Sky Studios at the O2 London

This summer we found ourselves in London looking for something to do and decided to try out the new FREE Sky Studios experience in the O2.

sky studios

The Sky Studios experience is easy to find at the main entrance to the venue, and is open for anyone visiting to enjoy. This one is not just for little kids, but the BIG ones can join in too! It didn’t take long before the boy and Dad were having a go at football skills. I must say there was no chance of me kicking a football that high, but both the boys had a good try. There are fun prizes if you do score a goal, or even three.

Football at sky studios

Next we tried out the basketball, and to our surprise (but not his) the boy scored three baskets in a row. The boy was rewarded with a Sky Water bottle, which he was very proud of, and plans to take to school with him. Both Dad and I managed one basket, not bad, it was great fun trying, but no plans of becoming sporting stars for us!

basketball at the Sky studios

Next we headed into the Sky Studios, where you can get involved in some other sporting activities. You have the chance to voice your very own news article,  pose for a winning photo, all which you can download from the website when you get home.

sky studios experience

We all enjoyed having a go at Golf, none of us could get near the green. Racing Formula one cars was fun, and playing football was ok. Our only disappointment was that the boy couldn’t race on the bikes as they were for over 16’s only. We did all love seeing how quick our reaction times were. It looks easy simply hitting buttons as they light up, but this was more of a challenge than we expected.

sport at the sky studios

We had a great time at the Sky Studios experience, and the boy would only have enjoyed it more if there had been some fencing for everyone to try out!

reading the news at sky studios

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I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I have been paid expenses and supplied with a product sample for this review but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

 

Battle Abbey, East Sussex

We were really thrilled to be chosen by NetMums to help them review some of the English Heritage properties over the summer. Our first assignment was Battle Abbey in East Sussex. The boy has been pestering me ever since his school topic of knights to take him to a castle, Battle Abbey is not quite a castle, but the boy didn’t seem to mind.

So on Sunday we set off, the sun was shining and it turned out to be the perfect day.
It took about one and a half hours for us to get to Battle, and another 10 to find our way around the road block! Yes we had managed to choose the day that they shut off the High Street in Battle for a soap box race. This only added to the interest, but the boy was so excited about the Abbey, that we didn’t watch for long.

I was very impressed with the parking as it was right next to the Abbey entrance, and I though was very reasonable, as a member you pay £1 for the day! and even non members only paid £3.50 if you went inside the attraction.
It costs £7.80 for adults and £4.70 for children or you can buy a family ticket for £20.30 to enter the Abbey.

We weren’t sure what to expect, as we had never been to an English Heritage site before, and I think we were all pleasantly surprised!

The gatehouse to the Abbey is very impressive, just like that of a proper castle with turrets and arrow slit windows, and once inside we were given our audio guides. (These are included in your entrance fee) The audio guides are small radios that you can hold to your ear, and you punch in numbers from the information boards and are told a story.

The first building that you enter is a modern one with a café and toilets, here you start your journey back in time with an illustrative corridor. The boy was pleased that the plague was on there, as he is now and expert after our visit to York Dungeons. Stepping down a twisting staircase (or a lift) to the lower floor, you can watch a short film all about the battle of 1066, and how the events changed Britain forever. There are interactive exhibits and displays of armour that you can touch. We played a video type game to see how long it took the English army to march to Battle and meet the Norman invaders. The boy enjoyed this, but was keen to get going and listen to his audio guide.

We set off from the building listening to our audio guides, it turned out the boy’s one was slightly different to ours, more horrible history’s. The next part of the tour is all outside, and on such a beautiful day was a lovely stroll through a small wooded area before we went out into the battle fields. There are lots of information stops, and some very interesting facts along the way. Sadly part of the walk was closed (due to reseeding work) so we were directed a shorter route up the hill. You still got the feel for the great battle, and we decided later we all learnt something walking in our ancestors footsteps.

Once back at the top of the hill, the feeling changes as you step into the ruins of the Abbey. Here you learn about the monks that lived there 100 years after the battle took place. You can see beautiful vaulted ceilings, and hear how they would have lived. There is not much of the original building remaining, but still enough to give you an idea of the size. You can stand on the Altar stone where Harold is believed to have been killed, and the boy decided this moment needed to be rein-acted for us!

After a spot of picnic lunch, in a lovely cool wooded area, and a cup of tea from the café the boy decided we needed to do it all again! So we picked up a new audio guide and set off, this time he had an adult guide, and he said that it was the same story just longer words!

I can safely say that we all gained something from our visit. Dad and I learnt some facts that we didn’t know before, and the boy learnt about a part of important British history. I asked the boy what he thought, and he very kindly let me video his answer, so you can see for yourself.

I would say if you visit this site, it is more suited to older children who perhaps have an interest in history, or a good attention span. There are also lots of steps, and obviously this can be quite a hilly site, but English Heritage have done their best to accommodate all abilities with shorter and less sloping routes. It is a beautiful part of the country, and a lovely walk of about 30/40 minutes, although could be a little less fun in the rain! There is a large and impressive building in the middle of the site, but this is a private school and not open to the public. Finally there is a Museum, and shop for those souvenirs!

The boy chose a ruler that listed all the kings and queens of England “The Ruler of England” I liked the pun!
When we got home from our epic adventure I think we all agreed it had been a lovely day, and hopefully the first of a few days out over the summer.


We were given a pass to get into this attraction by Netmums as well as our travel expenses, the opinions remain ours and have in no way been changed or altered.