Southbank Festival of Neighbourhood and the HMS Belfast

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We went to Southbank’s Festival of Neighbourhood today, which was absolutely excellent, a great place to bring kids, I consequently haven’t got many photos to post because Girl and Boy Lacer are in most of them! There was a playground cum art installation, that Boy Lacer had great fun in particular doing ‘parkour‘ over. A massive fountain the kids could play in (we were prepared, we bought swimming costumes, although Boy Lacer wasn’t keen, so didn’t go in). Hidden rooftop gardens and some great street art (I saw another ROA! He’s my favourite. Photo on the top of the mosaic). And there was Beanotown, which was fantastic, even though the kids don’t really know the Beano that well (despite me trying), I think they may be a little more enthusiastic now.

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We then walked down the Thames to HMS Belfast, which is an old ship from the second world war, which has been a tourist attraction in the river for years but I’ve never been because I always assumed it’d be a bit boring but as the kids have grown older, our normal holiday haunts have been getting a bit ‘been there done that’, so this holiday I’ve been trying to take them to new places and well, I was running out of new place ideas near Southbank (there is The Globe, but the kids, imo, aren’t old enough for that yet, Girl Lacer is aware of Shakespeare, she saw her first ‘Shakespeare’ (it was a musical adaptation done by the year 6s) recently but she needs to do a bit more at school I think), so HMS Belfast it was and it was great! We’d been to the Cutty Sark recently and to be honest I’d been a bit bored, you visit that and you get that the Cutty Sark used to carry tea in about 5 minutes if that and then that’s about it but the HMS Belfast is much more fun and really good value for money to, the kids got in free and it was about £13 for me, that is cheap for London attractions these days. There were atmospheric video installations, well set up model displays, with dummy sailors bringing ‘life’ to the various sections like the kitchens and the sick bay etc. and lots and lots of ladders to climb up and down (if you’re very squeamish about heights and have some mobility issues, this one may not be one for you, although I did notice a disabled lift, but I’d imagine there’d still be lots of places you wouldn’t be able to see, also it may not be good for very young children), it was like a maze to, very atmospheric. Boy Lacer, he who wants to get any tourist attraction over and done with as quickly as possible unless a computer is involved, even wanted to stop to watch some videos, ok they were videos of things getting blown up, but still, history!

So, I would definitely recommend the Festival of Neighbourhood, it’s on until 8th September 2013, bring a swimming costume and I’d also really recommend HMS Belfast for kids about 7+ as long as they’re ok with heights etc and remember sensible shoes and no tight mini skirts!

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