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A Day Out With The Wizard of Oz

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With schools preparing to finish for the summer holidays, families are always on the lookout for that special treat. So we took the opportunity to try out a day in London from the North East, with two children (ages 9 and 11), taking in a top West End show and returning without feeling totally worn out.

Train seems the obvious choice to reach London in around three hours, but with a bit of forward planning air travel is not only cost effective, but adds to the whole experience. Newcastle International Airport provides many facilities for children and is easily accessible by Metro or car. With both BA and Flybe serving the capital from Newcastle, we chose the 9.40 Saturday flight arriving in Terminal 5 just after eleven o’clock. A short walk in the Terminal gave us the choice of the Heathrow Express or Underground in to central London. We picked the Underground, and in just over fifty minutes from leaving Terminal 5 we were standing in Piccadilly Circus without changing trains. Our 9 year old even travelled free for the day.

A stroll up Regent Street brought us to the world famous Hamleys Toy Shop, our first stop. After exploring all the floors it was only a short walk to the London Palladium, the world’s most famous Theatre, to see the incredible new production of The Wizard Of Oz.

Danielle Hope won the role of Dorothy on the BBC hit prime time TV show, Over The Rainbow, so she is instantly recognisable to children. But even the “alternate” Dorothy is a runner up in the show, so there is an immediate familiarity for the youngsters. But for me it was stage and TV legend Michael Crawford, playing the Wizard (as well as a few other parts) in his return to stage after a few years away that added to the experience. The show itself is spell binding, spectacular and great family entertainment, which is sadly all too rare these days. As well as many eye popping special effects, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice have added some new songs to the musical to assist the transformation from film to stage. These special effects, combined with scenery that spins out of the floor, the witch dropping from the roof and hanging just a few feet above the stalls, means there is plenty going on for adults and children alike. Of course everyone watches Dorothy’s dog, Toto, who steals every scene he is in and helps make the Wizard of Oz a great family show.

Following The Wizard of Oz, there was time to revisit Hamleys, or do some site seeing, Hamleys won! Before catching the tube back to Terminal 5 to relax with a drink and bite to eat before the return flight North. We were back home by 10.30 p.m. having had a great stress free day out and a treat the children will remember for a long time.

There was just one question on everyone’s mind, when can we do it again!


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