London with Kids – The Best Family Hotels

Updated: June 1, 2017

London Family Hotels – Tips and Recommendations

  • HotelsCombined.com – Great website for hotel deals and discounts.
  • Any time is a great time to visit London. There are so many incredible indoor museums and exhibits that even dreary January and February (when crowds are at their thinnest) can be a wonderful time to see the sights. But if you like nice weather then May to September are your best bets – When is the best time to visit London?
  • My favorite neighborhoods for families are South Kensington (close to Hyde Park and kid-friendly museums), Marylebone (friendly neighborhood feel in the heart of the city), and Bloomsbury (tree lined streets and the British Museum). But as long as you’re close to a tube station there are few bad or inconvenient areas in central London.
  • The best budget family hotels are the Royal London Hotel and the Central Hotel London.
  • The best restaurants for families are the Golden Hind (great fish n chips), Wagamama (noodles and more in a fun environment), Giraffe (kid-friendly food and vibe), Bella Italia (pizza + pasta + gelato = happy kids), Rain Forest Cafe (kid-friendly restaurant near Piccadilly Circus), Masala Zone (family friendly Indian food), Spaghetti House (kids’ menu has 2 courses for £5 or 3 courses for £7.50), Byron (burger joint with a good kids menu).
  • If you’re in London for more than a day then get an Oyster Card for the tube and bus. It’s cheaper but also a big time saver.
  • Like New York and Paris, London doesn’t have a lot of good rooms for families. When you find something you like book it immediately.
  • Best London Hotel for Babies and Toddlers: The Athenaeum.

London with Kids – What are the best family hotels in London?

The 11 Best Family Hotels in London, England

1. The Athenaeum – luxury

The best hotel in London for babies and newborns.
Wonderful hotel that goes out of its way to welcome families. The one-bedroom apartments have their own entrance directly off the street, a full kitchen, bunk beds in some rooms, and cribs readily available. There’s a family concierge whose sole job is to help parents navigate the city and plan their visit. Phone: +44 20 7930 4843

2. Cheval Gloucester Park at Kensington – luxury

Cheval Gloucester with Kids
Wonderful 2 and 3 bedroom apartments comfortably sleep families of 4 and 6. Kitchens have dishwasher, oven, and fridge. Rooms are cleaned daily. Great location near Gloucester Road tube station and 2 grocery stores and a 5 minute walk to the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and Victoria and Albert Museum. Phone: +44 20 7373 1444

3. 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites And Residences – luxury

Taj Suites with Kids
Luxurious 2 and 3 bedroom suites (with turn-down service) have full kitchens, satellite TV, and DVD players. The Michelin-starred Indian restaurant attached to the hotel serves amazing vegetarian food. Close to Buckingham Palace and several tube stations. Phone: +44 20 7769 7766

4. The Darlington Hyde Park – moderate

Darlington Hyde Park with Kids
Family, triple, and quadruple rooms available (get a quadruple if you don’t want to be on the basement floor). Close to Paddington Station and Hyde Park. Full English breakfast included. Phone: +44 20 7460 8800

5. Premier Inn London County Hall – moderate

Premier Inn with Kids
Large family rooms and good value breakfast. Also close to several restaurants and cafes. 1 minute walk to London Eye, 2 minutes to London Aquarium, 5 minutes to Waterloo station, 7 minutes to Big Ben and Parliament. Phone: +44 15 8256 7890

6. Quality Crown Hotel Hyde Park – moderate

Quality Crown Hotel with Kids
Quadruples have 4 twin beds (in one room), suites have 2 twin beds in the living rooms and a full in a separate bedroom. Good free breakfast. Phone: +44 20 7262 6699

7. City Marque Waterloo Serviced Apartments – moderate

City Marque Waterloo with Kids
The 12 suites here are all 2-bedroom apartments and have 2 queen beds. Luxury at mid-range prices. Walking distance to Waterloo station. Phone: +44 845 680 0679

8. Comfort Inn Victoria – budget

Comfort Inn Victoria with Kids
Inexpensive hotel with triples and quadruples. Great location close to Victoria Station and many tourist attractions. Phone: +44 20 7233 6636

9. Luna & Simone Hotel – budget

Luna Simone with Kids
Comfortable homey rooms. Very helpful and friendly staff. A great warm breakfast is included with the room. Phone: +44 20 7834 5897

10. Best Western Chiswick Palace & Suites – budget

Best Western Chiswick with Kids
Family rooms have 1 full and 2 twin beds. This is an inexpensive hotel I might choose in a pinch – cheap, free parking, close to Heathrow and 20 minutes to central London by tube – but it wouldn’t be my first choice for an extended stay. Phone: +44 845 373 1023

11. Park Grand London Hyde Park – budget

Park Grand London with Kids
Handy for catching the express train to Heathrow. Prices are hit and miss. Sometimes very cheap, other times overpriced. Quadruple rooms have 2 queen beds. Phone: +44 20 7262 4521

More Hotels for Families

All of these hotels have triple, quad, or family rooms. There aren’t many large rooms in London so they get reserved far in advance. Book early.

Popular Family Hotels in London

Lonely Planet and Rick Steves do not make any particular recommendations for family-friendly hotels in London.

Most Booked Family Hotels by MLN Readers

Recommended Family Hotels by Frommers

Recommended Family Hotels by Tripadvisor

Hotels with Swimming Pools

Family Apartments in London

Kid-friendly apartment for families in central London.

A two-bedroom apartment at Park Lane City Apartments in London.


Recommended apartments and flats for families in London. Most units have kitchens, washer/dryer, and internet (free wifi). Free parking is rare.

Recommended and Helpful Links

88 questions and comments

  1. Best London Hotel for Hilton Points

    Hi David:

    We are a family of 4, with 2 girls 7 and 9. We have 4 days and 3 nights in London in mid-August. We also have a lot of Hilton points, that would cover those 3 nights. Do you have any thoughts among these Hilton hotels (all are available at the moment for our exact dates):

    Hilton London Euston
    Hilton London Paddington
    Hilton London Hyde Park
    Hilton London Metropole
    The Trafalgar
    The Waldorf Hilton, London

    Jaclyn

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      All of these Hilton hotels have their advantages and disadvantages.

      Hilton London Euston
      Pros: Great public transport connections, near three main train stations (London Euston, St Pancras and London King’s Cross – in case you’re thinking of travelling outside London). A short walk from the British Museum (www.britishmuseum.org) – the UK’s top museum and a must-see. Numerous restaurants nearby.
      Cons: The location is on a busy street, so can be a bit noisy. Not really within easy walking distance from other main attractions.

      Hilton London Paddington
      Pros: Near the main London Paddington train station, handy if you’re flying to/from Heathrow Airport as there’s an express train service to Paddington. A short walk from the north edge of Hyde Park – London’s biggest central green space and a good place to go with kids on a summer’s day. Close to Kensington Palace (where Prince William and Kate Middleton live) and Kensington Gardens, and a 15-20 minute walk from Madame Tussaud’s (www.madametussauds.com/london/en), the Sherlock Holmes Museum (www.sherlock-holmes.co.uk) for fans of the detective, and Regent’s Park. The Open Air Theatre (https://openairtheatre.com) in Regent’s Park stages outdoor concerts and stage performances in the summer, the London Zoo (www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo) is in the north part of the park, and if Regent’s Canal Water Bus (www.londonwaterbus.com) does scenic canal boat rides between Little Venice (a short walk from the hotel) and Camden Lock (near the north edge of Regent’s Park), along Regent’s Canal, stopping inside the zoo and bypassing the queues. The three excellent museums in South Kensington – Natural History Museum (www.nhm.ac.uk), Science Museum (www.sciencemuseum.org.uk) and Victoria & Albert Museum (www.vam.ac.uk) – are also within walking distance from the hotel – around 30 minutes through Hyde Park. The first two are particularly well-geared towards kids, with lots of hands-on displays, and the V&A is great for applied arts and fashion through the ages. Good transport connections to other London attractions.
      Cons: The location is a bit noisy. Not a huge variety of dining options nearby.

      Hilton London Hyde Park
      Pros: Good, (quieter that the other Hiltons) location next to the northwest corner of Hyde Park. Very close to Kensington Gardens and Palace, convenient for visiting the three top museums in South Kensington, as well as Madame Tussaud’s, Sherlock Holmes Museum and Regent’s Park. Near a tube station – good connections for Oxford Street (shopping) and central London in general.
      Cons: Further away from Regent’s Park, London Zoo and Madame Tussaud’s than Hilton London Paddington (by about 10 minutes). Few dining options nearby.

      Hilton London Metropole
      Pros: Good location on the edge of Little Venice, about halfway between Hilton London Paddington and Regent’s Park. Particularly convenient for Regent’s Park, London Zoo and Madame Tussaud’s, near Hyde Park (around 15min walk), good transport connections to central London and other sights. Some nice canal-side restaurants nearby.
      Cons: Overlooks a major road, so a noisier location than the other Hiltons. Some recent guests feel that the hotel could use a revamp. A longer walk from the South Kensington Museums.

      The Trafalgar
      Pros: Super-central location on the edge of Trafalgar Square – the best of the six Hiltons. Right near the National Gallery (www.nationalgallery.org.uk) and the National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk) and Leicester Square and its cinemas, easy walking distance from Covent Garden with its shops, restaurants and the entertaining London Transport Museum (www.ltmuseum.co.uk) with lots of hands-on exhibits for kids, Buckingham Palace (www.royal.uk/royal-residences-buckingham-palace), the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Cathedral (www.westminstercathedral.org.uk). An easy walk from Westminster pier, in case you’re interested in taking a cruise along the Thames. Boat rides are a great way to see most of London’s main attractions (St Paul’s Cathedral (www.stpauls.co.uk), the Monument, the Shard (www.the-shard.com), Tower of London (www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london), the London Eye (www.thelondoneye.com), Tate Modern (www.tate.org.uk), Tower Bridge (www.towerbridge.org.uk)) and a good way of getting around, since they stop at all the major sights. In summer, there are also boats south to Kew Gardens (www.kew.org) and Hampton Court (www.hrp.org.uk/hampton-court-palace), the former palace of Henry VIII. An easy walk from the London Eye, Sea Life Aquarium (www.visitsealife.com/london) and the London Dungeon (www.thedungeons.com/london). One of the best locations in London for dining out (Chinese restaurants in Chinatown, traditional pubs and family-friendly trendy places in Covent Garden). In the heart of Theatreland – ideal for going to see a play or a musical at one of the nearby theatres. Good transport connections to all major attractions.
      Cons: Renovations were ongoing a week ago, but may be finished by the time you arrive. Worth asking for a room on a higher floor.

      The Waldorf Hilton
      Pros: Very central location on the eastern edge of Covent Garden. Also very convenient for attractions such as Leicester Square, National Gallery, London Transport Museum. A bit further away from Buckingham Palace, Westminster Cathedral, and Westminster pier (by about 10 minutes’ walk). Also excellent transport connections. Well-located for numerous dining options. Great for attending shows and musicals.
      Cons: Location slightly less convenient than that of The Trafalgar. Some guests have complained about on-site dining, but there are plenty of other restaurants right on the doorstep.

      Hope this helps!

  2. London in July with 2 Kids – Getting Around and London Hotels with Family Rooms

    Hello David,

    Excellent blog. I have read all the Q&A and have fairly good idea of accommodation & sightseeing in London and yet I feel like asking few questions of my own to get more accurate answers to my questions.

    I am traveling to London in early July 2017 with my family (include 2 kids of 9 & 13). My main worry is getting around London. How can I buy oyster travel card or visitor travel pass? If I buy in advance where can I collect and same goes to London pass or hop on and hop off?

    Would you suggest a good B&B or hotel room for a family with breakfast & private bath & toilet in CENTRAL LONDON.

    Thank you in advance
    Sushma

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      You can buy either a Visitor Oyster Card or a London travel pass online in advance via Visit Britain and have them delivered fully activated and ready to use to your home address in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and a number of countries across Europe.

      It’s also easy to buy an Oyster Card or travelcard on arrival at one of the main tube stations, including all of London’s airports, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, as well as numerous newsagents.

      Your best bet is either the Visitor Oyster Card (cannot be purchased in the UK; £3 non-refundable activation fee) or the regular Oyster Card (purchased on arrival; £5 refundable fee). Your 13-year-old will need their own Oyster Card but your 9-year-old travels free with a paying adult.

      Both the Visitor Oyster Card and the regular Oyster Card can be topped up with credit at any tube station. If you buy the Visitor Oyster Card, you choose whether it comes pre-loaded with £15/20/25/30/40/50 worth of credit and every time you use it, the cost of a ride gets deducted. The Oyster Card can be topped up online, but you have to be resident in the UK to do so.

      Oyster Cards are a more flexible travel option than London travelcards. The paper travelcard is available in the 7-Day variety (£33), but it’s only worthwhile if you’re planning to be using public transport intensively. The regular Oyster Card may be pre-loaded with a 7-Day-Travelcard, but the Visitor Oyster Card may not. Otherwise, using either of the Oyster Cards as Pay-As-You-Go is the most economical option. Whenever you use it, the price of a ride is deducted from your credit, but daily prices are capped at £6.60 (Zones 1 & 2), or £7.70 (Zones 1-3), so after you spent that amount, the rest of your daily travel is free.

      Finally, if you have a contactless chip card (Visa, AmEx, MasterCard), it can be used to pay for public transport in London in exactly the same way as an Oyster Card. Contactless cards are popular in across Europe, in Canada and Australia, but not popular in the States. Hope that wasn’t too confusing!

      As for Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tours, there are three types of tour available (two of them include a free boat tour and walking tour). You can purchase the tickets online at http://www.hop-on-hop-off-bus.com/london-bus-tours, print off the vouchers and present them when you board the bus.

      London hotels with family rooms? Hotel Oliver in Kensington is handy for three excellent museums and has family rooms. Falcon Hotel is a budget hotel near Hyde Park and Paddington railway station, also with family rooms. Travelodge in Covent Garden is super-central, with excellent dining options within easy walking distance. It’s part of a chain, as is the nearby Premier Inn Leicester Square – also very conveniently located for central attractions, cinema, theatres and restaurants. If you want to really treat yourselves, 5-star The Savoy has 2-bedroom family rooms and suites, plus an excellent Covent Garden location.

  3. London with 2 Young Girls

    Hi David,

    Once again turning to your fantastic blog for advice!

    We’re struggling with spending 4 or 5 nights in London with our 4 and 9 year old daughters with an additional night in Windsor to spend a day in Legoland.

    Would you advise the extra night in London? Coming from rural Scotland we’re concerned the children may find it exhausting but hoped the extra day would allow a more relaxed pace?

    Any advice on how long is required to see a decent amount of London’s top hits would be great.

    Many thanks

    Iona

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      I suggest giving yourselves an extra night in London if you can, and I think that 5 nights rather than 4 would let you explore the city at a more relaxed pace. You can certainly see a decent amount of London’s greatest hits in 4-5 days and I’m sure your girls will enjoy the extra day at Legoland Windsor.

      Since London is quite a change from rural Scotland, I would suggest staying in one of the quieter neighbourhoods so that your children don’t feel too overwhelmed. South Kensington is probably the best choice, as it’s right near two excellent museums for kids, and a short walk from Hyde Park – central London’s vast green space with lakes that can give your girls some respite from London’s hustle and bustle. Family-friendly hotels in South Kensington include the Crowne Plaza and the Radisson Blu Vanderbilt; the Crowne Plaza is a bit pricier but if you dine at their restaurant, kids under 12 eat free from their children’s menu. There’s also the excellent Ampersand Hotel; their rooms, studios and suites accommodate extra beds for kids; they also have a children’s menu and offer family discounts at their restaurant. A cheaper accommodation option is the Premier Inn that a couple of minutes’ walk from Earl’s Court underground station; they also have family rooms, and they’re just a few minutes’ extra walk from the museums and Hyde Park.

      Here are some ideas as to what you can see and do during five days in London:

      Day 1: Go to the excellent Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, both in South Kensington and next to each other. They’re both very popular with families; visit on a weekday if you can as they tend to be busy on weekends. There are plenty of interactive hands-on displays at the Science Museum for kids of all ages, while the Natural History Museum has a particularly good dinosaur room and impressive wildlife displays. There are restaurants nearby. Hyde Park is 10-15 minute walk away; there are plenty of trails for walking, while the Princess Diana memorial playground is fun for kids.

      Days 2 & 3: Take a boat tour along the Thames; the boats have enclosed seating, so this is something you can do even if it’s raining, and it’s a good way of seeing London’s attractions. City Cruises head east along the Thames from the Westminster pier in central London, and you pass the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, the Shard and more. The boats stop at several piers along the way, so you can choose to disembark at the places you want to explore in more detail. One worthwhile stop is the London Eye – you get a great view of London from above, even if it’s cloudy (book online for cheaper prices). A five-minute walk along the embankment is the Sea Life Aquarium which is good for rainy days and really popular with children. It’s really well-designed, with fish and sea creatures from many different habitats. There are inexpensive restaurants nearby. If you’re into art, it’s well worth stopping at the Tate Modern: the UK’s biggest contemporary art gallery has hands-on games for kids and children get a chance to work on their own artistic masterpieces. Further along the river is the Tower of London – the royal fortress that’s the home of the Crown Jewels. They put a lot of thought into family visits: there’s the Time Explorer app for kids that you can download, there are guides for kids and plenty of hidden spaces to explore in the towers. Right next door is London’s iconic Tower Bridge, with its twin towers and a glass-bottomed walkway high above river, which is fun for those not afraid of heights. Then one stop further along the river is London Bridge, where you can go up to the viewing platform on the 72nd floor of the Shard, London’s tallest skyscraper. That’s particularly worthwhile if the weather is nice, since you don’t get views like that anywhere else in London; book online for discounts. Nearby Borough Market has some excellent food stalls. Trying to see all of the above is too much in one day, but you can choose 2-3 places that you’re particularly keen to see and visit them over two days.

      Day 4: Visit Buckingham Palace in the morning; they have the Changing of the Guard every day during the peak summer months and every other day the rest of the year (check online which day it’ll be) at 11.30am. There’s marching and music and it’s fun for kids; it’s a good idea to get there there at least half an hour before it starts to get a good place to see the action. From the Green Park underground station you can catch the tube up to the Baker Street stop, and visit Madame Tussaud’s, where you can have your photos taken with the wax figures of the Royal Family, Hollywood stars, famous musicians and more – but might be more fun for your older child than the younger. Madame Tussaud’s is at the south end of the large, tranquil Regent’s Park; you can walk across the park to London Zoo, with its numerous exotic animals and fun activities for kids. Alternatively, you can skip Madame Tussaud’s and take the underground directly to Camden Town, which is the closest stop to the zoo.

      Day 5: Explore the Covent Garden/Leicester Square area. There are typically some mime artists and buskers around the covered market area in Covent Garden proper, and you can also visit the excellent London Transport Museum nearby, with vintage buses for kids to clamber on to and plenty of hands-on stuff. On a rainy day, you can take the kids to one of the multiplex cinemas around Leicester Square. A few minutes’ walk away is the excellent National Gallery if you’re interested in classic art, and they occasionally stage kids’ events. I’ve also taken friends’ kids to the National Portrait Gallery, next door to the National Gallery, which is essentially portraits of famous Brits; some of the portraits are really unusual and some kids really enjoy the experience. There are plenty of restaurants in the neighbourhood. It’s also worth taking the kids to see a musical – Aladdin or the Lion King should be suitable for your kids, given their ages. You can see what’s on at londontheatre.co.uk and there are matinee shows, which is handy for families with younger kids.

  4. London Hotel with 2 Kids

    Hi Dave – Love your site! We will be in London for two days…We have two children, 5 and 8 years old. I’m looking at the Radisson Blu Vanderbilt as it offers family rooms and seems to be in a great area. My husband will be working one of the days, so it will be just me with the kids on a Friday. It looks like we can easily visit Hyde Park and the Natural History Museum from this hotel. Is this area easy to navigate on foot? Please let me know what you think about this hotel choice, or if there is another option that has fun destinations within walking distance. Many thanks!
    Kristie

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      The Radisson Blu Vanderbilt is a decent choice. The location is excellent, I agree; you can walk to the Natural History Museum from the hotel in less than 10 minutes, while Hyde Park is around 10-15 minutes’ walk away. Right next to the Natural History Museum there’s also the excellent science museum with lots of hands-on exhibits for kids of all ages. Both museums are free. The neighbourhood is easy to navigate on foot. Another good choice, a block west of the Radisson Blu, is the Crowne Plaza; it’s a little bit more pricey, but their family rooms are more spacious, they have a special kids’ menu and children under 12 eat for free at their restaurant when accompanied by a fully paying adult.

  5. London for 8 Days with Older Children

    We are looking forward to our upcoming trip to London with our children, who are 15, 13, and 11. We will be there for eight days, and would like to take one or two day trips out of the city. We will definitely visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour. What other out of the city outing would you recommend. Also, we would like to take our kids to a show while we are there. Do you recommend that we buy tickets online beforehand or buy them there? Thanks for any recommendations! Patricia

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      There is plenty to do in London in eight days, and the Harry Potter Studio tour is very popular with teenagers. If you want to take your kids out to a show, you’re spoiled for choice: there are plenty of shows and musicals happening in London’s West End on any given day. You can check what’s going to be on during the time of your visit at londontheatre.co.uk and if you have your hearts set on a particularl show, it’s worth buying tickets online in advance. Otherwise, you can look for bargains when you’re in London by visiting the TKTS booth in Leicester Square.

      Below are some ideas for what you can do in London in seven days (since a visit to Harry Potter Studios is essentially a day trip. It’s around 20 miles north of London, so you need to take a train from London Euston to Watford Junction, and take a shuttle to the studios from there. Since it sounds like you’re Harry Potter fans, you might be interested in some sights in London as well: at London King’s Cross station, there’s the platform 9 3\4, the Tour for Muggles does entertaining walking tours of central London, taking in the sights from the Harry Potter movies, and a many different London tours for Harry Potter fans.

      Day 1: If it’s your first time in London, a good way to get a feel for London is to take a boat tour. City Cruises depart from the Westminster pier in central London, and on the way you get to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, the Shard and other attractions. Some of the boats go all the way east to Greenwich, and you can get off and visit different attractions along the way. For one day, I recommend going on the London Eye – you get a great view of London from above, even if it’s cloudy (book online for cheaper prices). Next to the London Eye is the London Dungeon, which is a fun, actor-led introduction to London’s gruesome history with special effects, creepy sets, and a ride at the end. Some teenagers really enjoy it, while others might think it’s a bit twee – it depends on your kids. You can then take the boat east to the Tate Modern if you’re into art: it’s the UK’s biggest contemporary art museum and it’s free entry, unless you wish to attend one of the special exhibitions. You can then take the boat one more stop to the Tower of London – a royal fortress that’s the home of Crown Jewels. It’s really well-geared towards family exploration: there are towers to climb, a museum with medieval weaponry and suits of armour, and you can sign up for a really worthwhile, entertaining tour with the Yeomen (Beefeaters) – the Tower’s guardians. Next door is Tower Bridge, with its twin towers and a glass-bottomed walkway high above river. Across the bridge is the H.M.S. Belfast, a former Royal Navy boat that you can climb aboard and explore. From Tower Bridge, it’s a 10-minute walk to London Bridge, where you can go up the Shard, London’s tallest skyscraper. It helps if the weather is nice, since you get amazing views of London from the viewing platform (book online for discounts). There is some excellent street food at Borough Market nearby. Or you can take the London underground to London Bridge and start at the Shard, and work your way backwards towards the London Eye. Since that’s a lot to see in one day, you may consider splitting this into two days’ worth of outings.

      Day 3: Spend a day around the Covent Garden/Leicester Square area. There is usually some street theatre happening around the covered market area in Covent Garden proper, and it’s a fun neighbourhood to wander around, with plenty of shopping and eating options. If you want to take it easy, there are several cinemas as Leicester Square, and if you’re interested in art, the excellent National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery are both nearby. If you’re interested in history, the Churchill War Rooms is a museum in former British wartime headquarters and a fascinating glimpse of Britain during The Blitz. Just around the corner from there is Westminster Abbey, London’s (and possibly the UK’s) most stunning church – it’s where Prince William and Kate Middleton got married and where most of England’s kings and queens are buried. If you visit, go at opening time, since it’s hugely popular. Finally, if you want to do see something few people (including Londoners) ever get to see, there are the popular Hidden London tours run by the London Transport Museum that take you down into the disused tunnels that were once part of the London Underground; some remain unchanged since WWII. You have to book weeks ahead for these.

      There are plenty of places to eat in the neighbourhood and Covent Garden/Leicester Square is right in the heart of West End, in case you want to catch a show that day at one of the many theatres in the neighbourhood.

      Day 4: Head to Buckingham Palace in the morning; every other day there’s the Changing of the Guard (check online which day it’ll be) at 11.30am. There’s marching and music and it’s a fun spectacle, so get there at least half an hour before to get a good viewing spot. From there you could also catch the tube to Russell Square and visit the British Museum with its incredible collection of treasures from around the world, or head up to Madame Tussaud’s and your pictures taken with the Royal Family, movie stars, famous musicians and other wax figures.

      Day 5: Head to South Kensington and visit the excellent Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. They are next door to each other in South Kensington (near the tube station). The Natural History Museum is geared towards visitors of all ages and has an excellent dinosaur room, among other things, while the Science Museum has lots of interactive displays, also for visitors of all ages. Across the street is the superb Victoria & Albert Museum – the world’s largest art and design museum, with superb displays – fashions through the ages, treasures from the Far East, and much more – this can be interesting for teenagers of all ages. Try to go on a weekday to avoid crowds. There are restaurants nearby, as is the famous Harrods department store – fun to browse, even if you’re not planning on shopping, and with and excellent gourmet food hall.

      Day 6: Do a day trip to Windsor Castle, the Queen’s official home. You can combine that with a visit to Legoland Windsor, which is popular with kids, teenagers and Lego-lovers of all ages. It’s a short train ride from London Paddington to Windsor Central Station.

      Day 7: Particularly if the weather is good, you can do a day trip to Kew Gardens, London’s biggest botanical gardens. It’s a vast, tranquil space with lots of trails and a canopy walk – but that rather depends on whether you’re into flowers and walking. You’ll need to take a train from London Waterloo to Kew. You can combine that with a visit to Hampton Court Palace, the palace of England’s most notorious king: Henry VIII (or just visit Hampton Court instead of Kew) – it’s a really grand palace, with lots of rooms to explore, plus a garden maze and more. It’s possible to take a bus between Kew and Hampton Court and Hampton Court is reachable from central London by train.

      An alternative for Day 7: Take the boat from Westminster pier all the way to Greenwich and visit the Cutty Sark, Britain’s last surviving tea clipper. You can climb on board and there are some hands-on exhibits. It’s a nice part of London to walk around; you can walk up to the Royal Observatory to have a look at the telescopes and to stand with your feet in two different hemispheres – on either side of the Greenwich Meridian Line! The Royal Naval College by the river is a good place to wander around, too.

  6. Day Trips from London – Paris?

    Hello,
    Firstly this is my first time traveling out of the US with my toddler and I really appreciate your blog. Thank you !
    Could you recommend the best day trip from London? We are in London for 3 days only ( 2 full days) and taking a cruise out of Southampton pier on the 4th day. would you recommend a day trip to Paris. It will be the 3 of us. Husband, me and our 3 year old toddler.
    Thank you !

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      With only two full days I would devote all your time to sights in central London. With so much to see (you’ll only skim the surface in 2 days) no sense wasting time on trains, boats, or buses. Paris is doable in one long day but only do it if it’s a must-see for you.

  7. London and Paris in April

    Thanks so much for all your information! It’s been so help! I just booked a trip to London and Paris in April. I’ll be traveling with my mom and 7 year old son. We have a total of 12 full days. Any recommendations on accommodations for that length of time? Any area you think we should stay? I looked up the budget options you suggested. Any day trips we should do?
    Pam

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      London and Paris are great family destinations but London does have more to do with kids than Paris so I would spend a day or two more there than Paris. Versailles is the best day trip from either city and it’s great to do on a bike tour (Fat Tire has a good one) as you get to see the entire grounds and then skip the lines at the palace. (With a little luck weather in April should be good for a bike ride but I would pack some light gloves and a hat.) As for places to stay as long as you’re near a tube or metro station you have a lot of flexibility and can save money by staying outside of the most popular areas.

  8. Hotel for Large Group in London

    Hey David. We’re a big group of 12 (6 adults, 3 students, 3 kids) coming from Manchester to London. Will be staying in London for 4 nights and then catching the Eurostar to Paris. Can you recommend a place to stay for a group of our size? Ideally somewhere which is somewhat central where we can go to all the main spots i.e Big Ben, London Eye, Buckingham Palace etc.

    Ariana

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Depending on when exactly you’re coming to London, it should be fairly easy to find a place to accommodate your group – it just means booking several rooms, presumably including family rooms. Probably the most convenient part of London to base yourself is the Covent Garden/Leicester Square/Soho area, since there are excellent transport connections to the main attractions and you can even get to the London Eye, Big Ben, and a few other places on foot. Shoreditch, Kensington, Islington and around Kings Cross/Euston train stations are also convenient locations, since there are numerous hotels there that cater to groups, though there’s a lot less there in terms of dining options/attractions.

      Off the top of my head I can suggest the Premier Inn London Euston since they have family rooms, and it’s a five-minute walk from Euston tube station – a quick ride on the underground from main attractions and also less than 10 minutes’ walk from St Pancras train station. The Premier Inn London Kensington also has family rooms and is particularly convenient if you want to visit the Natural History, Science and Victoria & Albert Museums (the first two are particularly popular with kids), as well as Buckingham Palace. The museums are a 10-minute walk away, and Buckingham Palace is easily reachable via the underground. The most central of the Premier Inn branches is the Leicester Square one – it’s a bit pricier than the other two, but right in the middle of West End – the most popular part of London. There are plenty of places to eat in the neighbourhood, and two child-friendly places I like are the Rainforest Cafe and Homeslice Pizza.

      Alternatively, if you’re looking for something with a bit more character and a bit more upmarket than the Premier Inn, it’s worth looking on Booking.com, since you can pick the areas of London you want to stay in, the dates you’re visiting, and even the type of rooms, how many rooms you want, and the price range you’re looking for, and it shows which hotels are available for your chosen dates.

      If you’re going to be doing a lot of sightseeing, it’s worth buying Visitor Oyster Cards in advance; they’re used on London transport and it’s a lot cheaper than buying paper travelcards. If you have particular attractions in mind – the London Eye or the Tower of London for example, it’s really worth buying tickets online in advance to save money. The museums are least busiest in the mornings on weekdays. For Buckingham Palace, if you want to see the Changing of the Guard, it’s really worth getting there at least half an hour before the ceremony to find a good viewing spot. The Changing of the Guard is every other day, so check the website for the day you want to visit. For Westminster Abbey, get there before opening time to avoid the worst of the crowds. A good way of visiting several big attractions at once (Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Shard) is taking a boat from Westminster pier (near Big Ben/Houses of Parliament), since that way you get to see the London skyline and the boats docks right near the places of interest. City Cruises and Thames Clippers are both good boat operators (the Thames Clipper is faster).

  9. Ace Hotel in London

    Any opinions on the Ace Hotel?

    Rbecca

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      It’s a very good upscale hotel in a good, central location. It’s in the Shoreditch neighbourhood, which is handy if you’re looking to visit galleries, catch theatre shows or go clothes shopping in local boutiques or along Brick Lane, or if you’re on a business trip. It’s also about 10 minutes’ walk from the Liverpool St train station/tube. As for the the hotel itself, it’s a hip, contemporary ‘concept hotel’, with individually-styled rooms – anything from UK punk to bold graphic styles, with 60s style furniture in the lobby. The decor appeals to some but not others. The staff and very friendly and helpful. There are plenty of amenities, from flat-screen TVs and safes in the rooms to the on-site fitness centre, sauna, restaurant and bar. The Hoi Polloi brasserie does a good job of catering to most dietary needs with its menu of international dishes and raw juice bar. Rooms cost around £155, and overall it’s good value for money.

  10. Great Hotels for Families

    Thanks David for this detailed information of the hotels in London. This is a great help that you’ve done to many travellers. I myself had visited about a year ago, and would like to say it was the best family outing we had ever in these years. However, in the list of hotels that you’ve listed above, I would like to add a few names as well, which I think are very well maintained and a paradise for family with kids.

    My favorite family hotels are:

    The Montague on the Gardens, Montague Street
    Rosewood, High Holborn
    The Ritz, Piccadily
    Sofitel London St. James, Waterloo Place
    Brown Hotel, Albemarle Street, Mayfair
    Chessington Safari Hotel, Leatherhead Road, Chessington
    The Rubens at the Palace, Buckingham Palace Road
    The Halkin by COMO, Halkin Street
    The Ampersand, Harrington Road

    Also, for luxury serviced apartments, Collingham Serviced Apartments is also very good and well-maintained for families.

    Urvi

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Thanks Urvi. Great suggestions.

  11. London Hotel for Family of 3

    Hi David,
    I’m trying to find somewhere for myself, husband and soon to be 2 year old son. I’m finding London to be a minefield can you help? We are looking for just 2 nights, just 1 room big enough for us all, ideally not far from Hyde Park area, good quality accommodation but not ridiculously expensive. Can you reccommend any where?
    Thank you for your time,
    Lisa

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      There are a number of good, family-friendly options in the Hyde Park area. I don’t know whether your son would want his own bed or whether he’d sleep with you and your husband while you guys are travelling, but just in case, I’m mostly suggesting places which have family rooms as well as regular doubles. There’s the Queen’s Gate Hotel (boutique town house with comfortable rooms, near museums, 5min walk from Hyde Park). There’s Rydges Kensington Hotel (boutique hotel 10 min walk from Hyde Park, right near Gloucester Rd Underground station, really nice beds, stylish rooms, good location for bus tours); it’s a bit pricier than Queen’s Gate Hotel. Then you have the smaller, friendly, family-run Rhodes Hotel, also near Hyde Park – it’s a bit cheaper than the other two. If you don’t mind chain hotels, there’s the Best Western Delmere, a Victorian hotel a few minutes’ walk from Paddington underground/train station and around a 10-minute walk from Hyde Park; it’s good value but doesn’t offer family rooms, though. Finally, the Nadler Kensington has spacious family rooms, offers large discounts if you book in advance and the rooms have mini-kitchens (fridge, microwave).

  12. Copthorne Tara or Premier Inn Earls Court

    We are planning to travel to London end of July with our 12 year old son for 10 days.
    Please can you suggest some hotels in Kensington. Also which hotel would you recommend Copthorne Tara or Premier Inn Earls Court?

    Thanks

    Payal Shah

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Kensington is an excellent area to stay in if you’re travelling with a 12-year-old. You’ll be right near three excellent museums: Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

      Places to stay: the Copthorne Tara has an excellent location, but there have been some complaints recently about customer service, outdated decor, thin walls, and generally the feeling that it doesn’t live up to its 4* hotel status. The Premier Inn is a standard business hotel with all the amenities the chain usually offers, and feedback about it has been better recently than about the Copthorne Tara: good customer service, good in-house dining, and good soundproofing, so even though the hotel is near a railway line, the sound shouldn’t bother you. So out of the two, the Premier Inn is a better choice.

      Other good hotels nearby in the same price range include Best Western the Boltons Hotel (modern, appealing rooms in a refurbished townhouse), Mayflower Hotel & Apartments (good location, spacious rooms and studio apartments, continental breakfast included for both), Twenty Nevern Square Hotel (Victorian townhouse with four-poster beds, close to Earl’s Court underground station), NH London Kensington (refurbished Victorian house, stylish, comfortable rooms, close to Earl’s Court underground), Montana Hotel (modern, family rooms, short walk to museums, close to Gloucester Road underground station), and the Hilton London Kensington (a bit further from museums, but modern, comfortable rooms, in-house restaurant).

  13. Central Hotels for Family of 5 in London

    Hi David
    Would love your advice for our family of 5 coming in from Heathrow and leaving via train to Paris. Looking for central affordable accommodation in London to see the sights easily in 2 days. (Travelling for a month on Australia $.)

    Melissa Warburton

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Getting into London from Heathrow is easy. You can take the London Underground directly into central London; it takes roughly an hour from any of the terminals and costs £6 per adult and slightly less for kids. However, if you have a lot of luggage, there’s also the Heathrow Express train that runs from the airport to Paddington Station (15-20 minutes), which costs at least £22 per adult. Plus you’ll then have to factor in taxi costs to get to your accommodation. If you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing, it’s worth looking into getting London Travelpasses just to make it cheaper to get around using public transport.

      If you only have a couple of days in London, I’d suggest staying in the Covent Garden/West End area, since it’s super central, within easy walking distance to some sights (National Gallery, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, the River Thames – handy for boat tours with City Cruises) and with a huge number of dining options right on your doorstep – both in Covent Garden and in neighbouring Soho/Chinatown areas. It’s any cuisine you can think of – Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Thai, traditional British.

      Some affordable accommodation options in West End include Premier Inn Leicester Square, the boutique Dean Street Townhouse in Soho, Seven Dials Hotel, and the futuristic, almost capsule-hotel-like Hub – but the last one is only if you’re not looking to spend much time in your room. More upmarket options include the colourful boutique Soho Hotel and Ham Yard Hotel. All of the above options welcome families.

      There are also handy London Underground connections to other major sights – Buckingham Palace at St James’ Park, the Science, Natural History, and Victoria and Albert Museums at South Kensington (the first two are particularly great for kids), the London Eye at Waterloo, the Shard at London Bridge.

      As for travelling to Paris, If you’re taking the Eurostat it’ll be departing from St Pancras train station, which is very easy to reach. Your best bet is to take the London Underground to Kings Cross station; St Pancras is just across the street from Kings Cross (and there’s an underground connection if needed).

  14. Merlin Pass for London with Kids

    Hi,

    Great travel tips! We’re in London in May-June with our two boys (9&5), a couple of our local friends have recommended the Merlin Pass. Do you think that makes sense? Or should we buy entry tickets in advance – will that work out better?

    Thanks!
    Neha Sharma

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      It depends on whether you and your family are looking to spend most of your time in London, or whether you’ll be travelling all over the UK during your stay. A Merlin Pass is an annual pass that gives you access to 32 attractions all over the UK – a mix of amusement parks, aquariums, dungeons, castles etc. All of them are suitable for your older boy (though the Dungeons might be a bit scary for the younger one), but out of the 32 attractions, only 5 are located in London – the London Eye, London Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, London Dungeon and Shrek’s Adventure London, with Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures (both theme parks) and Legoland Windsor located within easy reach of the capital.

      The Merlin Pass starts from £129 per person (this is family price, so you’d have to pay £129 per child, and a total of £516 for your entire family), so you’d have to visit quite a few of the attractions to make it worth your while, and it really depends on your interests. I’d suggest buying entry tickets in advance online instead. Just to give you an idea, if you did a day trip as a family from London to Legoland Windsor, and you booked over a week in advance, you’d save over £40.

      If you’re planning on being in London for much of the time, then there’s a lot of great stuff there for kids. There are excellent, free, interactive museums – Natural History Museum, Science Museum, driving a Tube train simulator at the London Transport museum (that’s more for your older boy). There’s petting and feeding farm animals at Hackney City Farm in east London, riding a London Hop On Hop Off Bus (with special commentary for kids) with a free boat thrown in, plus the Tower of London, London Zoo, etc.

      You might want to consider a London Pass, valid from 1-10 days, that gives you free entry to over 60 London attractions, as well as free transport. However, it really depends on what you want to do and see; kids under the age of 11 ride on buses and the Underground for free anyway, and most museums are also free. It’s worth getting a 2-day pass if you’re looking to visit at least a couple of major attractions (Tower of London, London Zoo) and do the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour, but otherwise, it really depends on what you’re into

  15. Family Hotel near Regent's Park

    Hi, can you recommend accommodation for a family of four near Regent’s Park please? We are going to the outdoor theatre so want something reasonably easy to get back to late in the evening. Thanks, Jean

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      There’s quite a lot of accommodation to choose from for most budgets, particularly around the south side of Regent’s Park, near Baker Street and Regent’s Park Underground stations and Marylebone railway station. At the southeast corner of Regent’s Park there’s Melia White House (upmarket 1930s hotel, family rooms, presents for kids on arrival) and a Holiday Inn (mid-range, with family rooms), while at the southwest corner of the park, near Baker Street Underground station, there’s the mid-range Blandford Hotel (family rooms), the upmarket Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes (their studio rooms and loft suites sleep two adults and two kids if they’re under the age of 12), The Landmark London (5-star hotel with pool and family rooms), the mid-range Dorset Square Hotel (townhouse hotel; some of the rooms have extra sofa beds with rooms for two kids, or else you can have two deluxe rooms next to each other) and a branch of the mid-range Travelodge chain (family rooms). Both Underground station stops are pretty much the same distance from the Open Air Theatre – a 10min walk or so.

      As for attractions in the neighbourhood, there’s the London Zoo at the north end of Regent’s Park (depends on the age of your family members), there’s Primrose Hill just north of Regent’s Park which is where locals go to hang out and picnic, while right near the Baker Street Underground station you have the Sherlock Holmes Museum (if you’re fans of the detective) and Madame Tussaud’s London (if you’re into wax figures). Plus, Regent’s Park is just a one-stop Underground ride from Oxford Street (for shopping along Oxford Street and Regent Street – high street fashion, and Carnaby Street – specialist stores) and a couple of stops away from the Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square/Covent Garden area (theatres/Chinatown/shopping & dining).

      If you’re looking to eat out around Regent’s Park, there’s a good mix of places, particularly along or around Baker St, Marylebone High St and Crawford St. You can try Fischer’s (informal Viennese cafe-style place serving Austrian/German food), Getti (family-run Italian spot), upmarket fusion cusine at The Providores, the Real Greek (Mediterranean food) or the 108 Brasserie & Bar (British, seasonal), just to name a few. There are also sushi places, pizzerias, Mexican, and Thai restaurants and British pubs scattered around the area. Depending on how old the youngest members of your family are, you can also go to the specifically kid-friendly Hub Cafe and Boathouse Cafe in the Regent’s Park grounds, though those are lunch spots.

  16. Apartment for Family of 4 in Central London

    Hi David,

    Thanks so much for all this super information. We are going to be in London for 3 nights towards the end of May and are travelling with our 2 girls – ages 8 & 10. We would like to stay some place central and preferably a serviced apartment-type hotel that might also have a kitchenette. Would you have any recommendations in terms of neighbourhoods and/or hotels?

    Thanks – Katya

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      If you’re looking to stay in central London and you’re travelling with kids, there are several good neighbourhoods to choose from. Central London Apartments offer serviced apartments all over the city – you can just pick the neighbourhood you want to stay in and see what’s on offer.

      If you want to be right in the heart of things – near the theatres, good shopping, the British Museum – then Covent Garden, Leicester Square, and Piccadilly Circus are all near each other and are great locations. They’re also a short walking distance (15 minutes or so) from the Westminster Pier on River Thames, if you want to take a family-friendly sightseeing boat tour (highly recommended) past London’s famous landmarks, such as the London, Eye, the Shard, Tower Bridge and more. The area is very convenient, with great underground and bus connections to other parts of London. And good for eating out – there are restaurants for every budget and you can find anything from dim sum (Chinatown is nearby) to Italian, Thai, and British pubs. Some good kid-friendly options include Belgo Centraal, Bodean’s BBQ, Ed’s Easy Diners, the Rainforest Cafe, and Homeslice. And if your kids like musicals, then Aladdin, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Lion King, and Matilda the Musical are playing in theatres in the area at the time of your visit.

      Chelsea is a little to the west of the centre, but it’s just a 10 minute Underground ride to central London, it’s a bit quieter and that’s where you’ll find two terrific museums. The Natural History Museum and the Science Museum are both aimed at kids, with lots of interactive displays and activities, and they’re both free. Chelsea also has a good dining scene, with anything from burgers and sushi to Italian food and steakhouses; Tom’s Kitchen has a special kids’ menu that offers more than the usual sorry options.

      ApartHotels offer serviced apartments near Tower Bridge, one of London’s iconic landmarks – this is a little east of the centre, by the river. Also good for sightseeing boat tours and a 15 minute ride on the Underground to the very centre of London.

      It’s a good idea to make accommodation bookings as soon as possible, since London gets pretty busy towards the end of May. Also, if you’re looking to do a lot of sightseeing, consider getting the London Pass – for free entry to many attractions, free hop-on, hop-off bus (that takes you to many attractions)…plus you get to skip the lines at a number of sights. If you only want to see a few attractions, then some of the most family-friendly ones are the London Eye, British Museum, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London. And if your girls are Harry Potter fans, you can visit the original film sets Warner Bros Studios or go on a Harry Potter walking tour.

  17. London Streets during Marathon

    We’re travelling to London and Paris with our seven year old twins at the end of April (first trip for everyone but me). We just realized that the day we land in London is the day of the London Marathon. Will that make a mess of our day? We were going to try a double decker bus tour but I’m guessing there will be too much congestion. Any other easy ideas for Day one? I’m afraid jetlag will be an issue.

    Thanks in advance.
    Andra

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      The day of the London Marathon might not be the best time to take a double decker bus tour, since much of central London will be closed to traffic, but it’s doable.

      There are a couple of double decker bus companies that do sightseeing tours of London: Original Tour and Big Bus Tours and while some of their routes are running on the day, there are likely to be some disruptions to the bus tours. However, both companies also offer free river cruises as part of their hop-on, hop-off bus ticket, while City Cruises specialize in sightseeing along the River Thames, so that might be a good alternative, since the river runs through the scenic heart of London and past many main attractions.

      London’s public transport will be busier than usual on the day, with parts of the Underground in central London pretty crowded. So if you want to avoid crowded public transport as much as possible, you can also consider taking one of the free themed walking tours (Original Tour: Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, Jack the Ripper tour; Big Bus Tours: Royal London, Scene in London – London filming locations for Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Who, and Haunting Mysteries); they’re not too long – a couple of hours each, so are doable with 7-year-old kids.

  18. London and Paris with Kids

    Hi Dave!
    We are traveling to London next March and going from there to Paris. Since we’re traveling by plane, I thought about staying in the Paddington area. Any family friendly hotels around that area to recommend us? And in Paris? We are a couple with 3 little kids and I m finding very challenging to find a place to stay with kids!.
    Thank you
    Maria Eugenia Martinelli

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      The 3-bedroom apartments at Apple Apartments Hyde Park are huge and have a full kitchen and washer/dryer. Balmoral House Hotel has less expensive family rooms with 3 single beds and a double bed all in the same room. Also comes with free breakfast. Both hotels have convenient locations for arriving at Paddington Station (from Heathrow).

      For hotels in Paris read Family Hotels in Paris.

  19. London with Kids during Holidays

    Hi. We’re going to spend the last week of the year with our kids (12 and 9) in London. Besides the usual hussle and bussle of New Year’s Eve, can we except the long lines of the summer at the local attractions (like Tussaurds)? Or will things be calmer do you think, for a weekday visit, despite being school holidays?
    And is it worth going to Ripley’s Believe it or Not?
    Got the London Eye, Shrek Experience, Tussauds and Sea Life, as well as the Natural History Museum on our bucket list, aside from the other usual suspects (Buckingham Palace, Hyde and St. Jame’s Park, Big Ben, etc.). Thinking of also taking a ride on the Cable Car.
    Anything we should rather skip, or add?
    Apologies for the twenty questions but I want this to be a memorable experience for my family…am totally bumbed I couldn’t get tickets for the Warner Studios Harry Potter tour :(. Next time maybe.
    Thanks for all the useful info on London by the way!
    Rozz

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      First off, check opening days and hours for all attractions as they could be closed some days. Also tube and train can have closures during that week as well – so be prepared/flexible. You’ve got a lot planned for a week and Ripley’s would be the one that I would skip of all the one’s you mention. Tussaud’s will likely be the busiest of any of those (lines can be long) but you can pre-buy tickets. You do lose flexibility when you set a time but it’s worth it in this case. For the other attractions arrive at opening time to avoid long queues.

    2. Marlin Apartments

      In my opinion the cable car is really not worthwhile – it takes you to and from parts of London which simply aren’t worh visiting. You can get better views from walking up The Monument, or going to The Shard or up the Walkie Talkie which you can get free tickets for (search Sky Garden)!

      We always stay at the Marlin Apartments which have the best serviced apartments in London, we get a 2 bedroom apartment which comes with a full kitchen and 2 bathrooms, and a separate living area. You literally feel like a local and so at home there, the concierge give good tips so you don’t get ripped off and spot the local buzzing restaurants.

      Head to Borough Market, Southbank, Portobello Market, Hyde Park, and avoid Ripley’s!

      For kids the RIB boat trips along the Thames are incredible fun, and going on the London Eye is advisable to book. Try catching something unique like kids attractions at The Globe theatre. The Aquarium is good fun, Hamley’s is definitely worth heading to!

      Get some bikes and cycle through a park, avoid the roads! Head to some markets 🙂

  20. How Long in London and Paris

    We are gung-ho about our 3 week trip to Europe in summer of 2016 (late June/early July). We have much of it planned out already. Stops in Amsterdam, Florence, Rome, and Southern France. We have 7 days to spend in London and Paris at the beginning and end of our trip. How would you allot those days? We are thinking 2 days in London and 5 days in Paris. Does that sound about right? We are first timers to Europe, London, and Paris so don’t have a clue.

    Thanks for your time and website,
    Chuck

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      You’ve planned a great trip with stops at many of my favorite destinations. As for time in London and Paris, that’s always a tough call. They are my 2 favorite cities in Europe and both have lots to offer both kids and adults. I think I would go with 3 days in London and 4 days in Paris. Both are wonderful. The museums and attractions of London are slightly more kid-friendly. But Paris in the summer months is really wonderful. Whatever you decide, you’ll love it.

  21. London in November

    Hi David,

    Great that you are taking so much time out to help others !! Request your help on our travel.. We are 3 adults, 1 kid (16 yrs) and a toddler (20 months) and are visiting London between Oct 29th to Nov 11th.. We are still planning where to stay and what all places to visit, in and around London.. Would be great if you could share some ideas pl.. Have seen some BnBs, but still undecided on how to choose..
    Harsha

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      London is great in November. Fewer tourists and many of London’s top attractions are indoors where the grey weather won’t affect you. Top sights for a 16 year old would be the Imperial War Museum, the British Museum, and the Royal Air Force Museum (a bit outside of London). Don’t worry too much about the location of London in which you stay as public transportation is so good and the top sights so spread out that there’s no one “best location”. BnBs can be great and usually include breakfast which most London hotels don’t.

  22. Best Time to Visit London with Kids – June or August

    Planning trip with 4 kids aged from 4 to 13 for summer of 2016. Would you recommend late June or early August as the best time for a London visit? We’ll be spending the summer in south France and can either visit London on the way there or the way back home. Is one month more expensive than the other for hotels?

    Thanks,
    Debbie

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Late June would be better for crowds at the main London tourist attractions. Not that June will be quiet but August is when school holidays occur and sights like the Tower of London or British Museum will be busy. As for hotel prices, they’ll actually be cheaper in August as that is a quiet time for business travel and business travel is what really dictates the price of rooms (and a good deal of the demand). Weather should be nice for both months with August being a little warmer.

  23. Best Thing To Do with 6 Year Old Boy in London

    We are in London for a weekend. We have (a little selfishly) planned out some adult-centered activities but have time to do one attraction with our 6 year old in mind. What would you suggest. We’ve thought about the London Natural History or the London Transportation Museum. Which would you recommend if we can only visit one?

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Both the Natural History Musuem and the Transportation Museum are wonderful – but for a 6 year old I’d lean towards the Transportation Museum which is probably my kids favorite attraction in London. The big plus for the Natural History is that it’s bigger. At the Transportation Museum you’re looking at 1 to 2 hours. The Natural History Museum could fill 2 to 5 hours, or more. So it depends what sort of time slot you’re trying to fill.

  24. London in January with Kids

    Like everyone else has said, wonderful information here. Thanks. I’ll be in London in January with by 10 and 12 year old daughters. I know this isn’t summer but wondering what to expect. Is this an OK time to visit or should we delay until some time when we can come in summer. Will the main attractions and museums be open in January?

    Thanks.

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      January in London is great if you’re mainly interested in the museums and indoor attractions. The British Museum is wonderful to wander around at this time of year – it seems almost empty (if you’re used to the high season crowds). From April to November the Rosetta Stone has a crowd 5 deep around it. In January you can walk straight up to it and spend 30 minutes looking without bothering anyone else. The weather, of course, can be cold and wet. But London has a great transportation system so that shouldn’t bother you much.

  25. London with a Stroller

    Would you recommend using a stroller when getting around London? Trying to decide whether to take the stroller for my 3 year old. Nothing special planned besides seeing the iconic sights and a maybe the British and National Museums.

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Strollers can be nice for the larger museums (e.g. the British Museum) as when they’ve tired out you can put them in for a nap or just to buy 30 or 60 more minutes. But in general, out and about, they’re more of a pain. The tube often requires lots of stairs, sidewalks are buys in central London, even the bus has stairs (most are double decker). I don’t think the benefits outweigh the costs. I’d leave it at home.

  26. Pool at Marylebone Hotel

    Love the look of the Marylebone Hotel. How is the location? And how is the pool? It sounds like it’s part of an athletic club. How does that work? Do you have to go outside to access the club?

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      I love the Marylebone. The pool is great, though they do have limited hours for children and kids under 5 can’t use it at all (check the website for current hours). It is part of the athletic club, but no, you don’t have to go outside to get to it. There’s a special elevator at the back of the hotel which goes down to the pool.

      Update: Just looked at the Marylebone website and it has incorrect info about kids’ swim times. I emailed the hotel and the (current) correct times for when kids can swim are: Monday to Friday 15.30 to 17.00, Saturday and Sunday 10.30 to 12.00 & 15.30 to 17.00.

  27. British Museum with Kids

    We have 2 children, ages 4 and 7 years. Do you think the British Museum would be a fun and interesting outing for them – or is too much for that age?

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      That’s a tough age for musuems, but I’d give it a try. Just plan on a short visit. As soon as they get bored head for the door – dragging it out is no fun for anyone. There is a kids package you can get from the main information desk. It has a treasure hunt that both kids might find fun and engaging. There’s also a audio tour that is designed specifically for kids – good for the 7 year old, probably too much for the 4 year old. The Egyptian Mummies are popular with the young crowd.

  28. Catching Train to Paris – Recommended Hotel

    We have 3 days in London before catching the Eurostar to Paris. Then 4 days there, 2 in Amsterdam, and back to London for the final 2 nights. Where does the Eurostar depart from? Is that a good area to stay? Could you recommend a 4 or 5 star hotel that would make it easy to catch the train in the morning (and the same on the way back). And on the Paris end, where does the train arrive and is that a good neighborhood to base ourselves. We are a family of 4 from Chicago. We know big cities but don’t know Europe. Thanks, Wendy.

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      The Eurostar leaves from St Pancras International. Arrive early as you’ll need to go through passport control and security. A good family hotel near the station (5 minute walk) is Pullman St Pancras. There are good sized room with king bed and sofa bed. When the train gets to Paris you’ll be at Gare du Nord. The area around the station is not great but not terrible either. I’ve stayed in the Midnight Hotel Paris which is a 5 minute walk from the station and has some very nice suites that are good for families (and have free breakfast). The hotel was recently refurbished and is very good value for what you get. But since you have 4 nights in Paris staying in a more central neighborhood is probably worth the effort.

  29. Family Hotel or Apartment Close to the British Museum

    We have a week in London and have a 13 year old girl who would like to spend a good part of it at the British Museum and a 12 year old boy that would like to go the London Transport Museum (as well as the British). Adults would like to visit the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery. I think it’s best if we find a hotel that will comfortably sleep 4 somewhere near the British Museum (which is in Bloomsbury, right?) – can you recommend a good hotel in this neighborhood for us? The thinking is that we’d be close enough so that our daughter could visit the museum on her own if the rest of the family has had their fill. Being close to shopping would please by wife. I know London is expensive but we would like to keep the charge around $400/day while still having a good bit of room to relax and not feel cramped. Where should we stay?

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Try the Private Apartments on Oxford Street – though they’re actually on Tottenham Court Road just off Oxford Street and about a 3 minute walk to the British Museum. They’re a 15 minute walk to the London Transport Museum, National Portrait, and National Galleries (or a direct tube ride). It’s in a very central location. There is good shopping (and grocery stores) just a short walk away.

  30. Good Family Restaurant in London

    We have a busy 3 days planned for our family of 5 while in London. We have 1 night free of events and would like to hit a good (great?) London eatery. Any suggestions for a restaurant that won’t be too expensive, good for kids (ages 6, 9, and 11), and has good food? We’re staying in the West End but open to going anywhere that sounds good. Preferably a place with locals and few tourists. Thanks, Darren.

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      The Golden Hinde is a great fish and chips restaurant just off the high street in Marylebone. The restaurant is over a 100 years old so is doing something right. Mainly locals here. It doesn’t take reservations and is open for lunch and dinner. Highly recommended!

  31. Bus Routes for Seeing London

    I’ve heard that taking the double decker buses are a great way to see the city? Would you agree? What are some good routes to see the top sites in London? (We are staying north of Oxford Street.)

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Bus is a great way to both get around London and see some great scenery and street life at the same time. My favorite scenic routes are #159, #24, and #433. All will take you by Trafalgar Square, Westminster, Big Ben areas. If you travel outside of rush hour you can usually get good seats upstairs with a nice view. (Be sure to get an Oyster Card as it makes travel in London much easier.)

  32. Best Theater Show for Kids/Best Playground for Kids

    We’ve booked hotel and are now making plans for our week stay. There doesn’t seem to be any playgrounds close to our hotel in London. Since we have to go out of our way to get to one what would you say is the best playground in central London? And as far as theatre and musicals, what are the best shows for kids in London?
    Thanks,
    Alex

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      The most popular musicals and shows for kids are: The Lion King, Wicked, Elf (only runs late October to early January), Charlie and Chocolate Factory, and Matilda.

      There are many great parks in London but the Princess Diana Playground is one of the best and most unique. Plus, you can use it to introduce Princess Diana, her story and legacy. And it’s in Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park so lots of other activities in the area.

  33. Cheap Hotel for Family of 6 in London

    We will be in London at the end of September (2016), a family of 2 adults and 4 children. Can you suggest a nice place to stay in London, near tube/bus, but not too expensive? It is ok an apartment or room with 6 sleeping accommodation. thank you, regards
    Stefano

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      If you want an inexpensive place to stay in London that will sleep a family of 6 you’re going to have to compromise on something (most likely location). Try Globe City Apartments – nice rooms, close to the tube (Stepney Green station), but not a great area. I wouldn’t call it unsafe but it’s not a neighborhood you’re hanging around in. If you’re out all day seeing the city you might not care a whole lot though.

    2. Marlin Apartments

      As I commented above, Marlin Apartments have apartments for all sizes of groups, we usually travel as a 4, but I know they have 3 bedroom apartments in Canary Wharf which is easy to get anywhere in London from there and you usually get an amazing rate.

      Their London Bridge apartments are best, and you can add a sofa bed to their 2 bedroom apartments so you can sleep 6 people on a real budget! They have full kitchens which are equipped and ready to cook in, 2 bathrooms, and we always get a balcony there with a view of the Shard which is just 2 mins walk away. I wouldn’t stay anywhere else now, it feels like my second home in that City.

  34. London Hotels for Family of 5

    Personally, I’d recommend The Athenaeum Hotel, it’s in a great location (Mayfair), and even has a kids’ concierge, offering Wii games, Xbox, scooters, Frisbees, magazines, DVDs etc. And being an 11 year old kid blogger myself, it was definitely family-friendly.

    Lexie

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Thanks Lexie. Good recommendation.

  35. Best Neighborhood in London for Family

    We are coming to the end of a 3 week trip through Europe: London, Paris, Rome, Spain, then London, and home. We stayed near Hyde Park on the first visit and loved it but want a different area. I think we’re tired of more traditional sightseeing and want a neighborhood that is very family friendly yet close to the main attractions, metro, playgrounds. What would you recommend for neighborhood and hotels? Our kids are ages 8 and 10.

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Take a look at the Bloomsbury area. Great for kids and very central. Close to the wonderful Coram’s Fields. The West End Doubletree is right in the heart of things and has large 2 bedroom apartments. The Euro Hotel is just a little farther afield and has affordable quadruples that are great for families.

  36. Whitechapel Hotel in London for Family of 4

    We plan to travel with the children (under 5) to London in August. We’ve already booked for our accommodation in The Whitechapel. It isn’t one of recommended ones. Do you think we made the right choice?
    Chinenye

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      The one and two bedroom apartments at Whitechapel are great value (the other rooms are rather small). The location is ok – easy access to the tube to get around London but not a lot immediately around the hotel.

    2. Best Area of London to Stay with Kids

      I would agree with David, Whitechapel is a great area for a trendy trip around the city, but with kids you’d be better off in Bloomsbury or London Bridge area. I’ve commented a couple of times already recommending this area but I genuinely think there’s no better way to stay in London especially when you have kids!

  37. London with 2 Kids and Baby

    We will be in England and Scotland in early July. We fly to Paris (the flights were cheaper) and then need to get over to London. Family will drive us from there to Edinburgh. We’ll have 2 days in Paris at beginning and end, and 3 days total in London. Questions:
    1) For a family of 5 would bus or train be better to get from Paris to London?
    2) What would be the top 3 things to do with kids in London (ages 8 and 9)?
    3) When should we book our hotel for July in London?

    Don

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      1) From Paris to London train is much better and faster than bus. You’ll take the Eurostar. It’s a quick and enjoyable trip.
      2) Top 3: British Museum, London Transport Musuem, London Imperial War Museum.
      3) Book hotels as soon as possible. London doesn’t have a lot of family-friendly rooms – the sooner you get them booked the better.

  38. Bus or Tube in London with Kids

    We’re from New York and will have 1 week in London in early August with out 2 kids ages 8 and 9 before taking the train to Paris for an additional week there. Would you recommend the tube or the bus for getting around London?

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      You will have to use the tube to get to some more distant places in London – or from one corner of the city to another – as it’s the fastest and most efficient way to get around the city. But for shorter trips within central London the bus is awesome. The buses run often (we rarely waited for more than a few minutes for any bus) and provide a great view of the city if you go up top (most buses are the double decker kind). But regardless of which one you take be sure you get an Oyster card or a Travelcard as soon as you arrive in London – very handy and make traveling around London easy. Buses don’t accept cash so it’s either a card or individual tickets.

      Here’s a map of bus routes in London:
      map of central London bus routes

  39. Paula

    The highlight of our trip was the British Museum. My 2 children whom are 8 and 12 positively loved it. We had one full day in London and were torn between visiting the British Museum and the Natural History Museum. Though I can’t speak to the Natural History Museum as we never got there I think we made a great choice. We were staying nearby which helped tip the scales for the BM. It was great that it was free as we came in the morning, left for lunch, and returned in the afternoon. Our flight was delayed by 5 hours the following day so we also got to pop in the following morning for 2 more hours. (Yes, I realize we should have tried to get somewhere else but the kids were so keen I wanted to follow their passions.)

    There were audio guides for kids but not sure I’d recommend them for kids older than 10 as they’re really for young ones. Good but not teen-friendly–opt for the adult version for anyone older than 9 or 10. There were also treasure hunt maps that, once again, were fine for my youngest but not so much for my oldest. What was really spellbinding for both were the many volunteers that populated little exhibits around the museum. They would call the kids over and talk in-depth about certain stones, a knife, an axe, a pot, that they had out. They’d compare different ages of different tools and how you determined one was from the bronze age and one was from the iron age. It was fascinating (even for me) and I was so proud of kids for asking such thoughtful questions. You could really tell they were “getting it”. Ahhh, to live in London and be able to experience these institutions every day.

    Only other word of advice is to leave early for the airport. We hit construction-related traffic and even though we planned to have several hours at the airport, essentially just made it in time to get ticketed and through security. Leave lots of time!

  40. Joyce

    We are regular visitors to London with our kids ages 10 and 12. London is our favorite city for the girls to have both educational and family fun.

    The Girls and my top attractions are the following.

    The British Museum. This was great when the girls were a little younger and keeps getting better with each visit and the girls appreciate the exhibits on a different level. Check in with the information desk to see what they have available. The audio guides are very kid-friendly.

    The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are both very kid friendly and some of the best museums for an introduction to art and painting. The how’s, why’s, and historical significance.

    The Victoria & Albert Museum is also very good. It’s near the Science and Natural History museums which had initially brought us to the neighborhood, but the girls and I both liked the exhibits at the V&A and would end up staying the whole afternoon after intending only an hour to take a look.

    The markets that you’ll find around London are simply excellent. Many are outdoor which is a refreshing change as London will have you indoors for most of the time. The Camden, Greenwich, Portobello, and Borough markets are all good, though I’m by no-means an expert as we hear of a new one on each visit that is supposedly better than all the rest.

    I also recommend using the double decker buses to get around town as opposed to the tube. Less busy, lots to see, and less stressful. The public buses (which I recommend) are different from the tourist buses that have a narrator and are a little tiresome. Use the public buses to get around town and get a free sightseeing tour at the same time.

  41. Marc

    You must get out of London and visit the Royal Air Force Museum. It’s fantastic for all ages. There’s so much to see, so many planes (British, German, American), helicopters, displays, and so much to read, that it requires a full day. The kids got an excellent and detailed explanation of what makes flight possible. Worth the trip up in itself as it’s really stuck with them. The museum is free which makes it good value. It is a ways out of London but worth it. The distance also serves to keep the crowds away and there appeared to be more workers/volunteers than visitors. It’s about a half-hour by tube from King’s Cross so not too far. There are 2 things to note about getting there. One: You’ll get on the Northern Line, but you need to be on a train heading to Edgware (and not High Barnet or Mill Hill East). The route splits at Camden so if you’re on the wrong line you’ll obviously go to the wrong place. This is easier than it sounds, just be sure the trains destination is Edgware. Two: You’ll get off the tube at Colindale (not Edgware as might be implied by above), from there you can walk to the museum (about 10 or 15 minutes) or get on the 303 bus which will drop you right at the museum’s door. There are places to eat at the museum and the food is good, kid-friendly, and not expensive by any means. The gift shop has some wonderful things to buy (models, photos, toys). We were ready to leave and then spent 45 minutes just perusing the gift shop. My only complaint was that some of the interactive exhibits for kids were out of order.

    Within London the London Transport Museum, The Natural History Museum, and the London Eye were our kids favorite attractions. The Eye, in particular, surprise me as I thought this was one for the parents but the kiddos were really into it. I recommend going near the end of your visit so the children have some context for what they’re seeing and you can point out places you’ve visited. Our one regret was leaving the British Museum to our final day, a Sunday, when it was too busy to enjoy properly.

    We were in London with our 2 kids ages 6.5 and 10.

  42. Best London Hotel with a Baby

    Trying to decide between a hotel in Paddington or a hotel in Kensington. Which is better for a family? (We fly from New York to Gatwick in late June and then from Gatwick to Rome 5 days later.)

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      I prefer Kensington for its shops, green areas, and number of museums. Hyde Park is an easy walk from both neighborhoods. It’s easy and convenient to get from Heathrow to Paddington but since you’re flying out of Gatwick that’s not relevant. Both are fine neighborhoods but in your case I’d go with Kensington.

  43. London Pass Card for Families

    We are heading to London this spring and one thing I did to decrease sightseeing costs was purchase a London Pass Card. This covers admission to 55+ attractions in London. You might do better on prices if you know exactly where you want to go and pre-purchase tix online. However, I wanted the flexibility of not worrying about tickets I purchased to see a cathedral …if I later changed my mind. To get your monies worth you have to see a lot of attractions in a short period of time.

  44. Best Playground for Kids in London near Good Hotel

    Hands down my boys favorite place in London is the Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens. It’s a Peter Pan themed playground complete with pirate ship, tipis, lost boy’s hideouts, and the like! Best of all it’s free. There’s also a little cafe there for snacks or a light lunch–all kid friendly of course! Our family takes the tube to High Street Kensington to have lunch at Whole Foods (great for our multiple food-allergy fam) then walks over past Kensington Palace. It’s a great day out!

  45. How To Save Money for Family on London Tube

    Any idea of the best way to get around London on the subway with kids. I mean as to cost and saving money. Are there day passes? Thanks, Eric

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      There are day passes – Oyster cards and travelcards – but whether you’ll buy or need them for your kids will depend on their ages. Generally 10 and under and they won’t need a Oyster card, as long as they are accompanied by an adult they’ll be free on trams, buses, light rail and the tube. Ages 11 to 15 they’ll be free on the trams and buses, and have the child rate on light rail and the tube but they’ll need the Oyster photocard.

      The Oyster card is awesome and highly recommended for adults. It makes getting on the tube, buses, and light rail so easy. You never have to worry about having the right change or money. And it makes most trips cheaper than if you bought a single fare. They do require a small deposit but getting it refunded on your last day in London is easy. You buy them at any tube station and get them refunded at any tube station. You can add money to them at kiosks in any tube station as well. When you enter a tube station with the card there are usually special gates you can use that will allow your kids to enter with you (and avoid the turnstile type gates that allow only one person through at a time). If you have any trouble just ask an attendant and they’ll wave you through with your kids.

      You can also buy the Visitor Oyster Card online and in advance and then use it for getting from Heathrow to London after you land. (Oyster cards don’t work for the Gatwick trains.)

      I hope that helps.

      Good luck.

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