Let’s not understate it; London’s simply an amazing place – especially for family visitors. Over-spilling with sites and activities that delight all the senses and all the ages, it offers a never-ending array of choices, ensuring its deserved reputation as a fantastic destination to take loved ones and children (especially when staying at an ideal accommodation like the Park Grand London Hyde Park). But there is a downside; it can get overwhelming as you consider what, when, and how to make the most of your visit. So, here’s our simple London itinerary for spending four family days in the UK capital…
Day 1 – Settling in
There are varying methods people use to combat the effects of jet lag and maximize their time in a foreign destination. Many travel blogs and guide books recommend taking a bus tour to familiarize yourself with the city. If your children are anything like, well, most, putting them kids on a bus or in car when you want them to stay awake is a terrible idea. So, why not book into your accommodation and wash away the airport grime with fresh air as you all get to know and familiarise yourself with your immediate vicinity. Don’t forget to get everybody’s Oyster cards sorted out for travel around the city on your trip, though. That night, you may even fancy picking up takeaway from an eatery (say, a restaurant in Hyde Park) and feed your young family, away from the expectations of restaurant-style table manners. It’s simple, easy and less stressful – and a sensible start to your stay.
Day 2 – Museums and galleries
Most of the most worthwhile of the capital’s museums are free, which makes them much cheaper – and probably more enjoyable! – for families with children. Three stand out as top choices, for sure. The Natural History Museum has exhibits relating to archaeology and the life sciences. Expect long lines are in the morning but fewer by afternoon. The National Gallery’s an art museum filled with stunning works by Van Gogh, Monet, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Cezanne and so on. That list may make the gallery sound a bit formal, but it’s surprisingly family-friendly. Finally, there’s the ‘biggie’: the British Museum, home to thousands of national – and international – treasures from centuries upon centuries past. Visitors flock to see the Elgin Marbles, reliefs once found on the Acropolis of Athens’ Parthenon, as well as the Rosetta Stone which opened the writings of the Ancients and the venue’s awesome Egyptian artefacts.
Day 3 – The West End
Head to Leicester Square early and find out what discount tickets are available for the stage shows showing at the area’s many theatres that evening; many are ideal for kids, don’t worry. Just to the south of this legendary piazza is another, Trafalgar Square filled with its street artists, Nelson Column and bronze lions (selfie-tastic!). But really, there are so many family-fitting attractions to visit in this neighbourhood; M&M’s world, for instance (the largest candy store on Earth? Maybe). The world’s biggest Lego Store’s just across the street too. And near here is Piccadilly Circus, which is just a stroll down Regent Street away the iconic Hamley’s toy shop and so many more fabulous retail outlets.
Day 4 – Harry Potter Day
Finally, how better to complete your four family days in the UK capital than with one devoted to Harry Potter? Kids of all ages light up when they come upon Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross station, the Australian Embassy building that inspired Potter-creator J. K. Rowling when creating her description of Gringotts Bank. If your little ones are true Potterheads then you have to round off your trip with a visit to the just-outside-the-city Warner Bros. Studio Tour, which is not only very easy to travel to and from Paddington accommodation London, but also encompasses the actual sets, costumes and special effects created for and used in the movies. How a wizarding time!