13 articles Tag London

The Most Interesting Entertainment Venues in Camden

Camden is a popular London district where many people like going to as there are a lot of options. Either you want to enjoy your cup of tea at a peaceful coffee shop or you want to do something fun, Camden is the place to go.

In a big city like London, discovering places that match your tastes and you can visit again and again may be difficult. This is why you will find some of the most interesting and fascinating venues in Camden in this article in the hope that you will find your next favourite spot.

Music

Camden has got a rich music history. During the 70s, 80s and 90s, a lot of famous singers and bands, like Amy Whinehouse, the Cure and the Sex Pistols, started their careers by performing at music venues in Camden. Visit iconic venues that host live music of the genre you like and you might get to enjoy an artist at his early steps before they blow up. Some of the most popular venues are KOKO, Jazz Cafe, the Dublin Castle, Dingwalls and many more.

Theatre

Roundhouse is one of the most famous venues of the area as it was built in around 1850. It started as a railway turntable, but then it became a warehouse for a few years. Then, it was left misused until it was renovated and turned into a theatre. Nowadays, it has a more general title of being a performing arts venue since a great variety of shows take place there, like plays, concerts, award ceremonies and so on.

Mini Golf

Besides the arts, you can find fun options for you and your friends while you are in Camden. One of these fun options is playing mini golf. The crazy golf in Camden has been rebuilt recently and it awaits you to test your golfing abilities at a challenging but extremely fun course. A combination of classic and new obstacles will offer you an exciting game that will keep you at the edge of your seat.

Camden Market

If you find yourself in Camden, you must visit its market. Camden Market is famous all around London and all over the world because there are many stalls where you can find anything your heart desires; from luxury items to street food. Some shops and stalls are there permanently, but most people visit the market at the weekends.

London Zoo

At the border between Camden and the city of Westminster you will find the ZSL London Zoo, which was built for scientific purposes but ended up as an ordinary zoo with a great variety of animals living there. If you visit the zoo today, you will see reptiles, insects, fish and larger animals, like lions and elephants.

Common Problems when Moving Home in London

Common Problems when Moving Home in London
Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina from Pexels

There is no doubt that for many people in London is the greatest city in the world living anywhere else is absolutely out of the question. While the house prices are some of the highest in the country, if not the world, many people are drawn to London because of its desirable living areas, good schools And access to a whole range of amenities. That doesn’t mean, however, that the actual act of moving house between two London properties simple, so we’ve put together a list of some of the things that you should bear in mind on moving day if you live in London, or indeed any big city.

Parking

If you’re a London native or have lived there for awhile you know that one of the biggest nightmares in writing is the parking situation. As well as needing to make sure you’ve got somewhere to park your car if you have one you’re moving van he’s going to need space to start to load and unload and if you don’t choose wisely this could leave you with a hefty parking fine. Do a recce of your new area to work out where the best place is going to be to stop and it might stand you in good stead to even speak to your new neighbours and warn them that you’re going to be taking up space on the street on that particular day.

Traffic

Depending on where in London you’re moving to, parking could be the least of your worries if you can’t even get there in the first place, thanks to the heavy London traffic. Moving outside of rush-hour times is a good place to start with tackling the traffic, as well as keeping an eye on one of the many map apps that are available which will show you what the traffic levels are like in a specific place at a specific time. Choosing a moving firm who are specialists in moving in and around London, like M25 Group, means that you will have an expert helping you with your move. Many people who moved to London from somewhere else make the mistake of hiring a moving company from their original hometown instead of one from London’

Cost

Just like everything else in London, moving is an expensive business. Whether you’re renting or buying a property you’ve probably spent a small fortune already on just acquiring your new home. Once you factor in The costs associated with actually taking your belongings from point a to point B there’s a good chance that your wallet will contain nothing but moss! Make sure you shop around before employing the services of a moving company as there are plenty of businesses out there who charge top dollar without actually providing the services to justify their prices.

Measurements

Unless you’re moving to one of the lovely leafy suburbs on the outskirts of London you’re probably going to find that space is an issue in many different ways. One of the things that a lot of people forget to do before they move house is measure their furniture and appliances to make sure that not only will they work in the rooms in the new property but they’ll fit through doors up stairways through gate and generally be able to be put in the new property at all. Make sure you take a tape measure with you and get measurements for everything including door which and even the angle of any new stairwells.

Tips for Preparing an Entertainment Centre in London

Tips for Preparing an Entertainment Centre in LondonPhoto by Carl Raw on Unsplash

The evolution of family centres in London has been greater than anyone could imagine. From arcades and playgrounds to laser tag, miniature golf courses and trampoline parks, family entertainment centres have evolved from occasional stops on the way to must-see destinations.

This profitable industry has continued to grow in recent years, even with advancements and access to technology. With smartphones and computers consolidating their presence in everyday life, the need for quality time in families is increasing. Creating a family entertainment centre is a fun and timeless way to profit while giving back to the community.

What is a family entertainment centre?

Many structures fall into this category, but few people understand what a family entertainment centre really is and how it can bring enormous value. A family entertainment centre (CEF) is a small-scale amusement park, usually indoors, that combines traditional play elements with innovative and creative structures that all children dream of. FECs incorporate elements that are mentally and physically challenging for children, with multiple levels, tunnels, ropes, water, and other design components that tap into children’s imaginations. These centres are usually independent structures or extensions of existing ones.

Types of Family Entertainment Centres found in London

Although you may not have heard the specific terminology of family entertainment centre before, you have been watching and playing them for a lifetime. Mini golf courses, laser tag centres, go-kart tracks, zip lines, and bowling alleys are examples of different FECs. The spaces have evolved into larger and more exciting experiences that have elevated the entertainment industry in London. With modern designs and innovative concepts, there is much more to consider when creating a CEF. Possible entertainment centre options include:

  • Children’s Museums: With interactive designs, children’s museums can encourage children to explore and learn in location-based centres.
  • Trampoline parks: As one of the most recent advancements in the evolution of CEFs, trampoline parks offer a way to exercise while improving balance and concentration.
  • Arcades: Get back to the classics with this old CEF. A game-filled environment encourages social participation and active play for the whole family.
  • Inflatable centres: Inflatable centres are one of the easiest structures to add to any indoor or outdoor environment. With soft foam play areas, you can offer obstacle courses and games within a creative play space.
  • Children’s Discovery Centres: This inquiry-based environment can foster independent discovery, exploration, hands-on learning, collaboration, and problem solving. These elements are the main attractions of discovery entertainment centres for children.

Tips for Creating a Family Entertainment Centre

Like any other industry, family-oriented entertainment has its own advantages and considerations. Fortunately, there are specific tips and tricks that will help bring your visions to life. Now that you know the basics of the industry and your creative wheels are turning, let’s dive into the best ways to start your FEC.

First you need to investigate. Although this advice may seem like a no-brainer, many entrepreneurs in the family entertainment industry fall short on the little details. Research begins with identifying your target audience and creating an in-depth analysis of their interests and ends with finding financial backers and obtaining building permits.

Build a Presence in Your Community

The decisive factor in the success of your CEF will be in the strength of your surrounding community. Trust, reliability and a supreme customer experience are crucial when building a strong relationship with your clientele. Do this by focusing on local marketing efforts, offering special discounts, and partnering with other businesses and schools to sponsor neighbourhood clubs and events. Another good way to create a lasting presence in your area is to organize special events, such as birthday parties and school field trips. The possibilities of involving your neighbours are endless. But one thing is for sure: if you invest in your neighbourhood, people will invest in your business.

Seek Professional Help for Setting Up Your FEC in London

When setting up your own family entertainment centre, if it’s your first time, it’s advisable to seek professional help in order to receive some guidance. This can be in the form of a business advisor or even an expert and renowned firm in the industry of family entertainment such as the crazy golf theme design offered by Plonk Golf Studios.

Interactive Challenge Courses

Building an interactive challenge circuit will appeal to older audiences and differentiate your business from the competition. This type of family entertainment centre differs from the others in that it offers the thrill of an adventure ride while staying within a contained play area. A structure like The Hive uses obstacle-based challenges with a friendly competitive edge for teens and young adults. Other structures like adventure spheres use climbing patterns, interactive light shows, and colourful designs to immerse younger guests.

The Most Interesting Plans for Christmas in London

Ready to spend the best holiday of your life this Christmas in London? Then take a look at the places, plans and venues suggested below! You’ll have a blast regardless who you travel with, be it friends, partner or family.

Winterville at Victoria Park

Winterville at Victoria Park is another London Christmas fair offering fun and activities for the whole family, such as an ice rink, children’s fairground rides, horse or carriage rides, a Ferris wheel, a Christmas market and shows, as well as food stalls.

Kew Gardens Light Show

The Royal Botanic Gardens of London Kew Gardens celebrates Christmas every year with a light show that you cannot miss if you travel to London with children at Christmas. It is a magical tour through the botanical garden illuminated with many spectacular Christmas lights from late November to early January. It is an event that always sells out quickly, so you have to buy tickets in advance on their website.

See Christmas lights in London

To see the most spectacular Christmas lights in London you will have to go to Oxford Street, Regent Street and Covent Garden Square. The Winterfest festival in Wembley Park is another highly recommended destination in London to see Christmas lights with children. Artists from around the world have created pieces of art that combine Christmas lights with sounds and a multi-sensory experience. You will find the tallest LED Christmas tree in London and impressive walkways with interactive sounds.

Another fun way to see the Christmas lights in London is by riding the roofless bus that runs through the most iconic streets and places of London decorated with lights: Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, The London Eye, Big Ben and Regent Street, among others. The bus departs from Golden Tours Visitor Center at Fountain Square and Buckingham Palace Road.

Christmas at London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo also transforms at Christmas to offer Christmas at London Zoo, a magical experience for its visitors. When it gets dark, the park is illuminated with a million Christmas lights that create a magical and very festive atmosphere. The little ones will love it walk inside the illuminated tunnels. There is also Santa Claus and there are activities for children, such as Christmas movies and children’s crafts.

Christmas Crazy Golf at Plonk Golf

An alternative to indoor fun plans to try with your family and children is the crazy golf games at Plonk Golf! Crazy Golf in Camden is a great for family bonding during Christmas thanks to the venues fun and enjoyable crazy golf courses that are there to both entertain and challenge.

Ice skating in London

There are several ice rinks in London decorated with Christmas lights to skate with children in the open air, which are worth a visit at Christmas to experience a magical and very Christmas atmosphere with the family. The Eyeskate ice skating rink on The London Eye is one of the most impressive, since while you skate you have the London London Eye’s giant Ferris wheel as a backdrop.

Other ice rinks to skate in London with children at Christmas are Somerset House Ice Rink, The Tower of London Ice Rink, Canary Wharf Ice Rink, Broadgate Ice Rink, Natural History Museum Ice Rink, Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink and the famous ice rink ice in Winter Wonderland.

Exploring London as a Family

Living where we do means that London is only about an hour away by train, which makes it really easy to get to for a day trip. However, London is so vast that it would be good to spend more than just one day at a time there. We’ve been a little bit London-phobic since the girls came along, not wanting to tackle the big city with changing bags and buggies, but both girls are probably big enough to need minimal luggage now and Burrito Baby has been stubbornly refusing to get in a buggy for about 18 months, so a weekend in London is definitely on the cards!

Urban Retreat Apartments offer short-stay, fully serviced apartments which would be the perfect base for a family wanting to explore London, because it would be like a home from home. You don’t have to worry about being crammed into one room with a tiny bathroom like you would be in some hotels, and you’ve got a full kitchen to allow you to make bottles or cater for small ones.

There are SO many places that I know the girls would love; the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum are firmly at the top of the list, but the National Gallery is somewhere I love as well and I think Sausage would get a huge kick out of seeing paintings by some of the world’s most famous artists in real life. Visiting London doesn’t have to be all about learning – I’ve still not been on the London Eye after all these years so that’s definitely something that I feel I need to tick off of the list!

I also know for a fact that both of my kids are desperate to visit the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Harrods; if you haven’t heard if it, it’s basically a magical beauty salon where kids can go and be transformed into a Disney Prince or Princess. It’s not cheap, but it’s one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences that I’d love them to have before they’re too old for the magic to have worn off! I’m pretty sure they’d also love browsing some of the huge stores like Harrods…and definitely Hamleys!

Where would you do if you had a whole weekend to spend in London? We’d love to hear your recommendations, especially places to eat and things to see which might not make the mainstream guidebooks. Leave me a comment below!

Why ‘Just Outside Of London’ Gives You More For Your Money

When tourists visit the UK, they are drawn to the centre of London. The bright lights of the West End, the iconic architecture of Buckingham Palace, and the spectacle of the London Eye are certainly alluring. However, accommodation right in the centre of things is never cheap, and it’s rarely as effortless as you might need. Those that are in the UK know that ‘just outside’ of these tourist hotspots can offer the holidaymaker a lot more of London than they thought.

The M25 is the outermost ring road for London. Within this motorway circle are the affluent suburbs commuters love to live in. They offer leafy environments, bigger houses, and less pollution. Move in a little closer, and you have the North Circular – London’s original ring road. This is busy and passes through a number of residential and key business centres that serve this area. So why are these parts of London ignored?

Thanks to Pexels for the pic

Perhaps some of the most convenient areas of London are the ones that are still served by London Underground and the Night Bus services. This means you can stay as late as you want at Piccadilly Circus or the West End comedy clubs. You’re still just a few minutes from your accommodation. You might be staying somewhere like the Dorsett Hotel Shepherds Bush or a nationwide hotel chain in Barking. East or West, you can be served well, without being stuck right in the middle. Best of all, these areas provide their own attractions and delights for the tourist.

If you are accommodated just outside of London, you are likely to enjoy plenty more choice of accommodation. This can include private rooms, apartments, bed and breakfast, and hotels. This might better suit your circumstances. You’re less likely to be penalised for taking your car and parking it at your hotel too! The congestion charges are due to change soon, so make sure you check what you will owe before you travel.

So what more can outer London offer? There are more parks, commons, and heaths to explore. Each will offer a better variety of view too. There are plenty of acclaimed theatres and arts houses to enjoy too. Places like Wimbledon are home to world class eateries, and Enfield offers a superb array of independent retail outlets. Each area is different, so why not try more than one?

How can you get in and out of London from the outer reaches? The underground system is one of the quickest and most efficient modes of transport. You pay for a travel card to last the day or the whole week. This can usually be used to cover your cost of travel on the buses and some overground trains too. Check which zones you need. You may be able to save some money.

If you really love spending time in London, don’t be afraid to explore what is just beyond the tourist hotspots. There is an endless amount of things to see and do, and every area has its own unique character too. What is your favourite area of London in spring?

Win Four Tickets to Rave-a-Roo at Ministry of Sound!

Rave-a-Roo Ministry of Sound LondonI must admit, when it comes to kids events I’m definitely not your average ‘bunting and cake stands’ kinda Mum and I love to do things with the girls which are just a little bit different. That’s why, when I heard about Rave-a-Roo, I was very excited. Without even reading too much about the event, I came to the conclusion that ANY family event which is held at Ministry of Sound in London is probably ridiculously cool, and after reading more I definitely wasn’t wrong!

Here’s what the guys at Rave-a-Roo had to say about the events:

Rave-A-Roonies are in for a real treat, as the biggest and best family rave fest returns with a host of new dates! Taking place at London’s iconic Ministry of Sound club on Saturday 1st October and Saturday 15th October, Rave-A-Roo is back with an even more jam-packed line-up of family festival fun.

With live stage performances, madcap hosts and DJs including DJ Cuddles and Mr Ben, Rave-A-Roo focuses on the whole family partying and playing together. The incredible Jungle Jane and Tiger Tim (renowned comedy duo Kat and Matt) will also be performing their brand new hilarious show that’s not to be missed!There is also the chance for mini-clubbers and adults to take on the dance floor with resident artists Go! Go! Go! (Electro set) as seen on Nick Jr.

 The event is broken into three zones targeted at families with children up to the age of 12. Energy levels are set high in the Main Room with live music and entertainment, spectacular lights, Disco Ball Games, and an impressive confetti mayhem finale to top it all off.For mini guests who need a little time out from partying, the Glow Chill Room is the place to be! With neon crafts and a UV glitter tattoo station, this space provides the perfect environment to relax and take time out. Children under-three can also join the party in The Funky Softplay Room, featuring soft play, a mini ball pool, air jugglers and café del mar style music.

Jenny Kane, event co-founder said: “Since the first event back in February, Rave-A-Roo has gone from strength to strength and we’re delighted to be adding a host of new dates to the calendar.

“Rave-A-Roo gives kids and families the chance to let loose, be themselves and party together. From babes in arms to grandparents, the whole family is invited to Rave-A-Roo which is for everyone and all ages.”

With a fully licensed bar (and tea, coffee and snacks), spotless surroundings, a convenient onsite buggy park, baby changing with handy supplies, professional security and staff, carefully monitored sound levels and beautifully lit rooms, Rave-A-Roo offers a unique and safe environment for families. 

Sessions are 12pm to 2pm and 3pm to 5pm.

I absolutely love the sound of this – Husband and I spent a LOT of time in clubs in our youths and I definitely miss it at times so having the chance to convert that into something which is family friendly and can be enjoyed with the girls sounds like a stroke of pure genius to me. Now, here’s the good bit: I’ve got four tickets (two adult tickets and two kids tickets) to give away to the event on Saturday 15th October. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is complete the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! We can’t wait to pick a winner!

rar-logo

Planning A Family Day Out In London: Everything That You Need To Know

For a day out of family fun, London is the perfect place. This multicultural, capital city, has everything that you and your family could want, and more. The great thing about spending time in London is that no matter what you and your family are into, there’s sure to be an activity that you will love. To help you plan the most amazing day out, I’ve put together this insightful and useful guide to exploring London with the kids in tow.

Photo source

Let’s talk transport

The first thing that you need to establish is how you’ll get to the city and how you’ll get around once you’re there. This will most probably depend on where you’re coming from. For instance, if you’re coming from one of London’s suburbs, the easiest option is most probably to take the tube into the city. If, however, you’re coming from a little further afield, it may be easier to drive. You can then park up somewhere and either walk, take the bus or use the tube to get around. Westfield shopping centre in London has free parking, so could be a good place to leave your car for the day.

Where to drink and dine

While you’re in London, the chances are that you’re going to need to find places to stop off for a coffee and a snack or a spot of lunch or dinner. The good news is that like most cities, London has plenty of family-friendly places to drink and dine. From chain restaurants like Jamie’s Italian, to places like Brick Lane Brasserie Restaurant, you have lots of choice. To find out how good a restaurant is, check out its reviews on TripAdvisor.

What are the best sights and attractions?

For history lovers, The Natural History Museum makes a fantastic family day out. Packed full of fossils, bones, and interesting insects and animals, this is the perfect place for the kids to explore. Best of all, it’s free of charge to visit – so if you’re on a budget, this is a great option. The Tower of London is also a great thing to see if you’re a family of history lovers, as it’s one of the UK’s most iconic historical landmarks. Or, could a fun and exhilarating day out at the London Dungeons be a good option?

For kids who love science, there’s no better place to take them than to the London Science Museum. Packed full of unique and interesting exhibits, the London Science Museum is the perfect place for kids of all ages. Especially, those that are science mad.

For kids, bus tours can be a little boring, but not the London Duck Tour. This one of a kind tour around London takes place both on land and in the River Thames in a bright yellow, amphibious vehicle. This is a fantastic way to see the city that’s fun, child-friendly, and unique.

London has a lot to offer visitors of all ages but is especially good for families. With so much to see and do, plenty of places to eat and drink, and an exciting atmosphere, this is the perfect place for a family day out with a difference.

 

The UK’s Most Expensive Neighbourhoods

Living in the South East of England can be an expensive business; our proximity to London means that house prices and rents are still very high and that expensive perimeter around the capital is only increasing with improved high-speed travel. In the area we previously lived, we saw house prices steadily creeping up to the point that, when it came to moving house, we decided that enough was enough and moved to a less expensive area.

Property Rescue has created an infographic, showing the top ten most expensive places to live in the UK and I was COMPLETELY unsurprised to see that 90% of them are in London! Here’s the full list:

According to their research:

“The East of England continually sees the biggest growths in house prices with homes worth 8.4 per cent more than last year, seeing the average price of the likes of Chelsea, Notting Hill, and West Brompton comfortably sit above £1million.

London property averages at almost £500,000 but sitting top of the list is Kensington, where residences are worth an average £1.74million. Such is its regard, the area includes a street which is home to the ambassadors of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Finland just to name a few.

Located in the west of London, surrounded by other affluent areas including Notting Hill, Knightsbridge, and Chelsea, the area includes a wealth of London’s premiere hotspots including the Natural History Museum, the Royal College of Art, and the Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace.

The list is entirely made up of London locations, with neighbourhoods in Kent and Hertfordshire missing out, whilst the quiet commuter town of Virginia Water, Surrey is the only area outside London which makes the list.”

The saddest part about the list is that so many of the areas which have now been gentrified were once areas which were homes to average working people, people who would have absolutely no hope of living there ever again. It reminds me of the episode of Only Fools and Horses where Uncle Albert tries to go back to Tobacco Road where he grew up and finds it full of million-pound Docklands apartments and penthouses.

Do you live in an area which has become unaffordable over the years? Do you think it’s a good thing when older areas are regenerated or are you, like me, sad that working class people are being driven out of their home towns? Leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear what you think about it all.

Britax Sponsors the Bliss Buggy Push

900_nsrqc1308845756As you probably know, the Mum’s the Word family were chosen as ambassadors for Britax and are huge fans of their products. Our Affinity has been all over the country with us, transporting Burrito Baby around London Zoo, Tropical Wings, Bluewater and Lakeside shopping centres (frequently!), Drusillas Park and Hello Kitty Land, as well as many other places and numerous walks up and down Southend seafront! I adore the Affinity for so many reasons, not least of all how comfy BB looks when she’s in it, but also for the easy handling and soft suspension. It’s a great buggy and the perfect partner for the Bliss Buggy Push, a 5km family walk which aims to raise money for the special care baby charity.

LOVING the sunshine today, but v.grateful for the canopy on June's @BritaxUK Affinity!

A photo posted by Mum's the Word (@mumstheword84) on

Here’s the blurb:

This is the third year that Britax will sponsor the charity initiative, and following the success of last year’s 40 events, organisers say the 2015 fundraiser has the potential to be the biggest one yet.

Bliss is once again encouraging people across the country to organise a Buggy Push at a park near them to raise money to help premature and sick babies as well as their families. One in every nine babies is born premature or sick – that is around 80,000 babies every year.

Partnering with Miffy, the iconic children’s character, the headline London Buggy Push is taking place on 13 June to celebrate Miffy’s 60th birthday. Alongside sponsorship of the event, Britax will also be offering families the chance to win one of its stylish and award winning Britax Affinity pushchairs.  The three highest fundraisers who take part in the main events at either London, Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh will be able to select a light-weight Affinity in their preferred choice of colour and take home the matching Cosytoes and Changing Bag – the perfect prize for any mums on the go looking to make a fashion statement.

Amy Voller, Brand Director EMEA from Britax comments, “As a brand devoted to helping families find their freedom, we are delighted to once again be working with Bliss. Through this partnership we can not only encourage parents to get out and about with their little ones, we can also raise awareness for a fantastic cause that is very close to our hearts. We are behind every single family that choses to take part – best of luck!”

If you’d like to organise your own Bliss Buggy Push or find an event near you, take a look at the Bliss page. To find out more about the Britax Affinity or the rest of their range, click on the link to head over there.