London is a popular destination for families – and for good reason. Although a few days does not offer enough time to experience all the highlights, even a quick break to the British capital can provide children with a fascinating introduction to the history, art and parks of this kid-friendly city. Having just spent a week there with my family (my husband Gordon, Lizzie/20 yrs old and Anna/16 yrs old ) it was a great to return and experience new activities.
Every trip has a highlight, and ours was being part of the exclusive Order of the Garter at Windsor Castle. Thanks to my wonderful ON SITE in London, NOTEWORTHY, we were able to secure prime seats at this annual Royal Event where we actually saw the Queen. NOTEWORTHY has access to the most sought after tickets and events in England and this event made our trip. http://www.noteworthy.co.uk/about-us/
Typical wet London weather succumbed to days of sunshine during our stay and we took full advantage of one of the best things about London– the PARKS. In fact London has more green space than any other major city on earth! You truly are never far from a park! We enjoyed walks in Hyde Park, Kensington Park and strolls through St James Park.
London has such a wealth of sights and activities that it can overwhelm even the most seasoned of travelers. The best way to get your bearing is to go with one of our amazing private guides who can offer a quick introduction to the city’s icons located in central London: Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey which was our families favorite. Also as an introduction to the city it does not get much better than getting FAST TRACK tickets on the London Eye! Positioned on the bank of the river Thames, you will get a sense of the scale of the city as well as a peek into the gardens of Downing Street. We then took a quick jaunt on the Thames Clipper and a privately guided tour of the Tower of London with my favorite guide, Rose!! It was a great welcome!
After those introductory tours, we immersed ourselves in the corners of London that most suited our interests. We hit the local favorites like Borough Market and Spitalfields, enjoyed an interior design tour for Lizzie’s love of architecture at the Geffyre Museum and Design Museum, procured a private tour of Sir John Soane Museum, and for a further thrill we climbed to the top of the tower of St Paul’s Cathedral!
We were lucky enough to stay at two of my favorite hotels in London, The Haymarket which is part of Firmdale Hotels and the Berkeley which is part of the Maybourne Hotel Group. Just as each neighborhood has distinct personalities and attributes so does each hotel throughout the city.
The Haymarket , located in the theatre district, is quaint and charming with a sexy, subterranean pool and relaxing spa. It has very attentive and friendly staff and clients who book through me get to enjoy a complementary opulent breakfast in their restaurant, Brumus. The Haymarket is a great place for theatre lovers who want hip digs in the West End neighborhood or for those that want to just stay somewhere COOL!
The Berkeley, located in Knightsbridge and steps from Hyde Park, is a more discreet, elegant hotel preferred by families and couples who like great service without a lot of fuss. The very popular Blue Bar is a common meeting point for celebs and fashionistas who flock to drink cocktails and vintage champagne. The rooftop pool is a huge bonus for those who want year -round swimming. It is also perfectly located for those who have shopping on their mind as Harrods and other well-known stores are less than a 10 minute walk from the hotel.
I managed to sneak away for some hotel site inspections at other Virtuoso hotels and local favorites. The Milestone (for the more traditional) , Corinthia (to die for spa), Ham Yard (WOW! and newest Firmdale hotel), Connaught (for the old school client), Rosewood (a nice change of pace) and Covent Garden Hotel (for those who want shopping and dining in Soho area and a favorite Firmdale property) offer a sampling for a variety of tastes.
Do you remember the day when London was known for just fish and chips? Today, some of the most talented chefs and well known restaurants populate London. The options are endless and took us from the Michelin Star, Amaya (Indian cuisine) down to the best local dinner for breakfast ( Regency Cafe) with even a fun splurge on my 14 GBP (Great Britain Pound) ice cream sundae at Harrods ice cream bar–worth every calorie and penny! The hottest seat in town right now is the Chiltern Firehouse, a place where celebs hang out and hard to get reservations. The best seats are at the open kitchen area though this spot may be better for couples than kids. It is definitely worth a try!
Depending on your taste, budget and curiosity, London is sure to have a suitable match. I cannot wait to help plan your next trip to this British capital. Give me a call and let me help with insider tips that will make your experience a new and exciting even if this is an old stomping ground.