Estimated reading time 4 minutes 4 Min

How to see London for families

We take a look around one of the world’s best-known cities to find the best places to go for families.

July 19, 2022
By Claire Spreadbury
19 July 2022

London makes a brilliant city break for families. You can see the sights, take in a West End show and head to the big museums. But sometimes, it's nice not to follow the herd.

After three billion pounds were spent on the rebirth of Kings Cross, it’s officially a shopping and restaurant district, with plenty of places to take the kids.

Shop 'til you drop

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I'm here with my daughters, Rosie, 13, and Poppy, 10. We're shopping, but not as we know it. The shops are different, from lifestyle stores where you can learn stuff - candle making at Earl of East (£55), or a terrarium masterclass at Botanical Boys (from £50), to 'family concept' Cissy Wears, where you can shop from a curated edit of the world's most beautiful brands.

The Drops market takes place outdoors every month, showcasing up and coming talent in fashion, homeware and lifestyle products.

So, as Rosie tries on a bucket hat made from recycled denim off-cuts, Poppy's sliding on rings made from recycled metals that minimise waste. There are sustainability lessons being learned at almost every stall.

We also visit the Harry Potter Shop at King's Cross Station. The thing everyone wants is a photo at the infamous sign. Join the (very long) queue to don a scarf, grab a wand and take a snap next to Platform 9 ¾.

Culture vultures

The girls dance under the rainbow ribbons making up renowned artist Sheila Hicks' installation, Woven Wonders, which is on display until mid-October.

As day turns to night, we take our seats on the giant steps covered in faux grass and settle down to watch the film La La Land.

We gobble ice cream, snack on popcorn and snuggle up to keep warm when the sun dips down. Everyman's Screen on the Canal is a wonderful, free, outdoor TV and film festival, showing family favourites as well as live music performances and sporting events.

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Feeding time

Start the day with the best-looking breakfast in London. Sitting under the heated parasols in the courtyard of Granary Square Brasserie is a wonderful way to wake up.

Recommendations include avocado Benedict (£8.95) or Rosie's favourite, the hot buttermilk pancakes (£8.95) which come with tumbling berries and strawberry sauce.

The best donuts my kids have ever eaten (and that's saying something) can be found at Longboys. The handmade, finger-shaped sweet treats (£3.90 each) are made with a lighter brioche base.

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Time for lunch

For lunchtime sharers, Lighterman - right in the middle of Granary Square - is a huge two-storey building with glass windows all around.

Hot and bursting with flavour, the roasted cherry tomato flatbread (£10) is gone moments after being settled on our table, washed down with a refreshing rhubarb and cherry spritz (£13). Puddings arrive with a giant dessert spoon and I begrudgingly share my dark chocolate, peanut and caramel slice (£7.50) while the girls opt for homemade frozen mango cream, £2 a scoop.

Happy Face pumps funky house tunes out of brightly-coloured speakers as we sit on high stools. The pizza is good (£5-£15) but come for the starters and party atmosphere.

Best kept secrets

The best place in London you might never have heard of is Samsung KX. It’s not just regular shop, but a digital playground where you can take your kids in to play on the mind-boggling gadgets.

Rosie and Poppy hang their jackets up in the Airdresser for a free steam clean, while they hop over to act out emotions and turn themselves into GIFs. Rosie climbs into the racing simulator and tries not to crash as she whizzes round the racetrack at 180mph, while Poppy hangs out in the kitchen, inspecting the fridge that tells you when your food's going out of date. Next, they get arty by designing their own phone case - which they get to take home free of charge - and then they clap eyes on the 'gaming bus'. Giant, curved screens mean you can see everything in your full vision at the same time, which apparently is really important when playing Fortnite.

The level of excitement is unreal as the girls babble erratically, constantly interrupting to ask questions, swiping every touchscreen, watching every ginormous TV, and immersing themselves in tech. It's a grown-up space that's made for kids - the only tricky thing is getting them out of it.

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