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In the Women’s Web ‘Travel The World With Kids’ series, we talk to mums from all over the globe who are interested in exploring their backyard attractions with their tiny tots! We hope you find them useful, if someday you choose to visit their part of the world. Presented in Q&A format, this one is with Moushumi Palit from London who blogs at Rainbows & Cloudbursts.
The land of high tea, the stiff upper lip, the Queen’s English (with the oh-so-adorable accent!) and the venue of the Olympic Games 2012, London has several kid-friendly delights too!
Hi Moushumi! Tell us a little about yourself.
I used to be an advertising and market research professional in another life. Now I am a mom to my twins who’ll soon be three. When I am not playing entertainer, clown, all purpose lackey, rejected cook and maid-in-waiting to my boys, I freelance as a consultant. And my passions are blogging, reading, photography, travelling and gardening!
What are some of your suggestions for parents visiting London with young kids to do?
London in my opinion is the jack-of-all-trades of holiday destinations; you get to seep in a bit of everything – palaces, museums, theatres, beautiful gardens, lush green parks at every turn, zoos, farms and playgrounds aplenty!
Some of my top must-do places are:
1. The Natural History Museum – was my favourite place to visit even when I didn’t have kids! Turns out my boys are as enamoured of these prehistoric creatures as I am. What we love about The Natural History Museum is its amazing collection of dinosaur skeletons and its famous blue whale! Plus the entry is free, as it is to many museums in London!
2. The London Zoo – of course, is an exciting way to spend the day with kids!
3. A visit to the Sealife Aquarium, a ride in the London Eye, a walk around Parliament/ Big Ben followed by a cruise on the River Thames. All these are quite close to each other, so they make for a day efficiently spent, without much running around!
4. A lesser known but equally great place is The London Wetland Centre in Barnes. It has plenty to keep the kids fascinated like feeding birds and reptiles, fishing and walking in water tunnels. And it’s also a place you can visit when the weather’s unfriendly as they have an indoor Discovery Centre and their pond area is also covered!
5. If you are keen on ensuring your child has a brush with something a bit more high brow, you could catch one of the popular musicals – there’s Lion King, Shrek, The Wizard of Oz and Matilda on at the moment!
6. The final destination on my list is Kew Gardens – Other than offering some beautiful vistas, they also have some amazing play areas for children. Actually, you could visit any one of the Royal parks; St. James Park has the picturesque little lakes, pelicans & swans and Richmond Park has its deer. I chose to put Kew gardens on my list as it has more activities for children.
Now if your kids are older and trips to zoos and aquariums make them cringe with embarrassment, I’d recommend Madame Tussaud’s where they’d love coming face to face with a statue of the Bieber child-man or Rihanna! And in the meanwhile, you could seize the opportunity to cosy up to the wax statue of Gorgeous George (Clooney), gawk at Angelina or pose with Kate, Duchess of Cambridge! And if your kids are the thrill seeking type, a walk inside the Chamber of Horrors is sure to send the adrenalin rushing!
What have been some of your favourite outings in London with your kids?
One of the places we visit often is Deen City farm where we feed the cows, sheep and goats, chase the chickens and pet the rabbits! We also visit Garsons Farm where we pick fresh vegetables & fruits, then pay for them and bring them home.
Another thing we do often is a hike followed by a picnic lunch in Richmond Park where we go exploring the hollow trees and looking for deer.
We live quite close to the famous Polka Theatre for Children, and that is also one of our favourite places to visit.
For tourists visiting London for the first time, do you have any particular tips?
The weather can be quite unpredictable. Even perfect sunny days in summer can suddenly turn grey and chilly. So always keep a waterproof jacket or an umbrella handy. It’s also wise to be dressed in layers.
At the risk of sounding really British, it helps to check weather updates before you plan your itinerary! And have a Plan B for the day, in case the weather turns for the worse!
Finally, many attractions offer tickets online, which will save you precious time that you otherwise spend waiting in queues!
Are there any particular restaurants in London that you think kids will enjoy?
We haven’t yet progressed to fine cuisine. My kids love going to fast food restaurants where the high point of their outing is a plate of fries and chicken nuggets with ketchup dripping all over! I have heard of theme restaurants for children like Rainforest Café and Giraffe but we are yet to venture there!
Are there any particular shopping areas in London that you think kids will enjoy?
There is some SALE or the other in London, the entire year around! And you will find stores for every pocket – from the economical Primarks to the mid range Debenhams to the utterly astronomical Harrods!
P.S – If you are someone who manages to shop successfully with kids around, then I need to sit at your feet O Great One and learn a few tips!
Any kid-friendly day trips out from London?
There is of course Legoland! Also the Woburn Safari Park and Abbey which we loved. Both are short drives from London and do-able in one day!
How easy/difficult is it travelling around with kids in London?
It’s quite easy! To plan your trips, always visit the Transport Authority’s website – and use their journey planner for the best way to travel.
Thank you Moushumi!
*Photo credit: Moushumi Palit.
Previous Interviews In The ‘Travel With Kids’ Series:
Brooke from Hong Kong
Diana from Toronto
Vidya from San Francisco
Ellen Schmidt from New York
Anusha from Seattle
Neera from Chicago
Jo-Lynne from Philadelphia
Tiffany from Frankfurt
Subha from Zurich
Shalini from Norway
Nora from Morocco
Laylah from Riyadh
Lisa from Dubai
Sarah from New Zealand
Toni from Manila
Maid In Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur
Uma from Chennai
The Mad Momma from Delhi
Lakshmi from Hyderabad
Sunayana from Kolkata
Sunita from Pune
Anuradha from Mumbai
Artnavy from Bengaluru
Leonny from Singapore
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