Weekend adventure #10: Imperial War Museum, London 

Being an avid museum goer, I was always conscious that I had never been to the Imperial War Musuem, London! So we headed there a few weeks ago to check out the new galleries and redevelopment of the Museum. 

The new central atrium has planes and vehicles suspended and jutting out of the architecture – reminiscent of the Science Museum – which makes for an impressive entrance into the museum, although a bit tricky will all the stairs, as you find yourself looking up and not where you are going! 

The main collection is centered around a series of balcony sections over several floors, all with a view into the main atrium. 

As our little man is still quite small we didn’t have to deal with any difficult questions (yet) around the function of the objects in the collection as he was happy enough to identify the different types of transport and have a bit of a run around. He was very taken by the various planes and is a bit of a plane spotter when we are out and about!

It’s not the most family friendly museum we’ve been to (but then again the subject matter isn’t exactly balloons and bunnies) and there wasn’t much in the way of interactives for children so we spent quite a bit of time making sure we didn’t leave any jammy fingerprints on the collection! 😳

We did really like the ‘A Family In Wartime’ gallery, which had room mock-ups and some nice interactives including radios that you could turn on and off and (I’m guessing quite expensive!) touch screens to explore the different rooms in a house. This gallery also had an air raid shelter that you could go into and had a good sense of atmosphere so we spent quite a bit of time in there.

The Secret War gallery was also an great winding gallery space with lots of interesting objects on display. It would have been nice to explore this gallery more fully but by this point the little man clearly thought this gallery was a race course for himself and daddy so we had a job keeping up! (We also realised once we reached the end that somehow we had managed to do the whole thing backwards… which might not have helped!!)

We will certainly be back. I think for the time being with the little man the age he is, it will be a case of having a few of the galleries we really like and then expanding once he is ready to move beyond the plain spotting!

A Family in Wartime, IW London gallery 

Secret War, IWM London gallery 

Weekend adventure #9: Musuem of London Docklands 

We headed over to Canary Wharf this weekend to visit the MoL Docklands and on the way we went to the new crossrail roof garden which was great! It’s not massive but the roof garden has lots of winding paths that our little man absolutely loved charging along, looking for (imaginary) dinosaurs in amongst the trees and ferns. The garden is well kept and there were two pianos that were around for people to just sit and play! 

After a good run around in the garden we went over to the Museum to play in the brilliant Mudlarks children’s gallery. It’s such a great gallery with soft play, building blocks, ropes and pullies and water play that all relates brilliantly to the museum’s themes and is really interactive.

The sessions are timed to avoid overcrowding but the museum wasn’t too busy so we were able to just join the current time slot.It’s so nice to have a dedicated, genuinely hands on under 5’s gallery that’s safe and contained and that is so well integrated into the museum that it doesn’t feel like an add on.

But the whole museum is family friendly too so once we had dried off from our water play we headed up into the Sailor town gallery which is a great immersive street scape. 

We will be back soon! 

Canary Wharf roof garden 

Docklands Museum mudlarks gallery 

Weekend adventure #7: Dulwich Park Fair

This weekend we headed over to Dulwich to check out the Dulwich Park Fair. 

Heading to Dulwich is nice and easy for us as it’s just a 20min bus ride away. The sunshine was out so once the little man woke up from his morning nap we headed straight over to Dulwich to meet some friends in the park.They had Punch and Judy, magic show, petting zoo, May pole, lots of stalls and a fair ground (and that’s just the stuff we found!) The park was very busy, but not uncomfortably so, and the sunshine was a very welcome addition to the event! Pimms stalls too – another very welcome addition! 

Little man loved the petting area (as always) and went on a carousel for the first time 😃 We spent most of the day walking up and running down mounds of grass with our pull along bee, that’s the toy of the moment. Even when he was in the pram, bee was being pulled alongside! 

It was a really nice family event and a great mix of activities on offer. The park itself is lovely too with a lake and pedalos to hire. Lordship lane and Dulwich village and both close by and worth a visit. 

Before we headed home we went to The Plough pub, by the library. It’s a good pub with lots of space, and big garden and great food. Lots of high chairs and space for the little ones to wander around too.

Dulwich Festival website

The Plough pub website 

Weekend adventure #5: British Museum

This weekend we headed across the river to the British Museum.

I’d taken the little man to one of their under 5’s little feet sessions about a year ago but we hadn’t ever taken him for a good old fashioned wander! 

Given that it was a weekend it wasn’t too rediculously busy but we were glad for the monkey reins backpack as the LM does love to run! 🙂

 We just did a few of the galleries and quite quickly embarked on a ‘roar’ hunt. Lots of great roars (and some meows and neighs too) helped us navigate the galleries! 

It’s a funny experience letting the LM dictate how we moved around the gallery. There is no point trying to tell him where to go and conform to the ‘usual’ path – exploring via a toddler is random and much more fun. Going round and round the same bit and then charging off in another direction, usually against the flow of traffic!

 There are quite a few things not to be touched at touching height which is a bit tricky but we didn’t do too badly! 

It’s a great place to take the little one as there is so much to see and so much space to run around. You do have to have sharp eyes (or reigns!) to stop them disappearing into the crowds though and practice the don’t touch a bit but there are soo many things we don’t see day to day that we had lots of oohs and ahhs as we wandered around.  The museum cafe in the great hall was a bit busy so we decided to head out and get some food instead and joined in the protest that was heading through the west end. Never too young to participate! 

Weekend adventure #4: London parks

St James Park – Green Park – Hyde Park

As it’s starting to get (a little) warmer we decided to do a mini tour of the central London parks this weekend. We jumped on the train to Charing Cross and headed straight for St James Park. The horse guards were out and about so we headed straight over to watch them all trot by.

  
Having waved goodbye to the horses and made the relevant neigh noises we went down to see all the ducks and geese. The good thing about St James Park, over Hyde Park, is that there is a little railing which goes some way to not having a soaking wet child in seconds! Careful not to get fingers nibbled by the geese, it was lovely to see all the different birds swimming along, looking for crumbs from more generous passers by.   

I think there must have been something happening at the Palace, as it was rather busy. The flag was flying so I’m guessing Liz was home – and we did see three corgies being walked in the park! 😉

We headed into Green Park, which has some nice hilly bits that makes it feel a bit more rural than St James, before making our way to Hyde Park.

We used to go to Hyde Park quite a bit before the little man came along – it’s got some good flat sections which are great for rollerblading – particularly if you are like me and don’t really know how to stop, so like avoiding hills! 

There are some beautiful fountains and more formal garden sections that are a nice contrast to the more open green spaces of the other two (or at least the other bits we wandered through) 

 
With a good selection of birds to chase and puddles to splash in the little man was happy. Getting him to nap in the pram was less successful, so we gave up and went to Byron for lunch instead!! 😉