London is one of the world’s most interesting cities and just happens to be one of my favourite family destinations. As English author Samuel Johnson famously said, “If a man is tired of London, then he is tired of life“. Visitors can return again and again and find that they have only scratched the surface of what London has to offer.
On a first trip to London with children you will definitely have to visit the city’s famous landmarks. Many of these can be described as “touristy” but I honestly don’t think that label matters when traveling with children. Often it is those “touristy” spots that the children have heard of and they want to see what all the fuss is about for themselves. They also know that when they return from their holiday that everyone is going to ask them “so did you see Big Ben?” and they want to be able to answer “yeah, and it was so cool”. Even for parents who have seen the landmarks before, it can be thrilling to see them for the first time through your child’s eyes.
So even though we have family living in London and we know the city quite well, we took the ZigZag City Guide with us. Created specifically for the youngest generation of jet-setters, the guide is intended to make their adventures as memorable and educational as possible, well beyond takeoff and landing.
Honestly, young travelers won’t miss a beat with a map of the city, thirty city cards filled with fun facts and activities, and a box to hold them in. They’ll learn local history, reflect on what they experience, draw what they see, and take a quiz about London, just to keep them on their toes. Two postcards are included so children can illustrate something they’ve seen or learned on the trip and mail them to friends and family.
ZigZag City Guides are available directly from ZigZag City Guides here, who are happy to ship internationally.
The fun already started on the tube.
Since its opening in 2000, The London Eye has become the most popular paid-for attraction in the United Kingdom and visitors eagerly join the sometimes lengthy queue for the opportunity to ride the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel. If by chance the children haven’t heard of it before arriving in London, they will be clamouring to ride it as soon as they get their first glimpse. It’s best to arrive first thing in the morning before the queues get too long and a clear day is better for enjoying the breathtaking views across the city and beyond. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the children understand ahead of time that this wheel moves very slowly! Tickets may also be purchased online ahead of time which will cut down the wait considerably.
The Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace is one of the most popular attractions in London. Visitors start getting into position up to an hour prior to the ceremony in order to have a good view of the colourful ceremony which takes place daily at 11:30am from April to July and on alternate days from August to April.
Trafalgar Square is the heart of London and everyone who visits London ends up there sooner or later – sometimes more than once.
Where to go next!?
(Stay tuned for more London love)