UK is a popular destination for families, even those with little ones between 1 to 4 years of age would find it a charming place to visit. We got protips from a mum Rachel who travelled to UK recently with her 3 year old son.
Travelling to with a Preschooler
Children growing up in this era will be pretty used to wearing masks even throughout the long-haul flight. Have your hand sanitisers and wet wipes ready always. In the UK, masks have to be worn in enclosed spaces so don’t forget to bring more disposable masks.
Handwashing frequently is also recommended, especially after assessing high touch zones in museums or playgrounds.
Visiting UK with Your Preschooler
Every place will yield its surprises for the little ones and you would chance upon spots you might not find on maps. Rachel recommended some places to visit, and some of them are not your usual haunts!
1. Chinatown for Dim Sum and the Biggest LEGO store
Love dim sum? You should not miss Chinatown in London for the Cantonese cuisine! Locals favour Joy King Lau, A Wong and Phoenix Palace.
Drop by the biggest LEGO store at Leicester Square too for photo opportunities with the figurines that you will only find in London, like the life-sized Underground train car with Shakespeare and a Queen’s guard.
2. Markets such as Borough Market
There’s much to see at markets and plenty to fill those tummies too. Think fresh bakes, breads, pastries, fresh produce that look very different from our markets here!
3. London Transport Museum
Children who love vehicles would love the London Transport Museum. It brings to life the history of London’s public transport network – buses, trains, tubes, and taxis. Families will be captivated by the interactivity of the exhibits and displays.
4. Daunt Books and other Children bookstores
Since the weather in London can be a tad rainy, how about getting lost in a bookstore? London has great bookstores and a superb treasury of books for the children.
Daunt Books is one that is well-loved, its Marylebone store is housed in an old building built for antiquarian booksellers in 1910. Its beautiful arched window is partly glazed with stained glass. Get your fill of literature at one of the many bookstores littered through London.
5. Playgrounds and Parks
Expending energy is a must, especially to combat jetlag. There are many parks to choose – St James, Hyde Park, The Regent’s just to name a few.
Playgrounds can be found quite easily as well. Some spontaneous exploring might surprise you with a neighbourhood playground that will delight your toddler.
6. Legoland in Windsor
Legoland is perfect for a quick trip out of London. Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy the child-centric amusement park and the train rides. Rachel highly recommends Legoland Castle Hotel which is very well-maintained and would clearly captivate the little ones with its theme of knights and magic.
7. Peak District
One big draw about UK is the scenery. Take a trip out of London to experience the quaint English countryside and rolling green hills. Peak District is a less touristy alternative to Lake District. Rachel recommends visiting Chatsworth House which has a farm and adventure playground next to a mansion full of works of art and sculptures.
The Chatsworth House playground is a must-visit! It has a working farmyard with farm animals, woodland playground with zipline, water and sand play.
Top Tips Travelling with a Toddler or Preschooler
We also asked Rachel her top tips travelling with her 3 year old. As someone who lived in UK for a number of years, this was her first trip back with a young child. While she was familiar with the place, the holiday was a very different experience as a parent.
Be flexible with THE plan
Rachel recommends having a plan but exercise plenty of flexibility. Even though she accomplished 30% of the plan, she felt that the best memories came from spontaneous and unplanned moments. For instance, they witnessed a minor mishap with ambulance and police arriving at the scene. This was such a “magical” moment for a toddler who could witness the emergency team in action. And your child won’t know what he missed on the bucket list so enjoy the places you make it to!
Enjoy the moments making memories
The joy of parents usually comes when the child is happy. While it might seem like the holiday is all about participating in activities that are child-centric, it is about enjoying the moment together with the child and making memories.
Choose Activities for the Adults
Children will find joy in the littlest things, so don’t forget to include activities for the adults. Time it during nap times or just include your child in a chosen activity. If there is more than one adult, take turns to choose your desired agenda.
We hope the tips from Rachel helps with your holiday planning to the UK. If you have more tips to share, tag us @littledayout and we welcome your contribution!