Mini-golf, make-be­lieve and magic for a grand day out

The Jewish Chronicle - - JC SPECIAL -

ILOVE MY grand­chil­dren. All three of them. But keep­ing them busy and ex­er­cised dur­ing the Pe­sach school hol­i­days can be chal­leng­ing. The weather has a ten­dency to make many ac­tiv­i­ties dif­fi­cult. A mix­ture of mud and matzah crumbs left over from a Pe­sach out­ing can also play havoc with the in­te­rior of your car. And calls of “are we there yet?” as we crawl through the driz­zle along the choked North Cir­cu­lar to­wards the coast and ru­ral Es­sex are suf­fi­cient to drive even the most dot­ing grand­par­ents to dis­trac­tion.

De­spite the grey weather, noth­ing will stop them from en­joy­ing them­selves once we have ar­rived. From build­ing mud cas­tles on the peb­bly beach at Southend on Sea, wad­ing up to their knees in the murky wa­ters of the Thames es­tu­ary and spend­ing their pocket money on slot ma­chines, ev­ery­thing is great fun when you are suf­fi­ciently small and un­jaded.

Damp and tired as the kids were on our last visit, on the way home we stopped off for a trek through the en­chant­ing and an­cient tree-lined foot­paths of Ep­ping For­est. We also gazed at the mys­te­ri­ous “Lost Pond” near Loughton Camp, where an­cient Bri­tons led by Queen Boudicca are said to have halted the Ro­man le­gions in their tracks. Mind you, the kids seemed more in­ter­ested in the fish that could be seen flit­ting to and fro un­der the moss-cov­ered wa­ter than they were in any no­tion of an­cient his­tory. As we left the for­est, there were squeals of de­light as they spied a herd of cows cross­ing the road in ur­ban Wanstead.

If, like we and our grand­chil­dren, you are happy to risk the rain, there are many other out­door ac­tiv­i­ties to tire out the young­sters. And for those liv­ing in north west Lon­don they do not nec­es­sar­ily in­volve a long drive. Try Alden­ham Coun­try Park, Hert­ford­shire, where the en­er­getic can tackle the lake­side walk, pony rides, na­ture walks and a free play­ground. There is also a chance to meet Win­nie the Pooh in his “100 Aker Wood.”

The park has a pet­ting zoo, where chil­dren are in­vited to help feed the an­i­mals. Nearby is an in­door play barn with a climb­ing wall, bouncy cas­tle and kid­die rides.

Also pop­u­lar with the Jewish com­mu­nity (and with our grand­chil­dren) is Shen­ley Park near Radlett. It has a play area for chil­dren, ap­ple or­chards and a de­light­ful two-acre walled gar­den where events of­ten take place and chil­dren de­light in rolling down its grassy land­scaped slopes. Its wood­land walks are the per­fect way to en­sure your grand­chil­dren end the day worn out but happy.

If you want to sneak in a bit of shop­ping while en­ter­tain­ing the fam­ily, it is worth not­ing that Brent Cross is hold­ing a spring fes­ti­val from March 31 to May 2, with stilt walk­ers and face paint­ing on se­lected week­ends. There will be rides and at­trac­tions for all ages, in­clud­ing bumper cars, roller coast­ers, a wa­ter ride and a merry-gor­ound. Ev­ery evening, there will be a spec­tac­u­lar lu­mi­naire light dis­play, fea­tur­ing a gi­ant ob­ser­va­tion wheel with in­ter­ac­tive LED light show.

VIP vis­i­tors will in­clude Peppa Pig and Ge­orge on April 16 and Paw Pa­trol’s Chase and Mar­shall on April 30 (these are both Sun­days). Full de­tails can be found at thes­pringfes­ti­val.co.uk

If the grand­kids are sporty, per­haps chal­lenge them to a game of crazy golf. What? It’s a sport. A great venue is Cap­tain’s Bay nine-hole mini golf course in Mill Hill, north west Lon­don. Tee off with your grand kids and pre­pare to be hu­mil­i­ated.

Crazy golf is also avail­able in­doors

Catch the spring-fes­ti­val amuse­ments at Brent Cross

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