If you have children and love travelling, London is the perfect destination for 2019. In just 3.30h by train or around 40 minutes by plane, you can land in one of the best european cities to visit with kids.
Here you have a recap of my family trip to London with some useful tips and ideas to enjoy a long weekend with babies, toddlers and kids.
Family trip to London
There are three transportation options to go from Amsterdam to London:
- Plane. Fast (just 40 min), cheap (you can find nice rates flying with Easyjet) and easy. Nevertheless, this option has some disadvantages when you travel with small kids, like having to pay extra for luggage, distant from the airport to the centre and the fact that planes don’t offer freedom of movement to the little ones.
- Car. This can be a good option for long holidays and road trips lovers, but driving 7 hours is not the best idea to spend just a weekend in the city.
- Train. Since we were travelling with a lively toddler, the train seemed to be the best means of transport for us: Plenty of room for moving around and the possibility of carrying as many suitcases as we wanted. Take into account that you have to change train in Brussels when going from Amsterdam to London.
My family and friends stayed in 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms Airbnb apartment near St. Pancras International Station. Getting off the train and just walking 10 minutes to the apartment was just a blessing, especially when you are travelling with a stroller and big luggage. Although it wasn’t cheap (1000€ 3 nights), the location couldn’t be better.
What to see
My husband and me have been several times in London, but it was the first time we were going with our son (13 months old). In this trip we skipped most of the famous landmarks and went for attractions that our kid could enjoy: playgrounds, museums, toy shops… All these attractions are suitable for toddlers and kids.
We took Amsterdam Central-Brussels train at 11.45h. (there are platforms lifts available). Thalys was a super comfortable train, with good seat and luggage room. The Changing room was also quite big and clean, and it included a seat in case you wanted to breastfeed.
Unfortunately, a delay on this train (it was expected to arrive at Brussels at 14.08) forced us to run like crazy to catch our connection to London. After going through passport control we barely caught it! I don’t know if it was because of this setback, but the Eurostar train seemed to me uncomfortable compared to the Thalys. We booked 4 seats around a (quite small) table, and that helped us to keep our little one distracted. Eurostar also offered baby changing rooms.
We arrived at St. Pancras Int. at 16.05h. Walking around the station with luggage and a stroller was quite easy because there was many elevators and escalators. After picking up the Airbnb apartment keys and buying some take away for dinner, we settled in our apartment and called it a day.
We started the day having a real English Breakfast in a cafe close to our apartment (Cafe Oz, 53 Caledonian Rd) and taking the subway to Harrods. I have to admit I was a bit scared about taking the tube with the stroller, but luckily most of the stations have elevators. After buying some sweets and souvenirs in the famous department store, we headed to Hyde Park. There we visited two different playgrounds: Hyde Park Playground, close to Hyde Park Corner, and Diana Memorial Playground, one of the kid’s favourites because of this huge pirate ship. Our son had so much fun playing in there that he needed a two-hour nap to recover! While he slept in his stroller, we went to visit Natural History Museum (very nice museum for older kids) and Science Museum, where you can’t miss The Garden, an interactive space for 3-6 years old kids
In the morning we visited Coram´s Fields, a playground and park where our toddler released a lot of energy in the sandpits, swings, slides, sensory and music area and at the city farm. There is an adventure play area for big kids. Entrance to the facilities is only allowed to people with kids.
At lunch-time, we went to Coven Garden, and we choose one of the many restaurants in this area. After a short stop at Ben’s Cookies, we went to the London Transport Museum. We loved the All Aboard Area, where kids can play, explore and touch. At the gift shop, we bought a lovely book called The London Noisy Tube, one of my son’s favorit since then. There are baby changing facilities at the toilet located next to the cafe. If you have time and want to visit other museums with play areas for kids, here you have two more:
- The Postal Museum, with The Postal Play Space, located at the ground floor and suitable for 8 years old and younger kids. Baby changing and buggy parking.
- Discover Children´s Story Center, for children 0-11 years old to discover the world inside the books.
Our last stop of the day was at the restaurant Golden Union, where we had fish and chips for early dinner.
We spend our last hours in London at one of the most famous areas in town, Picadilly Circus. After visiting the famous square, we went to the Lego Shop, where we had a blast making pictures of us and Lego real size constructions, M&M’s shop and Hamley’s, one of the biggest toy shops in town. Here we could play in a pit filled with blocks and try many different toys. For our last meal, we went to Rainforest
At 15h we came back to our Airbnb apartment to pick up our luggage. If you need it, there is a left- luggage office at St. Pancras Station (Excess Baggage Company). Once we got to the station, we killed the time by visiting Harry Potters Shop at Platform 9 ¾. At 17.30h we took a direct train to Amsterdam, and we arrived at 22.12h.