Cherrio! London with Baby

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

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!

London 20131006






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.

30 comments:

  1. That picture of the two of you together is amazing! You look so much alike!

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    1. Thanks so much! That is a very high compliment :)

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  2. Perfect timing, we're off to London in March and I was going to dig up your Germany post for tips on traveling with a baby! Do you have any advice on baby jet leg (going there, and back)? Also, did you take your stroller on the tube? I'm a little worried about those itty bitty little subway cars they have there.

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    1. When it comes to jet lag so much depends on the child. Agatha isn't the best sleeper so she doesn't take that well to us trying to manipulate her internal clock. So we just go with the flow and it tends to only take a couple of days to get her on a normal schedule both coming and going. That seems like a lot but when we are on vacation, being off a normal schedule isn't really an issue since we are also not on a schedule. Its a lot more annoying when we get back and have to go back to work.

      I dont think the tube is very baby friendly - even the stops that say they have elevators didn't always have them operational. That said we did take the tube to and from the airport as well as a few short trips and we did fine. When possible I would take the bus (which is pretty much an option for nearly every destination)

      Have a great time!!

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  3. Looks like you had great weather too!, i need to stop worrying about everything 'different ruining sleep too :) I am also curious about the jet lag! (See previous comment about worrying)

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    1. We've been a few times in the fall/spring and we always luck out (our winter trips on the other hand have been terrible) .

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  4. We love London and agree that it's very kid-friendly. We lived in the UK for four years and had two children there. When I first ventured onto the Tube/bus/trains with buggy and grocery bags, I was taken aback by all the special assistance I was offered. At first, I refused the help and I think offended many kind people but soon realized that it's just the British way -- to help out. London has terrific play parks - nothing that I've been able to see matched here in Canada and we loved the London Zoo, Regent Park, Borough Market, Tate Modern and the Natural History Museum which received multiple visits.

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    1. Oh I've never been to the zoo there - I will have to check it out next time.

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  5. I love love London! That's so great that you guys have been able to travel with her! Very impressive. Such great pictures too, obviously.

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  6. Such wonderful photos, she may not be able to remember it but she will certainly have beautiful photos as proof she was there.

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  7. Your post is so timely. We are visiting London and Edinburgh in March so I will be sure to explore those spots you recommended. Fingers crossed we don't run into a rainy stretch.

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    1. Oh I want to hear all about Edinburgh. I've never been to Scotland but I'd love to go.

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  8. I loved the recap. Definitely not too long! And I can never get enough pictures of Aggie. What a cutie!

    I am very impressed that the three of you were able to pack in one suitcase. VERY impressed. You might have to share your strategy because I don't know a whole lot of people who can even get two people into a single suitcase.

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    1. Well Im one of those people that pack as much as my suitcase holds. So if I have a big suitcase all to myself, I will drag much more stuff than I will possibly use just because the space is available. So the strategy here is to limit the space available and therefore be forced to bring much less. Totally worth it in exchange for not having to carry extra baggage. Of course a laundry stop is a necessity and I never bring any fancy clothing so its just simple, easy mix and match stuff for all of us.

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  9. I've recently relocated to London from Seattle and really enjoyed seeing your perspective of sights to see in London as a visitor. I need to be a better tourist in my own town now. I'll add that Sunday brunch recommendation into my weekend to-do list. I'm also really impressed how far and frequently you travel with a baby. Good on you for staying true to your love for travel, I hope I'm the same way when I have kids one day.

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    1. Oh how fun. Would love to live in London for a little while. Not really practical for us but Ill live vicariously through you :)

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  10. Agatha is so beautiful & I love the photograph of the two of you together. I've never been to London but I would love to see the flower market. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  11. My husband and I went to Seoul in April 2012 to adopt our son, who was 21 months old. We stayed in the Gangum district because it was close to our agency and only learned when we got home (because of the song) that it's one of the swankier parts of town. Seoul is interesting because the ancient and the modern coexist in very close quarters. One of our favorite pictures is of a thousand-year-old temple with a skyscraper in the background. For kids, I recommend the parks on the riverwalk (especially if you go in the spring) and the aquarium at the Coex mall. The time change is a full 12 hours, so I have to warn you that the jetlag is a bear. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks so much for the tips. Did you find Gangham particularly interesting? It seems most of the attractions are outside that area.

      Yes, jetlag is my biggest fear on this trip. No so much going because we will be on vacation and not have to be on a strict schedule but I'm not sure how long it will take for her to get back on schedule once I'm home and have to go back to work! But the only way we will find out is by going :)

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    2. It was at least a week for him to make the switch, and my husband and I felt pretty rough for a while also. Our pediatrician advised melatonin, and I think it helped.

      You're right... Gangham is mostly shops and offices, but there was a Marriott that we could pay for with points right down the street from the agency. We didn't do a lot of sight-seeing... we went to Insadong and to Gyeongbokgung Palace on the subway, which is excellent but very crowded. Once we had our son, we mostly looked for playgrounds!

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  12. London looks like fun. Your photos are wonderful and Agatha grabs me her gorgeous eyes. Great post!

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  13. I am sending this post to my husband. He is scared to travel with our 1 year old.

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    1. I totally get the fear - I was right there with him. But the reality is so much better than your fears. Go for it!

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  14. Glad to hear about your successful trip. And Aggie is such a cutie!!

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  15. So great to read this! Love the photos, and all of the tips and stories of travelling avec bebe. We are planning a trip to England in May with our daughter who will then be 10 months! We are going to be mostly in the south west - a mix of visiting family and renting an apt in Torquay - but it's super to read about your experience. I can totally relate to the "stop worrying, and get on with life" advice. Trying to work on that myself!

    Did you have to do a red eye flight? Any tips? We have done daytime flights so far, but nothing overnight.

    Thanks! xo.

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    1. The topic of red eye flights is a touchy one. We generally try to avoid them b/c on the off chance Aggie decides to scream the whole way, we are ruining a nights sleep for the whole cabin. That said, they are sometimes unavoidable so when we have done them, its actually been 100X easier than day flights because once she settles down, she sleeps the whole way. We can watch a movie or sort of eat our meals (one person eats while the other holds). Its much harder to keep her entertained while she is awake. So all that to say go for the red eye if you think your daughter will sleep.

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  16. I loved reading this to see how you continue to travel with a child. I hate hearing so many people saying it can't be done. I do not have children yet but I say it can be done it just might take a little longer. Good for you and can't wait to read about Korea. I have not been but my husband has been and really enjoyed his time there.

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    1. Thanks! It's definitely harder so I'm not going to pretend like its exactly the same as it was before. And our destinations choices are a lot more limited - we wouldn't feel quite as comfortable going to someplace extremely remote or politically unstable. But really, I think the people who say its not possible to travel once you have a baby are people that either a) never traveled before and/or b) dont really enjoy traveling for the purposes of exploring. If your primary goal of traveling is relaxing then I will succeed that its completely pointless with a baby so you might as well stay home. But we never relaxed on vacation before so this is no different.

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  17. Thank you thank you thank you for all the info. London is definitely on my list of places to visit with my boys. Looks wonderful!

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  18. Yay you went to Columbia Road knew you'd like it x

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