London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Here’s our guide to Kensington and Chelsea for kids – our royal hood with a myriad of museums frequented by locals and visitors alike; Victorian houses and old-world buildings blend with the artisanal shops and international consulates; grand architecture with exclusive clubs, leafy streets with family fun.
1. Royal play at Kensington Palace and in the stunning gardens. We visit regularly and wrote about in here, including topical Christmas celebrations.
Kensington Palace is also an old time favourite spot of ours; parents for glamorous social events sans enfants and children meet ups for picnics, chasing birds by the lake or hide and seek the gorgeous grounds.
Parks & gardens:
2. Feeling playfully rogue or hyper? Join the pirates at Diana memorial playground. Technically borderline Kensington, there’s also Diana memorial fountains which are heaven to play in the rare hot London summer days.
3. Peacocks, Japanese gardens, ecology centre and adventure playground? All awaiting in Holland park.
In summer we are also spoilt with Opera Holland Park and its open family day – conduct an orchestra, have tea with Alice in the wonderland, dress up, dance and sing on stage to mention just a few.
4. Chelsea Physic Gardens, London’s oldest botanical garden with over 5,000 plants, cafe and gift shop. Lots of family activities, including Chocolate Tuesday, seasonal wreath making at Duke of York Square, Lotions and Potions, Beginners’ Gardening, Garden Safari.
There are also regular tours of this gorgeous venues, school holidays workshops, jazz and so much more!
Museums, labs, exhibitions and galleries : perfect to culture and cheer up on gloomy rainy days.
7. Feeling creative or innovative? Head to Design Museum. Not only a full immersion into iconic designs, from printers to underground, to chairs and television; the museum has a brilliant family room and hosts regularly cool workshops and exhibitions. Currently ON there’s Moving to Mars – explore the surface of the Red planet like you haven’t tried before, from floors designed to its grounds ressamblance to huge screens, to astronauts gear and spacecrafts sent historically. There’s also lots for kids including lego play, a rocket to be climbed into and tested, sand to be touched etc. Our 6 and 3 years olds were smitten. Hugely inspirational, humbling and popular – expect queues on weekends and leaving head in the intergalactic clouds.
8. V&A for arty souls, their discovery trails and backbacks are fabulous. On weekends there are also regular family events and on school holidays an array of activities – we danced with robots and elderly in here, drew, sculpted, posed, talked Roman history and so on!
9. For space and science lovers look no further than Science Museum and its wonderful WonderLab. Explore spacecrafts sent to other planets, walking on the moon, peer into the heart of our galaxy and beyond. Planes and early flying devices, space and astronauts, cars and trains – impossible to exhaust in a full day visit. And I bet any London parent with toddler had been stuck for hours at the Garden in the Basement – waterplay, sensory fun and exciting interactive devices!
10. Feeling arty and controversial? Saatchi galleries are so cool and host on regular basis different exhibitions. Tutankhamun is very topical until April 2020!
And the set up is great to grab a cocktail, catch up with friends and let the kiddies run around.
11. Fancy stepping inside earth, test buildings for tsunamis or experience an earthquake in person? Roaring dinosaurs, huge whales, creepy crawlers, testing and understanding your body? There’s that and so much more at Natural History Museum, the most popular family museum in London for all the right reasons.
12. Are you a sushi addict or Japan lover? Japan House opened at High Street Kensington and in addition to a brilliant sushi place Akira (1st floor) and shop on the ground floor, there are regular exhibitions basement floor.
13. Leighton house. Almost reluctant to share this little gem, the gardens are opened all year around and free to visit. Leighton house has an entrance but certainly worth paying to get to see this gem of a Kensington house.
14. National Army Museum – recently refurbished and brilliant for interactive play, from tanks to be driven and coordinated as a dealteam, to guards outfits to be designed and tested, to marching and drums. Tones of history and regular exhibitions. This year Nam also hosyed the first Chelsea history festival, we attended and had blast!
15. Serpentine and Serpentine Sackler Galleries, 2 contemporary art galleries in Kensington Garden. Lots of great and controversial art, annual architecture commission – a global platform for experimental projects by some of the world’s greatest architects. Next door at Serpentine Sackler, the extension designed by Zaha Hadid is the perfect visionary curving cafe for a chic bites for kids and cocktails for parents.
So lucky to call this home, Kensington and Chelsea for kids is truly wonderful! Feeling peckish after so much culture, science and play? For our favourite Japanese restaurants in Kensington and Chelsea for kids, head to our dedicated article in here. More family friendly favourite restaurants to be wrapped up soon!
For further adventures and days out London with toddler, head to our dedicated article in here. And for topical and seasonal Christmas in London with kids, check our favourites over the years and 2019 must sees in here.