I’m rather fond of children. I’m lucky that my closest friends have the most fantastic little people, who are great fun to be around, polite and full of cuddles. It’s probably a bonus that I am a total big kid myself, so feel totally at ease on their level, playing with lego, face paints or messing around in muddy parks while their parents get a little rest.
I get a little sad I don’t have kids of my own at Christmas time, because lets face it. It’s really all about them, isn’t it? Seeing their faces when they think Santa has been; watching them unwrap presents…it’s all so very lovely.
BUT. I am told having kids is not all fun and wonder. Apparently, you have to find things to keep them entertained at all times too. Who knew?(!)
Here’s This Little Lady’s round-up of marvellous things to do with the munchkins this Christmas holidays…
Harry Potter Studio Tour, Watford
My Grandparents house sits in the shadow of the Harry Potter Experience – and from what I hear, it’s truly magical. The tour takes visitors behind-the-scenes and showcases a huge array of beautiful sets, costumes and props. Step inside and discover the Great Hall and Dumbledore’s Office and discover never-seen-before treasures.
The tour also reveals some closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects and animatronics that made these films so hugely popular all over the world.
Location: Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LS
More information: www.wbstudiotour.co.uk
Get your thinking caps on this festive period – At Bristol is one of the UK’s most exciting hands-on science centres! With two floors packed full of over 300 interactive exhibits and fascinating special exhibitions. The new interactive exhibition in association with Aardman, the creators of Wallace and Gromit where you can make your own animated mini-film and light a street scene from Aardman’s latest Wallace & Gromit film
More information: www.at-bristol.org.uk
Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead
Snow Centre is the nearest real snow experience to London where you can ski and snowboard on fresh snow each and every day…indoors! They also have fantastic fun activities like sledging. If you are looking to lean how to ski or snowboard – Snow Centre is the best place to do it. You can learn all of the techniques and tricks from the best instructors in the business.
Location: St Albans Hill, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP3 9NH
More Information: www.thesnowcentre.com
Thinktank redefines the concept of a science museum. It gives you the opportunity to discover the world around you and the life you lead. From steam engines to intestines, this exciting museum has over 200 hands-on displays on science and technology including a digital Planetarium and outdoor ScienceGarden.
Location: Millennium Point, Curzon Street, BirminghamB4 7XG
More Information: www.thinktank.ac
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London
If you’re visiting the capital this Christmas visit the festive Winter Wonderland scene in London’s Hyde Park. Open from the 23rd November – 6th Jan 2013, Winter Wonderland is the ultimate Christmas experience for all the family. The 24,000 square metre site features The Winter Wonderland Ice Rink – London’s largest outdoor ice rink – as well as The Winter Wonderland Observation Wheel – an incredible 50m giant observation wheel offering magnificent views of Hyde Park, along with a toboggan slide, cafes, bars and a carousel.
Location: London’s Hyde Park
More information: www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
Roald Dahl Museum, Buckinghamshire
Roald Dahl’s weird and wonderful books have captured children’s and adults imaginations for years. Throw yourself into the crazy world, explore the stories and characters where giant’s capture dreams and young girls can move objects with their eyes. The small but perfectly formed museum is inspirational and actively encourages children and adults to unlock their imaginations, engage with reading and have a go at creative writing.
Location: 81-83 High Street, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16 0AL
More information: www.roalddahlmuseum.com
National Space Centre, Leicester
The award-winning National Space Centre in Leicester is the UK’s biggest attraction dedicated to space. Offering hours of interactive discovery and fun, the National Space Centre offers something for all the family. There are 6 themed galleries covering topics like ‘Orbiting Earth’ and ‘Exploring the universe’, and each with amazing space rockets, satellites and capsules, and hundreds of fun and educational interactive activities.
Location: National Space Centre, Exploration Drive, Leicester, LE4 5NS
More Information: www.spacecentre.co.uk
Crich Tramway Village
Crich TramwayVillage is a restored period village that is also home to the NationalTramwayMuseum. This winter they are opening up part of the Village and have a whole range of activities to keep visitors entertained over the festive season. Trams run every few minutes as visitors ride over the cobbles of the period street, past the original facades of historic buildings that will take your breath away. Hand over the old penny you are given on entry and you are free to ride the trams all day.
More information: http://www.tramway.co.uk/
Military Intelligence Museum, Shefford
Does your little one want to be the next James Bond? Head to the Military Intelligence Museum where you will also find the IntelligenceCorpsMuseum which charts the development of British Military Intelligence through time. Here you can view the Medmenham Collection highlighting the important role of aerial imagery and the story of intelligence gathering in East Germany at the height of the Cold War.
More Information: www.armymuseums.org.uk/museums/0000000048-Military-Intelligence-Museum
Eureka Museum, Halifax
Eureka is the UK’s national children’s museum. It is an educational charity based in Halifax which features over 400 interactive exhibits designed to inspire children aged 0 to eleven years to learn about themselves and the world around them through imagination, play and discovery.
Location: The National Children’s Museum, Discovery Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 2NE
More information: www.eureka.org.uk
The Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth
If your children are obsessed with playing battleships at home why not take a trip down to Portsmouth which is famed for its naval heritage and harbour. Explore the maritime history at The Historic Dockyard which houses HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, the Mary Rose, the RoyalNavalMuseum and Action Stations.
Location: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Victory Gate, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, PO1 3LJ
More Information: www.historicdockyard.co.uk
Some great and educational ideas there, that will probably be good fun for you as well as the children.
Just a tip too…Travelodge are currently doing rooms all over the country for just £21, so if you want to make a trip but think it’s too far to travel there and back in one day with the small people – that could be your answer!