London is stunning in summer. Friends gather in the parks with barbecues and soccer balls. Workers strip off their shoes and wade into fountains. The whole city just oozes relaxed fun. It’s also fantastic for kids, with plenty to see and do all over the city.
By Alison Godfrey
Travel with Kidz specialist Nicole Edgar went to London at the end of June with her husband Stewart and two daughters Sarah, 13, and Danielle, 10.
Nicole says June is a great time to visit the city as it’s nice and warm. But it can be a bit more expensive than other times of the year. If you want to keep costs down, late spring or autumn would be ideal.
London is a walkable city. And Nicole does recommend you do so. But you should also pick up an Oyster card – London’s transport card to jump on the tube or busses when you need to.
Here’s her top five things to do with kids in London.
1. Buckingham Palace
Nicole’s biggest tip for taking kids to Buckingham Palace it to time your trip to coincide with the changing of the guard. The ceremony starts at 10.45am on weekdays and lasts 45 minutes. New, immaculately dressed uniformed soldiers come down the road opposite to Buckingham Palace, on horseback, from the Hyde Park barracks, towards the palace and parade around the grounds to replace soldiers who have been on duty.
“Just to see all the pomp and pageantry, the horses and uniforms,” Nicole says. “To see the changing of the guards is a bit more exciting than just looking at palace walls through a gate, they’ll remember it.”
2. The London Eye
Walk down Southbank along the River Thames and it’s hard to miss The London Eye. The giant Ferris wheel is 135 metres tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 metres.
“It’s smack bang in the middle of London, so you get a great overview on a clear day of where to get your bearings,” Nicole says. “I’d probably recommend doing that near the start of the trip so you can see where everything’s laid out, to get a good overview.”
Nicole’s hot tip is to combine your London Eye ticket with a ticket to either Madame Tussauds, SeaLife London, The London Dungeon or Shrek’s Adventure and you can save up to 25 per cent of the price of both.
3. The Tower of London
Moats, towers, dungeons and crown jewels – there’s so many reasons to visit the tower of London. In winter, you can even ice-skate in the moat.
Nicole says her kids loved finding the ravens. It’s said that if the ravens ever leave the Tower of London that the monarchy will fall.
“There’s actual crows or ravens sitting outside, so you can get photos up close and personal with them and with the ‘Beefeaters’ (Yeoman Warders) in full uniform.”
4. Watch some sport
London is one of the best cities in the world for sport. Soccer fans are spoilt for choice. Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham and Wembly all offer stadium tours. Rugby fans can tour Twickenham with a rugby expert. Tennis fans can take a tour through Wimbledon’s interactive museum with a virtual reality experience.
“We’re cricket fans, so we did a tour of Lords,” Nicole says. “We went up into the commentary box, toured the historic cricket changerooms and grounds, and we actually saw a cricket match on that day. My husband and the girls also did a tour of Arsenal’s stadium, whilst I went to Wimbledon for the day”.
5. See a West End Show
London’s West End shows are world-renowned, and surprisingly easy to do with kids.
“We went to see, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on the West End,” Nicole says. “A great way to finish the day and that whole area around Covent Garden is gorgeous and lively at night, with plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes to choose from.”
If you’re planning a trip to London and want to know more about what you can do with kids. Get in touch with Nicole here.