My earliest memories of a family trip to London are of squishing into a black cab with my Grandparents, marvelling at the fold down chairs and snuggling next to my Grandma staring up at the huge buildings together. I remember feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square, shrieking with amusement when one landed on my head and my Grandad joking he would catch one for me so I could have a homing pigeon, just like he did.
In my teens my mum would regularly take me and a couple of friends to London for the day for birthdays and her itineraries were always legendary.
When my Dad turned 60 he decided he wanted to do a family trip to London with extended family, ending with a slap up Vietnamese meal. We took the Tate Boat between Tate Britain and Tate Modern, his favourite galleries.
Having always visited London I had no qualms about studying and eventually working there for 5 years. I have fond memories and love sharing them with my kids. A whole new layer of memories comes from visiting the places I enjoyed as a child, with my kids.
Juggling multigenerational groups in a big city isn’t easy though, I know my parents were squished in the middle, making sure it worked for everyone, we relied on cabs when we were small and grandparents came too, but now it is much easier to hire a mini bus for larger groups. I’ve included walking distances, but to see more sights, avoid fatigue and the headaches of moving lots of people you might want to consider chartering a mini bus. Go Go Tours specialise in mini bus and coach hire in London and will help you put together an itinerary, either shuttle running your party between a couple of key locations, or staying with you for the entire day.
Here are some of my favourite places to explore as a multigenerational group on a family trip to London:
I could easily spend a few hours along the traffic free South Bank, eating, drinking, enjoying Tate Modern and watching the world sail by and admiring the architecture from the river. For a truly iconic way to see London and the perfect start to a big family celebration ride the London Eye. You’ll immediately feel like you’ve conquered London. Group discounts are offered at the London Eye for groups of 10 or more. We love the Gourmet Pizza Co which is a 10 minute stroll from the London Eye in colourful Gabriel’s Wharf. Another 10 minutes stroll and you are at Tate Modern where the Millennium Bridge gives you another incredible view into the city, and of St Pauls Cathedral. Or start at Tate Modern and make your way down towards Big Ben.
Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Number 10 to Trafalgar Square
You’ll see Big Ben from the London Eye, but if you want to take a closer look, whisk everyone over to the other side of the road to take in these iconic sights. Enjoy the wander along Whitehall, past the Houses of Parliament and Number 10, to Trafalgar Square, it’s about a 20 minute walk which also takes in the Horse Guards. It’s a brilliant introduction to London’s political past and present and to Britain’s royal traditions too.
London’s Royal Parks
Build in some time to let off steam in London’s royal parks. I have such fond memories of boating on the serpentine In Hyde Park. Seeing Speaker’s Corner is also a must, there is also Diana’s memorial playground which is Peter Pan themed, Kensington Palace and the Serpentine Art Gallery. We often used to head to Hard Rock Cafe on Hyde Park corner nearby for tea. We loved hopping across to Green Park and St James Park with our kids a couple of years ago, to see Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guard. Whichever park you pick, in good weather hiring a deckchair and having an ice cream is compulsory.
We had an amazing time in Covent Garden for L’s 11th birthday, taking in the street theatre, shopping and watching the world go by, it is a truly lovely place for a potter with some more unusual shops and craft stalls. The transport museum is here too, great for little ones. Covent Garden is a great place to wind down your day as it’s also not to far to wander over to Chinatown, a great place for a family meal L and I loved Plum Valley recently, and you’re well placed for an evening in London Theatre Land.
If you are looking for places to have a good old family giggle or something to get everyone talking why not add Madame Tussards or for older kids and resilient grandparents, the London Dungeon? I still remember being in awe of Nelson Mandela’s wax work with my Mum, so it’s not all about the pop stars.
When I think back to our bigger family trips to London, our own minibus would have made it even more incredible. No trying to herd everyone on the tube, someone else taking the stress of travel plans, lots of giggling on the bus, and a chance to see more of London from the window.
Do share your ideas for a multi generational family trip to London in the comments!
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Collaborative post, all ideas and opinions remain my own.