Although London is home to a number of parks there are some very clear distinctions which separate them into smaller groupings. One such grouping is known as the Royal parks, which are made up of Green Park, St. James’s Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Regent’s Park. These parks are so named because they were once Royal hunting grounds. However, they are now open to the public and are popular among both locals and visitors to the city of London.
Once a famous duelling spot, you are more likely to find visitors taking a peaceful walk through its trees and grasslands than taking ten paces with pistol in hand. Running, picnics and nature trails are also popular activities in Green Park.
St. James’s Park
If you came to London to see royal palaces then St. James’s park has exactly what you are looking for. Westminster, St. James’s and Buckingham palace border the park, and can be viewed all year round. The park has a number of children’s playgrounds, floral attractions and even a restaurant.
There is so much to do in Hyde Park it is difficult to know where to start. Boating, swimming, tennis and horse riding are available daily. The park is home to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. You will find a huge variety of flora and fauna; with some rare species that are seldom seen anywhere else. If you are really lucky and visit the park during a significant royal event, you just might witness a Royal Gun Salute.
Kensington Gardens is very much a peaceful destination for visitors to relax, and in sunnier climes enjoy a picnic. There are deckchairs throughout the park, two children’s play-parks and a café. For a taste of some of the best Victorian sculptural architecture, you will also find the spectacular Prince Albert Memorial in Kensington Park.
The Regent’s Park is home to London’s largest grass sports area, and hosts events such as running, tennis, netball, football and rugby. From May through to September, make sure to visit The Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. However, the park has a number of attractions that are open year round, including Queen Mary’s Gardens, Wildlife Garden and The Hubs Sporting Facility.
We all know that the weather in the UK can be truly unpredictable, and at times across the country children are sitting at home, just waiting for the slightest sign of sunshine to get outside and have some fun. Opportunities can be few and far between; however, there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is London, the nation’s capital and a hub of activity and entertainment, come rain or shine. There are plenty of venues to visit, which will give kids a summer to remember. Here are four destinations that will get you started on your summer of fun, without the need for the sun.
The CBBC Experience
For younger children the CBBC Experience is a must see. The tour involves going behind the scenes at BBC studios, meeting the cast and crew of shows such as Dick and Dom, and a visit to the Blue Peter Garden.
Hamleys of London
The world famous Hamleys toy store is a virtual wonderland for children of all ages. Seven stories, packed full of activities and toys, will keep the whole family entertained for hours. The store is located on London’s Regent Street, which means there are plenty of other stores you can visit too.
Science Museum, London
The science museum will entertain both children and adults, alike. Home to world history, scientific discoveries and a host of galleries and exhibitions, you will need a full day to appreciate all the museum has to offer. A special feature, which will particularly appeal to kids, is the IMAX 3D cinema. Here you can take a virtual trip to the deepest parts of ocean, explore the infinite reaches of the universe, and go back in time to run with the dinosaurs.
SEA LIFE London Aquarium
The London Aquarium is a wonder to behold, right in the centre of the capital. This is an interactive experience, and one that the kids will want to revisit, again and again. Activities include feeding stingrays, and limited behind the scenes tours. The aquarium is home to over 500 species, which includes 12 different species of shark alone. Other popular marine creatures include seahorses, octopuses, clownfish, real live crocodiles and much more. For the best experience of SEA LIFE London, plan your tour and book ahead of time.
The 2012 Olympic Games are set to change the face of London. Getting to the games may turn out to be an Olympian task, so make sure that you plan your travel schedule well ahead of time. Organisers anticipate that the Central and Jubilee lines and DLR will be busiest. Services will begin around 45 minutes earlier and finish up to an hour later to cope with the extra passengers travelling to and from the games. Bus services that run through areas where the games are held will also see changes to their schedules and routes. Make sure that you contact the bus service when planning your travel route.
An alternative form of transport, which will make travel in the Capital much easier during the Olympic Games, is the river service. River services during the games will increase, which will offer patrons another option for getting to the events. As well as which, you will get to travel to the games in style, taking in all the sights and sounds that a Thames river cruise has to offer. Services are run by Thames Clippers and City Cruises ; make sure you will need to book early to ensure your place.
Generally, you should book travel where possible and leave early to make sure you get to the events on time and avoid the last minute crowds. Carry a map of events and locations with you at all times; preferably one that has directions to the nearest bus and train routes. There are also various travel-news sources you can subscribe to via email, text message and smart-phone apps. These will give you the edge with up to date notifications on cancelled, rerouted and congested transport services. To beat the rush, you can also leave events a little earlier so that you can start making your way to your next destination.