The days can be long when you’ve children to entertain. Expensive, too. Here are some affordable things to do with them during the winter break:
South Bank Christmas Market
Kids can ride the merry-go-round, eat gingerbread hearts and roasted almonds, while their parents enjoy a glass of glühwein. Admittedly if you do all that it won’t be free any more, but you can still soak up the atmosphere of this Christmassy German market gratis.
For more information, visit the website.
Most of the major galleries run free workshops and activities during the holidays. At the National Gallery, there are storytelling sessions for the under-fives, along with art and drawing activities for kids between five-12. Sundays are family days, with free workshops.
Visit the website for more information.
Go walking in the woods
Wilderness Wood in the Sussex Weald is an award-winning 62-acre woodland that’s magical at this time of year, when everyone’s buying Christmas trees. Wander the forest trails, tackle the adventure playground, and reward yourselves with hot chocolate in the timber-frame barn café. You can even camp.
For all the latest, take a look at the Wilderness Wood website.
Visit Kew Gardens
OK, adult entry is £13.90, but under-17s go free, which means you can take a group of young ones and it won’t be too pricey. Father Christmas will be in his grotto until 23 Dec. After that you can learn about winter evergreens, or visit the brand-new tree-themed outdoor play area for kids aged three-11. It’s open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
See the website for more details.
Baking always feels like a nice, wholesome (albeit messy) activity to do with kids. And at this time of year you can make dozens of biscuits and there’ll be enough people around to eat them. Or wrap them in baking parchment and ribbon and give them as presents.
Write a book together
Stick it in a box in the attic and it’ll be something lovely to discover in 20 years’ time.
Video them on your smartphone
Make little films of your children reading from a book, playing outside, or whatever it is they do cutest.
Walk along the Regent’s Towpath and see the animals
Regent’s Canal in Primrose Hill is a beautiful place to walk that allows you to kid yourself you’re in the country. And in winter, when the leaves have fallen from the trees, you can see inside the animal enclosures at London Zoo.
Go to a carol service at St Paul’s
And if all that fails – well, there’s always CBeebies.