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Family holidays in one of the world’s most visited cities are unforgettable experiences for even the youngest kids.
They can also be surprisingly affordable or exceptionally luxurious depending on where you choose to say and how much advantage you take of the many free things to see and do all over the UK capital.
London’s museums and galleries are some of the most popular attractions in Europe and you can go visit dozens without paying anything. From the fantastic Royal Parks to pretty gardens, riverside walks and even legendary cemeteries, there’s acre upon acre of green space to explore.
You can get about the city by train, bus, tube and boat with affordable family travel cards. And there are more safe, easy and fun places to cycle popping up all the time. Or you could just walk about, admire the sights and watch the people because nowhere is more mesmerising to look at than London.
London is Europe’s largest city and the second most visited in the world.
Several of England’s most popular attractions are here including the British Museum, Tower of London and Tate Britain.
The city has eight Royal Parks including Hyde Park in the city centre, immense Richmond Park and Bushy Park on the edge of Hampton Court Palace.
London Underground is a design masterpiece, easy to understand and has stations within walking distance of almost everywhere in the city.
Whether you want to stay at The Ritz, a heritage house in Kew or a riverside apartment on the Thames, there’s family accommodation of every sort in and around London.
The world’s oldest toyshop, Hamleys is on Regent Street.
The city’s Leadenhall Market stood in for the young wizard’s shopping mall, Diagon Alley, in several Harry Potter movies.
The heart of London and the city’s wealthiest ‘square mile’, this is where the Ancient Romans founded Londinium and the capital rebuilt after the 17th century Great Fire. Busy with business all week long, the City’s much less hectic at the weekends and good for sightseeing St. Paul’s Cathedral, Leadenhall Market, the Gherkin and The Monument (climb to the top for a spectacular view).
From Westminster Abbey to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, don’t miss grand Westminster, even on a flying visit. If you are short on time, take a moment to stare at the Parliament buildings, admire the impressive clock tower and then walk up the Mall to Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Park. The Changing of the Guards is usually between 11am and noon on weekdays.
Leafy Bloomsbury is where you’ll find the British Museum, some of London’s prettiest garden squares and a sea of Blue Plaques in memory of its many celebrated former residents – including Charles Dickens.
Novello, Drury Lane, Lyceum and the Royal Opera House are just a few of the theatre names in Covent Garden. But you don’t need tickets to enjoy performance all over this characterful part of London – watching the crowds is a day’s entertainment in itself.
Best known for its late August Carnival, movie appearances and celebrity residents, Notting Hill is just as shiny and exciting in reality as it is on screen.
More sedate than some of the city centre, Pimlico isn’t dull. Tate Britain is here and you can stare over Vauxhall Bridge at the MI6 Headquarters – a must for mini James Bond fans.
Even if you stay elsewhere in London you have to be in South Kensington at least once to see the magnificent Natural History Museum or the Science Museum – or both.
Always let someone else do the driving in London. The underground takes you almost everywhere and trains, buses, boats and taxis are there as back-up.