5 festive ways to entertain small children in London
Guest blog post by Gillian Crawshaw from A Baby on Board – part of the Festive Tube Map series
The build-up to Christmas is a magical time, and what better place to spend it in than one of the best cities in the world? London comes alive at this time of year, with festive decorations, fun activities, and bustling crowds of people.
With lots to do to entertain people of all ages, from ice rinks, to lights and shopping, here’s my top five favourite festive suggestions for ways to entertain babies and toddlers in the capital this Christmas.
1) The London Eye
The London Eye offers one of the best vantage points to look at the city, and it’s a great chance to show young children all the Christmassy sights from above. Top tip – for an extra special Christmas treat go at dusk to see all the lights gradually turn on; it’s magical. And if you’re lucky, it might even start snowing.
2) Eyeskate at the London Eye
Once you’ve all come down, take a short walk over to Eyeskate, the ice rink at the foot of the London Eye. Are there many things more festive and Christmassy than an open-air ice rink? Even if your children are too little to go on the ice it’s still fun to watch from the side with a hot chocolate. Get your skates on (and remember your gloves).
3) Santa at the Harrods Christmas Grotto
No baby’s first Christmas is complete without a visit to see the great Father Christmas himself, and it’s a rite of passage for your child to have their photo taken with Santa (if only so you can bring it out in years to show their friends). And it doesn’t get much bigger or better than the famous grotto at Harrods. The shop windows and festive displays are also worth a look – they took over 500 hours to build this year.
4) London Christmas lights at Carnaby Street
Small children love lights and sensory play, so the bright and visual spectacle of Christmas illuminations offers perfect entertainment. Take in the big displays on Regent Street and Oxford Street first, then head over to the less busy Carnaby Street, decked out this year with giant glittery 3D robins. My daughter loved these lights last year, and they’re also handily placed for some last-minute shopping too.
5) Toy shopping at Hamleys
Let’s face it, shopping is boring enough at the best of times when you’re tiny, but even worse when everywhere is packed and you can’t get out of your pram. So to avoid tears before bedtime, take them where they want to go – toy shopping in the best place in London, the giant Hamleys toy shop on Regent Street.
About the author
Gillian Crawshaw writes A Baby on Board, a blog all about London life as a new mum, covering everything from baby clothes to beauty products. A freelance digital PR consultant, she lives with her husband and 20 month old daughter in south London.