Under 5s

Places to go which work well with the younger Mayhems under 5.

Under 5s

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3 places with animals to visit in South Tyneside and Gatehead

If you are living near or visiting the South Tyneside and Gateshead areas then our friend Ruth has recommended these places to visit.  The choices are rather animal centred, but then so is her grandson Leon.

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A Day Out In Birmingham City Centre – 5 Places to Visit

Papa Joe and Grandma Jacqui had a day out in Birmingham City Centre without The Mayhems! We enjoyed wandering around the city centre and are sure that we will be back with them.  With this in mind, we made this list of suitable places to visit with children.

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Ally Pally – One Of The Best

When I was a Mayhem I knew ‘Ally Pally’ as the place where the BBC television news was broadcast from. I never realised it was really called Alexander Palace and includes a magnificent park, ice rink and venue for all sorts of activities and exhibitions. Sometimes we come here just to see the fantastic …
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Amazing who you meet in Hampton Court Palace Gardens

What is the etiquette when you meet a king and his cardinal strolling through their gardens   Should you bow and curtsey or say ‘How do you do Sire?’ It was lovely to meet the owners of Hampton Court Palace, originally it belonged to Cardinal Wolsey and then Henry VIII. We were …
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Belmont Children’s Farm – Mill Hill

When do you realise that eggs hatch into chicks, which grow into birds? I am not sure that 2 year old Abbie knew but she loved the little chicks in the incubator and it was hard to tear her away from watching them. Belmont Children’s Farm has lots of chickens, …
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Belsay Hall- let your imagination run riot

Our friends Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Bob recently took their 4 year old grandson, ‘L’, to Belsay Hall, an English Heritage property about 15 miles north west of Newcastle Upon Tyne in Northumberland. He had a great time battling monsters, exploring the gardens and climbing to the turreted roof of the medieval …

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Best London Bus Journeys

My mother was a great explorer and when I was a little girl she used to buy a bus Red Rover ticket. We would go to The Green Man Roundabout at Leytonstone and ride on the top of a bus into Central London. Papa Joe and I plus The Mayhems …
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Bishop’s Park Fulham – ‘seaside’ by The Thames

If you find yourself in West London on a hot day there is no better place to visit the ‘seaside’  and relax and cool off with the Mayhems at Bishop’s Park.  Papa Joe and I were walking through the park and were attracted by the screams of delight as adults and children played in the …
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Bournemouth – 3 things to try

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.  Over the years, Bournemouth on the south coast has become a second home for us, our children, and now our grandchildren.  We love taking them to play on the sand, but here’s our pick of places to play when you’ve had …

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Buckingham Palace – Changing The Guard with Christopher, Alice and The Mayhems

‘They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace Christopher Robin went down with Alice.’ When I was little, my mother used to say  A. A. Milne’s poem (see below) to me as we watched the soldiers changing guard at Buckingham Palace. You could peer through the railings at Buckingham Palace and watch …
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Buckinghamshire Goat Centre

Grandpa – can I really feed the goats and rabbits? Of course, said Papa – these animals are so friendly that even one year olds can have fun with them.  So we walked through the gates and bought a little bag of food pellets. Then we went over to the …
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Candlelight Nights – a 100 year old Bournemouth Tradition

When I was little we came to Bournemouth every summer and a highlight was the traditional candle lighting in The Lower Winter Gardens. Fast forward 30 years and Papa Joe and I took our daughters to do the same thing. It didn’t matter if someone had already lit the candles …
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Castle Compton – A Medieval Fortress

As we drove into the car park everyone exclaimed “Oh Wow!  It really is like a castle!”  The front of the house has high crenelated walls with towers and a portcullis gate. The first manor house was built in the mid 14th century and the fortifications were added around 1540. It …
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Cattle and Cowboys at The Stockyards Fort Worth Texas

When Papa Joe and I were little we always watched Westerns. Papa Joe loved ‘Bonanza’ and still uses the theme tune as his phone’s ringtone! I always imagined being a cowboy, riding the range and visiting saloons just like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, so I was very excited to watch …
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Cha Cha Cha Cafe at Cassiobury Park, Watford

What a life saver the Cha Cha Cha Café was.  I had been walking all morning and was desperate for a coffee and was pleased to be able to get a really large tasty latte.  Once refreshed I looked around and saw the child friendly menu and heard the music class that …

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City Farms – in the middle of a town!

  Did you know that there is a farm with pigs, sheep, rabbits, ducks and  three alpacas called Ben, Jerry and Tom just a mile away from The Houses of Parliament. Papa Joe and I were amazed to discover Vauxhall City Farm in the middle of London and have since visited …
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Colchester Castle

Which is easier to drive without crashing – a car or a chariot? I don’t think Ben Hur has to worry about competition from either Papa Joe or me when it comes to taking part in a chariot race. It was exhilarating but surprisingly difficult to control the horses by just a …
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Coram’s Fields – no unaccompanied adults Bloomsbury

The sign says it all – this is the place for children not adults.  Last weekend we finally had a child with us so at long last we have been able to enter and explore all that Coram’s Fields has to offer.  It was well worth it and if we are in …
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Corfe Castle Model Village and Tea Rooms

The Corfe Castle Model Village and Tea Rooms is one of our favourite places to visit. Sometimes we just stop for their delicious Dorset Apple Cake.  At other times we spend longer, enjoying the model village and the peaceful gardens. Well it should be peaceful but we have been known …
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Crystal Palace Park- Monsters and Amazing Mazes

To sports fans Crystal Palace is a football club or a sporting venue for athletics and swimming.  However as a Girl Guide I always associate Crystal Palace with the girls who came to the first scout rally here in 1909. They gave Baden Powell the impetus to  create The Girl Guides. In 2009 the …
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Dalston Eastern Curve Garden – A Haven in Hackney

It was only by chance that Papa Joe and I stumbled across Dalston Eastern Curve Garden which has been lovingly developed on the disused Eastern Curve railway line in Hackney (East London). We had just missed our bus, and as we turned to look at The Hackney Peace Carnival Mural by the bus …
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Deen City Farm and Riding School

Spring is here, all the baby animals are arriving at the Deen City Farm and the spring flowers are looking great in their gardens.  What a great time to the visit the farm.  While we were at the there we had great fun peering in all the animal pens and watching all the …
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Denver Art Gallery, Colorado

Denver is a fun city especially if like Papa Joe and myself you find yourself visiting during the crazy Denver Zombie Crawl – how many Zombies make a weird world record? We saw some great art work as we walked through the crowds, with people of all ages entering into the spirit …
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Expand The Imagination at ‘Discover Children’s Story Centre’ – Stratford

The Discover Children’s Story Centre is a magical place, full of activities to stimulate story telling and creativity. They even have an online story library. The Indoor Story Trail and The Outdoor Story Garden are designed to expand the imagination of children.  The children will love jumping on the magical polka dots …
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Experiment at The Science Museum

The Science Museum in London has been one of our favourite museums and always made a great outing with our daughters. Papa Joe introduced our Mayhems to the museum when they were 4 and they loved exploring the Pattern Pod and the interactive basement galleries.

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Flying high at the RAF Museum, Hendon

Papa Joe is a volunteer tour guide in the flight gallery at the Science Museum so was intrigued to find out that the volunteers at The RAF Museum at London have a totally different role. We had arrived early and were just having a welcome coffee when we saw a team of …
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Glasgow’s Riverside Museum

Memories Memories When Papa Joe was a little boy, he lived in Glasgow and he can still reminisce about the trams, trolley buses and the smell of ‘The Subway’. On visits back to see family, we would sometimes go to the Museum of Transport at the Kelvin Hall. This museum has …
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Go Wild at The Galleria Soft Play – Hatfield

If you are looking for a very large, light, and airy Soft Play Centre then Go Wild at The Galleria is the place for you.  The under 3 area is just right for our little grandchildren, and our friend’s little girl who is 6 loves the main section. Papa Joe signed up for …
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Golders Hill Park

“Its always fun to watch deer scampering around, and see some birds and small animals”. Papa Joe said. When they reached the Park, he realised that he had forgotten to mention the butterfly house, the children’s play area and the beautiful small mediterranean gardens, on the edge of the pond.

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Hatfield Marine Science Visitors Center -Newport, Oregon, USA

Touch a sea anemone! Create a tsunami! You can do both for free at The Hatfield Marine Visitor Center. The center showcases the work of adjoining Oregon State University’s Marine Research Center. It is full of fun interactive exhibits to help you understand the way oceans behave and the animals that live in them, …
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Hell’s Gate Airtram on The Fraser River – British Columbia, Canada

As we stopped above Hell’s Gate, all we could hear was the deafening sound of millions of gallons of melt water flowing through the narrow gorge beneath us.  It was late spring and we were travelling along The Trans-Canadian Highway to the Canadian Rockies when we stopped at Hell’s Gate on …
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It doesn’t have to cost the earth – outings for the under 6s

Our tips to save money Take advantage of low season offers. During school holidays prices for for attractions and some soft play centres go up. Always check to see if buying tickets to attractions online will save money. Decide if it is worthwhile buying a season ticket or becoming a …
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Living History In Action – Littleton Museum Colorado

suitable for toddlers to 14.  Allow 2 hours This summer Papa Joe and I had a great holiday exploring Utah and Colorado without the grandchildren!!!! Our daughter and her two munchkins were also going to be holidaying in Colorado so she asked us to look out for great places to …
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Living Paintings – Fun At The National Gallery

20 ‘Mayhems’, all under the age of 5, sitting enthralled in front of a family portrait in an art gallery – amazing! The children were sitting in front of  ‘The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons’  when ‘The Marquise’ appeared and chatted to the group about her family, the objects …
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London Transport Museum

It is usually Papa Joe who gets enthusiastic about trains but I must admit I did get excited when I walked into the carriage of an old tube train at the London Transport Museum. I went to school by ‘tube’ every day and always watched the guard pressing the buttons and operating …
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Morden Hall Park- the countryside in suburbia

  We had a deligtful afternoon exploring the grounds at Morden Hall Park and going to Deen City Farm (see separate post). It was easy to push our buggy on a network of paths and stroll along the River Wandle, a haven for wildlife. Next time we come with grandchildren we will borrow an explorer pack from …
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Mudchute – a city farm and nature reserve in the heart of London’s Docklands

Did you know that one of the largest free urban farms in Europe is within a mile of the large office blocks of Canary Wharf. The park covers 32 acres of green open space including a nature reserve and was created out of derelict land on the Isle of Dogs. …
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Museum of Childhood – Bethnal Green

Papa Joe and I took the Mayhems with their mother to The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. We carefully timed our visit so that we were in time for the Animal Magic sensory storytelling session. It certainly worked its magic and had all the Mayhems enthralled. After the story telling the Mayhems then …

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Museum of London – Barbican

Our sophisticated  4 year old ‘Mayhems’ brought up on a diet of Peppa Pig etc. could not understand why Papa Joe and I were delighted to watch a Flowerpot Man saying ‘Weeeed’ and ‘Flobbadobba’. We were  wandering through the interactive family area in the 1950’s section of The Museum of London and were transported …
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Museum of London Docklands

It is lovely when you show your friends a place you really like and then they in turn share it with their family. Papa Joe and I took our friends to The Museum of London/Docklands which is housed in an old sugar warehouse at West India Quay. Our friends enjoyed their visit so much that they brought their two granddaughters …
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Mystic Seaport – An Amazing Maritime Museum

I have no head for heights and Papa Joe is the same so we both watched with admiration as the crew unfurled the sails on the training ship Joseph Conrad.  We were spending the day at Mystic Seaport, the largest maritime museum in the USA. There were historic ships to explore, a  re-creation of an …
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Natural History Museum -Tring Hertfordshire

“Are we going to the dead animals museum” our Mayhem asked. “Yes” replied Papa Joe “Oh good” Who would have guessed that when Walter Rothschild was 7 and said “I am going to make a museum” that his passion with the natural world would be delighting The Mayhems over 120 years later? By …
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On the river at Christchurch – Dorset

It is just like ‘Swallows and Amazon’ the grandma next to me exclaimed and I thought how right she was. Now Swallows and Amazons is a classic childrens book but Papa Joe spent his boyhood reading ‘Biggles’.  Of course, The Mayhems think Peppa Pig is a classic so I will …
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On The Thames – City Cruises

Think London, think the River Thames. There are so many exciting ways to explore the river. A great way to explore the river is by taking one of The City Cruise River Boats. The boats are a leisurely way to travel and their large open-air decks allow you to get superb …
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On The Thames – Thames Clippers

Think London, think the River Thames. There are so many exciting ways to explore the river. One of our favourite ways is to take a Thames Clipper catamaran along the Thames.  We managed to pick a glorious day and spent the whole trip on the outside section at the back …
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Over The Thames -The Emirates Air Line

Think London, think the River Thames. There are so many exciting ways to explore the river. The Emirates Airline is a cable car with a difference.  Most cable cars are designed to take you up a mountain, but this one sweeps you across The Thames at a height of 90 …
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Paddling at Cassiobury Park , Watford

When I said that I had just been to Cassiobury Park my daughter complained and asked why I hadn’t taken Abbie (age 1 and 355 days) with me.  Well (a) I was looking for a nice place to eat my sandwich and (b) I did not realise what a glorious …

Charles River Bridges, Having a Boston 'Tea Party' Little Italy Bakery, Old Boston Syate House

Papa Joe and Grandma Jacqui’s New England Road Trip

Papa Joe and I decided to combine a wedding in Connecticut with a road trip. We flew to Boston, drove to the wedding, and then took 2 weeks to explore New England. The wedding was at the end of August so we were just before the main ‘Fall’ autumn tourist season which was a …
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Paradise Wildlife Park – Broxbourne Herts

I had visions of having to spend my day stuck in a narrow tunnel trying to retrieve Abbie. She was having a great time as she had gone through the tunnel to the centre of the Meerkat enclosure to see them and did not want to come out. Finally, to …
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Polka Theatre, Wimbledon- watch, perform, pop in and play

The Polka Theatre is a great place to visit.  It is dedicated to bringing theatre to children and has a range of workshops and shows catering for the very young to early teens. The theatre foyer and cafe are open during the day, Tuesday to Saturday, and are a great …
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Poole Museum and Scaplen’s Court

Would you like to design your own museum? Well you can – by using Poole Museum’s special ‘DIY Museum’. It has all sorts of small bits and pieces in the drawers and The Munchkins, hopefully without quarrelling, can decide what to display on the shelves. Poole Museum has a lot of interactive, …
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Punch and Judy on Swanage Beach – Dorset

We love coming to Swanage as it seems to have everything you need for a traditional seaside experience. Watching Punch and Judy on the sands, taking a boat trip, fishing for crabs from the quay or walking and exploring the neighbouring headlands, there is always something for all the family. …
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Quiz Walk : Greenwich Meridian and Park

A delightful walk, 1¼miles long, with fantastic views across the Thames Buggy friendly  – a gentle uphill climb to The Observatory between 2 and 3 – lots of seats to rest at.  Between 3 and 4 is a very short gradient. Between 6 and 7 is a gentle gradient.  After …
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Ride The Swanage Railway To Corfe Castle

I am not sure that the munchkins really understand our fascination with steam trains but it brings back great childhood memories for Papa Joe and myself so we loved our recent trip on The Swanage Railway. This restored heritage railway takes about 25 minutes to travel the 6 miles from the Dorset seaside …
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Soft Play at The Venue Borehamwood

As soon as we turned into the car park a voice from the back seat babbled ‘Soft Play , Soft Play’  This is one of Abbie’s favourite places and she could not wait to get in. After paying (don’t forget to get a parking refund) we had a choice of …
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Spitalfields City Farm

In 1912 my mother was born in a flat near Petticoat Lane Market in the East End of London. When I was little she used to take there and we would wander the busy streets seeing places she used to play. Imagine how surprised she would have been to know that less than a mile …
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Sunshine! Wimbledon! Let’s Pick Some Strawberries

The sun was shining, the phone rang. ” How about strawberry picking” my daughter asked. “Great idea” I replied. We packed hats, sun cream and insect repellent, and luckily our daughter had baby wipes  There’s nothing like toddlers with sticky strawberry covered hands to ruin your outfit. We also took …
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Teignmouth – A Traditional Devon Seaside Resort

  As we looked down at Teignmouth beach we heard the comment “Why is the sand red?” We are so used to golden sandy beaches that the red beach was a complete surprise.  The answer became apparent as we walked east to the red sandstone cliffs. It did not really …
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The Cumberland Pencil Museum.

Of course a ‘lead pencil’ has lead in it! Actually no –  the centre of a pencil is pure, solid graphite. To find out why it is called ‘pencil lead’ Papa Joe and I visited delightful Cumberland Pencil Museum. Having obtained our entry ticket – a pencil of course – we entered through …
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The Geffrye Museum

The Geffrye is a delightful museum, an ocean of calm a short distance from the bustle of Liverpool Street and Shoreditch. Set in a series of old almshouses, you are drawn both ‘through the keyhole’ and back in time into living rooms across the ages. It is great fun for …
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The Global Treasure App

Earlier this year we were visiting the excellent Riverside Museum in Glasgow and discovered that you can download a free quiz / treasure hunt to your phone to complete as you walk around. What a brilliant idea! It is just right to entertain the grandchildren while you enjoy looking at …
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The Horniman Museum

No wonder the Horniman was a finalist in the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2013. The Museum describes itself as an inspiring, surprising, family-friendly, free attraction in South London’s Forest Hill.  As we walked around we were in total agreement with this statement.  There are plenty of …
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The Horniman Museum Gardens

The Horniman Gardens are part of The Horniman Museum and have been revamped in 2012.  They are a great place to wander around and although situated on a hill most of the main areas of interest are on level ground just outside the museum. The views across to Central London …

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The House on the Hill Toy Museum – Stansted

“Look a Dalek” Another voice piped up “I had one of those” It doesn’t matter what age you are there are toys and memories for everyone.  You are sure to find something to reminisce about among the 80,000+ items on display at The House On The Hill Toy Museum Peppa …
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The National Maritime Museum – Greenwich

If you are in Greenwich then visit The National Maritime Museum. It has had a makeover and the galleries with large collections of model ships have been transformed into themed galleries with displays of paintings and memorabilia. There are some fun things for children including a small children’s gallery which …
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The Ragged School Museum – Dr Barnardo’s Free School

Suitable for all age groups – on 3 floors – no lift Sit up straight, don’t fidget, no talking. Are your hands clean? Are you ready to experience a lesson at The Ragged School Museum? Yes –  then try to visit on the 1st Sunday in each month when you …
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The Sandbanks Chain Ferry

The captain walks to the control tower. The gates clang shut. The black ball slowly rises to the top of the forward mast. The rattle of chains start. The “Bramble Bush Bay” chain ferry is on its way across the mouth of Poole Harbour.

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The Science Museum Basement – where science comes alive!

When I was a little girl my mother and I used to buy a ‘Red Rover’ ticket for the buses and go to the children’s gallery at the Science Museum in South Kensington. I loved turning the handle to make the water rise up on the model of the Archimedes Screw but my …
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The Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) – Trent Park, North London

Suitable for under 5s W.R.A.S is a great charity that runs a rescue centre and hospital for wild animals in North London. The centre is open to visitors every day except for Christmas Day.  We visited the centre and saw a mixture of  birds and animals that live here including ponies, pigs, …
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Things to do at Woolwich Arsenal

Papa Joe and I went to the tall ships festival on The Thames and discovered that The Woolwich Arsenal is being redeveloped and is a great place to take the munchkins. Now served by DLR and trains fron central London it is easy to get to and will become even easier when Crossrail opens …
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Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital and Visitor Centre – nr Aylesbury, Bucks

Grandpa – what happens to wild animals if they are injured? A few lucky animals are taken to Tiggywinkles – the World’s Leading Wildlife Hospital. They do amazing medical work with injured British wildlife like hedgehogs, badgers, ducks, kites, foxes, deer, tortoises. You cannot visit the main hospital area, but …
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Tillamook Forest Interpretive Center – Oregon

Sometimes you come across the most interesting places by accident. We were driving to the Oregon coast when we stopped for a walk by The Wilson River by The Jones Creek campground. As we walked beside the river we saw a long pedestrian suspension bridge and a signpost to the Tillamook Forest Center so …
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Travel Back to the 1930s at Bekonscot Model Village and Railway, Beaconsfield

Thank you Mrs Callingham! In 1928 she insisted that her husband move his model railway into the garden or she would leave. Luckily for us he agreed and built the delightful Bekonscot Model Village for his train set. Daisy and Sky loved watching all the little trains running around the miniature …
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Treasure Hunts

A cold wet day – what should we do, where can we go? The excitement of Christmas is wearing off and there is still a week to go before the grandchildren go back to school. Museums and Art Galleries are good to visit at this time of the year but …
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Treehouse Family Play – Bournemouth – Soft Play, But Not As You Know It

Suitable for  0 – 12 If you’re in Bournemouth town centre, the Treehouse represents a welcome departure from the usual indoor play centres. When my daughter was in Bournemouth recently she took her 2 year old to the Treehouse. Now my daughter has a love/hate relationship with soft play centres. …
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Unusual Israel

Where in the world can you find the following places to take The Mayhems which are all within 60 miles of each other? a museum dedicated to Japanese Art a wonderful collection of Salvador Dali’s bronzes hot springs to swim in complete with alligators!

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Valentines Park, Ilford – memories, memories

Over 55 years ago my mother used to bring me to Valentines Park and I was amazed to see figs growing there.  A few years later I went to the school adjacent to the park so got to know it well.  You can just spot the school behind the trees …
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Van Hage – A Garden Centre With A Difference, Ware Hertfordshire

How many times have you heard a little voice from the back seat in the car either demanding food or a toilet.  We now consciously take note of garden centres when we travel as they usually have a cafe, toilets and things for children to look at.  Some of the …
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Vauxhall City Farm

Vauxhall City Farm is a quiet haven tucked away between the busy streets and high-rise buildings near the bustle of Vauxhall Bus and Rail interchange.  It is such a surprise to see a city farm so near to central London. It’s very small but the farm is home to a …
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Visit the coast in Northern England for a great day out

The nice thing about The UK being an island – actually several islands! –  is that nowhere is very far from the sea and we have some great beaches to visit. Our friend Ruth has told us about some great places they go to with their family in the North …
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Wimborne Minster’s Model Town – Dorset

“Look there is where Daddy works” shouted our friend Fred’s 4 year old granddaughter when she looked into the tiny church at Wimborne Minster’s Model Village. Her Daddy is a wedding photographer, and as they peeked inside the tiny church at Wimborne Minster’s Model Town they could see a wedding taking place. She was …
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Winchester City Centre – 5 things to do

Recently we went to the The Winchester Science Centre and Planatarium and, after having fun, there we spent a few hours in Winchester City Centre. A city of contrasts – within a small area you can see delightful medieval buildings, Winchester Cathedral, a ruined castle, and a gothic style Victorian Town Hall. …
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WWT Arundel Wetland Centre

Our friend Sylvia has just visited The Arundel Wetland Centre. She had a great visit and and told us that we must take The Munchkins there. We asked her what it was like and this is what she thought. Yes, it is good for kids. They do pond dipping, and …