Family Trip To London This Half Term - From £99pp
Family Breaks are Back! - Your Half-Term London Adventure
Finally, the end is in sight. With restrictions beginning to ease, many families are looking for a well-deserved break. While foreign travel is still challenging for all but the most determined, domestic holidays or ‘stay-cations’ are the obvious choice for most families.
Berry’s Coaches run their Superfast Service to London daily, so what could be better than a trip to London to spend quality time with the family over the May half-term holidays.
It’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the current restrictions. The big change is that indoor events, entertainment, attractions, and hospitality (pubs, bars, restaurants) can all reopen indoors. Though obviously there will be some form of venue specific rules and regulation. This opens up a huge opportunity to explore and experience London in a way we haven’t been able to for nearly a year.
So without further ado, let’s look at a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids), and how you might enjoy the half-term break in London.
All activities have been checked and were open (or planning to be open) during the half-term. Most activities require pre-booking as a way of controlling numbers. However, as this is a dynamic situation, please check with the venue before attending.
The Holiday Inn Express Hammersmith is excellently located near to our drop off point, at a price that’s hard to beat. It’s also fantastically connected with travel links across London (District Line, Hammersmith & City Line). Not only does this make it super convenient to pick up and drop off luggage, but you can also get to most major attractions in the city within 30 minutes. It doesn’t have the maximum convenience of being in the centre of London. However, given you’ll mostly be using it for sleeping, you’ll be thankful for the lack of noise. And with family rooms at £158 for 3 nights including breakfast(!) – it’s very hard to complain. If your pockets go a little deeper, you might consider the Holiday Inn Express London City (£283 for 3 nights). It’s a little more central, making most listed activities walkable.
Arrive in Hammersmith by Berrys Coach.
Drop the bags at the hotel. If you have booked the hotel in Hammersmith – this should be a 5-minute walk.
With over 8 million objects in its collection, and about 80,000 on display, there’s lots to love at the British Museum. This place doesn’t do stuffy artefacts. Kids will immediately be drawn to the Egyptian room, with stories of ancient mummies and secret tombs. The Easter Island statues, and Rosetta Stone are also highlights that, with a little backstory, can pique their interest. Helpfully, the Museum also provides various activity sheets to keep the little ones entertained if they have particularly short attention spans. You can also sign up to their newsletter to keep on top of any upcoming family-friendly events. The easiest way to get there from Hammersmith is via the Piccadilly Line and exit at Holborn. It’s a short, 5-minute walk, and will give you the opportunity to grab a light bite from any of the 10s of sandwich shops along the way.
If you were ever in doubt that the retail sector wouldn’t survive, then a quick walk down Oxford Street should settle all fears. There’s plenty of department stores to take a look at. This includes the world’s biggest Primark, who offer certain services that you simply can’t get anywhere else. Kids will love the custom Disney t-shirts that are printed while-you-wait. They are fantastic and a bargain at under £10.
St Christopher’s Place
Cost: Free and approx. £30-40 for meal and drinks
Tucked away off Oxford Street is St Christopher’s Place. If you didn’t know it was there, you would miss it. A small collection of boutique shops and independent restaurants. Take a look around some of the stores before grabbing food. Our top recommendation is Home Slice, who serve massive (and I mean massive) 20” pizzas which coupled with a few sides is more than enough for a family of 4. Pizzas are around £20.
Retire to the hotel
The quickest way back is via the Central Line from Bond Street to White City. Then a short walk back to the hotel.
Up at the o2
Cost: £25 pp
After breakfast at the hotel, head over to North Greenwich station via the Piccadilly Line to Green Park before changing for Jubilee Line to reach your destination. By night, the o2 arena hosts various live events, but my day there’s the opportunity for an outdoor walking experience over its roof. It’s more suited to those with slightly older children (over 8 years old), though if you have a mixed age group (or a scaredy-cat parent) the o2 arena is just below for a coffee break. From the top, you will get fantastic panoramic views of the city and London as a whole, and the experience is highly memorable for kids and parents alike. Top tip – don’t but the tickets direct from the arena. You can significantly cut the price of the trip by using sellers such as buyagift.co.uk and combining with a promo code for the site. Doing so will bring the tickets to around £25 each.
Emirates Cable Car
Cost: £4 per adult, £2 per child (age 5-15), Lunch - £4 pp
If your views of London aren’t satisfied by the o2 area, or its out of budget, then a great addition is the Emirates Cable Car. You can pay with your Oyster card or contactless payment – which makes this a very easy trip. I would suggest doing it as a round trip and not getting off at the other end – there isn’t a huge amount to do other than grab a snack/lunch from a local supermarket. Hop back on the Jubilee Line at North Greenwich and get off the tube at Southwark to change for the 63 bus to Calthorpe Street.
Cost: Adult - £16, Child (3-15) - £9
The Postal Museum is a quirky throwback. While the world is glued to its emails, the Museum celebrates the history of post and the postal service. It covers the origins of the humble postcard, and just how your letter gets from A to B. While on the face of it, this doesn’t scream entertainment for kids, there is so many interactive activities that they’ll never be bored. The highlight of which is the underground ride on the Mail Rail – a new retired mini underground shuttle designed to deliver post across London.
Take the 19/38 bus and get off at Cambridge Circus. Take a short walk south until you find Trafalgar Square. From there you can explore the square, or just take a walk straight down the tree-lined Mall towards Buckingham Palace. This offers a great evening stroll towards the quintessential London landmark.
Cost: Approx. £18 per head for main and drinks
Hop on the number 9 bus towards Hammersmith, getting off at Phillimore Gardens for an evening meal at Sticky Fingers. Much as the name suggests, this is an all-American rock and roll restaurant, but remains very kid friendly. Expect classic burgers, Mexican foods, and a big ole jukebox full of American classics.
Retire for the night
The 27 bus towards Hammersmith will take you pretty much from the restaurant door to the hotel.
Cost: Museum – FREE. Show - Adults £20, Under 12s - free, children (12-17) - £15.
If you can get tickets, then the V&A are hosting a blockbuster theatrical show called Alice; Curious and Curiouser. It explores the history and re-imagining of the story through live performances. If you’d rather not attend, or the budget doesn’t allow, then the V&A is still an awesome place to visit. With its general celebration of human creativity, it has exhibits on fashion, design and culture throughout modern history. The quickest way there is via the District Line from Hammersmith to South Kensington.
Stop for a bite to eat at Gail’s (eat in or takeaway), before taking the District Line from South Kensington to Monument. At Monument, cross the bridge over the Thames to arrive at Borough Market.
Borough Market and the South Bank
If you didn’t manage to eat at Gail’s, or you fancy an after-lunch snack, then Borough Market will satisfy your tastebuds. Chock full of international sweet and savoury treats, the market is an experience in itself. After gorging, continue down the South Bank and admire the views across the Thames. You will hit many of the major London landmarks along the way – Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben to name but a few. If you wish you can go on the London Eye, though from experience, its expensive and quite underwhelming. You got better views from the O2! Cross the Golden Jubilee Bridge to Embankment, and continue north until you hit Covent Garden
Covent Garden is a great place to mill around the various boutique shops in the market. There are usually street performers, which the kids will love. When you’re done shopping, you can grab something to eat from one of many chain restaurants in the area, though just be sure to make a special journey to nearby Whipped London for a cheesecake or other delicious dessert. You can head back to the hotel via the Piccadilly Line straight from Covent Garden to Hammersmith.
Monkey Business – Horniman Museum
10.00 – 13:00
Cost: Museum – Free. Exhibit - £18 for a family of 4
The Monkey Business exhibit swings into action at the Horniman Museum. This teaches kids about different primates, from the tiny mouse lemur to the silverback gorilla, and how they all evolved. Expect fun monkey facts, an ecological message, and lots of display apes! Tickets need to be booked in advance and include entry to the Museum as well as the exhibit. It’s a bit of a journey, however the simplest route is to take the District Line from Hammersmith to Victoria Station, before picking up the 185 bus which will take you right to the door.
Head back into central London via the 176 towards Tottenham Court Road and jump off at Elephant and Castle. Transfer to the Northern Line through to Camden Town Station.
Plonk Indoor Mini Golf
Cost: £9 per adult, £5 per child
Prior to the golf, there’s plenty of street food vendors in the marketplace to suit all tastes and budgets. Though I would recommend Hans & Gretel, sweet-tooth heaven (one for the kids for sure!).
Plonk is a bright indoor crazy-golf venue which will bring out everyone’s competitive edge. With the Aztec theme, there’s not a windmill in sight, which makes it fun, engaging, and will keep the kids out of mischief. Some of the courses are fiendishly difficult, so don’t be surprised if the kids win with some lucky fluke shots.
If you have time left, then you can take a look around Camden Market. There are lots of curios to be explored before hopping back on the Northern Line to Leicester Square, then transferring to the Piccadilly Line back to Hammersmith.
Hammersmith Bus Pick Up
Swing by the hotel to collect your bags, before boarding the coach to end your break.
We hope you enjoyed these ideas for your stay in London. If you want to bring this guide to life, Berrys Coaches is a convenient, affordable way to visit the capital. With our London Superfast service, you can be in the capital in no time at all. Why wait? Book now.
While the timings offer a rough guide, the time you spend at each activity will vary from group to group. You are ultimately responsible for getting back to the coach on time, so do make sure you give enough time for any potential travel delays. Passengers should be back at Hammersmith Bus Station (Stop D) at least 15 minutes prior to the pre-booked departure time. Unfortunately, the coach is not able to wait if you are running late.
London transport costs are a rough guide. The London Underground will usually be a lower-cost alternative to a taxi or Uber. The Underground is charged per person, whereas Uber is charged per vehicle. Depending on the journey, one may be cheaper than the other. Remember walking is free!
Prices were checked on writing this blog. Please always check venues prior to travel in case of any changes due to COVID-19.