We made it! After a long overnight flight to England, we were all so excited when we finally arrived in London. I was not prepared for the additional hour of waiting in customs, but most planes arrive early in the morning, so it’s the busiest time for customs.
We then hopped into an Uber and headed to the Nadler Hotel in Kensington. They were so accommodating and already had our room ready. Kensington was a great area, very clean and safe. We were just a few blocks away from the tube, market, and restaurants. We were all exhausted from the long overnight flight and probably could have gone to sleep at 1pm but, after getting settled in our room, we decided to push through and head out for dinner.
What to Eat in London
What other kind of food do you go for on your first night in London other than fish and chips? Is there any other kind? (We say no!) We found a little local spot that was convenient and quickly made friends with the owner. This is in fact where Ella’s new love for chips with salt and vinegar began. After eating we all went to sleep pretty early.
What to Do in London
The next morning, we headed out to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. I’ll be honest here. Unless you’re there early and right up front, it’s almost pointless for the kids and shorter people. Yes, I’m glad we went, but the kids could not see at all. So, we ended up leaving and decided to come back another day.
By this point the kids were hungry, so we headed over to the Borough Market for lunch. This is the central food spot for any foodie, one of the oldest food markets in London and a foodie’s dream. Here you can get anything from bread and cheeses to just about any type of authentic cuisine—and don’t forget the pastries.
Outside of the Borough Market, you can walk up to find the London Bridge. Many people, by the way, probably confuse the Tower Bridge with the London Bridge. The London Bridge is nothing fancy but is still something neat to see and, of course, the kids sang the song all the way across.
One of the items on the top of the kids’ list was riding a double decker bus. I think they could have done this all day long–with snacks, of course. I highly recommend riding one if you can, as it’s a cheap and entertaining way for kids to see London.
On our way back, we went to the London Eye, another item that was on the top of the kids’ list of things to do. I recommend buying your tickets online, and you can even buy them on your phone on the way to the attraction. It really is a neat way to see an above-the-ground view of London. It takes about 30 minutes and was one of the highlights for the kids.
After the Eye of London, we stopped by Harrods to check something off of my list! Harrods is one of the oldest and largest luxury department stores in London. The food hall is amazing and worth seeing, all by itself. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything or, like me, can’t afford most items, it’s still a pretty unbelievable place to see.
The next morning, we set out for brunch at The Wolsey. This is, by far. one of our favorite breakfast finds and even the kids enjoyed it. They loved the hot chocolate and French toast while we devoured the eggs benedict.
The Wolsey is not far from Buckingham Palace, so we walked back over and were lucky enough to take an indoor tour. (If you visit during September, sometimes the Queen is away, and you can tour the inside. It was really a treat.) They offered a family guided audio tour that was perfect for the kids and, at the end of the tour, they had an area where the kids could play. (Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed.) After the kids were finished, we grabbed a quick snack at the café before touring the gardens. How often can you say you had tea and scones at Buckingham Palace?
Our next stop was to tour the Royal Mews. Our daughter Ella loves horses, so this was her favorite because you can see all the royal horses and carriages. It’s pretty amazing to see the detail work involved in each of the carriages, and they also show photos by many of the carriages that indicate when particular carriage was used for an important event. For the kids, the Royal Mews was a pretty big highlight.
That evening we went to a local Indian restaurant that had been recommended. I’m not the biggest fan of this kind of food, but we were told that London was known for good Indian food that dates back to the tea trade days with India. So, if you want to try this cuisine, go to Dishoom for the most amazing food ever. We loved the prawns and chicken, and even our picky son said it was his favorite food.
On our last full day, we went to the Tower of London, truly something fun for the kids and adults alike to see. We opted for the audio-guided tour and walked around for about two hours, then had lunch in the café there—and, surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad. They also had interactive skits set up around the grounds that were entertaining for the kids. With our family’s love for jewels, we really loved seeing the Queen’s Royal Jewels, a truly amazing collection.
After spending our morning at the Tower, we walked over to the Tower Bridge for a quick photo and then headed to afternoon tea.
You really can’t go to London without going to afternoon tea. We were overwhelmed with options for tea time but chose the Willy Wonka Tea because of the theme. The kids didn’t really care for the sandwiches, but the dessert made it special. It was fun for the kids and I’m glad we did it. I’m not sure, if we returned, that we’d do this again—and, if you go with your children, know that you’re probably really just paying for the dessert.
There are so many more things to see and do in London and we could have spent a week there. So, we’ll look forward to going back! After our London trip, we headed to Amsterdam—and I’ll blog about that trip, too.