If you have been following along, you’ll know that we are taking it easy in London and just doing a couple things a day. We want to enjoy being in London without running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Because that would be cruel.
Here’s how we spent a couple days seeing lots of sights in London at a leisurely pace.
Changing of the Guard
As Henry said, “It was overcrowded and underwhelming.” I think it would have been more impressive if we could have seen anything other than the heads of the people in front of us. We got there half an hour early during the slow season and still didn’t get great spots.
So, is the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace worth it? Probably. If you only have a day or two, I’d skip it, but if you have more time it might be worth seeing. I’m glad we went; I just wouldn’t go again.
TIP: The Changing of the Guard Ceremony only happens on certain days during the winter season. Check the website for details. Alternate viewing locations and tips for visiting with kids CAN BE FOUND HERE.
We really enjoyed Trafalgar Square and had our lunch there. You can find a Pret a Manger or somewhere else to pick up lunch every ten feet. It’s a great place to let the kids run around and climb on memorials. No, really.
The Tower of London
We got to the Tower of London too late on our first attempt. It takes about an hour and half or longer to really appreciate, so we put it off for another day. On that other day, Finn wasn’t feeling well, so he and I hung out at the hotel and Henry and Anders visited the Tower of London.
To get the most out of your visit buy Tower of London tickets online. They are a little less expensive and save you time at the Tower. Then, check which tours and programs are happening that day. The Yeoman Tours (free) start on the half and whole hour and last 60 minutes. They give you a great overview of the history of the Tower of London. And take note of the Top Things to See and Do at the Tower of London.
The British Museum on London can feel a little overwhelming. There is a lot to see and do. I’d advise going in knowing you won’t see everything. That way you can concentrate on a smaller section and really absorb what you are seeing. There are several tours each day (some free) that will help you narrow your focus or give you a great overview.
WITH KIDS: We grabbed one of the Activity Trails at the Family Desk. This booklet directed us to specific artifacts, gave a little explanation, and asked a question. This helped us concentrate on a few things and put them in context. The British Museum offers many kid and family programs. Like most of the kid activities we do, I got a lot out of this, too.
TIP: There are several cafés throughout the museum. Take a tea or lunch break during your visit to fuel up for the next section.
We weren’t planning on going to London’s Chinatown, but a friend suggested we meet there for lunch. I am so glad. When you turn the corner into pedestrian-only street, the sky is filled with bright red lanterns. It was beautiful. We ate at London Chinatown Restaurant, which was hopping. And yummy. There are over 70 East Asian restaurants, shops, bars, and cafés, so you will easily find something you like.
There is nothing that says “taking it easy in London” more than strolling through a park. One of London’s eight Royal Parks, Hyde Park is over 350 acres, so it’s a big one. There are a lot of famous landmarks in Hyde Park, including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers’ Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. We walked through from one end to the other, just enjoying the sunshine. You could easily spend a day or two just hanging out in the park. There are several cafés, restaurants, and bars to keep your belly filled.
WITH KIDS: Rent a rowing or pedal boat to explore the waters of the Serpentine. Climb, slide, and swing in the Hyde Park Playground. Kensington Gardens is at one end of Hyde Park and home to the Diana Memorial Playground. A limited number of children are allowed in and it’s only open specific hours.
TIP: Learn more about Hyde Park history or natural history with one of the tours or programs. Or take a self-guided walk along the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and it worked out really well. Click the link below and search “Holiday Inn Express London – ExCel.”
See Our Whole Easy Going London Tour
- London Day 1— Harry Potter Tour and Capital Ring Walk
- London Day 2— Free London Walking Tour and Pubs
- London Days 3 & 4 –Changing of the Guard, Tower of London, British Museum & Hyde Park
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