London with kids: a perfect weekend and an “epic” hotel!

What to do and where to stay in London with kids:

“It’s really nice here, even though it’s a bit posh.”

nice  adjective, nic·er, nic·est. 1. pleasing; agreeable; delightful: a nice visit. In other words, kids like it.

posh adjective. sumptuously furnished or appointed; luxurious. A posh place. In other words, adults like it.

You couldn’t really get a better recommendation for a family friendly hotel.

Happy kids + happy parent = great weekend.

We’re just back from a very cool weekend in London with the kids. Before the children were born, we spent a lot of time in the capital, wining and dining, visiting the sights and soaking up the atmosphere of the fabulous city. We’ve often wanted to share the London experience with the children, and we’ve had a few day trips, but we’ve never really spent time as a family doing the tourist thing. We were always held back by the big question. How do you really do London with kids?

I don’t know what we were worried about. The kids relished the city, walked further than we could have hoped, and we saw London through a different set of eyes! Here’s a plan for an overnighter in London with the kids:

Day 1:

  1. Arrive at your family-friendly hotel. Take 10 minutes to relax while the kids pounce on their welcome packs, devour a plate of biscuits, and try on their dressing-gowns.

"Cavendish hotel London"

2. Take a walk from your hotel to a cool attraction. In our case, the walk from the Cavendish Hotel in Jermyn Street, to Madame Tussaud’s was just manageable for our 8 and 6 year olds. Detour via Bond Street and visit the weird and wonderful Victoria’s Secret, where your daughter will be fascinated and appalled, in equal measure, by the jewelled frillies masquerading as underwear. Your son will have no idea where he is.

3. Spend a happy hour or two posing with your favourite celebrities at Tussaud’s:

"London with kids - Madame Tussaud's"

A word of advice, children under 1.2 metres are best not going to Madame Tussaud’s on a busy day. People tend not to notice them. Take it from the Bug, who was heard to loudly exclaim:

“Mum! I just got handbagged and bottomed by that man!”

4. Take a trip in a proper London cab, and save your feet the walk back to St. James. If you’re lucky you”ll get a proper London cabbie, who will tell you anecdotes about the city – did you know that Nelson looks down the Mall because he’s watching over all the ships you can find on every lamp-post?

"London taxi cab"

5. Return for a drink in the Cavendish bar, before donning your best frock for dinner in the Petrichor restaurant. (GG wears her most recent – and coolest – outfit from River Island Girls). You can eat any time from 5.30, which makes this a great dining option for young families, or for a pre-theatre dinner.

"London with kids - Petrichor restaurant at the Cavendish London"6.  Order from a gorgeous menu – we had Scallops and Duck Salad, followed by a delicious Pork Belly. Our waiter was happy to recommend a sensibly-priced wine, which went really well with our food. He also quickly heard and used the Bug’s name, and waited for him to overcome his shyness for the time it took him to make his own order. Not having heard GG’s name mentioned, he simply called her Princess. This went down well.

"children's menu at the Cavendish hotel in London"

Responses to my tweeting this menu came quickly:

“Good value!”
“Wow never seen steak on a kids menu!”
“How refreshing to see real food offered to children. Just as it should be.”

The kids chose rib-eye steak, were offered their choice of vegetables, and additional chips were no problem. The food came quickly and was good. My children are good eaters, so they were done by the time our main courses arrived. “Uh-oh,” we wondered – did we need to go back to the room for the Fruit-based electrical entertainment? But before we could leave our chairs our waiter arrived with activity packs to keep them busy. Actually Daddy was soon engrossed in a Spot the Difference…

"kids activity pack"If I had one criticism, it would be that the children’s dessert menu was limited. Ice-cream and fruit are fine for younger children, but GG would have liked to see a chocolate brownie or a sundae. Even a meringue goes down well with us. As it was, the Bug took a fancy to the adult’s cheese board, and our waiter was happy to go through cheeses with him to put together a child’s equivalent. He’s now a firm fan of Brie!

"Kids cheese-board"The restaurant wasn’t busy when we were there, but it was early on a Saturday evening. It suited us, because we’re always conscious of the fact that some guests don’t want to be bothered with the natural chatter of a young family, but we needn’t have worried. Here is what our waiter thought of our behaviour:

"service questionnaire"

Now, a waiter who takes the time to fill out a form about his guests deserves an accolade of his own, doesn’t he?

"great waiters"Finally, retire to your room, dive into the expansive bed, and fall asleep in front of a movie:

BedtimeDay 2:

"Nespresso coffee pods"

  1. Surface to the aroma of the proper coffee Nespresso machine working it’s caffeinated (or decaf) magic on the senses. Search everywhere for the milk, until your daughter  follows the instructions and finds it for you.
  2. After a lavish breakfast hop in a taxi down to the Southbank and take a trip on the London Eye. It pays to get there early, as the queues start to grow later in the morning. The ticket includes a 4d cinema experience which the kids enjoyed.

"London with kids: London Eye"3. Stroll at leisure through Westminster and St. James’s park, admiring the pelicans, until you arrive at the Mall. If you time it right you’ll catch the end of the Changing of the Guard ceremony. We followed the guard and their band up Marlborough road where we watch them salute and fall out. Only in London…

"London with kids: changing of the guard London Mall"

4. After a quick gander at the food hall in Fortnum and Mason, collect your car from the Cavendish car-park, and head home. Who knew London with kids was so easy? So easy that the Bug felt compelled to exercise his writing hand:

"the Bug"
I love mum and dad than you fore being a blogger mum

Disclosure: we were guests at the Cavendish hotel. Our room charge and meals were complimentary.

35 thoughts on “London with kids: a perfect weekend and an “epic” hotel!”

  1. Looks like you had a wonderful time in the Capital!! The hotel looks lovely and I’m intrigued as to what scores my children would be awarded by a waiter… Thinking we need a trip to London 🙂

    • I was impressed that they weren’t at all judgemental about the kids, and actually that made them rise to the expectation I think

  2. Oh I want to do that weekend..all of it! The Cavendish Hotel looks fabulous. Thanks so much for linking up to the Pin It Party! Have pinned and followed 🙂

    • I can’t believe how many people I’m not following! I am now, and I’ve repinned your fruity smoothie recipes 🙂

  3. Looks absolutely fabulous! I love the sumptuous bed and the fact that you get Nespresso coffee – how fab! Shame we couldn’t all get a ‘complimentary’ night here on 21st June hey?! 😉

  4. Oops forgot to mention that I’m popping over from the pin it party and will be repinning! My ID is 🙂

  5. Sounds like a great stay. Hotels are getting so clued in to the fact that parents would like their children to have attention paid to their needs and not just told to sit down, have a fish finger and shut up. Your waiter sounds like he actually remembers what it’s like to be a kid.

  6. Oh my goodness, his thank you note has got tears running down my cheeks. Looks like the Cavendish is where you and your family made some very precious memories and that is priceless x

  7. one word EPIC! Gosh it does sound easy when you put it this way! I now need a special invite to the Cavendish 🙂

  8. Oh you are getting into this travel blogger thing. Looks like you had an amazing time.
    Pinning from the pin party

  9. I loved reading this, looks like loads of fun and what a great idea to get the staff to rate your kids, really like your thinking! We left London when I was pregnant, mine are 4 and 6 now, but this makes me I think I could manage a weekend when they are 5 and 7, or the same age as yours!

  10. Really enjoyed reading this, and lovely to see you at Blogcamp! What a great idea to get them to rate your children, I love your thinking 😉 We left London when I was pregnant, can imagine going back and doing a full on tourist weekend like this with mine in a year or so! So important to have a great base, you can do anything then!

  11. I feel so lucky that I live in London and am raising my kids here, there’s so much to do and see. This has just reminded me of other things to add to our list of places to go/see, thanks! So glad you had such a lovely time.

  12. Looks like you had a fabulous time. This post helps remind me how lucky we are to live in London and have so much on our doorstep, even though I dream of having a massive rambling house in the country instead of our bijou house in Hackney!!!

  13. Hi! I love that the waiter filled in your form and actually mentioned how welcome kids are there, so sweet! And I want to stay in a hotel with a coffee machine in the room! x

    I’m here from the pinning party 🙂

  14. 1. Your kids are gorgeous, Helen.
    2. Cute River Island outfit on GG!
    3. LOVE that you got the waiter to fill out a form.
    4. The hotel looks AMAZING.


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