London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Getting away from the city sometimes it’s easier said than done but so therapeutical to escape the hectic urban pace! Travel time is always a constraint with young ones in tow, so here are our 26 best day trips from London with kids within an hour drive.
1. Longing for great dining and wining in historical settings and beautiful landscapes?
Cliveden house is 40 minutes away from Kensington, SL6 OJF. 5 star countryside retreat in the best of Buckingamshire, also National Trust site, nearby Thames. A great new chef – Andre Garrett mesmerised us with a beautiful Market lunch with superb views on the gardens and the river. Before and after for the little ones there’s tones of gardens to run around, a pond, a playground & a maze.
2. Adrenalin seekers for the day? For small and big adventurers alike, the answer is Chessington World of Adventures, a convenient 45 minutes drive from Kensington. Our 5 years old adored the Scorpion Express and the Monkey Swinger. The almost 3 years old went twice on the Jungle Bus, cuddled a bit too much the goats and loved the Canopy Capers. I loved reading about Chessington’s long and inspiring history, including Burnt Stub originally built in 1348, founding of the zoo, the theme park and regular revamps. The rides at Chessington are restricted by height with a range of height from 0.9m to 1.4m, but there’s so much for everyone! Impossible to exhaust in one day, so fun and exciting for the kiddies! A smart plan is to measure the kids at home, download Chessingon app, make a plan where they’d love to ride and select on the day the order depending on the queue times. Head to our dedicated article in here.
Eltham palace is an hour away from Kensington, Greenwich more precisely SE9 5QE. Former royal residence restored as a masterpiece of modern art deco design, with rose gardens, bridges, medieval hall, stunning gardens and a playground.
Wild side calling?
4. Paradise Wildlife Park is a glorious family run animal park in Hertfordshire, with fantastic range of big cats and experiences. The animal talks and feeds were a real thrill – we watched in awe the penguins, meerkats, Brazilian tapirs and the lions having their meals.
The World of Dinosaurs was fabulous and the kiddies was overexcited as we took the train to cross the lands of 30 life size roaring dinosaurs. The inside and outside adventure playground also got their votes: pirate boat, fantasyland, tumble jungle – the little ones had tears in their eyes when we had to leave at 5pm! Read more about it in here.
5. Woburn safari park is also waiting for you in Bedfordshire, MK17 9QN for a UK safari amazing experience. Giraffes walking by your car, monkeys jumping on it, lions and bears next to it, wallabies, Californian sea-lions, you name it. Train to go around, bouncy castles and slides, lake, treetop trails also as a bonus (if such was needed!).
6. Henley Rowing and River museum. Scenic trip on Thames optional before and thereafter, Wind in the Willows tales and play, wildlife corner, rowing history and lots of equipment to be tested. One of the cutest and quaintest day trips from London with kids.
7. And if the river is still calling, Go Boat London is a fantastic option for picnic and bubbles at leisure with boating by Kingston waterways.
Tired of the urban life?
8. How about an active rural retreat @ Willows Activity Farm? Peter Rabbit adventure playground newly opened earlier this year, carousels, goats to be fed, cows to be milked, tractors to be ridden, bouncy castles, giant rabbits, pigs racing and so on – all in Hertfordshire, AL4 0PF.
9. Or a buccolic day out in Surrey with Bocketts Farm Park, filled with therapeutical green grounds, friendly goats and llamas, giant slides, trampolines, young drivers’ zone to mention just a few.
10. Fancy a piece of history and more stunning English gardens?
Hatfield house in Hertfordshire (AL9 5NQ) is a prime example of a Jacobean house, built in 1611, with huge gardens dating from early 17th century. Orchards, fountains, scented plants, water parterres, terraces, herb gardens, a foot maze, stable yard, good local produce, farm and a playground for a delightful day out.
11. Fancy ice skating, grandeur and shabby chic charm?
A London landmark destroyed by fire 16 days after first opened in 1873 – Alexandra Palace re-opened again two years later becoming the place from where the BBC had its first broadcast in 1935. It currently hosts the biggest indoor London ice skating venue open all year around; a charming historical building still in renovation in certain parts; and a beautiful park next door declared local nature reserve. Our dedicated article in here.
12. Fancy more history, Royals, a maze, extended plaground and gardens?
Hampton Court Palace has it all, our full article in here.
13. Or just after historical landscape gardens for picnics and more playing?
Claremont is just the beautiful oasis ideal for sunny skies – our full impressions in here.
14. Fancy revisiting 2018 iconic Royal wedding setting?
Windsor Castle needs little introduction! Our full tales and impressions in an article in here; this is paradise for history buffs and one of the best day trips from London with kids.
15. Loving to shop smart some great brands?
A mecca of brands at outlet prices, a couple of nice restaurants and hordes of tourists and professional buyers, this is the very popular Bicester Village. Great to pop by if you need a dress for friends wedding or great shoes at better prices. Just over an hour drive from Kensington, this can be paired with a more therapeutical outing to stunning Oxfordshire gardens or if the bank account allows it, a proper culinary treat at Le Manoir Aux Quatres Saisons. Dedicated article in here, and don’t worry, it’s all child friendly.
16. More nature therapy after shopping?
Check our day out with English Heritage at Wrest Park : huge and with a long history; 90 acres of French, Dutch, Italian and English style gardens, groomed from 18th century onwards by England’s lead gardener, ‘Capability’ Brown . Perfect for picnic, woodlands and of course, playground.
17. Feeling jazzy?
Polesden Lacey has the best lazy jazzy Sundays for years. Enjoy Surrey landscapes, a picnic with bubbles by a superb Edwardian mansion, little people running around gardens and estate, all on great music and vibes. 2-4pm starting July 10th until September 25th, free for National Trust members, RH5 6BB.
18. Needing perspective on life?
2020 and 2021 have been tough years for so many of us and if you are looking for a space to grieve and soothe within nature, Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens are a jewel pretty much every season. In March the daffodils dance, in April magnolia blooms, in May hysteria puts a violet show embracing the walls. You can almost come to terms with losing someone in here, the ashes and remains somehow ressemble to returning the gift of life back to the nature and its ephemeral cycles.
18. In need of pampering, tea and walk through manicured gren estate ? If it’s getting too sombre and serious, just in front of Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens there’s Stoke Park – wonderful teas, grounds and golf.
19. High flier ready to embrace your monkey side?
GoApe is another favourite of ours and we had a blast at Black Park mid July with TreeTop Adventure+, exhilarating between high wobbly bridges, fisherman traps and 80m zipline.
20. More trails and one living memorial?
The largest of the four First World War Centenary Woods, Langley Vale Wood has pockets of ancient woodland, diverse wildlife, orchards and flora, stunning views over the rolling hills of the North Downs – one emotional memorial to those who sacrificed so much in the First World War.
21. Need to hug a tree or lie in wildflowers meadows?
Langley Park has one great Arboretum, Temple Gardens filled with rhododendrons, tree trails and wildflower meadows.
22. Feeling playful and ludic?
Over 55 interactive rides, live shows and play areas all set over 150 acres of beautiful parkland. Impossible to exhaust in one day and leaving the kiddies longing for so much more – Legoland needs little introduction.
23. Berry lover feeling peckish?
Our favourite Pick Your Own farm is Copas in Iver – a berry paradise!
24. Grand baroque architecture and jousting tournaments?
Blenheim Palace has over 2000 acres of stunning landscapes, fab collections of art and antiques, formal gardens crafted by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and ocassionally jousting for young and grown up kids in love with King Arthur tales.
25. Equestrian itches and classy teas?
Coworth Park gardens are an oasis of calm, Carol Peace sculptures graciously spread around the wild flower meadows and lavender; there’s polo and croquet, horse riding and glorious afternoon teas and picnics.
26. Need a wine fix?
Check out Albury Vineyard for a family-run biodynamic vineyard between beautiful Surrey Hills: best of organic British blanc de blanc and rose, fab wine tasting even with monkeys in tow, walks in the vineyards with dandelions and bluebells.
Less time to drive? Do check our list with 6 fabulous gardens and gorgeous countryside within 30 minutes drive from London. Missing the sea? 1.5 hour drive from Kensington, East Head National Trust has our vote for the best sand dunes, beach huts and saltmarshes – check our Days out near Chichester article.