We have returned from our Great Big British Expedition! There were so many special moments, moments played out in a sort of fantasy, the kind you get when you’re very far from home and when you make that decision to disconnect from media and to be simply, wholly, present in this new land.
Being on this trip – a work trip – with my princes alongside me, turned it into something wonderful: the chance to experience “overseas” with my family. And if there are any words of wisdom that I would pass on to other Mums and Dads getting ready for their own GBBE, it is these ten simple rules below.
And as always, number one remains, have fun! It’s the whole point of this thing called life…
10 Travel Tips For Travelling with Kids in London
1. Only take public transport – it’s more fun and will acquaint you better to local ways and people. We took only buses and trains and avoided cabs.
2. Walk! You’ll see more, especially the details. It also forces you to go slow and helps to teach little ones the art of navigating busy cities, crossing streets and passing people on the pavement. Be sure to hold hands.
3. Fish and chips! There’s no avoiding it. No need for a fancy joint, just be sure to sample this iconic British dish at least once. And always say yes to malt vinegar for your fish. Always.
4. Stop for a moment and enjoy the green spaces – in Hyde Park, for instance. Take food, roam, roll, read, enjoy. Have fun! Floss dance in front of strangers, kick around a rugby ball in a country that recognises it as just that, and bolemakiesie like no one’s watching.
5. Don’t miss the changing of the guards. It is not at all overrated, with so much excitement for kids – horses, music, Beef-eaters, a festive spirit, and getting to witness something great.
6. Take notes, journal, write down your hopes, must-sees, funny sights and itineraries – to make the most of it all and ensure you don’t forget the special memories when you return home.
7. Sightsee like a tourist, because fun, because when in London… Take note of the unique sights, sounds, scents, of this new city and don’t miss the landmarks like the red phone boxes, Big Ben (unless it’s being restored), and Tower Bridge.
8. Get out on the water – take a boat or paddle boat trip down the Thames. A fresh air adventure that will give you all a better understanding of all the classic tales of our childhoods.
9. Get out of town. Don’t neglect the outlying wonders of London, such as Stonehenge and Portsmouth.
10. Check yourself: the whole tribe. Practice those home lessons of patience, trust, kindness, honesty, fairness and gratitude.