Discover The Hidden Gems Of London

Posted on: 20 May 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

Why follow the crowds this bank holiday? Take the whole family on an educational and unusual day out to discover the hidden gems that London has to offer.

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Find ideas and inspiration for days out in central London and surrounding counties in the ‘Let’s Go with the Children London Inside & Out’ Guide.

Unusual London Days Out

Horniman Museum & Robot Zoo   
020 8699 1872 www.horniman.ac.uk

Set in 16 acres of beautiful garden, this award winning free museum has unique exhibitions, events and activities for a perfect day out. New for this summer – Robot Zoo exhibition! Discover a world of robotic creatures, through interactive shows and robot model displays!

Science Museum & Wallace & Gromit’s World of Cracking Ideas
0870 870 4868 www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

Be amazed by the past, present and future of science and see how it affects every aspect of our lives. New for this summer – visit the Wallace & Gromit World of Cracking Ideas! Join Wallace for a guided tour of his inventions and see some of the greatest objects ever invented! A fantastic and unique family experience not to be missed!

Kentish Town City Farm
0207 916 5421

Children and adults are actively encouraged to participate in all aspects of animal care at the farm from mucking out to helping with feeds. The farm has a stock of chickens, cows, ducks, geese, goats, horses, pigs and sheep. Don’t miss their annual May Day event.

Surrey Docks Farm
0207 231 1010

Visit this working farm and see the many animals which are raised here. Also, check out the Bee Room, Milking Barn and Blacksmith’s Forge. The herds and flocks are farmed with specific attention to animal welfare. Fresh food and produce are on sale to the public in the Cafe.

The Cartoon Museum, Little Russell Street
0207 580 8155 www.cartoonmuseum.org

The Cartoon Museum is the first of its kind in London, dedicated to preserving the best of British cartoons and home to a collection of comic art dating back to the 18th century. See over 1500 cartoons, cariacatures, and comics spread over two floors, featuring rare and original material from The Beano and Dandy.

The Bank of England Museum, Bank
0207 601 5545 www.bankofengland.co.uk

Earning, spending and saving money and the prices we pay for goods and services are such a key part of all our lives that it is never too soon for young people to learn about them. The museum tells the story of the Bank from its foundation to the present day. Interactive displays and exhibits bring the story to life and there’s a unique collection of banknotes and a genuine gold bar which can be handled! Free entry.

Handel House Museum, Mayfair
0207 495 1685 www.handelhouse.org

Celebrating the life and works of composer Handel. Take the opportunity to try on costumes and listen to live music. A new exhibition for 2009 brings Handel’s personal story to life, showing how he survived the 18th century ‘credit crunch’, his blindness and love life. Why not join in on the family event ‘Composer Surgery’ on 10th May?

Sherlock Holmes Museum, Baker Street
0207 935 4430 www.sherlock-holmes.co.uk

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson lived here between 1881-1904 and the house is preserved as described in the books. Visitors can sit in Mr Holmes’s armchair by the fireside to pose for photos, and enter his bedroom adjoining the study!

Firepower – The Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich
0208 855 7755

Experience the sights and sounds of war, be a modern gunner yourself and learn about their proud history. On 16th May Experience a full day and night's activity in and around Firepower and the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. The fun continues into the evening with guided tours of the Royal Arsenal and medal lectures by Firepower's own Curator. The Museum and its Coffee Shop will remain open late into the evening as part of national Museums at Night campaign. There is also a war gaming event on 31st May!

The Clink Prison Museum, London Bridge
0207 403 0900 

Meet the inmates of this small and spooky museum which tells the historical story of the prison, which is probably the oldest men’s and women’s prison in the country, which held prisoners from the early Tudor years until 1780. Get a hands-on experience of all torture devices, many of which are original.

The Golden Hinde, St Mary’s Dock
08700 118700 www.goldenhinde.org

Climb aboard this reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s Tudor Galleon and be transported back in time. Pirate fun days and activities are organised during school holidays where you can explore the Captain's cabin and the five decks of Sir Francis Drake’s famous story telling, treasure hunt, pirate quiz and guided tours on board Sir Francis Drake's famous galleon! Next date is the 11th July.

Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret
0207 1882679 www.thegarret.org.uk

See, touch and smell the herbs and potions from the past and look at the instruments in this restored rooftop operating theatre! Hidden in the roof of St Thomas’ Church near London Bridge Underground and rail services, this 300-year old herb garret houses Britain’s only surviving operating theatre, complete with wooden operating table and observation stands, from which spectators witnessed surgery performed without anaesthesia or antiseptics.

Puppet Theatre Barge
0207 249 6876 www.puppetbarge.com

This tiny theatre seats 55 people and is based in Little Venice, close to Marble Arch. It’s a floating barge theatre takes a tour of the Thames every summer. Come along and enjoy the unique and intricate world of Marionette puppetry.

Miz Kidz Club, Cambridge Circus
0870 850 9171 www.lesmis.com

Join a behind the scenes tour of the famous Les Miserables production and take part in unique drama workshops with improvisation games and a chance to meet the cast! Clubs run every Saturday from 1045 – 1.30pm.

Chislehurst Caves, Kent
020 8467 3264

Collect a lantern and join an adventure along 20 miles of mysterious caverns and passageways. Be taken on a tour and hear of the Druids, Romans and Saxons. Visitors also see the tunnels made famous as a shelter during the World War 2 when the Caves became the largest air raid shelter outside of London. See the Caves Church, Druid Altar, Haunted Pool and much more! There’s free parking, a gift shop and restaurant. Evening tours and private children’s parties can be held as well.

Wimbledon Windmill Museum, Wimbledon Common
020 8947 2825

This is a wonderful restored windmill, and the museum tells the story of milling history, with pictures, tools of the trade and lots of model windmill displays. Push button operated commentaries throughout the museum explain the working of the millstones and describe life in the windmill after it was converted to living accommodation in 1864. The museum offers educational and interactive activities for visitors, including hands-on milling for children.

Eltham Palace
www.english-heritage.org.uk

A unique Art Deco mansion in a medieval setting. The mansion's backdrop is a medieval royal palace from Tudor times, with magnificent Great Hall, the childhood home of Henry VIII. The 19 acres of beautiful gardens blend 1930s and medieval features, including London's oldest working bridge over the moat. Children’s events this summer include; Tudor Trail, 24th & 25th May and King Henry’s Tudor Joust on 20th and 21st June.

Web Links

Let’s Go with the Children’ Guide Books are published by Boomerang Family Ltd. For more information visit www.letsgowiththechildren.co.uk.

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