London is the perfect destination for your family’s first international trip, and it’s much closer than you’d think! With direct flights from New York and Boston less than 6 hours long, it’s extremely manageable for kids. Most flights are red eyes so you may even be able to get children to sleep for most of the flight. And to top it off, you won’t have to worry about much of a language barrier.
Once you get there, you can immerse yourself in history and your children’s favorite stories! Travel down the paths of royalty and visit the sites where famous and infamous historical moments occurred. Explore the places that inspired some of our favorite childhood stories like Harry Potter, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Paddington, Mary Poppins, Robin Hood, and King Arthur.
There is so much to do in London! Check out my London Itinerary post.
In some cities, it all comes down to just one or two locations that are regarded as the “best” places to stay for an optimal family experience. In London, the opposite is true. There are many distinct neighborhoods that make a phenomenal home base — so much so that the hotel planning process is overwhelming, even for those parents who know London well. Here are my favorite hotels for families:
Location: If you are looking for a hotel centrally located near most of London’s iconic sights, look no further than London Marriott County Hall. It is situated right next to the River Thames, the London Eye, and opposite The Houses of Parliament. The hotel provides guests with stunning 180-degree views of The London Eye, Big Ben, and Westminster Bridge.
Design: A quintessentially British landmark, County Hall was opened in 1922 by King George V and Queen Mary as the headquarters of the local government in London. The bedrooms and suites capture the subtle essence of the great British style. I LOVED the London Map wallpaper and spent more time than I would like to admit engrossed in the neighborhoods and streets. As a nod to the building’s origins, each suite features a unique orange armchair, a tribute to the orange and red leather-upholstered seating used in the former London Council debating chamber.
Rooms: The rooms at London Marriott County Hall are contemporary but are inspired by local influences and history. All suites include upgraded bathroom facilities, entrances with tiled mosaic flooring and bespoke wallpaper featuring a historic map of London from the era of the building’s birth. A rarity in Europe, the hotel offers Deluxe rooms with two double beds which they call their Double Decker Family Rooms. You can book standard, River Thames or even Big Ben view rooms!
Dining: I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the dining here but the main restaurant Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar showcases over 100 gins and serves locally-sourced steaks from O’Shea’s Butchers. Tea takes place overlooking Big Ben in a library full of historic bookshelves which formerly belonged to the London Government.
VIKids at County Hall: The hotel offers a range of popular packages, including the VIKids Package. Make more of a family break in London and treat kids like the VIPs with custom amenities and toiletries, a County Hall Teddy Bear, free Wi-Fi and delightful family breakfast. Kids will love The Club at County Hall which occupies the top two floors and features the largest indoor swimming pool with natural light in London.
Location: Located right off the Thames River in the area known as Embankment. Families will love that it is sandwiched between Whitehall and Victoria Embankment Gardens, two of London’s most beautiful parks. Corinthia is an excellent base for active families with Whitehall, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, St. James Park, the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Hyde Park all within walking distance.
Design: The Corinthia occupies a former British government building but was recently converted with stylish, fresh and modern interior. For the rooms, they really wanted a residential look so you will feel right at home. I have to talk about the flowers!! Colorful arrangements made by the talented in-house flower team are everywhere and each and every one is more stunning than the next.
Rooms: The rooms at Corinthia London are thoughtfully appointed to maximize comfort. Soft tones and rich fabrics make them warm and welcoming, while large windows make them light and bright. I had a wonderful view of the courtyard from my Juliet balcony. There are also stunning views from the rooftops of some of the suites. Bathrooms include deep soaking tubs and separate rain showers. Connecting rooms and suites are optimal for families.
Dining: The food at Corinthia is some of the best I have ever enjoyed in London. Northall is a classic and elegant fine dining restaurant with a seasonal menu that plays to Europe’s culinary strengths. Kerridge’s is an upscale bar & grill helmed by renowned Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge who harks back to classics and plays on his reputation for serving his own take on the UK’s most celebrated dishes. Beautiful afternoon tea is served in the central opulent but strangely comfortable, Crystal Moon Lounge. One of the most decadent meals I have ever experienced was served in the Garden. This al fresco dining experience features a Mediterranean-inspired menu this Spring/Summer season but the most incredible alpine dishes in the winter. I am still dreaming about the raclette and the venison mac and cheese.
Family Escape Package: Corinthia is currently offering a special package for families when you book one room and save 50% on the second one (connecting based on availability.) English breakfast is included for everyone, children receive a special gift and adults a bottle of champagne to enjoy while the kids are snuggled in their beds next door.
Location: Built as the first purpose-built luxury hotel in London, the Savoy was built on the back of the Savoy theatre with the profits made by the producer of Gilbert and Sullivan. Thus, the Savoy is located in the heart of London, steps away from Covent Garden and the theatres of the West End, on the Northbank of the River Thames. It is equidistant between the old City of London and Westminster.
Design: When the Savoy was built in 1889, it set new standards for luxury, comfort, and service unheard of in the hotel world of the day (including private bathrooms in each room!) Collinson & Locke, the interior designers responsible for the Savoy Theatre, created a very theatrical atmosphere featuring lavish decorative molding and gilding in the public areas, and plenty of floral wallpapers in the guest rooms. They expanded the hotel in the 1920’s with the front building heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau Movement. Fast forward to 2010 when a huge redecoration and restoration used reference photographs from the hotel archives to create clearly modern, but historic surroundings. The two predominant design styles throughout the hotel were clearly still traditional Edwardian, and art deco. In a nod to Guccio Gucci’s time working at The Savoy as a luggage porter, they partner with the leather goods company he founded in different capacities – including the most current iteration the lavishly decorated Gucci Suite.
Rooms: The Savoy offers 267 luxury guest rooms and suites that are decorated in either an elegant Edwardian or Art Deco style. Many of these stunning rooms and suites boast unparalleled views across the River Thames and of London’s most significant landmarks. The Savoy has a reputation for having welcomed the most notable of guests throughout its history and has named and designed a selection of its top suites after some of these personalities. I stayed in the Maria Callas Suite, almost as beautiful as the famous Greek opera singer’s voice. Two-Bedroom Family Rooms provide a peaceful haven for families with two spacious bedrooms, one with a king-size bed and the other with two double beds, and a generous marble bathroom with a separate walk-in shower.
Dining: Within The Savoy’s famous entrance are some of the top London restaurants and bars. From cocktails in one of our award-winning bars to the best of British in Savoy Grill by Gordon Ramsay, the River Restaurant, a classic yet stylish new venue, celebrates the best of British seafood and shellfish, to a traditional Afternoon Tea. The American Bar was not open during our stay (stupid COVID strikes again) but being in the space you can sense the incredible energy from the longest surviving cocktail bar in London and one of the most renowned in the world. The walls are adorned with photos of some of the legendary people who have graced stools.
Location: The Stafford has an enviable central London location in St. James, Mayfair, an area known for its picturesque streets, boutique shopping spots, and fine dining. A little tucked away from the tourist areas, the Stafford still puts you within easy reach of London’s famous landmarks, close to the theaters of the West End, and a stone’s throw from iconic Bond Street and Oxford Street shopping.
Design: You will feel like you are staying in your very own London townhouse in The Stafford’s rooms and townhouse-style suites. The Stafford’s buildings once belonged to lords, so you can expect accommodations befitting the British aristocracy. The Main House mixes grand Victorian style with modern comfort, while the Carriage House offers a countryside feel in the heart of London. If you want quintessential London, this is the place.
Rooms: Its 107 rooms and suites are in three areas: the Mews, the Carriage House, and the Main House. All rooms and suites have individual color schemes with patterned wallpapers, four-poster beds, and bespoke furniture. Suites offer king- or queen-sized beds, spacious layouts, marble bathrooms, and cozy seating areas. Channeling private residences, the Mews suites are in the courtyard of the Main House, offering complete quiet and privacy amid the hustle and bustle of London. For an anglophile like me, this hotel felt the most authentic, and I may have let a tear slip when I opened the window to see the rooftops of St. James and felt like I was Mary Poppins.
Dining: The on-site restaurant, The Game Bird, is award-winning. The private dining room is a favorite of the Queen herself. Under the direction of celebrated Michelin-starred chef, Lisa Goodwin-Allen, The Game Bird is inspired by great seasonal, British produce and the bustle of historic St James’s. Every single dish that was served was impeccable from the fresh cod to the local lamb. The presentation of the apple mouse in a white chocolate apple was awe-inspiring.
Location: This elegant historic hotel is perfectly located opposite Kensington Palace and Gardens, making it perfect for families looking to unwind in the park after a day of sightseeing. The red brick hotel is just a short stroll from the legendary Royal Albert Hall, the Victoria & Albert, Science, and National History Museums as well as Notting Hill and the world-class shopping of Knightsbridge… Harrods anyone?
Design: The Milestone prides itself on pouring creativity into every room. Each guestroom is a work of art – a grand statement of color and style – adorned with fine fabrics, fresh flowers, antique furnishings, and unique artwork. I got to tour a room with a real Chagall!
Rooms: This boutique hotel is home to 43 Deluxe Rooms and 16 luxury suites.No two rooms or suites are alike but you can expect opulent fabrics, antique furnishings, and… the unexpected. The flexible rooms and suites provide plenty of interconnecting options, with family wings. I particularly love the setup of the two-story Club Suite with its hidden passages.
Dining: Experience fine dining in Cheneston’s restaurant with its rich mahogany furniture; quintessentially British Afternoon Tea in the Park Lounge; or a light menu in our unique split-level Stables Bar. For a really unique meal, The Milestone offers picnics or traditional afternoon teas in beautiful wicker baskets that you can enjoy in Kensington Gardens.
I also got the opportunity to visit two incredible properties in Oxfordshire that I will be detailing more in an upcoming post about outside of London, so make sure to like my page on Facebook so you know when that gets published.
If you are ready to have the family vacation you’ve been dreaming of, without spending time researching, planning, and making it happen, schedule a call today. I’m here to help busy working Moms plan, organize and book the perfect family vacation. With me, all you have to worry about is enjoying your well-earned time away with your family. If you are ready to stop trying to do everything on your own and see how I can help you schedule a complimentary trip planning session now. Also, check out my free guide for 18 family-friendly vacation destinations so you can get away from daily distractions and enjoy the time you have with your children.
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