When the alarm goes off at 06:30, I can hear Floris calling from his bedroom: LONDON! Yes, today Floris and I are going on a city trip to London. After a healthy breakfast, Kev takes to Schiphol. We’re ready! I’ll be sharing the best tips with you for a wonderfully long weekend with little kids in London!
London with little kids: the preparation
I’ve booked this trip months ago. Flo and I have talked extensively about what we would like to do; from museums, the usual suspects “rides and sights” to the restaurants. Floris wanted to eat at McDonalds 3 times, but we managed to bring that down to 1 and eating in a fancy restaurant twice.
Don’t forget your consent form if you’re travelling alone with one of your kids. I had one last year, when I was travelling with Lotte last year and no one asked to see it. I was wondering whether to just leave it this time but it’s not that much of a hassle, so I decided to do it anyway in order to prevent any future hassle.
London with little kids: day 1
Yes, today is the day! After Floris bounces out of bed, we have a quick breakfast and throw the last of our stuff in the suitcase (hand luggage only), the time has finally come! Kev takes us to Schiphol. We’ve checked in at home so we can walk straight through. After the security check with body scan and extra baggage check, we reach customs.
As soon as we give our passports to the friendly man of the Royal Military Police Flo is asked the following question: “Who will you be travelling with?” Flo answers enthusiastically: “With mommy!” After which I’m asked for the consent form and a copy of Kev’s passport. Flo is asked more questions whereupon Flo suddenly askes the man: “Are you the king?” The man answers with: “I may feel like a king but I’m not one”.
When we’re outside customs I ask Flo why he thinks that man was the king. “Mom, he had something with ‘Royal’ on his desk” … that’s right, I forgot. Floris has just started to read and had partly read the words of “Royal Military Police”.
All goes well, boarding goes smooth. We settle in our seats and are ready for takeoff. But… that must wait. Because it’s so busy at Schiphol we eventually leave 40 minutes later. Normally it’s no big deal, but on an hour flight it’s quite a lot. But we have plenty of time and have 4 days to spend in London for our city trip, so we won’t let it ruin our mood!
Hotel and stuff
After we land at London City Airport we take the train, the subway, the subway again and we walk a little while until we reach our hotel located in the city center after 45 minutes; Trebovir. A small boutique near Earls Court Station, a very handy location. The room is rather small but has everything we need and a good bed so perfect for London with little kids.
London Eye and Shrek’s Adventure
When you visit London with little kids these two tourist attractions must be on your to do list! We drop our bags in the room and take the subway to Westminster. From there it’s a 5 minute walk to the Londen Eye.
Even though we bought our tickets up front (you can save a lot of money if you buy certain tickets up front) and there is a time lock in place, we stand in line for about an hour before we enter the cabin. In 30 minutes, the cabin goes all the way around. The London eye is enormous, and the view is phenomenal! Would you rather not stand in line? Book a fast pass and skip all the queues.
After this nice experience we visit Shrek in the slightly newer tourist attraction Shrek’s Adventure. Without giving away too much (because you really should do this with little kids): you go on a flight through Far Away which takes about 75 minutes, where you see all the characters from the Shrek movies and where you play the main part yourself. A real must do!!
After Shrek, we take the subway to the hotel, pay a short visit to the McDonalds for a Happy Meal with carrots and go to sleep. We both had a great day and after 5 minutes we are fast asleep.
London with little kids: day 2
We set the alarm at 07:30 because we want to be in time for the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. We get there at 09:30, while the parade doesn’t start 11:00. Luckily, we see strict looking marching gentlemen and a fanfare at 10:30 because Floris is done with waiting after an hour. And what happens just before 11:00? The Queen herself is driven off the terrain in a fancy car. Wearing a clean-cut blue dress, she sits in the back of the car. Our mission is such a success, we decide to leave the march as it is and walk towards the park.
Hop on, hop off
We hop onto the bus. Yes, this is a very touristy hop on hop off bus by Golden Tours with an open roof. Lovely! And very handy for when you’re visiting London with little kids!
From our seat in the sun, the bus takes us from one well-known place to another. Near Regent street we get off because Floris would like to “build a bear”. Say what?! Building a bear, I’ll explain what this means later on!
First, we fill our empty stomachs at the Wagamama. I’m happier with this than Flo, but hey, you win some… The Wagamama turns out the be super child friendly and they have a kids menu too so we’re both happy.
With our stomachs full we continue our trip to …
I’ve seen this in New York in October. So, when I booked the tickets to London I checked straight away if these stores could be found in London too and they have multiple. But what does it mean? I’m happy to explain!
When you enter the store, you pick a stuffed animal, except it’s not stuffed yet. With this under your arm, you walk to the “workshop” where you can stuff your own animal with the help of a build a bear employee. When the bear is stuffed, you get to choose a heart, make a wish with the heart in hand and put it into the stuffed animal before it’s sown closed. If you want to go all the way, you can add personalized sounds and a scent to it.
After you’ve stuffed your animal, step 2 is added: clothing your bear. And you really can’t think of anything to wear that isn’t in this store. Finally, we leave the store with Pikachu in a Pikachu shirt for Floris and a bear with a tutu, shoes and (that’s right) roller skates for Lotte. Your wallet feels a lot lighter after that too. But to be honest, the experience is so much fun, I had almost picked a bear for myself. Flo walks around the city proud as a peacock for the rest of the day.
If you don’t know Build-a-Bear, you most certainly want to when visiting London with little kids!
Oh no, we’re lost!
After all this excitement we decide to walk back to the hotel. 3 km should be doable, and it should be fun seeing a bit more of the city. But unfortunately, my phone battery dies and so I have no map. Aside from that, Google Maps may have been confused because we end up at Paddington, which is 45 minutes from the hotel with an empty phone.
A friendly man shows us the way to the subway and in 20 minutes we reach our hotel. We decide to do some shopping at the Appie, as Floris likes to call it, and we have bite to eat in our room. After a nice and busy day, we both fall fast asleep after dinner.
London with little kids: day 3
The alarm goes off at 07:30 and after breakfast we go for a half hour walk in the sun to reach the Natural History Museum. We reach it at 09:00 while the museum doesn’t officially open until 10:00. This way, we’re all the way in front of the queue when the museum opens it’s doors half an hour early so we can watch the dinosaurs in peace. Very beautiful! The museum itself is beautiful too, such a magnificent building!
Natural History Museum
After seeing the dinosaurs, we walk around the museum and stay a bit at the mammal section, with giant skeletons, and we walk onto the exhibition of “human evolution”. I try explaining evolution to Flo who falls from one surprise into another with big eyes.
Especially if your kids are into dinosaurs you need to visit the Natural History Museum when visiting London with little kids! And … the museum is free of charge. You only pay for specific exhibitions that take place in the museum.
Diana Memorial Playground
After the museum Flo needs to blow off some steam. We walk through Kensington Gardens to a great playground: The Diana Memorial Playground. The entrance is free of charge and there is lots to do between the tropical plants in the garden. There is a pirate ship, tipi tents and all kinds of playground equipment that makes noises. Flo couldn’t be happier. There is nice coffee place too, where we enjoy our lunch in the sun.
Spotting Dummy the Mummy in the British Museum
After the energy is burned, we visit the British Museum. Here, there is an ancient Egyptian exhibition with mummies, sarcophaguses and much more. Floris is loving this! When he stands next to an unwrapped mummy with leathery skin, I ask him if he doesn’t think this is a little scary. He answers with “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 can rest him assured that he need not worry about such things.
After this busy day we grab a bite to eat and we walk by Piccadilly Circus before we grab the subway back to the hotel. It’s so busy it’s crazy! It’s a bit too much for Floris so we quickly grab the subway back to our hotel. We’ve walked about 23.000 steps this day, 16 km. Tomorrow is our fourth and last day of our trip to London.
In between: transportation in London; what’s handy and what not?
We walk a lot, because we like to, and you see more that way. We use a lot of the subway too. A day ticket for me and Floris costs about 19 GBP and you can use all kinds of public transport with it the whole day. We stick to the subway and seeing as a one-way ticket costs about 5 GBP, you easily get your money worth.
You can make use of the well-known black cabs or an uber too. Just don’t do this during rush hour because you will most likely get stuck in traffic. You can use your credit to rent a public transport bike too, but these are a bit too big for Floris.
London with little kids: day 4
Today is our fourth and last day. After breakfast we check out and leave our bags behind in the hotel. We walk for about 25 minutes to the Science Museum where we get way too early (45 minutes) before it opens.
We get in line first and entertain ourselves with dance moves, games and chit chat in the sun. As soon as the museum opens at 10:00, we walk to the third floor, because there is Wonderlab, a special room for kids where they can interact in all sorts of physics and tech stuff. The entrance to the Science Museum is free of charge, but for Wonderlab it’s 8 GBP for Floris and 10 GBP for me.
Flo runs enthusiastically from one experiment to the other. There happens to be another room with 3 slides too. Sitting on a mat you can slide down the slide and find out which ones the fastest: the one made of wood, plastic or artificial grass. This is Flo’s absolute favorite. After finishing all the experiments at least once, we walk out of Wonderlab to see the rest of the museum.
The rest of the collection is very different from one another. It varies from a giant interactive globe to old planes, an old train and even an exhibition about anti-biotics.
A quick lunch
After 2 hours we walk outside and head on back to the hotel because our plane is leaving in the afternoon.
On our way back, we walk past a pizzeria that advertises with vegan pizzas. Seeing as I have a severe milk allergy and haven’t eaten a real pizza in 16 years, we go inside. I order a pizza with fake mozzarella, Flo orders a pasta and off course we must have dessert. The pizza is delicious! And it’s really nice enjoying a good lunch like this with Floris. The perfect closure to our trip!
When we reach our hotel, I order an Uber that takes us to London City Airport. Here too, I experience that an Uber is way cheaper than a regular taxi.
Very strict security check
At LCY we can walk straight through to the security check. I’ve checked us in before hand and have our boarding passes ready on my phone.
Luckily, we are in time because we run into delay here… As it turns out, I have way too much liquids on me. It’s exactly the same amount as when I left from Amsterdam, but the security guy tells me the rules are stricter in London. A known problem, he tells me. When we’ve passed security, we chill a bit with a view on the runway before we board and fly on back to Amsterdam.
We had such an amazing weekend together. London is a wonderful city and turns out to be even more wonderful together with Floris! London with little kids is definitely recommended!
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