The city comes alive with bright sparkling lights, pop up ice-rinks and Christmas markets – there are plenty of attractions and activities to keep your little ones entertained this festive season. From Santa visits and sleigh rides to magical fairgrounds, London really has got it covered this Winter. Here’s are our top picks for some wintery treats…
Santa at Battersea Zoo and Park
We’re big fans of this little zoo with a big heart. Not only can you get up close to a whole host of animals such as meerkats, monkeys and lemurs, but the large playground is perfect to keep little ones entertained for hours. Add to this, the magic of Santa Claus, who will be greeting children in his grotto. Visitors will receive a sticker, small gift, drink and Christmas treat.
Battersea Park, Chelsea Embankment, London, SW11 4NJ Until Christmas Eve; Tickets £6 with normal admission
Christmas at Kew
Kew Gardens is always worth a visit and during Christmas is no exception… Enjoy a unique night-time experience with Kew’s famous light experience. Guided by snowflakes, you follow a one-mile glittering trail as it winds its way through the world-famous botanic gardens where you’ll find giant light sculptures, the Tunnel of Lights, singing trees, larger-than-life flora, ribbons of light, giant baubles, and a flickering Fire Garden. The Palm House leaps into life with a dazzling show of laser beams, jets of light and kaleidoscopic projections. Santa’s Snowflake Grotto returns and there’ll be a vintage carousel, Christmas gifts and traditional festive nibbles and drinks (including mulled wine).
Kew Gardens Richmond, TW9, Until 1 January 2018; Adults £16.00; Children 4-16 £10; Under 4’s Free
Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival
I love the Southbank during the festive period. It’s always a pleasure walking along the river and enjoying the skyline over London. At Christmas, the Winter Festival sees little wooden huts spring up along the Thames Path and the Christmas markets entice Londoners and tourists with their delicious goods. fun pop-ups and activities.
Make memories at magical shows for the young and young at heart: Slava’s Snowshow returns to Southbank Centre, featuring stunning visual effects and culminating in a breathtaking blizzard that leaves you literally knee deep in snow; and young children can take a theatrical journey through the night until the blackbird sings again at Night Light. There’s even a Finnish Rooftop Sauna on the Queen Elizabeth Roof Terrace where you can relax in steam and check out amazing views over the River Thames at the same time!
Southbank Centre Belvedere Rd, Waterloo, SE1, Until 4 January 2018
Hogwarts in the Snow
Harry Potter World at the Warner Bros Studio Tour is a magical place to visit whatever time of the year – as we discovered last year. But, imagine The Great Hall decked out with Christmas trees, garlands, holly and wreaths – as well as sprinkle of festivities and seasonal props which can only be seen at this time of year? Meanwhile, the Hogwarts model is transformed into a snowy castle. Visitors will even be able to touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden WD25 7LR Until 28 January 2018; Tickets : Adults £37; Kids £27; Family Ticket £118
Best of the rest:
You know Christmas is on its way when Hyde Park is transformed into a Winter Wonderland. From its Magical Ice Kingdom and Zippos Circus acts, to its huge expanse of Christmas markets and the big observation wheel dominating the sky, Winter Wonderland offers it all and is great fun for the whole family. We took Monkey here last year and we purposely chose to go early, which was a good move as the crowds do get heavy. There is a lot on offer, and plenty of suitable fairground rides to entertain little ones. It’s free to enter, but tokens have to be purchased for the rides and main attractions.
Winter Wonderland Hyde Park, W2 2UH Until 1 January 2018; Entrance free, but some some activities and attractions do charge
Winterville at Clapham Commom
After taking a year off, a newly revamped Winterville swaps east London and heads south to Clapham Common and will feature its first outdoor Ice Rink, Backyard Cinema’s Winter Night Garden, Plonk Golf, a Fairground, a Roller Disco, and a Market filled with creations from independent designers and various themed bars. Street Feast will be sorting out all the grub, so you’ll know you’ll in for a treat from selection of the best independent street food traders.
There will also be a dedicated family area where Santa and his elves will be present, alongside kiddie raves and child-friendly shows including Mimi & The Mountain Dragon.
Winterville Clapham Common, Until 1 January 2017; Entrance is free, but some activities and events do charge
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