When my husband and I began planning to travel and work overseas with our four kids, London was not my first choice of destination. When I thought of London, I thought of a mega city steeped in history, iconic landmarks at every corner, crowds and bad weather; certainly not a place for a young family. However, after living in this diverse city for three years, I found it to be an exciting place to explore with kids. There is a treasure trove of things to do and discover, when you know where to look.
My children love open spaces, so it was wonderful to find many large parks, nestled between the busy streets. Some parks are great for a stroll, while others boast playgrounds, places to kick a ball and go boating in the lake. The best of these is the ‘Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground’ found in Kensington Gardens. It has a myriad of different play spaces that capture a child’s imagination. Being fully fenced and complete with cafe, it is the perfect safe haven for families. There are many playgrounds throughout London’s parks, but if you want something a little different, Crystal Palace Park contains quirky heritage listed dinosaurs which is well worth a visit.
London is famous for its museums, with some especially suited to families. The Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, situated in South Kensington, are a ‘must see’. There is something for everyone to enjoy here, but if time is limited, then I would suggest the Dinosaur exhibition in the Natural History Museum, and the Space exhibition in the Science Museum.
The Transport Museum in Covent Garden is perfect for kids under 12 years. Progressing from horse-drawn transport through to the present day, there’s opportunity to climb on board buses, trains, tubes and trams and have a turn at driving them. When you exit, Covent Garden is fun to explore, with markets, nice places to eat and entertaining buskers to watch.
If your kids are interested in history, then the Tower of London is great. The chilling history of this jail and the Crown Jewels make for an exceptional history lesson. The Ancient Egypt exhibition, in The British Museum also makes for a fascinating excursion.
Lastly, what’s a holiday with children, without a trip to the toy shop? Visit Hamley’s, the 250 year old toy shop on Regent’s Street. It’s inviting window displays beckon you to look inside at the tempting toys. Your children will love it, and secretly so will you. Be warned though, it is expensive, but well worth the trip.
So if on your family travels you come to London; stay a while. Hop on that red Double Decker Bus and let it take you to places that will enrich your family’s holiday, making for happy memories. It did so for my family, I’m sure it will do so for yours.
Copyright © 2016 Joanna Myers