When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. – Samuel Johnson.
Notice that Samuel Johnson did not say anything about kids or parents. Whatever has brought you and your family to London, it can be an exciting, vibrant, bustling city filled with opportunity at every turn. It can also be absolutely exhausting, crammed with tourists, and a bit overwhelming.
If you find yourself and your little imps in need a bit of a slower paced day to recharge your batteries, I propose a visit to Harrod’s department store and the surrounding area. Harrod’s may be synonymous with expensive luxury goods in your mind, and this will be reinforced as you weave past the likes of Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Versace inside the entrances, but they also carry items priced to compete with any other department store.
Taking your kids shopping at a store most well-known for luxury goods may not seem like your idea of a good time, but apart from the fact that it is a venerable London landmark, here is why you should consider it.
The Toy Kingdom
There are lots of toys set out, ready to play with and talented entertainers demonstrating wares, doing magic tricks, and engaging children. On weekends there are story times, crafts, educational experiences, and hands-on activities to keep the little ones busy. You will have no problem passing a couple hours here without even noticing the time fly by. They carry anything your kids may be interested in and the prices are competitive with other shops.
By this point in your holiday someone may need some more socks or an extra pair of knickers. As I mentioned above, you will be able to find these sorts of essentials you may be in need of, at prices to fit just about any budget. It is a little more interesting than going to your average H&M, even if shopping is not your thing. If you still think that pair of socks you need is too expensive, H&M is only a few doors down.
The Food Hall
After 2-3 hours of kiddie time and picking up a few staples for the remainder of you holiday, hit the incredible food halls. If you have a sweet tooth the chocolates and confectionary room can seem like the Wonka factory. Starting at about £5, the baguette sandwiches are a great deal and made with high quality produce for similar to what you would pay for a sandwich of much lower quality elsewhere. I challenge you to find a better lunch for £5 per person around one of London’s tourist districts.
The Surrounding Vicinity
Depending on your level of ambition for the remainder of the day you can take your sandwiches and walk under ten minutes and find yourself in Hyde Park with sprawling green space and playgrounds to burn off some more energy. Or, if you have recharged enough, you can walk about ten minutes down Brompton Road you will find the family friendly (and free) Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, and Science Museum to fill the remainder of your day in London.
I have received nothing from Harrod’s for this, nor is it meant for promotional purposes, it is only an idea that has worked for my family.
Wishing everyone has enjoyable and safe travels.
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