A “driving lesson” for a car mad birthday boy – great indoor activity for a wintry day

This week on my just turned 4-year old’s birthday, although he had enjoyed his fabulous pirate party on the weekend we were looking for a little something to do after I picked him up from nursery to celebrate his special day.

After some lunch I suddenly remembered that I had been hoping to find an opportunity to take him to ride a toy Mercedes car at Mercedes Benz world, which I had previously noticed when I visited the spa located next door.  So we set off on a spontaneous trip to do this.

We arrived after a short drive, at Mercedes-Benz world in Weybridge, Surrey.  There’s ample room for parking, on a Tuesday afternoon anyway.  Both parking and admission to the museum are free.  At reception I signed a consent form for my son to participate, and paid £6 for a ticket for “Little Learners”.  I was told that he could do a session in 20 minutes’ time, so we spent a little time wandering around and getting a pack of crisps and a drink at the cafe which is right next to the Little Learners indoor track.

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A friendly and enthusiastic lady then came over to lead the session.  As there were no other little learners there at that time, my son was lucky enough to get a one-to-one lesson!  The lady spent a few minutes talking to him about different traffic signs, and then he was off on his way in a little Mercedes, following traffic signs and learning to stop at zebra crossings and traffic lights.

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The whole session lasted approximately 15 minutes, and at the end my son received his “Driver’s Licence” which was a proper plastic card with his name and date written on it.  He was ultra-pleased with this!

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One of the things which impressed me the most was the lady running the session.  Even though there was only one child, she still gave him 100% of her attention and made the experience very special for him.

I’m told that on weekends it is busier and to ensure the best chance of getting a driving session for your child, arrive in the morning (Little Learners is open from 10am-4pm, check the website for up to date information).  The area can be hired for children’s parties as well.

Little Learners is for ages 3-5, but for over 5’s there are simulators upstairs in Mercedes World, which looked like fun.  And there is a multitude of outdoor driving experiences available for under 17’s and adults too.

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There are some interesting things to check out like this racecar that reveals its inner mechanics…and many, many cars!

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Next door is Brooklands Spa and Hotel, which we have visited and can also recommend.  There is a good restaurant, bar and grill at the hotel, called 1907 (1907restaurant.co.uk) which does some tasty food in a stylish modern setting.  You can visit the restaurant without staying at the hotel.  There’s also a great family-friendly gastropub just a few minutes drive away, in Weybridge, called The Hand and Spear, which we’ve dined at a couple of times (www.handandspear.co.uk), so you can easily have a whole little day out with the kids in this area.

More info about Mercedes Benz World is on their website – http://www.mercedes-benz.co.uk/content/unitedkingdom/mpc/mpc_unitedkingdom_website/en/home_mpc/homepage/mbworld/whats-on/little-learners.html

Check out this gorgeous Christmas elf video, it will get you feeling Christmassy in no time!

Elfin the Christmas elf has landed

To read about another great day out with the kids on the outskirts of London, click below:

Bocketts Farm

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Stunning autumn leaves at Hampton Court Palace and the Magic Garden playground

There is something for literally everyone in the family at Hampton Court Palace and the new Magic Garden

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We are members at Hampton Court in Surrey (UK), though we haven’t been for a few months as we have been so busy! But we were lucky enough to enjoy unexpectedly sunny weather for October, when we visited with some old friends yesterday.
We spent a couple hours at the magic garden playground. It’s been open for about 6 months, and is still incredibly popular especially with kids age 5 and under. Their favourite activity seems to be sliding down the hill which is covered in fake grass! It reminds me of the landscape in Teletubbies! Among other things there are majestic towers with bridges linking them, several slides, a “life-size” dragon to climb on, and an area with sand and water play which is great for the little ones (bring a change of clothes!)

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As well as some decent toilets, there’s a handy cafe in the playground area, so you can get your coffee fix…and they sell Tropicana juice boxes (£1.50) and ice creams too. If you want more substantial food the Tiltyard cafe is not far from the magic garden and you can get all manner of lunch fodder there. The fish and chips seemed very popular, and they have some nice cake and tasty brownies too (my daughter tells me, I didn’t actually get to taste it!)

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We then happened upon some amusing live entertainment, en route to the famous Hampton Court maze where my husband tells me he genuinely got lost with the kids…but apparently in an enjoyable way. I steered clear this time as our littlest was napping by now in the buggy.

We then took a quick look around the palace, but our plan is to return to see that properly another day, perhaps with just our oldest, as by now thanks to the little ones we were pretty exhausted!

All in all a lovely day! Highly recommend. My top tip is get there early and if you drive you can park your car in Bushey park, where parking is free. It’s then about a 5-10 min walk to Hampton court.

Sadly the magic garden itself will be shut for the winter but there are still a couple more days left till closing (Sunday 30 October is the last day you can visit it, till it reopens in spring 2017).

Further details can be found on their website, link below:

http://www.hrp.org.uk/hampton-court-palace/

 

For another fun family day out not far from London, please read my post about Bocketts Farm:

Bocketts Farm

 

Rhyming with Wine
Naptime Natter
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