I love going out, if you ask me to stay home one day and do nothing, I think I’ll go crazy! It’s true though, after I gave birth to Eli it’s hard to get out of the house (even to get some fresh air) for the first few months as I was nursing 24/7. Even if I got out of the house, all I do is breastfeeding, breastfeeding and more breastfeeding! (argh!)
It suddenly got better when your baby have a routine and nurse fewer times during the day, that’s when they turn 6 months and I think for me, that’s the turning point. That’s when I can say to myself, hell yeah, let’s go out and have some fun! But, there’s a big but, where shall we go?
Now that we’ve got a little one, it’s sensible for us moms to think about them first. We feel guilty bringing them to shopping malls for the sake of going shopping ourselves, and if we bring them to friend’s places, they wouldn’t be able to nap properly as most of them would need to be pushed around in a buggy. And if we aren’t fans of going to museums (just for the sake of seeing stolen goods), it seems we are pretty doomed as to the places we could go with them.
So, here goes, the top 10 best free places you could go with your babies/toddlers in East London, places that are ok for us moms to push them around, or let them loose so they could run around until ..er. they are ready for nap time.
1, Mudchute park & farm, Docklands– one of the largest inner City Farms in Europe, there are plenty to do at the Mudchute park & farm, kids have the chance to get close to all kinds of animals. Join the regular free play sessions on tuesdays and thursdays (3 – 6:30pm during term, 2 – 5:30pm during holidays) and go to the “pet corner” to feed the animals, then feed your own little ones at the cafe. Plan your day and go early as most of the animals go to bed at around 16:00hrs.
2, Thames Barrier Park, Pontoon Dock-located next to Pontoon Dock DLR station is the pretty Thames Barrier Park. Lovely place for moms to relax whilst the kids run around with a magnificent view of the thames flood barrier. There is a cafe as well as a recently renovated childrens’ playground with swings and slides. Perfect for a little picnic with your little ones on a sunny afternoon! If that’s not enough for your active little ones, why not head down to the maze and play hide and seek?
3, The Museum of London Docklands, Canary Wharf– this free museum has a dedicated soft play area (Mudlarks) for small children, but it’s worth visiting the main galleries, for the huge model of the old London Bridge and a walk-through recreation of the docklands in Victorian times. This gallery is free but families must have a ticket, which can be obtained either through booking online, or by collecting a ticket from the front desk on arrival.
4, Under-One-Roof, Woolwich -a kid’s urban oasis that comprises a cafe, soft play area, bookshop and even a children hair salon! There are also various classes and activities like baby sensory and language classes if you would like to join! You could spend an entire afternoon there for sure!
5, Tate Modern, Southwark– If art gallery isn’t your thing, Tate Modern’s vast Turbine Hall is an inspiring space for young children, brilliant place for them to crawl, walk or even run upon! and the best part is, its free! They’ve also got special workshops and exhibitions for the children occasionally, Halloween is coming up, join them for pumpkin carving and ghost busting with devil cake decorating on 31 Oct 2017.
6, The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford– there’s plenty to do at the Park! Relax in the beautiful parklands, let the kids loose in the playgrounds, or grab a bite at the Timber Lodge cafe. You can find playgrounds with rock pools, sand pits, wobbly bridges, swings, slides and more – for big kids too!
7, Sky Garden, Monument -If you are joining your partner for lunch in the City, why not head to Sky Garden for a walk afterwards. It is an exquisitely landscaped public garden which has an observation deck and an open air terrace. This really is a beautiful garden with a view! Enjoy the views and have a bite at one of their 4 restaurants. You can book for a free visit at the website any day of the week or walk in between 10.00am- 11.30am and 14.00pm-16.30pm Monday-Friday (exc. weekends).
8, National Maritime Museum, Greenich– This museum is kids’ friendly so much so that they have a Great Map at the centre of the National Maritime Museum, a giant atlas from which the kids can explore the world. Walk across the map’s surface and use a touch-screen tablet to uncover stories of the female pirates, Scott’s Antarctic expedition and many more. Alternatively, you could go to the Great Map Cafe next door where there’s ample space for buggy parking, enjoy a cuppa whilst your children are having fun. There are also free art workshops and story-telling of history characters on Saturdays.
9, V & A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green– The Museum runs free drop-in activities every day including arts and crafts, tours and storytelling. All activities are free, drop-in and suitable for children aged 3-12. You can head to the exhibitions and displays if your baby is napping (so quiet they’ll instantly fall asleep!) and enjoy some quiet alone time. There is currently a Searching for Ghosts exhibition where it’s about intergenerational journey of discovery of homes and people who lived in the past.
10, Newham City Farm, East Ham– There is a lot to see at the farm. Alongside animals there is an orchard, children’s play area, a play barn and picnic benches. They sell produce too – don’t forget to buy some freshly laid eggs and honey from their homegrown bees ! It is free to visit although they encourage a minimum donation of £1 per child and £2 per adult.
Where do you go with your kids? Do you like to go indoor or outdoor?
So much for outings with kids now, perhaps another post about shopping in London to balance it out lol