5 Ways to See Royal London with Kids
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As an ex-Londoner living in New York and writing about the wonders of Britain I’ve got to thinking about what I would do if I wanted to take my English-born kids with their American accents on a wild regal ride of the great city of London.
Her majesty Queen Elizabeth II turns 90 next week (April 21). What better time than for us to share the top royal sites to see with kids in and around London.
Home to young royals Kate and William and their cute kids. Nestled in Kensington gardens, which has plenty of pretty places to roam, the palace has some fabulous things to see. It runs a number of kid activities, storytelling events and scavenger style hunts. This year, visit “Fashion Rules Restyled,” which is a great exhibition exploring the history of the Queen’s and Princess Diana’s fashions and style. It includes some of their most beautiful dresses, which your little princess’s will love.
(#familiesgofact: this writer’s kids were born in same hospital as Charlotte and George.)
2. The Tower of London
Home to the crown jewels and the scene of many a dastardly tale of ancient kings and queens. Older kids will salivate over its history and younger ones will love the elaborately uniformed Beefeaters who guard the tower. There are plenty of trails and activities for kids too. Providing entertainment and intrigue, it’s one of the UK’s top tourist attractions for good reason.
It’s a quick train ride from central London and a giant leap into history. See Henry VIII’s former palace come alive with court jesters, a Tudor kitchen, costumed tours and activity trails. You can get a family ticket and explore everything including a garden maze. The website has a great guide to spending 1, 2 or 3 hours at this amazing location that is genuinely one of my favorite places to visit in London.
I can’t leave it off as it’s impressive in every way, but really it’s the changing of the guard experience that thrills the kids. There is something about the pomp and splendor that has all of the watchers straightening their backs and standing to attention. It can get very busy, though, so be prepared to put little ones on your shoulders. And after, take a walk in St James park and down to Horse Guards parade too (you might know them from Madeline in London).
Best of all if you need only enjoy the palace from the outside then it’s free! However if you do want to go in, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open every summer and there are some cool kids activities like a giant jigsaw puzzle and dress-up opportunities.
Though not technically in London, it’s an easy train ride out of Paddington station (give yourself extra time at the station to check out the Paddington bear statue and shop).
Windsor is amazing. You can see and explore the castle and expend some energy in the amazing Windsor great park too. It’s steeped in history and the kids’ trails help you find things around the famous royal home aided by a life-size version of one of the Queen’s famous corgi dogs. What could be more perfect than a photo with one of these larger-than-life pups?
A Note on Transportation: You can get to London easily on most major carriers. And it’s well worth checking out budget airline Norwegian, which flies into London Gatwick. There is easy public transport to get to central London from both Heathrow and Gatwick and of course you can use the tube (the London Underground) to get around town.
Happy birthday Your Majesty!
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