London is for children. People there are friendly and accommodating to kids.
Here are the places we visited:
The British Museum houses collections of artifacts, some of which were collected and donated and others were looted from fallen empires by the British Empire. This was one of the favorite stops for the older kids.The baby rode happily in the stroller during the visit and there was a special line for parents and kids that kept the wait to get in short.
If you are looking for a stop to get toys, consider Harrods and Hamleys. Harrods is a little tricky because you need to walk by breakable exhibits to get to the toys but it’s right by the food court so you can add a stop and get braffles if you need something. However, be aware that your kids will want things that they can get in the US such as Legos, Beanie Boos, Barbies, and Sylvanian families. The selection at Hamley’s is extensive. Leave room in your suitcase.
The Tower of London comes complete with characters dressed in Period Costumes.
However, the kids were most impressed with the Crown Jewels exhibit. They ran about while Dad stood patiently in line until we could get a glimpse of but not photograph the Royal regalia.
Going to Stonehenge doesn’t only allow you to see a mystical ancient ruin, it gets you out into the countryside of England. Our guide explained to us that it’s not the only stone circle in England but is an easy drive from London and near other attractions so it’s the one that the British government has elevated into a tourist attraction. The two hour car ride passed easily, thanks in part to iPads and Gameboys, The kids loved running free once we got there (it takes an additional short bus ride from the parking area.) It’s cold and windy out on that plain and our guide brought extra hats, scarves, and mittens. If you need, there are souvenir hats and sweatshirts etc available in the gift store. There is also a small museum with other artifacts. Is it worth it to ride all the way out there to see this one thing? Yes, of course!
Then be sure to go on and visit somewhere else–Bath or Salisbury are popular destinations. We chose Salisbury and it wasn’t at all crowded, perhaps because of the season or the recent poisoning incident.
Salisbury is the site of a cathedral, moved there from Sarum in 1220. The most intact copy of the Magna Carta resides there, although you can’t photograph it. (You can buy a copy at the gift store.)
It was a short hop from Salisbury to Old Sarum in Wiltshire. William the Conqueror built a castle there in 1070 and my kids claim his ancestry so off to see the old homestead. It had a few precarious spots but the children loved running about.
A note on kids and gift shops: What is a tourist attraction without a tourist trap? I’d budget about 5 pounds per kid per tourist stop.
When in London, be sure to take in:
- A theater production. There are shows for kids and shows for adults. My daughter and I went to a show together and left the kids behind with Dad, giving her a break from motherhood for just one night.
There is nothing like live theater and coming out onto Piccadilly with so many happy people was amazing. The tube was packed so we walked back to our hotel on the crowded main streets. A night to remember!
2. Tea service. You can’t beat tea in London and this is a tradition. We did the children’s tea service at the Chesterfield.
Would you like a malt or a chocolate milk?
- My son in law carried the stroller and the child up and down stairs without complaining. This helped us get places faster because there aren’t enough lifts anywhere.
2. My daughter’s study abroad experience in London with Central College gave her an ease in London that made the trip go off without a hitch.
3. They’ve taken the children to Dublin and Barcelona so they have this whole traveling with kids down. London was a record for tearless travel days.
4. I did not miss the United States news or culture at all.There are stricter media rules in the UK so less propaganda and the biggest murder incident was an old man killing a burglar with a screwdriver. He got in trouble for it, too.
London was teeming with fun and culture. We didn’t get to see it all so we’ll have to go back, don’t you think?