5 years, 5 months ago
London is a huge city. Very few Londoners can claim to have explored every quirky village, secluded park and peaceful waterway that makes up their home. This is largely because, given the choice between spending an hour travelling across the city to a part of the city they perceive similar to their own or spending an hour travelling outside of the city to the countryside or beach, they will normally choose the latter.
A pity, when the scene changes are so varied and the shops, markets and foodie places really are different and there are activities that you can do with your children in one part of town that they wouldn’t be able to experience anywhere else on earth.
credit: Tom Ward
Guide books, tour operators and travel articles also often steer tourists to stay in and concentrate their exploring around the centre of the city. But central London is not always the best place to base yourself, especially if you are travelling with children.
So why not venture out of zone 1 on the London underground and spend some mean time in Greenwich, reinvent yourself with the upcycling artists of Stoke Newington or get down on the farm in Islington?
Each piece of London needs to be lingered over, drunk tea and eaten cake in and wandered aimlessly around before you can truly say you know it. And to become a Londoner even for a holiday, you need to live like a Londoner, in a home that is, not a hotel.
To find a rental property that feels like a home, search HouseTrip.com. When you stay in a HouseTrip property the owners are never far away. In many instances they will greet you with the keys and after telling you the ins and outs of their home they will tell you about their neighbourhood.
Staying near Goodge Street, for example? Well just behind you off the beautiful little pedestrianised street of Colville Place is the sweetest little park, complete with a children’s play area that at most times of the day your kids will have to themselves.
Or perhaps you’re in the yummy mummy territory of Queens Park? You simply have to stock up on freshly prepared Italian meals to take away from the Salusbury Food Store.
If you’re staying near the Tower of London, then you need to try and get tickets for the Order of the Key, the traditional locking up of the Tower ceremony that has been carried out every night for at least 700 years.
Just across the river in Blackheath you must head to the heath itself to watch the seriously good kite flyers in action every weekend.
Lovely London neighbourhood accommodation
If you are staying a little further outside of the centre, it’s nice to be able to hire a car so that you can spend some time going even further outside the capital, perhaps to spend a day at Windsor Castle or to do the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio tour or to visit Whipsnade Zoo. There aren’t many properties in London with free on site parking, which is why I like this super stylish three-bedroom, two bathroom apartment close to Queens Park. It has a parking space right out front. There are quite a lot of stairs involved so it’s not ideal for young children, but perfect for school age and above. It’s within walking distance of Queens Park with its buzzy pavement café scene, cool boutiques and beautiful park, which has a great playground, pitch and putt course and even a little zoo.
This two bedroom ground floor flat right in the heart of Notting Hill is more suited to young children as it’s step free inside. It has a lovely open plan living area and two nice airy bedrooms. Plus it is just steps from the boutiques, restaurants and bars of Notting Hill and Portobello Market. There is a garden square with a playground up the road too and you can hop on a bus or the tube to be in central London within minutes.
Browse the range of holiday apartments in London by visiting: www.housetrip.com/en/london
Featured image of Richmond Park by Kofi Opoku-Ansah.