If you’ve never attempted ice-skating before then this is a great time to try it out – on an outdoor rink. A few places in and around London, most notably the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Somerset House, have converted large areas into makeshift rinks over the festive period and it’s a great place to take the family, partners or just a bunch of mates.
I’ve been three Decembers in a row and it’s such great fun and very reasonably priced too which is always a bonus! Just make sure to pack a scarf, thick socks and some warm gloves...
Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
If like me, you are totally into everything anime/animation related, then you should check out this kooky little shop right around the corner from Carnaby Street. They sell funky Japanese-style figurines and play things – great for children and as gifts for adults.
Although the majority of what they sell seems to be of the ornamental persuasion (for show), they also sell books, magazines, games and posters – my personal favourite being a huge Pixelation City, complete with people, cars, buildings and river, all presented in a space invaders-esque design. Very niche, but oh-so-funky.
19 Beak Street, London, W1F 9RF
Walk into the museum and some huge, colourful, hanging fish point you downstairs to a magical world of masks, music and even a mermaid (well, actually a sort of monkey I think, but that's another story).
The fabulous music room has interactive tables where you can listen to music from around the world, and from other centuries, whilst looking at a most extraordinary menagerie of instruments. You can then wander through a secret door into a space where you can play delicately on a dulcimer, or bash out a tune with flip flops on some special pipes.
Next door there are some darkened, mysterious rooms full of mummies, voodoo shrines and bizarre objects of intrigue from around the world.
Wander out of the galleries and into a fab new aquarium with real waves. There are sci fi-like jelly fish, haughty seahorses, and starfish like jesters' hats. Wonder at the groovy anenomes! Dress up as a crab!
Blimey! After that it's time for a spot of v yummy lunch in the very me friendly cafe, and perhaps a little something from the shop (please). And what about the bee room, with real bees, and the stuffed animals. Oh, and there are gardens with rabbits and birds. And a big polar bear upstairs........
I love the Horniman!
From Xavi Maddison (age 10).
100 London Road, Forest Hill
Tel: 020 8699 1872
London duck tours is a tour bus company, but with a difference. They use world war two amphibious vehicles that were used in the D-day landings. First, you go on a land-based tour of London, with hilarious comedy, sorry did I say comedy? I meant commentary. Then you go down a slipway right next to MI6 HQ and into the Thames where you chug up and down the river for a bit. Unfortunately you cannot go too near the houses of Parliament due to terrorists, but of course there are always going to be terrorists on a bright yellow WW2 vehicle aren't there?
Gunnersbury Park Museum is a very fun place because you can go in to a Victorian kitchen and dress-up as an olden-days servant. I was a kitchen maid and all the boys had yellow waistcoats. I actually wore one of the kitchen maid's hats and matching aprons.
I also wore a corset. It made my belly thin but it wasn't uncomfortable. A posh teacher used to wear it, she taught at the top of the house.
I saw olden-days shops there with things inside like wooden toys and printers which are not like ours, and a wooden mangle which dries clothes.
I am five years old.
When I visited St. Paul's Cathedral in London I was bowled over by the beauty and size of the building. I thought it was impressive from the outside looking up at it, but when i entered the cathedral I was fascinated.
In the huge hall were paintings, statues and candles and I was amazed by the domed ceiling. It went up and up and up, and it had a huge painting of some baby angels and what could possibly be Cupid in a cloudy sky. I walked around the walls gazing in awe at the paintings. Lots of them were of Jesus, Jesus on the cross, Jesus with his Disciples, Jesus with a crown of thorns on his head. There were a few like the giant ceiling, with angels and clouds, and all of them were very beautiful. After the hall we climbed up a load of stairs into the Whispering Gallery.
The Whispering Gallery was a sort of balcony, going round the circular walls, and when you looked down from the railings you could see all the people walking down in the hall below. The interesting thing about the Whispering Gallery was that if you told a friend to go to the opposite side of the balcony, and hold their ear to the wall, and if you whispered something into your side of the wall, they could hear your voice coming out of the wall! This was great fun, and everyone (as I was on a school trip with my classmates) got the giggles.
After the Whispering Gallery everyone climbed up some more stairs, flight after flight after flight of stairs, until we reached the actual top of the dome. There was another balcony here, but this balcony was on the outside of the walls and if you looked down you could see the whole of London, Big Ben, Buckingham palace, and all the tiny ant people walking down below. The walk up all the stairs was tiring, but for this view, it was definitely worth it. There were no words to describe this, except for the biggest meaning of overwhelming ever.
This was probably one of my favourite school trips and I highly recommend it as as well as being an educational trip of London's history, it is fun and very interesting.
Lena Wigfall (age 9).
Tube: St. Pauls (central line)
One of my favourite walks by the Thames is from Southwark Cathedral. Famous Borough Market is nearby. I get the train to London Bridge, then walk down past Southwark Cathedral, round to the left past a replica of Sir Francis Drake's Tudor Galleon Golden Hind walking along Clink Street home of the Clink Gaol. Which gives us our colloquial term for prison: clink.
Moving along into Bankside we have the historic Anchor Pub, 34 Bankside, Southwark, LONDON SE1 9EF. Here in 1666 Samuel Pepys witnessed the Great Fire of London in 1666: "a little alehouse on bankside... and there watched the fire grow." The Anchor was rebuilt in 1676 after fire devastated the area.
One bar is named after Dr Johnson, (Samuel Johnson's Dictionary) who drank here regularly. A copy of his dictionary is on display. Then we wander past Sam Wanamaker's newly reconstructed Globe Theatre, a wonderful way to see Shakespeare in the round, plein air!
Then you come to the Tate Modern, stop for lunch or a coffee, then pop over to St Pauls Cathedral on the other side of the Thames linked by the wonderful Millennium Bridge, a footbridge. Come back over and wander on past the Oxo tower...
Eventually your walk ends by the wonderful London Eye, great at dusk with the lights twinkling into view, great view of the Houses of Parliament. Next door is Saatchi's Gallery (for the next two years anyway). By this time you will be knackered.
London Bridge Station
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