On the King’s Road you are just a hop, skip and a jump away from some fantastic Olympic events. If you don’t want to drag the kids out to the Olympic Park, stay near home and catch some of the nearby events. Here is a list of family-friendly events for you during London 2012.
Right on our door-step, Knightsbridge is a fantastic place to enjoy London during the Olympics for families.
Head over to the Serpentine on Saturday August 4 and Tuesday 7 for the Triathlon. The north side of the Serpentine is ticketed, but the entire south side and the bridge would make great vantage points to see the swimmers.
You are also close to The BT Live Site
in Hyde Park which will televise the games on live giant screens and host loads of family events like the Cadbury Village, Have A Go sports area and show live concerts all day with headline acts in the evenings. Most events are free.
There is a great playground near the Hyde Park Barracks, close to the south side of the Serpentine. Just a short walk from Harrods, the Queen’s Life Guard heads over to Buckingham Palace and returns right next to this playground.
Knightsbridge is home to loads of iconic flagship stores along Brompton Road and Sloane Avenue. There is a wonderful secret hidden playground (with entry for a family of four for £9) just behind the Lido on the Serpentine. It has a paddling pool, picnic area and playground. You can head down to the Serpentine and wade or swim or perhaps just enjoy some cool breeze and shade.
Another close-by neighbourhood, South Kensington offers some of the best world-class periphery events taking place for the Olympics.
On the West side of the Albert Memorial there will be the Africa House, where families can enjoy food, music, dancing and artwork from Africa. On the other side of the memorial will be the Russia House, an interactive digital suite showcasing the Winter Olympics 2014 taking place in Shochi, Russia. Check it out with 4D theatre experience of being in the Baltic Mountains, traditional food, live coverage of the Olympics on big screen and more.
On Monday, 30 July, head over to Exhibition Road
for an afternoon of fun, music, food and performances.
The Natural History Museum with its dinosaur exhibit, Investigate Room (a do not miss) and loads of other interactive areas is located here.
The Science Museum next door has lots to offer all age kids. Take small children down the basement for the most amazing water table and play area; take bigger kids up to the launch pad and interact with a room full of experiments, magnets, circuits and simple machines. Also the V and A across the street will have their top-quality art workshops where children can go and make and learn.
If you can’t get into the Olympic Park, you can soak up some spirit of the event right in Westminster. You can’t get closer to the pulse of London than ambling around Westminster to take in some sights and some sport.
On Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 July, you can see Road Cycling on Constitution Hill and Fulham Road
. On Saturday 4 August and Tuesday 7, you can see the cycling leg of the Triathlon go by to the finish at Buckingham Palace. Then Saturday 4 and Saturday 11 August, Race Walking will go by.
When you are dragging the kids around to explore Westminster and watch the events, there is a really nice playground in St. James’s Park, opposite the Wellington Barracks, along Birdcage Walk. The park will be filled with food venders and the vast green space makes an excellent picnic area.
Next best place for Olympic action is Trafalgar square and near-by Victoria Embankment where on Sunday 5 and Sunday 12 August you can catch the marathon. They will do three passes - good incentive to get a place and hold it. The nearest green spaces are St. James’s Park.
Not too far away the Victoria Embankment Gardens. Also, Somerset House has their fountain courtyard where kids can run and play in the fountains. Somerset House will be hosting Casa Brazil, an art exhibit showcasing Brazilian art and design in preparation for Brazil 2016 (free entry to both).
The National Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery are right by Trafalgar Square and have free entry. Not too far away is Somerset House which also has free entry and interesting art exhibits. The London Transport Museum costs £13.50 per adult with children under 16 free, fascinating museum and particularly fun for the under fives.
Laura Vogel is a local mum of two and publisher of London Baby, a local parent's guide to free and affordable activities for babies, toddlers and young children in London.