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Ice skating at the Natural History Museum

Yesterday we were very lucky to get to go ice skating at the Swarovski ice rink at the Natural History Museum, London - thanks to my brother Andrew. Pretty - don't ya think? It is opening until January 3, and we would totally recommend it.

We last went skating two years ago - so I wasn't too sure how the kids would manage on the ice - but all three did brilliantly.

We left home early due to the fact that most of the trains aren't running south of East Croydon, very frustrating, but it did mean that the kids got to go on a double-decker bus, a train and the tube.

We had time to spare - but the queue for the Natural History Museum was already "immense" so we strolled round the corner to the Science Museum.

The kids loved it - there are lots of exhibitions on at the moment including Cosmonauts, the Information Age and Aviation. The great thing about the museums is that they are still free to enter, but you can make a donation if you wish.

We had a good 90 minutes in the Science Museum - then headed out to the ice rink, they advise that you arrive 40 minutes early to collect your tickets and skates. There is a cafe and viewing area which non-skaters are welcome to sit in. Now for the fun part!

The ice rink is sponsored by Swarovski, so there were some beautiful crystal ornaments available to buy.

We collected our skates, Fin is a kids size 7/8 - the smallest size they have is an 8 so he used the adjustable skates that attach to your shoes (double bladed) - I also hired two penguins (£5 each) just in case we needed them. You get a 50 minute session on the ice - which was more than enough. We all did well - I didn't fall over! The girls happily skated off on their own, Fin needed a little help from us.

Afterwards we decided to brave the queue to the Natural History Museum, it was now 3pm but I'd guess we queued for over an hour to get in. The line moves pretty quickly, but the volume of people in it was huge - as it tends to be in the school holidays.

We've seen the dinosaur exhibition many times (again a huge queue) so we went straight to look at the mammals - the blue whale is being cleaned at the moment so there is scaffolding up around it, the kids loved looking at all the animals and sea creatures.

Lee did a great angler fish impression too! The last stop was the minerals room and the Vault with precious gems and of course we had to go in the museum shop.

I totally loved being in the museum when it was dark - it's such a beautiful place, one day I think we should do the sleepover under the diplodocus.

Happy New Year everybody - whatever you're doing!

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