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8 Things to Do If You re Touring London With Children

Don’t be fooled – a trip with children is never like one without them. Those long walks to discover Shoreditch’s designer stores, the night-time gin tonic in a new, stylish bar in Dalston or endless mornings spent trying out vintage spectacles in Spitalfields will morph into such activities as throwing breadcrumbs to our friends the ducks. Following is a rundown of the things we can do if destiny takes us to London in the company of our household nippers.

Lunch at La Roma Bella

Just opposite the British Museum, an essential visit if our children are minors – and even if they aren’t, what the heck – stands this restaurant, defined as “the most family friendly place in London”. Here, the kids can enjoy a dish of tasty, wholesome pasta, while the staff amuse them and give them paper and crayonsto draw, to later hang up the results on the restaurant’s main wall. Their prices are moderate, a break from the somewhat exorbitant prices in town.

A Visit to the Zoo

Reaching the Zoo can end up being like a desert crossing if you happen to start off outside the city centre. Distances in London are enormous, but the effort is worth your while, as it is the oldest zoo in the world after Vienna’s, dating from 1828. They have an incredible reptile section and species which the whole family will probably be seeing for the first time, as well as lots of spots to relax. We recommend approaching the zoo by crossing beautiful Regent’s Park, one of our favourite London parks for children – apart from the fact that there is always something going on there, it has a big lake with various species of friendly ducks which, for your kids, will really make their day. As if that weren’t enough, there is also a huge playground and a lovely restaurant with a pleasant terrace.

An Incursion into Europe’s Largest Toy Store

In Piccadilly, where the lights, the festive atmosphere and the multi-coloured shop windows make this an attraction in itself for young and old alike, be sure to stop off at Hamley’s, an amazing department store dedicated solely to toys, where the most variegated product presentations seem to be happening all the time. You won’t leave empty-handed and are likely to spend more time in the shop than you bargained for, but the look on your children’s faces will be priceless.

The House of Sherlock Holmes

You don’t need to know anything about Sherlock Holmes to have a great time in the house of this aloof, intelligent investigator with the odd addiction. At 11 Baker Streett here is the perfect mock-up of what is supposed to be the home of the most famous detective in the history of fiction. The children will be aghast at the sheer number of objects on display in there.

An Afternoon in the London Transport Museum

This museum, located in Covent Garden, features a collection of over 80 vehicles which youngsters are allowed to climb into and play around in as much as they want, in addition to numerous interactive devices distributed throughout the depot.

Lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s Union Street Café

This restaurant is not exclusively for children, but a very pleasant spot for the whole family to enjoy the cuisine of one of the United Kingdom’s celebrity chefs (with the permission of Jamie Oliver and Lorraine Pascale). It is sited in the pleasant district of Southwark, once a working-class area, which is gaining momentum as a hipster venue of late. It is near the Tate Gallery (another museum which is ideal for families, as they lay on numerous activities for children), so it is ideal for having lunch before visiting the museum. The menu features carefully prepared Italian cuisine which caters to all tastes.

Cereal Killer

After lunch at Ramsay’s and a visit to the Tate, a good option would be to head for this café in Brick Lane, run by two hipster brothers who serve only breakfast cereals, with various types of milk and toppings. There you will discover more kinds of cereal than you could imagine, including limited editions, which children will delight in. They will feel very much at home in the midst of the sweet paradise that unfolds before their eyes, apart from rubbing shoulders with customers in this modish locale.


Text and photos by Laura Conde of Gastronomistas.com


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