It’s time to start thinking about warm weekends and the summer holidays… instead of taking the kids to Chessington or Brighton for the day, how about a relaxing family day out in one of the Royal parks around London? Take a picnic and a camera, and the day is yours.
Chestnut Sunday, Bushy Park
Chestnut Sunday may seem like a Dad’s idea of fun but children will enjoy it too. The parade begins at 12.30, ending at 4.30 so you have enough time to relax, walk around to view the displays and have fun. What the kids will like most about the parade are the traditional funfair rides, including the Carousel and other fun stalls. Young girls can enjoy pony rides whilst the boys can attempt to lift up a tree. There will also be 50s/60s bands, fund raising activities and refreshment kiosks if you’re not planning on bringing a picnic. Displays include classic cars, motorcycles and cycles as well as arena and riding demonstrations. The parade features the Horse Rangers band, cycles, motorcycles, old fashioned cars, City of London police horses and historical re-enactors (who will perform re-enactments throughout the day) plus many more attractions. This is a free event.
Innocent Fruit Sports Day, Regent’s Park
There is much fun to be had on this day! Innocent, the geniuses behind the nicest, fruitiest smoothies are hosting a sports day and themed festival in this royal park from 11am to 7pm for the whole family. Play the kiwi (substituted for the egg!) and spoon race, try peach volleyball or enter the marrow-thon or squash-put. If you feel a bit tired or need to eat before you run some more, there’s a farmer’s market and plenty of healthy (but tasty!) food to purchase. Best of all, there will be loads of smoothies to taste. This way, the kids can get some of their five a day and feel good about it. As well as the running and insanely addictive smoothies on offer, there is a poetry corner, open air dance floors, musicians, entertainers and bands just waiting to play the best jazz, swing and pop music, and loads of activities for children. So get fit with the kids, then try to beat them down the track! Adult prices cost £12.50, children/concessions are £5.50.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Stage Production, Kensington Gardens
8th May – 9th September
Threesixty theatre brought Peter Pan to the gardens last time and now, award-winning director Rupert Goold is staging C.S. Lewis’ classic tale of Narnia at the beautiful Kensington Gardens for four months. Set against the backdrop of Kensington Palace, the entire audience will be awed by the magical fantasy land and how Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy journey through the lands to meet Aslan and overcome the White Witch. In a state of the art tent, this beautiful masterpiece is created through live theatre and puppetry, which is why the kids will love it. It will be an experience they will enjoy and if you book tickets between the 8th and 29th May (previews period) they go free.
If the kids are tired and want something a bit more relaxing, they can always watch the pelican feeding at St. James’s Park or visit the Diana Playground in Kensington Gardens. There is a lot on offer at the Royal Parks: cafes and restaurants (Pembroke Lodge at Richmond Park and the Pavilion Tea House at Greenwich Park are particularly family friendly) and sports activities which include rugby, kids cricket and football.
When the sun is shining, lure the kids away from the TV screen – it’s better to be outside having fun!