London through Young Eyes
Over the years, we have had many requests for programs that allow children to experience a destination while at the same time allowing a pleasant time for the adults, whether parents or grandparents.
It is our experience that children will absorb a lot more and thus be suitably occupied when the information is presented in interesting ways by interesting guides (a good ghost story goes a long way).
This program has something for everyone and is built around two adults and two children but other combinations are, of course, welcome. While you will explore a wide variety of places a big plus is that you only unpack once.
Explore: London through young eyes
You board your aircraft for the overnight flight to London. The younger travelers may be too excited to sleep but they will. Hopefully you do to.
Day 2: Arrival in London
You will arrive in the morning and we will meet you and drive you to your hotel. Absent prior arrangement your rooms will not be ready until the afternoon so a guide will meet you and take you on a highlights tour using the underground and a hop on hop off bus. In addition to sights like Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus we can build in other sights based on your previous input. If soccer is important we can visit Wembley Stadium or the home stadiums of Chelsea and Arsenal. We can take you to the locations from the Harry Potter films or Paddington Bear. You will get outstanding views from the top of the Shard and finish with a few frights at the London Bridge Experience with live actors and G-rated thrills. You will then be returned to your hotel.
Day 3: A Day of British Pageantry
After a good night’s sleep and a hearty full English breakfast the family will ready for the first day’s adventure. You meet your guide and head for the Royal Mews which is right across the street from your hotel. Here you will find the Royal carriages seen in recent royal weddings and the Queen’s coronation coach. You will then walk to a vantage point to see the changing of the guard ceremony complete with marching band. You will then walk to the Household Cavalry Museum where you can learn the history of the cavalry that guards the Queen. At the back of the museum is a glass wall that looks directly into the stables where the horses are made ready for their ceremonial duties. Your guide will then take you to Hyde Park to a café where you can have lunch and watch the ducks and swans on the Serpentine. After lunch you will pick up bikes and join another guide for a scenic ride through the royal Parks. If you don’t want to ride bikes you can rent paddle boats to go out on the Serpentine. We will provide a list of family-friendly restaurants in various areas of the city with directions.
Day 4: The Ultimate Wizarding World
Say goodbye to London as you head to Hogwarts or at least the studio where all the Harry Potter films were made. You will walk through Dumbledore’s office, visit the Gryffindor Common room and view the Great Hall. Visit the station and see the actual Hogwarts Express and the carriages used in the movies. Admire Harry’s nimbus 2000 and Hagrid’s motorcycle as you escape into the world of Harry Potter. After a full day adventure you return to the muggle world in London.
Day 5: The Tower and Things Nautical
In the morning you meet your guide and make your way to the Tower of London offering a thousand years of English history. Young minds will be captivated by tales of the young princes, the legend of the ravens and the origins of the Crown Jewels. Meeting a Beefeater is also bound to delight. Nearby, at anchor in the Thames is HMS Belfast a World War II Battle Cruiser to which you are invited to ‘come aboard”. Following a look below decks you board a small boat for a trip down the Thames as the captain highlights interesting sights along the way. You arrive in Greenwich and board a Clipper ship used to bring tea and spices from the Far East. Then a visit to the National Maritime Museum which is located in what used to be the naval academy for the Royal Navy. Large scale models and interesting artifacts engage young minds including the uniform worn by Admiral Nelson when he was brought down by a sharpshooter’s bullet at the Battle of Trafalgar. Return to Central London on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) an above ground look at the east end of London.
Day 6: Covent Garden and a Theatre Matinee
After a leisurely breakfast you will join your guide as you make your way to Covent Garden, at one time the London Flower Market (where Eliza Doolittle met Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady) the area has been converted into interesting shops and boutiques and a great many stories which your guide will share with you before dropping you at an interesting place for lunch. After lunch you will have reserved seats at the theatre for a matinee performance to a younger audience. It could be a classic like The Lion King or a more current show. At time of booking we will send you a list of shows from which to select. After the performance you return to your hotel. Breakfast
Day 7: Little Venice, Regent’s Canal and The London Zoo
Today you will see something different. Meet your guide and take the underground to Paddington station. From there it is a short walk to an area known as Little Venice because of the canals built in the middle 19th century to move goods. Today, houseboats line both sides of the canal and one boat actually contains a puppet theatre. Enjoy the puppet show and then take a canal boat along Regent’s Canal and disembark at the London zoo located in Regent’s Park. Spend an enjoyable afternoon at the zoo before having dinner by the side of the canal and returning to your hotel.
Day 8: Adventures in Westminster
Your guide will be waiting to take you to Westminster where you have a chance to view the Houses of Parliament and New Scotland Yard. You will then get a private your of Westminster Abbey the site of Royal weddings and funerals. Take time to visit Poet’s Corner where the greats of English literature are interred or honored. Dickens, Hardy, Kipling, Wordsworth, Chaucer are all here. After your visit to the Abbey your guide will leave you and you make your way to the pier where you board a high speed RIB boat that will take you down the Thames at high speed, zigging and zagging to create some G force before returning you to the dock. Cross over Westminster Bridge and have some lunch and then visit the London aquarium created inside the old registry office for London. Finish your day (and stay) with a ride on the London Eye as you make a 30 minute ride offering spectacular views of London similar to those from the Shard when you first arrived.
Day 9: Return to USA
After breakfast your car will be waiting to take you to the airport for the return flight home arriving back the same afternoon.