If you had asked me two months ago if I fancied a stay at a gorgeous 5 star London hotel with my kids, I might have been weary. I don't have those kind of kids you see, you know the ones - they sit quietly, they eat with no mess and they talk in a low voice. No my kids are the full works and there are three of them, so you get a full on experience. Life is interesting and excitable and they will milk it for all they can, running instead of walking, shouting instead of talking and laughing exuberantly instead of a smile.
Well I need not have worried, we stayed at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington a couple of weekends ago and no-one blinked an eyelid at us. Really, we didn't even get one agitated stare or hear a tut of annoyance and we saw plenty of people, it wasn't as if we were the only ones in the hotel. The staff were gracious and chatty towards my lively children as they asked excitable questions or went around the rotating door one time too many.
I am so pleased to share with you that the privately owned five star Royal Garden Hotel is an absolute gem and every family should stay there at least once. Of course it is not a cheap getaway, you get what you pay for after all and this is proper understated luxury. From the waffles cooked to order for you at breakfast, to the water left for you at bed turn down, to the free wi-if when you book direct with the hotel, everything you want is provided.
You do get value for money and that is really important to me, I don't mind paying a little extra so I can have a super comfortable bed, room service that arrives within 20 minutes of me ordering it and scooters with helmets available for the kids to play in the stunning Kensington gardens right next door. Even better at the moment there is a special offer running every weekend and throughout the school Easter holiday (3-19 April), when you book a second connecting room you will receive it with a 50% discount to ensure you have a little more left in your pockets to enjoy the thrills of London. Don't try and book this offer online as it won't work, click on the link above and then call or email the reservations team and they will have you sorted out in no time!
It baffles me why the majority of parents (70% *) would not think to take their children with them for a short break or holiday in London. Whilst you might pay a little more for a hotel in our capital city than you do in your local town you can entertain the kids for days for free. Yes free, really! We spent our three days the other weekend doing completely free activities. - for us that was a trip to the Science Museum, Imperial War Museum, South Bank, Kensington Gardens and park, Holy Trinity Brompton Church and then just mooching around the interesting streets of London.
Just take a look at these pictures here, these are from the afternoon we spent on the South Bank. We played in the park, watched all the street performers, ran around and made our own fun, enjoyed the sights along the river Thames, had a hearty walk and went in the South Bank Centre to see what free activities they had going on.
Of course if we had wanted to spend some money the London Eye and Aquarium were right there and would have been very easy to visit.
One of the big thrills for my kids in London is using all the public transport. at home it is all about the car but in London you have double decker buses and tubes to enjoy and if your kids are 10 and under they are all free too. You can't knock that. The great transport makes it so easy to get anywhere you want to within London, everything is really accessible.
Another area we often like to visit when in London is Camden Lock as the children do not get to go to many markets and it is nice to buy some food from one of the street traders and eat it by the lock before a stroll towards Regents Park for a play and run around and maybe even some time in the Zoo. Also fairly near Camden is the wonderful children's haven, Coram Field's - there are so many play areas here, paddling pool, sand pits and a great cafe too and all in a gated area.
However, if you are staying at the Royal Garden Hotel with the kids all you need to do is borrow the scooters, helmets and protective gear (if you want it) and head into the park right next door. Kensington Gardens leads into Hyde Park and you can spend hours exploring and scooting and don't fear as they have adult scooters too and all included in your room price. The park in Kensington Gardens has to have a mention as well as it is fantastic, especially for primary school age kids and pre-schoolers. My children particularly enjoyed the music making equipment as well as the traditional swings, climb on boat, sand pit, tee-pees and so much more.
Next time we fancy a bit of luxury we will happily head to the Royal Garden Hotel to stay, the buffet breakfast each day was exceptional, the service attentive and very friendly, the rooms super comfortable, the views to die for and the location is fabulous, so central. As well as just being an all round excellent hotel there is also a family promise, especially for those of us who want to take our kids away with us.
This includes the kids each getting a back-pack with child appropriate contents, early dining from 5.30pm, children's menu in the Park Terrace restaurant with real home-made food (no frozen dinners here), child's room service menu, games to borrow in the room (we had battleships and the girls loved that), guaranteed inter-connecting rooms, scooters to borrow and other park play equipment like balls and skipping ropes, high chairs and cots available with no fuss and we also had a put-up bed for our third child which was surprisingly comfy and a good size too.
I think you can tell we had a magical weekend and much of that was down to our stay at the Royal Garden Hotel, thanks so much to them for having us and we can't wait to come back..
* Research conducted on behalf of the Royal Garden Hotel in January 2015 with 2000 parents
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