Our Summer in London with Baby: 10 Things We Love
Updated: Mar 1, 2019
Summer in London is magnificent. Think long days, beautiful sunsets and a bustling city filled with happy vibrant people. Summer in London means that pavements spill over with people flooding bars and gastropubs, barbecues are on the go, the lidos are all the rage, and parks are filled with laughing families and friends. It also means that many of the city residents leave for holidays in mainland Europe in July and August so the city is not so full. This is what I love about the season. Perhaps this article can inspire you to embrace Summer in London.
Having lived in Central London for more than 14 years and really making the most of the city, we got to know the city and what it offers VERY well. But this was a different Summer for us, it was our first proper Summer with our little one as he was born at the end of July last year which meant August was a month of recovery. I have collated 10 of our favourite activities that we shared with him this Summer. I hope you enjoy trying these if you live in the city, on your next visit, or something similar in your local vicinity!
1) This Summer we spent more time in the parks than anywhere else. Baby loves crawling (and walking on the grass), picnics, and also the Royal Parks for a picnic, afternoon concert or row on the lake. We stay close to Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Holland Park, so these are our go tos. However, Regents Park, Hampstead Heath and St James Park often got a visit from us too. We sometimes packed a picnic from a yummy local patisserie or Harrods food hall; ordered from the local restaurants via a Deliveroo or Uber Eats; or grabbed something from the park’s local cafes if we were short on time. Our baby loves the swings so the children's play areas at Hyde and Holland Park, work a treat.
2) We took baby to London Sea Life Aquarium and London Zoo as he loves the colours and animals, especially after the safari in South Africa. We also visited a few locations with family visiting such as Kensington Palace & the Shard for immaculate views. We are considering getting a London Pass as he gets older as this offers entry to top 80+ attractions which we will certainly use.
3) Kensington has some of the top London museums, which are free, with the only paid for entry being special exhibits. The National History Museum, V&A Museum and Science Museum are some of baby's favourites so we spend much time there, especially on rainy days. We do plan on taking him to the British Museum to learn about History when he is older.
4) Baby loved the boat tour of the Thames from Westminster to Greenwich and saw many major icons like Big Ben and the London Eye on the way. Its perfect as its a different mode of transport and let him take in so many sites along the way.
5) The Royal Albert Hall puts on some excellent children’s concerts if your little ones love classical music, which our little one loves. He loved the children's orchestra we attended and there's plenty more on till the rest of the year that we have pre-booked.
6) London has some amazing lido’s to cool off! We often use the pool at our gym but the lido at Parliament Hill has been a different experience for baby. Lots of children and sunshine. Photo Credit @spather on instagram.
7) We embrace the markets that London offers such as the Portobello Road market for antiques and quirky finds or the Borough Market for delicious food. London’s cosmopolitan nature means that the city offers so much from around the globe and the little one gets to try new foods or experiences.
8) Alexander adored Kew Gardens with all the beautiful flowers, extensive gardens and even a bit of history thrown in for the adults with Kew Palace. We visited in Summer and Winter as its such a treat.
9) A seasonal favourite we tried this year with baby, is the Holland Park Opera, which hosted a child friendly ballet by the Royal Ballet School. Our child was mesmerised and thoroughly enjoyed it. He sat through a 2.5 hour ballet with a 30 minute break with no complaints. That surely says something, doesn't it?
10) We attended only one of these with baby so far this year, but I thought to include some baby friendly Summer offerings that we tried in the past.
- If you up to it, the Notting Hill carnival happens on the 26th of August so try to visit to celebrate some Carribean culture. This is Europe’s biggest street party! The Sunday family day is recommended for children
- Wimbledon is the most famous tennis tournament in the world and takes place in London in July. Book resale seats as early as possible, watch at Wimbledon Hill, find a great open-air screening or view at a pub.
- The Royal Ascot is the United Kingdoms most famous horse races that takes place at the end of June. There are different enclosures to visit so please check the official website before booking tickets. The Royal Enclosure, which we attend below, is by invitation only and does not allow children, but the Queens Enclosure is available to book tickets and allows children. Each enclosure has a very specific dress code which needs to be adhered to to permit entry. The Royal Enclosure for example is synonymous with sartorial elegance so morning suits and top hats for men, and dresses below the knee and hats with minimum 30 cm diameter for women. Its a fantastic full day out and is lots of fun. You might even spot some of the royalty that attend!
The beauty about London is there is always something new going on, whether it be new pop-ups, restaurants, activities, shows, concerts, festivals, etc. Have a look at Kidsorted and Timeout for special features on any particular week or weekend. We use both these websites a lot for something different to do.
Hope you also enjoy some of the experiences we had. Let me know if you tried any of these and how if you enjoyed it!
Shanti | The Kensington Diary