Tag

Days Out

My family and I have been going to Winter Wonderland every year since it first opened in 2007. Over the years it has become a place that we always visit, as the build up to Christmas begins. It started off 10 years ago as an ice rink in Hyde Park with a selection of Christmas markets. It has grown over the years to become a destination to visit and I know many families who have made their visit part of their holiday traditions.

Winter Wonderland is open every day (expect Christmas Day) from 10am to 10pm until the 1st January 2018. Admission is free and is a short walk from the following underground stations: Green Park (this has step free access useful to know if you have a pushchair), Paddington, Victoria, Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge. I usually avoid getting off at Marble Arch as this can be a very busy station.

This year there is so much more to do! It is definitely worth picking up one of the free maps available, as the site it’s self is now a lot bigger. Or alternately why not get familiar with what is available before you go via the website, that way you can plan which attractions you really want to visit. The Winter Wonderland website also has a handy feature where they have suggestions for various days and evenings out. Perfect if you are going with children or alternatively for a romantic date night!

There are so many amazing rides to try out. Remember you will need to purchase tokens which are available to buy from the various token booths on site. Make sure you use up all the ones you have brought, as they are only valid on the day of purchase. Each token costs £1.00, so to give you an idea of the cost children’s rides start at £2.00, with other rides starting at £3.00. With some of the children’s rides you will need to accompany your child, so do factor in that too.

There are a number of pre-bookable attractions including: The Ice Rink, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Cinderella On Ice, Bar Hütte, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Beserk, Bar Ice and the Sooty Show. It is worth booking these shows as soon as you can, that way you can get the times and dates you want. My top tip would be make sure you allow extra time to get to the right part of The Winter Wonderland. As if you are attending a show, it will depend on which entrance you enter at, as it can be fair walk with little ones in tow!

This year we went to the Sooty Christmas Show and I am not sure who enjoyed it more? Myself or my Daughter! I think it goes back to the fact that when I was a child Sooty and Sweep were very popular and I remember going to see them (yes I am a child of the 1970’s!), so at that time Matthew Corbett was the puppeteer. The show this time hosted by Richard Cadell. It was very much the simple slap stick humour that I remember from my childhood. There was plenty of water pistol action and silly jokes. My Daughter couldn’t stop laughing and neither could I!

I would throughly recommend this show to families with children from toddlers up to around 6 years old. The show lasts approximately 45 minutes, so a really good length of time for children of this age group. An adult ticket is priced at £8.50 and a child ticket is £5.00. Children of 2 and under if they are not taking up a seat will not need a ticket.

We also went to Zippos Christmas Circus, which was an excellent family experience. Incorporating all the fun of the circus, from comedy with clown like characters to acts that perform acrobatics to escapism. Again a really managable length for young children the show lasted approximately 45 minutes. Ticket prices vary according to if it is peak or off peak times.

My Daughter particularly loved the dancing snow bears, courtesy of Britain’s Got Talent finalist Vadik and the Bears.

You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating and drinking at the Winter Wonderland. There are so many options to choose from including plenty of indoor areas for when it get’s chilly. I particularly loved the atmosphere in the Bavarian village. You just can’t go wrong with a hotdog and a mulled wine to get you in the festive spirit!

We are planning another visit in-between Christmas and New Year, as there are still lots more things we would like to experience!

I received complimentary tickets to the shows and some rides in return for a review. All opinions are my own and are a honest reflection of my recent visit.

 

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If there is one activity that my Daughter is always asking to do it is trampolining! We have a trampoline in our garden and it gets a lot of use, but she seems to enjoy this activity even more when we visit a trampoline park. There is a new venue to try out and it is only a short journey from Ealing. So we put on our jumping socks this Half Term and decided to go and try Flip Out.

Situated at Staples Corner Retail Park there is plenty of free parking right outside the venue. I would recommend booking online as this way you can ensure you are booked for the most convienent time for you, plus it is at this point you can sign the waiver form online which saves you time at the venue. However you can just turn up on the day, but do bear in mind that sessions start on the hour.

The park has a variety of different sessions to suit age range and ability. For example they offer sessions for children under the age of 5 called Mini Flippers, this is where toddlers and parents can bounce together learning new skills and gaining confidence on the trampolines. For older children they offer a class called Little Ninjas. Then for anyone over the age of 15 there is Flip Fit a great way to burn calories. On the day we attended it was a standard free jumping session, which is priced at £12.50 per person.

We loved Flip Out because it had some different features to some of the other trampoline parks we have been to. Of course there were absolutely loads of different trampolines to bounce on, plus bars to balance on with soft foam to fall in. For older children/adults there is the stunt box area and wall runners.

We also couldn’t get enough of the laser maze challenge, which is included in the price and you really do feel like you are staring in Mission Impossible dodging the laser beams! After all this adventure we enjoyed a drink and snack in the cafe. It is also worth pointing out there is free Wifi, baby changing facilities and the lockers are also complimentary.

While we were there we also looked at the party rooms. They have two rooms one has an underwater theme and the other one is woodland themed, so could be a great option for a birthday party next year.

We really enjoyed our morning at Flip Out and are looking forward to our next visit very soon!

You can follow Flip Out on social media to stay up to date with their latest offers
Facebook @flipoutbrentcross
Twitter @flipoutbrebtcross
Instagram @flipoutbrentcross

Disclaimer
We received free entry to Flip Out in return for a review. Everything you read is an honest reflection of our visit and all opinions are my own.

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What do you do on a rainy day in London? Well, visit one of the many wonderful Museums of course! We are so lucky to live so near to all that London has to offer children and one of my personal favourites is The London Transport Museum. It is situated just a short walk from Covent Garden Tube station. It is great value for two reasons, firstly children go free and the adult ticket entitles you to come back for free as many times as you like for the next twelve months.

The Museum is an excellent choice for children aged two years and up, because there is so much for them to do and is really interactive. Along with all the wonderful vintage vehicles (many of which you can actually get into) I particularly liked the All Abroad Family Play Zone. Your child can really get involved from actually driving a simulated tube train, to helping out in the lost property office and even repairing a train as you can see my Daughter really got into her roles below!

Another part of the museum I thought was great is that they have a large wooden train track and London related landmarks models available for children to sit down on the floor and play. My little one really enjoyed this and could have happily sat there for hours. The museum puts on special activities during school holiday, so be sure to check out the website for that.

After our visit to the Museum we were looking for somewhere family friendly to have a spot of lunch, when we stumbled across The Wildwood Restaurant. I would really recommend it as it was really set up for children. A good children’s menu, child sized cutlery and cups. Plus they provided colouring/puzzle sheets and pencils. The staff were very friendly and welcoming. They genuinely seemed to enjoying interacting with us. All of these little touches make for a relaxing meal, as it can be stressful sometimes taking your child out in a central London restaurant. Wildwood is somewhere I would return to and look  out for other branches elsewhere in the country.

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One of our highlights this Bank Holiday weekend was a trip to KidZania at Westfield Shopping Centre, White City, London I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have to say the experience totally exceeded my expectations.

We arrived at ‘check in’ and it was just like we were about to board a flight at the airport. From the signs, to the costumes of the staff, it really did look like a real life airport. We were given a map and an excellent explanation of what KidZania was all about.

We were all fitted with wrist tags. These tags are used throughout the experience not only to track which of the experiences your child is involved in, but also if at anytime your child looses sight of you the device is able to tell you where they are. Also your child can not leave the premises without being with you, this is a brilliant safety feature. A child of over the age of eight years can be left at KidZania without an adult in attendance while you go about your shopping. You get a total of four hours there, it seems like a lot of time but in reality it went really fast and we didn’t mange to complete even half of the activities.

How does it work?

When you arrive your child is given 50 Kidzos (this is the currency used in KidZania), you can earn or buy more if you wish.

There are a total of 60 different establishments your child can get involved in. The thing to remember from the start is that you are not generally permitted in the room that the activities are going on in. You can watch from the sidelines or can look in from the large glass windows. It is really great that you are not in there distracting your child. You are getting a rare glimpse by seeing them being completely immersed in an activity and for my Daughter she was totally enjoying the moment and almost forgot we were there!

Each job or activity either has a cost to participate or your child is paid a salary when completed. I think this is teaching them a very valuable lesson that to do something fun you first have to work for your money.

Extra facilities:

  • Designated parents room that is only for over 18’s. Here you will find a cafe, that even serves alcohol, lots of comfortable sitting and even some aeroplane flat beds that you can relax on! Myself and my Husband made good use of them!
  • An area for children under the age of 4 years, so younger siblings can come in too.
  • There are various cafe and restaurants within KidZania, we had our lunch at GBK.
  • Your child can have their Birthday Party here and they have a designated party room,which when we were there was all set up for a party, there was even a throne for the party child! (I’m already eyeing this up for our next party).
  • Professional photographers around within the activities and can take pictures of your child that can be purchased on leaving. These are good to have as you can not take photographs in the activities room.

We did the Following Activities:

Fire and Rescue Department, Fire Fighter and Fire Inspector – This is great fun, costumes on and the children get into actual mini fire engine that drives them to a building on fire! They then use hoses with real water to put the fire out.

Mission Deli – Making Wraps. The children are shown how to make this product from scratch and you even receive your own pack of wraps to take home.

British Airway Aviation Training, Cabin Crew and Pilot – your child can dressed up in a Pilot costume and get to experience flying a plane, plus they can also learn about being Cabin Crew too.

Chocolate Factory, Chocolatiers – My little one could hardly wait to get to this experience. Children learn how chocolate is made.

Dance Club, Singer – My little singer performed ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift and won the Karaoke competition!

Beauty Salon, Stylist and Customer – Each child gets to use a dummy head to style hair, something like a Girls World from the 1980’s a toy that I always wanted!

Supermarket, Cashier and Customer – this reminded me of the Supermarket Sweep game that was once on TV. Each child got a list of groceries and zoomed around the shop with their own mini trolley looking for items.

Face Painting/Temporary Tattoos – by this time she was getting very tired but she managed to get a cute ladybird tattoo and a lovely cat face paint.

Citizen Passport (cost £5) – this involves getting stamps in your Passport and in turn you will end up with discounts and priority access to KidsZania in the future. For more information see B.kidzanian

My Top Tips

  • Get there early, otherwise the queue can be longer at check in.
  • Buy tickets online to be sure that you will get entry that day and use any potential discounts.
  • Remember your child has to be four years old to participate in most activities and it helps if they are confident enough to cope with going into a room on their own.
  • Take a good look at the map when you arrive or before on the website and work out which jobs your child is really interested in doing and head to them first, otherwise it can be a bit overwhelming. Remember some activities are height or age restricted.
  • Allow at least four hours for your trip, take my word for it you won’t want to leave any earlier!
  • Make sure your child does plenty of jobs that earn them money.

My overall opinion

I absolutely loved this place and so did my Daughter and Husband. By the end of the day I felt that we had a really fun-filled day out. The place was very clean and the staff could not be more helpful.

I saw some real enthusiasm from the staff this included the Town Crier who made an announcement involving us. There was flash mob style dancing from other staff and even the general music playing in the background was upbeat and added to the fun atmosphere. I will definitely planning another visit soon and my Daughter is already asking when we are going back!

Disclosure

I was lucky enough to receive tickets in return for my review. All opinions are my own and are an honest reflection of our visit in August 2016.

Keep in contact……

If you like my review then please do comment and if you have been to Kidzania let me know what your opinion was?

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