London's best family-friendly hotels offer the perfect gateway to the city. From Hamleys’ overflowing shelves and some of the world's best attractions to the Science Museum’s inspiring exhibits, London is a magical playground for children. If you’re planning a family break to the city make sure you choose a hotel that knows how to make your stay really special. There are hotels that will bring milk and cookies to your little ones beds before they go to sleep, where you can hire miniature scooters to race around Hyde Park, and one that even has its own bowling alley. Below are ten of our favourite family hotels in London – they’ll soon make you wish you were six again!
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London's best family-friendly hotels
Children will love the futuristic exterior of this vast modern hotel close to City Airport. And whilst it’s a little out of the centre, Aloft is close to the Emirates Air Line cable car with its stomach-dropping views of the city and the attractions in Greenwich, including the O2 and the Cutty Sark ‘pirate’ ship. For 2-12-year-olds the hotel offers a welcome programme which includes healthy snacks and a sticker map, plus there’s a decent-sized indoor, heated pool.
Not all design hotels feel welcoming to families, but thankfully The Ampersand is an exception. The suites here come with small kitchenettes to give you the flexibility you need when feeding tiny mouths. There’s also a games room – dominated by a ping-pong table which older kids and adults alike will be thrilled to discover. But what’s really great is the hotel’s location – it’s just around the corner from the V&A, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum, three of London’s superior family attractions.
There’s a dedicated children’s concierge at The Athenaeum, which is charged with keeping your brood happy and entertained during your stay. Said concierge is armed with snacks, a vast DVD collection and even kites and footballs for outdoor games. They’ll also sort out trips for you – whether you want to head to Theatreland to see Wicked or get up close to the Beefeaters outside Her Maj’s house. This luxurious art deco hotel also looks out over Green Park so energetic children have acres of green space in which to let off steam.
This slick Mayfair establishment, which first opened its doors in 1837, really goes all out when it comes to children. There are kids’ check-in cards, turndowns with milk and cookies, rubber ducks in the bathrooms and a spa that does mini-treatments for those aged 4-16. There are several seasonal family packages – keep your eye on their offers pages. And in the restaurant, under 10s eat for free (certain times apply). You’re also very well placed for the toy Mecca that is Hamleys.
Ham Yard’s colourful and eclectic design means that kids will be as enchanted as adults in this oh-so-elegant Soho residence. As well as the important practical stuff – like interconnecting rooms and a babysitting service – there are also some cute extras: mini bathrobes, milk and cookies at bedtime and books and board games galore. And wait until they discover the secret in the basement: a beautiful original 1950s bowling alley. It’s magical!
This large modern hotel next to Waterloo station is a surprisingly excellent choice for families. First up is the location: it’s right next to the London Eye, Shrek’s Adventure, the Sea Life Aquarium and the London Dungeon. That little lot will keep you busy for the first few days. It also treats young guests like VIPs: on arrival children get a goodie bag, plus there are scheduled weekly events including pizza-making workshops and movie nights which give parents a welcome breather.
London’s fanciest hotel makes sure children feel just as pampered as the adults. The Kidz @ the Ritz programme offers a heap of special services to under-16s. There are in-room games consoles, books and DVDs; welcome gifts; turndown treats and, most excitingly, free ice cream in The Palm Court and Ritz Restaurant (prepare for serious sugar highs). For parents staying in the suites children up to the age of 15 can stay with them for free.
A few roads away from the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe and the ‘wobbly’ Millennium Bridge you’ll find this modern hotel which, rather unusually for London, has rooms spacious enough to swing a cat in. Those aren’t the only things that make this Hilton attractive to families: there’s also a heated indoor pool, and compared to its central London counterparts it’s not exorbitantly priced.
Venue says: “Book direct to receive a complimentary cocktail on arrival, best price guarantee and a host of other special benefits.”
This is a great boutique option in a less-touristy and picturesque part of London. In a converted Victorian warehouse Zetter has 59 rooms decorated with joyful splashes of colour. Offers are available on inter-connecting rooms and there are fun additions like colouring books, mini bathrobes and balloons to make your little ones smile. Clerkenwell is a culinary hub so your family’s guaranteed some of the best dishes in London without straying too far from your room.
Three words for you: free mini scooters. Yes, the Royal Garden Hotel, which is right on beautiful Kensington Gardens, hires out scooters for families so they can explore Hyde Park. And that’s not all, there are also some more practical reasons why RGH is a good choice for families: its Executive Rooms sleep two adults and two children and small ones get a free breakfast – which they’ll certainly need to set them up for all that zipping around on two wheels.