This past weekend we travelled down about three hours to London to explore some places inspired by Instagram as well as rated attractions in central London for children.
We had about 24 hours in London to explore and get the most out of our trip. To make sure we had a stress free start we decided to travel via National Express on a coach, which made the driving less of a hassle. We purchased a booster chair and packed plenty of snacks for the trip down. National Express is the largest operator of scheduled coach services in the UK to over 900 destinations. We also love that National Express operates coach services direct to terminals for all major UK airports…so when we do travel aboard coach travel is always a very easy option for us. The coaches come with leather seats, air conditioning and the most useful FREE WIFI and a free entertainment app you can use onboard to stream top shows and movies! Which makes entertaining kids during the ride a lot easier!
Because this was a press trip sponsored by National Express we teamed up to make the adventure as action-packed for our two-year-old, but also enjoyable for mum and dad.
So without further or due I have complied a list of some EPIC places to check out if you find yourself in the city for the day or wanting to incorporate child-friendly actives into your city venture.
If you find yourself with the limited time you can still entertain the kids! Check out these two top attractions in Westminster!
We loved the Sea Life Centre, and as Weston is currently obsessed with Finding Nemo and Dory we often make a trip to our local Sea Life in Great Yarmouth. The London Sea Life is on another level. With what feels like an endless arrangement of interactive stations for children, special activities throughout the year and an awe-inspiring displace of marine life. Our family favourite, of course, was the shark, penguins and special walk-through exhibits that showcase Nemo and Dory look-alike fish. The most impressive area was the Polar/Antarctic animal display that uses high tech screens to show mirror yourself with a huge whale along with a real-life snow display. London’s Sea Life centre is much more impressive and a longer stay to enjoy each section will take you a minimum of two hours.
Close to the Sea Life is Shrek’s Adventure, and if you have children who have seen the films will enjoy this walk-though action role-play with actors and quest to complete as a group. Shrek’s Adventure was a great addition to our day if you plan on spending time in Westminster near Big Ben (just cross the bridge and you’re there). Our favourite part of Shrek’s Adventure was the 4D London bus ride hosted by Donkey and featured some of Dreamworks movies including ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ and ‘ Kung Fu Panda’. After the adventure, there is a walk-through room with interactive games from these movies with photo area and a general ‘arcade’ like feel to the area. Afterwards, you exit and have an opportunity to finally meet Shrek himself and get your photo taken with him.
We did end up staying by Tower Bridge next to the Shard. I had been researching restaurants for kids in the area…and there are a few…but nothing as memorable as when I found The Ting Lounge in Shangri-La Hotel located in the Shard itself. While I was worried we may intrude on someones special dinner with our two years old who can be unpredictable at a time, we still wanted the WOW views of the city, didn’t want to spend a bunch of money for a dinner but still make it a memorable experience. The Shangri-La Hotel is a high-end hotel, however, their Ting Lounge is very affordable for the views and food they offer. I love Asian cuisine and would take that any day over a big steak. Happy with our choice I booked our table and was very impressed when we arrived. Not sure if the establishment would have a children’s menu, but I was pleasantly surprised. On the children’s menu, they offered everything from mac and cheese to the curry. I was very impressed with the feta and melon starter salad, which I ordered for myself.
We ended up ordering spending around £100 for starters, mains and drinks. Not bad at all considering we watched the sunset over London in very conformable chairs and lounging in an area we didn’t feel rushed to give to the next person. Ting Lounge also has more formal dining area…but we felt a great way to ease our minds and let Weston run around for a bit was to choose to sit in the lounge.
So, if your looking for a more special experience without the hefty price tag definitely check out the Ting Lounge, which I found child-friendly and a very nice experience.
While we didn’t stay at The Shangri-La Hotel a very great option for families is the Hilton Tower Bridge. Which is close and still offers a five-star view of the shard. We can’t fault our stay. We arrived around 4 pm after enjoying the actives in Westminster and was greeted by an arrangement of impressive desserts available to the guest.
We stayed in an executive suite and had a fabulous view of The Shard from our window, which we enjoyed with a cup of coffee from the in-room Nespresso machine. The suite hosted a large bath (which we took full advantage of) along with impressive room for our luggage and buggy.
When we checked out the rest of the hotel, we found a rooftop lounge, Hilton Honours club (we are members) and even a really fun ball pit, which the kind owner let us have a jump in!
In the morning we had a delish breakfast, in what I would call my perfect morning surroundings. I was a big fan of the dim lighting, coffee shop feel instead of the over luminescent lounges most hotels host their breakfast.
Staying at the Hilton Tower Bridge is a great option if your a fan of getting away from the hustle of the city centre but want to stay close to the action. It was quiet at night, which made our stay very enjoyable and the area felt a lot less polluted with noise at night compared to most London area hotels.
While this list is just some of my recommendations there are so much more you can check out in London that is fun for adults and also kid-friendly: I found some great resources here for you if you plan on staying longer! (Affiliated)
This was a PR trip: Travel, accommodation and entertainment provided by National Express.