"Family days out are all about skipping along in the sunshine, exploring the new and feasting on a picnic. Our kids love them! So we were keen to snap up a big slice of the countryside-in-London with an adventure-packed day trip to Hampton Court Palace. Our royal getaway began with a whizz around the Hedge Maze (over 300 years old and the oldest hedge maze in Great Britain) where our two year old revelled in every twist and turn. Get enjoyably lost amongst intertwining paths and when you (finally) make it to the centre, take your family portrait in the beautiful ironwork picture frame."
"Next, the main palace to soak up all of the Tudor history, from Henry VIII’s Apartments and kitchens to the Chapel Royal and Great Hall. There’s even a replica of Henry’s Crown on display. For the green-fingered, don’t miss the plethora of garden dotted around the grounds. The Privy Garden, Pond Gardens and The Great Vine are unmissable for ultimate botanical impact."
"With a family ticket you’ll get full access to the Palace, gardens, plus entry to the Maze and Magic Garden too, which we saved for the end – trust me, it won’t disappoint. Head through the Rose Garden and Kitchen Garden on your way to the most magical, interactive playground around. Built on Henry VIII’s tiltyard, (where he watched jousting and sporting tournaments) the play garden includes aerial walk-ways, slides, climbing frames and water fun. Plus, a mysterious beast’s lair, huge bejewelled crown, secret grotto and battlements – you’ll be dragging them away kicking and screaming. One for the summer to-visit list!"
Picnic Season Is Back
"It wouldn’t be the great British summer without a homemade picnic. Sandwiches on sticks are my new fave go-to. Quick and easy to prep, children love them. Simply slice up pittas, cheese, tomatoes, peppers, grapes and more and let them build their own. Then all that’s needed is a big bag of tortilla chips, some seasonal fruit and a sweet slice cake to finish – sliced Battenberg is a crowd-pleaser and withstands bumps in the bottom of the pram. Don’t forget the picnic blanket for maximum comfy when you find the perfect spot."
Toys For The Tots
"When you just need that five minutes peace to sit and have a refreshing cup of tea or take in the perfume of the rose garden, you’ll be thankful of a few toys and games. A small colouring book and crayons is always a win. Their favourite action figure or mini toy car too. If there’s large open spaces and it’s permitted, take a small football, tennis ball or frisbee for garden games. Pop a couple of teethers and a crackle book in your bag for the really small ones."
Emergency Wardrobe Change
"Don’t be that parent who refuses to let them run through the sprinklers in the play park! You’ll only regret letting them getting involved. If it’s a warm day, just one small towel and a change of clothes will do when they want to dive into all that summer splash-about fun. Even when they’re not getting soaked, a back-up tee, shorts and frock will put your mind at rest."
"Hit the play park early or last thing to avoid that searing summer sun during the hottest part of the day. Grab some shade by scouting out indoor activities at this time – you’ll often find fun, interactive story sessions, arts and crafts are put on for free. And it goes without saying – hats and sunscreen on repeat!"
Ask For Help
"Don’t shy away from seeing that exhibition or visiting the chapel because you’ve got the kids with you. You’ll be surprised how wonderfully helpful people can be if you just ask and most attractions will welcome families and small children into the most precious of spaces."
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