Arundel Castle – A Wonderful Day Out with Kids!

Personally, I love the school holidays. I know that for many people, the holidays are not the easiest of times – especially when there are work commitments and many mid week ours to fill. Luckily, my work is flexible enough, that school holidays are an opportunity for us to DO STUFF. YAY! Especially the things were we can go a little bit further afield. Living near London, we have access to lots of fabulous activities IN LONDON, but sometimes it is nice to go further afield. Today, we were invited along to Arundel Castle – to experience the castle, the gardens and their Summer events – this Bank Holiday – the Castle Siege! The first of a fantastic range of events bringing HISTORY TO LIFE.

Arundel Castle 1

As we walked the encampments, we were entertained by the piper, we got learn about ferrets and potions, try on some replica armour and see first hand what the weapons of the 15th Century looked like. The children, got to see, touch and lift tools. They saw cooking over open fires, and people at their handicrafts.

Arundel Castle - a wonderful day out

The highlight and most memorable part the knights in action – “It is 1475 and Edward IV is King of England. Once again tensions have arisen between England and France. Seeing an opportunity a French force has crossed the channel, seized the Kings Ordinance (artillery) and surrounded the castle at Arundel.” Complete with cannons, archers and knights in full body armour.

It was exciting and spectacular and I know will stay with the kids for weeks to come.

Arundel Castle - the beautiful gardens

Personally, I was enchanted by the flower gardens. They were unexpected (we didn’t know too much about Arundel Castle before going) and opened in front of us like a secret garden. Beautiful blooms, quirky details and lots of space to run. Simply beautiful.

Afterwards, we spent some time exploring the castle (the library is stunning) and finally admitted defeat – after 3 hours at the castle, we were ready to go home (the kids are still young), but could EASILY have stayed twice as long.

Simply wonderful.

We thank Arundel Castle for inviting us along today and showing us what they have on offer.  There are so many more events on over the Summer months, that we really want to go back again (and again).

Disclaimer – we received a complimentary Family Gold Ticket to the castle.

Special One on One Time at GoApe

Every so often we try and spend some quality one on one time with each of the kids. We select activities and things to do that we think THEY will enjoy the most and then we go off and have a Special Day.

This time, I picked “Go Ape” for my son.. check out what he thought!

 

This is at the Go Ape at Alice Holt Forrest – a beautiful venue. Afterwards we met with friends, had a picnic and explore what Alice Holt had on offer.

 

The Wombles of Wimbledon

We live close enough to Wimbledon Common, to go and visit it on occassion and have a good walk around it. When walking in woods with younger children however, it is good to often have some sort of purpose (having said that, they love running around, picking up sticks, climbing up trees and exploring regardless).. so.. recently we have been reading The Wombles of Wimbledon Common books. It talks about the Wimbledon Common Windmill, the Goluff (aka Golf) course and Queen’s Mere pond. It was exciting to visit the common with these locations in  mind and to see whether WE could spot a Womble…

Here is how we did – how many did you spot?!

If you are not familiar with The Wombles, do check out the stories, they are making for a great chapter book for us at bedtime at the moment (the kids are aged 5 and 7yrs). Really sweet!

Check out these affiliate links for book info US readers read about The Wombles here , UK readers here.

 

Storytime Sounds

We love love love to stories in our house. We love reading stories, we love watching stories, we love telling stories. My son (7) also likes to write stories. Sometimes however, we you need a little Story Time inspiration and help. We have two favourite go to things when we have a bit of a “story stuck day”..

Some days we turn towards our homemade Story Cubes

Story Cubes

These are great for creating character and “things” prompts for our stories.

Other times we like to turn to our newly discovered Storytime Sounds App by the people from notonthehighstreet.com.

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I confess to not knowing about this (free) app before.. We were recently invited to a Story Telling session at Godstone Farm to see first hand for ourselves how fun and interactive this simple little App can be. My kids adored it. (Well the story tellers were rather good). But I have to say that good story tellers or not, I love the different themse you can explore (e.g. pirates, Christmas, The Farm etc) and how each theme comes with 9 different character “noises”! These 9 Characters serve as great story prompts. I find that my kids want to build them into our story as often as possible, so that they get to have a go to press all the buttons.

Really fun and interesting to see how attractive my kids found this. Though pitched at slightly younger children, my 7yrs old in particularly LOVED the app and stories and asked me to download it “as soon as possible”.

So.. as it is free and as it is cute and as it is well designed… I highly recommend taking a peak and then having lots of story time fun with the kids – whenever – wherever… great for bedtime/ on the bus or by the seaside! Also have a peak at the Storytime Hub over on notonthehighstreet.com – they have LOTS of additionally themed resources, as well as sample stories for you check out and print if you wish!

Godstone Farm - Days out with kids

We had a brilliant day at Godstone Farm – not only where the story sessions great fun, but we really enjoyed getting into the “Farm Yard Mood” (the story themes chosen for our story telling), by exploring all the animals and going on a tractor ride.

A great family day out. And a great Story Telling Prop!

Disclosure: Not On The High Street invited us along to Godstone Farm for some interactive story telling sessions to introduce us to this App.

London for Kids: Kew Gardens

Soooo, we have literally just finished our two week Easter holidays and living in London, we have been busy busy busy with the kids. London has SO MUCH to offer for kids – with its many galleries, museums, fountains and parks. It really is an amazing city for green spaces in particular! As my kids go to a space tight local London school, it is important for us to go out and about in the holidays and enjoy nature – whatever the weather. Luckily for us, we were blessed with fine weather, which made it even more enjoyable.

One great destination for Kids in London is, Kew Gardens in Surrey. Yes, technically it isn’t London anymore, but it is certainly is part of the “Londoner’s to do list”. The great thing about Kew Gardens is, that kids go free! Also, like many London venues and destinations, Kew Gardens has been working hard over the last few years to make it a place to go with kids all year round. It is a wonderful place to visit as an adult interested in plants and fauna, but now it is also a great place to go with kids.

Over Easter, they had a fun Timmy Trail going…

Kew Gardens for Kids - Timmy TrailThe kids had maps and had to find Timmy Stations all around the gardens. It is a great way to keep them moving and exploring, as well as learn about the gardens themselves – each station not only provides the much coveted Shaun the Sheep stamp, but also information about plants in the immediate area. We particularly enjoyed discovering the “Snake Heads” flowers.

There was also a big “attraction” tent with activities (such as wellie throwing and cabbage rolling), which looked great fun and were busy indeed, BUT we were actually so busy with the rest of the park, that we did not end up having a go.

London for Kids -  Kew Gardens in Spring

We spent a total of 5 hours at the park and visited the Tree Top walk way (be sure to go to the little “bug tunnel” at the foot of the stairs, for info on creepy crawlies.

We went to the glass houses and searched for cocoa beans and unusual flowers. We LOVED all the beautiful Spring tulips on display, as well as the stunning blossom trees. Aaaaah Spring. A truly wonderful time to visit Kew Gardens.

Having said that, there is always something to see and do at Kew Gardens – there is a play ground and soft play area if you need some “classic” child distractions. There are plenty of grassy little verges for the children to do some rolly pollies down (nothing better than rolling down a grassy hills). There are always some flowers in bloom and of course the glass houses to explore.

I am looking forward to Winter, when they have a special magical light trail on too (new last year and we missed it!!! But it looked amazing).

And whilst we enjoyed a “day out in the park”, the kids did actually get to appreciate and discover some beautiful plants too.

Disclaimer: Kew Gardens invites us to spend the day with them and write about our experiences… BUT as it happened, we had already planned to visit these holidays already! It just meant that I took more photos than usual!! 😉