EASY DAY TRIPS WITHIN LONDON
Kensington and central London have plenty to offer, but you can spend a whole day enjoying family time a little bit further afield. One of the best things about the capital is its transport links, making a day trip to Windsor or Greenwich easy to achieve.
Here are some of the options you might like to pick from during your Royal Garden Hotel stay:
You may have heard of Windsor due to a certain event that happened in the historic town recently, and there is a reason why Harry and Meghan decided to get married in this spot – it is truly beautiful. From exploring Windsor Castle to strolling down the Long Walk and shopping in the local boutiques, you will find lots of activities to entice you.
The oldest and biggest occupied castle in the entire world unveils its 900 years of history to its visitors. Witness the changing of the guard, tour the state apartments and marvel at the royal treasures inside, which include Queen Mary’s dolls’ house.
You can even step inside St George’s Chapel, which hosted the ceremony for the royal wedding. Teach the younger ones about history by seeking out the graves of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, his third wife; and King Charles I.
Greenwich is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, where you will find a diverse range of attractions to entertain the whole family. The Meridian Line marks the exact spot at zero degrees longitude and is the perfect place for an iconic selfie.
The Cutty Sark, among the fastest of the British tea clippers ever to be built, is now moored in Greenwich and is fascinating to explore. Little ones will love the chance to steer the ship and meet the crew, as well as ringing the Cutty Sark’s bell.
Stunning architecture abounds in Greenwich, with the Old Royal Naval College an imposing vision on the skyline. Step inside to see the intricate Painted Hall and marvel at the quality of the craftsmanship. Finally, soar above London in the cable car, as it travels across the river from Greenwich to the Royal Victoria Docks and back again.
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is home to a diverse collection of plants harvested from all corners of the world, including the Arctic and the tropics. Far from being a typical garden, Kew has many features that will delight visitors of all ages.
Explore the canopy, 18 metres above the ground, on the Treetop Walkway; find out more about bees in the multi-sensory The Hive experience, set in a wildflower meadow; and understand the science behind compost from a viewing platform of one of the biggest heaps in Europe. The ultimate highlight of Kew, however, is the Temperate House, a vast Victorian glasshouse, where some 10,000 plants thrive.
Kew is also in the process of creating a new children’s garden, which is set to open to the public in 2019. It will focus on educating a younger audience about the natural world in a spectacular setting.
WARNER BROS STUDIO TOUR
If you have any Harry Potter fans in your family, the Warner Bros Studio Tour is an absolute must, especially if you read the books together. Step into Diagon Alley and the Great Hall as you explore the sets used to bring the boy wizard’s world to life for the films.
See the actual costumes worn by the characters and the props used to tell the magical tales. Everything from the memory vials in Dumbledore’s office to the wands used by the wizards are on display - and you can even try Butterbeer for yourself.
The Making of Harry Potter often has special events scheduled, so be sure to time your visit with one of these. Hogwarts in the Snow, which sees the Great Hall made over for the Yule Ball, is particularly enchanting and opens on 17 November this year.
QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK
London’s 2012 Olympics were a huge success and the legacy for the city is the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. As well as the sports venues that were used for the event and that are now open to the public, there are artworks to discover and parklands where wildlife can often be spotted.
Among the most popular activities in the park are special themed trails to follow. Choose from: London 2012, Art in the Park, Parkland and Wildlife, and Children's Adventures in the Park. This will help to add structure to your day and uncover some of the area’s hidden gems.
Anish Kapoor’s impressive ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture can be ascended for expansive views across London. No doubt the kids will not be able to resist the opportunity to whizz back down the slide that has been added to the structure – and it is great fun for adults too!
Photo credit: jvoisey via iStock