History feels very much alive in the art, architecture and crackling atmosphere of the UK’s capital. From the Tower of London and contemporary Sky Garden to tales of the Houses of Parliament’s Gunpowder Plot and Harry Potter filming locations — there are enough famous, infamous and fantastical attractions in London to keep kids entertained for weeks. And many of the city’s most celebrated names can be explored through a raft of innovative tours and experiences aimed squarely at families.
Home to countless galleries and world-class cultural institutions — many free — it’s also a place where edutainment can be easily woven into a day of sight-seeing. But if you’ve got kids in tow, the trick is to pace yourself. Pick key attractions that appeal to your family’s individual interests, because this sprawling city is too big to cover a lot of ground in one trip.
Toddlers:At the London Transport Museum in central London, toddlers can captain their own ferry, The Thames’ Nipper in its All Aboard section for small kids. And its location in Covent Garden — populated by troupes of talented street performers, such as acrobats and magicians — is an entertaining spot for a stroll. Don’t miss The Moomin Shop in Covent Garden and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych hotel. On the eastern edge of central London in Bethnal Green, a £13m refurbishment transformed the V&A Museum of Childhood into the Young V&A in 2023, home to an archive of kid’s toys spanning centuries, plus new displays, many interactive, and free to enjoy. Or head west, and ride the river ferry from central London to Kew Gardens for its treetop walk and huge children’s gardens.
Children under 10: Egyptian mummies, the Rosetta Stone and treasures from the Sutton Hoo Saxon burial ship will all thrill young historians at the British Museum. A 15-minute walk away, The British Library hosts literary events and exhibitions that are brilliantly family friendly and often free. Across the city, Science Museum is popular for its interactive space and airplane displays, and free interactive play area for kids three to seven. Families could also head to the river for expertly told tales of London’s more revolting past with Horrible Histories’ Terrible Thames cruise. Finishing at Tower Bridge Quay, tours leave you in the perfect spot to explore The Tower of London's Crown Jewels, Bloody Tower, Beefeaters and all.
Tweens and teenagers: On the Southbank, London Dungeon is a perennial crowd pleaser, with a gory interactive tour invoking sinister characters from the capital’s past, such as Jack the Ripper. Or, hop on the London Eye for a bird’s-eye view of Big Ben and Westminster before wandering Southbank checking out the graffiti and
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Edinburgh is like a scene from a storybook, its spiky turrets, soaring towers, grand squares and cobbled streets every inch the sort of places dragons and princesses would inhabit — not to mention, of course, one particularly famous boy wizard. The city was J K Rowling’s home while she wrote most of the Harry Potter books, and it’s not hard to see the spark of inspiration for her world of magic. Kids’ imaginations have been known to run away with them as they wander the higgledy-piggledy medieval streets of the Old Town up to Edinburgh Castle or march through regal Holyrood Park to the extinct volcano hilltop of Arthur’s Seat, which towers above elegant Georgian streets in the east of the city centre.
One of the best ways to get to know a country is through its food and beverage offerings. For the holiday season, check out these excellent wines from under-the-radar wine regions in different parts of the world (which we should be drinking more from!) for your wanderlust wine-loving friends who are eager to try something new. Note: All wines mentioned are available in the United States.
They drink differently in London than we do here in New York. For one thing, pubs open—and close—a lot earlier. For another, expect to buy a round for your friends at a pub, and count on them to buy you a drink in return. (All of which may explain why they drive on the wrong side of the road.)
Abu Dhabi's homegrown brands are an interesting counterpoint to its glitzy shopping centers and designer labels. From artistry that highlights Emirati aesthetics and nostalgia, to barbershops with specialty brews, and shoe shops that would turn any sneakerhead into a kid in a candy store, here are some of the must-visit spots for a true taste of its local contemporary culture.
Nowhere in London has a more refined glow at Christmas than Mayfair. Between Piccadilly and Oxford Street and still largely owned by Grosvenor Estate which belongs to the Duke of Westminster, it was largely rural - and used as pasturelands - until the late 17th century. Today, its streets and squares are home to some of the city’s oldest, and most famous hotels and shops.
Ryanair operates over 440 routes and carrying over 52m passengers p.a. to/from the UK on its fleet of 107 UK-based aircraft ($10.7bn investment), driving year-round connectivity and inbound tourism which supports over 37,000 UK jobs.
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