No two words fill parents with more dread than these: half-term. Keeping little ones entertained isn’t easy, but the trick is to do your homework and ensure you’re prepared for all eventualities.
Autumn is likely to bring showers so a mix of outings is a good idea. Yes, London may well have entered tier two restrictions, but family groups who live in the same house can still enjoy all the usual excursions.
Here are three of our favourites to bring joy during what continues to be a difficult year.
In late summer, those clever people at Brigit’s Bakery brought the Peppa Pig Afternoon Tea Bus Tour to the streets of London.
The Covent Garden bakery is already well-known for serving that classic British feast aboard a Routemaster bus, while taking in the sights of our great city, but this latest tour takes it to a new level.
Those nervous for what new Covid-19 restrictions have brought need not worry.
The tour is conducted with safety at the forefront. People are called to take their seats, one family at a time, and seated with appropriate distance from the next table, and mask wearing is a must when walking around.
Hugely important, there is a loo on board.
We went along to see what tea Peppa Pig style was really like. Anyone with a child under five will know that Peppa is everything to little ones, and the excitement was palpable from the off.
We formed an orderly queue and waited to be called. Surrounded by pink décor, it felt as if we were on the set of the TV programme.
In case, you haven’t seen every episode, there’s a screen on each table to catch you up.
A plentiful afternoon tea is served as the bus sets off from its Embankment embarkation point, and of course it’s themed with Peppa shaped cookies, cakes and sandwiches.
Just as you think eating any more is an impossibility, out comes the scones.
Taking in the best views of Central London, the bus takes you past some of the most famous London landmarks. And that includes Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park, Nelson’s Column, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Borough Market, Green Park, Piccadilly Circus and more.
Tours take place Thursday to Sunday and cost £35 for children and £45 for adults.
Your little piggies will also be excited to each receive a copy of the Peppa Pig Afternoon Tea Bus Tour Activity Book full of fun things to colour and do along the journey, that they can take home and keep.
They can also take home a reusable character cup. During half-term, the tour takes on a spooky turn to mark Halloween, with lots of ghoulish themed threats.
Trick-a-treating may be off the agenda this year, but why not celebrate Halloween with a spooky day out in London?
Uber Boat by Thames Clippers is a great way to spend time outside, with scary adventures along the way.
Start your day at the London Dungeon, which is hosting The Final Straw until October 31.
Delve into the dark history of why scarecrows were first invented – but keep your wits about you, as not every scarecrow is as they may appear.
Actors will take you through the macabre history of London, from the plague to Jack the Ripper, just prepare yourself for the jump scares.
From here, board at London Eye (Waterloo) Pier. Sail along the river with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, grabbing a hot chocolate en route, and disembark at Tower Pier.
Next, walk to the Tower of London and see terrifying instruments of pain, part of the Torture at the Tower exhibition.
In the 1500s and 1600s, during a period of extreme political and religious upheaval, torture was used at the Tower.
Packed with iconic exhibits, you can’t miss the Crown Jewels, the ravens, Bloody Tower, Medieval Palace, the public outside areas of the Tower of London and magnificent armour displays in the White Tower, including Line of Kings.
For more information on more spooky excursions see www.uberboatbythamesclippers.com
Hop on and off with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers’ services all day when you buy a River Roamer. A Family River Roamer costs £35.60 for two adults and up to three children (aged 5-15; 4s and under travel for free as standard) when booked online.
River Roamers can also be bought on the Thames Clippers Tickets or Uber apps, at ticket machines at piers, and ticket offices, but are 10 per cent cheaper when bought online or via the apps.
Theme parks are the ultimate in family fun during the school holidays, and Londoners are lucky enough to have Chessington World of Adventures Resort on their doorstep.
Just 20 minutes by train out of Clapham Junction and London Waterloo, travelling by train is a good idea, with the resort a short bus ride away from Chessington South Station.
There are few places you can gasp, giggle, shriek and scream to your heart’s content.
There are 40 rides and attractions, more than 1, 000 animals at the park zoo, a Sea Life centre, two themed hotels, a glamping site and Go Ape.
The key to a successful visit is planning. Pre-booking entry is essential, given that fewer people are given entry under Covid-19 restrictions.
Anyone nervous about visiting can rest assured that masks are encouraged and a one-way travel system is in place.
Download the CWOAR app to plan your day, check waiting times on rides and pre-order lunch deals to avoid queues.
Advanced day tickets start from £29.50. There are options to take a short break and stay onsite at Azteca and Safari Hotels and sleep over in a Gruffalo-themed room, or why not try glamping?
For more information see www.chessington.com
Pictured top: Chessington World of Adventures
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