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The Best of London with Kids: Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace London via christineknight.me

We weren’t planning to visit Kensington but the concierge at our hotel mentioned they’d just had a big renovation and we thought we’d check it out. It turned out to be the perfect way to squeeze in a bit of history with a preschooler as the palace is a very manageable size, possible to squeeze in all four areas in about an hour (which, co-incidently, is my preschooler’s tolerance level for any activity that isn’t a playground). As part of the refurbishment, several of the exhibits were also interactive and a hit with our junior traveler.

Kensington Palace London via christineknight.me

My particular favorite part was the Victoria Revealed exhibit, where I was about to learn about Queen Victoria’s extraordinary life in her own words. Of particular interest to me was her clothes – I couldn’t believe how tiny they were. I also enjoyed that the exhibit was within the very rooms that Queen Victoria lived.

Kensington Palace London via christineknight.me

Cheese loved the royal dresses on display in the Fashion Rules exhibit, where beautiful clothes worn by HM The Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales are on display. (PLEASE NOTE: Fashion Rules will be closed from 4 January 2016 until 11 February 2016,)

Kensington Palace London via christineknight.me

Kensington Palace has great programs for kids of all ages (even this for 0-4). Older kids can pick up a family trail and explore the palace Palace.

Baby-changing facilities are available and strollers can be easily taken around the palace as there is a lift to all floors. You can also check your stroller in the cloakroom.

Kensington Palace London via christineknight.me

For lunch, we visited The Orangery, a little cafe attached to the palace. The cafe offers a fantastic kids’ meal that is probably the best we’ve seen anywhere.

Kensington Palace London via christineknight.me Kensington Palace London via christineknight.me

http://www.hrp.org.uk/kensington-palace/families/

Kensington Palace
Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX
Prices: £16.50 adults (kids under 15 free). Online price £15.40.

Looking for more cool things to do in London with kids?

The Best of London with Kids: The Natural History Museum

Museum of Natural History London via christineknight.me

One of the best, if not the absolute best, Natural History museum we’ve been to, the Natural History Museum is a must-see in London with kids.

Museum of Natural History London via christineknight.me

The museum is broken up into four zones, each section representing different types of animals and discoveries.

Blue Zone
Featuring dinosaurs and massive animals, this is the place to see the big guns. Exhibits include the first T. rex fossil ever found, an Iguanodon (one of the first species ever described as a dinosaur) the skull of a Triceratops and a Megalosaurus tooth.

Note: The Dinosaurs gallery will be closed 4 January – 12 February 2016 to improve access to the T rex. It will reopen from 13-22 February.

Red Zone
Learn more about Earth, and meet the museum’s new dinosaur, the most intact Stegosaurus fossil skeleton ever found.

Green Zone
The evolution of Earth and the relationships between life and their environments come to life in these exhibits.

Orange Zone
A chance to see scientists at work in the Darwin Centre, and enjoy the serenity of the Wildlife Garden.

We were short on time when we visited with several small children, so we only visited the Blue Zone. This one zone took quite a while to see, leaving no time (or energy from the kids) left to see anything else.

Museum of Natural History London via christineknight.meThe dinosaur exhibition was absolutely fantastic. A combination of impressive skeletons combined with life-like models and even a robotic T-Rex made the exhibit a highlight of our time in London. I really enjoyed the layout of the exhibit too – following a winding path up and down levels takes the visitor on a cohesive journey through the time of the dinosaurs.

We also appreciated the way in which the museum presented easy-to-digest information on large placards throughout exhibits. The information was all written in an interesting way so as to engage kids and give them a better understanding of the animals and their context. No dry, boring placards here.

Museum of Natural History London via christineknight.me

The cafeteria in the centre of the museum has plenty of space to take a breather, and reasonably-priced food options.

Museum of Natural History London via christineknight.me

We were very impressed with the history museum and wish we had been able to return to see the other exhibits.

Museum of Natural History London via christineknight.me

The museum is very stroller-friendly, with the exhibits on different floors accessible by elevators.

The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road London SW7 5BD
Prices: Admission is free, however a donation is strongly encouraged.

The Best of London with Kids: Science Museum

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The Science Museum is a major attraction on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, London. Founded in 1857, it sees 3.3 million visitors annually through its doors.

Science Museum London via christineknight.me

The museum is really big and you could absolutely spend an entire day there trying to see everything. With a small child, however, (Cheese was almost four when we visited) we targeted the areas we felt she would enjoy the most, so these are the experience’s I’m sharing in this post.

Science Museum London via christineknight.me

Pattern Pod
One of three areas designed specifically for children at the Science Museum, Pattern Pod is a multi-sensory area created for 3–7 year olds. The exhibits are fun and interactive, with a focus on patterns, and a mix of high tech with screens, and old fashioned dress ups.

Science Museum London via christineknight.me

One of the biggest hits was animal outfits kids could put on to then create the animal’s footprints – get it right and they’re rewarded with animal noises. I was impressed with the water ripple “pond” that was a projection onto a screen that kids could touch and effect the waves without actually getting wet.

The Garden
While the Garden, on the lower floor of the museum, was billed as a place for 3-6 year olds, Cheese wasn’t really a fan, and we didn’t spend long here. Highlights included a tree house and water play area.

Science Museum London via christineknight.me

We spent most of our time in the Launch Pod (aimed at ages 8 – 14). I thought it would be too older for her, but she really enjoyed the science experiments in this section, particularly anything with magnets, wheels or levers. We spent over two hours just in this one area of the museum while Cheese enjoyed getting her hands on over 50 interactive exhibits.

Science Museum London via christineknight.me

Science Museum
Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London
Prices: Admission is free, but a donation is strongly suggested.

Looking for quirky things to do in London with kids?

Best of London with Kids: Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens

Hyde Park London via christineknight.me

With our hotel in London across the road from Hyde Park, we spent a lot of time exploring during our stay. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are two of London’s Royal Parks, and are often thought to be one large park since they technically join in the middle.

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They are, however, separate parks, and have been since 1728, when Queen Caroline made a division between the two. The parks are separated by the Serpentine and and Long Water lakes.

Hyde Park London via christineknight.me

Together, the parks encompass 625 acres, which makes the combined parks a bit smaller than Central Park with 840 acres.

Hyde Park London via christineknight.me

Hyde Park covers 350 acres and is home to famous landmarks such as the Serpentine Lake, Speakers’€™ Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. We spent a lot of time at the Memorial Fountain as our trip was in summer and the fountain was a fantastic place to cool down on a hot day.

Hyde Park London via christineknight.me

the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain was opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 6th July 2004. The fountain was built using 545 pieces of Cornish granite – each shaped by computer-controlled machinery. When walking over the smooth stones of the fountain, it’s obvious that they have been carved by a machine rather than by hand, as they are absolutely perfectly cut in a way that no human hand could achieve. The pieces, once cut by machine, were assembled by hand to complete the fountain.

The water bubbles, swirls and cascades in a circular shape up, from a high point to a calm pool at the bottom. The design is supposed to reflect Diana’s life.

Hyde Park London via christineknight.me

On any given warm day, Londoners flock to the fountain. Businessmen roll up their pants and paddle their feet, while children strip to bathing suits and run through the water.

Hyde Park London via christineknight.me

While there are no facilities at the memorial, bathrooms are available at the nearby Lido Cafe, as well as swans who love to be fed bits of bread.

Kensington Palace #London via christineknight.me

 

Kensington Gardens were once the private gardens of Kensington Palace. They are now one of the Royal Parks of London, lying immediately to the west of Hyde Park. Within the park lie many famous landmarks including Kensington Palace, the Italian Gardens, Albert Memorial, Peter Pan Statue, the Serpentine Galleries and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground and are all located within its 265 acres.

Hyde Park London via christineknight.me
A beautiful, peaceful place we discovered was the Italian Gardens, an 150-year-old ornamental water garden located on the north side of Kensington Gardens. The gardens are believed to have been a gift from Prince Albert to his beloved Queen Victoria.

Hyde Park London via christineknight.me
I found the gardens to be a much-needed oasis of calm after a long busy day in London. The exquisite flowers and water feature felt like a piece of old Europe.

Hyde Park London via christineknight.me

Cheese loved the popular Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, a wonderland for children that opened to the public in 2000 next to the late princess’ Kensington Palace home. The centerpiece of the playground is a huge wooden pirate ship, with swings, sand pits, wooden cubby houses and more amazing play structures surrounding it.

Hyde Park London via christineknight.me

Outside the playground is a beautiful old-fashioned carousel, another drawcard for kids in the park.

Hyde Park London via christineknight.me

If you love British literature you might remember that the famous writer J.M. Barrie lived close to Kensington Gardens (there is a placard on the building he used to live in if you look hard enough for it!). Barrie published his first Peter Pan story in 1902, using Kensington Gardens for inspiration, so it’s only fit that the park is home to a statue he commissioned of the boy who never grew up. It was erected in 1912 on the exact spot Barrie imagined Peter Pan to land in his writing. In his Peter Pan tale, The Little White Bird, Peter flies out of his nursery and lands beside the Long Water – the spot where the statue now stands and delights visitors from all over the world.

For more information on Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens visit http://www.royalparks.org.uk.

The Best Of London With Kids: London Eye

London Eye via christineknight.me

This large ferris wheel is a thrilling way to see London from the air. Pretty much every visitor to London wants to ride on the Eye, so book your tickets online to avoid the queues.

Suitable for all ages, Cheese got a bit wiggly at times (the Eye moves very slowly around the wheel in one full circuit). Thankfully, she was happily entertained by the iPads installed inside the Eye that are there to educate visitors about what they’re seeing out of the glass (but are actually mostly used by bored preschoolers).

The experience lasts approximately 30 minutes. A new 4D Experience is included with tickets.

London Eye via christineknight.me London Eye via christineknight.me London Eye via christineknight.me London Eye via christineknight.me London Eye via christineknight.me London Eye via christineknight.me London Eye via christineknight.me London Eye via christineknight.me London Eye via christineknight.me London Eye via christineknight.me
Book at least 24 hours in advance and save up to 15%.

London Eye
Riverside Building
County Hall
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7PB

Prices: Adults £23, kids 4-15 £17

 

London’s Best High Teas: Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea #London via christineknight.me

On our recent trip to London we dropped by the Sanderson Hotel for a Mad Hatter’s High Tea.

The tea coincides with the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland (my favorite book as a child), and is the perfect way to introduce kids to both a high tea AND this classic book.

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea #London via christineknight.me

The hotel does offer a children’s high tea, but Cheese is such a fussy eater that she is happy to pick at bits of ours rather than needing an entire tea for herself yet. She was extremely happy playing with the music box that was home to the sugar cubes and books that opened up to reveal the menus. Delightful touches.

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea #London via christineknight.me

The menu we enjoyed has changed since our visit, but I’ve included it below so you can get an idea of what to expect.

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea #London via christineknight.me

Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea #London via christineknight.me

Savoury
Scottish salmon and cream cheese on lime bread
Wiltshire ham and wholegrain mustard on sun-dried tomato bread
Cucumber and goats cheese on parmesan bread
Egg and mayonnaise and baby watercress on curry bread
Daily quiche

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea #London via christineknight.me

Sweet
Carrot meringue served on a bed of pea shoots
“Strawberries and cream” homemade marshmallow mushrooms
“Tick tock” traditional Victoria sponge
Melting mango cheesecake
Matcha green tea and white chocolate mousse served in a chocolate tea cup
“Drink me” potian
Selection of homemade savoury and sweet scones, served with herb butter and fruit preserves with clotted cream

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea #London via christineknight.me

Jelly wonderland – help your self unlimited jelly station.

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea #London via christineknight.me

Things to note:

The sandwiches and teas are unlimited. The special teas are actually brought around for you to smell, and diners are encouraged to try multiple kinds. I always devour the sandwiches, so it was also refreshing to be encouraged to order more when they also ran out.

Vegetarian/vegan options are available. If you don’t eat gelatin, there is a non-gelatin option available too, both with the tea platter and the jelly wonderland station.

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea #London via christineknight.me

We really enjoyed this tea. The scones were small and hard – the low point of the tea. The high points were the “drink me” potion, which was kind of like a fruit smoothie, the Victoria sponge, the mushroom marshmallows for Cheese and the fresh sandwiches.

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea #London via christineknight.me

If you’re in London with kids and want to take them to a special foodie outing (or if you’re there without kids and want a quiet afternoon tea!), book ahead and try this whimsical Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea.

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea #London via christineknight.me

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: Yes.
Kids’ menu: Yes.

Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea
Sanderson Hotel
50 Berners St,
London W1T 3NG, United Kingdom
Phone: 020 7300 5588
Prices: Between £48 and £65 per person excluding service, £35 per child for children 4-11 years old.
Hours: Mon-Sat 1pm-4pm, Sun 1pm-5pm
Get Directions

Mad Hatters Tea - Sanderson London Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Travel Guide: Things To Do In London With Children

#London With Kids #Familytravel via christineknight.me

London is a city I’ve visited several times over the years – as a nine-year-old child myself, as a young adult on a shoestring, then training for my job at Google, and finally, on this visit, with my own child. We chose London deliberately for this trip as we knew there would be lots of things to do in London with children, as is our current stage in life!

London is easy in a lot of ways – the language, transport, culture, layout, all make the city very easy to navigate with kids (particularly young ones).

Grosvenor House Hotel #London via christineknight.me

Things To Do In London With Children

Accommodation

We stayed at the Grosvenor House Hotel, right on the edge of Hyde Park. For us, the location was perfect as we spent a lot of time in the park. The hotel was also walking distance to many places and only a short tube ride away from everything. A full and delicious breakfast was included, but not wifi.

Get more tips on where to stay in London here.

Getting around

#London via christineknight.me

We gave our stroller a good work out and also bought Oyster cards to use the tube. The Oyster card is the most economical way to get around London. When you buy a card you place a deposit down that is returned when you finish using the card. The tube is fast and easy to use, but there aren’t a lot of elevators.

More tips for getting around London with a baby or toddler here.

Where to eat

We ate at the chain Pret a Manger every single day for at least one meal. The food is fresh, healthy and there is a large variety to choose from that even picky kids will eat. With hot and cold sandwiches, salads and soup, we could see why so many workers grabbed food from their nearest Pret on the way home. The food was also cheap for London, so it meant we didn’t spend a fortune on food.

What to do:

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum #London via christineknight.me
This is a fantastic place to visit with kids. Apart from the favourite dinosaurs, the layout is incredibly kid-friendly. Lots of hands-on, interactive features and interesting information that can be absorbed in bite-sized chunks. Perfect for when you’ve got a speedy child like mine and can only grab glimpses of everything, or if you have an older kid who can read. Cheese loved the dinosaur display in particular, with the interactive T-Rex.

Natural History Museum #London via christineknight.me
General admission is free (but they do ask for a donation when you enter). It’s very easy to get around with a stroller. Read more about our experience here.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace #London via christineknight.me

We weren’t planning to visit Kensington but the concierge at our hotel mentioned they’d just had a big renovation and we thought we’d check it out. It turned out to be the perfect way to squeeze in a bit of history with a preschooler as the palace is a very manageable size, possible to squeeze in all four areas in about an hour (which, co-incidently, is my preschooler’s tolerance level for any activity that isn’t a playground). As part of the refurbishment, several of the exhibits were also interactive and a hit with our junior traveler.

Kensington Palace #London via christineknight.me
My particular favourite part was the Queen Victoria rooms (she grew in in the palace and the lived in the wing that houses her exhibit). Cheese loved the royal dresses on display and the gift shop, which stocked very expensive princess dresses. Kensington Palace has great programs for kids of all ages (even this for 0-4), and had the best kids lunch of anywhere we visited in London (see above). Read more about our experience here.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace #London via christineknight.me
We did not go inside Buckingham Palace, but we did enjoy peering into the gates at the guards and imagining what the Queen was doing today. Cheese is at an age where she loves princesses so anything that looked remotely like a castle was popular on our trip. Near the palace is a decent-sized playground – it’s across from the Guard’s Museum in the bordering St James Park, and it was an even bigger hit with our preschooler than the palace.

Shrek’s Adventure!

Shrek Adventure #London via christineknight.me
This Dreamworks attraction opened when we were in London. It’s an extremely slick interactive live performance where visitors walk and ride through a character-led adventure. The highlights for us were meeting Shrek and the magic 3D bus ride. While the experience is billed as suitable for all ages, it was a bit scary in places for my almost-four-year-old, so I’d suggest it would be better for kids aged five and over.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park #London via christineknight.me
We chose our hotel based on its location – right on Hyde Park. This 350 hectare park is full of fun for kids, from the squirrels and leafy areas to run and hide, to attractions like playgrounds and the Peter Pan statue. Read more about our experience here. In my opinion, Hyde Park should be top of list for things to do in London with children.

Princess Diana Memorial Playground

Princess Diana Memorial Playground #London via christineknight.me
This beautiful playground in Kensington Gardens opened in 2000 as a tribute to the late Princess Diana. The pirate ship is the centerpiece, but there are also teepees, play sculptures and an area for kids who are less abled to enjoy. The playground is gated with a security guard, there are clean bathrooms and also a cafe attached.

Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

Princess Diana Memorial Fountain via christineknight.me
Situated in Hyde Park, this beautiful memorial to Princess Diana was opened in 2004. On a hot day, you’ll find half of London dipping their feet in to cool off. This fountain is made to be played in, so bring swimmers and get wet.

The Regent’s Park

Regent's Park #London via christineknight.me
Another gorgeous park in London. This one is home to Queen Mary’s Garden, which features more than 12,000 roses of 140 varieties. It’s also where you’ll find the London Zoo, a playground and a river through the middle with plenty of ducks.

See a show

The Railway Children #London via christinekinight.me
How can you visit London without taking in a world class show? We highly enjoyed The Railway Children at King’s Cross Station, which is based on the famous book by E Nesbit. The show is quite long, so I’d recommend if for children a little older than Cheese – maybe five and up. We absolutely loved the show – the staging was nothing short of remarkable, particularly the live steam engine that arrives through the middle of the stage. In my opinion, seeing a show should be right at the top of the list for things to do in London with children.

London Eye

#London Eye via christineknight.me
This large ferris wheel is a thrilling way to see London from the air. Pretty much every visitor to London wants to ride on the Eye, so book your tickets online to avoid the queues.

London Eye via christineknight.me

Suitable for all ages, Cheese got a bit wiggly at times (the Eye moves very slowly around the wheel in one full circuit). Thankfully, she was happily entertained by the iPads installed inside the Eye that are there to educate visitors about what they’re seeing out of the glass (but are actually mostly used by bored preschoolers). Read more about our experience here.

Hamleys

Hamley's #London via christineknight.me
A giant toy store is either an awesome idea or a really, really bad one, depending on your credit card balance. We enjoyed the live displays of innovative toys, such as drones, and the LEGO area, where we visited the Queen and her corgi, both made entirely out of LEGOs.

London Science Museum

#London Science Museum via christineknight.me
A multi-story museum dedicated to science and technology, it’s a must for any STEM-loving family. While there is a dedicated area on the lower level for kids aged 3-7 called “The garden” with water play and a playhouse, Cheese enjoyed the Pattern Pod (for ages 5-8), featuring patterns occurring in the world the Launch Pod (ages 8 – 14) far more. The Launch Pod in particular was fantastic, and while we thought she’d be way too young to enjoy it, we spent over two hours just in this one area of the museum while Cheese enjoyed getting her hands on over 50 interactive exhibits. Free entry, but donation advised. Read more about our experience here.

Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea

Mad hatter Tea #London via christineknight.me
So this was really for me as I’m addicted to high teas, but Cheese really enjoyed the experience too! The Mad Hatter Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel is a whimsical dining experience filled with not just delicious food, but fun details like a menu inside a book, sugar cubes in a jewellery box, and an unlimited JELLY STATION! They do have a children’s high tea for £30 but Cheese was happy to pick off our high tea (from £38pp, including unlimited tea and sandwiches). Read more about our experience here.

Pin it!
#London with Kids via christineknight.me

Looking for more things to do in London with kids? Hop on over here for 20 great ideas!

Get tips for taking toddlers and kids to museums in London here

Madame Tussauds Darling Harbour Sydney Australia

Madame Tussauds Sydney Australia

Madame Tussauds Darling Harbour Sydney Australia

Get up-close and personal with your favourite celebrities at Madame Tussauds! Take a selfie with Hollywood stars, sporting legends and historical figures without leaving Sydney.

Madam Tussads Sydney

Madame Tussauds was founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud in London in 1835 and has delighted visitors around the world ever since with its host of A-list celebrities.

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

A visit to Madame Tussauds is quite the unnerving experience. The wax sculptures of well-known people are so lifelike that it feels as though they might reach out and touch you when you’re posing for a photo.

Madam Tussads Sydney

It’s as close as most of us will get to people such as the British royal family and Barak Obama, so it’s a unique opportunity to take a look at what the person behind the photographs really looks like up close. Some are surprisingly petite, some taller than you’d think! All are incredibly lifelike!

Madam Tussads Sydney

Madame Tussauds is broken up into nine themed zones: Australian History, World Leaders and Politicians, Sports Legends, Fashion, Marvel Super Heroes, Music, Movie and TV Stars, Justice League: A Call For Heroes and Party.

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Figures included feature modern and historical A-listers, ranging from Captain Cook and Albert Einstein to modern sporting stars like Cathy Freedman and movie characters like Wonder Woman and the brand new Aquaman.

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Madame Tussauds has done a great job of making the scenes educational, with plaques on the wall giving information on each sculpture, as well as entertaining. Many of the sculptures have hands-on elements such as costumes to try on.

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

The Fashion section features a catwalk and makeup counters where visitors can give themselves a digital makeover, while in the Music section visitors can try the recording booths and accept an MTV music award.

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Justice League: A Call For Heroes is the newest section, transporting visitors into the streets of Metropolis and Gotham City. Summon Batman into battle with the bat sign, race the Flash, wield the power of the sea with Aquaman and lift a helicopter with Superman.

Take home your own wax souvenir with a wax hand mounding of your own hand.

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Madam Tussads Sydney Australia

Madam Tussads Sydney

Madam Tussads Sydney

Madam Tussads Sydney

Madam Tussads Sydney

Madam Tussads Sydney

Madam Tussads Sydney

Madame Tussauds
1-5 Wheat Rd, Sydney
madametussauds.com.au

The Best Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

The Best Things To Do In Canberra ACT Australia With Kids | Family Travel | Travel With Kids

The Best Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Australia’s capital city is pretty much a playground for kids to engage in art, history and nature. You won’t be short on ways to spend a fun (and educational!) few days in the nation’s capital city – there are so many things to do in Canberra with kids.

National Gallery of Australia

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT
The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) is the national art museum of Australia and is home to than 166,000 works of art, including over 7500 works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. We particularly enjoyed the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works including a lovely Waterlillies by Claude Monet and one of Degas’ exquisite sculptures of a dancer, and the Ned Kelly series by Sidney Nolan.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

Outside, in the grounds surrounding the NGA, are 26 sculptures on display by both Australian and International artists. It’s an extremely pleasurable experience to walk through the bush discovering these incredible works of art, and also a very easy way to introduce kids to art if you’re a bit nervous of taking them inside a gallery with their sticky hands.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

The NGA has the dedicated NGAPLAY section for children to engage in the arts. Check their website closer to your visit to see what they are currently offering. In my opinion, a visit to the NGA is top of the list for things to do in Canberra with kids.

Get more info on visiting the National Gallery of Australia here.

National Gallery Australia
Parkes Pl E, Parkes
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Prices: Free
nga.gov.au
Parking: Free underneath the gallery on weekends.

National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

Learn about the nation’s social history, including the issues, people and events that have shaped the way we are today. The museum’s National Historical Collection features more than 21,000 objects that represent Australia’s historical and cultural heritage.

Kids will love the 3x10m cast of the Australian dinosaur Muttaburrasaurus in the Main Hall and the award-winning Kspace robotics adventures game.

Get more info on visiting the National Museum of Australia here

National Museum of Australia
Lawson Crescent

Acton Peninsula, Canberra
Hours: Daily, 9am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Prices: Free
Parking: 8.30am to 5pm weekdays, $2.90 per hour or $14 per day. Short-stay machines accept Visa, MasterCard and coins.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

A 40-minutes drives from the CBD, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is home to koalas, kangaroos, possums, reptiles, echidnas, platypus and more. After spotting all the animals and enjoying the easy walking trails, take kids to the excellent Nature Discovery Playground to burn off steam and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Get more info on visiting Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve here

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Paddy’s River Road, Paddys River ACT
Hours: Visitors Centre daily 9am-5pm. reserve gates daily, winter 7:30am-6pm, summer 7:30am-8pm.
Prices
: A day pass is $13 for a vehicle with seats for up to 8 people.
Parking: Free

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Blast off into space at the Canberra Space Centre. The centre is home to the largest steerable antenna in the Southern hemisphere, with their visitors centre presenting exhibits on the past, present and future of space exploration. There are several hands-on exhibits to be enjoyed, plus a fenced playground next to the excellent Moon Rock Cafe. 

Get more info on visiting the Canberra Deep Space Centre here

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
421 Discovery Dr,
Paddys River ACT 
Hours: Visitor Centre daily, 9am-5pm, Moon Rock Café daily 9:30am-4pm.
Prices: Free
Parking: Free 

Questacon National Science and Technology Centre

Questacon, Canberra, Australia
Questacon has been THE place to take kids to learn about science since I was a kid myself and it’s amazing how over the years it’s changed but kept the same wonderful focus on engaging kids in science and technology.

Questacon, Canberra, Australia

Questacon is filled with more than 200 interactive exhibits relating to science and technology. There’s plenty of hands-on fun to be had, from robots to slides, simulated earthquakes and science experiments. If you have a kid who loves science, put Questacon top of your list for things to do in Canberra with kids.

Get more info on visiting Questacon here.

Questacon
King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT
Hours: Daily 9am – 5pm including holidays. Closed 25 December.
questacon.edu.au

Parliament House

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Parliament House is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia. The building was opened on 9 May 1988 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. The distinctive grass ramps on the sides recreate the shape of Capital Hill before Parliament House was constructed. They’re a lot of fun to run up and roll back down again!

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Of the 4,700 rooms in Parliament House, many are are open to the public. It’s incredibly easy to just turn up at any time and visit Parliament House – no booking or tours are required. There is a short queue to get through a brief security check, and then you’re on your own to discover the house. Be sure to take the elevator to the roof for an incredible view. If education is top of your list, then Parliament House is one of our top pics for things to do in Canberra with kids.

Get more info on visiting Parliament House here.

Parliament House
Parliament Drive, Canberra
Hours: Parliament House is open every day except Christmas Day.
Non-sitting days 9am-5pm, sitting days Monday-Thursday 9am-6pm
Prices: Free
aph.gov.au/Visit_Parliament

National Arboretum Canberra

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia

The National Arboretum Canberra is one of the world’s largest living collections of rare, endangered and significant trees. With over 44,000 trees from over 100 countries are growing across the huge 250 hectare (618 acre) site, it’s a place to visit to to feel at one with nature and enjoy discovering trees from around Australia and the world.

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia

Its easy to drive into the Aboretum and up to the visitor’s centre where there is a cafe, incredible Pod Playground (more on that on that HERE) and maps to the various sections and sculptures. You can walk around the Aboretum, from feature to feature, if you have the time and legs that enjoy walking. If you have a little one in tow you will find driving between the significant features much easier and quicker. Make sure to visit the ‘Nest III’ and ‘Wide Brown Land’ sculptures before you leave. A visit to the Pod Playground alone, which I consider to be the best designed playground I’ve ever seen, is a prime reason to put the Aboretum top of your list for things to do in Canberra with kids.

Get more info on visiting the National Arboretum Canberra here.

National Aboretum Canberra
Forest Dr, Canberra City
Hours: The Arboretum grounds and Pod Playground are open daily from 6am to 8:30pm during Daylight Savings Time and from 7am to 5:30pm during Eastern Standard Time (Non-daylight Savings Time).
Prices: Free entry
nationalarboretum.act.gov.au

Old Parliament House

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

A visit to Canberra is a journey through our nation’s past. It’s impossible to visit Australia’s Capital City without recognising where we’ve come from and, also, where we’re going. An important place to make a stop to learn about our past is Old Parliament House, the seat of the Parliament of Australia from 1927 to 1988.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House has incredible programs for families all-year round as they are is committed to engaging families and young people in conversations about democracy and their voices in it. From free Family Action Packs to the PLAY UP and DRESS UP sections designed specifically for kids, there is plenty to engage little ones at the House.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

We particularly loved the outdoor rose gardens, which are free to visit and a beautiful spot to scoot through or have a picnic.

Get more info on visiting Old Parliament House here.

Old Parliament House
18 King George Terrace, Parkes
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Entry to the gardens is free but a small fee is required to enter Old Parliament House.
https://moadoph.gov.au/

Australian War Memorial

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

The Australian War Memorial is Australia’s national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving Australia.

Australian War Memorial

The Memorial caters to children, aiming to educate and engage them in history through story time, museum theatre shows, family tours, holiday workshops and drop in craft. A Discovery Zone has been set up as an educational space for visiting school groups (and the public on certain days and times), featuring five environments inspired by Australia’s military history.

Get more info about visiting the Australian War Memorial here.

The Australian War Memorial
Treloar Cres, Campbell
Hours: Daily 10am-5pm daily. Closed Christmas Day.
Prices: Free
https://www.awm.gov.au
Additional image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, ACT, Australia

This ornamental lake was built in the centre of Canberra and is the perfect spot to scoot or ride a bike around, stop for a picnic and meet the wild swans and ducks. In autumn the leaves around the lake are stunning.

Australian Institute of Sport

Australian Institute of Sport
Photo courtesy of http://havewheelchairwilltravel.net

A guided tour is the only way to go behind the scenes at Australia’s premier elite sports precinct. As well as getting an overview of what goes on at the Australian Institute of Sport (and possibly seeing some of Australia’s top athletes in training), all tours include a visit to Sportex, an interactive sports exhibit. Guided public tours depart daily from the AIS Visitor Centre at 10am, 11:30, 1pm and 2:30pm and go for 90 minutes. Bookings are not required.

Australian Institute of Sport

Leverrier Street, Bruce
Hours: Tours Desk is open Monday to Friday: 8:30am-5:00pm, Weekends and public holidays 10am-4pm.
http://www.experienceais.com/

Cockington Green Gardens

Cockington Green, Canberra, Australia

Cockington Green Gardens is a park of miniatures set in beautifully landscaped gardens. This family-owned and operated attraction has been running for over the past 35 years. Take a look at the highly detailed miniature versions of popular attractions around the world on a stroll through these delightful gardens.

Cockington Green Gardens
Photo courtesy of http://havewheelchairwilltravel.net

Cockington Green Gardens
11 Gold Creek Rd, Nicholls
Hours: Daily 9:30am-5pm
cockingtongreen.com.au

National Dinosaur Museum

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia
The National Dinosaur Museum is home to the largest permanent display of dinosaur and prehistoric fossils in Australia. It’s a really small museum, with lots packed into it to see. The museum’s exhibition follows the evolution of life, with a particular focus on dinosaurs, so a visit gives a very comprehensive overview of the history of life on Earth, displayed in chronological order.

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

Read more about visiting the National Dinosaur Museum here.

National Dinosaur Museum
6 Gold Creek Rd, Nicholls
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm
nationaldinosaurmuseum.com.au

Canberra Walk-in Aviary

Canberra Walk-In Aviary, Australia
The Aviary is a 1000 square metre, planted, privately owned walk-in aviary where free flying birds can be watched, photographed and even fed. As they are very used to humans, the birds are happy to fly and walk around their huge aviary paying very little attention to the visitors – unless they are keen for a bit of a feed.

Get more info on visiting the Canberra Walk-in Aviary here.

Canberra Walk-in Aviary
18 O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls
canberrawalkinaviary.com.au

Royal Australian Mint

Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, Australia

The Royal Australian Mint makes all of Australia’s circulating coins. It opened in 1965 and, since then, has produced over fourteen billion coins, with the capacity to produce two million coins per day.

It’s free to drop by the Mint, and, since it’s only a small building, it’s the perfect add-on to a day with other activities on the agenda. Mint your own coin, wave to Titan, the Mint’s super-strong robot and take a free guided tour.

Get more info on visiting the Royal Australian Mint here.

Royal Australian Mint
Denison St, Deakin ACT
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm, Sat & Sun 10am-4pm
Tours: Mon-Fri 10am & 2pm, Weekends and Public Holidays 11am, 1pm & 2 pm.
Entry: Free
ramint.gov.au

Canberra Reptile Zoo

Canberra Reptile Zoo, Australia

With over 50 different species of reptiles and frogs on display, the Canberra Reptile Zoo is large enough to be impressive but still small enough to have a very strong hands on approach. Touch a python or dragon and have a chat with with the keepers.

Canberra Reptile Zoo, Australia
Canberra Reptile Zoo

O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm
reptilesinc.com.au

3inFun Canberra Pass

If you’re planning to visit Cockington Green Gardens, Questacon and the Australian Institute of Sport, the 3inFun Canberra Pass offers a saving of 25% on the usual price plus a free return visit to one of the participating attractions.
http://www.3infun.com.au

Places To Eat in Canberra

Pâtissez

Patissez, Canberra, ACT, Australia
Home of the freak shake as well as delicious food, we highly recommend visiting Pâtissez for brekkie and a shake.

Patissez, Canberra, ACT, Australia
21 Bougainville St, Griffith

Agostini’s

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia
We discovered this new gem at the base of the East Hotel and loved it so much we ate there twice. An absolutely delicious family-friendly Italian restaurant.
6/4 Giles St, Griffith
http://www.agostinis.com.au

Guild

Guild, Canberra, Australia

A really fun restaurant where board games line the walls. There are plenty to choose from that will suit all ages and abilities. The food is a bit average – standard pub-type fare – but you’re really here to play the games while you eat. We ordered pizzas and salad.

Guild, Canberra, Australia

LG Baileys Corner, 150 London Circuit, Canberra
guild.house

Vapiano

Vapiano is fantastic when you have kids who are picky eaters. There is a huge range of pizza, pasta and salad to choose from. The pizza and pasta are handmade from scratch. Adults will enjoy the extensive cocktail menu.

Vapiano Canberra Australia Vapiano Canberra Australia Vapiano Canberra Australia

Canberra Centre, Monaro Mall, 148 Bunda St, Canberra
vapiano.com.au

Gelato Messina

Gelato Messina Canberra Australia

Our fave gelato shop is a must visit regardless of the season. Gelato Messina has 40 flavours and weekly specials. Dairy-free sorbet is also available.

Gelato Messina Canberra Australia

Shop 4/21 Lonsdale St, Braddon
gelatomessina.com

Space Kitchen

Space Kitchen Canberra Australia

The menu at Space Kitchen is fun, playful and experimental. Some dishes are incredibly instagrammable but aren’t the tastiest when eaten (such as the cloud waffles shown), however the simple dishes like eggs on toast are divine. 

Space Kitchen Canberra Australia Space Kitchen Canberra Australia Space Kitchen Canberra Australia Space Kitchen Canberra Australia

3g/12 Furzer St, Phillip
space-kitchen.com.au

How To Get Around

Canberra Australia

I would advise driving in Canberra if you can either drive to the city in your own car, or hire one when you arrive. The attractions are far apart and the hotels are not within walking distance. If you don’t drive, there is a local bus service you can use. For more info: http://www.transport.act.gov.au

Where To Stay in Canberra

East Hotel

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant AustraliaThis boutique hotel is 2.3 km from Parliament House and 2.9 km from the National Gallery of Australia. The East Hotel is vibrant, contemporary, and very artsy, offering free bicycle rentals and dishing out lollies in reception.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

A big draw of the East Hotel, beyond the contemporary aesthetic, are the bright rooms that feature either kitchens or kitchenettes, balconies, free limited Wi-Fi and Nespresso machines. There are one and two-bedroom apartments that have full kitchens, and fantastic rooms for kids with bunk beds, bean bags and Xbox 360 video game consoles.

Get more info on staying at the East Hotel here.

East Hotel
69 Canberra Ave, Kingston ACT
Book your stay at the East Hotel

Novotel Canberra

Novotel Canberra, ACT AustraliaThe Novotel Canberra is a 4 ½ star hotel with 286 rooms. It’s located 0.2km from the city centre, entertainment and retail precincts and 8km from the airport, making it a very central base for a Canberra stay.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

Bring your swimmers to make the most out of their newly renovated indoor swimming pool. Kids will love the play space in the lobby and the awesome Angry Birds welcome pack.

Get more info on staying at the Novotel Canberra here.

Novotel Canberra
65 Northbourne Ave, Canberra
Book your stay at the Novotel Canberra

Crowne Plaza CBD Canberra

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel AustraliaThe Crowne Plaza CBD Canberra is a top choice for a stay in Canberra. The location is incredible – right in the centre of the CBD close to restaurants, shops and supermarkets. It’s also close to all of the main attractions.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

The Crowne Plaza Hotel has family-sized rooms and suites, making it perfect for larger families. It also has a great pool and excellent breakfast buffet.

Get more info on staying at the Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel here.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel
1 Binara St, Canberra ACT
Book your stay at the Crowne Plaza CBD Canberra

The Best Things To Do In Canberra ACT Australia With Kids | Family Travel | Travel With Kids

The Best Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

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12 Tips For Travelling with Kids

12 Tips For Travelling With Kids

When kids come along, it’s an adjustment in many, often unanticipated, ways. If you’re like us, a couple who loves to travel, there’s no reason why you can’t keep journeying around the world with your new sidekick in tow. A bit of planning (ok, a lot of planning), and these helpful tips will help make your next family holiday run smoothly.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Make lots of lists
Preparation is always the key! A few weeks before a big trip write down a list of everything that you need to buy, pack and prepare for your trip and categorise it according to the timeliness. It should include things like “empty the fridge”, “take out the garbage”, “buy batteries”, “charge cameras”, “put on mail hold” as well as a packing list. Check everything off and leave the house stress-free knowing you haven’t forgotten anything.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Check visa requirements
Do you need a visa to travel? Contact the consulate of the country you’re planning to visit well in advance. You might need to apply for an ESTA if you’re visiting the United States or an eTA if you’re heading to Canada. Don’t leave it to the last minute to apply. Visas can take months to organise.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Know your baggage limits
Check your baggage limits for each flight before packing, including the number of bags allowed and weight per bag. We have a portable luggage hand scale (like this one) that we keep in our suitcase to make sure we don’t get hit with excess baggage fees at the airport and always pack a foldable bag inside our luggage to bring home loot we accumulate.

Barcelona: Montserrat Day Trip via christineknight.me

Buy advance tickets to attractions online
Not only are many attractions cheaper if you buy them in advance, it also means you don’t risk spending hours queuing or miss out on seeing something entirely. Many tourist attractions are also cheaper see when you buy a combination city attraction pass that includes many of the top sights in a city. Even if you can’t buy your tickets online, at the very least double check the attraction is open on the day and time you’re planning to visit. For example, many museums are closed on certain week days, like Mondays or Tuesdays.

Barcelona, SpainGet travel vaccinations
Are your vaccinations up to date? Do you need additional vaccinations depending on the countries you’re visiting? Schedule an appointment with your doctor at least two months before your flight dates to get info on any destination-specific vaccines you and the kids might need. Find out more about vaccinations on the Australian Government website smartraveller.gov.au.

Buckingham Palace #London via christineknight.meBuy travel insurance
Absolutely never travel without insurance! Worst case scenarios can absolutely happen and you need to be protected in case of serious illness, accidents and bag loss or theft, plus if your trip is cancelled or postponed. Some policies cover dependent children and grandchildren without charging any extra, so check if your policy offers this benefit and, if so, what the conditions (if any) might be. Lastly, read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully to make yourself aware of what is and isn’t covered. Get more info on travel insurance.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western AustraliaUse the hotel concierge
Your hotel concierge will be a top source of information on your destination, so don’t be afraid to ask for their tips on where to eat and visit with kids.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Watch out for different safety standards
Stay vigilant when it comes to the different safety standards when travelling around the world, including child safety standards for pools, balconies, car seats and play equipment, which could be much laxer than they are in Australia.

Augusta, Margaret River, Western Australia

Read up in advance
Find family travel blogs on your destinations! I usually find that blogs, combined with the destination’s tourism sites, are the best way to find out what attractions are the best suited for kids, as well as finding out about hidden gems that are off the tourist path, like really great parks or playgrounds, kid-friendly eateries and events for families. A few of my fave family travel blogs for international destinations include Travel Babbo, y Travel Blog and Boy Eats World.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

Pack the essentials
We never leave home without: wipes (both baby and anti bacterial), sunscreen, mosquito repellant, children’s pain killers, empty refillable water bottles, a backpack (we use this one that folds into a small pouch), plastic bags like nappy sacs or doggy bags for emergencies, ziplock bags for half eaten food or snacks, kid headphones and universal power adaptors.

I also pack emergency medication for the whole family, including kiddie and adult Nurofen and Panadol (which are hard to find overseas), broad spectrum antibiotics, rehydration sachets, plus a medical kit for scrapes and cuts with disinfectant and wound dressings. We actually used these on our trip to Dubbo, in the photo below, when Cheese slipped on a log and took a giant chunk out of her leg.

Staying at the Zoofari Lodge, Taronga Western Plains Dubbo Zoo, Australia

Find out what your hotel includes
Some hotels charge extra for rollaway beds or crib hire. Rollaway beds in particular can also be rented on an “as available” basis rather than a guarantee and can attract a surcharge. Check with the hotel in advance and ensure there are enough beds for your whole family.

What To Pack When Flying With Kids

Prepare for flights
Read up on what you can take on board or check in as part of your free baggage allowance. The usual rule is that strollers, portacots and car seats can all be checked in for free, and car seats are usually allowed on board as additional carry on luggage. Check with your airline in advance, however, to confirm this is the case. You will also need to request a baby or child special meal in advance of your flight date, or have your travel agent do so at the time of booking. Travelling with a toddler? You might also want to try one of the new travel inflatable cushions to help your child lie down flat during overnight flights.

Ready to fly? Tell me where you’re heading to next!

Find the best travel strollers here.

Are you heading off soon on an adventure? Use this checklist to ensure your trip runs smoothly.

Not sure if travelling with kids is a good idea? Head this way to find out some great stories on adventurous families.

This blog post was produced in partnership with Westpac. All tips and opinions are my own.