The most wonderful time of the year
I have to admit that I’m a bit of a Christmas fan. And if I’m really honest, I start getting excited about Christmas around August! It's not so much that I put my decorations up in November, but I’m definitely with Andy Williams when he says that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”.
The run-up to Christmas is an extremely busy time for everyone so, having chatted to fellow mums, I thought I’d compile a list of the most Christmassy things to do with children if you live in the South-East. Some of the activities I’ve tested myself, some I have been recommended by other parents and am looking forward to trying.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Christmas in my family wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. But wrap up warm and be prepared to queue. It’s free to enter and open from 10am-10pm at night. However, allow plenty of time to buy your tokens for all the rides you want to go on.
I’m a big fan of London Zoo. It’s perfect for children in all seasons but there’s nothing more magical than meeting a herd of reindeer just before Christmas. This year, they have a small Christmas market there this year too.West End
If you live close to London then a visit to the lights and sights of our amazing capital city is a must. There’s reindeer petting at Covent Garden piazza until 24th December, ice skating at Somerset House,Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and The National History Museum. And who can resist the Oxford Street Christmas lights which are themed as giant snowflake illuminations this year?
Wherever you live in the UK, there will be a fantastic pantomime near you. Many children’s first theatrical experience is watching a pantomime and what a great way to ignite their interest in theatre. I’m a big fan of Hackney Empire and Basildon Towngate Theatres pantomimes and go to both every year. Oh yes I do!
Lap Land UK
I’ve never been here but it’s definitely on my wish list. Based in Kent, it’s an award-winning creation of Father Christmas’ homeland.
The Enchanted Christmas House
I’ve never been here, mainly because the entry fee is really expensive (£49 per person!) but I am assured that it is well worth it and that people travel from far and wide to visit this Islington venue which transforms into different Christmas zones. If you go, let me know what you think.
A real Christmas landmark, The Snowman has been delighting children on stage for years now. Last year, I took my kids (then 1 and 3 years old) to see it and it was truly magical. You have to book soon though. Top tip: arrive early to get a booster cushion and park your buggy!
Everyone’s talking about this new very un-Martin Scorsese-like film which is being released on Friday based on the young adult novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Some reviews say that, whilst it is a suitable family film, it’s not really a child-friendly film. Let me know if you go and see it.
Perform Winter Experience based on “Narnia”
Sorry, I just couldn’t resist! The Perform Winter Experience is truly a magical way for your child to get to know a much loved classic story and at the same time have the best fun and help develop the all important 4 Cs. (confidence, communication, coordination and concentration). It’s £90 for 3 days and we have 20 venues running over London and the South East between 19th-23rd December. I promise you they’ll have the best time.
So, now it’s over to you. What Christmas events can you recommend in your area? I’d love to know.