By Thu Ha Larkin
You could never have enough time to enjoy all the pleasures of the British capital. In fact, you could visit a hundred times and barely see it all! That said, if you’re planning to come to London, we have some top tips for the perfect trip.
1. Soak up some history at the Tower of London (St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB; Adult £21.50/£24.00, Child £9.70/£11.00, Concessions £16.40/£19.00)
The Tower of London has been overlooking the city’s comings and goings for over 1,000 years – it’s the ultimate place for a dose of the country’s history. It’s a mini city of 20 towers – each of which tells their own tale of kings, wars and grisly endings. The first keep was built in Norman times by William – The Conqueror. Over the years, thousands of souls have passed through the site’s thick walls. Famous prisoners have included English queens and famous traitors and their stories are told in vivid detail by the uniformed Beefeater guards that still patrol the grounds. The Tower was in use as a jail as recently as the Second World War (when it held Rudolph Hess) and truly tells London’s story through the ages.
2. Get some fresh air at Greenwich Park (London SE10 8XJ; free entrance)
Greenwich Park is a beautifully sweeping stretch of rolling greenery that sits delicately on the gleaming River Thames. It is the oldest of the enclosed Royal Parks, boasting 183 acres of grassland and something for family members of all ages. The Greenwich World Heritage Site is notable for being the home of the Prime Meridian Line and the old Royal Observatory, and sits close to the history-soaked National Maritime Museum next door. The bandstand in the grounds hosts concerts through the summer months and there is a lively playground for the kids. You can grab lunch, or a snack, at one of the three cafés and enjoy your refreshments with one of the best views in the city. It’s an easy visit for those with children as there are public toilets with disabled access on site and plenty of space to stretch their legs. Games of cricket and tennis are also welcome.
3. Expand your mind at the Science Museum (Exhibition Rd, Kensington, London SW7 2DD; free entrance but additional costs for special exhibitions and the IMAX theatre)
The Science Museum is one of the jewels in London’s crown. There are seven floors of exhibits and plenty to do to keep the little ones entertained. Displays cover everything from early technology, medicine, biology to astrology and space travel. There’s an entire gallery dedicated to actual space equipment, including a full-size replica of the lander that took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon. Highlights include the Making the Modern World Gallery, stocked with locomotives, planes, bicycles and just about everything in between. Make sure you also check the times for the interactive workshops which bring science to life!
Getting there in a public transport could be tricky during weekends. Last time we had to change our plan from taking public transport to booking a chauffeur service due to the maintenance work at some tube stations. Luckily, the car we book is used to catering for families and our cars come fitted with car seats and drinks for the journey so the children were absolutely chilled.
4. Get out in the country at the Lee Valley Campsite (Sewardstone Road, Waltham Abbey, Chingford, E4 7RA; camping from £7.50 per adult per night, glamping from £35 per night)
London is home to soaring skyscrapers and high-tech banking, but it also has a softer side. This leafy spot on the east side of the city has all the fun of the outdoors at a short drive from the hustle and bustle. The site is crisscrossed with walking and bike trails and the meerkats, zebu and bearded dragons of Lee Valley Park Farms sits nearby. If you’re feeling adventurous, then the local White Water Centre offers extreme sports that will make your adrenaline soar. It’s a clean and well-maintained site that even has good-quality wi-fi.
5. Get some culture, and some quiet time, at Citadel Festival (Victoria Park, Grove Rd, London E3 5TB; Adult £55.25, child (6-11 years) £6.25, under-5s free)
When the summer sun shines London could give New Orleans or Paris a run for its money in the live music stakes. British festivals are becoming increasingly family-friendly and the Citadel Musical adventure fills London’s Victoria Park with fun, friends and entertainment. Make a slot in your diary in the middle of July and bring the kids to enjoy specially organised play activities and opportunities to get their groove on.
When I say, a perfect place for family day out, that’s because it offers a wonderful journey to history for your children to immerse in. The Magic Garden gives a real experience to meet mythical beasts, the battlement and other secrets behind the castle gate. The Baroque styled palace was home to the well-known Henry VIII. Come and get lost in The Maze, the enchanting garden or imagine yourself having a fest in the Tudor kitchen. It’s better to bring your picnic kit and enjoy the sunshine of the last few days of summer.
Driving in London is an acquired art so a day tour in a chauffeur car brings out the best in the tourist experience. London’s transport system can be notoriously unreliable so if you want to be sure you’ll get everywhere you’re planning then a private car is your best bet.
Images by Thu Ha Larkin
About Author: Thu Ha Larkin is a fashion & travel blogger who writes for different blogs and websites. She is now working at Belgravia Chauffeurs as a Digital Marketing Specialist. She spends most of her weekends to visit different places around the world and the UK to enrich her life and travel experience.
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