Bekonscot Model Village and Railway 

Gosh we’re really getting a lot done this half term. With cloudy (but not rainy) weather forecast for today, we decided to head out to Bekonscot Model Village. It’s been on my bucket list of places to take S but somehow we’ve never gotten around to it.

We left home just after 10am and 50 minutes later we parked in the church opposite the model village. Getting there was super easy on the A40 and then the M40 (coming back was even faster).

It cost £10 for adults and £6 for children or £2& for a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children). All profits go to charity. As you enter there’s an opportunity to take a short train ride for £1. Given that I often take S on the tube and it’s not a novelty, we skipped this.

  
The actual model village is a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be but the attention to detail is phenomenonal!! S was super excited walking around, pointing out *everything* he could see and totally fascinated by the trains making their way around the village on tracks.

   
 
All the trains and tracks are live and there’s an actual conductor who controls them and makes sure everything runs smoothly.

   
Miniature guards inside the Castle with a football match depicted in the background.

 
Most of the rides had a moving element to them so it felt like a mini real life fair ground.

  
There was even a mini coal mine with a man standing at the window waving to everyone.

It didn’t take us long to get around the village, 20 minutes maybe. This is partly due to the fact that S is young. Older kids were given a booklet/quiz at the entrance which they used as a guide walking around giving them an opportunity to learn as they explored.

We finally ended up at the playground where S ran around for a bit. Although we had no rain, it was really cold so we headed into the Tea Room to warm up.

  
It was packed! Many families had brought their own picnics but there was also hot food and sandwiches, muffins, drinks and snacks sold in the Tea Room.

Nothing really took our fancy so we left and drove 5-10 minutes down the road to Beaconsfield Service Centre. It’s pretty great as far as service centres go. There’s Marks and Spencer Food, Patisserie Valerie, Starbucks, Nandos, McDonald’s, a couple of sandwich places and a Mexican counter.

We were really lucky because when we came out after lunch, it was raining! Grateful it stayed dry for our visit, we headed home.

I expected it to be a lot more crowded, given that it’s half term, but thankfully it wasn’t. S loved it and I’m sure we’ll go back when he’s a little older.

Southbank over half term (Feb 2016)

As much as we love to travel, we decided to stay put in London this half term. However, I am on a mission to make the most of the week off. With S being in full time school now, we don’t get a lot of time to do much else. His days are quite long and we save the weekends for some much needed chill out time.

A few weeks ago my friend Ritu and I decided we’d meet with the kids at Westfield but given the nice weather (no rain!) we decided to take them down to Southbank instead. We met at Waterloo Station at midday and walked on over.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how much I love Southbank. It’s my favourite part of London. We walked passed an amazing array of street food on our way to the Southbank Centre but we’d already decided we’d take S and N to Giraffe for lunch.

The Southbank Centre are running a week of kids activities (The Imagine Children’s Festival) and lots of parents were making the most of the sunny weather.

   
 
Lunch at Giraffe was good as usual. We had to wait about 20 minutes for a table but given that we just showed up there, that wasn’t too bad. As we sat outside a waitress came to ask if we wanted anything to eat or drink while we waited so got some cappuccino’s for ourselves and chips for the kids. Once seated the waitress serving us was delightful. She made the kid’s day by giving them lots of coloured plastic giraffes.

  
After lunch we walked along the river, went on a carousel ride, popped into the playground, watched a magician and finally ended up in the Southbank Centre.

Although we didn’t explore the whole space, there were lots of children with their faces painted and as we were leaving, I glanced downstairs and spotted this awesome floor black board (wish I’d seen it earlier).

  
We stayed thinking there was a showing of Matilda 20 minutes later but instead we ended up watching a short 20 minute Nigerian Cartoon. I spent much of my life in Nigeria and even I struggled to understand it all.

Glancing at the timetable of events as we were leaving, I spotted a few things I think S might enjoy so we may pop back down there later in the week.

The other thing I spotted under the Hungerford bridge near the Southbank Centre was a small rollerskating tent named bump roller disco. S was totally fascinated by it and they had some 3 wheeler supports for less skilled skaters. I’m sure he’d manage it with one of those supports.

For a fun, activity filled afternoon with your kids this week, head on down to Southbank, you won’t be sorry!

Family Fever