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Wowcher at the Theatre: The Railway Children

“Try to imagine it as an adventure, all sorts of things might happen.”

E.E. Nesbitt, The Railway Children


That The Railway Children should be brought to life anywhere other than King’s Cross seems unimaginable, but even more unimaginable is how well the space at the King’s Cross Theatre plays host to the story, over a century after its initial publication. A staple of family Christmases and sick days, the charm and nostalgia of the story come together in a truly poignant production, adapted for the stage by Mike Kenny and directed by Damian Cruden.


The stage is set from the first moment you enter the theatre, right next to King’s Cross station itself, with the foyer transported back in time to the 1900s complete with platform signs and a Victorian-style sweet shop. The audience is directed to their seats on either Platform One or Two, either side of the incredible moving stage that lines the centre of the space. From the beginning it’s a truly immersive experience, with characters in the fabulous suits, top hats and smart dresses of the period wandering the space, greeting the excited audience. The exposed workings of a functional station, as well as the dangling lightbulbs casting a dusty orange glow, make you feel you’re really part of the story – somehow it even smells like smoke and oil. King’s Cross nowadays might be all cross commuters, but the magic of the railway is very much alive here.


For those unfamiliar with the story, Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis are three siblings transposed into poverty when their father disappears. At their new home in the North, Three Chimneys, they meet all sorts of new characters and predictably get up to all sorts of hijinks, mostly centred around the railway itself. Brought energetically to life by Serena Manteghi, Jack Hardwick and Louise Calf – all adult actors playing children – their naivety and innocence mean the darker elements of the story never dull the mood. The moving parts of the stage and the actual steam engine that appears, almost a character itself, keep the thrills up even when things aren’t looking so good for the family.


Complete with engaging supporting characters and some laugh-out-loud moments, this is as impressive a way to spend an afternoon as you’ll find in London. Its underlying values of kindness to strangers could melt the heart of even the most cynical person, and, well, we all know how it ends. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

For the chance to see top shows such as Memphis starring Beverley Knight and Matt Cardle, Dusty, the new multi-media ‘fusion musical’ based on Dusty Springfield’s life, and the spine-chilling Woman in Black for a fraction of the price, make sure you keep checking!

Please note: All deals featured may not be live.

Wowcher Gets Weird @ Ripley’s Believe It or Not!


Here at Wowcher, we’re fans of the wonderfully weird, the beautifully bizarre and the just plain peculiar. We can’t wait to head down to Somerset to wander through Banksy’s ‘bemusement park’, we’re desperate to try KFC’s new pink burger buns, and hell, we were even on board with green ketchup. So, as a special end of summer treat, I was sent off to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (courtesy of Buyagift), the world’s largest Ripley’s museum, to marvel at the very best of the world’s wackiest artefacts and interactive exhibits.

Ripley’s Warehouse complete with a life size woolen Ferrari, because what warehouse is complete without a car made out of your jumper?

Ripley’s Warehouse complete with a life size woolen Ferrari. What warehouse is complete without a car made out of your jumper?

You start on the fifth floor (because starting on the first floor is for losers) where you stroll through Ripley’s Warehouse, a cluttered room filled with everything you can possibly imagine. There’s a suit made out of duct tape, a giant wooden chair, a mechanical dinosaur, a life-size woollen Ferrari, and even (what I hope was a replica of) an eight-legged Siamese calf. One thing’s for sure, if Robert Ripley was born half a century later, he’d definitely be featured on an episode of Hoarders.

Old McDonald had a farm EIEIO, and on that farm he had a roaring mechanical dinosaur and an eight-legged Siamese calf…EIEIO.

Old McDonald had a farm EIEIO, and on that farm he had a roaring mechanical dinosaur and an eight-legged Siamese calf…EIEIO.

As well as being a cartoonist, an entrepreneur and quite possibly a hoarder, Robert Ripley was also an amateur anthropologist, and this is pretty evident when you enter the Hall of Exotica. Other than your run-of-the-mill mummified Egyptian hand and a self-deformed Peruvian skull, you can also find some Amazonian shrunken heads and decorated cannibal skulls…

Would you believe me if I told you this was a really tiny person sitting on a normal sized chair?

Would you believe me if I told you this was a really tiny person sitting on a normal sized chair?

Art is also a big feature, but you won’t find any oil paintings or water colour portraits here! What you can find is a portrait of Michael Jackson made entirely out of candy, and one of Whitney Houston made out of the inside of a cassette tape, because, why not? This was something I found myself saying a lot. ‘What’s this? A coffin shaped like a giant eagle? Yeah, why not?’

Giant eagle coffin. Please note, this is how I want to be buried…

Giant eagle coffin. Please note, this is how I want to be buried…

You don’t merely stare at the artefacts at Ripley’s, there’s plenty for you to touch and get involved with, too. Pop your head and torso through a special table that makes it look like you’ve got no legs, enter into a room that makes it look as though you’ve doubled in size and see if you can make it through the Hall of Mirrors without face-planting your mirror image. The visit ends with a laser race, where you’ve got to get through a room of lasers in the fastest time possible, without touching them and setting off the alarm. I dominated this section. I don’t like to brag, but have you ever seen Entrapment? I was basically Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Getting absolutely legless…

Getting absolutely legless…

If I were to list every single thing I saw, we’d be here for a while, and I’ve got to go catch up on Bake Off, so I’ll leave you with this sentiment: the exhibits at Ripley’s were so extraordinary that, at times, I wasn’t sure if Ripley’s was playing fast and loose with the word ‘genuine’, causing me to suffer a bit of an existential crisis mid-way through my visit (‘Is this a real shrunken head? What is real? Am I real?’). But whether I was looking at the real thing or a replica, the story behind it was true, and this reminded me of one thing that no one can dispute: the world we live in is wonderfully weird and filled with extraordinarily exceptional people, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

For great discounts on tickets to Ripley’s, keep an eye on

Please note – deals featured may not be live.

Wowcher gets high with Virgin at Bristol International Balloon Festival!

Friday AM Flight - View

Nestled in the rolling Somerset countryside, every year the picturesque Ashton Court plays host to The Bristol International Balloon Festival – Europe’s largest hot air balloon event. And this year, a few Wowcher elves were lucky enough to be among the visitors!

This year’s festival, the 37th annual event, proved to be a record-breaking spectacular, with around 500,000 turning out across four days to see seven mass ascents up into the sun-kissed skyline. We’re told that thanks to the glorious weather, it was in fact the first time in the festival’s history that all seven scheduled flights were able to go ahead. Just goes to show you can always count on the great British summertime – perfect weather conditions at just the 37th time of asking…

But these brave Wowcher elves weren’t just spectators – oh no, this year we got the chance to slip the surly bonds of earth and take to the skies for real! After all, what better way to drink in the breathtaking British countryside than in a hot air balloon?

At first, the thought of being suspended hundreds of feet above the earth in a basket, was, well, a wee bit unnerving. But speaking to our pilot, Virgin Balloon Flights’ very-own Mark Simmons, our, shall we say, anxieties were quickly allayed. A veteran of the skies, having flown all over the world (once with Richard Branson himself), Mark said the event was one of his favourite places to fly. And if he can be trusted to ferry around one of the world’s most beloved billionaires, we knew we must be in pretty good hands.


With typical Virgin panache, our balloon was of course among the most spectacular sights at the fiesta. Ascending alongside other balloons of all shapes and sizes, the iconic red balloon you’ve likely seen a hundred times gliding across the skyline must have looked pretty cool from down below. Other balloons at the fiesta included none other than a giant Minion (those things are everywhere nowadays) and even the event’s famous Power Ranger balloons. As much as children at the event may have been thrilled to see the Despicable Me franchise’s favourite sidekick ascend, it’s nothing compared to our thrill at seeing some genuine Mighty Morphin’ heroes take to the skies. Naturally, the theme song was stuck in our head for the rest of the day. Not quite the soundtrack to stunning aerial views of the countryside we had in mind at the beginning of the day, but never mind, eh?

View of Bristol

Speaking of children, the fiesta also featured a very special guest – Peppa Pig! Joining the team at the Virgin Balloons exhibitors stand, everybody’s favourite cheeky piggy was on hand for photo opportunities and was even handing out hot air balloon goodie bags to her fans. Speaking to Peppa herself, we enquired if she’d be getting up in an air balloon on the day. She replied “When pigs fly!” much to our confusion. Only kidding, although she did say, “it’s snout my style”. Kidding again. Peppa in fact used to have a fear of flying, she’s cured now though…

Peppa pig

Nothing less than an unforgettable day of high-flying fun and spectacular views, a flight with Virgin Balloons is really something you have to experience first-hand to believe. If you haven’t booked with Wowcher yet, now’s a good time – you don’t want this experience to fly straight over your head!

Rock n’ Roll Cricket: The NatWest T20 Blast

I tend to think that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on earth – certainly greater than sex, although sex isn’t too bad either” – Harold Pinter

When it comes to the UK’s favourite summer sport, we all have our preconceptions. For you, cricket might conjure up images of neatly creased and ironed white kit, dappled sunlight on freshly cut grass, a rosy red ball to match the ruddy cheeks of the players, and the familiar thud of leather on willow. You might think of a gentle summer’s day enjoyed in leisurely style, as spectators and players alike break for tea to tuck into cucumber sandwiches and real ale. Well, prepare to have your notions of sleepy, boring cricket smashed. The grand old sport has entered the 21st century with an explosive short-form game known as Twenty20. And what with Wowcher offering tickets to see the Birmingham Bears in action, we thought we’d help you swot up on just what you’re missing!

Fun for all the family
As with everything, cricket moved with the times to appeal to younger audiences. Twenty20 cricket offers an evening or afternoon (of manageable length – no three-to-five day marathons here!) that is exciting and fun for everyone aged 1-101. Certainly no longer the preserve of foppish posh boys with bouncy hair, Twenty20 matches showcase just how fun the sport can be, offering great quality entertainment for all the family at an affordable price.

cricket3 Read more

Wowcher Does a Cocktail Making Class @ Dice Bar

We sent Emily to Dice Bar for a marvellous cocktail making class, where she learnt how to mix, shake and stir like a master…

Though I thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly) enjoy drinking them, the klutz in me has ensured I steer clear of actually making cocktails at all costs. Tragically, I lack the coordination and flair needed to successfully create such tasty, beautiful beverages – or so I thought!

Off I trotted to Dice Bar in central Croydon to try my hand at cocktail making. I was impressed the moment I stepped inside the modern and stylish bar, but things were only going to get better. Within seconds of sitting down, I was given a shot of Apple Sourz and presented with a dish of curly fries, nachos, deep fried chicken balls and more. This was my sort of evening. I was then handed the drinks menu to peruse so I could pick which two cocktails I wanted to make. Porn Star Martini? Long Island Iced Tea? Bahama Mama? Piña Colada? The choice was almost enough to send someone as indecisive as me over the edge, but I eventually plumped for the Mojito and Strawberry Daiquiri, whilst my guest for the evening opted for the Mai Tai and Amaretto Sour. After a chat with the friendly mixologist it was time to get down to business, so I tentatively ventured around the other side of the bar and hoped for the best.

I needn’t have worried as the mixologist had the patience of a saint, taking me through the process step by step. So with a little lime juice, a lot of rum, some soda water, sprigs of mint and a hell of a lot of shaking, my Mojito was ready! I became further acquainted with the cocktail shaker when making my Strawberry Daiquiri (topped off with an orange lolly pop), and then it was time to sit back and enjoy my creations as I watched my companion attempt an Amaretto Sour. Whilst slurping down our cocktails (which were delicious, if I do say so myself), we played a game of ‘guess the vodka flavour’ with our mixologist. The flavours ranged from honey and jalapeño to chocolate raspberry and coconut. Delish! After we ensured there wasn’t a drop left in our glasses, it was sadly time to head home. I’d learned two things that evening at Dice Bar. Firstly, it’s a fantastic bar with even better drinks and staff, and secondly, I am, as it turns out, a cocktail-making extraordinaire.

To try a cocktail making class for yourself at a great price, keep an eye on!

Please note – all deals featured may not be live

Wowcher Does On The List!

Fancy hitting the hottest show in town without having to worry about whether or not your name’s on the list? We know we do. So, we decided to check out OTL (On the List, darling) and have a peek at their exclusive online subscription – the service where for the price of an annual fee you can help yourself to tickets to some of London’s biggest and brightest events at the best locations. Theatre, comedy clubs, gigs, you name it baby! Having donned our shades, put our purses away and perfected our best ‘I’m on the list’ drawl, we decided to give the celeb lifestyle a go…

Fan of funny? Course you are. Well, except when you’re stood outside a Soho club without a ticket and are forced to a) accept defeat and trudge home dejected or b) accept defeat and check out the dodgy pub round the corner. Well, that’s where OTL had us covered. We headed down, grabbed ourselves a couple of tickets with no fuss and plonked our bums down for a night of laugh out loud entertainment!

The fanciest of all things to do in London town, we figured we’d have to up our game if we were going to blend in with our next fancy crowd of culture vultures. So, with our best tea-drinking pinkies flexed and our tiny posh binocular things hand-bagged we decided to go West with a board-treading thespian extravaganza. In amongst the dancing, prancing and stunning mise-en-scène in the third act, we felt we felt a profound cultural awakening wash over us, imbuing our very souls with an insatiable and mystical wonder for the arts. Shame they didn’t sell popcorn, though.

Perhaps a sweat-drenched, raucous gig is more our cup of tea (three sugars, love), so we figured why not? Thanks to OTL, we rocked up in the rider (or took the tube, whatever), resisted the temptation to nonchalantly purr ‘we’re with the band’ and strolled in. It was an experience euphoric enough to stop us from wondering: ‘is that warm beer that’s just been chucked at the back of my head or something else?’ To put it simply, it was great. You know how Kate Moss probably feels when she strides casually into a music venue like the biggest superstar this end of the catwalk? Well, we’d have to say it was the closest to that feeling we could get. Except better – we didn’t have to go in on Pete Doherty’s pasty, unwashed arm, for one.

Where and what were these exclusive events you ask? Well if you knew that, you’d be as big an A-lister as we are. You’ll just have to check out OTL’s exclusive membership for yourself…

Please note – deals featured may not be live.

Wowcher Does a Vintage Photoshoot @ Belgravia Studios, Victoria

In search of a quirky new look, my friend and I ditched our usual work attire in favour of 1950s glamour and a whole load of scarlet lippie! On arrival at Belgravia Studios in Victoria, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect – would we suit our retro makeover? How would we take to life in front of the camera? Luckily we had no reason to worry, as we were greeted with a glass of bubbly on arrival (the best way to be greeted, in our opinion!) and introduced to our hair and makeup stylist for the day. We were given the opportunity to request a specific look or style, but we decided to let our stylists take creative control – a short while (and lashings of eyeliner) later, we were rocking a look Marilyn Monroe herself would have been proud of! With glossy red lips, smoky black eyes, victory rolls and curly locks, we were feeling fabulous and beginning to wish we’d been born fifty years before our time! Read more

Wowcher Does Old Macdonald’s Farm

An on that farm he had a...HORSE
The summer holidays may be coming to a close, but there’s always time for a fun family day out! Like the children’s nursery rhyme, which no doubt is going round and round in your head as you read this, Old MacDonald sure does have a farm. It’s based in Brentwood (yes, home of TOWIE), just off the M25, so, with one excited 5-year-old, a car full of snacks and our wowchers in hand, we headed over there to see what all the fuss is about.

Unlike the nursery rhyme, however, this award-winning farm not only has cows, pigs and sheep, but a whole host of unusual animals, such as alpacas, a wallaby and even some reindeer! Much to the amusement of our little boy, the farm has a “traffic light” system, whereby a red label means you can’t touch or feed the animals, amber means you can touch with caution, and green means you can touch and feed them. Off he went, shouting out the colours excitedly as we explored the pens, pointing out the animals he recognised such as guinea pigs, rabbits and even an owl or two.

Old MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O

Old MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O

As soon as we turned the corner and saw the giant inflatable bouncy slides, trampolines, and tractor ride, his eyes widened even further and he was off again. A particular favourite was the helter-skelter, where the kids form an “orderly queue”, collect a sack and then climb the stairs to face the swirly slide at the top. Plus, he also loved the Wacky Worm Roller Coaster and the Happy Horses Pony Adventure Ride! And don’t fret – even if the weather is grey and miserable, your kids won’t be when they see the indoor Battle Barn, with a colourful soft play area full of slides, ropes and bridges, plus brilliant ball games to keep them entertained for hours. It’s right next to the restaurant, so mums and dads will be happy too.

And on that farm he had some...RIDES.

And on that farm he had some…RIDES.

Open until November, and then again for the Christmas holidays, Old MacDonald’s Farm is enjoyable for little kids, big kids (and even kids of the goat variety) and you can rest assured that the activities are well-maintained and manned where necessary for ultimate safety too.

The only way is Old MacDonald’s Farm! So look out for tickets here!

Wowcher Does Celebrity Planet’s Jack The Ripper Tour

East London hasn’t always been flooded with fixie bikes, craft ale-dipped ironic beards and vegan cafes, you know. It was once a much more sinister place…

Once upon a time the East End was in fact full of what historians now officially term ‘dodgy geezers’. Now we’re not just referring to loveable rogues in the mould of Del Boy, the Kray Twins or even Harry Redknapp. No, east London in fact has a rich and particularly fiendish history of full blown naughty goings on. None more infamous than Jack the Ripper. Undeterred by the thought of being caught by the ghoulies, we decided to check out the Celebrity Planet’s Ripper Walk to get closer to the capital’s most gory mystery… Read more

Great Scot!

On the 18th September, Scotland will cast their votes on whether they want to grab Alex Salmond’s jam-covered carrot or remain in the sweaty arms of David Cameron. Here at Wowcher we don’t judge, if you sell your vote on eBay, we don’t mind. We love Scotland and we just want her to be happy.

We’re not gonna lie, when Alan Hansen left Match of the Day, we lost something we never thought we had. The word ‘diabolical’ would never be so beautifully uttered by anyone else, certainly not by Shearer or Lawrenson. In the words of Joni Mitchell, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’ so let’s celebrate Scotland in all its tartan wonder, whether or not they decide to go independent on September 18th.

Apart from feral goats in the highlands and news stories about men with their heads stuck in bins, Scotland is to be loved for many reasons. If you’re not sure why then thistle clear things up: Read more