jubilee park southbank london

London calling for the Tiger Who Came to Tea

The first time N went to London he was under two and slept through most of the day, and the reason we went was mostly to meet friends.  This summer, I’d managed to get tickets for Kidsweek, ie free children’s tickets to see the show The Tiger who Came to Tea at the Lyric Theatre.

It was a long wait after buying the tickets to wait for the day to come round, but eventually it did last week.  We were going with N’s friend L and his mum, a friend of mine.  Both the children were looking forward to it, although that was probably to do with going to London on the train!  I’d also managed to book a table for lunch at The Rainforest Café so it was a bit of a themed day.

After getting annoyed at the new and rubbish car park ticket machines and confused about which platform the train we were going to get was going from, we were ensconced on the train before alighting at Marylebone.

on the train to London

Off to the tube – it was a relief that everything we’d planned to do was off the Bakerloo line so nice and easy for jumping on and off with two 3 year olds.  As we didn’t have much time before our lunch booking, I’d proposed a quick run round Trafalgar Square to give the boys chance to look at the lions and stretch their legs.

We were so lucky with the weather which was beautiful.  Great for a day out in the capital, and lovely to see the London sights looking gorgeous in the sunlight.

The boys almost got involved in an ice bucket challenge that was happening by one of the fountains, and then I think, were quite surprised to watch it!  They loved trying to catch the water, running from fountain to fountain.

Trafalgar square fountains and boys

And chase the pigeons

chasing pigeons in trafalgar square

Me being strict, said no to climbing on the lions, but they didn’t seem too worried that others were allowed to climb on them.

Then it was back on the tube a stop to the Rainforest Café.  We’d never been before but it’s definitely a good place to go for a special treat.  If you’ve a birthday, the staff get everyone to sing happy birthday to you, and there were several tables receiving that treatment while we were there.

I’d definitely recommend booking as I don’t know how many tables they leave for walk ins.  We queued for our slot which was likely the earliest at 11.30, never a problem as the children loved watching the talking tree and playing with the toys on sale.

the talking tree at Rainforest cafe

We got the tour on the way to the table, explaining where everything was (saves asking where the toilets are!) and shown all the animals in the trees and next to our table.  The children also had a placemat/colouring sheet and crayons.  If you wanted to pay a higher price, there’s a full activity pack included (presumably for older children).

gorilla - Rainforest Cafe

The food in general is more expensive than I’d usually pay – higher than what I would class quite pricy pubs near us – but for a treat day out, it’s perfect.  The menus are great as not only do they take any allergy information as you go in, in case you need help choosing, but the menus themselves have easy to understand notes saying dairy/nut/egg free, veggie etc.  There was enough choice – and for children you weren’t stuck with only one high sugar drink.  I was glad to see the Fruit Shoot was the My5 option.  The only hard thing was the dim lighting making it hard to read the menus.

chocolate brownie - rainforest cafe
Themed plate! Zebra…delicious dessert

The service was efficient, if our waitress was elsewhere, someone else covered us.  It really was a well-oiled machine, although we didn’t feel particularly rushed.  I was relieved about that, as you can never tell how long children are going to take to eat their food.

The boys loved it when Zsa Zsa the frog came round to each table.  I didn’t think N would be keen, but he was straight up to have a hug and have a photo taken.

za za the frog at rainforest cafe

After lunch we mooched through the shop, stopping to see the crocodile in the window.  Of course we had to supply some change for the boys to try and throw into its mouth.

The theatre wasn’t far so we joined the others making their way in.  I love being in theatres, I think they’re such magical places, and N was certainly interested in having a look round at the different seating levels and the stage.  We didn’t have long to wait before the cast appeared on stage and the magic begun.  Typically N wanted to sit on my knee (good job we didn’t pay for his seat!), but sitting in the dress circle in the middle, second row was perfect for viewing.

tiger who came to tea- lyric theatre

I definitely recommend the show.  It’s really interactive and kept N’s attention throughout.  He even joined in with the Tiger-aerobics, and (kind of) the singing.  We did wonder how they’d be able to drag the story out to the full 55 minutes, but it was well done, and mostly in keeping with the book.  Afterwards, we had to buy them a soft toy tiger which was a reasonably priced souvenir compared to the very cool but extortionately priced Tiger banners/flags.

I’d wanted to make the most of being in London, so down to Waterloo on the tube, and we were in Jubilee Gardens and Southbank. 

jubilee park southbank london

We didn’t really find the activities suitable for the children, but saw the Love Festival displays along with some of the street artists.

Southbank London love festival 2014

The boys were getting tired, so after a quick look at the boats

on southbank watching the boats

Then it was time to head home again, having a M&S picnic on the train home.  The boys were stars, they really enjoyed themselves, and N’s still talking about the trip now.  I shall definitely be taking him each year to see a different place each time.

Check out other options to visit with kids in London and cool places for desserts in the city.

Where did you take your children for their first visit to London?  Or another capital city?

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  1. So glad N’s first theatre trip was a success. My girls went to see The Snowman – the eldest has been back since to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Cats (in Milton Keynes) but the youngest wasn’t so keen – she wouldn’t say why, just not that bothered… I think she knows that the money for the tickets is coming out of her inheritance!

    1. N would love The Snowman. I fancied taking him to the version touring this year, but the timings don’t work for us doing a trip to London. I never think of theatre in MK although it’s only an hour away (haven’t been myself since seeing a Thomas a Becket play there).

      Kids are funny sometimes, but I guess some are more willing to sit and take time out to move into a fantasy world of theatre, others don’t see the point.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  2. Looks like a fantastic day out! Particularly like the look of the Rainforest Cafe! #countrykids

  3. Sounds like a perfect day! I love London and we go all the time! I really want to take them to The Tige Who Came to Tea, will look into it! And The Rainforest is fab too! The Southbank is so vibrant isn’t it? A day in London is tiring though, once in a while is enough 🙂 #countrykids

    1. Yes, I love Southbank, although being school hols it was a lot busier than I’ve ever seen it before. Will definitely have to plan some more trips

  4. Looks like such a great and full day out. We’ve yet to take our two to London, though I am keen to do so when Little Man’s a little older. We went to a rainforest cafe in Vegas, before having the kids, so that’d be nice to do now with them, as they are geared up well for little ones x

    1. It always seems like it would be a chore. I wanted to wait until N was going to be fine without a buggy as that’s something extra to lug around, and they coped ok. Definitely there’s so much to see and do for young children as well as older.

  5. Great post. Monkey’s first trip to London was 2 years ago to watch his cousin run in the London Marathon. We’ve been lots of times since. We went to the Rainforest Cafe last year after an event at Hamleys. We walked in and still got a table in less than 15 minutes. Nice for a treat #CountryKids

  6. That sounds like a fabulous day out. We live just outside of London and my eldest would love the rainforest cafe. Sounds like you managed to pack plenty in to your day out too 🙂

  7. Oh my that was a lot to take in on one trip to London. I don’t think we managed more than a museum and a park on our visits. The rainforest cafe looks rather special but my favourite is the photo of the boys watching the fountain and the boats. Thank you for sharing your epic trip with me on Country Kids.

    1. Yes, I hate to only go for one thing, and thankfully N’s used to me dragging him left right and centre. I was so impressed by them both, no moaning all day, and walked a lot. Compared to a friend with the same age boy, who took a buggy with them when they went the same week. I think it helps there were 2 of them to get excited about things.

  8. Sounds like you had a fantastic trip. I love London now. The first time we took the boys we took them to Buckingham Palace and Hamley’s – well briefly, it was too much for me and December the 1st – Oxford St and Xmas is one to avoid imo.

    1. Ooh yes, there’s no way I’d go to London anywhere near shopping streets in December unless I was alone. In fact, I’m not sure even i would go that close.

    1. That’s the problem with Britain, there’s so many places to choose from, that it’s hard to get back to places you love when there’s others to go to.

  9. What a lovely day out! My two love London, their favourite auntie and cousin are there but we just don’t get there enough. I haven’t seen the tiger who came to tea,but my daughter saw it 2 years ago with her nursery class and loved it. X #countrykids

    1. Yes, I’m definitely going to have to find some more theatre places to take N. He really loved it, but I’m not sure he’d sit still much longer. so hard to find the time for London visits if you have to travel there any distance.

  10. I’ve not done it yet, but I’m thinking next year will be it, and I’ll take Lucy to London for a day or two. Didn’t know there was a play of the Tiger who Came to Tea, bet she would love that!

    1. There seems to be for lots of picture books. Keep a watch out for Kidsweek – it’s for the whole of August, and kids go free for lots of shows ranging from musicals through to kids ones like this. Lots do free workshops in the mornings too.

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