London is a truly phenomenal place. Everyone is moving at what seems to be 100 mph, while traffic barely gets above 10 mph. It is a unique paradox. Despite being a sprawling metropolis, London is extremely family-friendly, with more places to see and more things to do with children than most places in the world. Below are just some of the things that you and your children can enjoy in the capital.
by August Brill
If you and your children are into your sport then going to watch some action is a no brainer. London has over the years been considered the sporting capital of the world, having taking the crown from Melbourne in the previous decade. London thoroughly deserves its gong. In regards to football, the city has six teams in the Premier League – Chelsea and Arsenal being the most well-known – four in the Championship and a further three in the lower realms of the Football League. Rugby is also hugely popular in London. You have Twickenham, the home of the national rugby union side, as well as numerous top-flight domestic clubs.
The spiritual home of cricket, Lord’s, is also found in the city. As is the Olympic Park, which is a fantastic excursion. If your children are a little older then a trip to the greyhounds may take your fancy. The dogs have long been part of London’s make up, with many Cockneys still going to watch the dogs at Wimbledon. For an afternoon or evening of never-before-had fun, you should really think about the dog track; the language and behaviour of people at the track is far better than those found at football stadiums so don’t let that perturb you. You can also have a gamble, even if it is online with a range of providers of the likes of betfair, when you are at the dogs.
London is brimming with sport, both high end and low end. There shouldn’t be any father or child to leave the city disappointed due to the sporting action.
Museums are like sport, they interest all ages, and the museums in London tick all these boxes and then some. It is always hard to tell who enjoys the Imperial War Museum, which is quite frankly superb, the most. With it being a century since the start of World War One, the museum is even more poignant. With displays including tanks, aircrafts, military transcripts and artefacts, it is hard not to become engrossed.
The London Dungeon is hugely popular with families. With exhibitions including the Gunpowder Plot, Jack the Ripper, The Plague Doctor and the Sweeney Todd, it serves as great learning tool into the murky history of Britain’s past. Besides the fantastic exhibitions, there are rides for you and your child to enjoy, The Tyrant Boat Ride is a must, as is the Drop Dead ride. Its mixture of white knuckle rides and history is a combination that all members of the family can enjoy.
We all have a little bit of geek inside us. The best way to satisfy this benign inner demon is by taking a trip to the Science Museum. With seven floors of educational, but, more importantly, entertaining exhibitions, it is nigh on impossible not to be satisfied. Currently on show are the Apollo 10 command module, a display on what makes us human, and a display on the making of the modern world.
These are just three of London’s brilliant museums. There is an abundance of art galleries, British museums and music museums for you and children to fill your boots.
If the weather is good then you don’t want to be holed up inside, you want to be out soaking up the sun. Hyde Park is one of London’s Royal Parks and can be found in the Westminster area of the city. The park, which is larger than the principality of Monaco, is a fantastic place to unwind with your children. It also offers you the chance to cool off. The Serpentine Lake situated within the park is open to swimmers. You’ll soon cool off when you dip your toe in its icy water.
London Zoo is the oldest scientific zoo in the world, it will be celebrating its 200th birthday in 2028. With 806 species and 19,178 individuals, the zoo has one of the largest animal collections in the world. Attractions include the Tiger Territory, Gorilla Kingdom, Rainforest Life and the two hilarious Pygmy hippos never fail to bring a smile.
Covent Garden never ceases to amaze and makes for the perfect lunch or dinner destination for you and your children. Take an outside table at one of the many eateries and just bask in the entertainment on offer. Covent Garden is a mecca for street performers, who have been performing there since as early as 1662. Shows go on for 30 minutes and run hourly. Both you and your children will be left gobsmacked by some of the things these street artists can do.
Whilst on foot, you have to go to Piccadilly Circus, which, alongside New York’s Times Square, feels like the centre of the universe. If you are lucky, you may bump into a famous movie star at Leicester Square, and if you and your children fancy a spot of shopping then Oxford Circus is the ideal location.
It is a little known secret that London has a gargantuan amount of landmarks. As long as neither you nor your children are afraid of heights then the London Eye is a must. As the wheel ascends, you get treated to unrivalled panoramic views of this incredible city. If you can do at night then it is even more special.
The Tower of London serves as both a treat and educational task. Exploring the Tower and looking at the Crown Jewels are both nice, but the bit we enjoy most is hearing about the gore of the past, and if your kids start playing up just mention the Princes in the Tower.
The Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey are both enjoyable experiences, however, for children of a young age the importance will be lost. If that applies to you then just walk past it; the facade is probably the most impressive bit, and revisit it when you and your kids are older. You can team this with a walk over the historic Tower Bridge – if you are really feeling adventurous you can traverse over the Sky Walk.
London is the type of place that everywhere you turn there is a landmark.
London is a fantastic city. You wouldn’t be able to see all of it even if you had a fortnight! Planning is imperative, but also leave room for spontaneity. Every part of London has its own story to tell, making it a spectacular place to just wander. However, once the feet start to ache, take full of advantage of the Tube – it makes sense to buy an Oyster Card if you are in London for a prolonged amount of time as individual tickets will end up costing you a small fortune.