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.
Harrods opens at 10:00, Monday to Saturday. If you want to avoid the crowds, it is always best to reach early. Around Christmas, there are wonderful window displays which are stunning crowd-pullers. For those who want to buy gifts and goodies for their children, the toy department is located on the 4th floor. This section can also keep your little ones engaged while you finish your shopping.
If you are looking for a wholesome lunch, the Lowndes Bar & Kitchen, at the Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, offers excellent all-day dining options with a modern British menu.
If your family is adventurous, try Yo! Sushi on Knightsbridge, just outside Harrods. It has an interesting serving system, where the sushi is placed on a conveyor belt and you can simply pick the dishes you want and pay for them at the end of your meal. If you are travelling with infants, there are plenty of options in Harrods itself and also at the street-side cafés.
After lunch, you can take a short taxi ride to some of the museums. The Natural History Museum, with its giant dinosaur skeleton in the foyer, is highly recommended. Most of the national museums and galleries are free for both adults and children.
Aside from the dinosaur exhibit, don’t miss the blue whale, the hands-on science centre and the earthquake experience. At The National Gallery, the free activities for kids can be great fun for the children. These include art workshops, tours and storytelling sessions. The neighbouring National Portrait Gallery has a programme for older children, aged 14 and above.
After a tiring day out with your family, you can return to the comfort of your room or suite and unwind. You can also order-in some room service and watch an in-house movie as you relax.
Day 2 - London Family Fun
After having a sumptuous breakfast, board 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 along the way. It’s a good way to explore such a large city and your children will love the views from the open air roof.
London has many popular dining outlets suited to families and children. Choose from Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe or Belgo Centraal in Covent Garden. This restaurant serves Belgian food and children below the age of 12 years are served for free. Many restaurants cater to children by providing special menus and fun activities.
After a hearty lunch, 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 the 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 to 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 takes about 30 minutes to rotate once. The views from the top are truly stunning, especially at 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 and plays. Theatreland, sandwiched between Soho and Covent Garden, is the epicentre that welcomes thousands of theatregoers every night.
Most of the performances are scheduled according to seasons but popular ones like the Lion King are usually on 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 ideas and information visit www.visitlondon.com
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