Destination London, England
We recently took a trip to London, England as our first stop on a European adventure. We have relatives here so it was a lovely opportunity to see friends and family, enjoy some sightseeing and introduce the kids to London, the place where Daddy was born and grew up.
I had bought George 2 books before we left, in fact, before we had even planned the trip. "My First London Taxi" and "My First London Bus" both which visit iconic locations in London including; Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square and more. This turned out to be a great way to prepare George for our holiday and get him excited for when he actually saw these locations in real life.
Some recommendations of the best things we did with the kids include:
Changing of the Guards At Buckingham Palace. Get there early, changing of the guards happens at 11:30 and goes for about 45mins so you need to make sure you get a good spot. There are lots of vantage points we started at the front of Buckingham Palace but we started walking down The Mall half way through changing of the guards and seeing it from different points was great. We also went to Buckingham Palace the day before, when it was raining, and the changing of the guards was cancelled for the day, so be aware that this can happen. Visit Changing of the Guard for more info on dates and times.
Shopped till we dropped at Harrods. The day we went to changing of the guards and it was called off we decided to jump in a black cab to Harrods. We stopped for tea and cake in the The Tea Room and had a cup of tea, some cakes and crumpets before walking around the store. I could have spent days, even weeks in this store and the children's selection is huge with lots of brands including designer collections. My husband is lucky we dont have a girl otherwise I would not have been able to say no to some gorgeous Dior dresses. Visit the Harrods store for some essential souvenier items to take home for family and friends.
Indulged in High Tea at The Ritz. This was one of my highlights of the trip to London. see my blohg here on Tea at the Ritz
Ran wild at Hamleys toy store on Regent Street. This must be the biggest toy store i have ever been to, and they claim to be the oldest and largest toy store in the world! With 5 levels and lots of demonstrations this is great fun for the kids. My only tip is make sure you've had a good cup of coffee and everyones well fed, because you are going to be here for a good few hours. Theres a small coffee shop on the top floor if you need a break and not many cafes close by. Grab some handmade Hamleys Hard rock Candy. I bought some as gifts but ate it myself because they are so tasty.
Walked through Hyde Park to feed the squirrels, much to my sons delight. We walked along the Serpentine, watching the swans and enjoying the sunshine.
Experienced the city views from the Iconic London Eye. We had a short amount of time and thought we could squeeze this into the end of a busy day. We didnt pre-book our tickets as we probably should have and when we arrived the queue for tickets was long and the queue to get on the London Eye was very long too. We thought about skipping this attraction until we noticed the Fast Track Tickets. It was slightly more expensive but you jumped the queue lining up to get onto the London Eye. I think from buying the ticket to getting on the London eye was about 10mins. would also recommend doing this if you prebook online.
My son loves all trains, planes and buses so enjoyed getting on iconic forms of London transport. We hailed down a traditional Black Taxi Cab, they were able to fit 4 adults and 2 kids as well as a pram. We took a ride on a Red Double Decker London Bus, I have done the hop on hop off tour here which is great for your first time in the city, however you can also jump on the local transport and do your own tour, see some routes here. Travelling on the Underground was fairly easy however some of the trains stations are not accommodating for prams so you need to either pre-plan your stations by checking what is disabled friendly or we ended up doing lots of carrying the pram up and down stairs. Getting a London Oyster Visitor card is a must before you leave, as you cannot buy one when you get there. Prebook and pay online and it will be posted to your home address for you to take with you. You get great savings and its easy to use.
Going to Searcys private member club at the Gherkin with amazing views of London. We had arranged to meet a family member who has membership here. We made a massive error of judgement and decided to drive with lots of time allowed, however we were unable to park and had to drive quite a way away making us 45mins late. My tip is do NOT drive here, take public transport. We ended up missing the opportunity to catch up with this person but they put our name at the desk so we were still able to go up and have a coffee at the top.
Drove over the famous Tower Bridge, not to be confused with the London Bridge.
Experienced a Live Theatre Show at West End. Have a look online when planning your holiday to see what is on at the Theatre in London and age appropriate. We saw Disney's Aladdin and loved it. The show was sold out so I was glad we pre booked however you can, if you have time, enter a ticket lottery. You simply fill out a form, collected from the theatre from 10am and 2.5 hours before the show a winner is drawn. We had friends enter the Disney Aladdin lottery and got 2 tickets for £25!
Get out and jump in some muddy puddles or hide under umbrellas in the rain, because a visit to London is not complete without a touch of wet weather.
We had such a good time in London and there really is so much to do. If we had more time we would of liked to have seen:
- The Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum
- Watched a Westham Football game at the Olympic stadium.
- and much much more shopping.
Leave me a comment if you think I've missed anything thats fun to do with the kids in London.