winds its way through the world-famous botanic gardens. In addition, this year you will find giant light sculptures, the Tunnel of Lights, Mistletoe Moments and much more. It sounds like great festive fun, with christmas trees, treats and entertainment. Further details are here, tickets for adults are £9.50 and children under 16 are free.
There are tons and tons of other things to do in London but we wanted to give families ideas of different activities that they can do as a family! Enjoy, we would love to hear from you if you visit any of these events this year.