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Embarking on a Family City Trip to London

When the alarm rings at 06:30, I can hear Floris’ excited voice echoing from his bedroom: “LONDON!” Indeed, today marks the start of our city trip to London. After a wholesome breakfast, we head to Schiphol, ready for our adventure. In this article, I’ll share the best tips for an enjoyable long weekend in London with little kids.

Preparing for a Trip to London with Little Kids

Months ago, I booked this trip. Flo and I had extensive discussions about our plans, from museums and popular attractions to dining options. Floris initially wanted to eat at McDonald’s three times, but we negotiated it down to once, with two meals at fancier restaurants.

Remember, if you’re travelling alone with one of your children, don’t forget your consent form. I had one last year when I travelled with Lotte, and although no one asked to see it, I decided to bring it again to avoid any potential issues.

London with Little Kids: Day 1

The day finally arrived! After Floris energetically jumped out of bed, we had a quick breakfast and packed the last of our belongings into our hand luggage. Kev drove us to Schiphol. We had already checked in at home, so we could walk straight through. After the security check, which included a body scan and extra baggage check, we reached customs.

The friendly officer from the Royal Military Police asked Flo, “Who will you be travelling with?” Flo enthusiastically replied, “With mommy!” I was then asked for the consent form and a copy of Kev’s passport. Flo was asked a few more questions, which led him to ask the officer, “Are you the king?” The officer responded, “I may feel like a king, but I’m not one.”

Once we were outside customs, I asked Flo why he thought the man was the king. “Mom, he had something with ‘Royal’ on his desk,” he explained. I had forgotten that Floris had just started to read and had partially read the words “Royal Military Police” on the officer’s desk.

Dealing with Delays

Everything goes smoothly during boarding. We settle into our seats, ready for takeoff. However, due to the bustling activity at Schiphol, we experience a 40-minute delay. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but on an hour-long flight, it’s quite significant. Nevertheless, we have ample time and a four-day city trip to London ahead of us, so we don’t let it dampen our spirits!

Accommodation in the City

Upon landing at London City Airport, we take a train, switch to the subway, and after a short walk, we arrive at our hotel in the city center, Trebovir. This small boutique hotel is conveniently located near Earls Court Station. Although the room is rather small, it’s equipped with everything we need, including a comfortable bed – perfect for a London trip with little kids.

Exploring London Eye and Shrek’s Adventure

Visiting London with little kids? Then these two tourist attractions should be on your to-do list! After dropping our bags in the room, we take the subway to Westminster. From there, it’s a mere 5-minute walk to the London Eye.

Experience the Majestic London Eye

Despite purchasing our tickets in advance—a savvy move that can save you a significant amount of money—we found ourselves waiting in line for about an hour before stepping into the cabin. The London Eye is a truly colossal structure, and the panoramic view it offers is nothing short of phenomenal! The entire rotation takes just 30 minutes, but the memories will last a lifetime. If you’d rather not wait in line, consider booking a fast pass to skip the queues.

Embark on Shrek’s Adventure

After soaking in the sights from the London Eye, we decided to visit a slightly newer tourist attraction: Shrek’s Adventure. Without revealing too much (as this is an experience best enjoyed firsthand, especially with little ones), you’ll embark on a 75-minute flight through Far Away. You’ll encounter all your favorite characters from the Shrek movies and even play a starring role yourself. It’s an absolute must-do!

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Restful Slumber After a Day of Adventure

Following our visit to Shrek’s Adventure, we hop on the subway back to our hotel. A quick pit stop at McDonald’s for a Happy Meal with carrots is our last activity before we call it a day. The day’s excitement has us both worn out, and within five minutes, we’re fast asleep.

Day 2: Exploring London with Little Ones

We set our alarm for 07:30, eager to witness the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. We arrive at 09:30, even though the parade doesn’t start until 11:00. Fortunately, we spot some stern-looking marching gentlemen and a fanfare at 10:30, just as Floris is growing tired of waiting. And just before 11:00, we catch a glimpse of the Queen herself, departing the grounds in a fancy car, clad in a crisp blue dress. Our mission is such a success that we decide to skip the rest of the march and head towards the park.

Hop On, Hop Off: A Tourist’s Delight

We decide to take a ride on the Golden Tours hop on hop off bus. Yes, it’s a bit touristy, but it’s a delightful experience, especially when you’re visiting London with little ones! From our sunny seats, the bus whisks us from one famous location to another. We disembark near Regent Street because Floris has a unique request: he wants to “build a bear”. More on what that means later!

Starting the Day at Wagamama

Our first stop is the Wagamama restaurant. While I’m more thrilled about this than Flo, it’s a win-win situation as the restaurant is incredibly child-friendly and even offers a kids menu. With our stomachs satisfied, we’re ready to continue our adventure.

Exploring Build-A-Bear

I first encountered Build-A-Bear in New York and was thrilled to discover that there are multiple stores in London. But what exactly is Build-A-Bear? Let me explain.

Upon entering the store, you select an unstuffed animal. With your chosen animal in tow, you proceed to the “workshop” where you, with the assistance of a Build-A-Bear employee, stuff your own animal. Once the bear is stuffed, you choose a heart, make a wish, and place the heart inside the stuffed animal before it’s sewn shut. For those who want to go the extra mile, you can even add personalized sounds and a scent to your creation.

After your animal is stuffed, the next step is to dress it. The store offers an extensive range of clothing options, ensuring you can’t think of an outfit that isn’t available. We leave the store with a Pikachu in a Pikachu shirt for Floris and a bear in a tutu, shoes, and roller skates for Lotte. While the experience might lighten your wallet, the fun and joy it brings are worth it. Flo spends the rest of the day proudly parading around the city with his new friend.

If you’re unfamiliar with Build-A-Bear and are planning a trip to London with little ones, it’s definitely a must-visit!

Getting Lost in the City

After a day filled with excitement, we decide to walk back to our hotel. The 3 km distance seems manageable and we look forward to exploring more of the city. However, my phone battery dies, leaving us without a map. To make matters worse, Google Maps seems to have led us astray, as we find ourselves at Paddington, a good 45 minutes away from our hotel.

Finding Our Way Back

Thankfully, a kind stranger points us towards the subway. In just 20 minutes, we’re back at our hotel. We decide to unwind by doing some shopping at the local grocery store, or “Appie” as Floris likes to call it. After a quick meal in our room, we’re ready to call it a day. After such a busy and eventful day, we both fall asleep almost instantly after dinner.

Exploring London with Little Kids: Day 3

Our day begins at 07:30 with a hearty breakfast, followed by a refreshing half-hour walk in the sun to the Natural History Museum. We arrive at 09:00, an hour before the museum officially opens. This early arrival puts us at the front of the queue when the museum opens its doors half an hour early. We get to explore the dinosaur exhibits in peace, in the magnificent setting of the museum building.

Natural History Museum

After marveling at the dinosaurs, we explore the rest of the museum. We spend some time in the mammal section, which features giant skeletons, and then move on to the “human evolution” exhibition. I try to explain the concept of evolution to Flo, whose eyes widen with surprise at every turn.

If your kids are dinosaur enthusiasts, the Natural History Museum is a must-visit when in London. Plus, the museum offers free admission, with charges applicable only for specific exhibitions.

Exploring the Diana Memorial Playground

After a museum visit, it’s time for some outdoor fun. We head to the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens. This playground is a paradise for children, with its pirate ship, tipi tents, and a variety of playground equipment that makes noises. The entrance is free, and amidst the tropical plants, there’s plenty to keep kids entertained. We also find a delightful coffee place where we enjoy our lunch in the sun. London is home to many playgrounds, parks, and gardens that are worth exploring.

Discovering Ancient Egypt at the British Museum

Once we’ve burned off some energy, we visit the British Museum. The ancient Egyptian exhibition, featuring mummies and sarcophaguses, is a hit with Floris. When he stands next to an unwrapped mummy with leathery skin, I ask him if he finds it a little scary. His response is, “No, why? It’s not like this is real right?” When I tell him it is, he wonders why they would put a dead man in a museum and if this will happen to him when he dies. I assure him that he need not worry about such things.

Ending the Day at Piccadilly Circus

After a busy day, we grab a bite to eat and walk by Piccadilly Circus before taking the subway back to the hotel. The bustling atmosphere is a bit too much for Floris, so we quickly head back. We’ve walked about 23,000 steps this day, covering 16 km. Tomorrow is our fourth and last day of our trip to London.

Exploring London: Transportation Tips and Tricks

Walking is a great way to explore London, as it allows you to see more of the city. However, the subway is also a convenient option. A day ticket for an adult and a child costs approximately 19 GBP, which provides unlimited access to various forms of public transport throughout the day. Considering a one-way subway ticket costs about 5 GBP, the day ticket offers excellent value for money.

Other transportation options include the iconic black cabs and Uber. However, it’s advisable to avoid these during rush hour to prevent getting stuck in traffic. Public transport bikes are also available for rent, but they may be too large for younger children.

Exploring London with Little Kids: Day 4

On our fourth and final day in London, we checked out of our hotel after breakfast, leaving our bags behind for safekeeping. We then embarked on a 25-minute walk to the Science Museum, arriving a bit too early, 45 minutes before it opened.

The Must-Visit Science Museum

We were the first in line, passing the time with dance moves, games, and chit-chat under the sun. As soon as the museum opened at 10:00, we headed straight to the third floor to explore the Wonderlab. This special room, designed for kids, offers interactive experiences with physics and tech. While the Science Museum offers free admission, the Wonderlab charges 8 GBP for children and 10 GBP for adults.

My child, Flo, enthusiastically ran from one experiment to another. There was even a room with three slides, each made of different materials: wood, plastic, and artificial grass. Sitting on a mat, you can slide down and find out which one is the fastest. This was Flo’s absolute favorite. After trying all the experiments at least once, we ventured out of the Wonderlab to explore the rest of the museum.

The museum’s collection is diverse, ranging from a giant interactive globe to vintage planes and trains, and even an exhibition about antibiotics.

A Quick Lunch Before Departure

After spending two hours at the museum, we headed back to the hotel to retrieve our bags. Our plane was scheduled to leave in the afternoon, marking the end of our exciting London adventure.

Discovering a Vegan Pizzeria: A Delightful Surprise

As we were making our way back, we stumbled upon a pizzeria advertising vegan pizzas. Given my severe milk allergy, which has kept me from enjoying a real pizza for 16 years, we decided to step inside.

Our Vegan Lunch Experience

I opted for a pizza topped with faux mozzarella, while Floris chose a pasta dish. And of course, we couldn’t resist indulging in dessert. The pizza was absolutely delicious! It was truly a pleasure to enjoy such a delightful lunch with Floris.

A Perfect End to Our Trip

This unexpected culinary discovery provided the perfect closure to our trip. The joy of finding a place where I could enjoy a pizza after so many years was simply the cherry on top of an already fantastic journey.

Farewell, London!

Upon reaching our hotel, I promptly order an Uber to take us to London City Airport. Once again, I find that Uber is significantly cheaper than a traditional taxi.

Strict Security Measures at the Airport

At London City Airport (LCY), we proceed directly to the security check. I had already checked us in and had our boarding passes ready on my phone.

Fortunately, we arrived in good time as we encountered a delay at security. It appears I had too many liquids with me. The quantity was the same as when we left Amsterdam, but the security officer informs me that the rules in London are stricter. He mentions that this is a common issue for travelers.

Once we clear security, we relax and enjoy the view of the runway before boarding our flight back to Amsterdam.

We had an incredible weekend in London. It’s a fantastic city that becomes even more delightful when exploring with Floris! I highly recommend visiting London with little kids!

Please note: This article contains affiliate links. If you book through these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me continue to provide valuable travel content.


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