Whether your coming from Richmond or Runcorn, Greenwich is a major tourism town that sees thousands of people paving its streets every year. This year has seen a rise in tourism again and with lockdown officially behind us all, the streets of Greenwich are starting to fill up.
I originally published this post in August 2020 but have revised it again to keep it current with this year’s events. Spending a day trip visiting Greenwich during the summer holidays can be easy, cheap and very enjoyable for the whole family. Train companies usually offer GroupSave discounts when travelling during summer holidays if you’re coming from outside of London.
Anyone else missing their weekly trip to the National Maritime Museum? We didn’t visit weekly but I know there are a lot of parents who found the NMM a fantastic place for children especially during the school holidays as well as term time. There were daily activities for all ages and that wonderful Ahoy Gallery for the under 5s.
This summer, post-lockdown, National Maritime museum will be launching two self-led outdoors family trails on Saturday 15 August 2020 which you’ll be able to enjoy for the remainder of August. As their doors are still closed to the public for now (re-opening in Sept!), this is the closest you’ll get to getting involved with NMM, however Cutty Sark and Royal Observatory is now open for visitors, more details on openings here.
It’s my birthday on Saturday so we won’t be taking part on the launch day as we’ve got a birthday party planned for myself and Little Man that afternoon. However, we will be keen to test out the trail next week as part of our weekly outdoor activity.
Outdoor family nature trails (self-led)
The family nature trails were created in collaboration with ‘Cuffs and Collars Co’, a sensory theatre company working with children aged 0-7 years with complex needs. Their work focuses on topics relating to emotional development, mental health and well-being which is something we should take very seriously in children too. The pandemic, the lockdown, the redundancies and job loss have all taken a major toll on us parents but imagine the amount of tension the children must be feeling from us. All that anxiety that manifests in us transfers over to them without us thinking about it.
Before lockdown I was completing my Aromatherapy Associates training on their new range. Forest Therapy was developed to support mental and emotional healing; helping you to reset, recover and rejuvenate. I wasn’t a big fan of it when it first came out but it really helped me to unwind and refocus my energy during lockdown. It was my little bit of the spa world that I could still hold on to at home! 🙂
NMM Nature Trail #1 – Bird Trail
The Hide & Seek Bird Trail is a simple ‘spotters’ trail. Families can use the trail sheet to help them find 8 birds in the grounds which connects to Greenwich Park. At each stop, you will be challenged to complete a small task or two ie. can you soar like a seagull? Can you stand on one leg like a flamingo? Good kids yoga pose moment right there!
NMM Nature Trail #2 – Sailer School
The Sailor School Trail has eight stops and challenges you to try different activities linked to the maritime world and the collection to become a graduate of sailor school. Each stop has a number of different/separate activities, allowing families to choose an activity suited to their child’s ability. Each location within the Sailor School trail has different activity options for more ways of having fun with the trail.
Both trails are suitable for all ages and abilities
The trails have been developed for families with complex needs in mind and allow families to complete them in any order and to drop in and out as they please. They do not have to do everything on the trail. The grounds of the trail have gravelled paths making it suitable for buggies and wheelchairs and there’s level access routes for those who have accessibility needs.
The trail sheets are available for download from the National Maritime website or alternatively, you can pick up a printed trail sheet at the Museum – simply ask one of the NMM staff on standby outside the museum.
The National Maritime Museum holds the world’s largest maritime collection, housed in historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. The museum is part of Royal Museums Greenwich which also incorporates the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the 17th-century Queen’s House and Cutty Sark. Royal Museums Greenwich works to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. This unique collection of museums and heritage buildings, which form a key part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes over two and a half million British and international visitors a year and is also a major centre of education and research.
This winter is the best time for us to get our skates on and unleash our inner figure skater vibes! I cannot skate but that doesn’t stop me getting on the ice. I try to go at least once every year and each year I tell myself that I will take up skating and get better… but like NY resolutions, the feeling and motivation disperses and I’m left saying the same thing year on year.
I’ve taken it upon myself to give myself a Christmas mission and visit 5 beautiful and magical ice rinks in London. Below are my favourite five rinks which are all outdoors so you can enjoy the stunning views of majestic surrounding buildings.
There are so many ice skating rinks in London to visit but here are a few a good places to start you off…
Somerset House is mainly known for hosting London Fashion Week/Weekend events but every winter they also put on a spectacular ice skating arena, especially if you visit late afternoon/evening time when the lights are on. There’s a big Christmas tree as the centrepiece, plus having the building as a backdrop for your skate is simply amazing.
A few days I went with one of my work girls to skate and we really enjoyed ourselves. It really is a stunning location but get ready to see a lot of couples skating together, a lot of newbies clinging onto the edge of the rink and more experienced skaters showing off their moves in the middle of the rink. There’s no skate aids here apart from for young children so I wouldn’t recommend skating here if you’ve never been on the ice as you will just be clinging onto the sides of the rink for the whole session. I am not great on the ice and found it quite challenging without any skate aids but managed to get by a little although I had to have lots of resting time in between because my legs got tired… Real quick. Also it gets quite busy on the ice but really feels festive and enjoyable.
They play good music on the ice and the lights change colour which creates a lovely skating atmosphere. Sessions are 45 mins which is a good amount of skate time. The skates for hire are really good quality and I’ve found lace-up skates to be extremely comfy compared to the standard clip-in ones.
Adult tickets are from £11 for the 45mins session which includes skate hire. Arrive at least 15mins early to drop off your bags at the hut (first bag/item is free, £2 per item thereafter). Then go into the other hut to collect your skates. There’s also Skate Lates from 8pm where you can enjoy skating listen to the latest hits and some classics from the venue’s DJ. Good vibes!
Based at the foot of a UNESCO Heritage site, voted as UK’s Top 10 visitors attraction the Queen’s House in Greenwich is one of the most beautiful places in London. The ice rink here is the only outdoor rink in South East London and is beautiful to skate around. This year, the rink at Canary Wharf has not been brought back so this is currently our closest ice skating rink.
We had the pleasure of skating here on its launch event which was fantastic. The kids had such a wonderful time and I am so glad to have an ice rink so local to us! For me, this rink comes in as a close second behind Somerset House because even though it is an amazing rink with really magical views, the skates let me down – they are the really cheap clip on ones which hurt my feet so bad. The good thing about this rink is that they have not one, but TWO types of skate aids for you to choose from. A penguin aid for less confident skaters and the banana aid (seen below) which is ideal for tiny skaters and complete first-timers. The banana aid is really fun but for those pushing the aid around, it’s hard work! Get ready to burn extra calories with that thing.
A night – or late afternoon skate here would be stunning. As you can see from the image above, the Queen’s House lit up at night is really something. It looks magical and so festive! The rink doesn’t get overly busy too which is great as it means more space on the ice to go round. Tickets are from £13.50 for adults and from £6.75 for kids, unfortunately there are no family tickets but if you’re a Royal Musuems Greenwich member, you can take advantage of their discounted tickets.
South Kensington is well known for their museums and now every winter, for their ice skating too! Passing here last winter with Little Man I thought about taking him on the ice but unfortunately he’s not a big fan as I am with ice skating so we gave it a miss. I’m planning to head out this year with Little Miss as the ice rink is small but good enough for parents with young families. There is a morning parent & toddler skating session which includes skating, skate hire and a free hot drink for both… of course we will opt for the hot chocolate option! 🙂
This rink is on my list to take the kids once we break up for Christmas holidays. It looks like it’ll be a good one and a skate by the NHM would be a delight! Naturally, we’ll head into the museum after for a little look around and lunch at their cafe or a nearby restaurant. Adult tickets are from £12.65 and tickets for children start from £8.80. There’s also a reduced family ticket for four cost from £39.60.
Every Friday evening from 7-8pm, fragrance brand Viktor&Rolf will be transforming the ice rink into a Flowerbomb fantasy. Join in as they turn the ice pink, hang sparkling baubles from the Christmas tree and the infuse the air with their new Flowerbomb fragrance.
Situated in the gardens of Henry VIII’s historic home, the Hampton Court Palace outdoor rink offers you the chance to glide across the ice whilst being surrounded by spectacular views of the amazing Tudor palace. This scenic skate is perfect for all skaters from complete beginners to the advanced. Skate aids are available, and just like at Queen’s House you can choose from the penguin or the banana.
Tickets are slightly pricier than the other rinks already mentioned (apart from Somerset House) from £15.00 per adult and £10.50 per child. This will have to be a solo skate for me or with friends as it’s slightly out of reach for us and to be frank, the prices are a little more dear. From the images on their website, I can see that people are wearing the blue clip-on skates… a big turn off for me however that view does look really appealing. There’s also a cafe bar by the rink so you can grab a hot drink and something to eat before or after your time on the ice. 🙂
Skating around an outdoor bandstand playing live music? What more could you ask for! This rink looks pretty amazing in the day time and at night, even more special. When I visited this rink with my girl friends, unfortunately it was a very wet evening and we all got caught in the rain. It was only a mist but so much water pooled onto the ice, it made me really nervous with skating on it. However it wasn’t all bad – the wet ice actually made it easier to glide and skate but it was certainly more slippery in some areas of the ice as the rain froze over.
There are penguin skate aids at this rink for hire £5 per aid which I bought but ended up not using. There were many families on the ice that couldn’t really skate but didn’t want to put money out to get an aid and were really struggling. I ended up giving my penguin to a young child who skated with his mum and sister who were also inexperienced skaters.
There was a professional photographer on the ice when we skated so be aware that staff will tell you that you can’t take photos on the ice – because they want you to obviously purchase theirs so if you must take a photo like we did, make it snappy and do it discreetly.There was also live music; we had a singer performing with her guitar. Her acoustic renditions of Christmas songs were mellow, festive and added perfect ambience to our wet skating session. We enjoyed our 45 minute skate and of course, my feet got blistered from the clip-on skates which were in really bad condition. They had the worst skates compared to the rinks at Somerset House and the Queen’s House.
Apparently Hyde Park’s rink prides itself as the largest outdoor rink in the UK I can’t tell you for certain. From photos, I thought the Hampton Court rink looks bigger but I won’t know until I go there myself. As soon as I can tell you, I’ll let you guys know. 😉
Okay, I know my post title says Top 5 but think of this as your bonus ice rink location because I couldn’t disregard it.
Tower of London is one of the Historic Royal Palaces in London (like Hampton Court Palace) and a very popular attraction for visitors in the UK and overseas. You can skate outside the fortress and admire the beautiful ambience as it’s lit up in the evening.
Prices are similar to Hampton Court; from £15 for adults and from £10.50 for children. For me, this one will be a miss but I’m sure it’ll be a great visit if you’re a History buff. Skate aids can also be hired here (must be booked in advance) but their website doesn’t specify what kind of skate aids are available.
I hope you enjoyed this little round-up posts of my top 5 magical outdoor ice rinks in London. Have you visited any ice skating rinks this year or perhaps you’re looking to go soon before Christmas? Leave me a comment if you have any other recommendations of open-air ice rinks in London too! x
Queen’s House Greenwich Ice Skating Rink
Dates: 29 November 2019 – 12 January 2020
(closed Dec 25)
Winter time is the only season where I need no excuses to drink my body weight in hot chocolate and look like a Michelin-man. I’m loving all of the fluffy layers, borg-lined jackets and teddy-fleece fabrics this year. It’s been a real long time since I’ve skated however this past week I have been going regularly to ice skating rinks around London. In an upcoming review, I’ll be sharing my favourite outdoor ice rinks in London with you so look out for that soon. For the past few years living in the area, there’s always been an ice rink in Greenwich. It’s a a lovely little suburban town that draws people from near and far to visit and sample its culture and cuisine.
The Queen’s House is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich, one of the UK’s Top 10 visitor attractions. It’s also a UNESCO protected Heritage site and has been beautifully preserved. Next door, you’ll find the National Maritime Museum and they have a wonderful under 5s play area that’s free to drop-in. Across the road is the Old Royal Naval College where you’ll find the newly renovated Painted Hall. Behind the museum is the ever-popular Greenwich Park, and just a short but steep climb up the hill, you’ll find The Royal Observatory.
The last remaining tea-clipper, the Cutty Sark is a short walk away and on Wednesdays, there’s a toddlers soft-play session under the ship. If you have a young child, you can really make a day out of your visit by combining a few things to do together. Check out this post of when we went along to the Toddler Time session at Cutty Sark. There’s always lots going on at Greenwich Market over the Christmas period so be sure to check out the their website.
Ice skating in Greenwich
We were kindly invited along to the opening launch of the Queen’s House Greenwich Ice Rink. Apparently this outdoor ice skating rink is the only one in South London There wasn’t many of us there which made it a lovely first experience for the kids, despite the rainy weather. We will definitely be back in the next week or so for more skating!
We left school and arrived at the National Maritime Museum at 3.40pm, as we were a little early we popped into the museum for a little look around. We could see that the brightly lit lighthouse beacon from outside the museum and, like boats to a lighthouse, we were pulled in by the light. We had a little look around the souvenir shop before heading back out and across over to the Queen’s House. The weather was not too cold but I’d highly recommend dressing the kids up warm for the ice. We warmed ourselves up with delicious hot chocolates but you can also choose from teas, coffees and mulled wine. Snacks and sweet treats were also available.
Checking in at the QH reception and getting a hot chocolate before our skate sessionSkating sessions can be booked in advance online. Prices are from £13.50 for adults and £6.75 for children. The skating sessions are 45 minutes which is pretty standard timing. The prices are also similar to other outdoor ice rinks in London. If you add in the benefits of the rink being stunning and on the doorstep of two museums, it’s decent value-for-money. After checking in we went to change into our skates, children’s size starts from infant UK 9, if your child’s feet is smaller than this they offer bob skates which go over your child’s actual footwear.
Skate aids are also available to hire for £5. They have two types of skate aids to choose from; the penguin which is suitable for single beginner skaters and the banana skate aid which is a godsend if you have more than one child. Just pop your little ones on and push them around the ice but be aware, it’s tiring work especially if your kids are older as their weight makes it harder to push and steer if you are also a beginner skater.
Our best moments & highlights…
The stunning background views
When it comes to outdoor ice skating rinks, the view has to be one of the highlights.
I can confirm that the Queen’s House lit up after dark for our session was truly amazing. It really added to the magical experience. Even if you skated here during daylight hours, I think it would still look just as beautiful. I will be back very soon for a solo skate and will definitely opt for a morning session. During the daytime, the Queen’s House is always open and free to enter so make sure you pop in and have a look around at the wonderful artwork and don’t forget to check out its stunning Tulip spiral staircase.
Unfortunately, I get blisters on my feet each time I skate because my feet are flat and over-pronated. If you have a similar condition, make sure you wear thick socks and/or bring some gel cushion pads to avoid excessive rubbing. For me it’s also self-inflicted as even though I can feel my feet are over-rubbing I never get off the ice. Quitting is for losers… haha!
The family-friendly size
The Greenwich ice skating rink is on the smaller side compared to the likes of Winter Wonderland and Somerset House however I personally think this is much better and safer especially if you have a young family and/or you’re not that confident on the ice. A smaller rink usually means staff can be more attentive and approachable for handy tips and help on the ice. As it’s a newly opened rink, there’s less of a crowd on the ice which gives you a better skating experience however I am yet to go here on a weekend so it might start getting busier as the days go by.
If it’s your first time on the ice, I’d recommend watching some Youtube videos on how to fall safely and how to skate. It’s always important to learn how to fall safely as a bad fall on the ice can really do some damage to your body especially your back and even head. If you’re an experienced skater you can still enjoy the beauty of the rink but may find yourself doing several laps pretty quickly. Not a problem as there’s also less people on the ice so you can practice those backward swizzles and turns. 🙂
A priceless first-time experience
Little Man and Little Miss thoroughly enjoyed their first time on the ice. The laughter and fun and giant smiles on their faces was priceless! For Little Man, it’s technically his second time on the ice but the first time he actually skated. As much as they loved Daddy P and I pushing them around, they were brave enough to get up on the ice and skate with one of us holding their hand. Little Miss seems a natural on the ice, Little Man needs a little more practice to find his feet and his balance.
A local attraction for us
Lucky for us, we now have an ice skating rink a short walk or bus ride away from us which is fantastic. There’s always so much on offer here and I am more that grateful to live in such a wonderful area. I’ll be taking the kids to see Santa once December hits and we’ll surely be back for another skate and visit to the museums. Schools around here break up on December 19th so we’ll have the Friday free to get out and do things.
If you live further afield, Greenwich is only 10 minutes from London Bridge and is very well connected with public transport. I’d advise leaving your car at home as there’s hardly any parking spaces available. You’ve got the national rail close by as well as the DLR, the river boat (Thames Clipper), numerous buses and the underground (Jubilee line) at North Greenwich which is a bus ride away, approx. 2 miles away.
Perfect for intimate skate dates
A smaller, intimate ice rink also makes a great place to skate for couples wanting a skate date. Daddy P and I have said that we’d like to return to skate together, probably on a school day when both of the kids are still in school so we can have a little bonding time together.
This rink is a great venue for couples however, I wouldn’t recommend considering a skate date if it’s your first time on the ice as what happens is you’ll end up just clinging onto the side of the rink instead of actually skating and having a good time together. Although saying this, at least here you can hire a banana skate aid to help you move so if one of you can skate… you can push the non-skater. 🙂 The other romantic place to skate is Somerset House however they don’t offer any skate aids so avoid going there if you’ve both never skated.
NB. We were invited to the press launch and compensated for our time on the ice in exchange for this blog review. All words, opinions and content are my own and photos must not be used without my consent.
On a not-so-sunny Wednesday, Little Lady and I headed out to Greenwich for a little bit of pre-nursery fun. We were invited to explore the last remaining British tea clipper, the Cutty Sark. You can’t miss it, she lies in the heart of the high street opposite the popular Greenwich market.
Greenwich is a beautiful place to visit – a mix of old and new. It’s also a great place to live – everything is local, there’s good access to public transport and there’s lots of families living in the area. The only difficulty is finding a free parking space in the area as it’s a heavily pedestrianised area.
Journey to the Cutty Sark ship
We hopped on a bus from home and took it towards Greenwich, we got off at the stop opposite the Old Royal Naval College and walked towards the ship. I pointed out to Ams the ship’s sails and took a moment to take a photo of the signpost below with a view of the ship in sight.
5 Fun Facts about Cutty Sark…
1. Cutty Sark is 148 years old It was launched on 22 November 1869 in Dumbarton, Scotland. Built to last for just thirty years, it is now in its third century.
2. Cutty Sark has travelled 957,995 nautical miles
During its years as a British merchant ship, Cutty Sark visited sixteen different countries and travelled the equivalent of two and half voyages to the moon and back.
3. Cutty Sark was built for the China tea trade but would carry a vast array of cargoes in its career
Cutty Sark carried almost 10 million lbs of tea between 1870 and 1877. The opening of the Suez Canal marked the end for sailing ships in the tea trade and so Cutty Sark had to find new employ. It transported a variety of cargoes, including over 10,000 tons of coal, before finding its calling in the Australian wool trade. It would transport more than 45,000 bales in its career.
4. Overall, however, Cutty Sark is an extremely fortunate ship
It survived storms which ripped its rudder off on two occasions, survived a dismasting in the First World War and a terrible fire in 2007. In the year before the fire, the majority of Cutty Sark’s original fabric had been removed. This meant that, while devastating, the fire was nowhere near as destructive as it could have been. Over 90% of the ship’s hull structure is original to 1869.
5. A special dry dock was built for Cutty Sark in Greenwich in 1954
After an extensive restoration, Cutty Sark was opened by HM the Queen on 25 June 1957. As a symbol of Britain’s maritime trade, it became a memorial to the Merchant Navy and the 44,000 men killed in both world wars. Since 1957, Cutty Sark has welcomed over 16 million people and counting!
Toddler Time at the Cutty Sark Toddler Time is a free flow play session held under the ship every Wednesday from 10-11.30am for under 4s. It’s a little bit like rhyme time and story time at my local library but with a bit more emphasis on the play element. Children can roam free under the ship whilst parents have a little chat with each other and the Toddler Time staff.
Ams was not really interested in playing with others this time – it was the first time we visited the underneath of the ship and she was overwhelmed with it all and preferred to explore her surroundings instead. There was lots of information about the ship’s history, the fire that happened and the renovations that took place and why the ship was updated with the new glassy look. All very interesting facts that I never knew about.
There’s also a collection of the ship’s past figureheads to look at. They are really large and quite scary, I wasn’t really a fan of looking at all of them for too long. Ams also had a good look of them before heading off to explore the other bits of the ship. Unfortunately as the weather wasn’t great, the little madam didn’t want to explore the top deck of the ship which was what I was looking forward to. Her nursery session also starts at 12.30pm so we had to start making our way back to get some lunch then head to nursery.
There is a lovely little cafe beside the toddler time area serving hot and cold food and drink so it’s a really lovely space to burn off some energy or just to chill and chat with other parents.
Toddler Time at Cutty Sark
There are two sessions each week on on Wednesdays, a morning session at 10-11.30am and an afternoon session at 1.20-2.50pm. Our morning session was not too busy, there was around 10-12 other parents which is a good amount of people to have but not too much to feel overcrowded. The sessions are held during term-time only.
Price: £5 per adult, kids (under 4s) go free
Older children (4+) can also join but they would be charged the adult price. Parents can also sign up to the annual membership for £44 and go free – the membership also gives you free entry and access to exclusive events, entries and discounts to the cafes and shops.
Naturally, we couldn’t leave without a look around the gift shop. Ams had a good look around before deciding she wanted the giant lollipop. I got myself a little tote back to add to my collection. We will be back to explore the top deck on a sunnier day and also I had my eyes on some beautiful wooly mitts (for kids and adults) which were SO WARM – I need a pair for the winter weather ahead. 🙂
After we left Cutty Sark we had a look around the Old Royal Naval College which is adjacent to the ship. It’s a great place to visit, also filled with plenty of history and free tours if you’d like to know more about the site. The ORNC is also a visitors information centre so if there is anything else you’d like to find out about Greenwich or the RMG, don’t visit Greenwich without a trip there. You can also choose to explore the college grounds yourself – just be mindful that it is also part of the University of Greenwich so there are lots of people moving around the area.
Have fun exploring the rest of Greenwich too – don’t leave without visiting the National Maritime Museum and if you have the energy, head up to the Royal Observatory. There’s always lots going on at the Royal Museums Greenwich sites.
We have everything available to us at our doorstep – literally! There is a Costa Coffee store opening soon right downstairs and I’ve been telling my friends I don’t know if that is a good idea because I will probably tell Daddy P to watch the kids while I hide out in there behind my sugar-free caramel decaff latte.
I love living in Greenwich.
I wrote a post a couple of weeks back about an exhibition that is currently on in the National Maritime Museum until August 29th called “Above and Beyond”. I also wrote in the post that it was aimed at kids from 7+ which is what it states on the Royal Museums Greenwich website however when we went, there was a lot more younger children (preschoolers) at the exhibition which was lovely to see as I didn’t expect that. (I think Baby Girl was the youngest visitor on the day we went.)
National Maritime Museum
The NMM is one of the Royal Museums Greenwich alongside Cutty Sark, the Royal Observatory and the Queen’s House – all of these places are available for viewing pleasures but I believe the National Maritime Museum offers the most free galleries and exhibitions out of the four. It is also one of the most baby-friendly museums I’ve been to so far.
| watch our video – click play below|
The Above and Beyond Exhibition
Our day out to the exhibition was much better than I anticipated. Mainly because I was slightly worried that LO won’t enjoy it but it was quite the contrary – he absolutely loved it! We were lucky enough to be invited along to review the exhibition for my blog, which I kindly accepted. 🙂
I’ve also been given an exclusive promo code so all of you lovely readers can get 10% off your tickets.
Just use the code MUMMY10 when booking online or directly at the admissions desk.
The day we decided to head out to the museum it started raining lightly but all was well as I brought along with us LO’s umbrella so he could stay dry – I don’t mind the drizzle as much. We got our Peppa Pig umbrella from The Works for just £3.00. So cheap as all the other children’s brollies I found online were around £10-14. (That is extortionate!)
Once we picked up our tickets at the admissions desk we headed to the lift to take us downstairs. Inside the exhibition were lots of interactive stations where you could learn about how aircrafts fly in the air, how sonic waves travel and how they affect the nose of the planes. You can also take a virtual elevator ride to outer space and fly your own supersonic jet simulator. LO wasn’t interested in the big children’s games and instead preferred playing with the buttons on the sonic waves machine. He had fun so I didn’t mind – instead it gave me time to walk about and explore other parts of the exhibition.
We took the virtual elevator ride to outer space and saw the edge of planet Earth. It was amazing! We also found out what commercial planes are constructed from and learnt about the different space rockets and shuttles that have been sent to space. There were to-scale miniature versions of the space crafts which looked so cool. There are staff members in the exhibition who I believe you could go to for more information if you wanted to find out more about something specific. Most of the older children were playing at the flight simulators – there were even people queuing up to play!
The AHOY! Children’s Gallery
After we were done with exploring the Above & Beyond exhibition, we headed back upstairs to have a quick play in the AHOY! children’s gallery before going home. LO’s been to play here once before and loved it then and it was no different this time round. He was confident in playing around the areas by himself and really enjoyed playing with the foam ships and inside the little play house.
It’s aimed at children from 0-5 years so expect to see plenty of toddlers and preschoolers running about. You may also find a few mums with babies hiding out in here too. 🙂 I love this little area – it was only opened about a year ago but I think really adds a fun element to the museum and also it’s the one place where you can let your kids roam free and scream and shout with potentially annoying anyone else. Haha!
I hope you liked our video and review. Have you been to any museums lately?
NB. We were kindly given tickets by Royal Museums Greenwich to review this exhibition. All words, opinions and photos are my own.
Last week we were invited to come along and experience the sold-out event, Holiday to Space with Q Pootle 5. It was a special event put on by the Royal Museums Greenwich as part of their Holiday to Space series, held at the Royal Observatory. I previously posted a blog about this event which you can read here.
Our day started off at 10am but we left about 30mins before as we only live down the road. Due to the location of our home, we ended up at the South entrance of the park, near Greenwich High Street so we had to walk up to the Royal Observatory through the park. It took us about 15 mins to walk up there and LO managed to get up without a stroller as I decided against taking it. Baby Girl was at home with Daddy P so it was just Mummy and LO time – something we’ve not done in such a long time. When we reached the top, we were a tad thirsty so headed into the Pavillion Cafe where we stocked up on water, juice and sandwiches as LO didn’t have any breakfast before we left – we’re usually still in bed at 8am haha! 🙂
Once we arrived outside the Royal Observatory we could see all the other families also waiting for the event. Like I mentioned earlier, the event had been sold out – I never knew it was so popular! When the staff opened the Observatory gates, families were kindly escorted into the Peter Harrison Planetarium.
LO in the main gallery of The Royal Observatory
Sitting inside the planetarium
Space activity: making plasticine moon craters
The day’s itinerary was as follows…
| Watch Q Pootle 5 shows in the Peter Harrison Planetarium
After “checking in” we headed downstairs to the main planetarium. We were amazed, neither me or LO had seen such a place before so it was a special moment (for me!) and I could see that he was really curious to discover what was around him. He gets really fidgety when he gets excited! LO finally managed to calm down and we sat while the museum’s astrologist, Brendan, explained what we’ll be watching and introduced Nick Butterworth to us. Nick is the creator, author and illustrator of Q Pootle 5 which is a children’s TV cartoon series about friendly aliens aired on Cbeebies. You can watch episodes here
We watched two episodes of Q Pootle 5; the first one was about Q Pootle 5 and his friends join Planet Dave in awaiting the arrival of Comet Gordon. The gang put on a lovely show with music, bunting and more. The second show was about a satellite that accidentally fell on planet Oki Doki. Q Pootle 5 and his friends help to repair the satellite then helped to launch it back into orbit.
| Creator Nick Butterworth talks to us about how he created Q Pootle 5
When we had watched the shows, we were split into two teams; red and blue. We were Team Red. We were then escorted into a small room where Nick Butterworth talked about how he came to create Q Pootle 5. It was lovely to hear him explain how much planning is involved when turning a 2D illustration into a 3D animation. There is a lot of science and technical stuff at work here! Nick told us there was about a team of forty involved in the making of Q Pootle 5.
| Participate in a group space activity
Once the talk was over, we swapped with Team Blue and went into another little room where astrologist Brendan set up our space activity. The kids learnt about how shadows on the moon, what moon craters are and how they’re made. Brendan then asked all the children to grab a bit of plasticine and make their own crater. LO had other ideas; he didn’t want to turn his long sausage-shaped plasticine into a moon crater and preferred to keep it straight. My little boy for some reason is rarely in the mood to take part in group activities, he’d much prefer just to play by himself or in one-on-one.
| Nick Butterworth’s book signing
After playing with our plasticine, LO needed a quick toilet break. On our way back from the toilet, it was time to get ready to head on out downstairs onto the planetarium’s terrace where Nick Butterworth would be book-signing. We were a little early so I decided to take us to the museum shop – a big fat mistake!
Everything was fine at the start; we looked around the shop, played with a few toys then dum-dum-duummmmm!! LO wanted to buy the large space rocket. It was £15 and I wasn’t ready to part with the cash so tried using different strategies to get him out of the shop. It worked but then once we were outside – bam! – LO pulled out of the bag a big, fat (not to mention loud) tantrum. The more I tried to talk to him and calm him down, the louder he screamed and whined. I knew what it meant. It was time for a nap. He had been up for too long and he was ready to sleep.
We didn’t have the stroller and still waiting for Nick to arrive, I didn’t want to leave and not get the book signed as we had come all this way and who knew when we would see Nick again to have him sign it. I stuck to my guns and didn’t cave in by buying him the toy. We sat down in the terrace cafe and I gave him a few dinosaur sweeties to try and kick-start his energy. It worked a little. We eventually got our booked signed then thanked Nick, his wife and the RMG staff for hosting a brilliant day out and headed home. We walked back down the way we came and stopped at the little ice cream shop for a little ice lolly to cool us down.
It was a brilliant day out and we had lovely weather. When we got home, we snuggled up with Baby Girl and just chilled out for the rest of the day. A perfect ending to a perfect day. 🙂
– watch our day out: –
NB. We were invited to this event by the Royal Museums Greenwich. All words, opinions and photos are my own. Photos that are not mine are credited respectively.
Everybody loves a freebie and when you’re strapped for cash, free things to do can become the best way to treat the family to a lovely day out without spending a penny. Here are a few of my favourite (free) things to do in Greenwich over the summer holidays…
The Peoples Brick Company and architecture firm Something & Son have commissioned a one-of-a-kind installation at the NOW gallery that encourages visitors to get involved and participate in quarrying clay and moulding your own brick. If you want to take part, pop along to the NOW gallery at the weekend and get your hands dirty. All of the bricks made will be mass-fired on September 17th and then will be used to build a permanent folly which will stand at Greenwich Peninsula.
Parks are a great place for a run around, to see wildlife and horticulture, have a picnic, etc and best thing is that it’s usually free! Royal Greenwich Park has lots of wonderful areas to explore from the flower garden to the deer encounter, to the children’s play area and the secret garden.
Greenwich Market is a great free place to go. It’s filled with stalls selling everything from food to fabrics. Over the summer holidays, every Wednesday is “Wicked Wednesdays” – a day filled with crafty workshops for kids. There’s also some Weds in August where they are holding free yoga workshops.
National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum is free to enter and has a lot of free galleries for the whole family to enjoy; there’s the Ahoy gallery aimed at 0-5 year olds, the All Hands gallery and the ship simulator is aimed at over 7’s, the Great World map is ideal for everyone.
Sky Studios at The O2
If you want to have a bit of fun, head over to the Sky Studios at The O2. Previously, they hosted a special Paw Patrol meet & greet event and now they’ve got virtual Sky Sports event on. You’ll be able to have fun with their green screen and pose with your favourite footballers – you can then save your photos digitally to a card which you’ll receive upon arriving. All you’ll need to do at home is log on to the Sky Studios page, type in your code and voila you’re photos will be available for downloads.
School’s over and the summer holidays are now here!
With the beautiful weather around, why not treat the family to a wonderful day out in Greenwich? You can head down to the high street for a spot of shopping, stroll around Greenwich Park and admire the flower garden or deer encouter, or you can pop along to one of the Royal Museums of Greenwich (RMG) and see what’s on. The National Maritime Museum has a spectacular intergalactic exhibition on for kids this summer.
LO does enjoy good stories about space and he’s a big fan of rockets (after his dinosaurs and cars of course!). I discovered this when we went along to see Adventures with Sam Outer Space at Greenwich Theatre last year. The National Maritime has so much to offer! We love visiting and I think LO enjoys it there too – we’ve gone a few times to see the main gallery and then have a little play around in the new AHOY! childrens gallery.
The Above & Beyond Exhibition is open from Friday 27 May–Monday 29 August (Read on to get 10% off your tickets)
11am – Visit the Above and Beyond exhibition and have lots of fun
12:30pm – Have lunch at the Museum café
1:30pm – Check out the Ahoy gallery (aimed at under 7 years old) or Check out the All Hands gallery for children aged 6+
2:00pm – Let the kids have fun with the Great Map whilst you sit down for a drink at the Neptune café which is in front of the map so you can easily keep an eye on the kids
2:30pm – Take a look around the rest of museum if you’re not too tired
3:30pm – Stop and shop at the National Maritime Museum – perhaps you’ll treat yourself to a cute little souvenir or gift?
4:00pm – End the day as the kids will have probably be needing a rest or their nap by now 🙂
I purely just made this up by the way but it’s the only way I could demonstrate how much there is to do in the wonderful museum. There’s lovely places to eat, great free galleries and tons of interactive stuff for the kids to do, why wouldn’t you not want to spend a day there? Plus, if it starts to pour down with rain (knowing British weather, it could happen!) you’ll be indoors so you’ll stay nice and dry while waiting for the rain to pass.
Here are some amazing photos of what’s in store at this space exhibition, courtesy of RMG.
It looks fantastic!
I can’t wait to take LO along to see it! I can see why this space exhibition is aimed at bigger kids as the interactive games involved are a little advanced for pre-schoolers and toddlers. LO is only 3 years old but he loves interactive shows so much I know he’ll have a great time regardless… Plus, I will be with him at all times so I will just have to use my imagination and make it for fun and enjoyable for him. I will also be vlogging about our day out so don’t forget to come back and check out the post and vlog. 🙂
At the museum admission desk – ideal for you if you’re already there or in the area
The choice is completely up to you.
Happy Summer Holidays! 🙂
NB. I worked with Royal Museums Greenwich on their Above and Beyond campaign. In return, I was kindly invited to review the exhibition which I will be posting up later on. All words and opinions are my own and images used in this post have been credited to Royal Museums Greenwich respectively.
On Tuesday 26th July 2016, Cbeebies Nick Butterworth and his alien Q Pootle 5 will be at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich hosting a special event called ‘Holiday to Space with Q Pootle 5‘. The Cbeebies author, producer and illustrator will be performing an interactive story-telling complete with live illustrations and hosting a special craft activity for the children.
On the day
The day will kick off at 10am when all of the children will be watching episodes of the hit Cbeebies series under the starry morning planetarium. Nick Butterworth will then present his interactive show and read from his latest book. The morning is rounded off with a wonderful craft activity for the kids. Visitors will also get the chance to explore Royal Greenwich Observatory’s giant Moon map and craft lunar landers to land on it.
From 12pm to 1pm Nick will be book-signing so make sure you bring along your Q Pootle 5 book (which is what I’m going to do) or purchase one on the day from the Astronomy Centre shop to get a lovely signature from Nick and make the day extra special.
I will attending this exclusive Greenwich event to cover the story – hopefully I will remember to SnapChat the day (my SC handle is @greenwichmummy) and I’m sure you’ll see photos on Instagram too. 🙂 Make sure you check out my blog a few days after the 26th for my review.
Tickets are priced at £6.00 (per adult/per child). That makes it £24 for a family of four – not bad at all for a day out in Greenwich. The price of the ticket also includes access to all areas of the Royal Greenwich Observatory including the planetarium which is great. Kids can explore the starry skies after the show.
Who are the Q Pootle 5?
If your kids watch Cbeebies, they’ll probably know who the Q Pootle 5 team are. They are a bunch of friendly aliens living out in space on planet Oki Doki.
Here are the main characters:
Q Pootle 5 – known as “Pootle” to his space friends. Pootle is a friendly green alien and the main character in the show.
Oopsy – She is Pootle’s best friend. Oopsy’s pink and lives in an upside-down rocket.
Eddi – He is a two-headed purple alien. Eddie like to talk to himself a lot and is really shy/timid compared to the others.
Stella – Stella is yellow and wears pink wellington boots. She lives in a treehouse and loves gardening. When she has spare time, she loves playing her bagpipes.
Groobie – He is the eldest member of the gang. He is orange with thick purple eyebrows, and can be a bit forgetful. Bud-D is Groobie’s robot; you can see him in the header image at the top of this blog post.
Nick is the author, illustrator and executive producer of Q Pootle 5. His children’s books are widely available in bookstores and online. His TV show is aired on BBC’s Cbeebies channel. He has wrote many other fabulous children’s book such as “One snowy night”, “Present for Freddie Small” and “Tiger in the snow”.
*I worked with Royal Museums Greenwich on this post to help promote their latest event. In doing so, they have invited me to attend the event which I will review in a later post. All words and opinions are my own. Photos are credited to Google.