This weekend sees the opening of the highest point in London – and it’s close to half term, too, so it’s time to start stocking up on ideas for keeping the grandkids entertained during their week off! There’s plenty to see and do, from new museum exhibitions to craft activities. So, starting at the top and working down –
The View from the Shard, which has been much feted in the last couple of months, is finally here. The View gives the highest possible viewpoint in London, in the already-iconic Shard building designed for the London Bridge Quarter by architect Renzo Piano. The Shard stands an astonishing 1,016ft above floor level: the View is right at the top, spread over Floors 68, 69 and 72. This makes the Shard the tallest building in the UK by a long way – and it also means the viewing platform is almost double the height of any other tourist viewing spot in the capital.
Expect long queues and a lot of excitement – and absolutely don’t agree to go if you don’t like heights or lifts! High speed lifts rocket up to the 1km high viewing platform, and they’re glass sided too so there’s no escaping the fact that you’re quite a long way up…
This Sunday, the Royal Festival Hall is hosting a “FUNharmonics” event – where kids get to become part of the musical action. The theme this weekend, appropriately enough for the end of the week in which Stephen Poliakoff’s extraordinary new drama Dancing on the Edge hit TV screens, is the Roaring Twenties. Kids will get to see the brass section blowing their hearts out before being let loose on some less damageable instruments themselves. Who knows – your grandchild could be the next Scott Joplin…
The Palace Theatre in Manchester is still playing host to The Lion King, having just added another three weeks to the run to take it all the way up to April. If bad weather threatens again this weekend, it’s a great show and a sure-fire pleaser for most of the family – from grandparents all the way down to young grandchildren. You can check out a video on the Palace Theatre site to get a flavour of the show.
Would-be DJs and TV presenters can take a tour of the workings behind the magic at BBC Birmingham. Grandkids will love the chance to read their own weather report, or do their own news item. They can also join in as audience members on some shows.
Birmingham’s Nature Centre is another hot favourite with the kids. This weekend it’s business as usual. If the weather’s bad, seek shelter in the Reptile House and other covered areas. Otherwise the whole park is open to an inquiring mind – and with plenty of interactive displays and a great shop, it’s the perfect place for an amateur zoologist to get involved!
A MUST.. is a visit to the Science Museum in London to… ‘marvel at a two-metre tall artificial man, constructed entirely from the most sophisticated bionic and prosthetic technology of today. Created for the Channel 4 documentary, ‘How to Build a Bionic Man’, the humanoid has a distinctly human shape and boasts prosthetic limbs, a functional artificial blood circulatory system as well as an artificial pancreas, kidney, spleen and trachea’. An amazing experience for all ages.