With the arrival of the “Royal Baby,” all eyes are on Kate and William’s firstborn child, George – and their home town, London. ShermansTravel.com, a leading online publisher of hand-picked deals and money saving advice, has put together their top tips for visiting the British capital with a baby or toddler.
Things to Do
· London’s plentiful green spaces provide ample room for kids’ playtime, picnicking, kite-flying, and squirrel and duck spotting. Some of our favorites are Hampstead Heathin the north of the city, and the central Regent’s and Hyde Parks. In Hyde Park, you will find lots of kids (and a few adults) splashing around in the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. Immediately west of Hyde Park are the Kensington Gardens, the site of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, which was inspired by Peter Pan and features a full-scale wooden pirate ship, teepes, play sculptures, and a sensory trail created specifically for children with special needs.
· Further playtime awaits at the small and charming Battersea Park Children’s Zoo, where sandpits, spider nets, trampolines, and a fire engine will compete for your child’s attention with cute, not-too-big-or-scary-looking animals such as meerkats, donkeys, squirrel monkeys, and capuchins.
· You may think that young children would find the British Museum, frankly, booooring; but do not underestimate the spell that a roomful of Egyptian mummies can cast over younger visitors. The museum has also created a commendably family friendly visitors’ experience, with art materials (crayons and pads) and activity backpacks available to borrow; picnic areas, baby changing and feeding rooms, and high-chairs and kids’ menus in its cafés and restaurant.
· If you have the spare funds, you might prefer to stick to traveling by black cabs, which take you exactly where you want to go and are usually roomy enough to accommodate baby strollers.
· If you are watching your budget, you can get to most places via the “tube,” but it is not always the most family friendly mode of transit. Some stations lack elevators or even escalators, and “Mind the Gap” is not just a quaint British-ism announced over loudspeakers for the benefit of tourists: there really is a significant gap between the train and platform edge at many stations, proving hazardous to strollers and small children.
· Get a copy of Transport for London’s Step-Free Tube Guide, which highlights all the stations with elevator or escalator access from the street, as well as information about the size of the gap between platform and train.
· Another, slower, option is to take the bus, which requires a little more planning allows you to see sights that you would otherwise miss underground. Buses usually designate space for strollers at the front of the bus, although they tend to get crowded during rush hours.
Where to Eat
· Many of London’s higher-end restaurants are openly hostile to accommodating very young children. A notable exception is Tamarind in Mayfair, which was one of the first Indian restaurants to win a Michelin star and welcomes children under five until 7 p.m. Tamarind’s basement location does make stroller accessibility difficult, however.
· Giraffe, with its kids’ menu, stacks of high-chairs, ample stroller parking, and accommodating environment, is a classic standby for local families and has numerous venues across the city.
· Set on a 32-acre farm in East London, Mudchute Kitchen offers organic and locally sourced produce, as well as stroller space, baby changing facilities, highchairs, toys, and a rocking horse. After eating you can take a walk and visit the sheep, donkeys, and pigs of one of Europe’s biggest city farms.
· A handy resource for women traveling around London with babies is the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme, which offers a list of businesses that are accommodating to breastfeeding mothers.
ShermansTravel Media, LLC is a leading online publisher of travel deals and expert-led destination advice. The company publishes its popular Top 25 Travel Deals Newsletter every Wednesday, and offers hand-picked deals, travel guides, money-saving destination advice, and other online travel resources at ShermansTravel.com.