If you are in London during the summer vacation, you really should be prepared for some serious picnic time. Aside from the free museums (yes – just about all the major museums in Britain a free of charge) London is amazing because in the middle of all that hustle and bustle are the Royal Parks. Our favorite was Hyde Park and Kensington Palace Gardens because they are so expansive, have the Serpentine River and you can hire out a row boat and grab ice-creams once you’ve earned your break.London travel guide during the summer vacation, you really should be prepared for some serious picnic time with the family.
London Travel Guide – Where to Start and What Not to Miss in Hyde Park or Kensington Palace Gardens
London Travel Guide to visit The Diana Memorial Fountain
This is no ordinary fountain and on a hot day (yes, apparently they do get hot days in London) families and couples take off their shoes and socks, paddle about and freshen up here. The fountain is beautifully situated by the lake and was opened in 2004. If you want, you can then take the ferry across the lake to where the boats and cafe are.
The Serpentine Gallery
OK, you can miss out on this if you and the little ones aren’t big contemporary art fans (even if it costs nothing to go in) but what you should definitely go for is the annual pavilion, which is a different enormous structure each year just outside the gallery. It’s really fun to explore and take pictures.
London Travel Guide to visit The Albert Memorial
This is directly opposite the Royal Albert Hall and is a spectacular altar commissioned by Queen Victoria to commemorate her husband, Prince Albert, who died in 1861 and left the Queen grief-stricken and broken-hearted for the rest of her life. Big, gold and completely overblown, the boys loved clambering all over it before we headed back into the park.
If you happen to be staying in a London vacation apartment in Kensington, Chelsea or nearby, you’ll be right on the doorstep of three of the major London museums. You HAVE to visit the Science Museum – it is really interactive and amazing for children (and us grownups). And you HAVE to visit the Natural History Museum, which has a fantastic dinosaur exhibition among many other favorites.
But the other museum which you should really get to is just around the corner in the West End (this is the nightlife zone of central London), between Tottenham Court Road and Holborn on the Central Line of the Underground. The British Museum sets the imagination alight and we all LOVED the exhibitions devoted to Ancient Egypt – lots of mummies and the Rosetta Stone!
One final great thing to do in London with the family is to get down to the River Thames. This is really quick from a vacation apartment anywhere in central London, but if you go from Trafalgar Square, you can walk down in about 20 minutes, and take in Nelson’s Column, the Cenotaph, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament along the way. The major attraction here is Big Ben – the clock tower is magnificent in the flesh and you’ll just keep on staring at it as you continue your walk along the river. I highly recommend you cross over the bridge and walk the South Bank. But you may wish to go straight to Charing Cross Station. From there you can take a river ferry tour – you’ll get a great history of London, take in tons of the architecture, and you can jump ship at the Tower of London – the 900-year-old castle is a day out all in itself.