The Easter holiday is over and, in the blink of an eye, May half term is on the doorstep! We have been away a lot already this year, and have other trips lined up, so I have decided to sit this one out and have a staycation in London.
We have various memberships and annual passes to exploit and (great timing) there are some excellent things opening in London in time for May half-term. So, pack a picnic, grab the passes and have a low-spend half term full of fun and adventure!
- The Children’s Garden at Kew opens on 18th May – it looks fantastic and we are so excited to get in there and explore – we’ve been peeking through the fence for the past year! Kew is always a good day out – read more about Family Fun at Kew Gardens here.
- If we fancy the cinema, Disney’s live-action Aladdin is set for release on 22nd May – in time for half term. We’ve got the animation, we’ve seen the West End production, now we’ll see if Will Smith’s Genie is any good.
- In a previous blog I told you that we recently bought Merlin Passes, they look very colourful hanging in the hall (catching dust) as, so far, we’ve only been to Legoland. I felt a compelling desire to dust off the passes and make up for my tardy planning so I’ve (quite possibly overcompensated and) arranged a mini marathon of activities in the Big Smoke. This is the plan: up and out early (but late enough to miss the commuters), first stop is Shrek’s Adventure, followed by The London Eye – I’m a tad concerned that my son might find it a bit boring but, it’s only 30 minutes so I’m sure we’ll cope- then off to Sea Life London. The fabulous thing about this is that all the places are covered by the Merlin Pass and they are within spitting distance of each other. To make sure the day goes smoothly and we fit it all in, I have pre-booked time slots at a cost of £1 per person per attraction. I consider £9 a bargain if it saves me having to hang around in long queues with wriggly kids, in hot weather, in half term! Sounds hellish! I did consider adding Madame Taussauds and The London Dungeon to the list but remembered that MT is a bit grown up (OH’s advice/opinion) and TLD is terrifying! Another time then. without the kids.
- Another Merlin Pass cheap-day-out we have been trying to get round to is Chessington World of Adventures. Chessington is one of the best theme parks for younger kids. My little Londoners love the zoo and Sea Life centre, they really enjoyed the Gruffalo area when we did the Winter’s Tale at Christmas and are looking forward to discovering what Room on the Broom has to offer.
- Leeds Castle (in Kent, not Leeds and around an hour’s drive from Wandsworth) remains on the shortlist as I have an annual ticket and I’m determined to make the most of it. You can read about the attractions, and the newly opened Knight’s Stronghold at Leeds Castle here.
- There is always plenty on offer at National Trust properties and they are very good about planning and providing seasonal and topical tasks and activities for kids. At the very least, if you have membership, it’s an impressive place to have a picnic and make a daisy chain rather than the local park.
- Similarly, English Heritage will have lots going on for families and they have 15% off membership at the moment with the code HISTORY01- at £5 a month for an adult and up to 6 kids, I think that’s an absolute bargain! If you’re thinking about membership to NT or EH, check out my blog before you buy.
- This May half-term, Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is taking part in Love Your Zoo celebrations and there’s a schedule of extra activities, crafts, storytelling and each day a different animal will be in the spotlight. BPCZ is good for younger kids as it’s small but perfectly formed and just enough adventure for littler legs! You then have the wider park to explore so take a picnic and make a full day of it. The ticket prices are very reasonable and, if you spend a sunny day and in around Battersea Park, its a cheap day out! What’s more, Wandsworth children with additional needs and a WAND card can visit for free with their parent/carer whenever they like.
- As you can see, we already have more things on the shortlist than we have days available, so we’ll have to focus in on the things we really want to do. At the moment I am a big fan of Hoseasons – as they tend to be one of the better holiday parks with good locations and higher-quality accommodation – and can often be found browsing the website for cheap or last-minute breaks. My favourite thing to do is to book a last-minute break, pack a bag, jump in the car and spend a weekend with the kids at the beach or in the country. You never know, if the weather is particularly fine, and we get a good deal, we may forget the London staycation and pop down to the coast for a few days…but, we’ll keep you posted!
Enjoy your half-term (if you have one!)