London-Travel With Kids

I wouldn’t say London was high on our list of places we wanted to visit, but when an error fare showed up, we didn’t hesitate to book!  We flew nonstop from LAX to LHR on United for just $321/person.  I used miles for my ticket, making our airfare a grand total of $642 for all 3 of us.  Can’t beat that!  The flight there started at 5pm, which means there was a good portion overnight.  Because we use the 1st Class Kid Travel Pillow, Milana was able to sleep like a queen the entire night! I highly recommend this pillow, it’s one of the best travel purchases we have made.

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We split our stay in London, going to Paris and Madrid in between, which mans we stayed at two different hotels. Our first hotel was the Double Tree Hilton Kensington, which was in a great location with lots of restaurants and sights nearby. I used points for this hotel, however it wasn’t something I’d recommend. Aside from the location, it wasn’t great but for 2 nights, we weren’t picky. We had a queen sized bed and Milana had her own, so it was fine for the 2 nights we were there.

Our second hotel was also in a great location. The Park Plaza Victoria was walking distance to Buckingham Palace with lots of restaurants nearby.  It was a steal on Priceline ($123/night vs. the nearly $300/night advertised on their site for our dates) and a great hotel for families. Milana had her own bed here as well.

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London has a lot of famous landmarks, and we happened to be there when it was in the 60s for part of the time, so perfect time to walk around and explore!  We walked to Big Ben and because of the weather, everyone and their mother was there as well! Still, I managed to get great pictures of Milana.

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Buckingham Palace was a short walk from our hotel, so we headed there one day to check it out.  Milana has been fascinated by the guards and loved watching them salute inside the gates.

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And of course, what’s a visit to London without seeing the London Eye?  It’s across the street from Big Ben, so you can easily do those the same day.  We didn’t want to ride it, so we just took pictures from the outside.

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Before coming to London, we read lots of books about the city to Milana. One of those books talked about the lions in Trafalgar Square and Milana was very excited to see them in person.  She even posed for photos with the huge statues!

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Picaddily Circus is another great place to walk around with kids.  Unfortunately the huge neon sign it is known for is under construction til August I believe, but we still had a blast checking out the different stores and restaurants.

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Not too far from the center of Picadilly Circus is the oldest and largest toy store in the world, Hamleys.  There are 7 levels, each filled with different themes.  Milana loved this place and we spent quite a bit of time browsing and playing with the toys.

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One the bottom floor of Hamleys was a waffle stand, and Milana insisted we have one.

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When we went to Bangkok in August, we discovered an awesome kid place called Kidzania. The whole concept of Kidzania is to have kids role play different careers, while earning Kidzania bucks that they can later spend at the shop inside.  This activity is recommended for kids 4-12, sine younger kids would have a hard time following instructions/performing the tasks.  We were there for 4 hours and Milana had a blast!  Just a note-London’s gets packed and once they reach the maximum number of kids, you won’t be able to enter so it’s wise to book ahead.  There are Kidzania locations all over the world, so check their site to see if your upcoming destination has one! It’s one of our favorite places to visit while traveling.

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A 20 minute walk from our first hotel was the Diana Memorial Playground, in Kensington Gardens.  Adults can’t enter without children (the entire playground is gated) and kids can’t leave without an adult, making it a great place for families with young kids.  While it was nice to find a playground, I honestly wouldn’t make a special trip for this. Milana was done after just 30 minutes and I hear on busy days, there’s a long queue to get in. We happened to be there with just a few other families, so no wait.

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Children’s Afternoon Tea

While in London, I knew we had to do an afternoon tea.  I searched the web and quickly found out that many of them offer kid-friendly teas alongside the adults. It was so hard to choose just one (so many themes!) that we ended up going to 3.

The first one we did was the Grover Tea at the Park Room at the Grosvernor House Hotel.  Grover is their mascot, an English Bulldog.  We have an English Bulldog (Porkchop) at home, so I knew we had to do this!  At the end, kids get their very own Grover to take home, which of course Milana loved. The price for the children’s tea here is £15 and adult tea is £42.50.  This hotel is beautiful and the Park Room is stunning, a great place for afternoon tea! The food here was really good and they walked around replenishing items the entire time. Milana chose the mango strawberry tea, and it was delicious.

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The second tea we tried was the Buzzy Bees tea at St. Ermin’s Hotel. The tea room here wasn’t as nice as the previous one, and they didn’t do a good job of replenishing anything. While the theme was super cute, I wouldn’t come here if you are only choosing one place. The children’s tea is £15 per child and adults pay £29.  The kids could order tea or juice, and Milana chose their apple juice sweetened with their in-house made honey.

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After you finish your tea, head to the 3rd floor to the Bee Hotel. This hotel houses bees and makes their own honey.

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The last children’s tea we tried was the Charlie and the Chesterfield Afternoon Tea at the Chesterfield Mayfair hotel.  This one was awesome in a beautiful room with a great theme. The staff here was very attentive and replenished things quickly. Milana loved this one, probably because of all the candy they handed out! The children’s tea here is £19.50 and the adult tea is £38.50.  The kids were given a choice of tea or milkshake, and Milana chose to have a milkshake.

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Restaurants

Since 3 of the 6 days we were there we had afternoon tea, we didn’t visit as many restaurants as we had wanted to because the food at these teas was so filling.  London is known for Indian food, however after trying 2, we came to the conclusion that their Indian food isn’t so good after all!

The first one we tried was Dishoom, a 2 minute walk from Hamleys toy store. Dave ordered a curry dish and Milana and I shared some spiced chicken. They were ok, but not worth traveling here for.

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The second Indian restaurant we tried was in Leicester Square,  Salt’n Pepper.  The food was ok, but again nothing spectacular. Milana and I shared the butter chicken while Dave had a vegetarian curry dish and a mango lassi.

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One of the best finds we happened to stumble upon while walking around our hotel area.  The Hereford Arms is a pub in Kensington with some really good food. The strawberry lime cider I had was amazing, I’m hoping to find it here in the US!  Dave had the fish and chips, I had the gnocchi with mushroom sauce (best gnocchi I’ve ever had and it was at a pub!) and Milana had the kid’s burger, which was the best kid’s burger ever.  I highly recommend this place and given how crowded it was, it’s definitely a neighborhood favorite.

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Another place we tried was the popular Burger and Lobster, which serves as you guessed it-burgers and lobster!  There are several locations in London, but we went to the one on the 5th floor of the Harvey Nichols building. We tried the lobster rolls and burgers, and both were delicious.  They don’t have a dedicated kid menu, however Milana isn’t picky and devoured her burger the way it was.

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Across the street from our second hotel was the best breakfast place ever.  Le Pain Quotidien serves mostly organic food and coffee and some of the best croissants you’ll ever have! We ate breakfast here every morning and Milana still asks for the gruyere and ham croissant.  I grew up eating soft-boiled eggs (something that’s not very common in the US) so I was happy to see them on the menu! And their mocha was delicious.  There are many location all over the world, you might even find one near you!

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Another place directly across the street from our second hotel was Giraffe, another London chain.  They serve food from all over the world, so the many has a ton of different options. Dave chose the chicken malay curry and I had the rodeo chicken burger.  If you see one of these restaurants, give them a try! They are all over London and even at the airport.

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As you can see, there is a ton to do and see when exploring London with kids.  We loved our time here, though I don’t think it’s a city we would ever come back to. There are too many places we haven’t seen yet!

28 comments

  1. Aww Milana is so adorable! It looks like she really enjoyed her time in London! I went to school in London for a few years when young and then lived there during university years and never got bored. There are so many nice things to do with kids! I did not know they had tea-time for kids too, that´s excellent! I will go with my nieces next time I´m in town. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. We love error fares! Spontaneous trips like the one you had are the best. Wow you make us want to visit London again. It’s just such a gorgeous city. But it can be expensive, so thanks also for all your great one saving tips.

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  3. It sure seems like you’re well organized! Was so cute that your daughter insisted on seeing the lions at the Square, you’ve made some nice photos there. Thanks for all the tips, glad you had such nice time! 🙂

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  4. I admire everyone who travels with kids. It seems like a lot of work, but really worth the effort. It’s great to know London has stuff to offer that suits both kids and adults, like the tea.

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  5. You sure did find some great things to do. You of course have to see the popular sites like Big Ben and the London Eye but finding places like Hamleys and Kidzania is incredible. I hope we can remember to look for places like this when kids come our way. Those are some incredible finds. The food you had looked really good and I am really craving high tea now!

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  6. London looks incredible from a kids perspective! Having afternoon tea somewhere where they make their own honey is pretty incredible. Being able to find kid friendly places like Kidzania and Hamleys is awesome. I hope I can remember those when it is time for me to have a family.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your experience of London. It’s a city that is dear to me because I studied there. Thank you for mentioning Hamleys! I think it’s a great place for kids and kids at heart. London is also one of the best places in the UK to sample a good curry like chicken tikka massala.

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  8. Can’t beat that fare! OMG i love the high-tea pictures. I am sure my daughter would love to visit London and go to the playground in kensington gardens. Thanks for sharing your amazing experience and i need to look into buying that pillow too.

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  9. Milana looks so comfy on the plane – I need to find some adult equivalent for long haul flights! Looks like you had a great time in London – there is so much to do for kids and adults alike, and with enough indoor attractions for if the weather is less than stellar. It’s great that you didn’t need them though, you had fabulous weather!

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  10. Sounds like you had an amazing time! London is one of those cities that has so much to do but I never knew there was so much for kids to do! That kids place and toy store look awesome.

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  11. These are great recommendations! I’m taking my 7-year old next month so we will be sure to check these spots out.

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  12. I love London. It is one of my favourite cities in the world as I lived in the UK for 2 years. Hamleys is such a fun shop! I had no idea they had a waffle stand! I also love the children’s afternoon tea! That is precious. I had to gulp seeing your daughter posing near Big Ben after what happened yesterday. That was so sad. I am happy you enjoyed your time in London 🙂

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  13. Milana is adorable! ❤ absolutely in love with her! Fabulous pics and a well written blog covering almost everything that a parent wishes to know while traveling to London. Hamleys and Le pain quotidien are love<3

    The Indian food you had there looks NOT at all like the food in India 😀 Hope you get to eat authentic Indian fare when you visit India!

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  14. Wow, I didn’t know that there is so much to see and experience in London. I don’t know why many travel agents skip London on a week tour which include Paris and Rome. And by the way, great pictures, especially the with with Loin.

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  15. I loved how you have written about traveling in London with a kid, so different from reading a regular London write up, with exclusive restaurants for children. Milana is too adorable! I guess I know why you got disappointed with the Indian food, because they look so bland. You should visit India for the authentic Indian food if you haven’t been 🙂

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  16. The food at the Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel looks delicious, I would have enjoyed it more than the kids. I can’t believe the error fare you found, $621 for all 3 of you is incredible, I wish I could find error fares!

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  17. Loved those pictures of Milana, She is so adorable. We remember visiting Hamleys and our kiddo had lots fun around with the lovely soft toys there. Kidzania sounds like so much fun for the kids, great way of learning and keeping them occupied too. The pictures of Afternoon tea and accompanying treat is scrumptious. Looks like you all had a fab time.

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  18. We were recently in London and like you, it wasn’t high on my list of places to see. But, I ended up loving it! Milana sure looks like she had a good time. All those teas look so yummy– makes me think we should have done more of that.

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  19. I love some good pub food! I had a strawberry lime cider last time I was in the UK amazing! I used to love hamlets as a kid best place ever. I also love all those kiddies activities, I can’t wait to explore London with kids one day!

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  20. I love London though I have never been there with a kid. I can imagine it must be fun at Trafalgar Square. The afternoon tea looks so lovely, thanks for the detailed information.

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  21. Lovely post! I love visiting London. I usually go there to visit friends and see musicals 🙂 You know what, I’ve never ever been to a tea room (and I lived in England for two years). I guess I’ll have to go next time I’m there! Those pastries look delicious – and are extremely pretty to look at! Perfect for instagram. Haha. Looks like you visited a lot of good restaurants too..but Dishoom is a restaurant that’s been quite hyped up. I’ve been there once and found it to be just okay, but more trendy than it was good. I agree with you on it not being worth traveling for.

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  22. Aww I remember being fascinated with the Royal guards too when I was a kid! Such a lovely post it looked like you guys had such a wonderful time. And you had the best food I loooove Burger and Lobster! Dishoom always came highly recommended to me too though I’ve yet to try!

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