My son is in Year One, and this term they are learning about space. Dubz is constantly talking about the Milky Way galaxy, so we thought a family trip to the planetarium was in order. It turns out that London’s only planetarium is located in Greenwich (south east London). We decided to combine our visit with the National Maritime Museum, as well as sneak in a boat ride and lunch. And what a fun day it was.
If like us, you live in south west London, you may know that it’s a bit of a pain to go from west to east London. But sometimes you have to bite the bullet, especially when there’s a cool attraction that you don’t want to miss. So, after we arrived at Waterloo, we decided to take the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf, and then hop onto the DLR to Greenwich. While the latter offers lovely views to Greenwich – this ended up taking 45 minutes. It would have taken half the time if we had just taken two trains from Waterloo East. But sometimes it’s nice to take the scenic route.
Arriving at Greenwich Park, I’m always struck by how the word ‘park’ doesn’t properly describe it. Yes, it’s a park. But at one end you have the Maritime Musueum, and up the hill is the Observatory and Planetarium. The park looks more majestic than one would expect. We walked up the steep hill to the Peter Harrison Planetarium. While entry is free, you have to pay to watch the shows. We had pre-booked ‘Meet the Neighbours’, as it gave a tour of our solar system. And as it was only 30 minutes long, Dubz did not have time to get too antsy. I did wish the show was 10-15 minutes longer as we were all enjoying learning about the planets, and there wasn’t enough time to learn about them all.
After the show, we had lunch at the cafe and checked out the various exhibits. I was pleased to see that there were many interactive bits that the kids could play with. The planetarium is small, so our visit was finished in about an hour (not counting the show). We admired the lovely views of the park, and London, and then walked down the hill.
The National Maritime Museum is another of London’s free museums. I was worried that Moozles and Dubz would be bored by the maritime history, but they both enjoyed it. They also enjoyed some cake at the cafe, as did I. I probably could write a book about the cafes of London since we seem to constantly be lunching and snacking all over town. While Husband and I finished our teas, the kids went off to the Great Map and we watched them jump across oceans and continents.
At this point, the wind had drown bitterly cold, so we figured that a boat ride was a great idea. This actually could have been terrible, but luckily it wasn’t. MBNA Thames Clippers run boats every 20 minutes. And from Greenwich Pier, it only took 35 minutes to the London Eye. If you have an Oyster Card, you can use that for travel, and just buy childrens’ tickets for little ones over the age of four. The boat is covered, and is actually comfortable and warm. And though it’s more expensive than taking the train, it is much nicer, especially on a sunny day.
And that was our day of galaxies and galleons in Greenwich. It was such a lovely day. It’s a shame it’s not closer. But as there is so much to do, it makes for a fun day out.