Thursday, 23, February 2017
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London with kids: How to give them a trip they’ll never forget
A city-break with children, toddlers or teenagers might not sound like the relaxing holiday you had in mind. But The Doyle Collection’s London properties could not be more family-friendly. From tepees in the room, to milk and cookies at turn down, their favourite DVDs and magazines waiting at check-in and special children’s toiletries, your little princes and princesses will be given the royal treatment from start to finish. And to give you a bit of a break, here are 15 ideas of what to do with the tribe when visiting London.
No trip to London could be complete without a visit to the world-famous toy store Hamleys and The Marylebone and The Bloomsbury have teamed up with the kiddie heaven to offer VIP tours of the shop for families of four. Ask at concierge for more details.
Targeting the 2-4-hour party people, rather than the 24-hour crew, Big Fish Little Fish raves happen all over the country and in locations like Notting Hill, Fulham and the West End in London. The music events for little people are like miniature festivals, with fun music, flashing lights and sensory experiences, plus craft corners and healthy snacks. Grab your glowsticks!
Sometimes all they need is a good run around and nowhere in London is quite like the Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens. A pirate ship, tepees and huge sandpit will get their imaginations running wild and burn off some energy at the same time. On a sunny day head here with a picnic and relax on the grass while let off steam.
If you’re staying at The Kensington, you are just moments from three of London’s best museums, on Exhibition Road. The Science Museum is particularly good for children, especially it’s Pattern Pod, where under eights can explore water ripples without getting their feet wet, create symmetrical images on touch screens and follow robot trails.
We’re sure this will already be on your to-do list if you’re staying at The Marylebone, but London’s 395-acre park has so much to offer families we couldn’t leave it off. For culture vultures there’s the open air theatre (from May to September) while animal-lovers should make for ZSL London Zoo.
For guests at The Kensington (or any of our other hotels in fact) an afternoon perusing Notting Hill’s colourful streets is a must, but if cries of ‘we’re bored’ boom out before long, then this is the trump card to have up your sleeve. Biscuiteers’ beautiful shop on Kensington Park Road holds biscuit icing workshops for children. There’s no need to book, just pop in and decorate three biscuits in the bakery’s signature artistic style for £15 and devour them with a cup of tea.
The Puppet Barge is a pretty unique venue, a 50-seat theatre on a barge in Little Venice. Through the use of string puppets and magical music, the shows will keep your troops enthralled.
Now this one isn’t exactly on our doorstep but fans of J.K Rowling’s fantasy novels can’t come to London and not take a ride on the Hogwarts Express. 20-miles north of London is the magical Warner Bros. studio where you can go behind-the-scenes on actual sets used in the films, taste Butterbeer, ride a broomstick and stock up on Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Jelly Beans.
You don’t need to know how to ride a two-wheeler to take advantage of this family activity. Battersea Park’s three-wheel bicycles are brilliant for all ages and gives everyone the chance to zip around the park without complaining of tired legs. Hire the bicycles through London Recumbents, which specialises in vehicles for adults, children and people with special needs. You can pick up tandems, trikes and even cargo bikes (Nihola 4) with a carriage at the front for people who’d rather not cycle themselves.
When you’ve (or they’ve) had enough of all the culture in Bloomsbury head to Coram Field’s playground an amazing seven-acre space complete with its own zip wire, city farm and family-friendly café.
Got aspiring doctors in your midst? Then Royal College of Surgeons’ Hunterian Museum will grab their attention. It is full of collections of human and non-human anatomical displays plus old surgical tools that will send shivers down your spine.
Could there be anything more exciting than seeing a mad scientist concoct the most delectable ice cream imaginable? Camden’s Chin Chin Lab varies its flavours weekly and is frozen in front of you in a cloud of liquid nitrogen. There’s nothing vanilla about this experience, think cream cheese with red velvet cake and beetroot crisp or quince, chocolate yuzu and mustard seed!
Bird lovers will gawp at the sight of these incredible birds, which have inhabited St James’s Park for almost 400 years. Watch them be fed fresh fish every day between 2.30pm and 3pm. Tie it into a tour of some of the amazing sights around St James’s Park, like Buckingham Palace and Westminster.
When you can’t rely on the weather you can rely on a classic children’s movie keeping your kids quiet for an hour or so. Regent Street Cinema shows films every Saturday morning at 11.30am for only £1.75. The line-up of Disney favourites will have you filled with nostalgia.
Matilda the Musical, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Lion King… there is myriad of shows that will captivate the imagination of your children and there’s nothing more exciting than getting dressed up and heading to the bright lights of London’s West End. Just book in advance.