Kim Gardner and her family have fun
discovering the rich history and culture
right red double-decker buses
stream down the city streets busily
making their way up and down, past
The Shard, The Cheesegrater and
The Walkie-Talkie, stopping to pick
up and drop off people about their daily
business. The buses are a sure sign that we
have arrived in London and the excitement
grows as we begin to explore this historical and
Our base is the Hilton London Metropole,
situated in the heart of London and perfectly
positioned across the road from the Edgware
Road tube station. The superior rooms at this
hotel are some of the largest double bed
rooms in London, making it perfect for families.
🔥Hot Tip: Kids under 11 travel free on London transport with an adult holding a valid Oyster Card.
History Comes to Life
Itís our first morning in London and looking out
onto the city from our room, we see itís a clear
winterís day. Today Iíve enlisted the help of a
guide from ToursByLocals for a private day
discovery of Londonís highlights, including
Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace
(and Changing of the Guard), St Jamesís
Park, Big Ben, Tower of London, St Paulís
Cathedral and a cruise on the River Thames.
Meeting us at the hotel, our guide gives us a
run down on how to best use the tube and
those iconic red double-decker buses. On our
way we wander through the fairytale gardens of
St Jamesís Park and the kids run free in the
green open space. Continuing on with the tour
our sons are seemingly glued to the guideís
side for the entire day as she shares stories
from the past and leads us through London,
opening it up to us like a pop-up history book.
The highlight of the tour is exploring the historic
Tower of London, and entering the dark steel
vault to see the sparkling rainbow as the lights
dance upon the priceless Crown Jewels.
Our London time travel into the past
continues for the next few days as we make our
way around some of Londonís world-class
museums; with no entry fee we can come and
go as we please. The British Museum is a
treasure trove of history for the kids as we learn
about the old armour, weapons and tombs with
mummies. At the Natural History Museum we
roam with dinosaurs and experience what itís
like to feel the ground shake in the earthquake
simulator room. The kids enjoy every moment,
soaking up all the historical knowledge without
The (Kids') Dream
Meeting the Queen in London was high on our
list, but so was having a selfie with Captain
America or joining in on a battle between Darth
Vader and Luke Skywalker. Madame
Tussauds is one of London's best attractions,
with the life-like wax figures of the Royal Family,
celebrities and the Star Wars experience,
where we immerse ourselves in different parts
of the galaxy. After all that celebrity spotting we
work up an appetite for a sweet treat so we
head to the nearest Underground station and
take the tube to M&M's World.
The tube in London is easy to use and the
most convenient way to travel around the city.
Zooming smoothly through the subterranean
tunnels we arrive at Leicester Square Station
for a short walk to four floors of candy heaven
at M&M's World. The smell of chocolate is in
the air as we navigate our way through the
store to the wall of chocolate, selecting from
100 different colours and flavours of M&M's.
Walking off those sweets we head to Hamleys,
the oldest and largest toy store in the world.
The store is seven floors of toy paradise where
the staff love to dazzle the kids with magic
tricks and light sabre battles. We head straight
up to the World of LEGO level where we discover life-size LEGO sculptures, including
the Queen and the Royal Family.
“London Opens up to us like a pop-up history book”
London on a Plate
London is a city of cultural diversity.
Throughout our stay we try to fit as much
culture on our plate as possible. We enjoy the
delicious English tradition of afternoon tea at
The Wolseley, which serves hot chocolate for
the kids and the best scones in town, and the
Childrenís Afternoon Tea at Sketch London,
which includes a take-home teddy bear. We
also eat our way through the oldest fruit and
vegetable market in London, Borough Market,
feasting on its colour, tradition and fresh food.
Our family foodie highlight of the trip was
eating our way around the East End with
Eating London Tours, stopping at eight
different locations for tastings. Along the way
we discover some of Londonís best-kept foodie
secrets, hear fascinating stories and
experience a diverse culture through mouthwatering
cuisine. We think this is the best way
to see and taste the real London.
Qantas offers weekly flights from all major Australian cities.
This article appeared in volume 52 of Holidays with Kids magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.