This trip recap is quite late in coming but I really wanted to go a little more in depth on our experiences with traveling to London with a baby.
Back in October, we spent five fabulous days in London with baby Aggie in tow. We have been to London several times before but it never loses its charm. There is always something new to discover here but that is especially true when traveling with an infant. In general, London is a very easy place to enjoy as an English speaking tourist but gets extra gold stars for being so very baby friendly. Dare I say, it was easier to spend time in London than it is in NY!
Obviously, a 10 month old has no clue where she is so we didn't travel to London for Agatha but for us. That meant we got to enjoy all our usual favorite spots in the city including Notting Hill and Borough Market as well as adding some new favorite spots like Columbia Road Flower Market (big thanks to those of you recommended a visit there) and the Brick Lane Backyard. I also loved our shopping stops at Liberty, Hoxton Street Monster Supplies and Selfridges. Old or new, experiencing them as a threesome definitely gave us some new perspectives. Yes it does take longer with diaper change stops and making sure she is taken care of but we still got to do almost everything we would do anyway. In other words, we didn't really do many child specific activities.
Having had great experiences in staying in apartment like hotels in Germany, we went one step further this time and rented a full on apartment. We used a company called One Fine Stay and stayed in this flat. This particular company is a little pricier than other vacation rental companies like airbnb, etc. because they give you a few extra amenities like an iphone, but it was well worth it for us. We specifically picked an apartment that had a washer and dryer which was key. Highly recommend!
Another fabulous thing about London is that the place is loaded with drug store/grocery stores/baby clothing shops which means that you could essentially forget just about your entire suitcase and you would be able to restock easily. (Even before baby, I loved spending time in foreign supermarkets and drug stores so this gives me a great excuse.) Practically speaking, that meant we didn't have to use up precious room in our one suitcase (yes, we take 1 suitcase for all 3 of us!) for diapers and other necessities. It also meant we wear the same few outfits the whole trip.
We are very fortunate that Agatha enjoys a relatively early bed time but that can sometimes cause some issues in eating dinner out while on vacation. So we master the art of "linner" - a single meal a little late for lunch and a little early for dinner that happens to be at the perfect hunger apex. That helps in a couple of ways. First, we get to enjoy a relatively relaxing meal when most restaurants are empty, servers have plenty of patience for us and no one is annoyed by stroller toting patrons. Added bonus: its much cheaper than eating out 2x. We stumbled upon the Princess of Shoreditch pub that does a lovely Sunday roast, is baby friendly and has enough cache to keep a foodie happy - definitely a new favorite stop for us.
Traveling around the expanse of London with a stroller is so easy with a bus pass. They allow you to roll your stroller right onto the bus without collapsing it (which is definitely NOT allowed here in NYC). The bus pretty much takes you everywhere and you get to enjoy the view of the city for the ride. Its not quite as speedy as the tube, its far more enjoyable in every way.
And finally London has some really fabulous parks which you can spend lots of little one time. By far the best playground I've ever been to is smack dab in the middle of the city - the Princess Diana Memorial Playground. It's absolutely beautiful and such a joy to spend time in, it really should be an attraction in of itself. While Agatha was too young to really get the most out of it, she still had lots of laughs on the swings - I can't wait to take her back!
We had such a wonderful time re-exploring London and making lots of new memories with Agatha that I really can't recommend it highly enough for family travel. Despite my concerns about ruining her sleep schedule or dealing with a crying nightmare on a transatlantic flight, everything worked out well. Which just reminds me that I should just stop worrying in general and get on with life. (A lesson easier said than learned!)
For those of you that have made it this far into the post: we are thinking about a trip to Korea later in the year. Anyone been?
Phew..that was a long one. I hope you didn't mind so many details. Want to see more of our travels and photographs? Head over to the travel section.
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