London, England (Cynthia Pillsbury)
Read up on the monarchy to make your London trip more meaningful and memorable!
- More about your oliver guide: Cynthia Pillsbury
- Trip type: Family, City
- Activity level: moderate
- Ideal length of trip: 4-5 DAYS WITH KIDS
to & from
Any non-stop flights from US to London.
Where to Stay
There are many great hotels in London. Our family loved our time at the Langham Hotel on Regents Street in the West Side of London. It’s a central location that provides easy access via walking, buses or taxis to the major sites of London.
The Milestone, across the street from Hyde Park and Kensington Palace, is another great option.
Where to Eat and Drink
- London has excellent restaurants, but often times they come at a high price point. Our splurge was The Wolseley, a 1920’s former car showroom is an epic space that makes one feel as if they are in right back in the roaring 20’s.
- Chiltern Firehouse is a tough reservation to come by, but worth going if you can get in!
- Go Indian… London has many authentic Indian restaurants, every neighborhood has many, high quality ones that are delicious.
- The best approach for lunch or casual dinners is to focus on a neighborhood and find a local pub that has a good yelp review.
What to Do
- Tower Bridge and Tower of London is a fun way to kick off your sight-seeing… arrive by boat via the Thames River.
- Allow plenty of time at the Tower of London and make sure to take a Beefeater Tour.
- National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery is worth seeing, choose an exhibit, and don’t think about seeing the museum in its entirety.
- Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace are all places to walk around and take in over a few hours.
- Matilda Matilda Matilda (buy tickets WAY in advance).
- Convent Garden is a fun place to go and eat lunch outside if weather permits and have the kids watch the street performers.
- Walk across the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern –then head to the Borough Market under the London Bridge.
- Walk through St. James Park and watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace- lower expectations it’s slow and subtle!
- Buckingham Palace is open to tour for part of the summer when the Royal family is at Windsor Castle.
- Imperial War Rooms/Churchill War Rooms – make sure to spend 2-3 hours there to take in the WW2 bunker rooms.
- The Victoria & Albert Museum is worthwhile, then a walk around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
- L’ Orangery, next to Kensington Palace is a very civil and nice way to have high tea and/or lunch while kids can run around.
- a href="http://www.hrp.org.uk/hampton-court-palace/visit-us/top-things-to-see-and-do/hampton-court-gardens/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hampton Court and Gardens- make sure to do the audio tour.
- Windsor Castle is worth the trip outside of London if you can go when the Queen is not in residence.
- Allow time to explore Hyde Park, there are playgrounds and fountains and pop-up art museums to discover.
- Hamley's Toy Store on Regent street will be the experience your kids will not forget but you will want to... if they deserve a treat, go!
- Consider hiring a London Guide, friends used Henrietta Ferguson "Luxury Tours of London" and LOVED the curated experience.
- Map out your day in advance and choose sites to visit based on location, consider covering neighborhoods in a day.
- Don’t fret too much about restaurants. London is more about the sites to see than the food to eat (at least with kids).
- Build in downtime in the afternoon, London is a huge city and you will be walking a lot so kids will be exhausted by mid-afternoon.
- If you want to ride the London Eye, but tickets in advance for an early morning time slot (most hotels sell them) but be prepared to pay a lot to avoid lines. We were disappointed and would not do it again or highly recommend it. The views are great, but you are not sure what you are seeing because there is no audio guide.