Family Attractions Aplenty: Why Hyde Park’s Great for Kids

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Kids in london

The area of London around Hyde Park has long been considered one of its most prestigious; the name Kensington alone, for instance, conjuring up thoughts of sublime Georgian urban architecture, fine-living and aspirational elegance. Now, while all that may appeal to many visitors to London – and, especially of course, those who decide to stay in this part of the capital while on a short-break – it’s less likely to make much of an impression on their kids. So, if you fancy making the Hyde Park area the base for your family’s stay in London, what in the neighbourhood is there to appeal to your little ones – and hopefully you too…?

Kensington Gardens and Palace
(W2 2UH/ W8 4PX)

Kensington garden in London, England, UK

Charming, charismatic and, in its own inimitable way, rather magical, Kensington Gardens is the Royal Park to the west of Hyde Park (the lake splits the two) and, frankly, is perfect for families. Laid out way back in 1728, it features a wonderful array of colourful flower-walks and fountains; however, what really recommends it for the kids is the wildfowl to be found in and around the giant Round Pond, the enchanting Peter Pan statue (somewhat hidden away, its hunting is truly rewarded by its discovery) and, of course, the ebullient Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, with its fabulous Peter Pan-themed pirate ship-cum-climbing frame.

Following an hour or two spent in the Gardens, naturally you might then want to pay the Palace a visit. The present residence for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, their children and Prince Harry, it’s highly unlikely to result in you spotting them, but its State Apartments are open to the public, enabling all and sundry to take a gander at precious artworks, furniture and more from the Royal Collection and checking-out many a fascinating exhibition.

Victoria and Albert Museum
(Cromwell Road SW7 2RL)

Victoria and Albert Museum

Just a few minutes’ stroll away from the palace and into the patch of West Kensington known as ‘Albertopolis’ (so not far at all from any accommodation near Hyde Park London Paddington, including the Grand Park London Hyde Park hotel), you’ll come across one of the world’s biggest, most comprehensive and dedicated museums for the decorative arts. Indeed, The Victoria and Albert Museum comprises a staggering 145 separate galleries containing artworks from across 5,000 years of civilisation; everything from glass to textiles, silver to ironwork, costumes to jewellery and prints to photos. With its incredible scope to cover practically any facet of culture, there truly is something to engage the interest of anyone – whatever their age!

Natural History Museum
(Cromwell Road SW7 5BD)

Natural History Museum

Also along Exhibition Road you’ll discover another absolute treasure of London’s clutch of family attractions; in fact, it’s itself a treasure trove of wonders, containing as it does up to 10,000 preserved animal specimens and 334 volumes of pressed plant species. Yet, while dedicated to the scientific catalogue and storage of flora and fauna it may be, there’s nothing staid about the Natural History Museum. It’s hugely popular with kids (of all ages) thanks to its commitment to switching on and keeping engaged young minds – always hugely popular is its fantastic section dedicated to dinosaurs and the prehistoric earth.
But away from all the T-Rexes and velociraptors, it’s impossible not to come away having learned something – given its extraordinary 70 million-strong collection of zoology, mineralogy, botany and entomology items; some of which we originally donated by Charles Darwin. And, as if that’s not enough, should you find yourself visiting around Christmas time, then you won’t fail to miss that at this time of year the gardens outside are transformed into a family-friendly ice-skating rink, furnished with refreshments and, of course, a terrific view of the museum’s beautiful exterior. Exquisite!