Month Visited: July
We are a family that loves to travel to exciting new places, and we are fairly adventurous without taking a lot of risks. Sometimes we want to be pampered and stay in comfort, but we are willing to get out of our comfort zone at times if there is something we really want to see or do. We try to include educational stops along with fun activities, and we want to see famous places and historic locations wherever we go. Our children at the time of this itinerary: 2 children-Girl age 13 years, Girl age 11 years.
Description: The Changing of the Queen’s Guard is a ceremony that occurs once a day when the guards who stand sentry in front of Buckingham Palace change out, and fresh guards replace those who are going off duty. This process is full of pomp and pageantry, and it takes around 45 minutes from start to finish. The sentries are on duty to guard the sovereign and they can not leave their post until they are relieved.
Our Experiences: We watched the changing of the Queen’s Guard from the St. James Barracks, and this ceremony was definitely interesting and it had plenty of flair. The ceremony was very elaborate, and it was something neat that every tourists considers when coming to London. Kids may get bored because of how long the process takes for the guards to change out, but this is a stop that many would enjoy even if it was not our favorite stop in this city.
Description: Buckingham Palace has been the official London residence of the British monarchy since 1837, and Queen Elizabeth uses this palace as her administrative headquarters. This is also the venue for many Royal events and celebrations held by the Queen or other members of the Royal Family. There are 775 different rooms in Buckingham Palace, including 19 used just for State purposes. Visitors to Buckingham Palace can tour the many rooms, visit the Mews which takes care of the transportation for the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family. The Mews is the department that handles all transport, whether this is by car, carriage, or other method.
Our Experiences: We visited Buckingham Palace and the Mews both, and this was a good stop for our family. The kids enjoyed seeing where an actual queen spends her time, and the art and the architecture in the palace were incredible. When we went into the Mews we were excited to see the different carriages that are used for State events and Royal Family celebrations. This was a nice stop that we all enjoyed, and it was educational and interesting at the same time.
Address: 87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 20 7730 1234
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 11:30am-6pm
Description: Harrods is a London landmark, as THE upscale department store. The store was first opened in 1834 by Charles Henry Harrod, and it is still one of the most popular stores in the London area. The store covers 7 floors and more than 4 and a half acres, and there are more than 15 million shoppers who go to Harrods each year. You will find plenty of shopping, and there are restaurants and other amenities for visitors in the store as well.
Our Experiences: Harrods was enormous, with a fantastic toy section and a huge range of luxury goods and products. We spent some time looking at the different displays and checking out the various floors. This was a fantastic way to spend part of our day in London, and the kids enjoyed it just as much as the adults did. This was one of the favorite stops for the day, and there were over 300 different departments for us to choose from.
Address: 188-196 Regent Street London, W1B 5BT
Phone: +44 (0) 871 704 1977
Hours: Usually 10am-8pm or 9pm
Description: Hamleys Toy store is the oldest toy retailer in the world, and a name that is very well known in the toy industry. The London store is the flagship store for the company, and it is an immense structure with 7 levels of nothing but toys galore. There are more than 50,000 toys at the flagship store at any given time, and the store receives around 5 million visitors each year. In addition to the London store the United Kingdom also has six other outlets in the country.
Our Experiences: Hamleys Toy Store was a top favorite for the kids, and even the adults had a lot of fun seeing all of the different toys and wandering on each of the 7 floors. We found every type of toy imaginable, and some that were very unusual and innovative. The kids had a fantastic time going from one area to the next, looking at all of the toys in delight. This is a must see stop for any family with kids, or even for adults who are still child like at heart. Hamleys Toy Store must be seen to be believed.