03 August 2016

Kidzania & 10 Ideas to Keep your Kids Entertained in London this Summer

10 fun things to do with kids this summer. Lots of free family ideas as we as one of the top new attractions.


We're just back from London. We flew in at the end of our holiday in North Cyprus for a few days and had a great time. We returned home exhausted but happy and Cooper extended his trip even further with a few days at his grandparents house.

I thought it might be fun and hopefully helpful to share some of the activities we enjoyed in London to give you ideas for your next trip.



TOP PICK - Kidzania London


Kidzania is amazing. Cooper loved it. It's basically a miniature city for kids.

Check-in

When they check in (grown-ups too) kids are given 50 kidZos to spend in the city and everyone is given a security wristband, so if a child gets lost or you lose sight of them for a minute, you can check at the security points around the city to see where they are.

The City

Inside the city there are more than 60 real-life role play activities for the children to take part in. Some of the activities cost money and in other jobs they earn money. They can save money from their jobs to purchase something from the shop or they can save it and open a bank account. This is good if you're planning return trips. They even get a bank card, so they can really learn about saving.

Here are some of the jobs Cooper tried:


PILOT: For this job he dressed up and was given a briefing before entering a plane cockpit. He chose to be the pilot and took part in a simulation to fly and land the plane while the other children were co-pilots and crew members. The crew members did the safety announcements while the pilots flew the plane. This was his absolute favourite role.

MECHANICAL ENGINEER: For this activity Cooper once more dressed up, listen to a talk, helped build a car and went into the Pit Lane to learn to change the wheel of a race car really quickly.

SUPERMARKET STAFF: Cooper was taken into the staff room for his uniform and training, then he was given a shopping list to follow before cashing it up at the till.




Some of the other things he tried were making smoothies (with Innocent), making chocolate (with Cadburys), scientist, surgeon and fire fighter. I was amazed at how confident he was putting himself forward for jobs. It was lovely to see. Adults are encouraged to step back. The children, queue, say what they want to do and are signed in on their wristbands. They either pay at the start of the activity or collect their wage at the end. Parents can generally watch through a viewing window, but the children do everything themselves. There's seating and cafes for the adults while the children are having fun.

The Final Stage and Check-out

At the end of their 4 hours, the children can bank their money or spend it. As Cooper didn't have enough, they let him work in the shop to earn more money and bought a pencil and rubber to take away.

You can also stop at the photo shop and select photos of the day taken by the on-site photographers, choose prints or have them made into something. It was quite pricey. We had two magnets printed for £20 and got a code to download these two photos online. You will see them above, the pilot and race track shots. They are pretty good photos.

The last stage is check-out where you return your wristbands before saying goodbye.

Our verdict

We loved it and Cooper loved it. It was good to see his confidence building as the day went on. It's expensive, but well worth it. If you're on a budget I would keep this top of your list (for 4-14 year old kids, although I can't see them being interested beyond 12 years old), then plan lots of free things. Save some money by just one of you taking them in (the other can have some free time) and while you are there take your own photos.

KidzaniaWestfield London Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, London W12 7GA

Tickets

Child £32 (late afternoon £25)
Adult £16.50 (late afternoon £10)


Ted & Cooper enjoying a tube ride. Ted (Sarah's son Maison Cupcake) knows everything about the underground. Smart cookie.



10 Ideas to keep your Children Busy in London

1. Science Museum 

This is our favourite of all the museums. It's modern, bright, interactive and they're always updating it. They have a new data section open this year that's really interesting. Also the IMAX cinema showings are rather fabulous. One of the biggest screens in Europe and they give you 3D glasses so the images really jump out at you. You feel totally immersed in the films. 

TIP: Go early when it's quiet in the museum and take your own snacks to the IMAX. 

Where: Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD
Price: free (charge for travelling exhibitions and IMAX films)




If you're a fan of Roald Dahl you'll know that the dream jars are from the BFG and this summer (9-31 August 2016) you can download and follow the map to find the 50 dream jars. Remember to take photos as you go. At the end of the summer the jars will be auctioned off for charity.

Where: All over London
Price: free



3.  Pokemon Go

Now don't be put off, it's had some bad press, but it's actually a great way of getting out and about as a family and exploring parks and public spaces. Just make sure you have plenty of data on your phone (you can usually upgrade for a month only if you ask) and set some ground rules on safety. I would also add some of your own rules, such as doing an activity and take photos at each location as well as collecting Pokemon.


Where: Everywhere
Price: Free




Cooper loves museums like this, although I have to say if you have the chance, visit the one in Glasgow, it's really special, it's free and has a ship moored outside the children can explore. Really modern and interesting. 

The London museum was fairly interesting. The history of the underground was worth going for and there were lots of other vehicles and facts for children to enjoy too. They're also given a card to stamp as they go round, which is a nice touch.

Where: London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, London, WC2E 7BB 
Price: 
Child: free
Adult: £17 (conc £14.50) unlimited visits for 1 year




Once you've been to the Transport Museum have a wander around Covent Garden. Your children will enjoy choosing a souvenir in the indoor market, have a wander around and watch some of the many street performers that provide entertainment in the area.

TIP: Why not take a packed lunch or pick up sandwiches & a drink to enjoy while you sit on the steps and watch the show?





This is a fabulous park for children. The photo is from the lead-up to the park. The actual park is full of wooden tree houses, wobbly bridges and sand pits. Ted and Cooper had a fabulous time climbing through the tree houses and exploring beneath them.

Where: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, E20 2ST
Price: free





I found this museum quite old-fashioned. The museum in Edinburgh is far superior. I also find the queues astounding. I would say go early or late to avoid the worst of them. We refused to wait an hour and a half to see the dinosaurs, but found the travelling exhibitions are excellent. You have to pay for these but they are modern, interactive and really interesting.

Where: The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD
Price: free (you pay for entry into the travelling exhibitions)





8.  Emirate Air Lines (cable cars)

Taking a cable car ride over the Thames is such fun. The ride has great views over London and is something a bit different. You can buy a single or return ticket and there are plenty of places to eat in the area.

Where: 02 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0DX
Price: 







Another fabulous park for kids. Have a stroll through Kensington Gardens then visit the memorial park. There are toilets and a cafe at the entrance and then a maze of little parks all beautifully landscaped. The only downside is you can't really see from one part of the park to the next, so you really have to follow them around or they are out of sight before you know it.

Where: Kensington Gardens, Broad Walk, London, W2 2UH
Price: free





10.  Thames Cruise

Taking a cruise along the Thames is fun and there are lots of stories about all the landmarks. We took the cruise from the Westminster dock to Greenwich. Once in Greenwich have a wander about and be sure to sample a nutella crepe from the street market.

Where: Westminster Pier, Victoria Embankment, London, SW1A 2JH
Price: adult £12.50 child £6.25



Well that's my list. I didn't include tube stations. Use google on your phone and you'll find your exact route from anywhere in London to where you're going. It tells you which tube to get, the time, how many stops and when to change. It makes life very, very easy. Just have a filled oyster card ready. I used about £16 over four days with a lot of travelling. Children travel free.

Have a good trip!



GIVEAWAY



KidZania, London has teamed up with Tinned Tomatoes to offer two readers the chance to win one family ticket each to explore the 75,000 square foot kid-dedicated City at London’s Westfield Shopping Centre.

For more information on KidZania, visit www.kidzania.co.uk

How to Enter

Leave a comment telling me which of the jobs Cooper tried you think your children might enjoy then use the rafflecopter box below to enter. You will find some options for extra entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About KidZania London

Having welcomed over 42 million visitors worldwide, KidZania is a global phenomenon and one of the

world’s fastest-growing educational entertainment brands with 20 locations across five continents.




Disclosure: Kidzania invited us down for a visit and we loved it. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own. The other suggestions are our top picks too.

79 comments:

  1. Kidzania looks AMAZING! Pity it's so expensive though. imagine putting three kids in! Eeek! Love the concept though. Cooper looks well chuffed!

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    1. Yes it's definitely one to save for. It's really good fun. Cooper did enjoy it.

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  2. How cute that kid can try out lots of different jobs.
    London has so many great museums and galleries, that there is something for every one.

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    1. Yes it was brilliant and so much to do in London.

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  3. Kidzania sounds fantastic!! I've never heard of it before but it looks like a brilliant place to spend the day. I would have loved that as a kid!

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  4. You have had some real fun in London. There are so many activities to keep little ones busy.

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  5. My son would love to be a fire fighter

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  6. Looks fantastic my son would be a air pilot x

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  7. I think my son would enjoy the race track job

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  8. My daughter would enjoy working in the supermarket.

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  9. My son would love the pilot

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  10. My children would absolutely love the pilot's job!

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  11. oh definitely a supermarket staff member, for kids it seems like lots of fun

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  12. Wow london has changed since I last was there and my last visit was child free so I am not at all familiar with the kid's activities - would love to be able to follow up these recommendations! though can't see it happening in the near future. Sylvia keeps telling me she wants to be a zookeeper so I wonder how they would do this one at Kidzania! (without real animals would probably suit her)

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    1. Haha has she considered the zoo keeping properly or maybe she is thinking a toy zoo. They are so funny. Yes there is loads to do in London for kids and lots of great parks.

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  13. My daughter would love the pilot job! She really loves planes

    Kelly Ellen Hirst

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  14. Daughter would love this. Never been.

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  15. Think it would be the fire fighter

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  16. My son would love to be the pilot

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  17. My son would love to be a pilot, he's fascinated with planes and would enjoy it su much.

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  18. My son would love to be a pilot

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  19. Kidzania looks absolutely amazing, would love to take my little ones here, they would have so much fun, but it's so pricey. My little one would be a zoo keeper, she loves animals and she is fascinated by them

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  20. Kidzania looks so much fun. Cooper looks the part as a Pilot so it's brilliant that's what he likes the most - you know pilots get free trips for family members right? ;) My little boy would like the changing car tyres job...he already takes them all off of his toy ones. x

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  21. I think she would enjoy the super market staff part

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  22. My son would definitely love to be a pilot he is obsessed!!

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  23. I think my son would enjoy the race track - leanne w

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  24. Has to be the Pilot.... even I was jealous... remembering my topgun loving days ;)

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  25. ~The supermarket, the girls would love this x

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  26. I think they'd like to try at being a scientist, like Grandad. Jenny.

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  27. My daughter would love to try being a surgeon

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  28. My son would love the pilot's job.

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  29. My daughter would love to try the supermarket staff

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  30. my daughter would love to try the supermarket staff

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  31. Looks so much fun my 2 would love it

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  32. My girls would love being a Pilot

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  33. Max would love to be a fireman

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  34. My kids would love to be pilots!

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  35. It would be all about the firemen roles for my 2!

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  36. To be honest they would love it all - they love role play but for me to take 4 children would be crazy money

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  37. I think the dressing up as a Pilot would be fun :-)

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  38. I think my Grandson would love to be a pilot.

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  39. My daughter would love to be a pilot!✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️

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  40. My daughter would love to be the pilot!!!✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️

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  41. My girls would love to dress up as a pilot although I think it would all be fun and enjoyed

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  42. My kids would really love to goto Kidzania

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  43. My son would love to be a pilot

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  44. My nephew would love to be a fireman as love to bring him with my daughter

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  45. Margaret McCormackSunday, 28 August, 2016

    My granddaughter would love trying her hand at being a scientist

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  46. MECHANICAL ENGINEER, I think my son Joshua would love this!

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  47. They'd love the pilot, looks great!

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  48. My children would love to try and be a pilot

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  49. Pilot's job without a doubt!

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  50. There are some really great ideas for days out here, thank you.

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  51. I think my boys who are 3 and 7 would be really enjoy being a mechanical engineer, they love cars and would find that pretty exciting.

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  52. The whole Kidzania concept is quite amazing - I've known about it for sometime since I work in retail, and it is very popular on the continent. The commercial tie ins is an interesting dimension too. Ours would love the chocolate and smoothie making as they are both wannabie chefs!

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  53. I think my son would love to try a pilot

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  54. My daughter would love to be a pilot.

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  55. He would definitely love being a pilot

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  56. My son would love to be a scientist

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  57. My girls would love being a pilot

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  58. My son Toby would love to be a pilot, he it totally obsessed with planes at the moment. Last year he was into bin tracks so I prefer this year so far..

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  59. My kids would love to make chocolate ( and eat it lol)

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  60. Amazing prize! My daughter would love to be a supermarket staff.

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  61. The fire fighter - latest obsession

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  62. Our son would love to try being an airline pilot whilst our daughter would love the animation studio

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  63. My daughter would absolutely love this. She's always pretending to be different things such as a teacher, shop keeper and a doctor. Kidzania looks amazing!

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  64. I think Mechanical Engineer - following after their Grandad! Hannah

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  65. Hi :) Who won the competition? :) thanks

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I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x