As we enter October it is a chance to reflect on how lucky we have been with the weather over the last couple of months. This has certainly given everyone lots of opportunity to get out and about in their local area.
In the two posts from the start of the summer holidays I wrote about aiming to be more flexible, but realistically knew we would still need to get organised for some outings.
Also I considered how to build more mindful moments into the days. So here is a little review of how we got on.
Hopefully the weather isn’t changing too dramatically just yet so if you are local to south-east London you may get some ideas for this coming weekend.
Firstly the trips which took us a bit of planning ahead:
- Godstone Farm – a firm favourite with us ever since the eldest was a toddler and only about 40 minutes drive from south-east London if the M25 is behaving itself. The kids love the amazing outdoor play area and it is so easy to find somewhere to picnic (indeed I suggest you do as the cafe is fairly small). The animals are always a hit, especially the handling area where chicks or rabbits can generally be given a gentle cuddle and stroke. Our lot also LOVE the den-building area and also the chance to have a go on an old-fashioned spinning wheel.
- Peppa Pig World – about an hour and three quarter’s drive from our little corner of London. Worth a trip for any Peppa Pig fans (all toddlers then surely?!) though I would say autumn is probably a better time to visit than the height of summer as it was a little too hot for our little ones in the 20 minute queues. That said they had a fabulous time on the boats and we all thought the softplay area was amazing. The bonus is that it’s in a bigger theme park (Poulton’s) and our eldest loved the gentler rides, the creepy crawly section and wandering around the nature trails looking at the aviaries with some beautiful birds in.
- Minnis Bay – we feel so lucky to live a 15 minute train ride away from central London but also near to the north Kent coast with lovely places like Whitstable only about an hour away. One of our favourite sandy beaches that we come to first on our drive out from London is Minnis Bay. It’s got all you need for a good day at the seaside and has loads of parking which is a bonus too!
- OnBlackheath – This was our second year at this extremely family-friendly festival which is on our doorstep. It’s an excellent mixture of good music – Hot Chip and Primal Scream stood out for us on the Saturday when we went kid free, good food (we enjoyed a meal cooked by Theo Randall that day too) and fun for the children. On the Sunday we all enjoyed the Roald Dahl talking maze and meeting Peter Rabit in Mr McGregor’s lovely garden. If you can, look out for next year’s tickets when they are released.
And here are some of the trips that can be done much more last minute.
- Battersea Children’s Zoo – we were ‘umming and ahhhing’ about where to meet up with family and hit upon here at the last moment. How have we not been here before? So much to do as well as the animals – a fire engine, sand and water play and a tunnel so the kids can get REALLY close to the meerkats. Easy to get to on the mainline train out of Waterloo. We will definitely be returning!
- Shooter’s Hill Farm –This is such as short drive away from our ‘hood so it is no bother to jump into the car to if everyone is going a bit stir crazy at home. There is a great pond and bug hunting area as well as the sheep, pigs, cows etc.
- The Wallace Collection – do you have a young knight who wants to try on some shining armour? Well, here is a place you can pop to if everyone is getting a little vexed with the hustle and bustle of shopping in Oxford Street. Again somewhere I only found out about recently.
- The Horniman Museum – we are fairly regular visitors to this wonderful place and so I felt confident in taking all 3 kids there without any other adult back-up. We more than survived (though it did get a bit challenging in the cafe!) and all had a lovely time. I stayed calm by being mindful of not worrying too much what others thought of me when one of the little ones had a melt-down or I was changing nappies in indiscreet areas (though that being said their facilities are very good). The aquarium is just right for all 3 of mine as it was exciting enough for the eldest but small enough to be manageable for me with the twins. We also always make time for the musical instrument section as it is interactive and often not very busy. The stuffed animals and bug rooms are always a hit too. NB: it was a fairly full-on day so I failed to take any photos!
Reviewing some of the outings from the summer months makes me realise that we did not make it down the road to Greenwich. Therefore autumn will be the time to return to the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory and the Deer Enclosure in the Royal Park too as well as maybe discovering new places for the five of us to explore together.
What were your favourite day trips from the summer months?
Which places do you feel lucky to have on your doorstep?
Where are you looking forward to heading this autumn?
I would love to hear….