I have to start with the fact that London is absolutely beautiful and so full of history. From modern districts to cobblestone streets and the beauty of the countryside accessible by a short car ride, this trip was honestly one of the most magical trips our family has ever taken.
We stayed at the Grosvenor House in Mayfair, London. We couldn’t have picked a better hub for our tip. This hotel is the perfect combination of modern flair and style, giving us all the amenities and looks that we expect in a five-star hotel along with the charm and friendliness that I assumed we’d find in England. After a day of exploration, this hotel was a joy to come back to and relax for the evening.
London Tower Bridge
We didn’t waste any time exploring London from the minute we touched down in Heathrow. Our first day there, a rainy one might I add, we visited London Tower Bridge, a marvel of London architecture. This gorgeous bridge, known for its two massive towers, was an impressive sight to see up close. This massive bridge towered above us, and the tour was incredibly informative.
We also explored Notting Hill. I loved the movie, and I knew I had to see this area of London. It turns out the entire family loved it! This vibrant, trendy area is full of casual cafes, pubs, a bustling market (hello vintage finds!), and a wonderful blend of both relaxed and fine dining. I seriously would move into one of these pink houses in a second.
If you’re a foodie, then you have to stop by Borough Market on your London family vacation. This wholesale and retail market hall is in Southwark, London and is one of the biggest and oldest markets in the city. It dates back to at least the 12th century! And the food choices are just beyond!
For my birthday dinner, we went to Jean-Georges at The Connaught. The Connaught is my most fav hotel in London, but definitely stay here without the kids. Our dinner was infused with style, energy and charm, it’s ideal for relaxed, everyday dining – from divine breakfasts to late night dinners. It is as beautiful as its food was delicious. Beloved British and Connaught classics stand alongside South-east Asian flavours, crafted from fresh-from-the-market ingredients and farm-to-table produce. The kids had their most favorite fish & chips of the entire here btw.
The next day we set out to Hyde Park. This beautiful green space offers beautiful views, lots of trees, and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. This beautiful water feature was designed to commemorate the life and spirit of one of England’s most beloved figures. It was absolutely beautiful, and we learned that it was designed to express Diana’s spirit and love of children.
No London family vacation would be complete without visiting The Albert Memorial, so that’s exactly what we did on our trip. You’ll find it north of the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington Gardens. It was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband, Prince Albert, after his death in 1861. This massive structure is iconic in both its size and its classic English design.
Kensington Palace is almost as well known as Buckingham Palace for a reason. It’s gorgeous. Although still the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, tours are available. This massive palace features gorgeous English gardens, recreations of Queen Victoria’s childhood rooms, the King’s and Queen’s State Apartments, and more. I highly recommend booking a tour if you’re in London.
Have Tea at Sketch
If you’re in London, you have to experience high tea, and we did at Sketch. This kitschy, boho spot combines modern art and classic London hospitality in equal measure. The atmosphere is vibrant and so inviting, and their tea and snacks are delicious. This was Siella’s most favorite last time we were in London, so we had to go back. I agreed immediately because I wanted everyone to experience it. It turns out, the day we were there was the last day the room will be pink! They’ve now changed the art, chairs, decor to all yellow hues! I’m sure its still fabulous, but bye bye pink!
On Jason’s must-do and see list this trip was to visit a pub. And that we did, several of them actually. One of our favorites was Churchill Arms located in Notting Hill.
Mayfair is such a great area in London, we were fortunate enough stay in this area. This London district borders Hyde Park, and it’s full of elegant Georgian townhouses, high-end hotels, gourmet restaurants, and world-famous retailers. You’ll find bespoke tailors on Savile Row, designer fashions on Bond Street, and Burlington Arcade and Shepherd Market, both of which are full of amazing offerings for shopping lovers like me.
Even if you’re not a huge shopper, you have to visit Harrods of London. This world-renowned luxury department store showcases why it’s so famous around every corner and in every shop. Trust me, you’ve never seen a department store like Harrods. You can practically feel the luxury when you walk through this store! Its the absolute best!!
Our last full day in London, before heading off to the Cotswolds, we make sure not to miss the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. People who have never experienced it may snicker at the big, black fuzzy hats the guards wear, but you can see on their faces how seriously they take their duty and what an honor it is. What many people don’t know is that the changing of the guard involves more than the guards just changing places. There’s an accompanying ceremony with marching and bands, as well. Its truly an entire production and so fascinating to watch!
You must see Big Ben in person if you’re taking a London family vacation. Did you know that Big Ben is actually not the clock itself, but rather the nickname for the Great Bell of the striking clock? This clock tower is one of the most immediately recognizable spots in all of London, and it is breathtaking to behold in person. as you can see its currently under renovation, but its definitely come a long way since Siella and I were in town. We can now actually see the clock!
Our London family vacation was something we won’t soon forget. Every twist and turn you take in the city offers more amazing things to discover. The arts, history, iconic spots, and pure fun are everywhere, and they’re all waiting to welcome visitors with open arms. Off to the Cotswolds, oh and Windsor Castle….stay tuned!
For more of our travels visit here!