I've become an expert at ensuring that as much fun is had as possible by all, whilst not breaking the bank. I share my wisdom with you my dear readers, for free.
Before Leaving Home (Or, the hotel. Or your generous cousin's London pad):
Once you're out and about:
Museums that are popular with kids, such as the fabulously amazing Natural History Museum, are busiest from lunchtime onwards during the holidays. If you don't want to stand in line for an hour to see the T-Rex, get there by 10 a.m. when the doors open and see the most popular exhibits (i.e. the T-Rex) FIRST. Then you can wander round the rest of the museum while the hordes throng in.
If everyone eats something, that's great. If they are too wound up to have more than two bites, that's okay too (Remember, they have had a huge breakfast, they won't die). Get some water or juice in to rehydrate. Your next step will be to buy everyone an ice cream cone or cake, which will keep them going for the rest of the afternoon. Any calories will do at this point, as long as they come with some protein and carbohydrates. You can praise each child as you hand over the ice cream, for following the rules, not getting lost and making wise purchases/saving their money.
Once everyone has had a break and some calorific topups, you can hit the road again. The smallest will probably fall asleep in their stroller at this point, so it might be a good time to visit the quieter and more boring museums. Where the older kids will be stunned at naked art ("They have no arms or legs but they ALL have, you know, all the other stuff!" observed an astute son of mine at the Victoria and Albert one day), instruments of torture or whatever you choose.
If you get home in time for a nice hot bath and an early bedtime, give yourself AND your kids a gold star!
For some great ideas, including free London museums and other activities, check out 'Days Out With the Kids' here.
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