Little Spree blogger Sarah Clark shares her tips for keeping the Summer holiday entertaining for you and your little ones.
The Summer holidays are here and that means plenty of quality time with your little ones is on the agenda. However, finding things to fill those six long weeks can be a challenge for even the most industrious among us. Enter Sarah Clark, a fashion stylist and co-creator of Little Spree, who is part of our Women We Love series. Here, the mum of twins reveals her favourite places to keep little minds occupied.
“I am biased because I live here, but it’s so great for kids, particularly in the Summer. You can easily while away a whole day, and still come back to discover new places or activities. My favourite things to do with Tabitha and Marlow in Richmond are:”
A picturesque walk
“Starting from Petersham, you can pop to the playground just inside the Dysart Gate of Richmond Park – the best view from swings I’ve ever seen. Alternatively, you could begin the walk in Richmond and end up at Petersham Nurseries for tea and cake (always a lovely treat).
Start on the path just past St Peter’s Church, following it along Petersham Meadows to the river, then the tow path will take you directly into Richmond itself. It’s such a pretty walk and, because of the flat paths, it’s ideal for bikes and scooters (or prams and buggies). Towards the end of the walk, you will pass a few ice-cream vans (perfect for bribing weary little ones).
You could also stop along the way for a picnic by the river. With little legs, it takes around 45 minutes to walk if you’re going at a gentle pace. Once in Richmond (just past Richmond Bridge), there are also various river activities to choose from – a river cruise or hiring little row boats. There is also a children’s Puppet Barge from July (check beforehand for performance days and times) for younger kids – it’s really sweet.”
“We also love this lesser-known beauty spot, which is the landscaped gardens between Richmond Hill and the Petersham Road. Perfect for picnics, where the kids can run around freely and you can still see them (and even relax a little). There are also a few great climbing trees. The Hollyhock Café is a sweet little place on the hill. Grab a table outside for the gorgeous view of the winding river below.”
“Last but by no means least, the wonderful Richmond Park. One of my favourite parks in London (and the largest) – I just love its wildness – and the deer, of course. Our favourite spots are the area between the Dysart Gate and Pembroke Lodge (you will often see camps built by other kids which yours can utilise, or you can build your own); The Isabella Foundation in the centre of the park; and a beautiful spot just north of The Isabella Foundation and east of the Ham Cross Plantation. Pack a picnic and spend a wonderful day in, what feels like, ‘the wilderness’. Our favourite time to picnic is later afternoon, into early evening. The park closes at dusk, leaving plenty of time to enjoy a beautiful sunset. You can also hire bikes in the park.”
“Famous for the house (among other things), it’s actually the beautiful grounds that we go for. Tabitha and Marlow love it here, as they can scoot around most of it (there is also a great lawn at the back of the house with a gentle slope they love to roll down…). Again, you can take a picnic, but there’s a nice café, too. There is also a fantastic maze to explore and a brilliant children’s play area.
“If we ever ask the twins what they would like to do, they will almost always ask to go to The Southbank – there is something for everyone here. You have the London Aquarium (always book online to avoid the inevitable queues), The London Eye and various river cruises (I would advise the shorter ones for younger children, as they get bored quickly and just want to get off – the one to The Tower of London is a great distance). You don’t necessarily need to book the return journey – just hop on the Tube back if you have sleepy little ones in tow).
Most days, the Southbank has various street performers (anything from mime artists to giant bubble blowers), which Marlow and Tabitha are fascinated by. My advice would be to just stroll along and see what you find. There are plenty of child-friendly places to grab a bite to eat, too – from pizza and burgers to Mexican street-food vans. There is a street-food fair on some days, too, which is a fantastic way to get a quick ‘fix’ of London.
If you plan ahead, look out for The Royal Festival Hall for children’s events and activities. My husband, Tom, recently took the children to a ‘Cardboard City’ event where a huge group of children constructed the entire city of London, piece by piece, using only old cardboard boxes. It was fantastic, they loved it – so creative, and completely free.”
Make sure little ones are ready for any occasion with our beautiful Summer children’s clothing collection.