Kidzania, Shephard’s Bush
Kidzania in Westfields Mall (Shephard’s Bush) is an oddly fantastic thing to do for both children and adults.
A city shrunk by 2/3, visitors have the opportunity to try out what it’s like to be a pilot, radio DJ, animation artist, policeman, nurse, weatherman, or any number of jobs usually reserved for grown ups.
Having previously seen the Japanese version in a TV show, I rather thought I’d missed the boat being in my 20s (Kidzania is open for 4-14 year olds), and also without kids myself to use as an excuse. However, London has come to my aid in the form of “Adult Evenings” which are proving to be super popular with tourists and locals alike.
Kids can explore this role playing extravaganza most days, but a few nights here and there the doors open for much bigger kids, such as my friend Rachel and myself.
If you do go with little ones, prepare to let them go out into that big wide world without you – though you can watch them from each activity’s viewing windows. The activities are either very hands on or just require a little bit of help here and there. There are activities where you pay “Kidzania dollars” – usually activities which involve food and tasting like the Chocolate Factory. Others you simply earn Kidzania dollars at the end of your shift, like the Hospital.
The same goes for the Adult Lates, you can earn and spend as you go, and to be perfectly honest it was actually really hard to spend the dollars. We just kept earning!
There are obviously activities that are more popular than others. Get in early if you want to have a go at being a Radio DJ or TV Host, or to do with anything edible! Other activities are not quite so oversubscribed – Kidzania are always looking for “Air-Conditioning Technicians.”
I 100% recommend this activity for kids and for adults. I wish there had been something like this for me when I was growing up. It certainly doesn’t feel like work, just a hell of a lot of fun. And most of the stations have the same equipment as you’d find in the real company’s work places! Al Jazeera provided their actual tech for the TV Studio, and Gourmet Burger Kitchen help kids assemble their own burger with special sauce. All in a very safe capacity of course.
Standard Entry Tickets let you in for 4 hours at £18 per child and £8 per adult.
The Adult Evening Ticket costs £30 for 4 hours of fun, and you get a glass of champagne on the way in!