Episode 005 Show Notes – London with Kids
With your hosts Keri Hedrick, Marta Correale and Marianne Rogerson.
Our guest this episode is Katja Gaskell from the family travel blog Globetotting.
We covered a community question “We are travelling from Chicago to Italy later this year. I am so excited about the trip, but I am dreading dealing with the jet lag. We have a 4yo and a 7yo. Do you have any tips on dealing with the jet lag“
- Marianne talked about the balance between sleep, sunshine and exercise.
- Feeling tired and wanting to sleep all the time, so get your sleep pattern adjusted as soon as possible
- The first 24 hours are crucial. Start trying to think about your sleep patterns on the plane
- Choose a flight to make it easier on yourself – your landing time might be more crucial than the sleep on the plane
- Try and avoid the long day time nap after landing
- Get out in the daylight and moving until it’s the right time for a nap or overnight sleep
- Melatonin supplements – do your own research
- Jet lag will be covered more in our next episode baby and toddler travel
[7.02] Interview with Katja
Katja Gaskell, family travel writer and mum of three joins us today to tell us all about London with kids. She is the authour of Globetotting family travel blog and also writes for Twist Travel magazine, full of inspiration for families who love to travel.
Katja has called Sydney, Delhi, Mexico City and London home since having children. With a new child born in every city, she is a big city travel expert!
She thought the adventure was over when her family returned to London, but she has really enjoyed (re)discovering their new home. It’s a city with so much going on for children, it really is more a question of what will you leave out rather than include on a trip to London with kids.
[10.45] Important things to note about planning a trip to London – How to get around
- The London underground is not particularly stroller friendly but use TfL to plan your route – you can access step-free guides.
- Buses are more stroller friendly but you will need a collapsible stroller
- Avoid travelling during rush hour
- Plan well and organise yourself, don’t try and cover the whole city in a day
- London is actually very walkable once you reach tour destination
- You can read more tips on how to get around London here
[12.30] Itinerary for London
You can view a detailed copy of this suggested 3-day itinerary for London here.
Day 1 – Get up high or get a hop on-off bus
- Take the London Eye to get a great view over the city [skip the line tickets essential]
- A lot of hop on-off bus tour options or,
- Take a regular double-decker (on regular bus routes) take the number 9 from Trafalgar Square to Kensington Place and Gardens and get off at the Princess Diana Memorial Garden.
- Go to the Science Museum and Natural History Museum in Kensington. Most of the museums in London are free
- You do need to pre-book special exhibitions
- During school holidays you may also find special workshops and activities in the museums and in the parks – See the:
In central London, you will always find lots of places to eat – though not all places may be welcoming of children all the time. Alternatively, head to Hyde Park and grab a picnic from a convenience store.
Day 2 – History, Markets and Afternoon Tea!
- Tower of London – oldest fortifies d castle in Europe and where you’ll find the crown jewels [best to book in advance]
- Fun school holiday programs and seasonally, Christmas ice skating in the moat – see what’s on during your visit here
- See Tower Bridge and even walk across it (See bridge lift times here)
- Then head across to London Bridget and Borough. The Borough Markets one of the oldest and best in the city – grab a meal or takeaway
- Nearby is also the Shard, London’s tallest building. In school holidays you might find a family afternoon tea – and of course amazing views.
- Look our for themed teas Sanderson Alice and Wonderland Mad Hatter Afternoon Tea, the Shard has Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea at Aqua, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych. Not cheap but a great spoil yourself for the quintessential British experience. See more afternoon tea options here.
- Take a boat down the Thames then see houses of Parliament, Tower of London and to Greenwich (Many different options, most leave from Embankment or – check them out here)
- In Greenwich, visit the Cutty Sark replica ship – very hands-on kids activity.
- In the afternoon try specialist tours
- There are companies that run treasure hunts, eg at the British Museum.
- Houses of Parliament tour, afternoon tea by the river
- With Locals tour – eg Royal Family, Winnie the Pooh type tours. Some are big sights
[25.47] More attractions to visit if you have longer in London
- Covent Garden is a fun lively area of the city
- Visit the Westend Theatres
- Southbank along the Thames appearing rooms fountains and sandy park, in summer the Underbelly festival reasonably priced shows
- Hampton Court Palace only 30 minute train from Waterloo station
- Harry Potter the Warner Bros Studios Tour
- Oxford and Cambridge are both popular day trips
Easily spend a whole week just in London and not run out of attractions. You can find more of our London suggestions here
[28.22] Best areas and suggested hotels
- The closer you are to Zone 1, the centre of London, the more you will be paying. There are many beautiful hotels in Mayfair but you will pay for it.
- Victoria is quite central but has more budget-friendly options The Madler, Taj 51, Buckingham Suite residences
- If you want even cheaper, head out to areas that are Zone 3 for public transport but still very accessible to the city and look for AirBnB, eg:
- Clapham, Balham is a very family area, massive parks.
- North of the city Finchley, leafy and green, highgate.
- East of the city you might find the cheapest
- You can find all our central family hotel suggestions here.
[30.35] Favourite places to eat with kids in London
- There are many options including the fun afternoon teas
- Rules for pubs – generally children under 14 are allowed in with an adult until 9pm for meals. There are some places where its more appropriate than others.
- There are typical family establishments such as Giraffe, Sticky Fingers that are always welcoming – best for young children
- Dishoom – a small Indian chain with family-friendly options
- Caravan Restaurants – small chain with great food
- Pizza Pilgrims – dine-in and takeaway pizza
- Padella – Italian food with amazing fresh pasta
[32.55] Resources and items you’ll need to pack for London
- A compact stroller
- Pack for all types of weather and include lots of layers
- Good walking shoes
- You can get anything you need in London, you won’t get caught short
[33.35] Our Fast 5 Questions on London
- Hidden Gem: The area of Little Venice – canal area north of the city
- Splurge: See a West End Theatre Show
- Save: Hop-on Hop-Off Bus
- App: City Mapper
- Playground: Princess Diana Playground (including Primrose Hill – best views but you’ll need to get your takeaway coffee
[35.55] About our City Expert – Katja Gaskell
Connect with Katja on social media
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