The Gingerbread City is an annual exhibition, now in its fourth year, organised by Museum of Architecture. Its aim is to connect the public with architecture in an exciting way, and spark important conversations around cities and how we live in them, we have compiled our top five reasons why you need to visit this exhibition with children.
See London in gingerbread form
Possibly the sweetest festive exhibition around. The Gingerbread City at Somerset House sees over 100 leading architects, engineers and designers swap their usual tools for gingerbread and a lot of sugary building materials. The result? An impressively detailed futuristic city that is colourful, playful and smells good enough to eat. Expect to find familiar London landmarks with a twist like Victoria Sponge Palace as well as an imagined London of the future with impressive looking high rise buildings, homes, bridges, an urban ginger beach (complete with sunbathing ginger folk) a university, stadium, park and a ferry terminal. There is also a little children’s nook where they can climb underneath and become part of the action – getting a unique 360 view of life in a gingerbread metropole.
Chase a train around the gingerbread model city
This year’s mini-city explores the theme of ‘transport’ with top architects, engineers and designers using their and baking genius to create a gingerbread-based urban landscape that explores new ways of moving around our densely populated cities. There’s boats, roads and pedestrians. And of course there is a train involved which carries jelly-beans throughout the city. We chased this down a number of times (the toddler chasing the train, me chasing the toddler) and he still managed to steal a couple of jelly beans on the way!.But we don’t advise you to do the same.
Feel like Hansel and Gretel
The gingerbread house that the wicked witch from the story lived in has nothing on this imaginary mini metropolis. But I now understand the attraction the two children must have felt as the aroma of gingerbread wafts through the air making it that much harder not to touch (or lick or bite). So make sure you and your little Londoners are not hungry when you are visiting. A visit to the Gingerbread City is a great way to introduce kids to the famous Hansel and Gretel story and also to contemplate whether this might be the story that made gingerbread such a Christmassy tradition?
Build your own gingerbread house
Festive family gingerbread house-making workshops take place every day during the exhibition, so you can have a go at creating and decorating your own version of a futuristic house, train station or skyscraper. I was a little anxious about trying this with a two year old but we both had loads of fun (and munched away through some of the decorating building materials like smarties and jelly sweets). In fact a corner There are also vegetarian options and the houses are wrapped up so you can take them away at the end and gift them to family members or enjoy munching them in the comfort of your own home. Click here to find out more.
Get the festive feels at Somerset House
Somerset House is very festive this time of year, so take some time to wander around the beautiful premises, older children can glide on the ice rink at Skate at Somerset House, enjoy some of the live music on offer, seasonal shopping and delicious food and drink.
Exhibition cost is £9 for adults and £7 for kids with under 3s going free. Gingerbread House workshops start at £35. For more information and to book on to the workshops and exhibition please visit the Museum of Architecture website here.