CHILDREN: WHAT TO DO THIS WEEKEND IN LONDON

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The Independent Culture
The Mingsu Festival

Bernie Spain Gardens, Oxo Tower Wharf, London SE1 (0171-401 2255) tomorrow 1-8pm, free

This Chinese cultural get-together (left) has every-thing from dim sum to fortune telling. In the Tea Garden will be activities such as Chinese games, storytelling and calligraphy workshops. The afternoon entertainment programme includes rapping, comedy and Lion Dancing.

Angel Canal Festival

City Road Basin, Regent's Canal, off Wharf Road, London N1(0171-226 4597) today 11.30am-5.30pm, free

The festival centres around the canal basin. Highlights include live music, stalls and a fun-fair in the nearby park. Boat trips head for the London Canal Museum and Hackney, and the Islington Boat Club will be providing activities for children to take part in.

The Great River Race Begins at Richmond, Surrey (0181-398 9057). Race starts at 10.45am and is expected to finish at Island Gardens, London E14, from 2pm, free

This 22-mile race, with over 300 craft from Hawaiian outrigger canoes to Thames skiffs, is run on a "slowest away first, fastest last" basis so expect some excitement as the speedier boats play catch-up. You can watch at bridges anywhere along the route. Rough timings are Chiswick 11.45am, Wandsworth 12.40pm and Tower Bridge at 13.25pm.

... AND BEYOND

Wildlife Day

Wicken Fen Lode Lane, Wicken, Cambridge (01353 720274) today 11am-4pm, adults pounds 4.50, children pounds 2.50

There are guided walks and talks for grown-ups as well as a host of children's activities, from screen-printing on T-shirts (for a small fee) to clay modelling. Families are advised to book in advance.

Ride the Wheel

Flag Fen Excavation Site, Peterborough (01733 760883) tomorrow, starts 10.30-11.30am, free

To celebrate the second phase of the city's 50-mile "wheel", a network of cycle routes, there will be live bands, clowns, pony rides and more. With three different routes from five to 27 miles, all you need to take part is to turn up with your bike. Support services are provided. If you combine it with a visit to the 3,000-year-old excavation site, a reduced rate is on offer all day.

Friends of Thomas The Tank Engine

Severn Valley Railway, Bewdley, Worcestershire (01299 403816) today and tomorrow 10am-6pm, and next weekend, adults pounds 8.50, children pounds 4.50

Thomas, Gordon and friends are paying a visit to Kidderminster. There's a bouncy castle and side-shows at stations along the 16-mile route. From the railway, you get a bird's-eye view can be seen of the West Midlands Safari

NS

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