All in all, London’s simply a sensational city-break destination, not least for families. It’s jam-packed full of sites and activities that are ideal for all different ages – especially when you book into a chic, centrally-located accommodation like the Park Avenue Bayswater hotel.
So, then; choices, choices… just what to include in that 4-day itinerary for a family visit to the UK capital…
Day 1 – Arriving in the capital
Generally speaking, there are different ways you can address the effects of jet lag and, therefore, absolutely make the most of your time away on a city-break abroad. Now, while many guide books and other travel blogs may suggest opening your stay in London with a bus tour, in order to ease your way into your stay as you get over jet lag, this may not be a great idea with little ones in tow; they’ll surely want to be up and at them in an exciting new city, as soon as possible.
So, a better idea is to book into your accommodation as soon as you arrive and get you and yours settled in, familiar with where you’re staying and washed and bathed, as necessary, after a long flight. You might also, that evening, opt for takeaway food from an eatery and return to your Bayswater accommodation. A simple meal for your first evening in London perhaps, but one without the expectations of in-restaurant dining, which may not be ideal on a first night with potentially restless kids.
Day 2 – Hitting the museums and galleries
The second day should be a day of getting out and about and getting as much out of the city’s family-oriented attractions as you can – and that means a day at the brilliant, big, free museums and galleries of London. Many of them are extremely easy to get to from hotels near Madame Tussauds London and a trio of them stand out, for sure.
The Natural History Museum is where to go for captivating examples of animals from throughout the world and throughout, yes, natural history. A word to the wise: it’s awesome but tends to get properly busy around lunchtime. Second up ought to be The National Gallery. An extraordinary place that’s filled with extraordinary Van Goghs, Monets, Rembrandts, Vermeers, Cezannes and more. It may not sound family-friendly but the variety and diversity – and kid-focused activities – on offer here actually makes it great for families.
Finally, of course, there’s the British Museum; a ginormous resource of treasures drawn from from centuries upon centuries past and from every corner of the planet. Visitors of all ages come here to gander at the Elgin Marbles, the original reliefs from the Parthenon of Athens’ Acropolis hill.
Day 3 – Exploring the West End
The West End is known for all its shops, theatres and restaurants – too much grown-up stuff? Well, there’s Trafalgar Square, too, which is packed with fun street artists, as well as Nelson’s Column and the four bronze lions, of course. Meanwhile, just off Leicester Square (a five-to-10-minute walk away) is M&M’s World – surely one of the biggest candy stores in existence – and the much-acclaimed Lego Store, which is pretty much just across the road. Finally, make your way to Regent Street for the utterly iconic Hamley’s toy shop – it has floor upon floor of kid-tastic goods, to say the least.
Day 4 – A perfect Potter day
The fourth and final day? There’s only one thing for it – dedicate it to all things Harry Potter! Top of the list of things to do, then, has to be a pilgrimage to Kings Cross station’s Platform 9¾. Follow this with a short hop to the Australian Embassy building, the look of which greatly influenced author J. K. Rowling in describing the appearance of Gringotts Bank.
And what better way to round off the entire trip than with a trek to the just-outside-the-city Warner Bros. Studio Tour, which is not only very easy to get to from hotels near Royal Albert Hall London, but also features the very sets, costumes and special effects that your kids will have seen over and over in the movies themselves. A wizard day out!