All posts by Sian Gwilliam

I was born within the sounds of Bow Bells, and am a London girl at heart. I work in TV Production, and run a London Concierge called mycultureclub.com. I am also the Editor of Creative Bus Stop, and a Media & Events Consultant. Drop me a line if you want to talk about something, I bet you won't regret it.

50 Family Days Out in London

  1. Turbine Hall, Tate Modern

    It’s not hugely known but you can enjoy top class Family Contemporary Dance Days & Shows at The Place, Euston. The Place is home to London Contemporary Dance School, Richard Alston Dance Company, a 280 seat theatre, and they host an annual Summer festival, courses and workshops aimed at boys – it’s not all about football you know.

  2. You are always welcome to join a  Culture Club Group Trip. There are theatre tickets at really reduced prices, and the door is always open for personal concierge services for consultation. I offer itenaries, museum tours, sporting tickets, birthday parties, all with a cultural bent. The list is endless. Contact me on sian.gwilliam@me.com, and I’d be happy to help.
  3. Whitstable Beach
  4. The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery. In 1971, the charity was registered as an adoption agency, offering a specialist service to find adoptive families for the most vulnerable childcare. It’s a charming museum, with a sweet cafe, and bang next door to a great playground.
  5. Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives … you’ve not lived if you haven’t been Tate-d. Check out what’s on right here.
  6. How about a Tour of Lords Cricket Ground the ‘Home of Cricket’, with afternoon tea for the hungry. Perfect for a trip with the grandparents, or a birthday treat for a sport loving child. Find out more on Culture Club here.

    Mountview Summer School
  7. The Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. I think it’s only good manners to have paid them a visit, after all they are getting on a bit.
  8. You love London and you love life don’t you ? Well here’s a way to satisfy both at the Museum of London. They offer daily activities, storytelling, creative packs, a great shop, cracking location, and it’s free. Say no more.

    Views from The Shard
  9. The House of Illustration offers what is says. It’s in a perfect location in Kings Cross, 2 mins from a million things to do. They also offer brilliant workshops. We have tried and tested them, and they get 11/10 from us.
  10. If I said, it was the fastest in her day, has incredible history, and smells of old fish, what would you say ? the Cutty Sark. Well done. 10 points for you. Grab your Oyster card, and jump on the boat there. That’s your day sorted then.
  11. It’s never dull at The National Theatre. Check out the family events schedule, and discover the skills and secrets behind productions at the National Theatre: have a go at designing a costume; learn how our actors perform realistic fights on stage. That’s before you’ve even seen a ground breaking piece of drama (dahhhling).

    Mini Eco DIY Craft
  12. You made that up, I don’t believe you. You must have been hanging out at the Discover Story Centre in Stratford then. The place where families, storytelling, and authors all come together in one gooey icing blob.
  13. The RA (Royal Academy to us ruffians) is the best secret in town, when it comes to art workshops. It also is the best located museum for families, as you can skip over to Green Park for some fresh air, after exercising your brain cells at their latest exhibition.

    Willy Wonka Afternoon Tea
  14. Fancy yourself as the next Calvin and Hobbs artist? Then take the kids to a workshop at The Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury please. Please tell me how it went, as we haven’t made it there yet, and we are keen for a mini review.
  15. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is right by Regent Street and Regents Park, and serves kids of 8+ well. They offer workshops, and family days. Keep an eye on their what’s on pages, as they offer interesting courses for younger ones in the holidays.

    Meet this Sailor on the South Bank
  16. How about a free film at the BFI on the Southbank. They also run cracking weekend film sessions for families, workshops, holiday courses and it’s located next to The National Theatre. You’ll feel inspired hearing the thespian types discussing Rufus Norris’s Artistic Direction around you.
  17. The Fulham Palace holds on tightly to over 1300 years of English history, and aims to become one of Great Britain’s most loved and inspiring historic houses and gardens. They have fun kids workshops, garden walks, and tours. Find out more here.
  18. Do you like the idea of really fun free art, design, craft, and baking workshops for children and young people aged 2 – 16. Then head over to the Geffrye museum in Hackney please.

    The Royal Court
  19. A visit to Dennis Severs House is both a breathtaking and an intimate portrait of the lives of a family of Huguenot silk-weavers from 1724 to the dawn of the 20th Century.  It was Dennis Severs’ intention that as you enter his house it is as if you have passed through the surface of a painting, exploring with your senses and imagination a meticulously crafted 18th Century world. (At least you will have something to tell Grandma, other than about M&M world, on your holiday postcard).
  20. Do you know any budding Knights in shining armour? If yes, get them down to one of the family events at Westminster Abbey pronto, before they are beheaded, and it’s all your fault.

    Museum Family Activities
  21. Take a 40 second descent in the ArcelorMittal Orbit Slide, the world’s tallest and longest tunnel Slide as well as experiencing breathtaking views of London from two observation platforms.  Book here.
  22. Visit The National Portrait Gallery. With over 1,000 portraits of famous people to discover from the majestic portraits of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I in the Tudor Galleries to the pop stars and artists in the Contemporary galleries – the National Portrait Gallery is a perfect place for all the family to visit.
  23. All Muggles will love this one. How about a visit to The Harry Potter Shop in the Kings Cross Station, before you queue for your photo at platform 9 and 3/4? There are also Harry Potter walking tours, bus tours, private tours not forgetting the tremendous Warner Bros Experience and Tour in Hertfordshire.

    A Harry Potter Fan
  24. Any kids who will ever take an English exam, really should at least take a look at, and even better join in with some family fun at William Shakespeare’s Globe in Borough.
  25. The Wallace Collection, is one of those places that often appears on the ‘secret places to hang out in…’ lists of rather influential and fashionable London types. It might have something to do with the fact that it’s a stones throw from Marylebone and Selfridges, but also because it hosts very civilised drop in and draw sessions for kids during holidays, and at the weekends.
  26. Adult and Kids alike always have a good time at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. Their drop in craft sessions are brilliant, the museum shop is ace, and that’s before you’ve checked out the latest exhibitions, played with Punch and Judy, and the indoor sand pit, danced with a larger than life robot, and rocked on a horse.

    Days Out with English Heritage
  27. Those high energy kids might want to see what is happening at The Exploration Society. They offer the best ever adventure days/weekends/ camps. You can choose from sailing, kayaking, mountain biking, and woodland adventures, and these are before you have seen what you can have for ‘main course’.
  28. No child in Chelsea can survive their childhood without at least a weekend spent parading around the National Army Museum. It’s an institution for South West Londoners, and is especially popular with those who own small soldiers and officers.
  29. Trapeze & Circus lovers could try a private class or summer workshop with x-professional trapeze artist Genevieve at her Circus Glory school in Primrose Hill. It’s a special kind of person that can hang up side down on a large lolly stick.

    Ham House
  30. The British Library in Kings Cross hosts a FREE Family Programme that runs from July to September, 2017. We like South Asian Stories Friday 28 July, 2017 (12.00 – 13.30), it’s free, drop in and suitable for ages 5 – 11. This workshop is run in partnership with The Place and coincides with a free dance performance, 14.00 – 15.00, taking place outside on the Piazza. Everyone is welcome to watch.
  31. National Maritime Museum, Ahoy! Children’s gallery (Free) Ideal for ages 0-7 & The All Hands children’s gallery for 6-12s at National Maritime Museum is free and open daily. 10.00-17.00 weekends, holidays & Tuesdays | 14.00-17.00 on other weekdays |  Ahoy gallery is closed 3 July – 27 September
  32. Book tickets for family shows at the Underbelly Festival 2017, Southbank. For theatre and dance lovers, The Tap Dancing Mermaid (10 June) blends puppetry and dance to fantastical effect, and Metta Theatre’s Jungle Book (1-24 August) melds hip-hop dancing, spoken word and creative design to create a contemporary, urban, politically aware reinterpretation of Kipling’s classic.
  33. ExpeRimental from the Royal Institution is a series of short films that make it fun, easy and cheap to do science at home with children aged 4 to 10. The films give you lots of ideas for kids’ activities that will help you explore the world around you, question and experiment together. They show you how to do the activity and how to make sure adults and children get the most out of it.

    Fun at the Tate Modern
  34. You can join the family orchestra and chorus at the Proms family orchestra and chorus. There are many workshops that allow you to play or sing alongside professional musicians, whatever your age or ability (suitable for ages 7-plus). Some sessions will be focussed around highlights from the 2017 Proms season and by Oklahoma!
  35. There are lots of book-ish events happening across the UK at Foyles. You could start with a peek of mad crazy fun at the Adventures in Wonderland event on Sat 29th July, 2-3pm at the Charing Cross Road Foyles (free). It’s a preview of the theatre show that is happening at The Vaults, Waterloo.

    Wild Times on Hampstead Heath
  36. Or try Maisy the Mouse Picnic on Thursday 3rd August 2017 1pm – 2pm Royal Festival Hall (Free). Meet Maisy the Mouse and enjoy stories, activities and some picnic treats. They will be serving sweet and savoury treats, you can take part in Maisy-themed activities and reading a selection of Maisy titles.
  37. In September, you can go wild with washi and join in the fun with a Foyles MT ‘washi’ Masking Tape workshop to celebrate London Design Week. Saturday 16th September 2017 11am – 12:30 Noon 107 Charing Cross Road (Free Event).
  38. There is a new fish in town that wants to meet you. At the Natural History Museum, your place on the planet might feel different standing next to the remains of the largest animal that has lived on this planet. The skeleton of a blue whale is the star of their new exhibition Whales : Beneath the Surface. “More than 100 specimens from the Museum’s collection will be on display together for the first time, from parts of a colossal blue whale to a small harbour porpoise”. Natural History Museum, London SW7 (020 7942 5000), to February 28

    The British Museum
  39. Musical theatre fans can check the latest list of all the best shows in town here, in an earlier post I wrote for the lovely people at MyBaba. We fully recommend 42nd Street, Matilda and Carole King the musical (which is about to end it’s West End run and go on tour) for the Mums.
  40. I have put together a round up of some of the most popular Kids Theatre, Dance & Art Summer courses. Although many of these have limited places, and get booked up early, they also offer term time classes. If you have recommendations, or know of schools I can include, please let me know.

    See Matilda the Musical
  41. You might want to treat your Grandma to a really lovely afternoon tea, so here is a list of the Best Family Friendly Afternoon Teas in London, that might help you decide where to take her.
  42. You could take a trip to a National Trust property. They own some of the best beaches in the land, 59 villages, 49 churches and a gold mine (The Dolaucothi Gold Mines). Their teams conserve butterflies, bats, wildlife and plants. It doesn’t stop there, they also own four coastal World Heritage Sites.

    The V&A Childhood Museum
  43. If you have a Saturday morning free, you can often grab an early morning movie for next to nothing at your local cinema. If you need a little help, here is a list of some of The Best Cinema Clubs for London Kids in town.
  44. A great way to spend a morning or afternoon is to take a trip backstage around one of London’s many beautiful theatres. Not only will the tour tickets cost little more than a sandwich, you will get the chance to peek into the dressing rooms and tread the boards where many famous actors spend their time feeling sick with nerves.
  45. Grab a view from The ShardCheck : ‘the weather’. Check : ‘your footwear’. Check ‘you are definitely not Acrophobic’. Head over to The Shard at London Bridge and fly up to floors 68, 69 and 72, and you will be at almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in the capital.

    Inspiration at Granary Square, Kings Cross
  46. Take a cycle ride around the Capital. If you’re keen there are superhighway route maps you can follow. I would try out  the Wandsworth to Milbank one. Starting at the legendary ‘The Alma’ pub bang opposite Wandsworth Rail station with a pint of something cold, and a decent lunch. Then hire your bikes, pedal through Battersea, across Chelsea Bridge, and end up at Millbank. You get 5 points for every civil servant you spot, 75 points for any lost soldiers on horseback looking for sugar lumps, and 150 points if you pull up next to Prince William ‘undercover’ on his motor bike!
  47. It would be remiss of me not to mention that over the Summer the gates of Buckingham Palace are opened to the public for visits. You can buy tickets for admission to The State Rooms, Buckingham Palace, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews. There are child friendly activities, audio tours and art trails and more. Read more here.
  48. English Heritage champions history, and the historic places that make our nation quite a good one. With every visit (and entrance fee) to an English Heritage site, of which there is an incredible list of 400 across the country to choose from, you will be protecting the future of our heritage, so for that reason, amongst many, we would like to give each and every one of the English Heritage team a proper round of applause.

    The Cutty Sark
  49. Let’s go for a DIY craft at home today. All you need is a smooth floor and+ A balloon+ Some glue (strong enough to glue plastic. You can use plasticine as an alternative)+ An old drink bottle lid (with a valve)+ An old CD then you are ready to make a balloon hovercraft. with the brilliant Mini Eco blog.
  50. How about a picnic in one of the capitals secret gardens? You could start with Inner Temple, one of London’s four Inns of Court. It is a tranquil three-acre garden with stunning rare trees, herbaceous borders and sweeping lawns. It is usually open to the public from 12.30-3.00 each weekday. There are more here

    Fun at the Southbank
  51. If you’re not exhausted and need a break from the city, here are 5 brilliant beaches within a train journey from London Town to choose from. Start with Whitstable, Camber Sands, Brighton, Frinton on Sea and West Wittering.

Best London Summer Drama & Art Camps

Do you want to win a Tony Award, RA scholarship, or would you prefer a BAFTA? These are the questions you should be asking at tea time, if you have found that you are now managing the career of your mini-award winning actor or artist

As I know time is money, and I want to save you both, I have put together a round up of some of the hottest Theatre, Dance & Art Summer courses. Although many of these have limited places, and get booked up early, they also offer term time classes. If you have recommendations, or know of schools I can include, please let me know. I have a limited time to get this together, so your comments would be great to have.

image credit : Unicorn Theatre

DRAMA, MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTS

SYLVIA YOUNG THEATRE SCHOOL, MARYLEBONE

Ages 7-18yrs : Musical Theatre, Dance, Drama

Holiday School offers a number of sessions in varying styles. Theatre Skills Course 7-18 years & Musical Theatre Course 10-18 years.  Students do not have to audition to take part in Holiday School.

ARTS EDUCATIONAL SCHOOL, CHISWICK

Ages 4-15yrs ; Drama

Book your child in for a fun packed week this summer. Each course promises loads of creative activities and new experiences to try, all in a fun and welcoming environment. All courses are taught by experienced ArtsEd tutors and industry professionals, encouraging confidence, creativity and performance skills.

(image credit : zoonation dance company)

UNICORN THEATRE

Ages 7-11yrs ; (Drama, Dance, Puppetry workshops)

Get on stage and make your own show! Our popular week-long workshops are back for the Summer holidays. These intensive, fun and sociable holiday workshops are led by experienced professional theatre-makers, and culminate in a performance on the Unicorn’s stage to family and friends.

LONDON SCHOOL OF CAPOEIRA

(not holiday, term time)

LSC classes for children are structured for the absolute beginner and also for the regular student. The lessons are taught by Capoeira masters, Master Marcos and Master Silvia of the London School of Capoeira with 50 years teaching experience between them and have updated CRBs. Together with an assistant, the master will encourage the children to develop their physical abilities through the training of Capoeira.

LYRIC THEATRE, HAMMERSMITH

Ages 7 – 25yrs; Dance, Multi Arts, Music, Film – Digital – TV, Theatre

Imagination will play a key part in this one week course where you will use drama to create the future you want and turn it in to a performance. The future’s bright, the future’s yours.

WEST END STAGE, CENTRAL LONDON

Age 8 – 21yrs ; Musical Theatre

West End Stage is the UK’s leading theatre summer school based in the heart of London. This amazing week-long course is led by West End stars and gives you the chance to perform at Her Majesty’s Theatre – home to the world famous Phantom of the Opera. An exciting mix of drama, singing and dance classes, as well as exclusive West End masterclasses and a trip to a West End musical.

(image credit : Mountview)

MOUNTVIEW THEATRE SCHOOL

Ages 9-16yrs & Older ; Acting, Musical Theatre

Experience three-weeks of triple-threat musical theatre training at one of the UK’s top musical theatre drama schools. Mountview has been training West End and Broadway stars for 25 years. Join us and be among the next generation of musical theatre talent. Or choose from weekly acting and musical theatre courses for younger children. Children will spend the week with fantastic directors learning the skills used by professional actors on stage and screen and get a taste of life behind the scenes at drama school.(image credit : Mountview)

THEATRE TRIBE

Age 8+yrs; Musical Theatre

Theatre Tribe is the UK’s leading holiday camp provider for Musical Theatre training. Inspired by a huge passion for the performing arts, Theatre Tribe welcomes students from all over the world who love the theatre and who wish to immerse themselves in the exciting world of show business.

NATIONAL YOUTH THEATRE 

(Ages 11-14) ; Theatre/ Drama

This six day course is the perfect introduction to the NYT’s approach to ensemble theatre making. Using story-telling, chorus, character and song, you will develop your talent working as part of a company. Ideal for those who are already taking part in our Saturday classes, or those who would like to get involved for the first time. On the final day there will be a sharing of your work to friends & family. Classes will run over six days, 10am – 5pm

STAGE COACH

Ages 6-18 yrs – Theatre, Dance, Singing

Students will sing, dance and act their way through five exciting action-packed mornings. Students will make new friends, build confidence, stay entertained and achieve something really special.  Students will learn a variety of numbers from popular West End productions such as Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Shrek and many more! On the final day they will perform a unique and brand new production to family and friends.

LAMDA

Ages 18+

THIS INTENSIVE EIGHT-WEEK SUMMER SCHOOL IMMERSES STUDENTS IN THE WORLD OF SHAKESPEARE AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES; EXPLORING THE CHALLENGES, CONNECTIONS AND THRILL INVOLVED IN PERFORMING THIS TYPE OF WORK. VALIDATED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF KENT. Students on this course train in small groups, guided by the same experienced tutors and industry professionals who lead LAMDA’s full-time training.

DANCE CAMPS

SYLVIA YOUNG THEATRE SCHOOL

Ages 10-18yrs; Musical Theatre

Our musical theatre courses offer a truly hectic week of rehearsals where students will dance, act and sing in preparation for a studio style workshop performance on Saturday which parents are invited. The course is open to anyone aged 10-18 years. Students are grouped according to age and will present excerpts from musicals. Each group has a production team consisting of a Director, Musical Director and Choreographer.

ZOONATION DANCE SCHOOL

(Term time only)

I had to include info about our favourite hip hop dance school. They offer Saturday classes for kids of all ages at their North London studio, and over in West London too. Check the website for the details.

  • Under 8’s Class   9 – 10 AM
  • Beginners A+B Class  10 – 12 PM
  • Intermediate 1 + 2 (2 X 1.5 Hour classes)  12 – 3 PM
  • Intermediate 3 + Advanced (2 X 1.5 Hour classes) 3 – 6 PM

PINEAPPLE ARTS

Ages 8-16yrs ; MUSICAL THEATRE and STREET DANCE SUMMER SCHOOLS

Two intensive courses each lasting 5 days, both courses include a certificate, a t-shirt and a performance at the end of the week for all students!  Musical Theatre and Street Dance students get to perform all the routines they have been working on in a Spectacular Showcase at the end of each week at one of Central London’s prestigious venues Logan Hall!

image credit : Hamstead School of Art

ART & DRAWING

ART ACADEMY

The Art Academy is a wholly independent art school based in central London, offering a wide range of art education programmes to a very diverse group of participants. Alongside the long-term courses (3-year Diploma in Fine Art, 1-year Fine Art Foundation and 2-year Certificate courses) it offers evening classes, part-time study, and weekend and short courses.

HAMPSTEAD SCHOOL OF ART, HAMPSTEAD

Ages 8+yrs

The school offers a brilliant wide range of courses. Choose from experimental drawing and painting, watercolour workshop, and comic book workshops… there are lots more too.

CAMDEN ARTS CENTRE

MINI ARTISTS

MINI PICASSOS

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Sweet Smelling Family Fun at Somerset House this Summer

3. © Martin Klimas

There is a rather sweet smell coming from the Somerset House major summer exhibition this year. If you fancy a sniff then make time to visit their new exhibition Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent’, that will run between 21 June and 17 September. You will find it in the East Wing Galleries (walk around the fountains, towards the river, and turn left – I find the signs there confusing at times!).

4. © Ori Gersht 2017

The exhibition will display unique, exciting scents in playful, interactive settings. There will even be a fully functioning, interactive perfume laboratory.

©Fragrance Foundation.jpg

Free Family Drop-In Workshop : Marty the Mighty Nose.

There is a free family workshop that will take place in connection with the exhibition, Sat 1 Jul 2017 between 12.00 – 15.00, South Wing(It is a free drop-in session for families with accompanied children aged 6+, spaces may be limited.) 

There are also loads of interesting hands on demos, workshops, and talks aimed at adults on offer, so take a look at the programme here for more info.

6. Bottle Tower © Givaudan


In connection with Somerset House’s Perfume exhibition, participants will investigate their senses in a workshop exploring language, self-expression and smell. Join the Fragrance Foundation and Marty, a cartoon character, and his famously mighty nose for an afternoon exploring the link between our senses and the ways we can describe them.

If you want to have the most organised diary from a London Concierge Service, and let My Culture Club take care of all bookings and curate the best things for you to do, sign up to my concierge site here.

Image credits;

© Martin Klimas

© Ori Gersht 2017
Bottle Tower © Givaudan

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Why Wormtail & Winky Loved ‘Harry Potter in Concert’ at the Royal Albert Hall

(Firstly, for those of you who know who Wormtail and Winky are, you are better muggle that I).

As hard as we try to wish we weren’t all just plain old muggles, bobbing about our daily lives here on planet earth, sometimes it’s the truth that hurts, and we have to accept that we are. Or are we ?

If you ask my 8 year old Potter Head, she would most definitely give you a sly look of confidence to say that she was NOT a muggle, but the rest of us are, and that’s the way she likes it.

I think you can tell from the photo above that she is quite content in her Hogwarts uniform, and that she wishes she could just get on with making potions and leave us to worrying about the washing, putting the bins out, and NHS cuts.

5 Reasons You Must Watch Harry Potter In Concert

The performance from the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra is totally spell-binding and will have you ready to Apparate at any given moment.

The movie screened in high definition and in full on a 40-foot screen, It means you can use your Extendable Ears and your Secrecy Sensors at the same time.

Much TLC and hard work has gone into the production from its creators; CineConcerts, it’s conductor (and president of CineConcerts), Justin Freer, and the from the very wise Stan Shunpike who helped with the transportation of equipment and instruments to the venue.

The concerts are held at our favourite venue in LONDON town, the Royal Albert Hall. It is also Percy Weasley’s favourite, because the RAH staff are squibs, who eat canary creams and chocoballs in their breaks, (oh! and they still make you feel very welcome).

Lastly, because if you don’t get tickets, I will send you a box of Blood-Flavoured lollipops for every day of the year until you buy your tickets here.

Some further viewing and reading for muggle who like music, events and Bezoars.

“The Harry Potter film series is one of those once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomena that continues to delight millions of fans around the world. It is with great pleasure that we introduce for the first time ever an opportunity to experience the award-winning music scores played live by a symphony orchestra, all while the beloved film is simultaneously projected onto the big screen. It will be an unforgettable event.” – Justin Freer, conductor

HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros.
Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s16)

What’s On For Science Kids at the Royal Institution

Here’s a round up of the SUMMER school events & Family Events coming up at the at ROYAL INSTITUTION in Mayfair.

You can enjoy a wide range of morning and day workshops for kids aged 7-9, 10-12, 13-15, and 16-18 years old. Sessions are brilliantly planned on subjects from Engineering in 3D to the mathematics of rainbows. Read the Summer course prospectus here.

You can catch up 5 of the Best Science Clubs for London Kids over here. Also check what’s on offer at your favourite family events company My Culture Club, remember that you get a fully personalised concierge service with your bookings at culture club. Don’t be shy, we love to help.

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FAMILY EVENTS 

Animals: inside and out
2.00pm to 5.00pm, Wednesday 31 May
There is a surprising amount to learn by looking at the body of an animal – what environment it lives in, how it can move about and even how it evolved to be here today! Join Andrew Crook from the Royal Veterinary College to find out some of the exciting and surprising things we can learn when we study anatomy, and take a look at animals, inside and out. After the talk get hands-on with a variety of amazing specimens from the RVC collection.

This talk is particularly suitable for ages 7+.

The fire of life
6.00pm to 7.15pm, Friday 7 July
People are warmer on the inside than their surroundings, so how does the human body generate its own heat? Join Ruben Meermanin exploring this exciting topic, using liquid nitrogen, explosions, a thermal camera and more. You’ll find out what temperature really means, see heat appear out of nowhere and learn how ‘The Fire of Life’ keeps your body warm.

This talk is particularly suitable for ages 7+

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21st Century materials
6.00pm to 7.15pm, Friday 28 July
Think 50 years into the future – what will our cities be built of? Where will we get our food from? How will doctors keep us healthy? Join former Christmas Lecturer Mark Miodownik to look into these questions, and more, by exploring some of the amazing and exciting materials which will help build our future.

This talk is particularly suitable for ages 7+.

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The Turner Twins – World first adventurers
6.00pm to 7.15pm, Friday 11 August
Hugo and Ross Turner have travelled to extremes in the name of science: across the Atlantic Ocean, up 5000m peaks and over the Greenland polar ice cap. As identical twins, they are uniquely able to test how the body survives in these extreme environments, and how new materials, diet and technology can help. Come and hear more about their incredible journeys, and see the equipment they needed to survive in these wild places.

This talk is particularly suitable for ages 7+.

Sign up to the mycultureclub.com event website, or contact sian.gwilliam@me.com to organise your group booking.

 

Creative Little Kids : Create a Crayon Shape Painting

Here is a simple activity that will keep young and old kids entertained over the holidays, that is also mess free, and guess what, it’s educational too.

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Create a Crayon Shape Painting

Once your young child has figured out how to draw shapes, they’ll want to make them all the time. Get inspired by shapes with this fun art project that introduces geometry to your shape-drawing child. They’ll make a pattern resist painting, as they develop their drawing skills. All it takes are some crayons and watercolor paints for this engaging project that serves to make the next rainy day much more enjoyable!

What You Need:

White drawing paper
Crayons
Watercolor paints
Paint brushes
Small container for water
What You Do:

Get started by taping a piece of white paper onto a worktable, or the tray of a high chair.
Give your child a selection of crayons to use, and encourage him to fill the paper with shapes of all different sizes and colors. This is a great opportunity to introduce them to some new shapes that he may be unfamiliar with, such as stars, moons, and ovals! Show him some examples on a separate piece of paper.
Once the paper is filled with shapes, remove the crayons and place a small cup of water, a paintbrush, and watercolor paints within reach. Ask the kids to paint over the crayon shapes they have  drawn with watercolor paints, and watch the crayon shapes pop through the paint.

Next, encourage them to continue dipping the paint brush in water and a color of paint. This fine tunes their color recognition and hand-eye coordination!
Urge them to continue painting until the entire paper is covered with paint, without any white paper showing through.
Your child’s finished pattern resist can be proudly displayed in a colorful frame for everyone to see!

You can find activities like this, and more over on the popular site Education.com www.education.com/resources/geometry/

Best Family Friendly Afternoon Teas in London

Best Family Friendly Afternoon Teas in London

So it’s the simple things in life that matter right ? Well I have a feeling that at least 50% of the planet can’t make a really good (builders in my case) cup of tea, so with that in mind, I’m sharing tips from the top people in the business. Fortnum’s of course.

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Here is a simple digest of what works.

  1. Fill the kettle with fresh water from the tap. Yes, your grandmother was right: water that has been boiled already will affect the taste of the tea.
  2. As it approaches the boil, warm the teapot by rinsing it out with hot water.
  3. Treat the teapot to one rounded teaspoon (yes, or caddy spoon) of tea leaves for each person and one extra spoonful ‘for the pot’. That’s the orthodox rule, though many these days find it a little strong. You’re in charge here.
  4. Just before the kettle water boils, pour into the pot. It doesn’t need to be stirred.
  5. Leave to infuse for three to five minutes, depending on taste. Serve, using a tea strainer.
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This photo is from their Charlie and the Chocolate afternoon tea,that finishes on 20/11. It was too good a photo to leave out though!!

Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea at the Chesterfield Hotel, Mayfair

This season (from Monday 21st November) The Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel will be celebrating the sparkling lights and festive delights of Hyde Parks Winter Wonderland with afternoon tea inspired by the magic of Christmas. Begin with a warming shot of mulled wine before making a choice of their tea from one of the hotel’s 18 loose leaf teas which will include a special Chesterfield Christmas blend full of aromatic spices.

A selection of delicious finger sandwiches will complement the sweet treats which include: Mulled wine macarons, Christmas tree chocolate pot, Cranberry and vanilla cheesecake, Red Velvet cupcake, Salted caramel and chocolate parcel and if you’re not full by now just thinking about it, a Clementine mousse snowball as well.

Address: 35 Charles St, London W1J 5EB

Tube station: Jubilee, Piccadilly & Victoria lines – Green Park Station

Opening Hours: 1:00pm – 5:30pm daily

Reservations: +44 (0) 20 7491 2622 or meetch@rchmail.com

Prices : tbc

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The Berkeley London Designer Afternoon Tea

The Berkeley’s legendary designer afternoon tea, Prêt-à-Portea, is inspired by the themes and colours of the fashion world. The menu of mouth-watering delicacies with a fashionista twist is transformed every six months to follow the changing seasons in fashion.

Address: Wilton Pl, London SW1X 7RL

Tube station: Piccadilly line – Hyde Park Corner

Prices: from £45 without champagne, and from £52 with champagne

Opening Hours: 1.45pm – 5.30pm Monday-Thursday / 1pm – 5.30pm Friday – Sunday

Reservations: through the Berkeley Hotel webpage

Dress Code:
Elegant smart casual; no shorts, vests, sportswear, flip-flops, ripped jeans or baseball caps.

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BB Bakery’s Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

B Bakery specialises in Afternoon Tea with a French Twist – L’Afternoon Tea. Enjoy Afternoon Tea either at their glamorous Tea Salon, Brigit’s Bakery, in Covent Garden or on the move on the unique  B Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. Or why not on the River Thames on the B Afternoon Tea Boat Tour?

Another option is to enjoy Afternoon Tea at home, in the office or in the park with our B Afternoon Tea Delivery and B Afternoon Tea Picnic. They offer gluten free, vegetarian and halal Afternoon Teas to suit everyone.

Address: Pick up at 12:30pm and 3pm from 8 Northumberland Avenue

Pick up at 12pm, 2:30pm and 5pm from Victoria Coach Station

Reservations: book online on the bbbakery bus website. https://pay-here.co.uk/BBbakeryBus/

Opening Hours: daily departures at 12pm, 12:30pm; 2:30pm, 3pm and 5pm.

Prices: £45 for adults and £35 for children under 11 years

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Browns Hotel, Mayfair

Browns are offering a festive traditional afternoon tea throughout December, The English Tea Room will be serving the award-winning Traditional Afternoon Tea with a festive twist, to the accompaniment of the resident pianist playing well-known Christmas carols.

Prices £55 per person Monday to Friday, and £65 per person on Saturdays and Sundays (served with a glass of Ruinart NV Champagne) Served with a glass of Ruinart NV Champagne – £65 per person | Served with a glass of Ruinart Rosé Champagne – £68 per person. It will be served from 12 noon – 5.30pm Monday to Sunday

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Four Seasons, Park Lane

Starting on November 26th the Four Seasons Amaranto Lounge will be serving a Festive Afternoon Tea, accompanied by their resident pianist playing seasonal melodies. It will be served daily between 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm from November 26th to January 2nd (excluding Christmas Day) the festive afternoon tea includes a complimentary glass of champagne per guest.

Prices £55 per person excluding service charges.

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The Ritz, Christmas Afternoon Tea 

The legendary Afternoon Tea in The Palm Court takes on a special festive theme this year accompanied by carol singing (excluding Christmas Day). On Christmas Day, Father Christmas will visit with presents for all the children, at the 11.30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm and 5:30pm sittings of Christmas Afternoon Tea.

Every adult will receive a glass of Champagne and every child a Ritz teddy bear (yeay!). Christmas Afternoon Tea is served from Saturday 26th November to Friday 30th December 2016 at the 1:30pm, 3:30pm, 5:30pm and 7:30pm sittings.

Prices at £75 per adult / £49 per child (up to age 15).

To Book, call the Reservations Team on +44 (0)20 7300 2345or email dining@theritzlondon.com

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Fortnum and Mason

The tradition of taking tea and that little bit of something between lunch and dinner has long since been a feature at Fortnum & Mason. Their tranquil Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon was opened by HM The Queen and has since become a stylish destination for the most traditional of afternoon teas. If it’s a super special occasion you can even say it with champagne by having your own special message printed on the label of a bottle, and have it hand delivered to your table. Now that’s what I call a treat.

Address: 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER

Days and times: Monday to Saturday 12-7pm; Sunday midday to 6pm
Cost: £44 – £48 dependent on choice of tea

Best London Christmas Family Theatre, Babies to 6 & Age 6 +

The Best Christmas Family Theatre in London, 2016

“If you would like me to book your tickets for you and give you warm and cuddly concierge style service with your booking, email me with the details of which show, date & preferred time (matinee or evening) and the number of children & adult tickets required. I will find the best deals, and take care of it all for you! sian.gwilliam@me.com or 07958 385 929.” – See more on My Culture Club.

Christmas Fringe Family Shows in London

Scrooge and the Seven Dwarves, Theatre503 (Ages 6+)

The pantomime Scrooge and the Seven Dwarves is brought to you from award-winning Sleeping Trees who return to Theatre503 following the sold-out success of Cinderella and the Beanstalk last year.

Sleeping Trees recreate every character you’d expect to meet in a pantomime, as well as some you might not – from Scrooge, Snow White, the Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, the seven dwarves, Harry Potter and, of course, Father Christmas. The show is a huge Christmas mash up!

A Family ticket for 2 Adults and 2 Children is £40. Suitable for ages 6+ (babes in arms under 24 months also welcome), Runs, 22 November 2016 – 7 January 2017, Address : Theatre 503, The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 3BW

 

 

Why the Whales Came, Ovalhouse

Why The Whales Came by award-winning children’s writer Michael Morpurgo will be staged at Ovalhouse theatre from 22 – 31 December. With Wizards Presents, multi-award winning performer and storyteller Danyah Miller brings to life this enchanting tale.

Children Gracie and Daniel have been forbidden to go near the mysterious and seemingly dangerous Birdman. But messages and clues intrigue them and, after being lost at sea in the fog and stranded on his tiny island, they begin to unravel the Birdman’s secrets, the villagers’ fears and superstitions and learn why the whales came to the island.

Runs 22 – 31 December 2016 ; Address : 52-54 KENNINGTON OVAL LONDON SE11 5SW Call the BOX OFFICE: 020 7582 7680

Lives, Loves and Loss: Traces at Fenton House 

This December, the National Trust’s Fenton House in Hampstead will be reimagined, transformed by art community Traces into an immersive experience that delves into the intriguing world of the Gee family. Wander through the abandoned rooms and unpick their secrets as fictional narratives are interwoven with factual discoveries.  Discover the lives, loves and loss of these former inhabitants.

3rd – 23rd December 2016, Address : Hampstead Grove, Hampstead, London, NW3 6SP. Call 0344 249 1895 to book tickets. Adult £10, Child £5. NT members FREE (join on the day, from £5.25 a month). Under 5s FREE. NT members and Under 5s must also pre-book. Entry slots available 11am-4.30pm. No maximum stay.

 

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FAMILY PANTOS
Mother Goose, Wiltons Music Hall, Dec 2nd – Dec 31st
Red Riding Hood, Hoxton Hall, December 17 2016 – Saturday December 24th
Aladdin, Broadway Theatre Catford, December 3 2016 – Saturday January 7
Sleeping Beauty, Hackney Empire, November 26 2016 – Sunday January 8
Sinbad the Sailor, Theatre Royal Stratford East, December 3 2016 – Saturday January 21 2017

CHILDREN AGED 6 and UNDER

Peter Pan: A New Adventure  : Greenwich Theatre (All ages) Runs 18 Nov 2016 – 8 Jan 2017 (Running Time 2hrs20) : From £14

Raymond Brigg’s Father Christmas  : Lyric Hammersmith (Under 6) Runs 18 Nov – 24 Dec  : From £10

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, Live on Stage, Arts Depot, Finchley  ( Age 3+) Runs Wed 7th Dec to Monday 2nd Jan. From £12.50

Stick Man : Leicester Square Theatre, (Ages 3+) 5 Nov–30 Dec 2016. Family Ticket Available: 2 adults / 2 children or 1 adult / 3 children. Babes in arms: Under 18 months permitted without a ticket. Running time: 55 minutes. From £16.50 per child & £65 for a family ticket.

Baddies: The Musical Is Back!  : Unicorn Theatre, (Age 6+) Runs15 Nov – 31 Dec  : From £12

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon : Bloomsbury Theatre, (Ages 3+) Runs 13 Dec–31 Dec 2016. Adults £12, Children £10

In A PickleArts Depot, Finchley. (Ages 3-5) Runs 13th – 31st Dec. From £10

Room on The Broom, Stratford Circus (Ages 3+) Runs 2 – 18 December (55 mins, no interval) : From £12

The Mad Hatters Tea Party, Roundhouse, Camden. Join a Culture Club Trip on SATURDAY 21 JAN AT 2.30PM. (All Ages). RUNNING TIME : 2hr20mins. Tickets : Adults £24 for those aged 16+. Child £18 for children aged 16 and under. Family Discount: £65 4 full price tickets for parties of 2 adults and 2 children, or 1 adult and 3 children.

Breaking the Ice : Stratford Circus, (Ages 2-5) Runs 19–24 Dec 2016. From £8, Duration: 40 mins + 15 mins stay & play

CINDERELLA THE PANTOMIME : The Palladium, (Age 4+) 2.30PM TUES 3RD JAN 2017. From £33. Running Time : TBC

The Railway Children  Kings Cross Theatre, (Ages 2+) until 8 Jan 2017. Various prices. (Running Time 2hrs.10m)

Boing, the Unicorn Theatre, Clore Theatre, (Ages 2-6) Runs 30 November to 1 Jan (RT : 50 Mins)

The Snowman: Sadler’s Wells – Peacock Theatre,  (All Ages) 23 Nov 2016–1 Jan 2017. From £32. (Running Time : 1hr50 with 20 min interval)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show : Ambassador’s Theatre,  (Ages 2-7) 2 Dec 2016–8 Jan 2017.  From £ 26.50 + fees. NOTE : Babes in arms, aged 12 months or under, will be permitted access to The Ambassadors Theatre without a ticket for performances of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Babies must be securely strapped to their parent or carer by way of a baby carrier, sling, papoose or similar.

 Adventures to OzChickenshed Theatre, Oakwood, Runs Nov 23rd to Jan 7th. From £15 + fees

Christmas Tales at ChickenshedDates: Saturday 3, Tuesday 6, Saturday 10, Thursday 15, Saturday 17, Thursday 22, Friday 23, Tuesday 27, Wednesday 28, Thursday 29 December (Ages 0-6yrs) Running time: 50mins. Tickets:  £8, free to babies under 1 year.

CinderellaChiswick House & Gardens, Runs Dec 16th to Dec 31st. From £30. Brought to you by Humdalila Productions, specialists in Immersive Theatre, this thrilling version of the classic tale combines an eclectic mix of first-class performers. Expect dancing mice, acrobatic lizards, ballerina snowflakes and a crazy magician. Arrive early for the full experience. Children can have their faces painted, interact with amazing balloonists and much more. Adults can enjoy a stress-free drink at the fully licensed bar and the family can all enjoy a variety of snacks and Christmas goodies from the stalls inside the Big Top.

Peppa Pig Live, Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road, (All Ages) Thursday 15th Dec to Jan 7th. From £22+ fees

A Magical Stick Man Screening & Show, Enjoy songs and storytelling with Julia Donaldson and live illustration from Axel Scheffler followed by the award-winning animated film of Stick Man on the big screen. Royal Festival Hall, (Ages 5-8) Thursday 22 December 2016. Prices vary.

“YOU COULDN’T WISH FOR A SWEETER INTRODUCTION TO THEATRE” – Time Out

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt at Jacksons Lane, Highgate, (From the Little Angel Theatre) Ages 2+ Runs between 6 Dec to 24th Dec. Tickets from £14.95 + bookings fees, sold out until 10th Dec, when last looked.

HOW ABOUT A CRAFT WORKSHOP AT THE LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE?

Crafty Festive fun and stories for 2–8 year olds and their families with Santa’s Little Workshop Little Angel Theatre, N1 (Ages 2-8) Runs Sunday 4  – Saturday 24 December. £10 per child / £8 per adult +fees. For age 2 to 8. No more than 3 children per adult please, due to the craft activity. Under-2s can attend with older siblings or friends but the activity is not suitable for them, and please note that all children aged one or over on the day of the event need their own tickets. DURATION : 50 mins

CHILDREN AGED 6+

Babe, the Sheep-Pig : Polka Theatre, (Ages 5-11) Runs 25 Nov 2016–5 Feb 2017.  Main Stage, approx 1hr 45 mins
Tickets £18.50 | Concessions £12 | Previews £14  £1.50 transaction charge per booking

Peter Pan Goes Wrong : Apollo Theatre, (Ages 8+) Runs until 29 January 2017 ( Running Time :  2 hrs with one interval). Tickets from £35 BOOK ON CULTURE CLUB and join a lovely group … there might be goody bags too!

Aladdin : The Lyric Hammersmith (Ages 6+) 11 NOV – 7 JAN ( Please note that all children over 18 months will require their own tickets). From £30 + fees

The Nutcracker : The Royal Opera House, (Ages 5+) Runs until 12 January 2017 (RT, 2 hrs and 15 mins with one interval). Pretty much sold out, or remaining tickets expensive around the £135 mark when I last looked. Email me if you want me to search out what’s available for you.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY PERFORMANCES Tue 3 Jan, 2.30pm & Sat 7 Jan, 2.30pm  Children under 5 may attend these performances, and up to two children under 16 can go free with each full paying adult.

Duckie : Royal Festival Hall, (Ages 6+) Southbank, Runs 16 Dec–24 Dec. Tickets from £14 + fees.

The Red Shoes (Matthew Bourne Ballet) Sadlers Wells, Runs 6 Dec – 27 Jan (RT’ 2 hrs). From £35 for stalls.

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Peter PanNational Theatre (Age 7+) Runs from 17 Nov to 4th Feb (RT tbc). From £22

Kiki’s Delivery ServiceSouthwark Playhouse SE1, Runs Dec 8th to Jan 8th. From £16 kids and £64 for a family ticket.

The Little Match GirlShakespeare’s Globe, Runs Nov 24th to Jan 21st. From £10 for standing tickets

The Wind In The WillowsRose Theatre Kingston, Runs Dec 6th to Jan 3rd. From £10-£30 (various Family Ticket options)

All the AngelsShakespeare’s Globe, Runs Dec 6th to Feb 12th. Fixed Position Standing: £10 | Seated: £15 – £48 | Premium Tickets: £62

No Fit State Circus : Bianco, Hungerford Bridge Car Park Southbank, Runs Nov 23rd to Jan 22nd. Prices £39.50 £30 £25

Million Dollar Quartet, Royal Festival Hall, Saturday December 17 2016 – Monday January 2 2017. Tickets range from; £95 £79.50 £59.50 £49.50 £39.50 £20 (selected performances £95 £75 £55 £45 £35 £20)

Have you any suggestions and recommendations of shows I have missed out? Can you recommend any family friendly restaurants nearby the theatres ?

5 Reasons to Watch ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ at the Unicorn (6-12yrs)

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When the #busstopkids and I were invited to review this show at the Unicorn last weekend, I had to do a some research on what happened to Jason in this particular Greek Myth, incase the kids asked me any questions! (I never reached the classics department at school, too busy in the drama studio!)

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Valentina Ceschi, Dylan Townley, Dorian Simpson and Guy Rhys / Photography by Helen Murray

The research didn’t take long, I found a concise article on the BBC history site, that explained the story as …

“The Greek tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece has been told for 3,000 years. It’s a classic hero’s quest tale – a sort of ancient Greek mission impossible”.

Done job. Thanks BBC, again.

Here are 5 reasons you should book your ticket to see the show, which finishes next week on Oct 20th.

  1. The play has been produced with young kids in mind, it’s set within the frame of a video game, with the God Hera, setting Jason and his argonauts his challenges as if he is moving up through a game. Think Donkey Kong meets Fallout.
  2. I loved the set design. It’s simple, inventive and clever.
  3. The actors are able to turn what is a complex story with lots of twists, turns, deaths and tragedy into a fast paced show with live music, a sing-a-long theme tune, and a lightness of touch from the ensemble.
  4. It’s heart warming to watch the actors perform with such warmth and energy, and good therapy to think that the audience are learning about Classics.
  5. If you have a few hours to spare, you could do a lot worse than hang out down by the River Thames, with Borough Market, Tower Bridge and the Southbank all within 5 mins of the theatre. Also the Unicorn team always make your time with them, welcoming, easy and effortless. No problem is ever too small for their staff.
  6. If I had to give constructive feedback, I’d say it was 10 mins too long and at times I lost track of which place they were in … Though, the audience didn’t seem to mind about either of those things, so don’t take my word for it!
Valentina Ceschi as Medea and Dorian Simpson as Jason  Photography by Helen Murray
Valentina Ceschi as Medea and Dorian Simpson as Jason
Photography by Helen Murray

Here’s 4 handy facts about this Greek Myth

  1. Why a fleece? Fleeces are connected with magic in many folk traditions.
  2. The story is a set a generation before the time of the Trojan War, around 1300 BC
  3. The Greek claim that the Argo was the first ship ever built can not be true, but Jason’s journey was seen by the ancient Greeks as the first long-distance voyage ever undertaken.
  4. Lemnos, an island in the north-eastern Aegean was Jason’s first stop. This was a place inhabited by women who had murdered their husbands after being cursed by Aphrodite.
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Jason (Dorian Simpson), Atalanta (Valentina Ceschi) and Dylan Townley as musician Photography by Helen Murray

SHOW INFORMATION

Wednesday 12 October 2016, 10.30 relaxed performance

Join the team for a free post-show insight discussion after these performances: Thu 13 Oct, 1.30pm

SAT 15 OCT: MYTHS AND LEGENDS Take the stage for a truly dramatic workshop focusing on Jason & The Argonauts.

This event is part of Up Club+, tickets are £10 per child which includes a photo of you in action and a signed poster. Places are limited, book now to avoid disappointment.

The show is kindly supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Jason and the Argonauts is playing the Unicorn Theatre until 20 October 2016. For more information and tickets, see Unicorn Theatre website.

(So you know, we paid for 2 tickets and the #busstopkids were given complimentary ones).

5 Best Family October Half Term London Events

I hope you are well and really looking forward to making the most of 1/2 term for us with school aged kids… and for those of you with pint-sized babes not at school, then it’s that time when the venues become even more alive, so come and join us.

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To keep you up to speed, I’ve started an enterprising approach to getting us all out to these fantastic events. I’ve set up a company My Culture Club that curates all the best family things to do, and allows you book your tickets for through the website in one place.

No longer will you have to trawl between different websites, nor most importantly ever miss out on the best tickets in town again, as I will do all of this for you … and there are even a few goody bags, and smiles thrown in for good measure.

Here are my top 5 events for the October Half Term

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Judith Kerr in Conversation at the Unicorn Theatre (Age 8+).

Julia is one of the nation’s most celebrated and beloved authors. Join the Guardian children’s books editor Julia Eccleshare and Judith for a fascinating chat about escaping from Hitler, creating Mog and the Tiger, and about her latest book Mister Cleghorn’s Seal inspired by Judith’s father. There will be time to ask your own questions too.

Event Details ; Unicorn Theatre, London Bridge, SE1. Sunday, October 23, 2016 1:00pm  1:45pm

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Family Science Day ‘Surprising Senses’ at the RI (Families welcome, activities aimed at 6+)

It’s time for Family Fun Day at the Royal Institute. The team at the Ri will fill it to the brim with a sensational set of demonstrations, experiments and talks. This time, explore the limits of the human senses and get your hands, noses, tongues, eyes and ears ready for an unforgettable experience.

Drop in anytime to enjoy the short talks in the famous lecture theatre and get stuck in to experiments, creative activities and making things to take home. Suitable for children aged 6-12, though older and younger siblings and friends are very welcome.  There are activities on for everyone to do together.

Event Details; Royal Institution, Albemarle Street, W1, Sunday, October 30, 2016, 11:00am  4:00pm

Please note though, they don’t have any childcare facilities, so you’ll need to stay with your children at all times.The day is fully flexible, so you can drop in for 30 minutes, or stay for the whole five hours. Most people say they find there’s enough here to fill at least three hours. The event is especially suited to 6/7 year olds, but everyone is welcome. Tickets : Adults £16 & 3 – 18 year olds £9

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Family Fashion Workshop at the V&A Museum (Age 5+)

The Make-It family workshops at the V&A never disappoint. As to be expected with the award winning museum dedicated to nurturing and displaying the best of the creative industries, they know their onions. This workshop is bound to be seriously creative one, inspiring mini designers to produce some real couture.

Event Details; Art Studio in the Education Centre, V&A Museum, South Kensington, SW7, Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 10:30am  12:30pm

Very Limited Tickets, Advance booking essential. For 5-12 year olds. £12.00 per child, advance booking essential. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Max. 1 adult per child Recommended for ages 5+. There are two sessions for this event, one at 12.30 and the other at 2.30. If you would like to book for the afternoon session, please email me directly, and I will set up another booking page. sian.gwilliam@me.com.

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Dinosaurs : Monster Families Exhibition at the Horseman Museum (All Ages)

This museum is one of the most popular family stop offs for anyone passing through South London. It’s a must for Natural History lovers, and fans of all things scaly and covered in feathers. In the final weeks of this show, you will see life-size models of dinosaurs, the cast of an extinct Elephant Bird egg, and get stuck in to interactive learning stations.

Event Details; THE HORNIMAN PUBLIC MUSEUM AND PUBLIC PARK TRUST 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ

Under 3’s go free, Family Tickets £17, Adults £7, Children £4 (Image © Luis Rey)

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Around The World In 80 Days, Polka Theatre, Wimbledon (Ages 6-11)

Based on Jules Verne’s famous novel, Around the World in 80 Days is set to takes you on a musical adventure, and a high speed, mad-cap, transcontinental, race against the clock! For all the kids that thought Phileas Fogg was a rapper from NY, or a type of crisp, this show has already served an essential purpose in introducing families to Phil himself, and his faithful servant Passepartout. The plan is quite simple; navigate the globe in just 80 days.

Main Stage, 2 hours including interval, Tickets £13.50 | Concessions £10, £1.50 transaction charge per booking with the venue

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About

My Culture Club is your family events diary & personal concierge. I hand-pick the most interesting and most popular events in town, and schedule them way in advance so you can book your tickets in one place. I get discounts on tickets where where I can, and only choose the best seats for small people, I’m quite fussy, so you can be certain that if I wouldn’t pay for it myself, I certainly would ask you to.

5 Best Family Events to Book at The Royal Albert Hall

BBC Proms audience at the Royal Albert Hall
A packed Royal Albert Hall at a BBC Proms concert © Chris Christodoulou

Opened in 1871 to fulfil Prince Albert’s vision of a central hall to promote the arts and sciences, the Hall is a registered charity that remains true to his founding ambitions. It hosts over 400 events a year in its secondary space, the Elgar Room, and beyond, broadening the Hall’s appeal to incorporate younger and more diverse audiences.

Its Education & Outreach programme reaches more than 150,000 participants each year, working with schools, young people and the community, as well as other charities such as Music for Youth, as part of its extensive public benefit remit.

Their regular family strands like Storytelling take a break over the summer (whilst the proms happen) but make a note to go to one, they are a hot ticket in town.

Up family film screening 29 October 2016
Up family film screening as part of the Festival of Film
1. Family Screening of Up & Workshop on Saturday 29 October 2016 (Doors: 10:00am, 1:15pm, Starts: 10:30am, 1:30pm)

First up on the list is a Family film screening and workshop of the movie Up, read more here, which is part of The Royal Albert Hall’s Festival of Film (27 October – 6 November) which celebrates the magic of the movies, while shining a spotlight on cinema’s most stunning scores

The workshop will be led by musicians from the Royal Albert Hall’s resident Education & Outreach ensemble Albert’s Band. It will explore the film’s theme of going on an adventure to create new stories and music.

Tickets are available as an add-on after you have added tickets to the Family Film Screening of Up to your online basket, for just £6 per person.

All adults and children attending the workshop require a ticket, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. The workshop will run from 1.30pm – 3.00pm. The Film is rated certificate U. There is Unreserved theatre-style seating. All children must be accompanied by an adult. The Duration: 96 minutes

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2. INDEPENDENCE DAY LIVE ( FEATURING PRE-FILM TALK FROM DAVID ARNOLD) on Thursday 22 September 2016 (Doors: 6:15pm, Starts: 7:00pm)

Watch the movie Independence Day with Live Orchestra (12a) at this 20th anniversary show. The event kicks off with a pre-show talk from composer David Arnold, discussing his work scoring Independence DaySherlock, five 007 films and the London 2012 closing ceremony. Then the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Dodd, will take to the stage to provide live orchestral accompaniment to the movie on the big screen above.

The Film is rated certificate U, There is unreserved theatre-style seating, All children must be accompanied by an adult, Duration: 96 minutes

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War Horse illustration

3. War Horse: The Story in Concert (Thu 27 Oct) 

You will see the author take to the stage of the Royal Albert Hall to read his poignant, emotionally-charged novel, as the RPCO play a specially-arranged score by Adrian Sutton and John Tams, inspired by the music from the National Theatre’s hit West End production.

Published in 1982, the book was shortlisted for the Whitbread Book Award and became a beloved bestseller. It was turned into a hit National Theatre production in 2007, and then a hugely successful Steven Spielberg film four years later.

TICKETS : War Horse: The Story in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP, Thursday 27 October, 7:30pm, Tickets: £25-70, 020 7589 8212 / www.royalalberthall.com

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4. My Great Orchestral Adventure, Age 3+ ( Wednesday 26 October 2016, Doors: 12:15pm, 3:45pm, Starts: 1:00pm, 4:30pm)

This half-term family concert is aimed at children aged 3+ as a first magical introduction to a symphony orchestra. It will feature music that includes everything from ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ to Wagner to Star Wars. 

The conductor of the orchestra has lost his baton and is very unhappy. Come join them on a magical adventure to try and find it and help bring happiness back to the orchestra. There will be singing, dancing and best of all, a full symphony orchestra to bring the adventure to life.

Under 3s can attend and need to buy a ticket if they require a seat. Babes in arms do not need to buy a ticket.

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5. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial in Concert ( Wednesday 28 December 2016, Doors: 1:15pm, 6:15pm, Starts: 2:00pm, 7:00pm)

Following Raiders of the Lost Ark and the four sell-out shows of  Jurassic Park screenings, this astonishing Steven Spielberg/John Williams collaboration will receive its Royal Albert Hall debut, with the legendary score played live on stage by the Royal Philharmonic Concert orchestra.

This film has been rated U. The film will feature full original dialogue, which will also be subtitled.

 

5 Facts About The Wonderful Gifford’s Circus

Cover photo and images credit : Hywel Jenkins

Are you joining the  ‘My Culture Club‘  group trip on Friday 8th July to see this wonderful troupe of circus entertainers at Chiswick House? Because you are more than welcome to (leave a comment below if you want a ticket).

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Now the formal invitation is out the way, I have to say that myself and the #busstopkids are just a little excited about going to see Nell Gifford and her acclaimed show. The company (formed in 2000) has only ever had glowing reviews, and as I found out at the school gates last week, has a solid fan base, of families returning year after year. Sign up to my social media (on the home page) as I will be sure to be sharing photos and fun during our trip in July.

Here are a few facts, so you can impress your friends with general circus chit chat over the weekend. xo

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One of their performers Gabor Vosteen who played Mozart on five recorders, three in his mouth, one in each nostril.

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Tweedy is the name of the circus clown, he is famous in his own right, has is own website, merchandise and was born in Aberdeen.

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Lindsay Pugh, a costume designer for films [including Tim Burton’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory], has hand made costumes for Giffords in the past.

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As the show closes, all the children are encouraged to dance in the ring.

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Nell Gifford’s older sister, is Emma Bridgewater, a well-known pottery designer.

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And one for luck … It takes four months to train the animals for their parts in the show (and that bear there is not quite as clever as she seems).

 

The Almeida Drama Academy for 5-14 year olds

“It’s really quite unique, you get to learn about scripts, about what really happens in drama and I think the teachers are really nice.” – student, 9

The Almeida Academy is a programme of Saturday drama classes for children and young people aged 5 to 14.

The courses at this Islington theatre are run by industry professionals and give children and young people the opportunity to experiment with their creativity, build confidence, and develop talent.

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Although the teachers deliver a drama focus in their classes, kids also get to learn about movement, voice work, and the creative use of the voice and body for performance.

Sessions (which are split into ages 5 – 7, 8 – 10 and 11 – 14) start with warm up activities, and over the term will cover skills such as improvisation, playwriting, movement, voice work, devising and storytelling. The classes end with the kids sharing and evaluating each others work.

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Weekly classes last an hour and a half, and the themes of the theatres shows inspire the workshops. It’s worth knowing that the educators always ensure that they tailor the time to the skills of the group, so all new kids will be given the confidence to grow, whilst the more experienced kids build on their talents.

Then the exciting bit, is that during the course of the year, there will be opportunities for the work of the Almeida Academy to be performed to an audience. Oh! and there is never any homework, apart from the kids being a little bit ‘dramatic’ at home occasionally!

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Booking info;

Sign up at the start of each term, or book now for all three terms at a reduced rate*

Saturday sessions: 

5 – 7 year olds | 1.15 – 2.45pm

8 – 11 year olds | 3 – 4.30pm

12 – 14 year olds | 4.45 – 6.15pm

Address:

Almeida Theatre Rehearsal Room
108 Upper Street
London N1 1QN

Booking;

Book your place now by calling the Box Office on 020 7359 4404.

Prices :

£150 per term  *£400 for the full year when booking three terms together

Photo credits;
Eileen Walsh and Adam Greaves-Neal in #LittleEyolf by Henrik Ibsen | adapted and directed by Richard Eyre | Photo: Hugo Glendinning
Audiences at the Almeida Theatre before The Odyssey | 12 Nov 2015 | Almeida Greeks | almeida.co.uk/odyssey | Photo: Manuel Harlan

Noodoll Need Kids aged 5-8 Who Like Goody Bags!

pineapple-coco-bonbonNoodoll are  looking for children aged 5 – 8 to test their new Ricemonster activity book!

Our lovely friends over at Noodoll have been working on a new Ricemonster activity book and now we are looking for some kids to come and test some pages!

On 7 & 8th July 4pm till 5.30pm they’re inviting you to bring your kids to the Noodoll studio to try out some of the activities in their new book. Spend an hour and a half testing out fun activities including drawing, colouring and puzzles! There will be drinks and snacks and each child will get a goody bag to take away!

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If you’re interested in coming along get in touch on hello@noodoll.com, please let them know how many children you will be bringing, their ages and which day you would like to come.

It will be held in their studio in Old St – Unit 4, 7 Wenlock Rd, N1 7SL.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email them. They’re excited and looking forward to meeting you!

Septimus Bean and His Amazing Machine, Unicorn Theatre (Age 4+) : Bus Stop Family Review

“This is a wonderful production for young children” – Laura, Mum

“It was so funny” – Tommy, 4

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My husband and I attended the Unicorn Theatre’s terrific production of Septimus Bean and His Amazing Machine with our nine-year-old daughter and four-year-old son and were all captivated from the very start. In my son’s words, “It was so funny!”

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The set was decorated with portraits of the king and queen in the styles of various famous artists, and before the play began, my daughter, husband and I had fun identifying references to everyone from Boticelli and Dali to van Gogh and Warhol. (In fact, it got me thinking about ways to have fun with some family portraits of our own.)

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Then the action began. Septimus Bean is an inventor who makes machines so marvelous, he simply must present them at the palace. The only issue is that he’s never quite sure what his creations actually do.

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As he, King Alfred the Third and Queen Petronella puzzle this out, again and again (and again) and in wonderful rhyming verse, hilarity ensues.

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Fionn Gill as Septimus Bean was superbly adept at infecting the youngsters in his audience with enthusiasm for his ever-more-fabulous inventions–when we attended, children were actually calling out to him throughout the performance.

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Terence Frisch and Llewella Gideon as the king and queen are wonderful comic actors who had everyone laughing.

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*****SPOILER ALERT!*****

Most exciting of all was the play’s finale, which had the audience exit the theatre to see what had had become of Septimus’s latest creation. All of its odd components had been set up around the theatre’s entrance hall as Bean Park, a fantastical children’s play area.

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Both of my children, even the older one who had found the play a bit young for her, had a grand time feeding balls into twisty transparent tubes, using a pump to blow a foam ball into the air, taking apart and remaking an enormous magnetic puzzle, stomping on pedals to operate a fountain and sliding down a small chute, to name but some of the activities.

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We were among the last to leave, and my children have been conceiving of ingenious improvements to our modest climbing frame ever since.

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This is a wonderful production for young children.13322080_10150642225859950_3692141217541724397_n

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JOIN US ON A CULTURE CLUB FAMILY TRIP

Join the Culture Club members, and come along to a special workshop & see the show. Register your details on the Culture Club website here.

Date : June 26th

Workshop  : 1200-1300

Show : 1100

Workshop £5.00

Children £10

Adults £16

(All bookings subject to a my culture club £2.50 concierge fee per person).


SIGN UP AND FOLLOW THE CULTURE CLUB GANG
 
WHATS ON FOR YOU | Beautiful the Musical | Gifford’s Circus | Tate Modern Family Tours | Nature Explorers Day Camp | Matilda the Musical | TEDx London

5 Family Things To Do at the Tate Modern

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1. BESPOKE FAMILY TOURS

It goes without saying you should book onto one of the bespoke Tate Tour events I am running at My Culture Club. You can choose from family friendly private tours for under 5’s, for older kids and then for everyone (1 hr in duration). I run them monthly, and the next ones are in May half Term on June 3rd. There is a baby-friendly one at 10am, and one for kids aged 6+ and their parents at 11.30.

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2. SONIC TRAILS & THE DRAWING BAR

Get out your mobile device and check out Sonic Trails. Click, play and go on a sound journey through the gallery. Inspired by the artwork you’ve seen on your visit? Or, take a break and get creative at the Bloomberg Connects Drawing Bar, near the café on Level 1.

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3. EXHIBITIONS KIDS GO FREE UNDER 12

Family tickets are available for all their special exhibitions. Where under 12s go free (up to four per parent or guardian). If you’re wanting to be super organised, you could download this map, and plan your time around the museum. Then again, you could be like us, and enjoy a freestyle run around, and hang out in the shops for most of your time perusing the brilliant kids and art books.

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4. SPECIAL FAMILY EVENTS

Check the website here for the special family events that are happening at the museum. There are often free daily activities, workshops which allow you to explore different ideas about contemporary art with invited artists and educators.

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Pick-up the latest free, artist-designed activity and explore Tate Modern’s spaces and art displays in new ways, with exciting ideas to get you talking and creating in the galleries together as a family. Choose from activities that take you through art displays, from the Tanks to the Start Gallery and many of the spaces in-between.

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5. FOOD

This should probably be the first thing on the list, tips on where to eat. At the moment (May 16) the Tate Modern Cafe is currently closed for refurbishment. The Kitchen and Bar on Level 6, will provide a family-friendly casual dining experience with a menu consisting of bar snacks and small plates serving well-known English and international classic dishes such as fish and chips and spaghetti bolognaise. There are small espresso bars around the museum, where you can grab a drink and snack. Kids can eat for free in the cafés when an adult buys a main course from the menu.

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SOCIAL MEDIA

I want to hear what you think of Tate and our My Culture Club Tate Tours. Tweet your chirpy messages and check out Tate Kids to use your Tate inspiration to make your own creations and share with kids around the world. I’d love to hear from you on any of the wizard-y media ways below …

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest

 

ZooNation ‘Into The Hoods Remixed’ : Bus Stop Kids Review

I am Sofia and I a nearly 8 years old. I went to watch Into The Hoods with my mum on Friday night. It was really good and I have never seen dancing like that. It looked like slow motion when they were jumping. My favourite character was a boy called Jaxx. He could really move. I loved seeing the street dancing on the stage like that. The story was easy to follow and I really enjoyed the twists on the familiar fairytale themes.

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I am Sofia’s mum. This was definitely a night out with my daughter that I easily enjoyed as much as her! The music was nostalgia central and had me bopping in my seat. The spin on the fairy tale characters was witty and out loud funny in many places. It was hugely entertaining to see the characters performs some incredible dance moves that not only move the story along and express the characters but in a kind of ‘dance off’ vibe also served to showcase the performers individual extraordinary dance talents.

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I would totally recommend this for all ages. The place was packed with families, couples, and singles so you definitely won’t feel out of place. It’s even cool enough for your teenagers, of which there were a fair few that night!! Seriously, don’t miss it.

If you want to read a bit more about the brilliant Kate Prince, Artistic Director of Zoonation, here’s a Q&A about her 5 Favourite London places, and find out more about the fantastic kids Saturday Dance Academy that she runs, check out their website here.

If you’d like to take your Bus Stop Kid to review a show for us, drop me aline here at sian.gwilliam@me.com, we’d love to have your  join the gang.

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SHOW INFO : ZooNation Dance Company; Into the Hoods: Remixed

Friday 4 May – Saturday 21 May 2016

Performances: Tue – Sat at 7.30pm, Sat at 2.30pm & Sun at 2pm & 6pm

Tickets: £15 – £38 (Under 16s half price)

Ticket Office: 020 7863 8222 or www.peacocktheatre.com

Image credit front cover : Corey Culverwell in Into the Hoods Remixed.© Hugo Glendinning. 

 

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Into The Hoods: Remixed features music from James Brown, Queen Latifah, Jay Z, Jennifer Hudson, Kool + The Gang, Salt n Pepa, Chemical Brothers, Kano, MC Hammer and new original work from Danilo ‘DJ’ Walde (Some Like it Hip Hop, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party). The newly revamped show is once again directed and written by Kate Prince and features an updated creative team with musical direction by Danilo DJ’ Walde, set design by Ben Stones, video design by Andrzej Goulding, costume design by Ben Stones and Russell Royer and lighting design by Andy Murrell. The production also features Carrie-Anne Ingrouille as associate director and Rowen Hawkins as associate choreographer.

5 Weekend Family Events for London Kids 

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1) Imperial College Festival
This festival has hands-on science experiments, music workshops, comedy, dance, cookery and more, for the whole family. Free, just turn up, 12pm, until 8 May

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2) The Showstoppers’ Fantastical Story, Udderbelly, Southbank (Age 6+)

A team of award-winning West End improvisers explore magical kingdoms as you decide what happens next. But grown-ups take heed – they only take suggestions from kids…

Saturday 7 May, Sunday 19 June & Saturday 2 July, 1.30pm

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3) St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, WC2
All ages Creative family fun with a historical twist. Choose from over 100 replica brasses from churches and cathedrals across the UK and try brass rubbing with a range of specialist papers and metallic waxes. Saturday – 10:00am, Sunday – 11:30am

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4) Under the Sea Family discovery Day, British Museum, WC1

All ages A day of creative activities. Make your own artwork, take part in storytelling sessions, and explore the galleries. Saturday – 12:00pm to 6.00pm

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5) Covent Garden May Fayre

Choose from a puppet festival, workshops, stalls, live music and a quick visit to the Dr Martens shop. The May Fayre is a very British affair, celebrating Mr Punch and Judy in all their glory, and apparently they will feel very at home in Covent Garden, as that’s where it all started back in 1662. Sunday from 1030am.

Credit image : V&A Childhood museum

 

The 5 Best My Culture Club Family Events To Book Now

” The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain”. – Dolly Parton.

Ok, Ok, so this is a little biased, but you can’t blame a girl for trying. I’ve been getting my head down recently, setting up my events and concierge company My Culture Club.

In a nutshell, the site will offer curated group events, often at a fraction of the published price. The aim is to get like minded people to make friends, and help families and all of us to get out and about and make the most of the exciting things to do in London and around. Call me your Social PA, your Culture Girl, or your private tour guide, I’m fine with all of the above and more.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, good and bad, I would be over the moon if you could spare 5 mins to tell me what you think of the idea, and if there are any improvements I can make.

Here is a pick of 5 of the events you can book now, there are more on the site. Leave me a comment any which way to request your tickets. EmailFacebookInstagramTwitter.

Hope to see you at an event soon. Sian xo

1. AURORA ORCHESTRA, AGATHA THE PIRATE : KINGS PLACE, SUNDAY, 8 MAY 2016 : 11AM (AGES 0-4) From £5

Join Aurora for a swashbuckling treasure hunt adventure with Agatha the Pirate. With brand new chamber arrangements of music by Béla Bartók, audiences will meet a host of glimmering jellyfish, sail the high seas and play hide-and-seek with a wonderfully wicked parrot.

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2. BABY FRIENDLY PRIVATE TOUR, TATE MODERN, SE1 (AGES 0+), 10-11AM, FRIDAY JUNE 3RD, £15 PER FAMILY

I’m excited to be working with the team at the Tate, and hosting this baby friendly private tour at the Tate Modern. The tour will focus on the display Material Worlds wing. Come along with your kids and bring friends, make friends or just get out of the house to soak up some culture.

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3. SEPTIMUS BEAN (AGE 4+), SHOW & WORKSHOP, UNICORN THEATRE SE1, SUNDAY JUNE 26TH, 11AM, FROM £12.50

Septimus Bean has invented a very great machine but is yet to work out what it is for. With the help of the king and court, he finds out lots of things that it isn’t for and one unexpected thing that it is utterly perfect for.

This comical, rhythmical and inventive show, based on the much-loved book, will be a highly enjoyable performance for the summer months. We need little inventors to stick around after the show and help us build the magical machine! We’ll be pasting, painting, drawing and sticking – it will get messy.

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4. FAMILY FUN DAY: IMAGINATIVE INVENTIONS, THE ROYAL INSTITUTION, SUNDAY 15 MAY 2016, 11-4PM, (ALL AGES), FROM £9.50

From the ancient Greeks to the modern day, inventions have shaped the way society has grown and the world has progressed, with many of these important developments invented right here at the Ri. Hear from Adam Hart-Davis, get hands-on, see demos, and explore the amazing inventions that have shaped our modern world.

Family Fun Day activities are suitable for 6-12 year olds though older and younger siblings also very welcome.

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5. GIFFORDS CIRCUS, (FAMILY) CHISWICK HOUSE & GARDENS, FRIDAY 8TH JULY 5PM, FROM £19.50

Giffords Circus was started in 2000 by Nell and Toti Gifford. They wanted to create a small traditional circus company that would bring the magic of circus back to British audiences. Since then the pair have been touring with a troupe of performance artists, musicians, horses and wagons producing unique circus shows and experience, loved by all the family, young and old. Giffords tour much of rural Gloucestershire, South West and Festival

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and one for luck … MATILDA THE MUSICAL, CAMBRIDGE THEATRE, (AGE 6+) TUESDAY 6TH & 7TH SEPT, 7PM (&7.30pm)

Matilda The Musical is the multi-award winning musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company, inspired by the beloved book by the incomparable Roald Dahl. Winner of over 50 major international awards, including 13 for Best Musical, Matilda continues to delight audiences in London, Australia, on Broadway and on tour around the USA.

 

 

A Bus Stop Review of BalletLorent’s Snow White

Last weekend at the annual Sadlers Wells Family Weekend one of our dedicated Bus Stop Families reviewed the Snow White ballet.

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About balletLORENT

Artistic Director Liv Lorent (MBE) set up the contemporary dance company based in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1993. Her mission and main objective (apart from producing beautiful work) is finding and developing talent. The company offer dance training to all ages, and more than this, they nurture their dancers guiding them through their professional careers.

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Photo of local school children from Vittoria Primary School : non-production image.

Wherever they are on tour, balletLORENT will cast local school children in their shows (aged 6 – 9) who don’t have to have had any dance experience. The Snow White show included 12 children from Vittoria Primary School, from the local Islington borough.

Your Bus Stop Reviewers are Mama Jocelyn and little Busstopkid Daphne, grab your tickets, and enjoy…

The Ballet; Snow White

Snow White is the second of balletLORENT’s trilogy of fairytale adaptations written by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. This mystical adaptation of this classic Brothers Grimm fairytale is co-produced by Northern Stage and commissioned by Sadler’s Wells.

SNOW WHITE_BalletLORENT, DANCERS; Gwen Berwick, Akeim Toussaint Buck, Gavin Coward, Toby Fitzgibbons, John Kendall, Caroline Reece, Ray Roa, Juliet Thompson, Natalie Trewinnard, Philippa White, Giulia Coti Zelati,
Artistic Director Liv Lorent has said:  “Snow White is so much about the fear of losing beauty and power as a woman, and the challenging pursuit that so many of us have: to capture a desired reflection of ourselves.”

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Family storytelling activities during the weekend
Sadlers Well’s theatre and the Lilian Baylis venue were brimming with activities to delight children of all ages.
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 Crown making in the foyer at Sadlers Wells
Daphne especially enjoyed crown-making and an adult-led dance session that had her and the other children physically emoting over t-shirts and whirling madly round the mezzanine.
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The centrepiece of the family weekend was balletLORENT’s Snow White, a stunning retelling of the fairytale.

SNOW WHITE_BalletLORENT, DANCERS; Gwen Berwick, Akeim Toussaint Buck, Gavin Coward, Toby Fitzgibbons, John Kendall, Caroline Reece, Ray Roa, Juliet Thompson, Natalie Trewinnard, Philippa White, Giulia Coti Zelati,

 Liv Lorent’s gorgeous choreography was well-matched by Phil Eddols’ ingenious set design with the main feature serving as a rotating forest, throne, mirror and cottage. There, the dancers beautifully manifested the story.
The company included many child dancers, which I think is so encouraging and engaging for the children in the audience. It provides them with their own mirror to see themselves on the stage and as participants in the story-telling.
SNOW WHITE_BalletLORENT, DANCERS; Gwen Berwick, Akeim Toussaint Buck, Gavin Coward, Toby Fitzgibbons, John Kendall, Caroline Reece, Ray Roa, Juliet Thompson, Natalie Trewinnard, Philippa White, Giulia Coti Zelati,
Daphne told me that her favourite part of the ballet was when Snow White was dancing with her mother, the Queen, who in this version of the story is her jealous betrayer and rival. Not to worry, in the end mother and daughter reunite in forgiveness and love.

SNOW WHITE_BalletLORENT, DANCERS; Gwen Berwick, Akeim Toussaint Buck, Gavin Coward, Toby Fitzgibbons, John Kendall, Caroline Reece, Ray Roa, Juliet Thompson, Natalie Trewinnard, Philippa White, Giulia Coti Zelati,

My favorite bits were the set itself, the use of fabric to extend and emphasize the dancing, the glorious performances of Natalie Trewinnard as Snow White and Caroline Reece as the Queen, and the equally graceful and rough-hewn movements of the miners. If you have the opportunity, see it and take your little ones with you.
FIND OUT MORE
Stay in touch with them on  Facebook or TwitterYoutube

UK TOUR & SHOW INFO

Snow White premiered at Northern Stage on the 16th October 2015. Recommended Age 7+ The running time: 1 hour 44 minutes, including a 20 minute interval.

NEWCASTLE

31st Mar – 2nd Apr Northern Stage, Newcastle 0191 230 5151
Thurs 6pm£24 – £14.50 northernstage.co.uk
Fri & Sat 2pm & 7pm Students & U21s £12

OXFORD

8th – 9th April Oxford Playhouse 01865 305305
Fri 7pm£19 – £11 oxfordplayhouse.com
Sat 2pm & 7pm Family Ticket £60

If you want to see more, here is a clip of their recent show Rapunzel.

The Family Weekend at Sadlers Wells

The team put on some great activities to entertain the kids over the weekend, here is a look at what the other Bus Stop Kids got up to…

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Face painting in the foyer during the weekend

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A Tree of dreams.

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A Wall of Pants and more clothes to tell your story with.

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The story writing wall ‘ Once Upon A Wall’.

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Screen printing inspired by Snow White, and a drop in session with professional dancers.

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ALL images and text copyright Sian Gwilliam at My Culture Club and Creative Bus Stop 2016.

39 Activities & Day Trips for London Kids

Morning All, So I was thinking, and realised that there are many posts on this Bus Stop that might be useful to you now the sun is shining. I’ve been presumptous and listed them for you in one place.

Think of it as a map to your family weekend, or just food for thought… either way, I hope it helps when you have no energy left to think about what to do tomorrow, because you have been tidying up aqua beads from behind the sofa, and cleaning the back of the fridge again.

Dont forget to drop me aline if you have any specific requests of where/ what and when to do it in the capital (no nut allergies here) I love to be asked. Also don’t forget the EVENTS DIARY on the bus stop homepage that lists events and workshops for you. xo

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1. National Trust places around London. You know you have to visit one of these days!

2. The Best of Kids Theatre. Book it Danno, or Julia, or Colin… whoever is paying.

3. Family Dance Shows at Sadlers Wells. They love kids it over there, and dance is not just for the school disco you know.

4. The Best Backstage Theatre Tours in London. Everyone loves a behind-the-scenes moment, so here’s your chance.

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5. 10 Fantastic Family Days Out in London. The names on the tin, so to speak.

6. Craft Project : Make a Tea Cup Garden.

7. A Top 5 Best Ever Summer Days Out in London

8. 49 Summer London Activities for Kids. Can anyone think of 1 more? I hate odd numbers.

9. Explore Secret Gardens in the Capital. Don’t say I told you so.

10. Visit a Nature Club in London. You’ll feel all warm and cosy afterwards.

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11. A Top 5 BEST Beaches near London. Family Railcard & A Bucket and Spade, ready steady go.

12. Top 5 House Swaps Sites for your Summer Holiday.

13. Top 5 London Days Out for Under 5’s.

14.  Top 5 English Heritage Castles and Palaces.

15. Top 5 Best City Breaks for your Get A Way from the washing up

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16. Top 5 Fountains for playing in around London.

17. Top 5 of places Kids eat FREE in London… now you can have that 2nd glass of rose.

18. The Best Delicious Dim Sum in London Town.

19.  Top 5 Educational Websites for Kids

20.  Top 5 Kids Magazines that make the perfect birthday gift.

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21. Music Courses and Classes around town for all the family. Time to pass on your musical genes.

22. Craft Project : Make a Leaf Man/Lady.

23. Visit The Queen at Buck Palace, a Top 5 of the Best Royal Venues in London.

24. The Bluest Bluebell woods near London want you to show off to you.

25.  The Best Science Kids Clubs. Bang Whizz,  you’re a scientist.

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26. Grab the train direct from St Pancras and visit Whitstable for the day.

27. Look after your grey matter with 10 TED talks about Education.

28. Get inspired and find out where Kate Prince hangs out in London.

29. Check yourself into a family workshop at The National Theatre.

30. Pack a picnic and check out a Heritage Trust Property.

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31. Treat yourself to this fab HUMAN BODY APP.

32. Set your heights and watch Brooke climb in this inspiring video.

33. Find your inner Matisse with one of these ART-Y books.

34. Get Happy with a super easy finger printing project.

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35. It’s simple, go to the park, a royal one at that.

36. Book your Summer Holiday camp now.

37. Clean your tent ready for the Best Family Festivals this Summer.

38. Tap shoes at the ready, book a Drama Holiday Camp today.

39. Dim Sum for lunch ? Here are some suggestions.

 

Best Bluebell Woods In and Near London

Did you know that bluebell sap was used to bind pages to the spines of books, and the Victorians used the starch from crushed bluebells to stiffen the ruffs of their collars and sleeves?

Also, Bees can ‘steal’ nectar from bluebells by biting a hole in the bottom of the bell, reaching the nectar without pollinating the flower (thanks visit woods.org.uk).

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In the UK the bluebell is a protected species and it is a criminal offence to remove the plants. These flowers also don’t grow wild anywhere else in Europe. (Loud applause for British nature!).

If you spot them, they can signify that you’re in an area of ancient woodland. Each ancient wood is unique with its own local soil, environment, wildlife and cultural history. For this reason ancient woodland is irreplaceable.

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Bluebell season normally lasts from about mid-April until mid-May, There are definitely some to be seen in London’s Woods and Parks and open spaces, like Bluebell Wood near Muswell Hill, Hampstead Heath and Kenwood House, Battersea Park, Kew Gardens, and Sydenham Hill to name but a few.

Out of Town

If you have the time, you should make a day trip of it and find a bluebell event, and even take your own factsheet with you. We had a fun day out hunting down bluebells last year. We left it a bit late in May and couldn’t find any, but did have a very fun day in the country side, complete with rolling down hills, and of course ice cream from the National Trust shop. I’ve sourced a few places that are within easy reach of London. Let me know how you get on, I’d love you to share your photos with me over on my instagram sian_gwilliam. xo

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Bluebell Facts

Bluebells are particularly distinctive with their vibrant blue-purple flowers. There are two types of bluebell found in the UK, native and Spanish bluebells. Cross-breeding between the two species means you may spot flowers which combine traits from both.

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Emmets Garden, Kent

Charming Emmetts Garden is an Edwardian estate that was owned by Frederic Lubbock, becoming both a plantsman’s passion and a much-loved family home.

The garden was laid out in the late 19th century,  and was influenced by William Robinson. It contains many exotic and rare trees and shrubs from across the world.

Standing on one of the highest spots in Kent, Emmetts Garden offers panoramic views over the unspoilt Weald as well as some great walking opportunities.

When you visit, you can explore the rose and rock gardens, take in the views and enjoy shows of spring flowers and shrubs, followed by vibrant autumn colours.

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Runnymede, Surrey

Seen by many as the birthplace of modern democracy, this picturesque open landscape beside the Thames was witness to King John’s historic sealing of the Magna Carta 800 years ago on 15 June 1215.

Across the river from Runnymede you’ll find this timeless, secluded collection of woods and fields. The area is home to varied wildlife, the ruins of a 12th century priory and a the National Trusts oldest tree.

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The Ankerwycke yew, is an iconic 2,500 year old yew is steeped in history. According to popular belief, it was beneath this tree that King Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn, and some reports suggest that he even proposed in its shadow

Address : Windsor Road, near Old Windsor, Surrey, SL4 2JL. ( SatNav: Use postcode TW20 0AE). 

By Train; The entrance is approximately 2 miles (3.2km) from Egham train station, and can be reached using the First 71 bus route. To plan a train journey please use the National Rail journey planner. Traveling from Heathrow: You can take the Underground from Terminal 1-3 to Hatton Cross, connect with the 490 bus to Feltham, then take the National Rail service to Egham.

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Arlington, Sussex

Eight one-mile trails cut across this lovely bit of East Sussex woodland. Head for the well-marked bluebell wood first, then pop over to neighbouring Parkwood Farm to see the pigs, sheep and goats. You can also book a posh camping holiday at the Loveabell tent site. They have an exclusive use of a field which sits adjacent to the famous bluebell woods in the heart of this beautiful location.

Adults £4, children £1.50, bluebellwalk.co.uk

Address; Bates Green Farm, Tye Hill Road, Arlington, Pollenate, East Sussex, BN26 6SH. Tel 01323 485151

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Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

Ashridge Estate is a 2,000 hectare (5,000 acres) area of the Chiltern Hills with beech and oak woodlands, commons and chalk downlands. It’s very popular with dog walkers, joggers and families from near and far. You can park in Tring, grab a pint from the local pub after your walk. The area around the estate supports a rich variety of wildlife, including carpets of bluebells in spring, rare butterflies in summer and the fallow deer that rut in autumn. 

Address: Moneybury Hill, Ringshall, Near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 1LT

Road; The entrance to Monument Drive and the Estate Visitor Centre is off the B4506 between Berkhamsted and DagnallParking: FreeSatNav: HP4 1LX

Train; Tring train station 1¾ miles – from the station you can take a taxi or follow our walk at the bottom of this page. Ivinghoe Beacon: Cheddington train station 3½ miles

10 Best TED Talks about Education

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“Before she was my daughter, now I am her father” – Ziauddin Yousafzai

TED Talks are a major source of inspiration for educators who need a morale boost, a discussion starter, or a new approach to their work. Thanks to Edudemic for putting this 10 Best list together. Please share your favourite TED talks in the comments box below, we love a personal trip off at the Bus Stop.

The Danger of Silence

Poet and teacher Clint Smith encourages viewers to speak up against ignorance and injustice. He begins with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” It is upon those words that he bases one of his classroom principles — tell your truth. This is the TED Talk that you should share with your students to show them that silence can be dangerous, and that their voices and opinions have value.

Why Lunch Ladies are Heroes

Children’s book author Jarrett Krosoczka focuses on lunch ladies in his graphic novels and his TED Talk. He points out that cafeteria workers often are disrespected despite the work they do to care for students, from reporting concerns to spearheading projects to feeding kids during summer breaks. Krosoczka reminds educators that one way to foster a culture of gratitude and thankfulness in schools is to begin with the lunch ladies. By doing so, you can create a more productive and positive atmosphere in your own school.

My Daughter, Malala

Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for advocating for girls’ education in Pakistan, and recently became the youngest Nobel Prize recipient in history. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, a Pakistani educator, explains that education gives girls in developing countries an identity and is equivalent to emancipation. He describes the power of Malala’s advocacy, and his message of not clipping her wings resonates with educators who understand that every child deserves access to an equal education. Yousafzai reminds educators of the value of their work and instills the power education can give to a child.

Embrace the Near Win

Art historian Sarah Lewis describes the moment she realized not every piece of art is a masterpiece, and relates the almost-failures and near-wins to success and motivation. She explains that success motivates us, but near-wins propel us further; for example, silver medalists are more motivated for their next competition than bronze medalists. This is an important lesson for educators. First, it reminds us that our students need to see the value in their mistakes. Second, it reminds us why we must encourage students to set short-term goals.

Success, Failure, and the Drive to Keep Creating

After facing six years of rejection, author Elizabeth Gilbert attained unimaginable success with her book, “Eat, Pray, Love.” Yet she felt just like she had as a failure. She explains that failure and success catapult us so far from our norm that we lose ourselves. The only way to handle success and failure is to get back to your home, the thing that you love so much that the results are inconsequential. Teachers today face more criticism and backlash than ever before, but with Gilbert’s advice, we can continue teaching with diligence. Our home is in the classroom, doing what we love.

Teach Teachers how to Create Magic

A veteran teacher, Christopher Emdin wants teachers to learn how to create magic to engage students and teach at the same time. He points out that teacher prep programs do not instruct in engaging ways, yet administrators expect teachers to engage students. Emdin advocates for teacher training programs to focus on basic engagement skills by allowing student teachers to visit places featuring engagement masters, from rap concerts, to Sunday services in black churches, to barber shops. The talk itself serves as a model of engaging instruction, and educators can immediately apply Emdin’s strategies in their own classrooms.

How Your “Working Memory” Makes Sense of the World

Educational psychologist Peter Doolittle’s humorous, insightful talk describes how important, yet limited, our working memory is. Working memory allows us to do things like store immediate experiences, pull information from long-term memory, and process knowledge for our current goals. People with high working memory capacity are effective storytellers, do well on standardized tests, and have high writing and reasoning abilities. While working memory has limited capacity, this video shows educators how they can use strategies to help students take in information and process it by allowing them to talk and write about their learning, practice using imagery, and structure their knowledge in an organized way.

Every Kid Needs a Champion

An educator for 40 years, Rita Pierson understands the importance of educators having faith in their students and connecting with them on a meaningful, personal level. With humor and passion, Pierson speaks from the heart and advocates for relationships between teachers and students. She says, “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like” and offers personal examples of how creating relationships with students made her job rewarding and students’ achievements possible. This wildly popular TED Talk is one that no educator, practicing or retired, should miss, because it reminds us of the crucial role we play in our students’ lives.

How to Escape Education’s Death Valley

Sir Ken Robinson is well known for his humorous, yet insightful education talks. In this talk, he addresses the dropout rate and numbers of disengaged students in America. He highlights how current educational practices work against the three principles that are essential for the human mind to flourish, and clearly explains how successful systems support learning and teaching. Using a metaphor of a dormant “death valley,” Robinson advocates for a revolution to inspire true teaching and learning to help our educational system flourish. Educators will appreciate Robinson’s frank discussion and consider how they can get their students to flourish.

The Key to Success? Grit

Angela Lee Duckworth left a consulting job to teach seventh-grade math in a New York public school, and realized that IQ was not the top factor separating successful students from struggling ones. After leaving the classroom to pursue a psychology degree, Duckworth studied students in a range of settings and found that a factor called “grit” predicts success. Grit means having the stamina, passion, and perseverance to pursue long-term goals. For educators to build grit in students, they must foster a growth mindset in kids and teach them failure is not permanent. Rather, students need to learn from mistakes and keep moving forward. An essential lesson teachers should incorporate into their daily educational tasks.

TED Talks cover a multitude of education-related topics, and there are other talks available for educators and students to watch together that may change the way you teach and think.

31 Great Fun Easter Holiday Activities in London 

No need to start hunting for activities to do with the kids now … i’ve listed a whole basket full of fun for you below. If you haven’t seen it, there is a calendar of events at the bottom of the blog. I try and update it regularly, so if like me, you often make a decision on the day. It’s there just for you. Happy Hunting. xo

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1. Westminster Abbey (All Ages : Free) March 28 – 01April

There are Easter Craft Activities running from Monday 28th March through to Friday 1st April hourly from at 11am to  2.00pm. Also at the Abbey you can join in with the event Bloody Noses and Crack’d Crowns part of Shakespeare and the Abbey, (Tuesday 29th March and Thursday 31st March at 11.30am, 1.00pm or 2.30pm). All events are free, and children must be accompanied by an adult.

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Kew Gardens

2. Kids Go Free at Kew (All Ages : Free) Every Day

As one of the most famous gardens in the world, Kew Gardens is a great day out for all the family, whether you are wandering amid the 326 acres of outdoor greenery or taking in one of the many glasshouse displays. Plan your visit and read more about their Easter activities here Kew Palace London Children go free from 19 March to 10 April 2016, adult tickets cost £12.75

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3. Raven Watching and A Tudor Festival at The Tower of London (All Ages : Ticketed) Every Day

Soak up some British history this Easter at one of London’s top historical attractions, the Tower of London. Learn about the Crown Jewels, the tower ravens, 500-year-old royal armour and more. A note for you diary is the Tudors festival that runs between 30 April and 2nd May. You can immerse yourself in a living Tudor world in the Tower’s moat. Help King Henry VIII’s courtiers to prepare for the coronation of Anne Boleyn.

Tower of London tour: Child tickets from £9.25, adult tickets from £18.95.

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Harry Potter / Johnny Duddle

4. Harry Potter Walking Tours (Ages 5+ : Ticketed) Various Dates

The walking tour deal for two, priced at £24, includes visiting the Ministry of Magic, the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron and lots of places that were featured in the films, as well as some iconic historical landmarks of the capital. Nimbus 2000 flyers are welcome to join the tour.

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5. Royal Academy Family Workshop (All Ages : Free) Sunday 17 April

Join RA printmaking fellow Josie Molloy for this print extravaganza. Grab a screen and get inky fingers in this portable pop up print-fest. Sunday 17 April 2016. 11am — 3pm. The John Madejski Fine Rooms, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts (Free, no booking required). These drop-in workshops are suitable for all ages.

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6. Kings Cross Easter Fun Day (All Ages : Free) Saturday 26 March

On Saturday 26th March, head to King’s Boulevard and board their Easter Train for a day of family fun. The special road train will journey to Granary Square, where you’ll meet giant bunnies armed with baskets of yummy treats. Show off your creative skills and take part in the Japanese kawaii-inspired Easter egg decorating competition – you might even win a prize!

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Last stop on this Easter journey is the Skip Garden, with garden tours between 10am – 12pm and 2pm – 4pm, and a chance to meet the Skip Garden’s resident chickens! The Easter Train will run from 10am – 4pm. All events are free, and no booking is required.

7. Storystock Story Festival (All Ages : Free/Ticketed) 6-8th April

They will be bringing stories to life from the 6th-8th April with author talks, live literature shows, Greek Myths, the Gruffalo, Shakespeare and the Tiger who Came to Tea, The Wimpy Kid and The Blue Kangaroo. There is something for everyone, as well as an all day doodling cafe, bookshop and tasty treats from the cafe. Tickets from £4 – £8 (suitable for ages 2-11). Bookings via the Omnibus website above.

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© MARTIN PARR / MAGNUM PHOTOS

8. Martin Parr’s Exhibition at The Barbican (All Ages : Kids Free, Adult Tickets) Until 19 June

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Bruce Davidson, Wales, 1965.© BRUCE DAVIDSON / MAGNUM PHOTOS

Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers is the exhibition. Curated by the iconic British photographer Martin ParrStrange and Familiar considers how international photographers from the 1930s onwards have captured the social, cultural and political identity of the UK. Runs from 16 March 2016 – 19 June 2016.

Tom Dale Company & MOKO Dance - Digitopia (cred Tom Dale) (3049)

9. Sadlers Wells Family Weekend (All Ages : Ticketed) 25-26 March

You’re spoilt for choice if you are a dance fan this Easter. Choose from shows,  Snow WhiteDigitopia at Sadlers, as well as Sleeping Beauty, My First Ballet at The Peacock Theatre. At Sadlers over the weekend of 25/26th March, The Story Den will be filled with books to read and there will be a book bed where duvets are turned back to reveal book pages. The First Circle floor will be converted to a large mirror to inspire children to draw self-portraits in their very own hand-held mirror, which they can take away with them.

There will be opportunities for screen printing, drawing, hat making, face painting and so much more. Friday: Front of House activities 12.30pm – 5pm. Saturday: activities 10am – 5pm.

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10. Tate Modern, Turbine Hall (All Ages : Free) 1-2 April

The PLAYING UP launch at the Turbine Hall will turn into a mass play-in. Kids and adults are equally welcome! You can come as a team or on your own. Children Guides will welcome you at the PLAYING UP desk, introduce you to the game, and set you up with all you need to play up yourself: Explore Live Art as a cross-generational adventure! Follow the instructions, invent your own piece of Live Art, and perform it in the Turbine Hall!

Tate Modern, Turbine Hall, Friday 1 & 2 April 2016, 12.00 – 19.00 & Sunday 3 April 2016, 12.00 – 18.00

 

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Southbank Skatepark

11. Skate boarding Workshop, The Southbank Centre (Ages 4+ :Free) 2nd April

Mylittleboarders is a fun skateboarding club for children. Highly trained tutors teach the basics of skateboarding along with skilful tricks to impress (10.30-1pm) on Saturday 2 April, The Clore Ballroom.

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image courtesy of biography.com

12. Stella McCartney Sample Sale (Free) 23rd March

One for the Mama’s, there is a Stella McCartney Sample Sale on 23rd March 2016 at The Music Rooms, 26 South Molton Lane, Mayfair, London.

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13. The Clangers exhibition, The Museum of Childhood’s (Free) until 9 October

The Clangers, Bagpuss & Co. is a great chance for parents to introduce their children to the TV characters of their own childhoods. 19 March-9 October

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14. Dinosaurs: Monster Families, Horseman Museum, until 30 October

The Horniman’s current exhibition, Monster Families, is all about dinosaurs and their young. This Saturday, there’s a prehistoric-animal themed family day, Dinotopia, with free activities that combine art and science put together by the museum’s Youth Panel. It’s not a bad idea to book your tickets if you go during the holidays. There is always fun to be had there, so do it. SE23. Free. Saturday 19, 1pm–4pm. It runs until 30 October 2016. Tickets are £7 for adults, £4 for children.

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Ms Marvel written by G. Willow Wilson

15. Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics, The House of Illustration (All Ages, Ticketed)

This is the largest ever exhibition of leading female comic artists. The exhibition highlights 21st century work by British creators, as well as recognising groundbreaking works from 19th and 20th centuries. The display will feature artists such as Marie Duval, Tove Jansson and Audrey Niffenegger, and works including Nina Bunjevac’s Fatherland and Isabel’s Greenberg’s Encyclopedia of Early Earth. Many of the pieces at the exhibition will be shown in public for the first time!

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16. PRIVATE TOUR : THE WALLACE COLLECTION : WEDNESDAY JUNE 7TH : TICKETS £15

Book your tickets with my events site My Culture Club, for an adults only 75 min ‘highlights’ guided tour of The Wallace Collection in Manchester Square W1.

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17. Grass, Dance Show for Kids, The Southbank Centre ( Ages 2+ : Free) 8-1o April

Grass is a quirky dance show for young children explores the world beneath their feet and all of its wriggling inhabitants. Featuring worms, slugs, snails, spontaneous outbreaks of ant dancing and plenty of obscure insect-related facts, Grass uses performance, puppetry and projection to inspire children to look closely at the world around them, to get mucky and play! For ages 2–5. Presented by Second Hand Dance (Friday 8 – Sunday 10 April)

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Stephen Lee Playing Hide and Seek from the series Appleby by Mattia Zoppellaro, 2014 © Mattia Zoppellaro

18. Family Sunday Sessions, National Portrait Gallery (Ages 3+ : Free) Sundays

Join the team for their brand new third Sunday of the month creative sessions. Each month there will be a different theme to explore through experimental and creative activities including photography, animation and sound. Sessions run on the third Sunday of each month, Drop-in, no ticket needed. 13.30 session for ages 3+. 15.00 session for ages 7+. Activities are for all the family, all children must be accompanied.

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Illustration by Jim Kay for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling © Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 2015

19. Holiday Activities, The Foundling Museum (Ages 5+ : Free) 26 March

On 26th March, join artist Daniel Lehan to create and illustrate a story inspired by characters featured in our exhibition Drawing on Childhood. Learn traditional methods of bookmaking to produce a bound copy of your own story. Sessions run 10:30-12:00, 13:00-14:30 & 15:00-16:30. Free for children and up to two accompanying adults. Sign up on the day.

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20. There is also a family event on April 5th with illustrator Chris Haughton who will lead a very special family puppet and collage workshop. Inspired by his hilarious children’s book Shh!

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21. Feel Weird at The Grant Museum of Zoology (Free : All Ages) 23 April

There the ‘Creature Creations‘ family art day. Create works of art inspired by some of the weird and wonderful animals that call the Grant Museum home or invent your very own brand new animal, give it a name and add it to our collection with our Museum artist.

Date: 23 April 2016 | Time: 1.30-4pm | Location: Grant Museum of Zoology, Rockefeller Building, University College London, University Street, WC1E 6DE | Price: Free | Age group: Families

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Hyde Park workshops

22. Nature Discovery Days at the Hyde Park Education CentreExperience the magic of London’s beautiful Royal Parks! From guided walks and nature talks to family learning and discovery days – whatever your age, come and be inspired!

Here’s a schedule of what’s on over Easter;

19:00-20:30 Wed 23 March, London Bird Club: Birdwatching Sites

11:00-15:00 Wed 30 March Discovery Day: Animal Magic

11:00-15:00 Thurs 31 March Discovery Day: Animal Magic

10:00-15:00 Tue 5 April Nature Explorers: Spring Hatchings

11:00-15:00 Wed 6 April ; Discovery Day: Flower Power

11:00-15:00 Thurs 7 April ; Discovery Day: Flower Power

23. Easter Egg Hunts at the Cutty Sark 

Pretty much every day in April there is family daily fun at the Cutty Sark. Dance, sing and set sail on an adventure with Nannie, Cutty Sark’s figurehead. Join James Robson, Cutty Sark’s cook, to sing songs, learn sailor skills. Design your own comic strip, or meet Captain Woodget, Cutty Sark’s longest serving master, to learn about life on board the fastest tea clipper. It’s a great place for a day trip, and don’t forget about the Greenwich Market, it’s got your name all over it.

 

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Bus Stop Kids in The Appearing Rooms

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Just because here is a round up of all the family activities happening at the Southbank over the holidays.

The Southbank Centre is putting on a show for their celebration of community and city culture in Urban from Friday 25 March – Sunday 10 April. Also throughout the Easter, let imaginations run wild in The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl (Age 6+) an immersive interactive experience, continuing until July 3 2016.

Grass — a quirky dance show for young children explores the world beneath their feet and all of its wriggling inhabitants. Featuring worms, slugs, snails, spontaneous outbreaks of ant dancing and plenty of obscure insect-related facts, Grass uses performance, puppetry and projection to inspire children to look closely at the world around them, to get mucky and play! For ages 2–5. Presented by Second Hand Dance (Friday 8 – Sunday 10 April)

Southbank Carnival — a day of events and workshops celebrating the carnival spirit – including dancehall and Soca classes, carnival costume and decor workshops – before the Southbank Carnival parade (Saturday 26 March)

b.supreme Workshops — free, hour long dance workshops in break-dance, popping and locking for beginners and enthusiasts alike (Sunday 27 March)

Urban Gardening — the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden opens for the spring and summer. Visitors can join in planting workshops and meet Southbank Centre’s team of gardeners (Monday 28 March) and take part in some Guerilla Gardening with green expert Richard Reynolds (Saturday 2 April)

Strive Monthly Mixer — Southbank Centre’s talented Youth Ambassadors, all aged 16 to 25 help create festivals and events year long – join them as they put on a creative workshop (Saturday 2 April)

Community dance workshops and showcases — including residencies from BirdGang and Uchenna Dance Companies. Plus Pineapple Studio’s community dance programme presents an afternoon of dance, performance and workshops led by local dance champions (Tuesday 29 –Thursday 31 March)

Mylittleboarders — a fun skateboarding club for children. Highly trained tutors teach the basics of skateboarding along with skilful tricks to impress (Saturday 2 April)

ZooNation – Watch the acclaimed hip hop youth dance company in training on the ballroom floor and then join the dancers for a hip hop taster session (Saturday 9 April)

Architecture Tours at The Southbank Centre (Age 8+)

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This March, April and June 2016, you can take a 1 hour architecture tour around the Southbank Centre. The tour will focus on its 20th-century (Brutalist) architecture.
The centre itself was completed in 1968 on the site of the 1951 Festival of Britain. Its name The Southbank Centre was adopted during the Festival of Britain (over the local less attractive name of Lambeth Marsh).
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Visitors to the South Bank Exhibition with the Dome of Discovery in the background
The Festival was created by The Royal Society of the Arts in 1943, to commemorate the centenary of the 1851 Great Exhibition. It’s centre piece was the Southbank Centre.
In 1945 a government appointed a committee to plan how fairs and exhibitions could promote the UK’s export industry. 
They initially planned to hold an international exhibition, but it was too costly an idea, so the Festival of Britain was created in its place.
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1951 South Bank Exhibition. Taken from The Victoria Embankment and shows the Skylon and Dome of Discovery.
As London was in need of redevelopment due to the effects of WWII, the festival was designed to promote a feeling of progress and recovery, and display the better quality design that would be happening in rebuilding Britain’s towns and cities.
Gerald Barry, the Festival Director, described it as “a tonic to the nation” as it demonstrated the contribution made by British advances in science, technology and industrial design.

The Skylon (photo above) was scrapped in 1952 on the orders of Winston Churchill, who saw it a symbol of the preceding Labour Government. It was demolished and sold for scrap after being toppled into the Thames.

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 Royal Festival Hall c1959 and the now-demolished Shot Tower

The tours explore the whole Southbank site and uncover the creative and functional design of their buildings. Each tour is unique and the route taken varies depending on the day’s activities and events.

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Meet at the Ticket Office at Royal Festival Hall and are £8.50 (£7.50 concessions)book online or by phone via the link at the top of the feature.

April

Thursday 7 & 21, 6pm
Thursday 14, 5.00pm
Saturday 2, 12.30pm
Saturday 16, 23 & 30, 2pm

May

Thursday 5 & 12, 6pm
Saturday 7, 14, 21 & 28, 2pm

June

Thursday 2, 16 &30, 6pm
Saturday 4, 2.00pm
Saturday 11, 18 & 25, 2pm

For ages 8+

TICKET OFFICE AT ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL
SOUTHBANK CENTRE
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A Family Day Out at The Wallace Collection (& Private Tour)

The Wallace Collection is a national museum in an historic London town house. situated bang in the middle of Central London close to Marble Arch and Oxford Street. If you’re looking for a gallery that is slightly hidden away from the tourist trail, yet still packs a punch in terms of artefacts, then add this to your list.

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Join us for a Private Tour

Come and join us, there’s a specially curated 75min private tour of the museums ‘highlights’ in the diary for My Culture Club members on June 7th (£15).

Enjoy curated events for small groups of like minded people at the Bus Stops new members club. It’s a chance to catch up with your friends, care for your grey matter and network at the same time (if you fancy it). Sign up to the club for email alerts now (free membership during the launch period, link above).

12743981_10153619261826865_1316735929300161232_n.jpgFrançois Boucher, Venus, France, 1754.

The History

The museum was established in 1897 from the private collection mainly created by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800–1870), who left both it and the house to his illegitimate son Sir Richard Wallace (1818–1890). Richard’s widow thankfully, bequeathed the entire collection to the nation. The collection opened to permanent public view in 1900 in Hertford House, and remains there to this day. A condition of the bequest was that no object should ever leave the collection, even for loan exhibitions

The Collection

The Collection numbers nearly 5,500 objects and is best known for its quality and breadth of eighteenth-century French paintings, Sèvres porcelain and French furniture. Its 25 galleries are unsurpassed displays of French 18th-century paintingfurniture and porcelain with superb Old Master paintings and a world class armoury.

The Great Gallery has been described as “the greatest picture gallery in Europe.” It reopened in September 2014, following a two year refurbishment with a new hang and a reconfigured ceiling allowing natural light in.

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Drop In Family Fun

They run drop in activities, where the kids can try on armour at any time in the Conservation Gallery, pick up a free trail at the Information Desk. Choose from ‘Warrior Kings!’ or ‘Looking for the Owners’. It’s also worth trying out the children’s audio guide available from the Information Desk (price: £3)

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Weekend & Holiday Events

The events team run a range of weekend and holiday events. The Little Draw charity run a drop-in art workshop held in the galleries on the first Sunday of each month from (1.30-4.30pm). They also run School Half-Term and Holiday Activities and Special Day Events which take place approximately four times per year (at the weekends). Expect a full entertaining day of talks, craft activities, hands-on sessions and all round creative fun. Check on line with the museum, or drop me a line at the Bus Stop to find out what and when if you fancy (I’m nice like that).

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The Wallace Restaurant

Their rather bright and airey Peyton and Byrne restaurant is open for breakfast, lunches from 12pm, afternoon teas complete with vintage champagne, and late dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings. It might be a haunt for the odd business lunch during the week, but don’t be shy about crashing the party. Peyton and Byrne are a decent bunch, and they know by now how to look after the likes of us.

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Deaf Visions; These pioneering activities are led by Deaf artists and art historians with an interpreter on hand for hearing activities. Keep across the website for details of what is in the event schedule.

Address

Hertford House, Manchester Square
London, W1U 3BN, United Kingdom
Telephone +44 (0)207 563 9500

Admission Free, Open 7 days a week, 10am – 5pm. Closed 24 – 26 December

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Events coming up in March & April 2016

06 Mar 1:30PM All Ages The Little Draw
29 Mar 10:30AM 6+ Pixel Art
29 Mar 2:00PM 6+ Pixel Art
31 Mar 10:30AM 9-13 Painting Portraits
03 Apr 1:30PM All Ages The Little Draw
08 Apr 11:00AM 5+ Badge of Honour
Map

Visiting by bus

Numbers 2, 10, 12, 13, 30, 74, 82, 94, 113, 137, 274 all stop nearby.

Visiting by rail

Marylebone Rail Station is approximately a 10-15 minute walk.

Parking

Parking on nearby streets metered until 6.30pm. A selection of car parks can be found nearby. To reserve a disabled persons’ parking space, please call +44 (0) 207 563 9524. Parking map.

Visiting by Tube

The nearest tubes are Bond Street (Jubilee & Central Lines), Baker Street (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Bakerloo and Metropolitan Lines) & Oxford Circus (Bakerloo, Central, Victoria Lines), whcih are all 10-15 minute walk.

Access

For visitors with an Assistance Dog, Marble Arch is the nearest tube with stairs. (click here for access options).

The Wallace Collection is conveniently located in Central London, just a few minutes walk from Oxford Street, Baker Street and Marylebone Village.

 

10 Places Where Kids Eat Free in London

Ok, so there’s a catch here … it’s that the grown ups have to fill their boots as well, in order to let the small people get their free grub. Well I’m all for that, we deserve to eat, drink and be merry after all. It’s also one of the most important social and fun things to do as a family, or with friends, so let’s take advantage of the kind restauranteurs out there, and take take take. It is Lent after all.

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PIZZA BUZZ  (kids eat free on Sundays)

PizzaBuzz is a new member of the elite London Pizza Mafia. They launched in July 2015 in a new development just off City Road called Alphabeta. It’s a shiny, bright and airy space complete with huge wood-fire ovens, and a create-your-own approach to pizza making, where you choose your bases, (ethically sourced) toppings, sizes and then your pizza is cooked in a record breaking 150 seconds.

Your young pizza lovers can choose from a Little Beez 6” pizzas, meal deal with a fun filled goodie bags packed with healthy juices, puzzles, colouring sheets, crayons and play clay. (for kids 12 years and under) Little Beez 6″ pizza, dough balls, Mamoo ice cream

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DIM T 

You can find this noodle restaurant in Hampstead, Highgate, London Bridge, Victoria, Charlotte Street, Winchester and Whiteley’s Shopping Centre in Bayswater. It’s Bento boxes, mini chow mien or Japanese friend rice on the kids ninja menu. Whilst adults get to choose from healthy noodle soups or stir fries, as well as a good choice of asian favourites from curries to crispy duck with pancakes.

Kids Eat Free from Monday 15th to Friday 19th February  from 3-6pm. Receive  two free meals from our kids menu for every adult main course purchased. Offer isn’t valid in our Winchester or Whiteley restaurant or on takeaways.

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THE REAL GREEK (Around Town)

There are six branches of The Real Greek across London, including both Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, and they serve modern Mediterranean cuisine that’s popular with all of the family. The best day to treat the offspring is on ‘Family Sundays‘ as you get a free kid’s meal for every £10 spent by an adult. The offer is for children under 12 and is for a kid’s meal from the Kid’s Menu.

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HIX Restaurants (Around Town)

We love a Hix Fix as a treat. The team and Mark himself not only believe in decent, quality food, they also quote that “Food and Art are the perfect marriage”. A statement that runs through the heart of the events at mycultureclub.me too. Also impressive is that the the kids eat free at the weekends, and between 4-6pm on weekdaysThe ‘Calves Menu’ here is the most impressive kids food we have been lucky to try.

INFO : Monday to Friday 4pm – 6pm, and on the weekends from 12pm – 6pm (except on Saturday at Chop House it is only between 5pm-6pm) for all children under 10 years old when accompanied by a dining adult at the following HIX restaurants : Tramshed & Soho & Chop House.

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BODEAN’S (Soho, Clapham, Tower Hill)

This is a truly American BBQ dusty and finger licking small chain where kids eat for free between 12-3pm for every full priced adult meal purchased. 

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SOPHIES Steakhouse (Fulham, Covent Garden) 

Kids eat free at the Covent Garden restaurant on Sundays. The ‘special of the day’ is the ultimate Sunday Roast, which is as good as you get at home. Go online to their website and down load the voucher here.

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TATE MODERN (Southwark)

Kids can eat for free* in the café when an accompanying adult buys a main course from the menu.*Valid at lunchtime only for children aged 12 or under, for one child eating with an accompanying adult in either the café or the restaurant on level 6. Subject to availability.

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BRITISH MUSEUM

Take a visit to the Gallery Cafe (which is tucked away to the left of the entrance as you come in from Covent Garden) they also offer a ‘kids eat free’ deal.

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Barbican KITCHEN (City)

Kids eat free with a paying adult per meal here. Were haven’t eaten in the Kitchen, but last time we were in the area, we had a cheeky look at what was on offer, and the menu looked delicious, interesting and freshly made. It’s also a great place to hang out with the kids, and let them run or play hide and seek. Not ideal for teeny people though playing outside as there is a large pond, which might make you feel nervous if your kids aren’t wearing life jackets.

Smollenskys (Strand & Canary Wharf)

The restaurant on The Strand has been around since I was a kid myself. It is a real institution where kids can choose from free burgers, goujons or pasta before 7pm on weekends with a paying adult.

5 Places Where Kids Go Free in London

These offers are in place for half term and school holidays, so check with the venue to see if the freebie is still in place before you make your plans.

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1. ArcelorMittal Orbit, Kids go free with every paying adults (£10 advance booking or £12 on the day) taking a ride to the top of the UK’s tallest sculpture. So why not head over to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and see the new slide being built close up (scheduled to open this Spring).

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2. The View From The Shard allows Kids to go free too, this half term from Monday 15th – Sunday 21st February. Get your free tickets here and don’t forget to check the times of sunrise and sunset to make the most of the stunning views of the Capital.

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3. It’s free fun for Chinese New Year this Sunday where everyone will be ready to celebrate the Year of the Monkey. The celebrations start at 10 am with a parade along Charing Cross Rd and Shaftesbury Avenue. There’ll be the iconic Chinese lion dances, martial arts and stage performances as well as the popular parade of floats plus music, dance and acrobatics.

Trafalgar Square’s programme will kick off with the Chen Brothers Flying Lion Dance, plus a host of visiting artists from China. There will be fun activities across central London, including Charing Cross Road, Leicester Square and Chinatown plus craft stalls, Chinese food stands and activities.  Don’t miss the grand finale as pyrotechnics illuminate Nelson’s Column (scheduled for 5.20pm) to round off the celebrations in Trafalgar Square.

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4. London Childrens Book Swap on Saturday 13th Feb, has gathered a selection of kid friendly venues to take part in this mass book swap. Some of the venues are also hosting craft sessions and activities. At the William Morris Gallery the kids can also join artist Sba Shaikh and make and decorate a fabric book bag to store their favourite book in. The  Geffrye Museum also has sessions where the kids can also use inspiration from the museum’s collection and the museum’s favourite book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, for some fun tea-themed activities. Also the Polka Theatre (showing Not Now, Bernard until 21st Feb), will be playing along.

Venues joining in; Discover Children’s Story Centre, artsdepot, ArtHouse Crouch End, Barbican Children’s Library, Barking Library, Chisenhale Art Place, Hoxton Hall, Dagenham Library, Jacksons Lane, Polka Theatre, Rich Mix, Shoreditch Trust, Southbank Centre, Unicorn Theatre, V&A Museum of Childhood and the William Morris Gallery.

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5. On Saturday, Feb 21, The National Gallery will host a full day of Chinese New Year, related family-friendly activities. They will include interactive demonstrations of Chinese instruments and Chinese storytelling sessions, alongside puppet-making classes and play sessions for toddlers. Admission is free but advance booking is recommended.

12 Family Friendly London Exhibitions To See Now

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Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize

National Portrait Gallery , Leicester Square Until Sunday February 21 2016

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Otherworlds: Visions of our Solar System

Natural History Museum, until 15 May 2016. 

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Alexander Calder, Performing Sculpture

Tate Modern, 11 November 2015 – 3 April 2016

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The Enduring Eye: The Antarctic Legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley

The Royal Geographical Society, until 28 February 2016

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Jean-Etienne Liotard

Royal Academy of Arts , Mayfair Until Sunday January 31 2016

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Night Shift – London after Dark

London Transport Museum, runs until 10 April 2016

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Egypt ; faith after the pharaohs

British Museum, runs until 7 February 2016

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Alice in Wonderland

British Library , Euston Until Sunday April 17 2016

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Annie Leibovitz, Women

Wapping Hydraulic Power Station , London Saturday January 16 2016 – Sunday February 7 2016

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Fighting Extremes: From Ebola to ISIS

Imperial War Museum, until 13 November 2016

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Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire and Revolution

National Maritime Museum , Greenwich Until Monday March 28 2016

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Natural History Museum until £13.50, £6.75 children & concs

 

 

The Best London Theatre for Kids in 2016

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Aladdin the Musical (Ages 5+)

Fresh from the New York production, Trevor Dion Nicholas plays Genie, with Don Gallagher (Priscilla Queen Of The Desert) as Jafar, Peter Howe (Matilda The Musical) as Iago, Irvine Iqbal (Bend It like Beckham The Musical) as Sultan, and Nathan Amzi, Stephen Rahman-Hughes and Rachid Sabitri as Aladdin’s three friends Babkak, Kassim and Omar.

The Book Of Mormon’s Casey Nicholaw directs Disney’s Aladdin.

Show Details; Show times Mon-Sat 19:30, Mats Thu & Sat 14:30 Previews from 27.05.2016 Opening night 15.06.2016 Booking until 01.10.2016 Box office 0844 482 5151

War Horse, New London Theatre ends 12 March

War Horse is the National Theatre’s Olivier Award-winning World War I-set family drama.

War Horse is set at the outbreak of World War I, when Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. He is soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.

Show Details; Seats priced £47.00 or less will have a partially restricted view of the stage. Seats at £15.00 have a very restricted, side view of the stage. Duration 2 hours 40 minutes including interval

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The Elves and The Shoemaker (ages 3-9) Lyric Hammersmith

There’s nothing like a pair of new shoes. From soft dancing shoes to swarthy pirate shoes, they’re delightful on the feet; silver buckle and silken souls. No one makes shoes like an elf.

The well known and well loved tale The Elves And The Shoemaker – made popular by the Ladybird Classic – has been re-heeled by Theatre of Widdershins in their own inimitable style.

Beautifully crafted set and puppets, sublime music, a kaleidoscope of miniature shoes and a comic mouse make this show a magical must-see.

Show Details; Times,  Sat 11:00 & 13:00 Duration 55 mins  Opening night  12.03.2016  Closing  12.03.2016  Box office  020 8741 6850

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Freya – A Viking Saga (Ages 4+) Lyric Hammersmith 

This story follows a girl who is about to become a giant’s dinner.

She must use all her wits to escape and prove human friendship is stronger than the strength of a giant and more powerful than the magic of the gods.

The rivalry between the Norse gods and the giants is brought humorously to life in this retelling of two Viking myths and Freya’s own saga.

Show Details; times  Sat 11:00 & 13:00  Duration 1hr  Opening night  30.01.2016  Closing 30.01.2016  Box office 020 8741 6850

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George and The Dragon, Lyric Hammersmith (Ages 5-12)

Beware! In a cave under the castle lurks a fiery dragon waiting to devour monks, knights, sheep and princesses! Will George be bold enough to challenge it or will he run away?

Show Details; See links for Lyric above

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Little Lord Fauntleroy, Peacock Theatre (All ages)

London Children’s Ballet is a leader in producing beautiful, entertaining ballets for a family audience.

This is the world premiere of Little Lord Fauntleroy, a ballet based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic tale about a poor American boy who discovers he is heir to an English title and fortune. Through this little boy’s courage, quirky charm and eternal optimism, he softens the heart of his fearsome old grandfather and restores his broken family.

The production is performed by a cast of 60 talented young dancers, aged 9-16. Composer Richard Norriss and choreographer Jenna Lee have teamed up to create their second ballet after the sell-out success of LCB’s Snow White in April 2015.

Show Details; Duration 1hr50 Opening night  21.04.2016 Closing  24.04.2016

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The Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie, Greenwich Theatre (Ages 6+)

Roll up; roll up, for the most ‘magnifical’, ‘tremendible’ and ‘fantasticulous’ experience in town!

A caravan of curiosities and its crew of mysterious misfits have arrived to entertain, amuse and beguile you: The Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie.

Ever wanted to count a Decapus’s legs? Or wondered what a Whistling Pank eats?

Would you like to catch a glimpse of the fabled ‘Massive Paw’, or lick a Tresillian Toad? Or perhaps see a cow that looks like Brian May?

Then you’ve come to the right place! Dr Longitude and his team of “experts” are here to guide you through a puppet-packed, ludicrously lyrical and magically musical tour of the Imaginary Menagerie’s finest exhibits.

From the acclaimed creators of Alice’s Adventures Underground, The Trench, and Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, Les Enfants Terribles tour with the silliest, funniest and most entertaining family shows to date – suitable for big kids and small grown-ups!

Show Details; Opens Friday 25th March : Performance time 2pm, Prices from £13,50 for children and (£12.50 & £10 tickets plus £1 booking fee) Family ticket (4 people) £40

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MINOTAUR , Unicorn Theatre, (Age 8+) 24 Jan – 2nd April

NO ONE EVER RETURNS FROM THE LABYRINTH. By Adam Peck & Directed by Tarek Iskander

In Crete, in an impossible labyrinth, lives a fearsome and lonely beast with the head of a bull and the body of a man. Only his sister Ariadne cares for him, and she dreams of setting them both free from the rule of their selfish father, the King.
But when Ariadne sees her chance to escape, she makes a terrible pact with the enemy’s son that will change everyone’s future for better or for worse.

This playful, clever retelling of the well known Greek myth will be an action-packed treat from the writer of the Unicorn’s highly successful 2013 Christmas show, Cinderella: A Fairytale. Minotaur was first performed at Bristol Old Vic in Feb 2014.

Show details; Weston Theatre & Under 18s: £8 / £10 / £12 & Adults: £12 / £16 / £18 (concessions £3 off)
Duration: Approx 1 hr 15 mins

MY FATHER, ODYSSEUS, Unicorn Theatre,  (Ages 11+)

I WANT TO GO HOME. By Timberlake Wertenbaker & Directed by Purni Morell

Telemachus’ father left long ago to fight a war. He doesn’t remember him. Now the man of the house, he must step up to defend his father’s legacy and protect his mother from the suitors that lounge around the court.

Meanwhile, the great Odysseus has been trapped by the goddess Kalypso for ten long years. Lost in his memories of past glories he longs to return home.

This timeless Greek myth has been reinvented by extraordinary playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker to create a modern, rich and powerful new work about a son searching for his father and a father searching for himself that explores masculinity and the effects of war.
Show details; Weston Theatre & Under 18s: £8 / £10 / £12 & Adults: £12 / £16 / £18 (concessions £3 off) & Duration: Approx 1 hr 15 mins
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Jeramee, Hartleby And Oooglemore  Unicorn Theatre, (Ages 3+)

This is the tale of a surprising and surreal encounter with three people who have a lot to say – and only three words with which to say it.

Where is Jeramee? Who is making that noise? What is under the sheet and why does it keep moving?

This is a show delivered with wit, impeccable timing and plenty of clowning around.

Suitable for ages three and older, the show sees the return of director Tim Crouch to the Unicorn Theatre following international touring success with “I, Malvolio” and “An Oak Tree” at the National Theatre, and is written by Gary Owen whose recent hits include “Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco; Violence and Son” at the Royal Court.

Opening night 06.02.2016  Closing 15th March 2016  Tickets, Box office 020 7645 0560

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The War Of The Worlds, Dominion Theatre

This show lands at London’s Dominion Theatre featuring brand new music, an all-star cast and Liam Neeson in 3D holography.

Adapted from HG Wells’ legendary novel, The War Of The Worlds tells the story of ruthless but highly intelligent Martians with machinery and weaponry of devastating capabilities who arrive on Earth with the aim of destroying the human race.

This new stage adaptation, which follows decades of arena tours, sees Wayne conduct his 1970s cult progressive rock score, which became one of the bestselling musical albums of all time, selling more than 15 million copies.

Directed by Bob Tomson, the production – in addition to Neeson’s holographic presence – promises video walls, the iconic Martian Fighting Machine and many more special effects.

Show Details, PLEASE NOTE: Children’s tickets are also available at £40.95-£61.95 (Face value: £39-£59). Opening night 17.02.2016 Closing 30.04.2016 Box office 0845 200 7982

A Family Day Out at London’s V&A Childhood Museum

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V&A Childhood Museum, Bethnal Green (Tube : Bethnal Green) Open daily 10.00-17.45 (last admission 17.30)

The V&A Museum of Childhood houses the UK’s national collection of childhood-related objects, one of the finest in the world.

 

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The Bus Stop Kids and I have spent a lot of time in the museum over the years. It works for us, as it serves a decent espresso (which was harder to find in the good old days of 2013) and it’s especially good for the under 5’s.

As well as the Benugo cafe, the Childhood Museum is a wide open space filled with stations around the museum that keep the kids entertained, whilst you check your phone for alerts from The Economist ones (not Kim Kardashians latest instagram post).

They offer hands on fun like dressing up, daily craft sessions, giant robots to cuddle, real rocking horses for those that love horses but hate the mucking out, a mini sensory disco, as well as an indoor sand pit complete with Punch and Judy show.

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We also love the toy/ book shop, the garden (for when the sun is out), and sometimes get the kids to concentrate on the fantastic collections of toys, dolls houses (like Grandma used to have), and then theres the brilliant current exhibitions they offer throughout the year.

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I’ve listed whats running currently (Jan 2016) so you can keep up to date. If you make the trip, I’d love to see your photos. You can share and tag your instagram photos #busstopkids or leave me a comment below.

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Exhibition : The Clangers, Bagpuss & Co

19 March  – 9 October 2016. Oliver Postgate’s voice and Peter Firmin’s puppets shaped the childhood memories of millions since they started collaborating in the 1950s. Here you’ll see Bagpuss, the Soup Dragon and ogle Noggin the Nog. As well as telling the story of Bagpuss and The Clangers, the exhibition will go behind the scenes of some of their other creations; Pogles Wood, Nogin the Nog and Ivor the Engine.

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Exhibition : The Tales We Tell

14 November 2015 – 3 July 2016. This exhibition presents a rare insight into Warli, a tribal art form from Western India. Drawing on a store of tribal memory, myths and everyday life, it has evolved from restricted ritual drawings into an applied art in the process of transition. The Tales we Tell: Indian Warli Painting is part of the V&A India Festival. 

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Exhibition : It’s a Hard World for Little Things

9 January – 17 July 2016. Children Carrying Heavy Objects is a series of six large-scale drawings that depict children and the burdens that they carry.

The images explore children’s absolute will to survive in a sometimes-hostile adult world and reflects the plight of children on a global and domestic scale; the show features local children and others from around the world.

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Exhibition : On Their Own: Britain’s Child Migrants

24 October – 12 June 2016. An exhibition telling the heart-breaking true stories of Britain’s child migrants who were sent to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries between 1869 and 1970. An estimated 100,000 British children were sent overseas by migration schemes, which were run by a partnership of charities, religious organisations and governments, and claimed to offer boys and girls the opportunity of a better life in Britain’s Empire overseas. Many migrants never saw their homes or their families again.

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Museums Activities for Kids (during term-time only Monday to Friday).

Animal Magic, 14.00 : Sensory storytelling for children aged 5 and under, inspired by well-loved animal tales.

Art Smarts, 14.30-16.00 : Kids can get creative with the drop-in arts and crafts sessions, and make an amazing piece of art inspired by the Museum to take home. For all ages.

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Museums Activities for Kids (during term-time only Saturday and Sunday & Summer holidays: Saturday  – Thursday)

Animal Magic, 10.30 : Sensory storytelling for children aged 5 and under, inspired by well-loved animal tales.

Explore, 11.15-11.45 : Object-handling, demonstrations and have-a-go sessions that let children get up close to childhood objects and toys.

Telling Tales, 12.00-12.30 : Interactive storytelling featuring popular children’s tales. Children can help tell the story using sounds and props.

Art Smarts, 14.00-16.00 : Kids can get creative with our drop-in arts and crafts sessions, and make an amazing piece of art inspired by the Museum to take home. All ages.

For details of special events and activities during the holidays see the What’s On pages.

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Montessori Family Packs

A selection of Montessori Family Packs for children age 5 and under are available to borrow from the Information Desk for 1 hour. You will need to leave a form of ID (e.g. a passport or driving licence). Each pack contains a map, activity suggestions, storybooks and toys to touch.

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Other Events in 2016

Chinese New Year  : Saturday 13 February :11.30 – 16.30 

Join us to celebrate Chinese New Year with both traditional and modern instrumental dance performances. Take part in Chinese Opera mask and lantern making, as well as costume and calligraphy workshops.

London Children’s Book Swap : Saturday 13 February  11.00 – 16.00

Calling all book worms! London Children’s Book Swap returns for the 5th year running. Bring your old books to trade for another person’s favourite read. Join in the fun to recycle and renew your personal library.

Make Do and Mend Critters workshop

Soft toy owl

Wednesdays 30 March and 6 April 
10.30, 12.00, 14.00, 15.30

Join maker Cherene Hamilton to upcycle everyday textiles into weird and wonderful creatures. Book now £5 (with parent/carer) Ages 5-12

Dragons and Unicorns Puppet Workshop

Monday 28 March – Friday 1 April
10.15, 11.45, 13.45, 15.15

Join illustrator Frances Barry in making beautiful 2D moving paper puppets inspired by The Clangers, Bagpuss & Co exhibition.

Cosmic Shoebox Workshop

Monday 4, Tuesday 5, Thursday 7 and Friday 8 April
10.30, 12.00, 14.00, 15.30

Use your imagination to create a wonderful character inspired by the exhibition and work with artist Amy Brown to bring them to life.
Book now £5 (with parent/carer) Ages 5-12

 

10 Best Free Family Restaurants in London

Hello dearest Bus Stop family. Here is a feature I wrote for the MyBaba.com parenting blog last week. I’m sharing the love over here, as we’re not ones for cutting back when there are turkey and mince pie pizzas to be enjoyed.

“My Baba is packed with expert advice and information on all aspects of fertility, pregnancy, motherhood and parenting.” Take a look at their jam packed site, you’ll surely find something out you didn’t know.

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I’m always on the hunt for family-friendly restaurants in London, and it’s often a topic we’re asked about. Guest blogger Sian Gwilliam from mycultureclub.me gives us the low-down on the hot spots for family food this festive season. 

Hix (Soho, City, Smithfield Market, Bankside, Mayfair, Lyme Regis, Selfridges)

BRITISH FOOD

We love a Hix Fix as a treat. The team and Mark himself not only believe in decent, quality food, they also quote that “Food and Art are the perfect marriage”. A statement that runs through the heart of the events at mycultureclub.me too. Also impressive is that the the kids eat free at the weekends, and between 4-6pm on weekdays. The ‘Calves Menu’ here is the most impressive kids food we have been lucky to try.

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When at Hix Bankside, our ‘foodie’ 9 year old goes straight for the glenarm minute steak with chips (£8.50) whilst our vegetarian 7 year old favours the Fillet of fish with Tiptoe Farm potatoes and spring greens (£7.50), with a live jazz band at the weekends, and a bottomless brunch on Saturdays, we’d be foolish not to share the Hix love with you.

ps.  Also on the list for fans, is trying a fish dog from their pop up posh fish finger van HIX’S FISH DOG. Often to be found at farmers markets and Summer Festivals across the UK.

INFO : Monday to Friday 4pm – 6pm, and on the weekends from 12pm – 6pm (except on Saturday at Chop House it is only between 5pm-6pm) for all children under 10 years old when accompanied by a dining adult at the following HIX restaurantsTramshed & Soho & Chop House

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Pizza Pilgrims (Soho, Exmouth Market, Carnaby Street)

PIZZA

If your family like Pizza, why not make a special trip to Carnaby Street, and tell them a little story on the way. It’s a tale about 2 brothers (lets call them Thom and James) they had decent but boring jobs in the City (I put that bit in for dramatic effect!), and then had a (cheesy) dream. They loved Neapolitan pizza so much they bought themselves a 3-wheeled Piaggio van and took a 6-week holiday around Italy, researching, grating, and squashing the finest pizza ingredients along their travels.

This journey was the beginning of the Pizza Pilgrim dream becoming a reality.

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In that very same van they travelled in, once home they then installed an Italian stone pizza oven inside it, and popped it up in Leather Lane market feeding the hungry office workers. Soon, their fresh, doughy and moorish pizzas became the talk of pop up town, and the rest they say is a piz-za history (!). They also managed to write and publish a book at the same time as flipping those bases, you can see it here.

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There aren’t any baby chairs at this little street food joint-turned-pizza restaurant, but children often enjoy sitting and eating their slices at the football table.  Pizzas start from £7 for a Margarita, and they offer a perfect range of mini ice cream cones £3.50, blood orange sorbet £4.50 and a decent Affogato for £4.

This Christmas they have a Brussel sprout and pancetta pizza on the menu and were running an offer of 1/2 price pizza if you took in a decoration, why not pop a little reindeer in your pocket and try your luck!  Their hashtag for the insta happy is ‪#‎merrycrustmas‬

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Honest Burgers (Oxford Circus, Peckham, Notting Hill, Camden)

BURGERS

Tom and Phil met in 2010 whilst working at a Brighton restaurant. Soon after, they bought a small marquee and decided to go it alone serving burgers at festivals and events. After meeting Dorian, Tom moved to Brixton in 2011 and within a few months they’d signed a lease on a tiny unit in Brixton Village.

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The kids menu is a mini version of the adults one (just as we like it), they just serve smaller portions. The mini burgers come with the rosemary salted chips, and cost 50% less than the grown up meals. Popular extras include cauliflower, shallot and sweetcorn fritters.  They have gluten free options too, just ask for it honestly.