The beautiful grounds of historic Fulham Palace may not spring to mind when thinking of ways to keep the little ones entertained.
But the enclosed gardens and museum in Bishop’s Park are an oasis for family activities come rain or shine – with a packed timetable of fun and educational events for children of all ages.
A series of free family fun days will bring seasonal storytelling, creative crafts, games and music to the site in Bishop’s Avenue this spring.
Springtime at the Palace
A special Tudor-inspired May Day celebration will be held on Sunday 26 May to relaunch the newly restored Fulham Palace to the public following a multi-million pound makeover.
As a celebration of spring and new beginnings, in the sixteenth century the Tudors held community fetes, feasting, dancing, music and storytelling that were open to people of all backgrounds, explains Jean Shipton, learning assistant at Fulham Palace.
“These themes of new beginnings and inclusivity provide the ideal setting for the relaunch of Fulham Palace, inviting the local community to come and celebrate as the Tudors would have done at the Palace 500 years ago,” she says.
Wandering minstrels, maypole dancing and craft activities, music-making and dressing up are set to create a festival atmosphere at the palace and gardens during the May Day event, which takes place from 11am-3pm.
Free family days
Monthly free family fun days are on the cards over the summer and autumn, with themes including arts, archaeology and gardening set to explore Fulham Palace’s past and present.
Meanwhile, preschool children can learn more about the great outdoors and the world around them at a weekly term-time session designed especially for two to four-year-olds.
With exciting sessions covering themes from colours and water to growing and eating, the Palace Explorers activities – which take place from 9.30am-10.30am each Monday and Tuesday and cost £5 – are a chance for little ones to learn and explore with their adults.
“It really allows grown ups to spend quality time with their child and it is about them being relaxed and having fun,” explains Jean.
“The sessions can have a real impact on the children and it’s about making everyone feel welcome – come, park the buggy and no one will bat an eyelid whatever the children are doing.”
A dedicated education centre at Fulham Palace complements the extensive gardens, where children can take part in the sessions that include growing cress from seeds, storytelling, building bug houses and learning about the plants and animals around them.
Fulham Palace also runs sessions for schools, adds Jean, designed to “support the National Curriculum in an authentic way”, with history brought to life through costumes, handling artefacts and promoting discussion.
“Museums and historic spaces are places where everyone belongs, and a visit can be so life-enhancing,” says Jean.
“We want to encourage all children from the borough to come and experience that, enjoy this space and have fun.”
Find out more about visiting Fulham Palace and some of the learning activities on offer.
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