Sunday, 18 August 2013

Our day at Lollibop 2013 in the Olympic Park

My husband is constantly keeping an eye out for a bargain, and a couple of weeks ago he came across tickets for Lollibop 2013 from Little Bird at 50% off. I'd heard good things about Lollibop in the past, and as a bonus it was being held at the Olympic Park in Stratford. We spent a lot of time there last summer, knew that we could get there fairly easily, and were keen to see how the site is looking now, so we snapped up the tickets. We paid £11.75 each, £47 for the four of us.

Lollibop this year ran from Friday 16th August 2013 - Sunday 18th August 2013 and we had tickets for the Saturday. On the Friday night while we were planning our day I spent a bit of time online looking through reviews of the Friday. I became a little worried while looking at the Lollibop Facebook page, because there were a lot of negative reviews up there. It did make us a little apprehensive as to what to expect.

Day at Lollibop 2013

Well I'm pleased to report that we had a really enjoyable day! The children had a fantastic time, and of course that's the main thing. It was very busy naturally, but we are quite used to busy places, and we just avoided the attractions that you had to queue for. This did mean that we didn't really see much of what was going on at the main stage or the smaller stages, but we still found plenty to do to keep the children busy for almost the whole day.

It was a bit of a drive up to London for us, but we found it very easy to park at Westfield Shopping Centre, and it cost us just £5 to park for the day. We arrived early, and after a short walk to the site, which we were expecting, we entered the festival without a queue through the Little Bird lane. It was pretty empty when we arrived, although it did fill up quickly. We headed straight for the middle and started with the Barny Bear tent. They were very generous with the handing out of free cakes, and we passed by quite a lot during the day! There was some colouring for the children, and an interactive wall which Harry could explore using an iPad and headphones, he was fascinated.

Day at Lollibop 2013

We also spent quite a bit of time in the National Geographic tent. Harry coloured in a mask and they both played digging for bones in a big sandpit. There were also some nice activities in the Science Museum tent. We found that there were plenty of crafty activities around the site to keep the children entertained. Many of them were based around colouring in, but that's something that our children love doing and it can keep them busy for a little while. There were no queues at the craft activities, and we just walked straight up. They also decorated a festival scarf by stamping, made pin wheels, decorated rubber ducks and coloured in bunting.

Day at Lollibop 2013

We managed to find some balloon modellers that were just setting up and got Harry in the queue. He had to wait a short while, so I kept Mia entertained in the dance tent next door which she loved, with loud music and energetic dancers showing us the moves. Harry requested a large hat and that's what he got, but I can't say that we were too disappointed to find that it had disappeared when we left the pushchair to go into a tent (I would imagine it was blown away by the wind rather than taken!). In this area Harry also enjoyed throwing wellies around with Shaun the Sheep.

Day at Lollibop 2013

We saw Katy from I Can Cook doing a little show and Andy and Sid from CBeebies doing their thing in the smaller tent. But for some reason Harry was completely freaked out seeing them in real life, so we didn't stop long although plenty of other children were enjoying the shows!

It was a real delight to stop at the sweet Magic Belles tent and have a chat with Maxine, one of the creators of the Magic Belles and a lady that I enjoy chatting to on Twitter. Harry loved colouring in a magical postcard to send to the Magic Belles and posting it in the fairy postbox.

Day at Lollibop 2013

The main queues that we saw were to meet characters. Fortunately ours aren't bothered by that and were quite happy to watch them from a distance rather than needing to go up and meet them. There were also very large queues at the food vans, but luckily we always take our own food, and there was no problem with taking a picnic along.

We did find that most of the entertainment on the main stage was geared around shows that were unfamiliar to us, so we didn't see a lot there. We were keen to see Justin Fletcher but it was very busy, and there was no way that we could get close to the stage at the last minute. We stood at the back and watched for five minutes before the children lost interest. It did look like a fantastic show though for those closer by, Justin certainly knows how to entertain a young audience. We took advantage of many people being in that area to return to the attractions nearer the entrance that we had missed on the way in.

The Lalaloopsy tent was also worth a visit, with more colouring for Harry, a plastic house for Mia to monopolise, and a goody bag with real actual toys in which were a big hit when we got home. They also absolutely loved the Happy Hopperz out for them to bounce around on.

We spent a good amount of time in the Lego Duplo tent, where my children are very happy to spend ages playing with a big box of Duplo, despite having plenty at home! We also queued for five minutes for the Little Tikes area, which they loved. There was a selection of cars, play houses and so on for small groups to play in at a time in a very well organised system. With hindsight, we should have gone here first, as it was one of their favourite areas. They also loved the WOW toys tent opposite, with lots of smaller toys out for them to play with.

Day at Lollibop 2013

We were in the Baby Annabelle enclosure nearby playing with dolls just as the rain started, and by a lucky chance there was a show just starting in the Toddler Sense tent next door. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the day, an interactive, singing and dancing experience for little ones which they both loved, even though Harry is really at the top end of the age range.

By this time it was around 4.30pm, the wind had picked up and although the rain had passed it was getting quite chilly. Both children were tired and it was still quite busy, so we decided to call it a day. I couldn't drag my husband away from Westfield though without a stop at Franco Manca for some of the delicious pizza which we discovered last year.

A lot of what made our day so enjoyable was that both children were impeccably behaved, excited to be there and not bothered about the things that they missed out on. It was a real delight to take them out, and I was almost sad to put them to bed when we got home (and that's not something I say very often!). I find it a lot easier taking toddlers out than babies, and it's a good sign for the future that these days out are becoming a bit less of a mission.

We didn't spent any money at Lollibop apart from the cost of our ticket, and I think that our tickets represented good value. Full price is expensive, and it does add up especially as only babies under 1 year are free. I'd love to go again, and we'll certainly look out for the reduced tickets next year.

Here's what some other bloggers thought of Lollibop 2013:

New Mum Online
Family Four Fun

Have you written about Lollibop 2013? Put your link in the comments and I'll add you here!

14 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to read that you had a good time and it was lovely to see you again (without sweaty Snowdon conquering walking socks on!)
    The parking at Westfield sounds really reasonable - makes me wish I had driven up!
    We picnicked too - it's the way to go !

    Thanks for the mention lovely lady x

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    1. Lovely to see you too! Parking at Westfield was definitely the way to go for us, very reasonable. It was still a bit of a drive but by leaving early we avoided most of the traffic, on the way there at least!

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  2. We went on Friday and had a brilliant time too - I found the queues were bad for us around lunchtime and for meet & greets but otherwise you could do most things without having to wait for long - I really enjoyed it.
    I've had worse experiences too - queueing for an entire Bjorn Again set at Reading for the toilets, for example - Lollibop was a breeze!

    I wish we'd got everything done we wanted to - we missed the science and National Geographic bits and only stopped for 30 minutes for food - I've always thought Fridays are the best days for Festivals - there's less people :-)

    jo

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed it too. Lunchtime was very busy, I was glad that we had brought our own food. There was no queue at all for the toilets which was great!

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  3. We went to Westfield Stratford too.
    Aaron was well behaved apart from 3 incidents. A tussle with a girl in Lego Duplo, but then they kept trying to play together after and a melt down when he had to get off a car at Tikes Town, but then we just queued up again and went on there a total of 7 times.
    We didn't do any stage stuff - we took the lead from him and spent the day following him and he wasn't attracted to any of the stages.
    I've also reviewed it.
    Liska x

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    1. 7 times on Little Tikes is amazing! I really wish that we had discovered the area earlier, although there wasn't a massive queue when we were there it was towards the end of our day and the children were getting too tired to want to wait again.

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  4. We've just got back. Ours liked the science and national geographic tent. In my opinion it's fine for the little bird price but not full price. We came from visiting my inlaws so had to buy food, and I would definitely bring a picnic if I went again. Great Review x

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    1. The Science and National Geographic tents were good because there were a few more different activities there, I must admit that a lot of the crafts were based around colouring in. Glad that you had a nice time!

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  5. This is a great review. Despite hearing lots of mentions about it, I didn't actually know that much about Lollibop - I hadn't really looked in to it as we couldn't have gone this year and I thought Thomas may be a bit young. I did think it was mainly Cbeebies related too, and since Thomas only watches Thomas and Friends, thtpat wouldn't be a big seller. So it's fantastic to realise that there is so much more to it. I think I will definitely look out for special offer tickets next year!

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    1. Thank you! I think that it is probably more suitable for younger ones, mine are 2 and 4 and there was plenty to keep the 2 year old entertained. Although the CBeebies presenters were there, there was a lot for older children too I think. I hope that you manage to get there next year!

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  6. Many thanks again for popping by the Magic Belles Fairy Post Office with adorable Harry! It was so fab to meet you both. Thank you for your kindness in mentioning us - I don't think visitors realised that I'm actually one of the creators of the Magic Belles as well as tweeting (the other creator was giving stickers out at the front of the tent), so it means such a lot that you enjoyed it. First ever event like this, too! :-)) Thank you xxx

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    1. It was lovely to meet you, and we did really enjoy it! I hope to see you again at another event soon :)

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  7. Sounds like you and the children had a lovely day! Thanks for the mention :)

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  8. Lovely write up, we just went with the flow and had an amazing day too, like you my children didn't seem upset by what we couldn't do but just set off to look at something else instead xx

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