Back in September, I shared a list of fun, family things I hoped to do in and around London this Autumn to help us cope with the darkening days and the colder weather. And now we’re most definitely into Winter, with Christmas fast approaching, I thought I’d reflect back on how we did!
Whilst we didn’t quite manage to do everything on our list (it was a bit ambitious!), we have had some truly wonderful experiences together.
At the theatre
We loved our visit to Mrs Armitage and The Big Wave and still read it regularly and remember the performance. And Sophie and I had a great trip to the Unicorn Theatre to see The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark. Our girly trip was made more special by the fact that we took Katharine and her daughter Emilia with us – and it was Mimi’s very first trip to the theatre! It was such a treat to watch her face as the performance unfolded in front of her, and I almost burst with pride watching our little girls confidently go up to the performers after the show to say thank you and to collect more potatoes (yes, as part of the show – the audience shared roast potatoes with the cast – immersive theatre!).
I think, though the girls loved the show, their favourite thing about the trip was playing outside in the fountains by City Hall. I couldn’t get great photos on the phone, but they were screaming with delight as they tempted each other to creep closer! So funny to watch!
It was pretty chilly out on the Southbank, so we needed to warm up with some softplay and dressing up:
and some (messy) biscuit making!
A big hit for us was the Great Fire of London exhibition at the Museum of London – Alex proudly took in his book about the fire into school for show and tell and talked about it for weeks (until his fascination with it was replaced with tales from the Mary Rose after our trip to Portsmouth!).
And we had a fabulous day with friends at the newly refurbished Discover Story Centre and Dr Seuss Exhibition.
I loved the Colour and Vision exhibition at the Natural History Museum, although at the speed my children ran through it, I’m not sure they took a lot in! We haven’t yet done the major Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition (we’ll do that in the Christmas holidays) – although we did a different photography exhibition during a recent trip to the lovely Horniman Museum up the road. Their exhibition space is showing the European Wildlife Photography Competition. As usual, they were totally geared up for children and had set up an activity corner in the exhibition where the kids could read and colour. So that let me quietly explore the photographs at my own pace – what a treat!
While at the Horniman, we had fun doing the Christmas trail, searching for festive exhibits like robins in the natural history gallery, and for clues in and around the gardens.
We met up with our neighbours at the museum, and Alex and Sophie had a great time playing with their little friend Henry (decked out in cool spiderman clothes for the occasion!)
We’ll try and make it to the new Design Museum over Christmas so will share how we get on there soon.
The great outdoors
We started the Autumn with Alex going out with Matt on an evening bat walk – it was way too dark for photographs, but he enjoyed using a bat detector to listen for the sound of bat echo location.
I think our absolute highlight of the Autumn was our brilliant day at Kew Gardens experiencing the amazing Hive exhibit
We did manage to pop into Box Hill to meet friends for an Autumn walk – but traffic problems and small people needing their lunch meant that it was a pretty short visit. We didn’t have time to complete the play trail so that’s on the list for Spring. But we did find some time for lots of hill rolling and some beautiful views!
Chelsea Physic Garden is on the list for Spring – can’t wait to visit there…
Instead, we enjoyed a glorious day at Painshill Park with my family and a fun afternoon walk much closer to home on Peckham Rye. Alex’s homework project this term is about exploring his local area, and he was challenged to find some local landmarks – so we set off with some friends to find the Peckham totem pole. Here are the boys doing “the dab” to celebrate finding it – and the girls getting some help on the trail!
The boys had fun exploring by the little stream
Love this photograph of the mischievous girls
Overall, I think it was a big thumbs up for Autumn 2016 from Alex and Sophie!
And a super cheesy family selfie to close! Roll on 2017 and more adventures! But first, let’s get ready for Christmas…