Family days out in London: The London Eye, The London Eye River Cruise and SEA LIFE London Aquarium!

With the school holiday countdown clock now ticking LOUDLY – and with this amazing sunshine! – I had to post about what makes for a super-fun family day out in the capital!

We did shoot a video on the London Eye River Cruise, but it was so blowy, the sound was completely muffled (uh). So, here goes with a few shots instead.

Cue the slightly mad hair one …

… in the others, it was pretty much horizontal.

Anyway, it was FANTASTIC fun and one of those things that, as a London girl born and bred, I wonder why I’ve never done before (it’s so often the way, isn’t it, wherever you live?).

It reminded me of getting to go on a boat to watch the Oxford & Cambridge boat race as a little girl, with my Dad, and longing for the BBC helicopters overhead to spot us so we’d be on TV. I wasn’t hard to miss, with my red Ladybird anorak and very. Big. Hair.

The Cruise is a brilliant experience in itself, but also a great way to see some key sights if you don’t have the time or it isn’t practical to do them all with the kids on a hot, sticky summer’s day  (or, perhaps, with grandparents – this would make a wonderful memory!).

It lasts about 40 minutes and takes in lots of key landmarks, including Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament, Lambeth Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London and more, complete with an entertaining mini history lesson from the guide along with a few movie locations, too, such as the Pirates of The Caribbean).

My number one tip: if you’d like to get a seat on the top deck, the sooner you can get in the queue for your Cruise, the better (you book specific times, and, impressively, it’s all run with the efficiently of an airport departure lounge).

This is a great one to combine with The London Eye itself (another opportunity to spot some sights!) …

… along with the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, which is HUGE, with loads to see and lots of interactive elements.

And all conveniently located on the South Bank, near The London Eye and the Cruise set off point, at the London Eye Millennium Pier.

If you’re going to make a day of it, space things out as much as possible when you make your booking, as it gets super-busy and you want to give yourself plenty of time to get from one attraction to another (there’s lots going on along the South Bank to see, and Jubilee Gardens – which is lined along the Bank with street entertainers – makes a great spot for a picnic lunch).

Totally recommended!!

More info and to book tickets online for The EDF Energy London Eye, The London Eye River Cruise, the SEA LIFE London Aquarium (along with some great, combined packages) here!

WIN two family tickets to the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort Hero Factory Fun Day!

This giveaway has now closed and the winners are Nancy Bradford and Claire Little – BIG congrats to them and thanks to everyone who took part and for all the fabulous comments!! More giveaways still open and more to come at nonstopmama!!

Got any little LEGO Hero Factory fans in the house?!

Then you’ll already know it’s all about fighting the evil Brain Attack (and the more luminous and ‘eew!‘-inducing, the better).

This LEGO range is HUGELY popular, so I’m SUPER-excited that LEGOLAND Windsor Resort is kindly offering two nonstopmamas a Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children) to attend a special Hero Factory Day on Saturday, 3 August (just a few weeks to go!).

The day promises to be LOTS of action-packed fun for fans of this hugely popular LEGO range, in the Hero Factory Build & Test Area at LEGOLAND Windsor Resort …

As part of this special, one-day event (which is open to everyone who visits the resort on 3 August), activities will include speed-build challenges with prizes to be won, face painting, the chance for kids to have their photos taken as a hero or villain or take part in a Hero Factory Scavenger Hunt, play at the game station, enjoy Hero Factory TV episodes and lots more!

For our winners, there will be goodie bags to go home with, too!

Of course, the prize allows you to enjoy the rest of LEGOLAND Windsor Resort on the day, too!

What a great way to kick off the summer holidays!

To enter the nonstopmama giveaway to WIN one of two Family Tickets (each admitting 2 adults and 2 children) to the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort Hero Factory Fun Day on 3 August, 2013, simply:

 1. ‘Like’ the nonstopmama Facebook page or Follow us on Twitter, at @jbadenh or Pinterest (JBadenHoward) – OR all three (you can’t blame a girl for asking …).

If you’re following on Twitter, please tweet the message “I’ve entered to #WIN a Family Ticket to the @LEGOLANDWindsor Hero Factory Fun Day with nonstopmama @jbadenh:“.

2.  Simply leave a Comment below to let us know you’ve done the above – thanks so much!!

That’s it!!

The two winners will be chosen at random by computer (we’ll email each to make the arrangements for 3 August, 2013 with LEGOLAND Windsor Resort!).

Please take a mo to check out the giveaway rules here, thanks so much!

This giveaway will close at midnight on Saturday, 13 July 2013.

More info about LEGOLAND Windsor Resort and to book tickets here!

This giveaway has been promoted at Loquax and ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions.

LegoLand Windsor: what’s NEW for spring / summer 2013!

The one line version of this post: there’s some AWESOME new stuff happening at LegoLand Windsor this spring/summer. And it’s really NOT a good idea to wear skinny jeans if you plan on doing any ‘wet’ rides.

My bottom didn’t dry out until early evening. (TMI ? Sorry).

We visited during the Easter hols to check out two of the new features already open – a new addition to the Star Wars Miniland Model Display and 4D Chima movie – and had a blast (literally, from lots of water squirters on the Vikings’ River Splash. An absolute must-do, although I swear I get more soaked and feel more motion sick every time. Which makes for an entertaining fridge magnet).

Another tip (along with the Don’t Wear Skinny Jeans one)? BUY the LegoLand rain poncho, as early as possible, if there is even a hint of rain or you’re planning on doing the wet stuff. By the time I realised this, as my friend pointed out, it was a bit ‘after the fact’ and would’ve just sealed in the dampness, creating more of a personal steam jacket effect.

Which could be good for detoxifying, spa-style treatment point of view, but not for a family day out.

Being with Star Wars fans (big and small), the Star Wars Miniland Model Display ROCKED the entire visit. It’s larger than we expected – you walk round a series of fantastic, incredibly detailed scenes (which smaller ‘tour guides’ will delight in identifying. This can take some time).

There are lots of sound and lighting effects, plus interactive bits and it’s been added to with a Gallery of 12, large scale models of key characters, like Luke and Princess Leia (pictured top of post), and everyone’s favourite …

You can also get a photo with these guys in the entrance to the all-Star Wars gift shop …

… where I think we spent more time than in the attraction itself (which is saying something). But, as the girl who was all about the gift shop on any family trip (of course, not anymore *nose grows as she types*), I’m not in a position to say anything.

Honestly, I was quite tempted by a Princess Leia keyring …

The new CHIMA 4D movie was super-fun, too – just long enough (about ten minutes) and, along with your 3D specs, there are special effects in the theatre, including wind, rain and snow (poncho alert!! Actually, not so much for this one).

Along with seeing the recently introduced (real!) baby sharks swimming around the Duplo as part of the Atlantis ride, we had a great day out and, as always with LegoLand, only did a fraction of what there is to see and do. We didn’t get a chance to see the new Hero Factory area, for example, which opened last month (we’ll have to fight against evil brains another time).

Coming in May is the new DUPLO Valley ‘splash and play’ land, which promises to be fantastic!

May the force (and ponchos) be with you.

Family fun on the farm: Tractor Ted’s Little Farm at Bowood House opens next weekend!

With the Easter hols coming up, we had to flag up a fabulous, all-new family day out (or short break)!

Opening next weekend, 22 March, Tractor Ted’s Little Farm will open at Bowood House & Gardens in Wiltshire (above).

Featuring Tractor Ted-themed farm games, tractor rides and ‘big’ farm machinery to see in action, there’s plenty to keep little fans of the famous green tractor busy.

Entrance also includes admission to the beautiful Bowood House & Gardens, designed by Capability Brown, Adventure Playground, Arboretum and laboratory where Dr Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen gas (one for the older science whizzes!).

If you’re visiting from further afield (sorry) or want to make a mini-break of it, the family-friendly Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort is located within the Estate (nonstopmama will be reviewing the hotel and Tractor Ted’s Little Farm in time for the spring hols, so watch this space!).

For more info on Tractor Ted’s Little Farm here, and Bowood Hotel here!

Mum’s the word: last minute Mother’s Day ideas with the YPlan going out app!

We love this free, London-based going out app from YPlan, which will also help you source a last minute Mother’s Day activity or day out with a difference!

Just for Mother’s Day, the Parenting Events network Mothers Meeting handpicked their top 5 activities featured on the YPlan app, that mamas can enjoy in the capital. A great source of inspiration and insider, local knowledge, you’ll find listings of events happening in London focusing on fashion, food, culture and design.

‘YPlan takes the stress out of scouring the Internet for hours looking for fun days out,’ says Jenny  Scott, founder of Mothers Meeting. ‘It’s easy, slick, fun to use and their suggested events are all cherry picked, so you can guarantee you’ll end up doing something cool in the capital!”

For example, the Mother’s Day ideas for this Sunday recommended by Mother’s Meeting include a Chocolate Tour of London, a vintage-themed Central London Bike Tour, which takes in St James’ Park, and a Street Art London Tour, amongst others.

Check out and book events by downloading the YPlan app here!

This is a sponsored post.

  • About

    Jenni Baden HowardDaily adventures in beauty, style, health and fitness, family, food and fun!

    I'm a beauty and lifestyle writer and juggle-from-home mama (the Italian genes explain the mad hair and love of bronzer). I've written for a wide range of British glossies, newspapers and weekend supplements, along with many beauty and lifestyle websites.

    Now in my Forties, I truly believe that true beauty is both ageless and timeless (although I could be biased).

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