Family travel in London - Avengers Exhibition, Cable Car, The O2 and Sky Studios

Our eldest son recently turned 5 and to celebrate we had a family day in London - We've got 2 big superhero fans, so we bought a family ticket to the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N interactive exhibition at The Excel - even though our youngest is under 4 so technically didn't need to pay, a family ticket for 4 actually worked out cheaper for us (£67.20 for our family ticket of 2 adults and 2 children, as opposed to £71.68 had we just purchased 2 adult and 1 child ticket - you'll need to do your own sums on whether this works for you, but even making such a small saving I was happy!). 

The exhibition itself is a pop-up style event on the outside of The Excel, and having booked the earliest slot of 11am, we really didn't have to wait at all - it wasn't nearly as busy as I thought it would be in the middle of the school Easter holidays. After a bag check and ticket scan we were ushered into a room full of screens to watch the initiation video - this being MARVEL, it's very American (if you've ever been to the theme parks in Florida you'll know what I mean), but it was quite exciting for us and the kids.

After this part you move into the main exhibition itself - it's interactive in most parts, you can control an on screen life size version of the Hulk, you can sit on Captain America's motorcycle (Yes, of course I did!), there are ants scuttling around the floor near the Ant Man attraction (my kids loved chasing them as did the other younger children there) and there are various other bits and bobs such as video games and then an interactive end game before you're ushered into the gift shop, which is of course pretty standard in these types of places.

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Is it worth it? Well, it's fun, and for older kids or people hugely into the Avengers it probably is, but for younger ones who just love any superhero, it's fairly pricey and it doesn't take long to get around - I reckon we were in there for less than an hour - I like superhero films so I enjoyed it, but there could have been lots more interactive things to do for the ticket price. Some of the things were kept behind enclosed areas so you could look but not touch - not ideal for younger children and their need to touch everything, but it was a birthday treat and if you or your kids are into this stuff you'd definitely enjoy it. Would I run out to do it again, no probably not, but as a one-off it was a good thing to do for a while.

To make it worth the extortionate parking fee at Excel (£20 flat rate for 24 hours, which isn't bad if you're actually staying 24 hours but there's no option to pay less to stay less so pricey for a day out), we decided to hop on the DLR directly outside Excel and go 2 stops to Royal Victoria to hop on the Emirates Air Line Cable car over the river to the O2 - top tip, it costs slightly less for a return journey (£5 per adult) if you show your event ticket from the Excel, rather than pay on your Oyster card but you have to get them from the ticket office.


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The views on the cable car of Canary Wharf, The O2, The river and across London are pretty unrivalled and we got an amazing day for it, so could see for miles. The kids loved it, and it made for some nice pictures. If you want to get South of the river anywhere in this vicinity I'd definitely say it's worth getting to the cable car and using it, just for the experience (I haven't been on it since it opened for the London Olympics so it was great to take the kids with us this time).

We walked around to the O2 for lunch at Pizza Express (always an easy option for us with 2 kids and 1 vegan adult because we're all catered for so easily) - if you've never been or haven't been in a while, it's not just open for events, there's numerous restaurants and shops in there, along with the Sky Studios experience so worth going in for a look around.

After lunch we took the kids to the free Sky Studios area (yes it really is free) and although our 2 were a little bit young for it, they had a go at reading the news, used the ipads in the kids area on the top floor and jumped straight into the egg chairs up there. You can do a couple of other things too, and they record your bits for you, give you a code to scan and you can download at home, again for free, so if you've got older kids who fancy reading the news then this would definitely interest them for half an hour or so.

After that the kids (and us) were suitably knackered so we made our return journey via cable car back to the Excel to pick up the car and head home, the kids were sparko within about 5 minutes.

In all it was a fun day out, and if you skipped the exhibition it would be relatively cheap just to do the cable car and the O2/Sky studios and even have a walk along the river at Royal Victoria - particularly good if you want to avoid central London or you happen to be over in that direction.