Home » What to do in Singapore during the school holidays – part 1

What to do in Singapore during the school holidays – part 1

singapore christmas

So here we are at the end of 2020, and we are no closer to travelling home to see the family than we were a few months back. Although we will not be roasting marshmallows by the fire or warming our bodies with mulled wine this year, Christmas is a magical time of year, even on the tropical island of Singapore. 

Although there will be no snow falling this Christmas while we are here in Singapore, there is plenty of fun things to do with the family during this festive season. Whether you choose to explore the red dots hidden gems or decide to get creative with the many choices of arts and crafts, Singapore is filled with surprises (even for the long-term residents of this island city). 

singapore christmas holidays

Night Time Activities

Picnic at the Marina Barrage

For most, The Marina Barrage is somewhere most of us have visited during the day, where you will find avid kite flyers everywhere. But have you ever been there during the evening? So grab a picnic basket, a blanket and the family and sit and enjoy the cool breeze while you are spoilt by one of the most beautiful views in Singapore. Check times of closure because, at the time of writing this, you must enter before 8 pm, when you will be required to log in and check your temperature. Want to know more? Check out the website here.

Recommendation Walking around Marina Bay at night with the family is one of my favourite things. This part of the city at night is pretty impressive!!!

singapore christmas holidays

The Projector Movie Theatre

For most families, dinner and a movie are the norms during school holidays (well, at least it is in my household). But, if you want something a little more than the Hollywood blockbusters you find at movie theatres in Singapore, then you should check out The Projector Movie theatre. Why? Because this Indie come with retro-style movie theatre with incredible documentaries and Indie style movies. You will find the movie theatre at 6001 Beach Rd, #05-00 Golden Mile Tower, Singapore 199589. Book your tickets to The Projector here (remember, weekends are busy). 

Recommendation You are within walking distance to Vatos Urban Tacos from here, so why not book for dinner after the movie?

The Projector

Sunset at Lower Peirce Reservoir

I had previously mentioned spending the day walking from upper Peirce Reservoir to lower Pierce Reservoir, but why not head over with a picnic basket and watch the sunset at Lower Peirce Reservoir instead? This location would have to be one of the most beautiful sunsets in Singapore, and it is right at most people’s doorstep, and they aren’t even aware of it. You can enter from across the road from Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park at 1384 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, Singapore. 

Recommendation You could always go for an early dinner at Casuarina Curry (Thomson), 136-138 Casuarina Rd, Singapore 579526, before the sunsets and then walk down. 

sunset lower pierce reservoir

Bring on the Christmas Cheer at The Jewel

If you head over to the Shiseido Forest Valley on Level 1 from 630pm (and every hour after that), you will be able to see the snowfall experience. Spend $30 anywhere at The Jewel, and you will qualify for you and one other person to enter the forest (children three and under free). There is plenty to do in this Winter Wonderland, including finishing off at the 16 metres tall Christmas tree to top off the experience. But wait, there is more!!! From The Drone flying workshop to creating Christmas crafts. There is plenty to do at Changi that will entertain you and your family for hours. 

Recommendation Why not step it up a notch and go on a glam-cation? There are a few to choose from, so you can camp out at the airport without worrying about bugs or being hot and humid while you sleep! You can book online here for your overnight experience at Changi Airport.

christmas in singapore

Christmas Markets and Magical Domes

You may not be in Europe walking around in the snow enjoying the Christmas markets, but you can venture to Capital Singapore and visit the Christmas markets here in Singapore. Then, book your Dome experience at Capitol and Chijmes for dinner. You will find your air-conditioned dome covered in Christmas decorations, lights, and music from the Nutcracker.

Recommendation There are many Christmas workshops for the kids to enjoy; if they are a fan of the Nutcracker, then there are many workshops to choose from here.

Domes at Chijmes

Walks For The Entire Family

Sentosa Jungle walk

Although most of us, when thinking of Sentosa Island, we see dollar signs, what most do not know is that Sentosa has many tracks to walk that will not cost you a cent. You can walk from Vivo City to the Sentosa jungle tracks, and the paths are relatively easy, so they are appropriate for all fitness levels. The trails are sheltered from the sun, making it the perfect location for the whole family. There are many signposts and maps along the way, which makes it even the most directionally challenged hard to get lost (that would be me). There are many places to rest, loads of areas to get great photos and some wildlife to spot on your walk.  

Recommendation: Finish your walk at the bottom near the Luge, right opposite Coastes, an excellent place for brunch; however, booking ahead of time might save you waiting for an available seat. Also, bring your swimmers because you will need a dip in the ocean after your hike. 

Coastes Sentosa

Lower and Upper Pierce Reservoir

If you want a walk with plenty of wildlife and an abundance of luscious green scenery, this is an excellent choice for you and the family. Whether you choose to walk it or take your bike and ride it, either way, it is a great day out for the entire family. If you are planning on a morning stroll, I would suggest starting at the top (there is a car park) and working your way down with a stop for lunch halfway down. Alternatively, if you are planning on heading there in the afternoon, I would aim to be at Lower Peirce Reservoir by sundown, as the view from there is fantastic! Better still, heading to Lower Peirce Reservoir just for dusk is also a great idea; bring a picnic and enjoy the view (you can walk there from Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park).

Recommendation Stop for lunch at Casuarina Curry, 87 MacPherson Rd, Singapore 348545, which is halfway between Upper and Lower Pierce Reservoir. Opened Monday to Friday from 8 am and 10 am on weekends. 

Lower Pierce reservoir

MacRitchie Nature Trail & Reservoir Park

Did you know that MacRitchie Reservoir is the oldest reservoir in Singapore? MacRitichie’s is approximately 11km of a well-signed trail with many maps along the way. Start your hike early because it can become rather hot the later you leave it; remember to take plenty of water and keep your camera (or phone out) as there will be lots of wildlife along the way. Here you will find Singapore’s largest reservoir. Unfortunately, treetops walk was closed when writing this, so check online before you go, as rules change often.

Recommendation Worth mentioning is that ActiveSG Canoe Academy KIAK has a “learn to Kayak” school program for ages 9 to 15-year-olds; interested? You can register here

singapore christmas holidays

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is different from all other trails in Singapore; the wetlands here are damp (and primarily covered) with swamp-like surroundings. You are guaranteed to see an animal or two (this includes crocodiles, so be on the lookout). Sungei Buloh Wetlands is open daily from 7 am to 7 pm (you would not want to hang around in the dark anyway). With an educational aspect to the walk (there is an educational centre there), you can check out what to look out for and have fun spotting the many different types of native plants as well along the way. Remember you can not take your dog, fly drones or cycle through the wetlands; this is a walking trail only. 

Recommendation Bollywood Veggies is only a 5-minute drive from the wetlands, so it would be an ideal place for lunch (book before you go; otherwise, the wait can be lengthy). 

Sungei Buloh

The Green Corridor

The now-defunct Jurong line “Bukit Timah Railway station” was once Singapore to Johor Bahru KTM Intercity line. Following its closure, the railway track between Tanjong Pagar and Woodlands was removed. However, the few metres from the platform at Bukit Timah railway station are the only sign left. It was once a railway line. In its place is the green corridor, which provides residents and visitors with a green network of lush green spaces and walking tracks for everyone to enjoy. Ensure you check ahead of time because there is quite a lot of the path closed at the time of writing this post.

Recommendation If you want to make an entire day of it, why not hike around Bukit Timah Nature Reserve? 

Bukit Timah Railway Station

Quirky Places To Eat

Central Perk

Everyone on the planet has watched an episode of friends at least once in their lifetime, haven’t they? So why not take the family out to experience a meal at the infamous Central Perk Cafe here in Singapore? Fans of the hit show will be delighted to hear that this is the only Warner Brothers licensed cafe outside of the US, which means yep! You guessed it; there is merchandise for you to purchase an early Christmas present or two! Opening hours are Monday to Sunday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm daily, and the address is 1 Magazine Road Central Mall #01-01, Singapore 059567

Recommendation Make a reservation here and request to sit at the famous lounge! Oh, and I highly recommend Chandler’s edible helium balloon dessert.

central perk

Vatos Urban Tacos

Who knew that Korean and Japanese could even be a thing? Better still, who knew how delicious the combination would be? Having lived in Seoul, Korean food (especially Korean BBQ) has always been a family favourite. Mexican is also a fan favourite in our house, so combining the two, you get the best of both worlds. This little beauty gets busy, so book a spot at Vatos Urban Tacos here before you go. Opening hours at Vatos Urban Tacos are Tuesday to Friday, 5 pm to 10 pm, and Saturday and Sunday open at noon. You can easily find this cool restaurant at 36 Beach Rd, #01-03 South Beach Quarter, Singapore 189766

Recommendation for those over the age of 18 I highly recommend their Margaritas! 

Vatos urban Tacos

Brunches Restaurant

Although the restaurant’s name suggests that the only time to dine at this quirky restaurant is in the morning, it is not the case because the menu ranges from Fluffy Pancake Stacks to juicy burgers. So book a table at Brunches Restaurant online for any time of the day. You will find the cafe at 96 Rangoon Road in Little India. This vintage-style cafe does serve all-day breakfast from 11 am to 10 pm, Monday to Friday, and 10 am to 10 pm on the weekends. 

Recommendation When booking, ensure to ask for the booth in the car; the kids will thank you, I promise. 

brunches

Slappy Cakes

Although there are plenty of things to choose from on the menu at Slappy cakes restaurant, it is the pancake platter that people come to this restaurant to enjoy. Why? Because not only do you (and the kids) get to choose your batter (yes, they are flavoured), but you also pick your toppings and sauces as well). But wait, there is more!!! Here is where the fun begins: your children can make their pancakes. There are three locations for slappy Cakes -The Grandstand (closed Mondays), 200 Turf Club Road (Old Turf Club in Bukit Timah) #01-20/21 Singapore 287994, Plaza Singapura 68 Orchard Road, #03-02, Singapore 238839 and newly reopened venue Resorts World Sentosa (closed Tuesdays) 26 Sentosa Gateway #01-29, Singapore 098269

Recommendation This restaurant is fun for all ages. I am not going to lie; it is fun with or without the kids!! So make a reservation here before you go.

slappy cakes

Black Tap Singapore

I am mentioning Black Tap not for their burgers (although they are delicious) but for their infamous crazy shakes! The line at Black Tap Singapore, Which is at #L1-80, Bay Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 018956, is always long, but trust me when I say it is worth it. The Marina Bay Sands Venue Opens from 12 noon to 11 pm on weekdays and from 11 am on weekends. Want to know more? Check out the website here.

Recommendation The shakes are enormous, and if you are taking little ones, you are probably best to share a shake or two. I highly recommend the Cotton Candy Shake; it is every little girl’s dream.

crazy shakes

Family Day Outs

Bollywood Veggies and Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle

Wanting a full day out with the family, but you aren’t sure what to do or where to start planning? Why not start by booking a class at the Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle? Here you and the entire family can start your morning exploring the pottery jungle and take a photo with the infamous Dragon Kiln. Followed by a pottery class, which the whole family will enjoy. 

Your next stop will have you wandering around the farm at Bollywood Veggies; you can book a farm tour here (which is only on Sundays) or explore this fascinating farm yourself. Followed by lunch at the Ivy Bistro, be sure to book before you arrive, as waiting times can be extensive (especially on weekends) 

Recommendation There are other activities for the kids at Bollywood veggies, but you will need to reach out to them and see what is available.

Bollywood Veggies

Stand Up Paddle and Wakeboarding

Singapore is the perfect place to learn how to stand up, paddle or wakeboard. What better way to do it than during the school holidays with the whole family? At Aloha Sea Sports, you can learn how to SUP windsurf, or for the brave; you can even try a little SUP yoga. Already know how? Not to worry – you can hire the gear here.

If you have spent the morning at Aloha Sea Sports but feel like you have more in the tank for a little more fun, why not try your hand at wakeboarding? At Singapore Wakepark, you and the family can enjoy your afternoon on the water on East Coast by booking here. So whether it is your first time or your hundredth, there is something for everyone. 

Recommendation If this is too much for one day, split it into two days, especially for beginners. 

STAND UP PADDLE

Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club

Spend the morning at the Kebun Baru Bird singing Club at Block 159 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5, Singapore 560159. Weekends from 9 am to 12 noon are the best times to enjoy the birds singing. Walk a little further, and you will find a wet market, grocery store, and hawkers demanding the rumbling stomachs and a place to purchase a bird and the cage. 

A short drive away, you will find one of the largest urban parks in Singapore. Although the water playground is closed at the time of this blog post, there is plenty to do at Bishan Park. Why not make the most of your time here by exploring the luscious green surroundings this park offers and the wildlife surrounding it? Have lunch at the Canopy Garden dining by making a reservation online to ensure you get a table. 

Recommendation  Learn more about what the park offers by booking one of the free, family-friendly eco-park tours here. 

Bird Singing Club

Pulau Ubin

Why not take a bumboat to Pulau Ubin and spend the day hiking or biking around this lovely island? Although you may not be able to leave Singapore, you can at least leave the mainland and feel like you have spent the day abroad by island hopping. Catch one of the bumboats from Changi Point Ferry Terminal; no need to book. They wait for the boats to fill up. 

Rent a bicycle from the many shop’s rental shops available, or bring your own if you can! There is plenty to see and do, and it will have you busy the entire day. Remember to bring cash as there are no ATMs, and the restaurants and shops do not take cards. There are a couple of restaurants to choose from, so you will not have to bring your lunch if you don’t want to. 

Recommendation All campsites are closed, as things changed almost daily in 2020. Check here for the latest notices before you go.

bumboats in pulau ubin

Spend the Day at Snowcity

Sure, you live in South East Asia, and cold weather means the temperature has hit 26 degrees Celcius. But why not imagine you are somewhere else by spending the day in the snow at snow city? You will be entertained for hours, from drifting on ice to sliding down slopes. 

For the older kids aged 14 and above (and parents), why not try a hand at the winter shooting arena? This will be right up your alley for paintball enthusiasts, as you will love the change of terrain to play in. There is even an area for target shooting. Snow City is at 21 Jurong Town Hall Road, Snow City Building, Singapore 609433. 

Recommendation If the cold weather gets too much, spend the afternoon at the Science Centre at 15 Science Centre Rd, Singapore 609081. 

ICE SKATING SINGAPORE

Kids Programs

Singapore Philatelic Museum

Although the Singapore Philatelic Museum is closed for renovations at the time of this blog post, it does offer some great holiday programs for kids. The programs are either online or in Fort Canning; you can find out more information here. Want to know more about the museum? Then head to one of their many virtual tours, where past exhibitions come alive. 

Fort Canning Singapore

Andsoforth Academy

Andsoforth Academy has two great programs for your children these school holidays. First, the princess Workshop will have your little ones living a real-life dream, spending three days transforming into a princess. Ages are from 3 to 10 years old, and camp lasts for 3 hours per day. Book early as spaces is limited. The second program is around the world in 80 days, where your child will learn about Jules Verne’s writings. The workshop is 75 minutes long, and the exact at Balister will be sent to you 24 hours before your date of participation. 

SINGAPORE CHRISTMAS

Pe Lin Crafts

Personalise some of your Christmas gifts these school holidays or paint your mini Tingkat by joining one of the fun arts and crafts groups at Pei Lin Crafts; book online before the classes are full, as limited numbers are available. This is an excellent activity for the whole family to enjoy (even those who can not paint like me); Ami is a very patient teacher and is there to guide you through the process. You will find True Blue at The Substation 45 Armenian Street, where you can also order lunch (well worth it). 

Tingkat painting

Holiday Ice Camp

If your little ones (or not-so-little ones) would love to learn how to ice skate, here is their chance. The Rink at 2 Jurong East Central 1, #03-11, JCube 609731, has holiday ice camps that offer Four 45-minute intensive lessons weekly. The courses include all ages and all levels of skating. The Rink also offers skaters passes, including 20 sessions in a 2-hour window. 

SINGAPORE CHRISTMAS

Jurassic Mile Cycling Exploration 

You can walk to Jurassic Mile, rent a bike from GoCycling or even bring your own. You can start your journey from East Coast Park or Hub & Spoke Cafe at Changi Airport. Or you can purchase a Jurassic Mile package here to make things easier. Weekends are busy (like everywhere else in Singapore), so weekdays are a better option for the little ones. 

Jurassic mile singapore

Singapore History 

Battlebox

Start your holidays learning about Singapore’s history and what better way to do this than by learning about Britain’s surrender to the Japanese? This self-guided tour is first in best dressed, so check out the tour times here. Remember to check restrictions before you go; the cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children. Opening times are Wednesday to Sunday (and public holidays) from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm. Don’t forget to continue on the day exploring Fort Canning Park and all its hidden gems!

Recommendation – watch the movie “The Railway Man” at home, based on the true story of Eric Lomax after the surrender. 

Battlebox

The Former Ford Factory

Continue your history timeline and visit the former ford factory. This museum has an interactive app that can be downloaded here before you go. The museum is full of interesting films and keepsakes, with the original room where the British surrendered still in tack. Book a spot at the former ford factory online here 24 hours before your intended visit. Opening hours are 9 am to 530pm Monday to Saturday and 12 noon to 530 pm Sundays. The address is 351 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, 588192. Entrance fees are $3 per person or free for Singapore citizens and PRs with a maximum of 5 pax per booking. 

Recommendation Closest place to have lunch is the Rail Mall (Hillview MRT station) which is about two bus stops ahead of the Former Ford Factory or Beauty World which is about three bus stops before the museum.

former ford factory

Marsling War Tunnels

A short distance from the old immigration checkpoint from Malaysia to Singapore, you will find the hidden Marsling War Tunnels. You can’t miss this if you are up for a bit of adventure and continuing on the history trail. Bring a torch and wear sneakers that don’t mind grubby because you can get dirty! You will find the tunnels in Admiralty Rd Woodlands, Singapore. It will not cost you any money to enter, just a good eye to see them. 

Recommendation Not far away is Kranji War Memorial. The Kranji War Cemetery is open to the public from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm.

Marsling war tunnels

Fort Siloso 

Fort Siloso is Singapore’s Coastal fort and served as part of the country’s defence force in WWII. The trail will entertain you and the family for hours, visiting tunnels and the Command post. Start at the Fort Siloso Skywalk and finish at the museum with the perfect photo opportunity right next to the cannons. The museum has loads of memorabilia and videos that have documented war history. Fort Siloso is on Siloso Rd Sentosa 099981. Fort Siloso & Surrender Chambers are open daily from 10 am to 6 pm

Recommendation Free tours 26 Oct and 31 Dec 2020. Times occur every 2nd and 3rd Saturday of the month from 3 pm to 4.30 pm. Book a slot here for your free Fort Siloso tour.

Siloso

Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

This two-story colonial building at 12 Tai Gin Rd, Balister Singapore 327874, is a museum paying tribute to Sun Yat-Sen, who visited the red dot approximately nine times in eleven years. Although designed and initially built in 1901 as a home, the Japanese military took over and used the villa as a communication base during the war. Opening hours on Tuesday to Sunday are between 10 am and 5 pm at $8 for adults and $5 for students (Singapore citizens and PR free). 

Recommendation guided tours in English on Tuesdays and Fridays at 2 pm, weekends at 3 pm, and mandarin times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 230 pm. 

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singapore school holidays

Thanks for taking the time to read the blog. I hope this post has given you the necessary information you require. If you have any recommendations, tips or travel advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!

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