I’d like to start this blog by saying that I’ve not been incentivised to write it. We were given complimentary tickets in exchange for my previous post, and I’ve written this purely to capture the day. 

The Good

Kidtropolis The event is held inside East London’s impressive ExCel Centre, which was easy for us to get to on public transport. The DLR stops next to the building, which means no wandering the streets looking lost. 

The best thing about Kidtropolis is that once you’ve paid for your tickets almost everything is free. There are around fifty activities and two live mini-stage shows included in the price. We were also lucky enough to win both ballots, which meant we got a Next Step meet and greet, as well as a dance lesson with their choreographer Amy.

Of course there are extras that cost money – such as food, drinks and merchandise – but there is no obligation to buy any of it. We took food in with us, which saved tons, because it’s expensive once you’re inside. 

Kidtropolis is pegged as the best kids show in the UK, and I can totally see why. I think it’s safe to say that there is something there for all children within their advertised age range of 2-12. I can’t think of anywhere else on earth that it would be possible to meet the Lorax, Darth Vader, Next Step, PAW Patrol and Flawless within the space of a few hours.

As you’d expect the big stars are security protected, but some can be found wandering around chatting to fans. There were lots of opportunities to collect autographs, which is fully anticipated with the back page of the (free) programme being left blank, and marked autographs

The Bad

We had the afternoon session, which ran from 2-6:30pm, and our first live show started at 2:30. This meant dragging the kids away from the fun they were having on the 200ft obstacle course, which they’d all decided to gravitate towards first. It felt rushed, and the stage wasn’t particularly well sign posted, but we got there just before the show started. It was well worth persevering with, because Flawless were absolutely amazing to watch (see next section). 

After the show the children wanted to get autographs and learn some dance moves with them. This meant we got completely distracted and forgot about the dance lesson we had won in the ballot, which started at 3:30. By the time we remembered around 3:45, it was too late to join in. Polly and my friends girl were gutted, and as you can imagine there was lots of mummy guilt for not getting them there on time. 

That wasn’t the only unfortunate event that occurred. About thirty seconds after going inside the Next Step live show at 4:30, Clara said she needed to go to the toilet. As the show was only going to last around 20 minutes, I said to her that we’d run there and run back as fast as we could. It was very dark inside, and whilst running back I tripped over. I was convinced I was fine, until it was pointed out by security that I was covered in blood. Turns out that I’d cut my elbow quite deeply, but thankfully didn’t need any stitches. While I was being patched up by the paramedics, my friend made sure that the girls got to their meet and greet. I arrived just as our party was at the front of the queue, and managed to photobomb the pictures.

The Awesome

Kidtropolis The Flawless live show was nothing short of incredible. The level of coordination and effort that goes into that type of dancing is simply stunning, and a visual smorgasbord to view.

They had a huge mixed age troupe up on stage, and all the children had a turn to dance. Their sheer determination shone, and they were all an utter joy to watch. I didn’t realise that they run a dance school in central London on a Sunday morning, which might be worth checking out at some point.

I’m sure the Next Step show was fab too, if only I’d seen more of it. Polly and my friend’s 9yo were chuffed to bits to meet their idols and be cooed over. Myles signed Polly’s t-shirt and she has plans to put it in a frame so she can worship it.   

I’d say the best part of Kidtropolis was the children getting to make the decisions about where to go and what to do. Properly hanging out with the stars is a huge draw, and will provide them with many happy memories.

Tips for next time 

Kidtropolis I’ve asked myself if I’d go again next year, and would definitely like to if it’s on again. We got the ExCel Centre nice and early, and had the children to write a list of everything they wanted to do and see. In hindsight, I think that six kids aged 3-11 and only two adults was pushing it, because with the best will in the world, balls are going to get dropped. In our case it was the dance lesson. 

There was so much to do that it would have been impossible to get through everyone’s list. I think next time I’d be tempted to have a maximum of two similar aged kids per adult. Unfortunately, when you have to cater for bigger age gaps in general, you’re always going to come across this sort of dilemma.

Older children are perfectly safe to roam around independently, and there are clearly marked meeting points in case anyone gets lost. My friend’s 11yo was in the gaming section for big chunks, but they aren’t security tagged, so if you have a smaller child who likes to run off then you’d have to keep a very close eye on them. 

Overall, it was a fab day out, and we made lots more memories to add to the bank with our dear friends.

Oh, and for anyone that was wondering, my arm is healing up nicely thanks.   

When the folks at Kidtropolis got in touch and asked if I’d like to take the children along to experience their awesome sounding event, I didn’t hesitate to say yes!

What is Kidtropolis 2017 and where is it held?

Kidtropolis is held during the October half term at East London’s ExCel Centre, and is pegged as the UK’s best children’s event. It will be running from Monday to Thursday (23rd to 26th) and will be packed full of TV characters, engaging entertainment and child centred activities. It certainly sounds like a lot of variety under one roof.

In terms of value, once you pay for your tickets, most of the activities are completely free. This is a massive bonus as far as I’m concerned, as there’s nothing worse than turning up to an event you’ve paid good money for only to be constantly fleeced for more cash. There are two time slots which last four and a half hours each – mornings are from 9:30am and afternoons from 2pm.

Kidtropolis 2017

Live Shows and ballots

In addition to all the free activities and workshops, you will get to choose two mini live shows which each last for 15 to 30 minutes. There are fifteen shows, catering for all ages, and you will need to select the ones you’d like when buying your tickets. Check out the live shows page to see the full line up.

Apart from the usual anticipation about going to something she knows will be amazing, there is extra excitement for my eldest daughter Polly bubbling away under the surface. Like many eight year olds, she is completely obsessed with the Next Step, who happen to be one of the main acts at Kidtropolis this year.

As well as everything else going on, Kidtropolis are running weekly ballots for Next Step fans. Lucky winners will either get to have a meet and greet, or a dance lesson with the cast. Best of luck to everyone entering, and fingers crossed for Polly and my friend’s 9yo who will be beside themselves if they get to meet their idols.

Something for everyone

The event is aimed at children up to the age of twelve. There will be six kids in our group, aged from three and a half to eleven, so I’ll be properly putting this to the test. My three have picked out the following experiences as their must visits:

  • The Next Step
  • 200ft inflatable assault course
  • Smart Raspberry cookery school
  • PAW Patrol – meeting Chase
  • Kids Out 
  • Barbie workshop
  • Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Aquabeads
  • Tubers – creating vlogs
  • iCodeRobots
  • Roller Skating 

Tickets are selling out fast

The super early bird tickets are all gone, and early bird tier two (£16.50 each) are almost gone. Book your tickets here, and don’t forget to choose your live shows and enter the ballots.  

Follow Kidtropolis on social media for updates:

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Official Kidtropolis 2017 Trailer

**Disclaimer: we have been given our tickets FOC in exchange for this blog post. For my full disclosure policy, please click here.**