Days Out

How To Spend a Weekend in London with Kids

{Ad-Review} Hotel stay and Tower of London visit gifted in an unpaid collaboration. All opinions are honest, as always.

A couple of months ago, buyagift gifted us a family stay in London and a family ticket to the Tower of London, as part of my Father’s Day Gift Guide. Read on to find out what we got up to on our weekend in London with kids.

Fabulous view of London from a boat

London’s Borough Market is Fun to Walk Round with Kids

After we got to London, we went straight to the hotel, to leave our case. Then we walked up to to Borough Market, which takes about 5 minutes. We went to The Breakfast Club for lunch, but there was an hour wait. So whilst we waited for a table, we pottered about the market, which was fun. It’s full of fresh food and drinks, including truffles, nuts, teas, oysters, fish, stinky cheese and even honey.

Brunch at The Breakfast Club

We had a delicious lunch at The Breakfast Club, and would highly recommend it. They have quite a few branches around London, which you can find here.

Even though they don’t have a children’s menu, there are loads of things that will appeal to kids. We got a brunch for them to share. And then we all shared a stack of salted caramel banana pancakes. Delish.

We walked off our lunch by going up to the River Thames . This takes about 20 minutes and there are some interesting sights on the way.

Cruising the Thames

I bought a hop-on-hop-off boat trip for us, also through buyagift, ahead of our stay. We got on it near London Bridge and had a fun trip up to Greenwich. I say fun: Ryan and I round it fun, and so did the girls to start with… but they got a bit bored.

Unfortunately there was a long wait at Greenwich before the boat came back. And then again when we were waiting at the other stop to go down to the London Eye.

The guy doing the commentary was funny and also gave some good facts, and we saw Cleopatra’s Needle, the Cutty Sark, the London Eye and Shakespeare’s Globe. We got some great photos, and it’s a fun activity for a family.

We walked up the South Bank, and had dinner at the South Bank Centre, mainly because kids eat free with an adult meal. Ryan and the girls had fresh pizzas which were really yummy. Sadly my Caesar salad was drowned in dressing and the chicken was cold. It was adequate, but nothing to write home about.

All About Our Kid-Friendly London Hotel

Our girls LOVE a hotel. They haven’t stayed in all that many, but when we do, they get super excited. When we were on the boat, they kept asking to go back to the hotel so they could hang out there, he he. Luckily, they weren’t disappointed!

Outside the Novotel London City South Hotel - the ideal base for a weekend in London with kids
Outside our London hotel.

The Novotel London City South is lovely and we wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again. It’s a great location for the South Bank and Borough, and although it’s quite central, it’s quiet. It also has a view of The Shard from the restaurant.

Our Novotel Family Room

Our Superior Room, with a Queen sized bed and a double sofa bed is a good size for London. The bathroom’s big, and although quite dark, it’s stylish. The whole place was spotlessly clean. Our favourite feature is the ‘magic’ glass between the bath and the bedroom. You press a button and it’s clear, so you can watch TV from the bath. Press it again and it becomes opaque for privacy. The girls found it hilarious.

The beds are comfy and the blackout curtains work so well that the girls were still fast asleep at 8.30! We did have one issue. We gave Thea a bath, and as we let the water out, it leaked into the bedroom, soaking the carpet. Ryan went down to tell reception, assuming we would be moved, as the floor was so wet. However they were apparently fully booked. So a man came up with a bunch of towels to put down on top of the wet area. I was nervous to have a shower the next morning in case it flooded through to the room below!

Breakfast at the Novotel is Ideal for Kids

You may have guessed by now that we are all about the food. And the breakfast at the Novotel did not disappoint either. It’s a buffet, served in their light and airy, stylishly decorated restaurant. There is plenty of choice, including freshly made American-style pancakes, which we particularly loved.

They even have a special ‘free-from’ area, so that people with allergies can enjoy their food without fear of contamination. I think all hotels should have this! The designated toaster, and individually wrapped food is a good way to make allergy sufferers feel welcome.

Free from breakfast area at the Novotel London City South Hotel

The Tower of London with Kids

Our final destination in our weekend in London with kids is the Tower of London. We’d seen it the day before from the boat, but now it was time to go inside. Neither Ryan or I had visited before – we always intended to but never got round to it. The girls are a good age to visit now, as they can understand it. Thanks to their love of Horrible Histories, they are also familiar with some of the characters that build the story of the Tower.

The White Tower at the Tower of London

Unlike the hotel, which must be booked ahead, we didn’t need to book the Tower of London. You just take the voucher to the ticket gate and exchange it for entry tickets. We also bought a kid’s guidebook.

TIP: If you are visiting The Tower of London with a voucher, go to the group queue to get your tickets, not the individual queue. Unfortunately this wasn’t very clear, so we ended up queuing twice.

The man in the ticket office advised us to go straight to the Crown Jewels, as it’s the most popular attraction. We did as he advised and were shocked that the queue was enormous. But we read that it gets worse as the day goes on, so we stood in it. We were relieved to find it moved fairly quickly. I was very thankful we’d bought the guide book, as we passed the time learning about the Tower.

Entrance to the Crown Jewels: a great think do to during a weekend in London with kids

It was finally our turn to see the Crown Jewels, and it was worth the wait. They are incredible, but I’m afraid I can’t show you any pictures, as photography is not allowed.

We walked around the top of the tower, and saw an exhibition about the wild animals they used to keep there. We heard from a Yeoman Warder and had an ice cream.

There is plenty to do at the Tower, and we would have stayed longer if the girls were older. We were all quite tired from all our walking the previous day: I did around 17000 steps each day!

We had another walk along the Thames before going back to the hotel for our bag. Then we went back back to the train station – the nearest tube was only a 10 minute walk. It seemed like we’d been away for ages, we packed so much in.

The Details of our Weekend in London with Kids

Our buyagift voucher gave us a family room and breakfast at the Novotel London City South, and a family admission to the Tower of London, and costs £250. Depending on when you visit, this is great value: the tickets to the tower would be over £60 and our room at a weekend would be over £250 with breakfast. It’s the perfect way to spend a weekend in London with kids, why not Pin my ideas for later?

How to Spend a Weekend in London with Kids

2 Comments

  1. Mary Brice

    17th August 2019 at 5:33 pm

    The picture are so great. Some great tips in there! I’ve traveled quite a bit with my little one too, he’s still just a baby, but I can only say that a baby carrier is brilliant! Travel with kids always a pleasure for me.

    1. Becky Pink

      18th August 2019 at 10:29 am

      Ah we used to love our baby carrier, so many happy memories and so much better on public transport than a buggy! xx

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