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London – The Extraordinary City

London - The Extraordinary City - Tower BridgeEstimates suggest that over 500,000 visitors are entering London during this summer’s Olympic Games in order to support their national competitors through the biggest sporting competition in the world, as well as taking time out to explore what the British capital has to offer.

Plenty know that the Queen lives at Buckingham Palace or that Jerry Springer was originally from London, but there is far more to the city than first appears!

There is always something new and astounding to uncover about historical and modern-day London – here is a selection of peculiar facts to help get you started on your London adventure:

  • Some 80,000 umbrellas are lost annually on the London Underground.
  • There are a dozen ‘secret’ rivers flowing beneath London. One, the Effra, travels under the Oval cricket ground.
  • In 1945, a flock of starlings landed on the minute hand of Big Ben and put the time back by five minutes.
  • Mosquitoes live in the tube system. They’re not native to Britain and can’t be found anywhere else. It is thought that they travelled on Underground trains from Heathrow where they arrived by plane. They also form their own unique species.
  • Covent Garden is really a spelling mistake! The area used to be the market garden for what is now Westminster Abbey monastery and convent.

What are your favourite quirky London facts? In fact, we’d love to hear your own stories or curiosities about your home town wherever you are in the UK. Leave a comment below, or please get in touch!

Author: Samantha May, Treasure Trails Ltd

3rd August 2012

Posted In: London

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Rainy Day Activities

Rainy Day Activities - get reading!

 

Don’t let the rain spoil your fun over the summer holidays. With a little imagination, an afternoon indoors can prove entertaining, and will keep the children away from the television or games console.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

 

 

Cress Heads

Growing a cress head is a simple pleasure that many of us will have experienced during our school days. They are super easy to make, and will supplement your child’s knowledge of nature and science.

Instructions on how to make your very own cress head using just an egg shell, cotton wool, marker pens and cress seeds can be found here.

Once your character is sporting a full head of hair, why not ask the children to play hairdresser and prepare some fresh cress to add to your evening meal?

Indoor Treasure Hunt Game

Children love this game as it gets their brains whirring, along with a sense of accomplishment at the end.

Create a series of clues and make them as cryptic, poetic and clever as you wish, according to age range and ability of the participants. Use tools such as newspaper cuttings, thread trails and images to add variety.

Don’t forget to hide a prize or treat at the end of the hunt. Good choices are colouring books or games, to keep them occupied for even longer!

Cook up a Storm

Most children love to get creative (and a little messy) in the kitchen with an adult, and there are plenty of simple recipes available online that little ones can enjoy.

Our personal favourites are traditional rice crispy cakes, or why not try something more savoury, such as baked dippy eggs?

Trip to the Library

A rare treat nowadays, a visit to your local library can while away the afternoon. Encourage children to look for themselves and choose their own books, then settle down on the sofa with a blanket and some tasty treats.

Older children may be happy to read independently, or ask younger children to read together, acting out the story as they go!

Get Wet Anyway

You won’t dissolve! Wrap up in your coats, hats and wellingtons, and get outside exploring! As we always say, a Treasure Trail is a fantastic way to spend a morning; plus the children will be so busy looking for clues that there won’t be time to moan about soggy feet!

Come home to some hot soup and a bath to warm up afterwards.

13th July 2012

Posted In: Family Fun

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