I’ve been trying to think of things to do in the school holidays and ways to help the kids feel part of the Olympics (we haven’t got tickets). So when their cousin came to stay we had a great day out taking in a view of the Olympic Village. This was our itinerary – and it was all free, apart from transport and lunch.
The View tube On the edge of the Olympic village – and with great, free views of the various stadia – View tube is a cafe, arts and education centre housed in some old shipping containers. It’s got a tower over-looking the Olympic Park, although this was shut the day we visited. Easy to get to a short walk from Pudding Mill Lane DLR station, it’s right on the Greenway at Stratford, which you could explore further linking up to East London’s Victoria Park. You can hire bikes at the View tube, but we made do with the ground-floor view and some truly delicious home-made pies from the cafe.
Museum of London, Docklands A short ride away on the Docklands Light Railway (which is exciting in itself for 6 and 8-year-olds) is this great, free museum with lots of family activities during school holidays. The day we were there, the museum’s archeology service had got their bones out. The kids coloured in skeletons and merrily handled the syphilitic remains of a 17th century prostitute. What more can you ask for? They also loved the old footage of Docklands being bombed in the war, and the interactive kids area (book your timed ticket when you arrive as it gets full).
The area around West India Quay and Canary Wharf is surprisingly child-friendly. There are lots of pedestrianised bits so we gave the kids half an hour or so of running around, looking at sky scrapers and the river before jumping on a Thames Clipper for a swift and scenic ride back up the river into Central London.
Views from the boat are amazing: all the wharfs, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s, Tate Modern, Somerset House, London Eye… We finally disembarked at Embankment and crossed over the footbridge to collapse in the Royal Festival Hall with crisps and ginger beer before getting on the 59 bus back to South London.
All in all, 5-star family day out in London.