Admiral Young Driver – Review

Admiral Young Driver program is a safe way to teach children aged as young as 5 to control a car and start the enjoyment of driving. The boy was a little nervous to try out the Admiral Young drivers programme. He needn’t have been as he had a great time.

The boy want’s to be a policeman when he is older and learning to drive will be a big part of the job if he does eventually choose this as a career. I have always wanted thought its good to learn things early so driving lessons was on my list of things to get the boy to try. We booked a 1/2 hour lesson with the Admiral young drivers at Southampton WestQuay car park.

The boy was worried he might drive over the edge of the car park. The booking in lady quickly put his mind at rest, as apparently this is a question she is asked often! There are some height restrictions for the drivers and they should be over 10 and a minimum of 1.42m tall. The boy was soon seated in the car and there are proper cushions to bring the seat height up to the correct height. I was allowed to join in as a passenger for the lesson, while dad stood at a safe distance and took pictures.

The top-level of the WestQuay car park was set out with junctions and obstacles and with other Admiral young drivers there is plenty to be aware of while learning to drive. The boy was put at ease by his instructor Barry, and within 5 minutes they had completed the pre drive checks and we were moving.

Each new Admiral young driver is given a diary which is completed after each lesson. This is a great record of what you learned as well as being something to record the steps and progress. As a first lesson the boy learnt to make pre drive checks of mirrors, seat and starting the vehicle. He then went on to control the vehicle and completed junctions and a slalom.

I was very impressed by the teaching, and the instructor moved the lesson on at the speed that each student needs. The boy was clearly in control and loving every minute. There was time to ask lots of questions and the instructor had lots of knowledge of the Skoda citigo that we were driving.

The half hour Admiral young drivers lesson was a good length for a first lesson as the boy said his legs felt a little wobbly after all the clutch control. The boy has also asked when he can have his next lesson, as he enjoyed it far more than he thought he would and I think maybe a few lessons a year at his age certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Visit the Admiral Young Driver website for all the different options from lessons to Birthday parties and even the chance to drive a Bentley.

Disclaimer we were asked to try out the young driver programme in return for a review, the words remain ours and have not been altered.

 

Kidzania London – Review

Kidzania is a new and different day out in the Westfield’s shopping centre London, and one the boy has been pestering me to take him too since it opened earlier in the year. This weekend we decided that Kidzania was going to be our Christmas day out and treat (instead of a Santa visit). I have seen so many pictures from other bloggers and friends who have visited and was hoping that we wouldn’t be disappointed.

kidzania welcome

Kidzania is found in the top levels of the Westfield shopping center in Shepherds Bush. We found it easy to drive, with only a small amount of London traffic to negotiate. The car park was easy to find, and I thought quite reasonably priced at £9.50 for the whole days parking. Kidzania is a town where the kids are in charge, and with around 60 different occupations for kids to take part in there is defiantly something for everyone. The first thing that struck all of us was the theming, from the entrance where you are greeted and instructed to take the escalators to the airport where you book in, and start your Kidzania experience. The whole entrance has an airport feel, and something that certainly made me smile.

kidzania police

Once you and your children have been checked in and been tagged, you are given your map of Kidzania, money (KidZos) and you enter the town. This is where it is up to the kids to make their own story. The boy was a little daunted as he entered the indoor town, which started off feeling a little dark, but was beautiful lit for Christmas. We stopped off at the Job center to have a chat and get our bearings. The boy then wanted to head straight for the police station (the only job he wanted to do) I did think at age 10 this might all be themed a bit too young for him, but actually he really enjoyed it after the first experience.

kidzania london

Each job in Kidzania has a board outside, telling you what age recommendation, what type of job, age, salary and what sort of skills might be needed as well as a rough length of time. The boy looked worried as he was dressed in his uniform, and then sat to watch a fun instruction video. Parents can see their kids through large clear windows but are told not to enter each of the buildings/rooms. There are a few experiences adults can join in like the theatre, but are encouraged to let their kids work on their own for most of the jobs. The boy on completion of his instructions was lead off to help out at a fire situation at the local hotel, and was in his element with crowd control. This was a great start to our four hours in Kidzania, and while on his Police job, he spotted a delivery courier, and a security guard job. Both of these roles are great ones to start with as they involve visiting other shops and buildings to deliver and collect packages. This is great for finding your feet and spot other places you might like to try.

kidzania bank

The boy quickly decided on the music academy, as well as taking a university degree so that he could earn more money. Once you have collected 75 KidZos you can open a bank account and get a credit card, there was a long queue, but the boy was keen to bank his earnings. Next the boy was happy to just go off and find experiences of his own, and we could have reclined in the adult lounge but chose to watch from the mini benches around the town. The boy tried shop work, bell ringing, air conditioning, animation and even recycled paper making. he managed to fit lots into his time.

kidzania music

Kidzania has two levels, places to get a spot of lunch or a snack, and there are food related experiences for the kids. KidZos can be earnt with various occupations or spent in the shops, banked or saved for fun treats. The boy was keen to save as much as possible and was keen to see how much he could earn in the four hours. He wanted to have 100 KidZos in his bank account, saving them for a future visit. I think its safe to say that the boy had a great time in Kidzania and later on the way home said his favorite part was being a police man. I think the biggest smiles were when he had his one to one drum session, which would normally have a class of about 8. Kidzania was not overly busy on our visit, so very little waiting or queuing. The other stand out experience was the pit crew, where the boy had to work as a team and change a tyre on a racing car. He was super speedy and he and his partner managed a super quick time of 21 seconds.

kidzania pit crew

Kidzania is suitable for kids aged 4-14 and once they are over 8 they can be left to explore the city for themselves. Safe that your kids cant leave and are safe with plenty of staff members about if they have any problems. This is perfect for those parents who want to get their shopping done at the Westfield shopping center which has a great selection of high street and specialist stores. Ticket prices start at £29.50 for kids 4+ with adults starting at £16.50. there are online discounts, and other deals. To find out more about Kidzania visit the website, twitter and Facebook pages, where you will find the latest deals. If you fancy finding out how much fun the kids are having at Kidzania then join them on Thursday 17th December 7pm to 11pm for their Adult only experience, something I think Dad Dragon and I would love to do!

Disclaimer we were give admission to Kidzania in return for an honest review, the words remain ours and have not been altered.

Fishbourne Roman Palace

This week the boy had an extra day off school due to his teacher being on strike so we decided that we would make use of a quiet day to visit Fishbourne Roman Palace. This seemed fitting as the boys upcoming topic will be Romans. So on a slightly cloudy morning we set off with our notebooks to find out all we could about the ancient Roman civilisation.

Roman Gods

It has been a long time since my school days, and I wasn’t sure how interested the boy would be in this history lesson so with the plan to just go with the flow, we arrived at the entrance. Being a weekday it was super quiet and only 2 coaches of school children meant we had the whole place to ourselves for the first hour.

Welcome to the largest roman home in Britain. Imagine the luxury that would once have surrounded the proud owner of this lavish Roman residence. This palace was certainly fit for a king. Stroll around the recreated Roman gardens – the earliest gardens found anywhere in the country – and enjoy the largest collection of mosaics in situ in the UK.

We started our visit in the Museum as the lady told us it was the warmest part of the building. The entrance contains the history of how the site was initially found by workmen in the 1960 while digging a water main for the area. There are plenty of hands on exhibits as well as the static ones you might expect. We built a Roman road, and looked at Roman Gods.

roman road

Because there were schools on site there was also a lady dressed in roman costume who happily told us all about the Romans and their love of keeping clean. This was great as it was a one to one and the boy enjoyed having the time to ask lots of questions.

roman weaving

After a lovely Mum, Son lunch in the Café and a chance to have a little sketch of some stones he had in his pocket, we continues through the main building to see the mosaics. The scale of the site is amazing, and  thinking how old these little pieces of history are is very humbling.

roman baths

The boy enjoyed playing a game of mosaic bingo, which you can get for free from the entrance and it was more difficult than it looked. I am sure I must have been here on a school trip at some point, but I don’t remember seeing the mosaics or remembering how beautiful and big they are.

mosaics

There is plenty to look at in this part of the building with more interactive exhibits in the lower part of the museum. We built our own mosaic and looked at Roman armour. After another quick pit stop for tea and cake in the café we crossed the site to see what was in the collections and discovery centre. We had the whole of this building to ourselves and after looking at some of the windows full of artefacts we discovered some draws of examples of finds from the site and the local area. The boy and I decided to sketch these so that we can put together some information for him to take back to school after Easter.

roman pottery

I love the detail in the boys sketch and he worked hard to include all the different patterns on the piece of samian pottery. It was incredible to see these items up close all be it in a glass draw. Before we knew it, it was time to head off for the boys fencing lesson. The time had gone quickly and I am sure that the boy has learnt a lot. I know that I have enjoyed spending time with just the two of us and doing the things we love most chatting and learning!

Below are the opening times for 2014, and admissions, we are English Heritage members and received a 50% discount on the costs which made our day out very affordable even with the costs of our lunch and tea included.

January open Saturdays & Sundays only: 10am – 4pm                                        February open every day: 10am – 4pm                                                                     March – October open every day: 10am – 5pm                                                     November – 15 Dec open every day: 10am – 4pm                                                      From 16th -31st December open Saturdays and Sundays only: 10am – 4pm

  • Adult £8.70
  • child £4.30
  • concessions £7.70
  • family (2+2 or 1+4) £22.00
  • Admission price for groups of 15+: Adults/students/seniors £7.00, children £3.50.

Keep up to date with everything that is going on at Fishbourne Roman Palace by joining their Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can also find details of the events and workshops going on over the Easter and Summer Holidays.

Disclaimer we visited Fishbourne Roman Palace as a day out and the opinions remain ours and have not been altered.
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