Whether you’ve got toddlers to contend with, or you’re navigating the holidays with a new baby, we round up all the best baby-friendly activities and family days out.
No matter how old your children are, school holidays, half terms and weekends with the kids can be stressful. Running after toddlers and tending to a baby can be a juggling act at the best of times. Throw in the pressure of providing 24/7 entertainment, planning family days out and securing play dates in the half term, and it can all seem a little too much. We get it.
Planning ahead could be the secret to a stress-free school break. However, finding activities to please the whole family isn’t always easy. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve compiled a list of all the best family days out and activities for the everyone to enjoy over Christmas and during the holidays.
Best Family Days Out This Christmas
My 1st Years’ Magical Igloo Pop-up at Winter Wonderland
Personalised gifting brand My 1st Years have opened their Magical Igloo at the iconic Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. A hub for Christmas gifts and festive fun for all the family, My 1st Years have something for everyone to get in to the Christmas spirit. Little ones can have fun fishing for prizes in the giant ball pool whilst parents can do their festive shopping. There’s also free personalisation on site to give the your gifts an extra special edge.
My 1st Years’ Magical Igloo pop-Up at Winter Wonderland – open until 5th January 2020 in Santa Land, Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park.
Big Screen On The Ice at Queens Skate Dine Bowl
With nine weekends of festive films on show, including family favourites such as Home Alone, Muppets Christmas Carol, and Elf, a trip to Big Screen On The Ice at Queens Skate Dine Bowl is a Christmas holiday big hit. Family Screenings start at 5pm on Saturday & Sunday afternoons. Guests purchasing seated tickets are invited to enjoy the (ice hockey themed) SIN BIN café, over-looking the ice-rink before the film starts, where hot-chocolates and other winter warmers await.
Ice Skating and Film tickets start at £11 + £2.50 skate hire for kids and £12 + £2.50 skate hire for adults. Book tickets here.
LEGO 12 Rebuilds of Christmas at The Savoy Hotel
The LEGO Group has given The Savoy hotel a festive, brick-tastic makeover open for the public to enjoy until 3rd January 2020, and are also offering special workshops where visitors can join our LEGO Certified Professionals and get creative as they build a festive decoration.
When: Workshop dates are Sunday 1 December 2019, 11am – 4pm and Sunday 15 December: 11am – 4pm. The LEGO makeover will be open to the public until 3rd January.
Cost: Free. But reserve tickets here to secure your place for the next workshop.
Morden Hall Park at Christmas
You could spend an entire weekend enjoying all that Morden Hall Park has to offer at Christmas. Bring the whole family and find something for everyone; from biscuit decorating to Christmas card making, wreath making to a stained glass ornament workshop, there is something to capture everyone’s interest. Create something for yourself, or make a Christmas present for a loved one. Certain workshops are limited to over 16 year olds only, but while you are getting creative your partner or friend can accompany your little one on a carriage ride to meet Father Christmas. Visit the website to explore all that is on offer.
When: Various dates available for different activities beginning in December.
Cost: Tickets begin at £12 per child and £15 per adult. Certain activities are adults only, but carriage rides and meeting Santa is open to all.
Christmas at The Snow Kingdom, London
Bring your little one along for a night of Christmas magic with the Backyard Cinema. Choose from a number of festive films when making your booking, and arrive a little early to give your little one time to discover the hidden entrance. Navigate your way through the magical ball pit river, find the secret password and finally arrive in the Christmas cinema.
Tube: East Putney Tube Station
Cost: Children 11 and under: £9.50, adult: £18.99
Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea at Luxury Family Hotels
Inspired by the release of Disney’s new movie Frozen 2, Luxury Family Hotels is launching a special ‘Winter Wonderland’ family afternoon tea.
Fit for princes and princesses of all ages, the delicious tea tantalises the taste buds with Siberian chocolate and raspberry bombs, frosty vanilla macarons, blueberry ice mountain cupcakes, aerated chocolate snowflakes and marshmallow snow cubes. Plus, a selection of finger sandwiches and scones served alongside teas for the adults and hot chocolate for the little ones.
As the nights draw in, this wintry treat will be available for both hotel guests and non-residents alike and will be served at all five Luxury Family Hotels from 11th November until 4th January (excluding certain days over Christmas).
Age: All the family
Cost: £24.50 for adults and £12.50 for kids
Christmas Grotto Wishing Well
This year, Harrods have partnered with Swarovski to add a little bit of sparkle to your Christmas. Bring your little one to discover a snow-covered woodland full of glittering goodies that will leave them mesmerised. Finish off the visit by meeting a very special visitor – none other than Father Christmas himself! To book, visit the Harrods website and purchase your tickets.
Cost: £20 per child between the ages of 3 to 17, babies and adults over 17 go free.
Kensington Mums’ Christmas Family Fair
The Kensington Mums Christmas Fair is back and will take place at the Holiday Inn Kensington forum from 9-5 pm on 1 December. There will be over 40+ stalls with various exhibitors. The fair will also feature kids’ entertainment, various inspirational speakers, raffle prizes and goody bags supporting a great charity. Plus there’ll be drinks and canapés to celebrate Kensington Mums turning 8.
The fair is free entry, but all the proceeds from the raffle prizes will also be supporting the Chelsea Children’s Hospital Charity.
Polar Express Train Ride, Wensleydale Railway
Snaking through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park comes the Polar Express. A festive locomotive, the journey promises picturesque views, a Christmas cookie feast and a special visit from Santa himself. All passengers, who are encouraged to wear pyjamas, will board the steam-powered train at Leeming. You can book private compartments in the old-fashioned carriages and enjoy the view us you pull into The North Pole (Bedale), where Father Christmas will jump on and dish out the presents to the good little boys and girls.
When: From Friday 29 November to Monday 23rd December.
Cost: Tickets start at £25.
Things to do This Christmas: Best Places to Meet Father Christmas
Lapland UK, Berkshire
Visitors will need to pull their weight in Lapland UK before meeting the big guy. In an immersive experience lasting four hours, the traditional story of Father Christmas is retold with the help of elves, animals and other friendly, festive characters. Once you’ve passed through the Magical Door into the Enchanted Forest, a world of activities opens up including toy making and gingerbread making. There’s also ice skating on the agenda before the final stop at FC’s house.
When: Saturday 16 November to Tuesday 24th December.
Cost: The Lapland experience starts at £59.
Eden Project, Cornwall
With the stunning architecture and beautiful scenery, it’s know wonder Father Christmas takes solace at the Eden Project in the run-up to the big day. But with all that work to do before 25 December, Santa’s going to need all the help he can get. From sorting letters to prepping his sleigh, children visiting Father Christmas at the Eden Project will be tasked with making sure everything runs smoothly. All elbow grease is rewarded with a story telling session before each child shares a chinwag with Santa himself.
When: Various dates in November and December.
Cost: £13.50 for children aged five to 16, kids under four go free.
Disney’s Enchanted Christmas, Disneyland Paris
If you’re up for crossing the Channel for one of your family days out then there’s a bumper Christmas package at Disneyland Paris this year. Festive parades, songs beneath a majestic tree and waltzers at the Christmas Ball await visitors in the Magic Kingdom. One highlight includes watching Minnie, Mickey and Father Christmas light the 24-metre-tall tree in the heart of the park. Meanwhile, Disney’s Christmas Parade puts on a show twice a day, with Santa waving from his sleigh at the end of the parade.
Meet Father Christmas at Liberty’s
Show your little ones a little luxury by visiting Father Christmas at Liberty’s this year. Head into the secret grotto to meet the man himself, and capture a festive photograph that you can treasure forever. And as you leave, your child will receive a special goodie back with a surprise Christmas treat inside.
When: Sundays only from 24th November – 15th December. 12 noon – 6pm every Sunday, except for Sunday 8th December 1pm – 6pm.
Cost: £25 per ticket, includes a visit to see Santa, a photograph and a goodie bag
Bambini Sundays at Fucina, Marylebone with Sharky & George
Italian restaurant Fucina has teamed with Children’s entertainment experts Sharky & George for a series of family-focussed creative events.
With a special children’s menu and the exclusive Sharky & George workshops, children’s imaginations can run wild with Under the Sea biscuit decorating on the 20th October and a special Monster and Halloween crafts on the 27th October, as parents sit back and enjoy the ‘La Dolce Vita’ with a specially curated menu of antipasti boards and sharing options of gourmet pasta bowls as well as veal and grilled sea bass all paired with seasonal vegetables.
Celebrate National Chocolate Week
Celebrate National Chocolate Week as Canopy Market in King’s Cross welcome a special collaboration with Cocoa Runners, purveyors of the world’s finest craft chocolate. Canopy Market will host a dedicated chocolate market packed with the best craft chocolatiers, tastings, talks and demonstrations. Perhaps more of a treat for mums and dads in need of some half term sustenance, visitors will also be able to sample rare and unusual award-winning single origin chocolate bars.
Halloween With the Skeleton Squad
On All Hallows’ Eve, the King’s Cross Skeleton Squad will rise from their graves to take over Granary Square and perform an illuminated dance of the dead (6.30 & 7.30pm). Skeleton dancers and LED skeleton drummers, by Light Beats, will roam and interact with the audience as they perform a unique choreographed routine, all building to a spectacular finale.
Disney’s Vampirina Fang-tastic Party
For a limited time only this October, fans of Disney Junior’s Vampirina are in for a spook-tastic treat with a special immersive theatre experience at cinemas across the UK. Fun-packed 68-minute screening will include never-before-seen episodes and spooky interactive elements. Vampirina Fang-tastic Party is voiced by Vampirina’s Vee and features five never-before-seen episodes ahead of them being shown on Disney Junior UK later this year.
Plus there will be a range of interactive elements, fun and games and sing-alongs that will have kids and parents screeching at the screen and up on their feet singing and dancing in the aisles.
Vampirina Fang-Tastic Party shows at cinemas 5th & 6th October 2019. Tickets are available to pre-order now as part of the cinema chain’s Kids’ Club at vampirinafangtasticparty.co.uk.
Party at More Baby-Friendly Raves
There’s a new party trend in town and this one is fun for all the family. Baby Raves are sweeping the nation. But if you’re picturing a panic-inducing day of nursery rhymes and soft-play, worry not, as these baby raves are pretty darn cool. From chart-topping DJs to interactive light shows these tot-friendly discos are giving Ushuaia in Ibiza a run for its money. So dust off your dancing shoes, grab your kids and get down to one of these baby-friendly parties for a fun family day out this half term.
Check out Some Baby-friendly Cinemas
A sure-fire way to keep your bigger kids entertained during th May half term is packing them off to the cinema. However, we all know that sometimes little ones don’t want to sit quietly and still for the duration of a film – which can prove to be a stressful experience for parents and the cinema. Take the worries away by paying a visit to specific baby-friendly cinemas or screenings.
Dip Into a Family-friendly Swimming Pool
Swimming is not only a fun-filled activity for children, but it is also great for baby development. Pools that offer babies and young children a separate swimming area or shallow paddling pool are worth investigating for family days out over half term. Why not tie it in with separate swimming sessions for young families. It’s likely to be easier to build up water confidence in younger children, while the older kids can splash about while fully supervised in a separate pool.
Visit KidZania London
If you haven’t heard of KidZania already, we’re not entirely sure where you’ve been hiding (or, more accurately, how you’ve been hiding it from your kids). KidZania is essentially an indoor city, where kids call the shots. Children aged 4 to 14 can independently choose from a number of real-life entertaining activities in a secure space.
Best Days Out During the Summer Holidays
Try out These Top 10 High-flying Adventures
To mark the release of the brand new Aladdin film in cinemas on 24 May, go-to family ticket destination Picniq has compiled a list of top ten high-flying activities for kids.
From indoor skydiving, scaling trees, rock climbing and zipping through the hills, there’s something to your bigger kids entertained during the half term holidays.
- Airkix Indoor Skydiving – Milton Keynes
- Go Ape – Battersea Park, London
- Treetop Adventure Golf – Cardiff
- Cheddar Gorge – Somerset
- Zipworld – Bangor, Wales
- The Big Swing Adventure Playground – Yorkshire
- Air Space Stevenage – Stevenage
- Keswick Climbing Wall & Outdoor Activity Centre – Cumbria
- Good Leaf Tree Climbing – Isle of Wight
- Up! – The O2 London
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