Day 1 - London Family Fun
The morning buffet is the best place to begin your day with a hearty breakfast. Choose from a range of cold buffet items or order à la carte for hot dishes. The Concierge desk will give you a map and some ideas on where to go; but as usual, your day will be dictated by your children!
Harrods opens at 10:00 Monday to Saturday so to avoid the crowds, go early. Around Christmas, there are wonderful window displays which are an attraction in themselves. The toy department is located on the 4th floor but make sure you set guidelines for your children – this department store sold an elephant to a customer once!
At Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, Lowndes Bar & Kitchen offers excellent all day dining with a modern British menu.
If you’re family is adventurous, try Yo! Sushi is on Knightsbridge just outside Harrods. It’s quite cute and all the sushi travels by on a conveyor belt and you just pick the dishes you want and pay at the end. If you have very small children, there are plenty of options in Harrods itself and at the street-side cafés.
A short taxi ride away is a cluster of outstanding and fun museums. We recommend the Natural History Museum with its giant dinosaur skeleton in the foyer. Most of the national museums and galleries are free for both adults and children – this one included.
Aside from the dinosaur exhibit, don’t miss the blue whale, the hands-on science centre and the earthquake experience.Across town at The National Gallery, there are free activities for kids. These include art workshops, tours and storytelling. The neighbouring National Portrait Gallery has a programme for older children aged 14 and over.
After all that activity, you might need a rest. Why not relax in the comfort of your room or suite and just let room service do the catering? All that left to do, is to settle down for a night watching an in-house movie.
Day 2 - London Family Fun
After you’ve filled-up on breakfast, hop aboard one of London’s guided double-decker bus tours. They offer audio commentary in a variety of languages and they stop at all the major attractions and hotspots along the way.
It’s a good way to get your bearings in such a large city and your children will love the views from the open air roof – make sure you wear warm clothing up there if it’s winter!
London has all the usual dining outlets suited to families and children. Chose from Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe or somewhere different like Belgo Centraal in Covent Garden. Here, the menu is Belgian and children under 12 years old can eat for free. Many restaurants cater for children by providing special menus and fun activities.
Head over to the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels and marvel at the history of this World Heritage site. From nearby vantage points, you can take spectacular photos of Tower Bridge (often misidentified as London Bridge) which opened in 1894. If you’re around at the right time, you might see the lower section of the bridge open to let a tall ship or boat through.
On the South Bank – a generic term given everything on the south side of the river – is the Merlin Entertainments London Eye. It’s the largest observation wheel in Europe and soars 135 metres (443 feet) skyward. The London Eye contains 32 sealed and air-conditioned pods and one rotation takes about 30 minutes. The views from the top are truly stunning particularly around sunset.
A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of the many theatres showing family favourites and a variety of musicals, plays and theatre. Theatreland – sandwiched between Soho and Covent Garden is the epicentre and welcomes thousands of theatregoers every night.
Most of the performances are scheduled in seasons but popular ones like the Lion King should be around for a while. There are many restaurants that serve pre-theatre menus; ask your Concierge desk to recommend one close to the theatre you’re going to.
For more inspiration and ideas go to www.visitlondon.com
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