The Romans called it Londinium, we know it today as London. This colorful and vibrant city has been a major settlement for over two millennia. Located on the River Thames in South-East England, London is a global centre for culture, arts, industry and government and asttracts the most international visitors of any city in the world. Steeped in centuries of history and culture, there are many attractions, monuments, events and things to do in London. Considered one of the great world cities, London is a fabulous holiday destination for families and children.
This photo of Buckingham Palace is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Buckingham Palace – Start the day by bringing your children to this iconic symbol of British sovereignty. Located in the city of Westminster, Buckingham Palace is the London home and primary residence of the British Monarch, Her Majesty The Queen, as well as the administrative headquarters of the Royal Household. It is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today. Today the State Rooms are used extensively by The Queen and Members of the Royal Family to receive and entertain their guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions. During August and September when The Queen makes her annual visit to Scotland, the Palace’s nineteen state rooms are open to visitors. The State Rooms form the heart of the working palace and are lavishly furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection – paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin and Canaletto; sculpture by Canova; exquisite examples of Sèvres porcelain; and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world.
Changing the Guard – After touring Buckingham Palace, hang around and be prepared for a display of British pomp and ceremony – the Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace. Changing the Guard or Guard Mounting is the process involving a new guard exchanging duty with the old guard. The Guard that looks after Buckingham Palace is called The Queen’s Guard and is divided into two Detachments: the Buckingham Palace Detachment (responsible for guarding Buckingham Palace) and the St James’s Palace Detachment (responsible for guarding St. James’s Palace)
This photo of Changing of the Guard is courtesy of TripAdvisor
These guard duties are normally provided by a battalion of the Household Division and occasionally by other infantry battalions or other units. When Guardsmen are on duty, the soldiers are drawn from one of the five regiments of Foot Guards in the British Army: the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards, the Welsh Guards, the Grenadier Guards and the Coldstream Guards. The handover is accompanied by a Guards band. The music played ranges from traditional military marches to songs from films and musicals and even familiar pop songs. When The Queen is in residence, there are four sentries at the front of the building. When she is away there are two. The Queen’s Guards usually consist of Foot Guards in their full-dress uniform of red tunics and bearskins.
Quick tip: If you’re planning on watching the Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, it is best to arrive early to get the best spot to watch the ceremony. If you are not keen on jostling and squeezing with the crowd, we suggest watching the ceremony at St. James’s Palace, it is great for families with kids or elderly as there are less people watching.
St. James’s Park -After visiting Buckingham Palace and watching the Changing the Guard, walk over with the family to St. James’s Park for a lovely lunch picnic and take in the lush greenery of this historical park. Once a marshy water meadow, St. James’s Park is the oldest Royal Park in London and is surrounded by three palaces. The most ancient is Westminster, which has now become the Houses of Parliament, St James’s Palace and of course, the best known, Buckingham Palace. With royal, political and literary associations, St James’s Park is at the heart of London and covers 23 hectares (58 acres). Also home to the Mall, with many ceremonial parades and events of national celebration. The pelicans are fed every day at 2.30pm), and there are water birds, plus owls, woodpeckers and bats. There is even a children’s playground so kids can play there while parents lounge around on the deck chairs scattered throughout the parks (Apr-Sept). And if everyone is up for it, you can walk off the lunch on one of the guided walks provided. There are also free weekend concerts at lunchtime and early evening (mid June-end Aug).
British Museum – After lunch, bring the children to one of those most remarkable museums in London. Founded in 1753, the British Museum’s extensive collection spans over two million years of human history. The origins of the British Museum lie in the will of the physician, naturalist and collector, Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753).
Over his lifetime, Sir Sloane collected more than 71,000 objects which he wanted to be preserved intact after his death. So he bequeathed the whole collection to King George II for the nation in return for a payment of £20,000 to his heirs. The gift was accepted and on 7 June 1753, an Act of Parliament established the British Museum. The founding collections largely consisted of books, manuscripts and natural specimens with some antiquities (including coins and medals, prints and drawings) and ethnographic material. In 1757 King George II donated the ‘Old Royal Library’ of the sovereigns of England and with it the privilege of copyright receipt.
This photo of British Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor
The British Museum opened to the public on 15 January 1759 . It was first housed in a seventeenth-century mansion, Montagu House, in Bloomsbury on the site of today’s building. The museum was open to to ‘all studious and curious Persons’ and even now it remains free to all. Visitors are able to enjoy a unique comparison of the treasures of world cultures under one roof, centred around the magnificent Great Court. World-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies are also on display. Today, over six million people visit the museum every year, making this one of the world and London’s must see museum. Given the enormity of the collections and the museum in general, be prepared to stay here till evening.
The museum is free for visitors and is opened daily 10.00–17.30, Fridays until 20.30.
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Just round the corner from Gloucester Road underground station the property is only a stone’s throw away from Britain’s most fashionable shopping areas. Kensington is also home to many chic restaurants, bars and cafes as well as major tourist attractions such as Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall, The Natural History & Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. And with Harrods, Harvey Nichols and many of London’s top couture boutiques just down the roads celebrity spotting is a distinct possibility.