Visit London Blog » london wetland centre Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What’s On This Weekend: 7-8 December 2013 Mon, 02 Dec 2013 10:00:41 +0000

It’s starting to get very festive in the capital this weekend, and whether you want to see running huskies on a sleigh ride at the London Wetland Centre, or running Christmas puddings in Covent Garden, we have you covered!

Meet Santa and his Huskies

Children can get hands-on at WWT London Wetland Centre’s winter weekend by jumping on a husky sleigh ride before visiting Santa in his magical grotto, set deep within a pine forest. This unique Christmas event also allows children to meet the Polar Explorer at his base camp and hear tales of his icy adventures, before making their own explorer’s equipment from recycled materials and learning about the science behind the winter months. 7-8 Dec

The Great Christmas Pudding Race

Cheer on the festively dressed teams at The Great Christmas Pudding Race, all in the name of raising money for Cancer Research. Clad in fancy dress and darting around Covent Garden, this is a unique and chaotic spectacle to break up any Christmas shopping trip. 7 Dec

The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker

Peter Wright’s production of the classic Christmas tale sees dancers from the Royal Ballet bring The Nutcracker to life against the lavish backdrop of the Royal Opera House. A family-friendly tale of magic and heroics set to the music of Tchaikovsky is sure to bring back that childlike sense of wonder to anyone lacking in Christmas cheer. 4 Dec-16 Jan

Christmas is Cancelled

The English Civil War is blazing into life, the King is captive but plotting, and the Long Parliament is trying to cancel Christmas! Go back in time with this weekend of historical family fun at the National Army Museum and join in with carol singing, festive games and even help decorate the Museum galleries. Suitable for ages 5-11. 7-8 Dec

Coriolanus at Donmar Warehouse

One of the Shakespeare’s most violent and thought-provoking tragedies is returning to the stage at the Donmar Warehouse this week, starring Tom Hiddleston (War Horse, Thor). Coriolanus was adapted for the big screen in 2011 with bona fide stars Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler trading blows, and now the bard’s revived classic of power and politics returns to the London stage with a Hollywood star of its own. And, if you can’t get hold of tickets, this will be showing live at selected cinemas nationwide from 30 Jan. From 6 Dec

Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall

Warm up those neck muscles as some court legends dust off their racquets to see who still has the ability to win a major tournament at Statoil Masters Tennis. Pat Rafter, Greg Rusedski, Mark Philippoussis, John McEnroe, Goran Ivanisevic and his old nemesis Tim Henman will all be lining up in the unique sporting arena of the Royal Albert Hall to compete in the six man round-robin tournaments. 4-8 Dec

More London events

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10 Alternative Christmas Events in London Tue, 05 Nov 2013 11:05:43 +0000 Christmas planning is officially underway. Have yourself a quirky little Christmas this year and discover some real winter gems with our list of 10 alternative festive events.

1. Bluebird Ice Rink, Chelsea (£10)

Don’t miss this glamorous pop-up ice rink in the heart of Chelsea. Away from the more mainstream rinks, this little gem is nestled in the wonderful Courtyard at Bluebird Chelsea. Take to the ice for Christmas parties, festive drinks with friends or fun dates. 11 November to 5 January

2. Belgravia Christmas Market (FREE)

Explore this classic one-day Christmas market in the prestigious London district of Belgravia. See Elizabeth Street glowing with festive lights and packed with traditional Christmas stalls before taking a stroll down to Pimlico Road where you’ll find jugglers, trumpeters and stalls selling roast chestnuts and toffee apples. 1 December

3. Fish Market’s Funfair Terrace, Liverpool Street

A real winter wonder! Based inside the city’s oldest surviving warehouse built by the East India Company, D&D’s Fish Market offers a taste of the freshest fish and shellfish sourced from the British Isles. Cosy up with a blanket and a mug of hot spiced cider in the heated terrace, complete with a wall of twinkling fairy lights and snow globes. Don’t leave without trying an alcoholic snow cone! 1 November to 24 December

4. Christmas Dollshouse Festival at Kensington Town Hall (£11)

The one-day event attracts visitors from all over the globe and is regarded as the world’s finest gathering of craftsmen who work in miniature. Many celebrities including Helena Bonham-Carter, Tim Burton and Jonathan Ross have been spotted perusing the festival. 30 November

5. Christmas Fair at Chelsea Physic Garden (£5)

This unique two-day Christmas fair is held at London’s oldest Botanic Garden. Shop exclusively selected seasonal gifts before taking a guided tour of one of the most important centres of botany and plant exchange in the world. 30 November to 1 December

6. Enchanted Woodland at Syon Park (£7)

Take a romantic stroll through the illuminated woodland, soaking up the magical atmosphere of the 18th century lake. The trail finishes at the Great Conservatory on the site of an old medieval abbey. This charming event is the perfect way to experience the striking London home of the Duke of Northumberland. 16 November to 2 December

7. Once Upon a Christmas in Covent Garden (£35)

Explore the heart and hidden charms of Covent Garden’s iconic Piazza as the area is transformed into a panto playground for adults. In this immersive theatre event, audience members are sent to the hidden corners of Covent Garden in order to save Christmas. Adults-only. 18 November to 15 December

8. Santa & His Huskies at the London Wetland Centre (£5)

One for the kids. Snuggle up with huskies and let them take you on a sleigh ride before visiting Santa in his cosy Christmas grotto in the northern pine forest. There’s plenty of mulled cider, hot chocolate and mince pies to go round. 7 to 8 December

9. Christmas Past: 400 Years of Seasonal Traditions in English Homes at the Geffrye Museum (FREE)

Rediscover the rich and vibrant traditions of Christmas gone-by at this free event at the Geffrye Museum. Authentic festive decorations transform the Geffrye Museum’s period rooms so that you can take a glimpse into how Christmas has been celebrated in English middle-class homes over the past 400 years. 26 November to 5 January

10. Prêt-à-portea- A fashionista’s Afternoon Tea at the Berkeley (£29-£55)

Style gurus will want to feast on this new Autumn/ Winter 2013 Collection. See designer items turned into cakes, mousses and biscuits. Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley Hotel sees all the classic elements of the traditional English afternoon tea except that the pastries resemble the latest catwalk designs.

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What’s On This Weekend: 21-23 December 2012 Mon, 17 Dec 2012 12:27:26 +0000 Providing Friday doesn’t herald the end of the world, there are lots of great things to do in London this weekend. Watch equestrian events of all shapes and sizes, enjoy festive films, music and shows, or find original African Christmas gifts in Dalston.

The London International Horse Show at Olympia

See Olympic medal winners at the thrilling London International Horse Show, which is celebrating its 40th year at Olympia. Not only are there world class dressage and show jumping events, but you can also watch carriage driving, dog agility trials and the Shetland Pony Grand National. Don’t miss the extensive shopping village where you can find great equestrian gifts and treats. Tickets start from £15. 17-22 Dec

A Wetland Christmas Carol at the WWT London Wetland Centre

A unique festive show crowns a varied programme of family activities at the WWT London Wetland Centre this weekend. “A Wetland Christmas Carol” features a suitably-themed twist on the classic tale, with a mud-hating Scrooge visited by the ghosts of Wetland Past, Present and Future. Alongside the performances, which take place at 12pm and 3.30pm, you can feed otters, craft your own Christmas decorations or take a guided tour. Events are free but standard admission charges apply – see the website for full details. 22-24 Dec

Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, St Paul’s Cathedral

Get into the Christmas spirit with this beautiful choral work by Benjamin Britten, performed in the exquisite surroundings of St Paul’s Cathedral. Commencing at 5pm, it is performed by the Choristers of St Pauls and the Vicars Choral, with Sioned Williams playing the harp. Entry is free, and other carol services take place here throughout the weekend – see the website for details.  21 Dec

Pop Up Screens at the Truman Brewery

The popular Pop Up Screens brings a week-long programme of Christmas films to the Old Truman Brewery, which are perfect for some laid back festive fun. Screenings include Bad Santa, Scrooged and Nightmare Before Christmas, and a wide range of refreshments is available from their bar. Tickets are £14.  18-23 Dec

Christmas African Market, Dalston

Head to Gillett Square in Dalston between 11am-5pm for your chance to pick up original gifts at the Christmas African Market.  Stalls will be selling everything from jewellery and clothing to arts and crafts, plus there’s a varied programme of family activities that includes face painting, mask making and a drumming circle. 22 Dec

Greenwich Charity Pantomime Horse Race

The other horse-related event this weekend is slightly more frivolous, but every bit as enjoyable. On Sunday, people dressed as pantomime horses will race around Greenwich to raise money for Demelza Hospice, which cares for terminally ill children. The hilarious caper starts at 1pm, but you can also watch the opening ceremony at 12pm or enjoy a charity concert starring Not The Rolling Stones after the race (tickets are £20 and must be booked in advance). 23 Dec

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London Wetland Centre Produces Another London Gold! Tue, 07 Aug 2012 11:30:35 +0000

Team GB’s haul of gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games is clearly having an impact across the city.

This mallard at the WWT London Wetland Centre has got in on the action, giving birth to a super-cute golden duckling! A real one-off, the gold-coloured baby has five siblings with more usual markings. London Wetland Centre staff have nicknamed the duckling Jessica in honour of the heptathlon gold medal winner, Jessica Ennis.

We think this addition to the Wetland Centre’s brood is a real winner too!

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Summer Holiday Activities for Kids in London: Part II Fri, 19 Aug 2011 16:07:52 +0000 Looking for more ways to entertain your kids in London this summer? Following from our previous blog post, here are a few ideas:

If you want to introduce your kids to art, check out The Sunday Spot at South London Gallery in Peckham each Sunday in August. There are hands-on workshops inspired by the gallery’s current exhibitions. This summer, artists Ross Robertson and Lauren Willis are joined by Isa Suarez to explore some of the local soundscapes around the gallery. The Sunday Spot is free and runs from 2-4pm every Sunday. Ideal for children aged 3-12 years.

Treat your kids to a tour of the London Wetland Centre this summer. If you’ve got little ones who love creepy crawlies, the themes for next week’s walks are Reptiles and Invertebrates. You can also take part in a Great Pond Safari, and get crafty at the Summer Crafts sessions at the end of each day.

Think your kids will hate exploring a military museum? Think again. The National Army Museum in Chelsea has a new Kids’ Zone open this summer, specifically for kids aged 0-8 years. As well as a soft-play space for babies, there are arts and crafts, dressing-up costumes, books, interactive toys and, best of all, forest- and arctic-themed climbing frames! The Kids’ Zone is open from 10.10am to 5.15pm, and there are six 1-hour sessions each day.

There’s more for craft-loving children at the William Morris Society in Hammersmith. From now until Saturday 27 August, you can take part in a number of free Arts and Crafts Workshops, including fan-making, stained glass and lettering workshops, and block printing.

Argh, me hearties! If you’ve got a pirate fan in the family, set sail for the Museum of London Docklands this week. There’s storytelling, pirate puppet theatre, and even the chance to become pirate yourself in the excellent drama workshops at the museum. The recommended age is from 3 years upwards. If you’re really passionate about life on the high seas, check out our feature on other places to play Pirates in London.

Have you been to any other fun summer holiday events in London? Let us know in the comments below.

Read Summer Holiday Activities for Kids in London Part I

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The London Wetland Centre Welcomes WWT’s 200,000th Member Thu, 26 Aug 2010 15:00:16 +0000

Congratulations to the London Wetland Centre nature reserve, which has just recruited its 200,000th member.

And that member is keen wildlife photographer, Rachel Andrew. Rachel recalls many happy childhood visits to one of WWT’s other centres in Washington, Tyne and Wear. She chose to join the Trust after a day out at London Wetland Centre with her family earlier this year.

London Wetland Centre thanked Rachel with a special private visit to the reserve on Monday before it opened to the public. Rachel and her family then took a tour of the beautiful Wildside area of the site with Adam Salmon, the Centre’s reserve manager, where they were lucky enough to spot green sandpipers and hear Cetti’s warblers singing.

General manager Martin Senior presented Rachel and her family with a special hamper of WWT goodies.

Rachel said, “We became members of the WWT in order to support the work that they do and to be able to enjoy the centre throughout the year, as it is a fantastic location for wildlife photography. We really enjoyed our day at the centre where we discovered how much work goes on behind the scenes to make the London Wetland Centre such a special place for birds, animals and plants – and for the visitors like us who come to enjoy seeing them.”

Martin Senior, General Manager said, “We are delighted that Rachel chose to join WWT here at London Wetland Centre. Our members are really important because they ensure we can carry on protecting wetland wildlife. Rachel and her family will now be able to come in as often as they want and see how the reserve changes throughout the year.”

Find out more about the WWT London Wetland Centre

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Video of the Week: London Wetland Centre by Cazzyweb Fri, 28 May 2010 11:00:01 +0000

Tomorrow is the start of the London Wetland Centre’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

And what better way to mark the occasion than with this great video by Cazzyweb of her day out at the centre in Barnes.

Pop down to the Wetland Centre during the birthday week (29 May-6 Jun) and you’ll find lots going on. 

Gyles Brandreth, who lives near the Wetland Centre and is a keen supporter, is cutting the birthday cake on Saturday at 12.00 to launch the celebrations. If you’re around on the day, you’ll be invited to join in the opening celebrations at noon, and receive a free piece of the wetland-themed cake!

Or take your pick from the following over the week:

  • Birds of prey
  • Mammal and moth safari (see the moths, shrews, mice and voles that live on the reserve)
  • Newts, froglets, toads and slow worms 
  • Bats and hedgehogs 
  • Otters

Check for details of which events are happening each day.

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Photo of the Week: Duckling at the London Wetland Centre Fri, 02 Apr 2010 08:00:27 +0000

This adorable little mallard is going for an Easter stroll at the London Wetland Centre – why don’t you pop along this week and join him!

There are loads of activities going on at the London Wetlands Centre during the easter holidays, including easter egg hunts and watching baby ducklings learn to swim. There’s even the opportunity to dress up as a duck!

If you take any cute pictures in London this weekend, share them with us at the Visit London Flickr pool.

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Duck Heaven at WWT London Wetland Centre Thu, 18 Feb 2010 10:44:58 +0000 Birds on water Black swan Crane Swan Ducks Fish on bikes

Last weekend, I headed to bird-spotter’s paradise the London Wetland Centre in Barnes.

Although not ornithologically-inclined myself, I do like ducks, so seeing numerous species including the White-faced Whistling duck, Indian Running ducks and mallards was a bit of a treat!

The 42-hectare site features ponds, rivers and reed beds, making it a perfect home not just for birds, but bats, insects, water voles and other wildlife too.

You can wander the paths in just a few hours and keen bird-spotters can set up camp in one of six hides located around the site. Admittedly, the centre looked distinctly brown and muddy at this time of year, but our tour guide assured us that it becomes much more colourful by spring.

My highlights included:

  • A pair of bullying Black Swans who chased any other birds off their patch of water
  • The strange and random sculptures scattered around the site, including a seal carcass and a bird sculpture made out of shopping trolleys
  • Ducks, ducks and more ducks!

The WWT London Wetland Centre also runs regular events for kids – look out for pond dipping and Easter egg hunts this Easter.

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