Visiting London

Parent Q&A

Looking for an apt. or hotel in London this summer Mar 3, 2019 (3 responses below)
London vacation rental wanted Aug 14, 2017 (2 responses below)
Finding a short-term rental in London Nov 6, 2016 (2 responses below)
  • We will be traveling to London this summer with our 12 year old son.  Can anyone recommend any reasonably priced hotels or apartments to stay?

    Thank You

    We go to London often with our teens and used to live there. We've done Airbnbs, bed and breakfasts etc, but have found the best value to be the PremierInn chain (https://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/england/greater-london.html). It's nothing fancy but they are quiet, the beds are really good quality and they have "family rooms" with a third or fourth bed big enough for a teen. (Their new hub hotels are super small/no frills, but their regular hotels are quite spacious and have full restaurants etc.) We've stayed at their Euston, Kings Cross, and Victoria hotels for around 75-85 pounds a night, and they have hotels all over London. One time we splurged on an Airbnb for 250 pounds a night and it ended up being a huge pain to get the key, noisy etc and we wished we had just done PremierInn and saved a bundle to then spend eating out and going to theater etc! PremierInns don't show up on Hotels.com and the other search aggregators. Good luck!

    The University of London offers B&B-style accommodations over the summer for short-term stays. I’ve stayed in the the dorms twice since studying there for a year in college and have had good experiences. It’s a good deal for basic accommodations in a great location. And, bonus, your son can experience dorm life (and dorm food!) well before college apps are due! More info: https://housing.london.ac.uk/find-accommodation/short-term-housing/university-halls-residence

    I've been to London a few times with teenagers and I'm going again this summer.  If you're looking for a hotel, I highly recommend using Tripadvisor.  Start with the most highly ranked ones and scroll down till you find one in your price range. We found a hotel we really liked this way - we've stayed there twice. It's called Park Plaza County Hall and it's a block from the London Eye. Walkable to everywhere, got a room with a bed and sofabed which is great with teens, plus good breakfast.  This summer we will be using a booking agency called Veeve.com to rent a flat because we needed 4 bedrooms. So far so good, but no direct experience yet. I like the idea of a local agent rather than arrangements with individuals on AirBnB. I've used AirBnB a lot domestically, and one time in Scotland which turned out fine, but I have heard too many horror stories from friends who ended up in disastrous AirBnB rentals abroad with no one local to help, so I've shied away from those.  Have a wonderful trip!  I hope Brexit gets sorted out before we go!

  • London vacation rental wanted

    (2 replies)

    I'll be visiting the UK in early October to see family, and I'd like to rent an apartment for a week+ in London.

    (I'd prefer to be in the general vicinity of Bloomsbury/the British Museum, but would

    consider other options.)  I'll also be in Cambridge for a few days, looking for a place to stay for a few nights.

    Any tips much appreciated!

    Thank you!!

    RE: London vacation rental wanted ()

    Not London, but I had an excellent experience renting a flat for a week in Edinburgh on AirB&B a few months ago, so I wanted to recommend checking AirB&B.  A lot of Europeans seem to cross-list on AirB&B, Homeaway, flipkey, and VRBO so you can check all those places for reviews for the place you're interested in (read reviews!!).  Have a fun trip!

    RE: London vacation rental wanted ()

    Not an apartment, but we stayed here a few years ago and it was nice, http://www.citadines.com/en/united-kingdom/london/citadines-holborn-covent-garden-london/index.html.  Affordable, and I believe every rental is a suite with separate bedroom and kitchenette.  4 of us, 2 kids and 2 grown-ups were cozy but comfortable.  Great location, near Covent Garden, lots of stores and restaurants nearby. 

  • Finding a short-term rental in London

    (2 replies)

    My family is spending a month in London this summer.  Can anyway recommend a reputable website or agency for finding short-term, furnished rentals in London?  Thanks!

    A Place Like Home:  http://www.aplacelikehome.co.uk/ I've used them many times and never been disappointed.

    I've also used http://www.homefromhome.co.uk/site/page/Self_catering once or twice.  Not much difference. 

    You can search for others.  The proper search term is "selfcatering"  One thing you need to realize is that the listing arrangements with these brokers are not exclusive, so the owner of a flat or house can have many brokers listing it, and you don't have a final deal until whoever you are dealing with confirms that some other broker has not arranged a rental for the same time.  If that sounds confusing, it is ... but it's one of the I recommend dealing directly with the London brokers rather the American folks who just try to resell the same listings at a markup. 

    I'm sure I'll be one of many to say this: Airbnb! It's wonderful. Best part is, you can see other guests' reviews and make sure their experience was positive. Enjoy London!

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Questions 

Affordable Direct Flights from SFO to London

Oct 2015

My daughter lives in England, and since she doesn't have the time or money to come to California that often, I visit her and the grandkids twice a year. I’ve been flying Virgin Atlantic for a while, because they’re pretty affordable and punctual, courteous, and their fares still include amenities such as wine with meals, good entertainment on a personal screen (although the controls are so counter-intuitive I want to throw the handset through the screen!), etc.: the small things that make an 11-hour flight more bearable. But now I’m curious to hear what other BPN members might recommend as a lower-cost go-to airline, and why: pros and cons, etc. Thanks. The Trans-Atlantic Mother


Check non-stops from Oakland to Scandinavia on Norwegian Air (recently $650 round trip to Stockholm). Then make a separate check for flights (inter-Europe) from the Scandinavian airport round trip to Heathrow or Gatwick. This may come out cheaper and you'll get a nice side trip too. Travel Checker


Try British Air or United. We've been flying with both of them for years. Married to a Brit


Your best selection of flight times for SFO/London will be Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and United. I haven't flown British Air because the fares have always been higher than the other two, but I've flown SFO to London several times each on Virgin and United. Virgin is so much better in every way than United for this flight. It's a long flight, and it's no fun being smushed into a sardine can on United.


We've been making annual trips to London, taking a direct flight from SFO to Heathrow. I'd love to hear any others' ideas about getting good fares, but we've been getting reasonable fares by subscribing to fare alerts. I use Kayak.com (though I know there are others out there), and it lets me see price trends. Another source is skyscanner. They provide data on average fares over time: http://www.skyscanner.com/routes/sfo/lhr/san-francisco-international-to-london-heathrow.html. We recently bought nonstop tickets on British Airways SFO-LHR for under $800. anglophile
 


Where to stay in London for 1 night?

June 2014

Hi BPN community, We are planning a future trip that includes 1 day/night in London. We don't want to stay at a Heathrow airport hotel but need to leave from there after a night in the City. So we prefer a place that is near green space, not too many stops from walking around the Thames/bridge area and isn't super far from Heathrow. Please let us know if this fits a place you've stayed at, and by the way, please make it reasonably priced. We do magic as moms all the time, so this should be easy?! Many thanks! Dawn


The Adria Hotel in Hammersmith: http://www.adria-hotel.co.uk/index.php/about-us It's a direct ride from the Hammersmith tube station to Heathrow, and the Thames and some riverside pubs are within walking distance. I stayed there a few years ago in a little twin-bedded room with a very little en-suite bathroom; everything was neat and clean, and I was at the top and back of the building with nice views. It's reasonable for London, meaning rather expensive, but certainly worth a night or two, and the location probably can't be beat. You might also check out AirB&B. Melanie


We just spent 3 nights in London last June. Here's my best tip: stay on the West side of London. I was amazed at how long and slow our cab ride was from Heathrow to East London near Tower Bridge. It took over an hour and that was mid-day on a weekday. There's no highway through London so it takes forever. If I were to go again, I'd find a hotel on the either side of London, closer to Heathrow.


Affordable London Hotel or B&B for Family of 4

May 2013

Could use some Mom advice in my quest for a Quad room or similar accommodations for 3-4 nights in London in June. Prices are so high and rooms are so small - wow! Would love something not-cramped with public transportation close by, within 20 min of London for $200 USD-ish. Breakfast and wifi would be great. We are arriving Heathrow end of June and leaving on Eurostar after our stay. My girls are 10 & 12. Any tips for me, Moms? Thx! Debbie


See if Arran House (http://www.arranhotel-london.com) has any availability - centrally located near the British Museum/Bloomsbury, family-run and family-friendly. The rooms will be small (like anywhere in London), but they do offer quads. Be careful with B&Bs - maybe it's just me, but my experience with London B&Bs has been incredibly mixed, especially in the suburbs. Some were little more than a spare room in someone's house. A relative of ours usually stays in B&Bs or small hotels up near Hampstead Heath and loves it there. As long as you're near the Tube, you can get anywhere. And the train from LHR to central London is fantastic - puts our BART/airport connections to shame. Now I Wish I Was Going to London


We found a place through London Home-to-Home (www.londonhometohome.com). We stayed with Tanya and Leon (LHH215). We had two rooms (and two small bathrooms!) on the top floor of their row house. There weren't any other rooms on that level. I think they might have had one other room available in their house, but I couldn't tell. We were the only guests there. It was more like staying in someone's house than a regular B&B -- but they did feed us breakfast and give us tips/ideas when we asked. Each room was 82 pounds per night (last year, before the olympics). Near Wimbledon, about a 5 min walk from the Tube. It was a funky place, but definitely suited our needs, and was clean and safe and quiet.


We are a family of five, just stayed at a place called The Rusmore in London. It was very conveniently located to a central tube stop. We had a room on the top floor, it was cozy and just fine given the limited amount of time we actually spent in the room. Breakfast was included. I think it's cheapest if you book directly with them. Traveling family


We really enjoyed our stay at 22 York St. B&B (http://www.22yorkstreet.co.uk/). It was centrally located between Regent's Park and Oxford Street and near Marylebone High Street (nearest tube stop is Baker St. on the Bakerloo and Jubilee lines). Very reasonably priced for central London and the room was clean and comfortable. Brian W.


Vacation rental in London

Feb 2013

I will be going to London at the end of March to visit my daughter who's studying in England. I'm looking for an apartment there that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I've looked in the BPN archives and there don't seem to be any recent requests for listing services, does anyone have a recommendation? Thanks London Bound


We rented a great 2-bedroom apartment in London in 2011 through VRBO. http://www.vrbo.com/20589 VRBO fan


I've used these folks three or four times: http://www.aplacelikehome.co.uk/ They're very nice and very helpful. Their prices may be higher than you want, but London is expensive to being with and they handle properties in nice neighborhoods. There used to be a couple in Portland (Jeanne & Scott Mills) doing business as Great Trips Unlimited but the web address I have for them now defaults here: http://www.homesandvillasinternational.com/london-vacation-rental so they may have had to give up that name. Don't know if these phone numbers still work (503-297-3555 or 888-239-9720) but they were very helpful on our first trip before I started dealing directly with brokers in London. One thing to be aware of is that the owners of the rental properties are free to (and do) list with multiple agencies, so there's always a delay while the agency confirms that a given property is actually available during a certain time period (even if it shows as available in their records). Give yourself plenty of time.


Place to stay in London for exercise nuts

Dec 2012

My husband and I would like to spend one week in Paris and one week in London in May, 2013. I would appreciate recommendations for places to stay in both cities. We are both exercise nuts and would prefer a location and/or hotel that has access to a fitness center. Also, not too terribly expensive. Thank you! anon


In London last June we stayed at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury. It was really in Islington/Finsbury and walking distance to Sadler's Wells theater (great for dance performances). For a modest charge, it had a weight room and weights/mats and modest equipment--not sure about machines-- and an indoor pool complete with sauna, steamroom, and hot tub. There were handbills at the desk for exercise classes nearby. Once we switched to using the city buses to get around, the location was pretty convenient. Locations such as Trafalgar Square and train stations were easily accessible. It was a 15 minute walk to Bloomsbury proper. Breakfast was included. A pub across the street served very nice dinners. A market with food trucks popped up several mornings a block up the street while we were there and nearby were several nice looking restaurants that seemed to draw a 'cool' weekend crowd. It overlooks a royal mail post office sorting center. The rooms were smallish--typical for London, and fairly comfortable. The sheets were not egyptian cotton. The price was pretty good. The service staff was polite and helpful. The pool and hot tub were great for handling jet lag and long days as a tourist and putting 'fun in the pool' moments in a London vacation. I can't rave about it, but it served its purpose for a family of three on a modest travel budget. Jessica


Travelling to London with kids 10 and 7 --places to stay?

May 2010

Hi there, we might be so lucky as to go to London this Fall, and are looking for likely candidates where a family of 4 (kids are 10 and 7) can stay without maxing out our credit card. Has anyone been recently, and stayed at a wonderful place? What are the chances that there are vacation rentals available for less than a week? We'd like to stay fairly central, with good access to the museums, parks, and other tourist attractions. thanks for your help! Donna


Here a couple suggestions:
1. Unless it has changed, Kings Cross area was cheap (but was also the red light district).
2. Try contacting some of the private clubs. I think one is called Marborough Club and another was Lansdowne, I believe. They have rooms, are in nice areas like Mayfair, and have reciprocity with various alumni clubs here. The stickler may be whether they will take children. It would be a neat, non touristy experience.
3. The National Trust has a number of historic houses and properties they rent. Most are a week's rental, but it would be a chance to stay at a piece of history!
4. Also, check on house swaps.
5. If you don't mind a big hotel, often the airline you are using will bundle a hotel at a very reasonable rate...especially since it is London.

Happy hunting! I lived in England for several stints and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you get out of London, renting a car is quite doable, I just would not drive around London for anything. The public transport is totally sufficient for downtown and the train comes right in from the airport. klevenson


We found one place that handles apartment rentals in London for five nights, Coach House Rentals, http://www.rentals.chslondon.com/properties.htm. I can't remember what we paid, but it was very reasonable, especially compared to hotel prices. We had a lovely 2 bedroom apartment near Sloane Sq. (that was the underground stop, the area is also well served by buses). They even stocked the fridge with some staples for us. Check them out and have a good trip. We had a great time in England with our 14 and 12 year old daughters last year. Alice


Hi, I love to stay at the Arran House Hotel when I go to London. It is very close to the British Museum, and near a number of tube stations as well. It is really central -- allowing me to get out to the sites by walking or jumping on the train.

A single with shared bath is 60 pounds, which includes a full breakfast. They have larger rooms, and have ensuite rooms as well--all rates include the breakfast. When I was there last month I saw a few families staying there. They also allow guests to use the kitchen at night, so you could hopefully save some $$ by cooking in at night (there are grocery stores only a few blocks away).

Keep in mind that this is a European-style hotel, so the rooms are small and fairly basic, but they are always clean and the people who work there are very friendly.

You can make reservations through the web site: http://www.arranhotel- london.com/ or Skype with them at arranhousehotel Lisa T.


London with 5 and 7 year old

May 2009

We are traveling to London in mid June with our two girls ages 5 and 7. We will have 4 days to see and do. Given our limited time, what are the things we shouldn't miss? London bound mamma


Diana Memorial Playground - fabulous! http://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/kensington_gardens/diana_playground.cfm

Natural History Museum http://www.nhm.ac.uk/

Eat British foods: proper fish and chips (search online for suggestions), or go to The Stockpot http://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/reviews/330.html

Be sure to have proper tea somewhere. Again, search online. Also get a ''99'' or ''99 Flake'' from an ice cream truck (near parks) - soft serve ice cream.

Also check here: http://www.timeout.com/london/kids/

Beforehand, bone up on British kids literature: Paddington (lots of real locations mentioned), Mary Poppins, Roald Dahl, Winnie-the-Pooh. Better yet, get audio books read by British readers. Adds a lot of atmosphere.

Ellen


We took our kids to London a few years back when they were 9 and 5. They really loved the Tower of London. Between the dungeon, the crown jewels, the armor & weaponry, and Traitor's Gate, there is something for everyone. Also, one thing we did on a whim that was a HUGE hit with my daughter was the royal mews. These are the stables right behind Buckingham Palace. You can see the arena where all the royals have learned to ride as children, but the real fun is all the royal carriages on display. There were a few that were huge and gilded and such. Very fun and actually pretty quick, so the kids won't burn out. We were there for about 10 days, so we had more time, but we did a day trip out to Stonehenge and some other ancient sites. Not sure if you want to spend that much time on a bus when you only have 4 days.

You should take them for tea time somewhere, anywhere. It is very fun. Lots of options for that...hotels, tea or coffee shops, even the museums have a tea time.

For eats, my kids still talk about Wagamama, which is chain of noodle bars. The food is pretty good and kid friendly. It is kind of southeast asian fusion fare. Very casual and recommended with kids. There were several around town.

Also, you could pop into Harrods. My kids loved that place. You can do tea time, plus there is a soda shop right near the massive toy dept. It is an amazingly , eye-popping huge store. But it is also a monument to crass consumerism, so depending on your beliefs you might want to skip that. My kids, however, couldn't get enough of that place, and it is a good place to shop for souvenirs (in the basement there is a bunch of Harrods stuff: tea, stuffed animals, shirts, etc.). You could wander that store for days and never see the same thing twice. Have fun!


The London Eye would most likely be a hit, as would a tour on the double-decker buses. teachergran


If it's a nice day then I would suggest Somerset House on The Strand. They have a large courtyard with lots of fountains that you can run through or just watch (they go up and down in formation). I think there's an open air cafe and if your kids are interested there are art exhibitions inside. Their website is http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/default.asp, it's definitely worth a look. If you get the tube to Temple you can walk through Middle Temple Lane which is like going back in time and you might get to see barristers with their wigs on! What could be more exciting than that? Tiffany


London with infant and toddler

Sept 2007

We're off to London in a couple of weeks with our infant and toddler. The archives on this city are a few years old, so I am hoping for updated advice on places to go, things to do, places to eat, etc. I'd especially be interested in any advice on what NOT to do. If you've been to London recently with your young kid(s), please pass on some helpful tips! Thanks so much!


We were in London last summer when my daughter was just two years old. We spent time in Regent's Park, where there is a beautiful lake with geese, amazing rose garden, my daughter loved seeing all of the birds and flowers. Great place to run around. I'm sure there were other great places, but we were there for only a short time. mary


My family of 4, including a 2 1/2 year-old boy and a teen, stayed in London for 4 nights in early July. We stayed near the South Kensington tube (very close to Natural History and Science museums)in a little apartment, so we could eat at home sometimes and shop at the local supermarkets- cheaper and easier, even got some great Indian takeout for the grownups. My son's favorite experiences there were riding the ''tube'', train and the double decker bus. He also really enjoyed the Natural History museum (which is one of the many free ones)- it has a cool dinosaur exhibit, amongst many other things. You could spend hours and hours there (and at the Science museum). Running around in Kensington Park (the Princess Diana Memorial Playground is impressive) and Hyde park are fun, and so is Regent's park. We didn't try to do much in the way of visiting the historical sights, in part because we didn't want to wait in long lines in the busy tourist season. One book you may want t! o get is ''around London with kids- 68 great things to do together in the city and beyond''- I found this little book helpful. Overall, we didn't try to do too much, tried to stick to normal nap and bedtimes as much as possible, and we had a great time. Hope you have a great trip! Feel free to e-mail me if you want to chat more. kat


Can't recall what time of year you'll be going, but if the weather is warm, I highly recommend Hampstead Heath. The whole Heath is lovely - but for little ones there is a fantastic playground and a huge but safe paddling pool (both brand new in 2006)just south of Parliament Hill.

We approached via Kentish Town tube station, taking a short bus ride to Highgate Road, where there is a nice child friendly bakery/cafe just outside the park (much better than the cafe in the park). Note: Hampstead tube station is closer, but it's very hilly right around there and not much fun with a stroller and a slow walker. In the summer, there is also free kids' entertainment at the bandstand (we saw a magician).

It's also where the locals go (mums and nannies), so it's easy to start up conversations and get some good advice on kid friendly things to do. You can download a pdf map at the City of London website. http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/living_environment/open_spaces/hampstead_heath.htm#visitor Mom of Two


We had a lovely time in London a few years ago with our then 2yo daughter. I highly recommend taking your little ones to the Princess Diana playground. It's frequented by locals and is the most amazing playground I've ever seen. It's not a typical tourist spot, our concierge didn't know anything about it. But it's worth seeing if you're looking for a place for the kids to play around freely. It's nearby Kensington Palace and if I remember correctly, convenient to the tube.


We had a chance to live one semester in Hampstead, London, postal code NW3, when the kids were 3 and 7. It is a posh, highly desirable area just off the Tube or the bus #24(?). Convenient, safe. Maison Blanc Bakery on High Street is heavenly. Giraffe Restaurant is family friendly and tasty. The local playground is small, but very friendly. There are also some other areas off the Chalk Farm northern line that are also worth considering. Have a fabulous time! anon.


London place to stay for family of 4

March 2007

Our family of 4 (kids ages 2 and 16) will be visiting England early July, and plan to spend about four nights in London. I'm looking for recommendations for centrally located hotels or small apartments that would be comfortable for four. I'd love to be near a nice park for my 2 year-old, but it would be great to be near the major sights, theatres and museums too. I'd be open to staying a short tube ride away from central London if people have a good recommendation for such a place. I want to spend no more than 150 pounds ($300.00) per night. Thanks a lot, Kate


Hello Kate, We were in London for a week last August. There were 5 of us: parents, grandma and two kids 2 and 12 years old. We rented a 2 bedroom apartment through the internet. It is near the South Kensington tube station. We loved the location. The apartment is not big but sufficient and having a kitchen is great with a two year old. I am not sure they rent for 4 nights but you can inquire and find out. Their web site is chelsea-cloisters.co.uk There were other web sites that responded to our inquiry homefromhome.co.uk and euracom.co.uk Good luck and have fun London is great


Family of 5 visiting London & Scotland<

March 2007

We are traveling to London and Scotland in late July/early August and are looking for suggestions on where to stay in central London and Scotland as a family. We would love to know what other families have enjoyed doing with teenagers. We have two 15 year olds and one 12 year old. Thanks for any help you could offer. Dana


When deciding where to stay in London, be sure to look into renting a flat. They are usually no more expensive than hotels. They have the added advantage of providing you with a kitchen, laundry facilities, and more space. We stayed in London 2 years ago in a South Kensington flat. We used the kitchen frequently because restaurants are very expensive, grocery stores were nearby, and prepared foods from the stores were pretty good. I'm not recommending any particular neighborhood because I think that so many of them would be great. The most important thing is to be walking distance to an underground station. To find flats to rent, check out vrbo.com, homeaway.com and greatrentals.com. Nancy


Lucky you! My husband and I and my 3 kids (13,16, &19 at the time) went summer before last, and it will remain in our memories forever as a golden moment.

We stayed at Morgan House B (taking 2 rooms) on Ebury St just behind Buckingham Palace. I've stayed there before, so familiarity helped make the decision. The folks there are beyond wonderful, and the place itself is beautiful.

Activities we enjoyed: First, a tour on the top of a double-decker bus to get oriented. Then, in no particular order: Tower of London (go as soon as it opens in the morning & you get a private look at the Crown Jewels!), St. Paul's (to the very tippy top), London Eye (13 year old went bungee-jumping next door to the Eye--height of the trip for her), River trips to Hampton Palace, Kew Gardens, & Greenwich, shopping, British Museum, Nat. HIstory museum, Chelsea Physick garden (they do one of the best teas in London! Kensington Palace Orangery's tea is also not to be missed), the V, John Soane museum (a must see if you're interested in unusual architecture or interior design), a few train trips (Cambridge--leave from King's Cross & see platform nine-and-three-quarters--Kent, & Canterbury in our case), walks along the Thames, (esp. at night when the bridges are lit up in Chelsea), tour of Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey (one kid was into the Da Vinci Code bigtime--so WA was a pilgrimage for her--she would have also visited Temple Church if she could have), Trafalgar square, concerts at St. Martin-in-the-fields, the Imperial War Museum, the Garden History Museum (in a deconsecrated church--Captain Bligh's tomb is there). Also, if you stay in Belgravia as we did, DO NOT miss The Chocolate Society on Elizabeth just off Ebury, the deli across the street from it, or the great Italian restaurant nearby (called Oliveto!)

Also, when you have teens (as opposed to toddlers or tweens) you can split up & do what different people want to do, which was an incredible boon. Just give them some money, put them in one of the wonderful cabs, & agree on a time & place to meet up again! My kids loved the freedom & feeling of being intrepid world travelers. We also bought some of the wonderful needlepoint kits that they sell in the museum shops & oldest daughter & I whiled away evenings, waiting time, & resting time soothing our travel-roughened nerves with handwork.

One further suggestion--save brochures, tix stubs, postcards, etc. & take these & your photos to do a family scrapbook project when you get home. We did this one night a week in the months after the trip, and it was like we got to go back to London every week. The more elaborate the book, the longer you get to prolong your ''trip.''

Oh, this is making me wish I could go again! Bon Voyage! And have a wonderful trip. Laura


My wife and I took my son (then 13 months old) and father to the UK last spring. We all had a great time, and I'd be happy to give you more information if you like. We flew straight from Heathrow to Edinburgh, stayed a week in Edinburgh, stopped in York and Newcastle, and then a week in London before returning home. We did not rent a car.

In Edinburgh, I'd highly recommend the Knight's Residence to stay. It is located just south of the Castle in a quiet neighborhood, and is either newly built or recently renovated set of apartments. We had a 2 bedroom with kitchen, washer/dryer, and dishwasher, and very comfortable rooms for reasonable rates. The staff were very friendly, and there is a library of movies to borrow. Rosalyn chapel was an easy bus ride away, if anyone has read Da Vinci code. St Andrews is a bit further by bus. Sterling Castle sounds nice; we didn't go, but should be an easy train ride.

York is a well-preserved medieval walled town, but it is very touristy. Still, it is worth a stop. We stayed at a B about a half mile outside of the walls and walked in to town. If you stay at any smaller towns, there is a tradition of Sunday roasts for lunch. Most pubs will advertise them, either turkey, lamb or Roast beef with all the trimmings. Nice local custom to try, and most pubs outside of city centers have a family area.

London is expensive, but the tube is so easy and convenient, don't hesitate to stay out further and take the bus/tube. I've stayed in both Earl's Court area and Chelsea, and found them convenient. We rented a 2BR at the Chelsea Cloisters last time, but I think their minimum stay is a week. The Tower of London shouldn't be missed for you and the kids. Across the river from the tower is giant outdoor food market on the weekends.

LondonWalks has a huge set of guided tours; the one we took was a great way to see an area. They also have things like a Beatles tour. I would assume Da Vinci code too :-) The options for day trips is huge as well. Bryan


London in December with Teenagers

October 2006

We will be going to london in decebmer for about 16 days. What are places to visit that teenagers will enjoy? any money saving tips? we are on a tight budget. thanks for the advice.
excited but a bit apprehensive


What your teens would enjoy will depend on your teens. (If they want to meet local teens, you should get introductions to English families arranged ahead of time, through friends and acquaintances.) For tourist attractions, my friends strongly recommend the Tower of London (jewels! dungeons!) and, outside London, Windsor Castle (dungeons with waxwork torturers). There's always Madame Tussaud's for celebrity waxworks, and the Eye (a giant ferris wheel on the Thames). There are certain shopping districts that are more hip than others. There are music clubs, including traditional singing in pubs, and there may be rock or jazz concerts. There's incredible theater with half-price tickets. Rather than the British Museum (with its great Egyptian and Greek stuff), I like the Victoria & Albert museum and the National Portrait Gallery off Trafalgar Square, because they are about people. Don't miss Harrod's, and Fortnum & Mason's for food. There's the Vampire tour of London, and possibly other tours that are lively (Harry Potter in London? Sherlock Holmes?). In December there may be Dickensian living history events. There's also High Tea at the fanciest hotels, or lunch at Simpson's on the Strand. St Paul's cathedral is impressive, and at its best with Evensong or other choral services. Try to leave some time to just enjoy being there. Within three hours of arriving in London last summer, my teen walked over to Westminster, saw a lot of police about, sat down on a park bench to watch, and saw-- Prince Charles and Camilla come out and drive away in a Rolls! So you never know what will happen. have fun


Almost all the things my teen enjoyed the most were free or practically so. His favorite thing was going to flea markets in London. I think the Camden market was the one he liked best. I liked the Portobello Road market. Some of the markets are only on one day of the week so google it before you go. I recommend the walking tours also - London Walks is the famous one. The Jack the Ripper walk would be popular with teens. They are not expensive - maybe 5 pounds. Look at the websites for the various museums and see what the shows are while you're there. The Tate Modern was a big hit, and we lucked into a really incredible Japanese anime exhibition at the Barbizon and a sci-fi exhibit at the Natural History Museum. Hamleys Toy Store on Regent St - 7 floors of toys - good place to buy trinkets to take back home to the friends. Riding on the tube, lunch in pubs, walking through the parks, maybe a boat paddle at Hyde park. LondonTown.com is a good resource as are the travel guide websites like fodors.com and also check Wikipedia. Have fun! Ginger


Hi London is an amazing city and you will have a great time-but it won't be cheap! The exchange rate is horrible and it's a pricey city, that said, here's some ideas

  Shopping: TopShop reasonably priced teen heaven like H Accessorize-Fab accessories Covent garden-outdoor street stalls Camden town  Sights London dungeon -Gory wax musuem Tower of London- a don't miss Hampton Court Palace-good castle has re-enactments around xmas that are pretty amusing Walk around the Parks, Big Ben etc. 

Get out of the city
Any charming little village, will be cheaper, cleaner and easier to get around Lewes near Brighton is good and there's a boardwalk similar to santa cruz. Lots of historical sites as well

Amesbury is a free alternative to stonehenge, it's messier but still pretty cool, also there are usually some pretty interesting characters wandering round take the chunnel to Paris for the day-it's not that much and you can go in the morning and be back for dinner

Don't drive if you can-it's terrifying, roads are tiny, zillions of cars, tickets are rampant due to CCTV it's everywhere (almost no speeding-which is good)

Take the tube, bus, or train all cheaper than driving and easier public transportation is excellent there.

Have fun -you'll love it! london calling


Babysitter in London & Oxford

April 2005

I will be in London and Oxford for three weeks from 13 June-5 July. I need someone to play with my 3 yr old while I work from home in the mornings or afternoons. We'll be staying near the Hammersmith tube station. Any recommendations of babysitters? Or suggestions how I might find a babysitter? Mary


Many hotels will set you up with a babysitting referral service. Call yours and find out. Expect to pay a lot more than you would at home, although you may get someone more experienced and qualified than your average teenager. We used a babysitting referral service in Florida last month that was $16 an hour! David


London family-friendly hotels

March 2005

We will be traveling to London with our 11-yr-old this summer and are looking for an affordable place to stay for about a week. Ideal find would be between $100-$150 USD (or less!) per night. Has anyone been there within the last year who can make a recommendation? Would also love to hear of any out-of-the way discoveries or tips people have for visiting London, great day-trips, places to score cheap(er) theatre tickets before we leave the US, etc. Thanks.


Try the County Hall Travel Inn. Travel Inn is a chain in the UK, and the County Hall location is part of the former London County Hall, which was turned into the more budget concious (~$120 US) Travel Inn in one half, and an upscale (~$400 US) Marriott in the other half. The location is great - on the Thames right beside the London Eye, a 5 min walk to Big Ben, and a 3-5 min walk to the Waterloo Tube Station. The rooms are comfortable, with beds and fold-out couches and ensuite bathrooms with showers. I had a good stay there in 2003, and have a friend who regularly stays when she is in London on business. Barbara


I was in London in November of 2002, so some of my information may not be up- to-date. We stayed at a bed & breakfast walking distance from Victoria Station, which cost us $100 US a night (I don't recall the exchange rate at the time). We booked it on-line from California, but then when we got there, we realized we could have just gone to Victoria Station and found a reasonably-priced hotel in the area without an advance reservation (mainly because it was off-season). As far as attractions and museums, I strongly recommend getting a copy of the magazine Time Out when you arrive in London. You can also get a copy at Cody's on Telegraph, I believe. Time Out has listings for absolutely everything in London, from West End shows and dance performances to offbeat attractions.

One of those attractions we went to was Dennis Severs' House (more information here: http://travelguides.wanadoo.uk.com/sisp/?fx=event_id=59776). This is a combination historical house/museum. The house consists of several rooms, all of which have been restored to 1900 and before. We did the candlelight tour, which is a bit pricey at 12 pounds per person. But it's well worth it as one gets the feeling of how people actually lived at this time. You do need to make reservations in advance, and their hours that they are open vary. Lori


Bringing Baby to London

October 2004

We're planning a trip to London with our then 8-month-old baby. Trying to figure out logistics of getting around with stroller (worth it?), where to eat, how to get a baby used to the new time zone, will I be able to breastfeed in public without offending people (have heard ''no'' but wonder), any London hotspots for changing diapers on the go?, etc. Also, does anyone know if you can push a stroller through the British Museum? Any advice and recommendations welcome!
Baby-Packin' Mama


Some friends brought their baby, younger than 8 months I believe, from Europe to the US, and the kid had no problems with jetlag, as opposed to the parents...

The main way to get around in London is the subway/tube, and some of the stations have plenty of stairs, though mainly escalators. I imagine most, if not all, have elevators, but you'll want to try to plan your tube-trips outside the rush hours! British Museum should be fine; even if there's trouble with elevators the 1st floor has enough to see for many days :) (Bring plenty of water & something to snack on for yourself, too!) Areas like Camden and Brick Lane (highly recommended!) are great for walking.

The Brits are probably not too impressed with public breastfeeding. And diaper-changing should absolutely take place in restrooms - there are plenty of MacDonalds' there to utilize... I've been to London many times, although without baby/stroller, but feel free to e-mail me offlist if you'd like further inputs, if so, tell me what you like/would like to see, and I'll be glad to share :)

(A hot tip is to get a copy of London's Time Out Magazine, either before you go or as soon as you get there, to check out basically everything that happens.) http://www.timeout.com/london/ http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/ Good luck! Kat


Oh boy, you'll have a great time. Yes, take the stroller. Indispensable. British Museum, no problem. You'll all need to get used to the time change, but a couple of days should do it. My recommendation is to stay up as late as you can the day you arrive and then go to sleep when you're too exhausted. The baby you're just going to have to let adjust as s/he can. British Musuem has a wonderful cafe/restaurant in the new central section. TGI Friday's and Hard Rock Cafe are both fun places to eat, although the latter is probably too noisy for the little one.


Did this with an 8-month-old about 3 years ago. DO take your stroller - London is famously walkable and it's good to have the baby inthe stroller rather than toting him around. Added plus, the first couple days when baby is adjusting to the time change he can just fall asleep while you are walking around or visiting museums or whatever. I don't recall having any problems bringing the strollers into museums but you should check their websites before you leave to make sure - some museums in the US don't allow strollers. Jet lag was much harder for the adults than for the baby but it does mess up their schedule for a while. Caveat: make sure your stroller is lightweight. You WILL be carrying it up and down the stairs at the tube stations. Sometimes a LOT of stairs. We got pretty good at doing a 2-person carry of the stroller but the heavier the stroller, the more painful this will be! Our MacLaren umbrella has survived almost 4 years of many plane trips - highly recommended. Ginger


hi! , i brought my son to london at 8 months and again at 2 years. Yes, bring a stroller. it's great at the airports, museums, streets, naps.... and it will go right into those big cabs without breaking down! BUT stollers are impossible in the tube which has lots of stairs, so i recomend bringing another carrying option, sling maybe so you can fold up the stroller to carry on the stairs. (obviously this is easier with 2 adults, but possible alone). at the airports you can bring the stroller right up to the airplane and then they will take it from you to put in the lugguge hold and have it ready for you as you get off the plane. Yes, nurse in public nurse on the plane while ascending and decending to help your babies ears. nurse in the museums, in the streets, in the parks. with the jet lag and new environs nursing is to important a feeding and comfort tool to consider compromissing. i nursed in public in london, florence, rome, and CAIRO....

jet lag is a pain. i always find that we'll be up for some part of the night ... like 1am till 4am.... for a week. be ready with snacks and toys. it's nice if you staying where you can turn on the lights and not worry about waking anyone.then plan a nap in the afternoon. it's a great city. have fun. Kristin


Hi there - go ahead and breastfeed in public when in London. I'm from England and I breastfeed whenever I'm back visiting the folks. Just be discreet the way you are here and no one will bother you at all.

As for catching up on the jetlag just be prepared to take your time, our kiddies have gotten through the time difference in their own time, sometimes waking up a little more at night, sleeping more in the day but after a couple of days it all balances out.

Getting around with a stroller in London; the Tube system is pretty old, and deep underground, not many elevators around (as far as I remember) so take a light umberella stroller to get up and down those escalators. Go ahead and have a great trip, London is full of life and a lot of fun!! Cathy


We took our 3-year-old to London, and I think taking an 8-month- old would be easier. Also we went in January, so it was cold. You will have problems using a stroller. There are not many ramps, and the Tube is a nightmare with a stroller. I carried my little guy and his stroller up so many stairs, it was unbelievable. If the baby likes something like the Baby Bjorn, you should bring that; it will be much more manageable. As for breastfeeding, I don't know what it will be like in London, but I breastfed my baby all over Florence recently and didn't get a single negative reaction, that I noticed. It could be quite different in Britain, but I say do it anyway. Getting meals might be a problem for you. Many pubs don't admit children, and they are very smokey. There are a few ''family pubs'' in London that have rooms specifically for families with children and they are ''smoke-free'', however, they are difficult to find.

Have fun. I love London and can't wait to take my two boys back there...when they are much older and can appreciate the history. Susan


London with a baby is a lot of fun. Museums are free and child friendly. But if you haven't done it already - get used to carrying baby in any kind of baby carrier/bjorn/wrap/backpack or sling. Why? Most of the Underground stations, built in the Victorian era, aren't fully equipped with escalators or elevators, so if you are out with the stroller, you'll be carrying it up and down lots of steps. The buses are crowded so it's hard to get a stroller on a bus. And it's easier to walk on the streets with baby in a sling. But the stroller might be good for short walks or the airport. London lover


We took our 2 boys to London last December. I can't give you advice about diaper changes, but I can about getting around, since our younger one was 3 at the time and we brought the stroller. We bought transit passes that were good for both the Tube and buses and if you can buy them ahead of time (go to visitlondon.com). It's a great deal, too.

That being said, it is NOT easy to get around London with a stroller. Remember, London is an old city. Most of the Tube stations are old and don't have lifts (elevators). An 8-month old is easier to lift up and down stairs, of course, but you should be prepared. And, people are generally really nice and may offer to help you. Once you're on the platform, it's easy just to push the stroller on to the train. If you are going around with your partner, you'll have an easier time. The newer buses are easy to get on and off of, but the double decker ones can be trickier. We resorted to cabs more often than we would have liked, but the drivers were always patient as we collapsed the strollers and helpful.

We did go to the British Museum. You didn't say what time of year you're going, but in late December, it was so crowded and difficult to wheel a stroller through. It wasn't the most relaxing trip in the world, but I am really happy we went. Hope this helps. Mollie


Take the baby to London! We've taken our 1st son twice to London to see my family - at 6 months and 18 months. England in general is VERY child friendly. As for the stroller, the British practically invited it. We took our McClaren stroller every where, and due to the time change our son slept while we hit all our favorite museums and restaurants. When you arrive at Heathrow with a child, airport officials at customs put you into a special express line for people with children. The taxi's are large enough to accomodate a stroller too. The only thing we had to do was carry the stroller and our child down the stairs at some of the tube stations. Overall, London is very baby/child friendly. Loves London


This isn't really about London specifically, but I just returned 2 days ago from Germany, Austria, France, and the Czech Republic with my 10 month old. We decided to bring a backpack rather than a stroller since that's what she prefers at home-- no regrets. There are more opinions about that in the archives. I had no problems with breastfeeding in public anywhere. About eating, I recommend baby-friendly fast food chains like McDonald's-- they are everywhere, provide good high chairs, bathrooms with changing tables, and a bit of noise from your little one won't bother anybody. Alternatively, picnicking works if the weather is good.

When I was last in London (pre-baby), I found good, fresh deli-type take-out for picnics in Marks & Spencer food departments, and at a deli chain called Pret-a-Manger, though there are lots of other possibilities. As far as feeding the baby, we pretty much regressed temporarily to exclusive breastfeeding for convenience, though it helped to always have a few Cheerios on hand to keep her occupied while the adults were eating. Hope you have a great trip! Evette


London with a stroller can be hard - you're forever on and off buses or up and down stairs in the Underground. However, it is done by locals all the time. Just pace yourselves and bring an easily collapsible stroller. You might already know about the weekly guide - Time Out - http:// www.timeout.com/london/ for more ideas and suggestions on baby- friendly dining options, things to do, etc. If I recall, the Natural History Museum had a great child exploration center on the lower floor - things just for babies and toddlers to play in and with.

Yes, you can bring a stroller to the British Museum, and every other museum as well. Breastfeeding - like anywhere - just be tactfully discreet. You may even find breastfeeding rooms or comfy ''Ladies Lounges'' in hotels or department stores, which usually happen to be near enough to most of the tourist sights.

If you're going soon, it'll be cold and wet, so remember to get a rain cover for your stroller and probably even one of those ''sleeping bag'' type things they sell in colder climes that slip over the end to keep your baby's feet warm (the UK baby shop Mothercare calls them ''cosytoes''). Have a great time! Ellen


We took our baby to London last summer when he was 4 months old, and it was a great time to do it. I would strongly recommend a baby backpack rather than a stroller because most of the Tube stops have many stairs (no ADA rules there!). We had taken both a stroller and a backpack and abandoned the stroller after 1 experience with those Tube steps. Also a heck of a lot easier on crowded buses. We also found that the Brits were absolutely FASCINATED with the baby backpack concept -- they just don't have them there -- and it was therefore a natural conversation starter with locals.

I don't know if you can take strollers in the British Museum, but I know that you can take baby backpacks in. I never had any problems or bad vibes breastfeeding anywhere in public (including on a bench in the British Museum and on the steps in front of St. Paul's Cathedral). One nice thing about England is that, unlike in the US, you can take your baby with you into the pubs if you and your husband want to have a pint of ale or a meal. The downside is the amount of cigarette smoke, but it's simply unavoidable and our baby hasn't seemed to have suffered any effects from it. Again, the baby was a great conversation starter and we met many locals that way.

As far as getting used to the time change, I admit that it did take a few days, but it was tolerable. Have fun! Katy


We went to London to visit my husband's family when my daughter was a baby and had a great time! We actually didn't take a stroller because she was happier travelling in the backpack and we found it easier...however, London is full of babes in strollers, I think it would be fine if you prefer a stroller. We did actually go to the British Museum...we had a backpack, but there were plenty of strollers there. Breastfeeding in public is certainly not as common as it is here...but its not completely unheard of. In most public places they actually have these really cool babycare rooms (can't remember exactly what the term is)...think ladies lounge in Norstroms...with couches, changing tables, sinks, etc, that are really convenient for feeding & changing. In an emergency situation, if you are discrete, you can breastfeed in a shopping center.

I found, regarding the time change, it was best to just bite the bullet and get onto local time as quickly as possible. My daughter woke up in the night for a few nights, but proved to be remarkably adaptable. And she went back to her old schedule almost immediately when she returned. Have a great trip! mom of UK baby


We took our daughter last Xmas to london(she was about 15 months) but we were staying with relatives. I think our daughter did great with the time zone but she had a tendency to wake up at midnight and stay up for about an hour. But she was so much fun when she did. She was keeping to her regular sleep times though. A stroller is a must I think and the larger the better. with the weather and all it is a must. Strollers are everywhere in london. Take the rain cover for the stroller. I don't remember the stroller issue at the museums because we did use a backpack for her as well which was not a problem there. Good luck and have fun. Suzanne


London B - parent + 14-year-old

January 2003

I'll be in London with my 14 years old in March for a few days and I wonder if anyone could recommend a clean, affordable (up to $150 per night)B or hotel (with private bath) in a nice location. Thanks.


We stayed in a place called ''Chequers'' in Kensington two years ago with our then-13 year old. Nice little apartments with in-wall kitchenette and private baths. We slept in the bedroom and our teen had the fold-out sofa in the living room. Walk to Goucester tube station and Whitrose grocery store, the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert and Harrod's! The rate was reasonable for us, especially since it was part of a package deal thru Virgin Atlantic Airlines. Becky


My teenage daughter and I have stayed at the Cavendish ( http://www.hotelcavendish.com/ ) and at the Fielding ( http://www.the-fielding-hotel.co.uk/ ) in London. The Cavendish is very funky, no private bath, no working tv, but is very pleasant: quiet, lovely garden, nice people, good breakfast. Cheap and a block from the British Museum. Popular with college kids from the continent, which seemed very cool to my daughter. Ask for a large room with a view of the garden. The Fielding has the best location imaginable (for me, at least), right in the heart of Covent Garden, though my daughter thinks Bloomsbury and Camden Town are much more interesting. For its location it's very affordable, with private bath, but not very charming. Its clientele is mostly theatre people, for obvious reasons, and children aren't entirely welcomed. We're careful to be on our best behavior. No breakfast, no view, but most of London's theatre and bookstores are within five blocks of the hotel. ~Randall


Scott and Jeanne Mills run great Trips Unlimited out of Portland, Oregon, and handle a number of flats in London (and elsewhere). I think some of them may be available for short term stays like you plan. We had a fantastic 2-BR flat in the heart of Chelsea for a week last summer. I've used other brokers in the past, and dealing with Jeanne & Scott was a breeze. Helps that they're in same time zone and handle all the communications with the London end. Can even arrange for airport pickup & delivery, which we found a lot nicer than hopping on the tube at the end of that long plane ride. Their web site is http://www.gtunlimited.com/ and I highly, highly recommend them. Norm


London

From: Wendy

I can't give specific recommendations because my children are much younger, although a boat ride along the Thames to Greenwich would probably satisfy all of you. I would suggest that you look into the White Card (family and individual cards available). This gets you into a number of museums for one price. You buy it at the first museum that honors it and it's good for a full week. (I think there are also 3-day cards available too.) Anyway, check out your guidebooks for this deal.

Also, if you go the public transportation route, be sure to look into the various passes available. For some, you need a passport size picture, which you can pay for at a machine at some tube stations, but it may be more convenient to get the pictures here before you go.


From: Laurel

It has been almost ten years since I was in London, but I do remember that the theaters sell half-price tickets the day of the show. They go on sale at noon, I think. However, I don't remember the name of the square where the sales are. We bought tickets to see Bent with Ian MacClellan and Paul Rhys, and our seats were in the Orchestra, 6th row center -- for half price (I think 6 pounds each). I highly recommend going this route. I assume you can call any theater in London and ask where the half-price tickets go on sale, or you can ask your hotel concierge. Good luck, and have fun,


From: Angela

To the woman asking for recommendations for a trip to London and Wales: London tends to tempt adults into visiting museums non-stop, but the British Museum is definitely fun for all ages, especially the archaeology section (the Rosetta stone, the huge Egyptian artifacts etc). To make the typical 15 year-old happy, go to Camden market. It's a HUGE market in an old factory area featuring lots of antiques, interesting second hand and flea market stuff, but also high quality ethnic art and all kinds of curiosities (I forgot on which weekdays it is - ask when you arrive in London).

Practically every 11 year-old is delighted if you let him/her figure out how to use the tube system and how to get from one place to another. It's vast compared to BART and is the fastest way to get around, and fun to use.

If you get to Wales and you and your kids are into books, go to Hey-on-Wye (spelling?). It's a small village in which one out of three houses is a second hand book store, worth a visit if you like that kind of treasure hunt. Nearby Black Mountains are a great hiking area, with remains of medieval churches and monasteries along the trails.


London with a two-year-old

2001

Does anyone have any recommendations for activities a 2 year old might enjoy in London? Are there restaurants in central London which are particularly toddler friendly? I am particularly interested in indoor suggestions, as it will undoubtledly rain much of our stay. Thank you.


I have been going to London every year with my daughter since she was 10 months old. The outings she enjoyed most at 2 were: The little farm in Battersea park (just across the Chelsea Bridge). Just a five minute bus ride from Sloane Square. This place is geared for small kids with the cleanest petting animals you have ever seen. Also little merry go round and pony rides. You can easily spend a morning or afternoon there. There is also a great playground there for tots.(not expensive! actually very cheap by London standards). For kid friendly restaurants there are many along the King's road (again not far from Sloane square). If you go to Harrods you may want to try Planet Harrods a restaurant surrounded by TVs that show cartoons. Food is simple but very good. They provide luxurious high chairs, bibs and all kinds of baby food. Let me just warn you it is on the fourth floor in the middle of the amazing toy section!! Not a coincidence, I am sure. Pizza on the Park at Hyde Park Corner is good as well, but a little fancier. All the local libraries have kid time (you don't have to live there to join in a session or two). The Natural History museum is great as well. Try late in the afternoon if you are just going to stay for a little while. (No entrance fee). This might be a little overwhelming, so you may want to show your 2 year old just a small section of it...but it certainly could keep the family entertained for days!! Check out TimeOut for plays and puppet shows for kids. We went to see a puppet show on a barge in little Venice. It was fabulous. Old fashioned puppets performed the three little pigs. The whole setting was magical. You might try to check this out before you go since kid performances tend to sell out quickly and you may want to book in advance. Good luck. Ariane


Just having returned from London with a 1 year old, I can point out a few spots. The Science and Technology Museum across from the V is terrific (Kensington area); lots of hands-on and interactive exhibits that appealed to my daughter (the steam engine was a particular favorite). The British Museum (Russell Square area) was another hit; lots of Egyptian, Greek and Roman statues to. Be forewarned: not all restaurants are kid friendly and the Tube can be a nightmare with a stroller. There are not very many lifts (elevators) to the actual platform so you are left carting child and stroller up and down numerous flights of stairs. (Fortunately, Londoners never failed to assist me when I was by myself, and what a pleasant surprise that was!) Museum cafeterias were surprsingly good. Garfinkles is an American-style chain that worked out pretty well and we ate lots of Indian take-away. Alexandra


A simple but nice afternoon: On Hampstead Heath, the south side, (next to the adventure playground) - ie use the Constantine road entrance. There is something called the '1 o'clock club', where every afternoon from about 1 to 3 pm toddlers play together in sand etc while mothers can sit and chat. It's in a fenced in area, so safe, and perhaps a good way to meet people on a sunny afternoon. And it's free. The Heath itself is good to run around on; people fly kites at the top of the hill. Kenwood House, at the North side of the Heath, has a big grassy slope looking over ponds, again good for running around, and in the house itself is a popular tea room where you can get tea and cakes, or ice cream. Very popular with my children when we lived in London! Janice


The Princess Diana Memorial Playground, in Green Park (I think), is a truly exceptional playground, featuring a large pirate ship, an area of strange devices that make sounds, amongst much more. It's free, but only a certain number of people are let in at a time, and on busy days queues have been known to form. It kept out two-year old very happy for hours. C.


My suggestion would be park at Kensington Palace. There's a great big children's playground where nannies take their kids. There's a toddler area and another area for older children. Karina


There's a chain of pseudo-American restaurants called Garfunkels which are very toddler-friendly -- the one we went to provided a splendid kids' fun pack with crayons, colouring book etc. The food isn't bad: pizza, spaghetti, salad bar etc. For activities, all I can think of offhand are non-rainy-day things like feeding the ducks in Regent's Park, going to the Zoo, or going for a boat trip down the Thames. We enjoyed that and so did our (then) toddler. Indoors, you and your toddler might enjoy the dinosaurs and other impressive creatures in the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Hannah


London Hotels & Rentals

Nov 2015

Hi, try the QBIC Hotel in west London, near the Whitechapel stop. It has a sister in Amsterdam. It is really trendy, organic, great mattresses, rainfall shower, free espresso machines all over. We stayed there for a week last March. Near pubs, a market for morning rolls, cafes, etc. Safe neighborhood. cocosar


August 2001

My husband and I need to travel to London the third week of Sept. for an interview. We both need to be there and will be taking our two year old daughter. I am six months pregnant as well, and a bit overwhelmed about the logistics. Can you recommend an inexpensive place to stay but most importantly, advise us on how to set up childcare arrangements in advance? We will need one afternoon and one evening of care. Or, does anyone know of someone coming from London from the 22-29th of Sept. to the Bay Area who needs a place to stay? We could trade houses. Any help would be greatly appreciated. gia


We just came back from London with our three year old son. We stayed at The Cranley at 10-12 Bina Gardens, South Kensington, London. They were very reasonably priced for London and we used their childcare for three nights. The childcare was provided by staff and was very good. Our son was well taken care of. The staff are very helpful and friendly. This is a small quiet hotel that is welcoming to families. The e-mail address is lorycaprioli [at] mail.com and their web site is www.thecranley.co.uk Susan


We have stayed in the Travel Inn near Euston Station -- very ugly and modern, but large and centrally located with rooms large enough for a crib or extra child's bed; rooms cost in the order of $80-100, which is very cheap for central London. (The nearby Ibis Hotel which is part of a large French chain costs about the same but is extremely unwelcoming to children and the rooms are tiny.) I don't know about childcare but I have heard of a service called something like Universal Aunts which friends have spoken very well of. Hannah


There are some good hotel bargains listed on LondonTown.com Virgin Airlines also recently ran a kids fly free promo, and do package vacations which includes accomodation in small apartments. I would also check timeout.com/london - London's weekly magazine that lists almost everything you need to know about staying in London. These are several agencies that rent houses and flats:

  gowithIT.co.uk  euracom.co.uk  homefromhome.co.uk  gonative.co.uk  aplacelikehomelondon.co.uk  citadines.co.uk  

Almost all of the above sources can assist in finding safe and secure childcare as well (in particular, www.timeout.com/london/kids/taking_a_break.html and babysitter.co.uk) Have a great time! Stacey


If London is part of your plans I highly recommend renting an apartment for one or two weeks-you have full kitchen livingroom etc and this cuts down on food expenses plus gives you space and time to get over jet lag (your kids will be up at 2 am, at 4am etc wanting something to eat etc. and its nice to know you aren't disturbing anyone else and you can set your own schedule). Its also way cheaper than a hotel in London (one of the most expensive cities for accomodations).( FYI:Do NOT BOOK thru Europa-let as the woman is unreliable and never refunded our security deposit despite a call from our lawyer). Guide books have apt rental agency listings-if you can work directly though someone in london you save the commission.

Cristina