Why You Should Visit London Museums With Kids On Your Next Family Trip to London

Why You Should Visit London Museums With Kids On Your Next Family Trip to London

On your next family trip to London, you should definitely check out some of the offerings at the London museums with kids in tow.  Invariably it will rain and you may be looking for indoor activities in London. With the wide choice of child friendly museums London will have an option for your family no matter the age of your children. Many of these free museums in London are among the best in the world! Fun museums for kids include the world-famous institutions such as the British Museum but also lesser known museums like the HMS Belfast. The best museums for children in London really do rank among the best things to do in London with kids.

London Museums With Kids

What’s one great thing about visiting London museums with kids? So many of them are free that if your child/teen is having a bad day, you can just leave the museum without feeling you have wasted your money.

On your next family trip to London, check out some of these fun museums for children. To be part of this round up of best kids museums London has to offer, these places all have plenty to do for children.

Among the family things to do in London, these museums make great indoor activities – London weather is unpredictable!

Skip the Line!  There are plenty of free museums in London but some of the best museums for children in London require admission fees, such as the HMS Belfast and the London Transport Museum. Buy your London Pass which gets you free access to these museums as well as a whole host of other London attractions.

5 of the Best Free Museums in London

Some of the best museums for children in London are some of the best museums in the world, period. These 5 of the best free museums in London are world-renowned institutions. In terms of child friendly museums London really is world class!

British Museum

Where to begin? The British Museum is a treasure trove – from the Rosetta Stone to portions of the Parthenon from Greece – this institution has something from every major civilisation. It is also very kid-friendly organising regular overnight sleepovers for kids aged from 8-15 related to its special exhibitions. There are also regular family events like discovery trails, activity backpacks and digital activities.

The British Museum should be on everyone’s list of great London museums for kids

The British Museum should be on everyone’s list of great London museums for kids

You can find the British Museum at Great Russell Street in London, WC1B 3DG.The nearest Tube stops are Tottenham Court Road, Holborn, Russell Square and Goodge Street,  It is open 7 days a week and free to visit.

V&A Museum

The V&A Museum is the world’s largest museum of art and design. What does that mean for kids? Cool recent exhibits have been about video game design. Every Christmas, the V&A Museum has famous architects make a futuristic Gingerbread City. They run family workshops where your kids can make gingerbread houses as well.  There are daily family activities as well such as activity trails and backpacks.

The modern entrance to the V&A Museum, undoubtedly one of the best free museums in London

The modern entrance to the V&A Museum, undoubtedly one of the best free museums in London

You can find the  V&A Museum at Cromwell Road in London, SW7 2RL. The nearest Tube Stop is South Kensington. It is open 7 days a week except for a few days at Christmas and free to visit.

Science Museum

The Science Museum has plenty to keep kids occupied with its permanent collection and special exhibitions. The highlight for children though will be the interactive exhibits at the Wonderlab. My kids could easily spend an entire day amongst the 50 odd exhibits and shows. The Wonderlab, however, is timed entry and paid admission so that it doesn’t get too crowded. We remember before they constructed the Wonderlab (with its timed entry) and admission was free and it was total chaos. Yes, you have to plan a bit more but we prefer the current system.

You can find the Science Museum at Exhibition Road in South Kensington, London SW7 2DD. The nearest Tube Stop is South Kensington. It is open 7 days a week except for a few days at Christmas and free to visit. You need to pay for the Wonderlab exhibitions which are totally worth the money.

Natural History Museum

Do your kids like dinosaurs? They will love the Natural History Museum. It’s got a great dinosaur collection as well as other exhibits on animals. Kids can also do overnight sleepovers with kids aged from 7-11 at the Natural History Museum.

One of the big London family attractions in December is the ice skating rink outside the Natural History Museum.

One of the big London family attractions in December is the ice skating rink outside the Natural History Museum.

You can find the Natural History Museum at Cromwell Road in London SW7 5BD. The nearest Tube Stop is South Kensington. It is open 7 days a week except for a few days at Christmas and free to visit. You need to pay for the Wonderlab exhibitions which are totally worth the money.

V&A Museum of Childhood

Although a bit out of the way, the V&A Museum of Childhood is easily accessible by public transportation and one of the best free museums in London for families. Although associated with one of the biggest museums in London, this branch of the V&A is one of the best museums for toddlers to. The museum is devoted to childhood through the ages but it is easily accessible for children such as by dressing up, playing with the dollhouses and activity packs.

You can find the V&A Museum of Childhood at Cambridge Heath Road in London E2 9PA. The nearest Tube stop is Bethnal Green. It is open 7 days a week except for a few days at Christmas and free to visit.

Small Museums in London

These small museums in London are a good option for London family attractions if you are afraid to lose your children in a large space. These fun museums for kids pack plenty of entertainment and education in a smaller square footage.

Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising

The Museum of Brands is one of the coolest small museums in London. Older children will be fascinated with how well known advertising and brands have changed over the years.

You can find the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising at 111-117 Lancaster Road in Notting Hill London W11 1QT. It is open 7 days a week and there is a charge for admission. Children under 7 years of age are free.

London Transport Museum

The London Transport Museum is one of the best London museums for kids if your children are obsessed with vehicles. The museum goes through the history of transport in London from the Victorian early Omnibuses to the the London Tube today. Among the small museums in London, you can be pretty assured that your kids can run around the vehicles at this museum and do little damage.

There are plenty of small museums in London like the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden

There are plenty of small museums in London like the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden

Children under the age of 7 have a special play area called Playzone. In the Playzone, children can drive vehciles and dress up in uniforms.

You can find the London Transport Museum in the Covent Garden Piazza in London WC2E 7BB. The nearest tube stop is Covent Garden. It is open 7 days a week. T here is a charge for admission but not for children under the age of 17.

HMS Belfast

The HMS Belfast is another one of the 5 museums that make up the Imperial War Museum.  It is a World War 2 Royal Navy warship with 9 decks to explore from the captain’s deck to the boiler and engine rooms. Kids will learn not only about the skirmishes engaged in by the ship but also about life on board for the 950 member crew.

On the deck of the HMS Belfast one of the best museums for children London

On the deck of the HMS Belfast one of the best museums for children London

You can find the HMS Belfast moored at The Queen’s Walk in London SE1 2JH. The nearest tube stop are London Bridge and Tower. Hill. It is open 7 days a week except for a few days around Christmas and there is a charge for admission.

Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms are one of the 5 museums that make up the Imperial War Museum and another good option for London museums for kids. A small museum set up exactly the way it looked when Churchill ran the World War 2 operation from this bunker, it is a fascinating look at the history behind World War 2 for older children who have studied the war.

The Churchill War Rooms are located at Clive Steps on King Charles Street in London SW1A 2AQ. The nearest tube stops are Westminster and St. James’s Park. The Churchill War Rooms are open every year except around Christmas. There is a price for admission.

Charles Dickens Museum

The Charles Dickens Museum is the former home of the novelist and where he wrote several of his famous novelsfamous novels. It is one of the best small museums in London because no doubt your kids will know some of his works, such as Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. My kids learned about Dickens early thanks to Scrooge McDuck and Duck Tales. Moreover, it’s one of the fun museums for kids at Christmas because the house is decorated in preparation for a Victorian Christmas.

The Charles Dickens Museum is located at 48 – 49 Doughty Street in London, WC1N 2LX. The nearest tube stops are Russell Square, Chancery Lane or Kings Cross. The Charles Dickens Museum is open limited hours from January to November and open every day in December. There is an admissions charge for everyone over the age of 6.

Best Museums for Toddlers

You can thank the British military for providing some of the best museums for toddlers. If you have older children, both museums have plenty to keep your older kids occupied on a family trip to London.

Royal Air Force Museum

Although the location of the Royal Air Force Museum is not very central, this museum is one of the best things to do in London with toddlers.

The Royal Air Force Museum is located in giant hangars so there is PLENTY of space to run around. My son, however, could stay in the same space and wear himself out.  He would find the plane with a shark painted on it and then run away from it scared.  And, then he’d come back and do it all over again. And again.

In addition to the shark plane, there are lots of other planes, helicopters, tanks, etc that your children can explore as well as activity backpacks, simulators, etc.

Another reason the Royal Air Force Museum is one of the best museums for toddlers is because there is an outdoor playground themed along the lines of military vehicles – a helicopter climbing frame, a Tornado airplane with slides etc.

The RAF Museum London is located at Grahame Park Way in London NW9 5LL. There is plentiful paid car parking. It is open every day and has free admission.

National Army Museum

You would not believe that the National Army Museum is one of the best museums for toddlers. Seriously. They have a GREAT soft play center called Play Base with specific sessions for which you sign up.

For older children, there are many interactive exhibits as well as other activities like dressing up options and an activity backpack. With its array of activities for both older and younger children, the National Army Museum is one of the best things to do in London with toddlers in tow.

You can find the National Army Museum at the Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea London SW3 4HT. It is open 7 days a week and free to visit. Play Base does have a separate admission charge.

Other Child Friendly Museums London

Some London museums for kids are better appreciated with older children. Just because there are plenty of free museums in London for kids doesn’t mean it would be a good idea for your family trip to London.

Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum is another of the child friendly museums London has to offer. I would say the IWM is better with older children because it explores the larger themes of world conflict, such as why the world wars started.

The Imperial War Museum is one of the best kids museums London

The Imperial War Museum is one of the best kids museums London

The Imperial War Museum is on Lambeth Road in London SE1 6HZ. The nearest tube stops are Lambeth North and Elephant & Castle. The Imperial War Museum is open every day except around Christmas and provides free entry.

Tate Modern

Set in a converted power station overlooking the Thames, the views from Tate Modern are amazing. Strolling along Bankside is one of the best family things to do in London and you can’t miss the imposing Tate Modern.

The striking building housing the Tate Modern

The striking building housing the Tate Modern

It really is one of the best free museums in London but you kids have to be old enough to appreciate contemporary art. My kids would endlessly run up and down the ramps of the Tate Modern when they were young – totally underrated among the things to do in London with toddlers! Now that they are older, they have more appreciation for the contemporary art than just the building.

The Tate Modern is at Bankside in London SE1 9TG. The nearest tube stations are Southwark, Blackfriars and St. Pauls. It is open every day and has free admission.

Museum of London

For indoor activities London has to offer, check out the Museum of London. It explores the city’s thousands of years of history starting with the people who lived in the area before even the Romans. The Museum of London even contains a portion of the original Roman wall that protected the Romans city of Londinium!

I thought the Lord Mayor’s carriage was pretty impressive but what did my kids really want to see? Toxic waste. The portion of the fatberg that is on display at the Museum of London. If you don’t know, the fatberg was a 130 ton mass of grease and waste clogging up London’s sewers.  Pretty gross but fascinating if you are a fan of the Horrible Histories sort of stuff my kids grew up on.

The Museum of London is located at 150 London Wall in London EC2Y 5HN.  The Museum of London is open daily and has free admission.

SPREAD THE WORD! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS FOR FUTURE REFERENCE!

Why You Should Visit London Museums With Kids On Your Next Family Trip to London

Why You Should Visit London Museums With Kids On Your Next Family Trip to London

This site generates income via partnerships with carefully-curated travel and lifestyle brands and/or purchases made through links to them at no extra cost to you. More information may be found on our Disclosure Policy.

5 Reasons Waterside Cornwall Has The Best Luxury Holiday Cottages in Cornwall

5 Reasons Waterside Cornwall Has The Best Luxury Holiday Cottages in Cornwall

I know my children have strong English roots because they absolutely adore Devon and Cornwall which seems to hold a fond place in the heart of many British people. We’ve had family holidays in the area because it’s always their first choice for where to go in England. We have usually stayed at family-friendly luxury hotels in the area such as Fowey Hall or Saunton Sands Hotel. We were invited this time to stay at Waterside Cornwall, luxury holiday cottages in Cornwall.  We loved that these North Cornwall holiday cottages gave us the privacy of our own little house but also had the amenities of a hotel nearby – making them the perfect choice in our opinion for family holidays in Cornwall.

Waterside Cottages Cornwall

Waterside Cornwall is a set of conveniently located holiday cottages near Bodmin in Cornwall. They have been newly renovated and are set around a clubhouse and a lake.

The lakeside Lanivet view which is a superb feature for these holiday cottages in North Cornwall

The lakeside Lanivet view which is a superb feature for these holiday cottages in North Cornwall

The Exterior of the Luxury Cottages Cornwall

The Waterside Cottages Cornwall are a series of charming A-frame homes, . My kids thought they looked like tee-pees for glamping not realising that A-Frame homes were popularised in the mid-20th Century in the USA as the architect’s option for vacation homes.

I am reminded of mid-century modern American vacation homes with these luxury cottages Cornwall has to offer.

I am reminded of mid-century modern American vacation homes with these luxury cottages Cornwall has to offer.

These self catering Cornwall cottages are set with a good amount of space between them. They have outdoor seating in front as well as large sliding doors from the living space so that younger kids can play while you keep an eye on them.

The Interior of the Luxury Cottages Cornwall

Inside the holiday cottages in North Cornwall, the decor is modern and tasteful. We had a two bedroom cottage. Downstairs was the open plan kitchen, dining and living room. The double bedroom with ensuite bathroom was downstairs and the upstairs was the master bedroom, another bathroom and a little sun trap of a terrace.

Although there were only four of us, the cottage can accommodate up to 6 people with the pull out couch. The dining table is also set up for 6 people.

Both bedrooms had a television so we did not have to battle with the children on what to watch. And, as an additional bonus, the television had Netflix so that the kids had a wide choice of programming. We found the WiFi excellent as well.

The double bedroom for the kids at these North Cornwall holiday cottages

The double bedroom for the kids at these North Cornwall holiday cottages

And, what’s the best thing for family holidays in Cornwall? A Washing Machine! All that outdoor activity means kids get mucky. You don’t actually need to bring that much if you can just wash their clothes out.

Why These Luxury Holiday Cottages in Cornwall?

Here are our 5 main reasons we loved these luxury holiday cottages in Cornwall and why we would recommend them for family holidays in Cornwall.

Cottages in Cornwall With a Hot Tub

Some of the larger Waterside Cornwall homes are great for parties because they are cottages in Cornwall with a hot tub. My kids love a hot tub because it reminds them of thermal pools we have visited. We did not choose any of the Waterside cottages in Cornwall with a hot tub though because we didn’t want to deal with the hassle of supervising them.

Cornwall Cottages With A Pool

Speaking of supervising children in water, many people look for Cornwall cottages with a pool. We loved that Waterside Cornwall had its own pool in the clubhouse which was just a short walk away. The clubhouse pool was warm and safe! It had its own lifeguard so that as an adult you weren’t constantly on edge. Moreover, the lifeguard is always useful for keeping other people’s kids in line!

Since we have a pool at our summer house, we know with children you always need to keep an eye on them when they are playing in the pool. You can’t really zone out yourself if you are keeping an eye on their antics.

You’d think in Cornwall cottages with a pool would be a great idea – but with children we have found that its better in theory than practice! The best of all worlds is to have a pool handy but not right outside in the back yard!

Optional Self Catering Cornwall

Our self catering North Cornwall cottage came with a full kitchen (including a full size refrigerator) which was really handy for snacks and the occasional cuppa.

On the other hand, the clubhouse restaurant was excellent. My husband pronounced his full English breakfast for £5 excellent. We had all three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – at some point during our stay at the restaurant. There’s a children’s menu as well.

North Cornwall holidays wouldn’t be the same without mouth watering food like that offered at the Waterside Cornwall restaurant.

North Cornwall holidays wouldn’t be the same without mouth watering food like that offered at the Waterside Cornwall restaurant.

All our meals were excellent and it was just really nice not to cook when we didn’t feel like it. Yet, we did not have to get in the car to go anywhere to have a nice meal in a restaurant.

Although self catering North Cornwall has great restaurant options if you want to eat out.

Although self catering North Cornwall has great restaurant options if you want to eat out.

If you decided to go full self catering North Cornwall has several big supermarkets nearby thanks to the town of Bodmin being so close to these holiday cottages.

Other Waterside Cornwall Amenities

With these luxury cottages Cornwall has gotten itself a low-key resort complex.  The center at Waterside Cornwall is a hub for the whole complex and has a convivial feeling. You can either walk to the center or park right outside (if you are with people who are mobility impaired).

The lobby is where registration takes place. There’s a seating area where you can hang out as an alternative to your self catering Cornwall cottage. Sometimes with family gatherings, you might need that extra space!

The main center at Waterside Cornwall is a communal area for people to meet and relax

The main center at Waterside Cornwall is a communal area for people to meet and relax

The restaurant and bar is a large area with plenty of seating. The restaurant extends into a conservatory area which is lovely for afternoon tea or having a drink in the sunshine. The conservatory doors open onto outdoor seating with a lakeside view as well as the children’s playground.

Family holidays in Cornwall are beloved by many British people

Family holidays in Cornwall are beloved by many British people

The center also provides access to the pool and a well-equipped gym. There are regular fitness classes if you are feeling inspired.

Waterside Cornwall does put on occasional entertainment. For example, my kids chose to join bingo night. They discovered when they went for the kids’ disco that the other children were much younger. At that awkward tween age, my kids also refused to participate in the arts & crafts and egg/spoon races that the staff organised. Upstairs there’s a games room if your older kids want to play pool or table football.

There is a small store onsite as well that sells necessities and souvenirs.

Fresh bread is available at the center at these luxury cottages Cornwall

Fresh bread is available at the center at these luxury cottages Cornwall

Segway Cornwall

I’ve never been on a Segway before. In fact, they kind of scared me. I’m totally uncoordinated and the thought of having to balance on one of those things in traffic on a city tour was totally unappealing.

I was totally wrong as I found out at Segway Lakeview. Learning to use a Segway in Cornwall turned out to be easy peasy.

The Segway Lakeview office was near our self-catering Cornwall cottage and the kids saw people going in and out having a blast. So, it was hard to resist their pleas to try out a Segway in Cornwall with Segway Lakeview. Besides if you are going to Segway, Cornwall seemed a pretty option for not getting run over in city traffic.

Off Road Segway Cornwall sheep better watch out!

Off Road Segway Cornwall sheep better watch out!

Anthony who owns and leads the Segway Lakeview tours made us feel totally comfortable. We were zipping around the countryside and doing slaloms and jumps in no time on the Segway in Cornwall in the fields above Waterside Cornwall.

And, I discovered the Segway does everything for you! There’s actually  no balancing involved. It actually is a multi-generational fun thing that would make for memorable family holidays in Cornwall. We all totally loved our time on a Segway in Cornwall.

Waterside Cornwall Location

We’ve been to Bodmin before on our North Cornwall holidays. In fact, when my kids heard we were in holiday cottages near Bodmin, they wanted to know if we’d revisit Bodmin Jail. I did take an evening history and paranormal tour at Bodmin Jail but the kids decided to stay at Waterside Cornwall because it was bingo night. Bingo or Ghosts? I didn’t even think that was a choice.

In addition to being close to Bodmin, these holiday cottages in North Cornwall are near to the little village of Lanivet. The Lanivet Inn is a great local pub serving good food and one of the best options for restaurants in the area. The night we went for dinner the locals were fund-raising for a defibrillator for the village – it’s that local.

You’ve got to get out and explore the great outdoors like Bodmin Moor when you take family holidays in Cornwall

You’ve got to get out and explore the great outdoors like Bodmin Moor when you take family holidays in Cornwall

Nearby Bodmin is the start of the Camel Trail which is an old disused railroad track converted to a cycle route. It goes all the way to Padstow. You can rent bikes at either Bodmin or Wadebridge and head out for some fresh air and easy cycling. We ourselves rode from Wadebridge to Padstow for a leisurely afternoon browsing in Padstow. And, a Cornish Cream Tea of course.

And, of course there is the isolated beauty of Bodmin Moor which is great for long country walks. And, Jamaica Inn – the pub from the famous Daphne Du Maurier book about smugglers in Cornwall. There is a small museum next to the Jamaica Inn on smuggling in Cornwall as well as Du Maurier’s life.

Visiting Waterside Cornwall

If I were to be honest the whole experience reminded me of a small-scale Centerparcs resort (which my kids also love). Why? You can get little cottages near each other for a friends and family vacation, there are plenty of activities for multi-generational fun and a center with restaurant and leisure activities.

Unlike a Centerparcs experience, other than Segway Lakeview you have to find your own activities (not hard to do on family holidays in Cornwall!).  On the other hand, these luxury cottages in North Cornwall are a much better value option. Moreover, the homes are nicer, cleaner and more modern than the average Centerparcs option. And, you get to park your car in front of your little home so its easy to get in and out of the house.

Waterside Cornwall is located at Old Coach Road, Lanivet, Bodmin, Cornwall. You can book these self-catering North Cornwall cottages directly through Waterside Cornwall website.

SPREAD THE WORD! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS FOR FUTURE REFERENCE! 

5 Reasons Waterside Cornwall Has The Best Luxury Holiday Cottages in Cornwall

5 Reasons Waterside Cornwall Has The Best Luxury Holiday Cottages in Cornwall

Devon and Cornwall hold a fond place in the heart of many British people, and my kids love visiting these areas. This time we stayed at Waterside Cornwall cottages, which made for the perfect choice for family holidays in Cornwall. Here are our 5 main reasons we loved these luxury holiday cottages in Cornwall and what are the best things to do in Cornwall in this area. #cornwall #uk #holidaycottages #cottages #familytravel

Devon and Cornwall hold a fond place in the heart of many British people, and my kids love
visiting these areas. This time we stayed at Waterside Cornwall cottages, which made for the
perfect choice for family holidays in Cornwall. Here are our 5 main reasons we loved these
luxury holiday cottages in Cornwall and what are the best things to do in Cornwall in this
area. #cornwall #uk #holidaycottages #cottages #familytravel

This site generates income via partnerships with carefully-curated travel and lifestyle brands and/or purchases made through links to them at no extra cost to you. More information may be found on our Disclosure Policy.

Why Pontchartrain Hotel is the Best Family-Friendly Luxury Hotel for Mardi Gras

Why Pontchartrain Hotel is the Best Family-Friendly Luxury Hotel for Mardi Gras

We were delighted with our choice of Pontchartrain Hotel for our choice of Mardi Gras hotel in New Orleans. It’s been voted the best hotel in New Orleans in the Conde Nast travellers’ choice awards and one of the best new hotels by Travel & Leisure, we had high expectations. Moreover, a hotel for Mardi Gras in New Orleans is an expensive proposition so we wanted to make sure we got it right. With the best breakfast in New Orleans included in the hotel rates though, as well access to the famed Bayou Bar, we believe the Pontchartrain Hotel is the best hotel for Mardi Gras combining luxury and family-friendliness.

Pontchartrain Hotel

I was immediately comfortable at the Pontchartrain Hotel because it reminded me of an apartment building in New York City.

Located in the beautiful Garden District of New Orleans, Pontchartrain Hotel is a boutique luxury hotel with a glamorous history. With 14 stories, the hotel opened first in 1927. Through its door have passed Hollywood legends like Rita Hayworth, musicians like Frank Sinatra and former Presidents like George H. Bush.

Fun Fact! Tennessee Williams wrote his famous play A Streetcar Named Desire while a resident at Pontchartrain Hotel.
Wooden ceilings at the Silver Whistle Cafe at the Pontchartrain Hotel.

Wooden ceilings at the Silver Whistle Cafe at the Pontchartrain Hotel.

In 2016, Ponthartrain Hotel went through a massive renovation updating the 106 room hotel. It’s now historic yet cool and trendy. Ironically, we were propping up the bar at the Omni Homestead Bar in Virginia when we discovered the man we were chatting with was with the management company for the Pontchartrain. Small world!

It’s hard to get granny chic right because it requires a light touch before you lose the irony and move straight into just ‘dated’.  Pontchartrain Hotel does it just right. For example, the bathroom has cult beauty products from Le Labo and the bathroom decor is a medicine cabinet – a medicine cabinet displaying vintage bottles of medicines and remedies.

The bathrooms at Pontchartrain Hotel has Le Labo toiletries.

The bathrooms at Pontchartrain Hotel has Le Labo toiletries.

There are flashes of the dark green color throughout the hotel as a reminder that the green St Charles tram runs right outside the hotel. The bedside table had a full skirt which I would normally have hated for its fussiness. Yet, as  the only fussy part of the room decor, it worked with the rest of the room.

This muted shade of green is reminiscent of the color of the St Charles tram which runs right outside Pontchartrain Hotel.

This muted shade of green is reminiscent of the color of the St Charles tram which runs right outside Pontchartrain Hotel.

The Pontchartrain Hotel Restaurants

Mardi Gras was such an intense experience that we spent a lot of time recuperating between parades at the Pontchartrain Hotel!

Best Breakfast in New Orleans

Breakfast at the Silver Whistle Cafe was included in the price of the stay and totally worth it! I would rate it as the best breakfast in New Orleans.  The little diner/cafe was at the front of the hotel facing onto St. Charles Street. The coffered ceiling, the diner tables and the cool artwork made it seem very hipster – totally not like the usual sedate hotel breakfast buffet.

A breakfast parfait was one of our favourite ways to start our day at the Pontchartrain Hotel.

A breakfast parfait at the Silver Dollar Cafe was one of our favourite ways to start our day at the Pontchartrain Hotel.

You are given a choice of different breakfasts, hot or cold. Since we stayed 5 days at Pontchartrain Hotel we had a chance to try them all! They ranged from the breakfast parfait (my favourite) to the hearty Breakfast Po’Boy (with eggs, cheese and sausage). Breakfast at the Silver Whistle Cafe set us up well for the day.

Bayou Bar New Orleans

Across from the Silver Whistle Cafe,  the Bayou Bar New Orleans’ own historied tavern. The Bayou Bar has seen many a drinker – from Frank Sinatra to Tennessee Williams. In 1966, the Bayou Bar celebrated the birth of the new New Orleans Saints NFL team.

The Silver Dollar saloon is another reason The Pontchartrain Hotel is the best hotel for Mardi Gras because you can wait inside until you see the parade gearing up.

The Bayou Bar New Orleans is another reason The Pontchartrain Hotel is the best hotel for Mardi Gras because you can wait inside until you see the parade gearing up.

Like the Silver Whistle Cafe, the Bayou Bar faces onto St. Charles’ Street. The Bayou Bar is also one of the main reasons we think Pontchartrain Hotel is the best place to stay during Mardi Gras.

In between Mardi Gras parades between the various Mardi Gras Krewes, we would hang out at the Bayou Bar. You could hear (and see) the buildup of excitement when the next parade was visible which gave you plenty of time to make your way outside to catch the next procession.

The food was excellent and occasionally in the evening on the weekends there was a piano player. On a couple of nights we were so tired, we retreated to our room and ordered food from the Blue Bayou.  You have to go down and pick up your food (unlike traditional room service) but it’s pretty easy. You have easy kid-friendly choices on the Blue Bayou menu as well like burgers alongside more sophisticated choices like gumbo and steak.

Hot Tin Bar New Orleans

Before the recent hotel renovation, the Hot Tin Bar New Orleans used to be the Pontchartrain Hotel’s penthouse. Decorated like an artist’s loft, you’ve got amazing views of the city from the rooftop space. The name is a nod to Tennessee Williams who wrote A Streetcar Named Desire while resident at the Pontchartrain Hotel.

In this Mardi Gras Hotel New Orleans continues the party into the wee hours at the rooftop Hot Tin bar.

In this Mardi Gras Hotel New Orleans continues the party into the wee hours at the rooftop Hot Tin bar New Orleans.

Only one of the elevators goes to the Hot Tin Bar and access is strictly 21+ affair. To ensure compliance, the elevator access is controlled by its own lobby elevator man.

Jack Rose New Orleans

I initially thought Jack Rose New Orleans was in honour of the doomed couple from The Titanic movie, but it’s actually another nod to Tennessee Williams.  In his 1951 play, The Rose Tattoo, there’s also a Jack and Rose love story.

The Living Room at Jack Rose New Orleans with the Lil Wayne portrait.

The Living Room at Jack Rose New Orleans with the Lil Wayne portrait.

The Jack Rose New Orleans restaurant is actually four spaces in one. There is the Living Room (with the famous portrait of rapper Lil Wayne), as well as the Mile High Pie Club and the Jack Room and the Rose Room. It serves food and drink in a very eclectic atmosphere and is another buzzing hotspot in the city. In its previous incarnation as the Caribbean Room it was a grande dame of the New Orleans restaurant scene similar to The Commander’s Palace.

An Exclusive Hotel For Mardi Gras

We did a lot of research before I committed to a Mardi Gras hotel. We had heard stories of how crazy Mardi Gras can be but with kids in tow, we wanted a more sedate Mardi Gras experience. We’ve taken the kids to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival and Carnevale in Venice so we know the children were fine with crowds and a festive atmosphere. We just wanted to bypass drunken hedonism, exhibitionism etc even inadvertently.

The New Orleans tourism authority helpfully suggested Pontchartrain Hotel when we presented our requirements – a boutique hotel with a good location in a family-friendly environment. Needless, to say they were totally right about Pontchartrain Hotel’s suitability as the best hotel for Mardi Gras combining luxury and family-friendliness.

When you are looking for a Mardi Gras hotel, a good location is key because you don’t want to be too far away from the action.

When you are looking for a Mardi Gras hotel, a good location is key because you don’t want to be too far away from the action.

Despite its location, as soon as you entered Pontchartrain Hotel the noise and commotion of Mardi Gras in New Orleans was left behind. In the rooms themselves, the noise on the street was hardly audible.

People who stay at the Pontchartrain receive a wristband to identify them as hotel guests but the doormen got to know us very quickly. During Mardi Gras, the only people allowed inside the Pontchartrain were hotel guests. It really was an oasis of calm when you needed a break from the liveliness of Mardi Gras but with a full capacity hotel , it never felt dead.

The lobby hallway of the Pontchartrain Hotel which leads to the elevators, restaurants and bars.

The rooftop Hot Tin Bar New Orleans was a buzzing nightspot with its own elevator access. Luckily our children were old enough to leave for an hour in the hotel room while we enjoyed a nightcap.

Of course, the best place to stay for Mardi Gras has to have a popular bar.

Of course, the best place to stay for Mardi Gras has to have a popular bar (or two in this case – Bayou Bar and Hot Tin Bar New Orleans)

If you were too tired to even visit the bar, rather helpfully the hotel room’s mini bar had mixers ready including for the ever-popular New Orleans’ drink, The Hurricane.

The Pontchartrain Hotel provides mixers for cocktails in its minibar.

The Pontchartrain Hotel provides mixers for cocktails in its minibar.

The Best Hotel for Mardi Gras For Families

What makes the Pontchartrain Hotel the best place to stay for Mardi Gras for families in our opinion? You are in the heart of the action but also able to get away from it if you wish.

Location on St Charles Avenue

The location on St Charles Avenue is unbeatable. When our kids were tired, we took them back to our room at the hotel for a break. We could nip out right before the parades started. There was always space in front of the hotel so that we had curb-side viewing of the Mardi Gras floats.

Pontchartrain Hotel is directly on the Mardi Gras route on St Charles Avenue

Pontchartrain Hotel is directly on the Mardi Gras route on St Charles Avenue

Amusingly, we made friends with the older couple who always stood next to us when the parades were going by. Then, we discovered they were in the room next to us at the Pontchartrain Hotel too!

The Family Rooms at the Pontchartrain Hotel

The family rooms a the Pontchartrain Hotel are a good size. We had two connecting bedrooms each with their own television and a shared bathroom. One of the bedrooms had a queen bed and the other bedroom had two twin beds which was a perfect solution for us. There was a large walk-in closet where we could store our Mardi Gras memorabilia and suitcases out of the way.

An adjoining twin bedroom makes this an ideal hotel stay when you visit New Orleans with kids.

An adjoining twin bedroom makes this an ideal hotel stay when you visit New Orleans with kids.

Food and Beverage Options

We really appreciated the food and beverage options available at the Pontchartrain Hotel.  We always had breakfast at the hotel and we ate at the hotel for lunch or dinner often too. Who knew partaking in a lively street party could be so much fun?

We hadn’t quite appreciated how much gridlock there were would be be in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Taxis are hard to come by and Ubers are super busy. There are a lot of streets closed to traffic. Obviously the St Charles tram doesn’t run during the parades. The best way to get anywhere is to walk. After a busy day collecting freebies from parade floats my children were too tired to go too far.

Practicalities for The Pontchartrain Hotel

The Pontchartrain Hotel is super popular and you need to book as soon as possible for Mardi Gras. Prices also skyrocket for the week of Mardi Gras itself. It is located at 20131 St Charles Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130. If you have a car at the hotel, there is valet parking at an additional cost.

Check out the excellentTripAdvisor reviews for Pontchartrain Hotel!

You can check the latest prices for the Pontchartrain Hotel on these hotel booking websites :

SPREAD THE WORD! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS FOR FUTURE REFERENCE! 

Why Pontchartrain Hotel is the Best Family-Friendly Luxury Hotel for Mardi Gras

A hotel for Mardi Gras in New Orleans is an expensive proposition so you want to make sure you get it right! So, where to stay in New Orleans for Mardi Gras? Check out our review of Pontchartrain Hotel.With the best breakfast in New Orleans included in the hotel rates though, as well access to the famed Bayou Bar, we believe the Pontchartrain Hotel is the best hotel for Mardi Gras combining luxury and family-friendliness. #mardigras #hotel #neworleans #luxuryhotels #hotelreview #kidfriendly

A hotel for Mardi Gras in New Orleans is an expensive proposition so you want to make sure
you get it right! So, where to stay in New Orleans for Mardi Gras? Check out our review of
Pontchartrain Hotel.With the best breakfast in New Orleans included in the hotel rates
though, as well access to the famed Bayou Bar, we believe the Pontchartrain Hotel is the
best hotel for Mardi Gras combining luxury and family-friendliness.

This site generates income via partnerships with carefully-curated travel and lifestyle brands and/or purchases made through links to them at no extra cost to you. More information may be found on our Disclosure Policy.

Is Sabor Mayfair The Best Spanish Restaurant London Has?

Is Sabor Mayfair The Best Spanish Restaurant London Has?

Sabor London is a traditional Spanish restaurant which merges the flavours of different regions of Spain in a casual environment. One of the owners, Nieves Barragan, is famed for having been the Michelin-starred chef at Barrafina Restaurant London which has several outlets now. Sabor Mayfair itself is the Michelin star Spanish restaurant London deserves. The Ingredients are fresh, the combination of flavours exquisite but the atmosphere is trendy casual unlike many Michelin starred restaurants.

Sabor Restaurant London

Along with Barrafina restaurant London, Sabor London is a one Michelin star Spanish restaurant in London. These are the only two of these Michelin star Spanish restaurants in London for which no doubt the talents of Nieves Barragan is greatly responsible.

Sit downstairs at Sabor London you can watch the culinary magic happen behind the counter.

Sit downstairs at Sabor London you can watch the culinary magic happen behind the counter.

In this Spanish restaurant Picadilly and its chaos seems far away. Located on a blink-and-you-miss-it side street Sabor London is within the respectability of upscale Mayfair. Surrounded by other charming restaurants, Sabor Mayfair is a good tip for the best Spanish restaurant in London. Nieves Barragan herself is from the Basque country and her restaurant is a melange of flavours from Andalusia, Castile, Galicia and the Canary Islands.

The Counter shown below is a walk-in, no reservations required restaurant.

Sabor restaurant London has two separate dining areas - upstairs and downstairs - both of which are elegantly casual.

Sabor restaurant London has two separate dining areas – upstairs and downstairs – both of which are elegantly casual.

Sabor Restaurant London has several parts – the downstairs bar and tapas counter and the upstairs El Asador. Upstairs past a pretty spiral staircase, El Asador is named after a traditional wood-fired oven.

Sabor restaurant menu hanging at the downstairs bar

Dining upstairs at the El Asador portion is a communal experience. You share long tables like in a cafeteria or like the casual Japanese London chain, Wagamama.

You can make reservations for up to 5 people in the upstairs El Asador. If space permits, there is also availability for walk-ins. The day we arrived, the restaurant had a line forming about 15 minutes before its opening at noon presumably for the walk-in spaces.

Sabor Restaurant London is known for its Segovian suckling pig roasted in an traditional Spanish asador

Sabor Restaurant London is known for its Segovian suckling pig roasted in an traditional Spanish asador

Sabor Restaurant Menu

The main Sabor Restaurant menu choices are octopus and suckling pig. You don’t like to eat seafood or pork then your options are limited. The octopus is cooked the Galician way and cooked in copper cans which are stacked up on the counter. The suckling pig is cooked in the traditional Castilian asador.

The Sabor restaurant menu is printed on either a drawing of either a pig or an octopus

The Sabor restaurant menu is printed on either a drawing of either a pig or an octopus. You get the picture, right?

The starters are tapas meant to be shared. Below is a selection of the tapas we tried at Sabor London. I actually got thrown by the Tortilla Gallega which was supposed to be like the traditional Tortilla Espanola made of eggs and potatoes. In the Michelin star Spanish restaurant London version, the egg was runny and I have to admit I preferred the non-fancy version!

Empanada Gallega - puff pastry stuffed with tuna and cooked with Marinara Sauce

Empanada Gallega – puff pastry stuffed with tuna and cooked with Marinara Sauce

My companion wanted to try the fried pigs’ ears.  I was a little reluctant because my dog likes to chew on pig ears as a treat!! Anyway, these tasted like crisps and were a totally different experience to what I expected. The inside was soft and the outside crisp.

Crisp Pig’s Ears served with quince aioli and hot paprika

Crisp Pig’s Ears served with quince aioli and hot paprika

The famous octopus were sublime! seriously. Not a thing like calamari or any other octopus dish I have ever tried even in Spain, as good as those dishes have been.

Galician octopus in a paprika sauce

The mains revolve around the suckling pig. You need to preorder the suckling pig when you make the reservation because it takes so long to cook. You have a choice of a quarter, half or whole suckling pig.

I am not even a pork fan but I tried out a little bit. The pork was amazing – tender and delicious and imbued with flavour. I will never love pork like the Spaniards do but even I was super impressed.

1/2 of a Segovian suckling pig which really is sliced in half

1/2 of a Segovian suckling pig which really is sliced in half

The other mains are non-pork options if you are so inclined. I preferred the fish specials which were delicious – perfectly cooked, light and flaky.

The Sabor Restaurant menu had a fish special of the day with baked garlic

The Sabor Restaurant menu had a fish special of the day with baked garlic

The sides for the main dishes involve mostly salads and fries. You know you have to try the fries when there are four variations of the fries!  We choose fries with rosemary cheese but there are other options, such as Fries with a sauce from the Canary Islands.

Three of the sides - fries with rosemary cheese, crips artichokes and green salad

Three of the sides – fries with rosemary cheese, crips artichokes and green salad

Where To Find Sabor Mayfair

Sabor Mayfair is closest to Picadilly Circus station on a charming little side street. It’s got a Mayfair address because when you are looking for a high end Spanish restaurant, Picadilly Circus with its hordes of touristy restaurants doesn’t necessarily spring to mind!

Fresh bread is a real treat at this Spanish restaurant in Picadilly Circus

Fresh bread is a real treat at this Spanish restaurant in Picadilly Circus

If your travels don’t take you to Sabor Restaurant London, but you still want to try the flavours of one of the best Spanish restaurant London has to offer, check out SABOR the cookbook. The cookbook, Sabor: Flavours From A Spanish Kitchen, came out in the middle of 2017. As one of the best cookbooks of 2017, I got to try out Sabor before I even went to Sabor Restaurant London.

Bring the flavours of the best Spanish restaurant London with this cookbook published by the chef at Sabor London.

Bring the flavours of the best Spanish restaurant London with this cookbook published by the chef at Sabor London.

SPREAD THE WORD! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS FOR FUTURE REFERENCE! 

Sabor Restaurant in London #restaurantlondon #londonrestaurant #mayfair #spanishfood #spanishrestaurant #sabormayfair

Sabor Restaurant in London

Along with Barrafina restaurant London, Sabor London is a one Michelin star Spanish restaurant in London, and one you should make a reservation for. The Ingredients are fresh, the combination of flavours exquisite but the atmosphere is trendy casual unlike many Michelin starred restaurants. Check it out! #restaurantlondon #londonrestaurant #mayfair #spanishfood #spanishrestaurant #sabormayfair

Along with Barrafina restaurant London, Sabor London is a one Michelin star Spanish
restaurant in London, and one you should make a reservation for. The Ingredients are fresh,
the combination of flavours exquisite but the atmosphere is trendy casual unlike many
Michelin starred restaurants. Check it out!

This site generates income via partnerships with carefully-curated travel and lifestyle brands and/or purchases made through links to them at no extra cost to you. More information may be found on our Disclosure Policy.

How A Digital Diary Improves Long Distance Communication For Families Who Travel

How A Digital Diary Improves Long Distance Communication For Families Who Travel

The days are long but the years are short.

Gretchen Rubin

I didn’t understand that quote until I had a family. Some days I honestly have no idea where the time went but I know I was super busy. There are times I think I need to call my mother to tell her some little thing that happened  with the kids but then with the time difference, the call never happens. Thank goodness for texts and FaceTime which are a real boon for long distance communication – friends and families are more in touch than ever before even when they are continents apart.

The Neveo Family Diary

When I was contacted by Neveo for a new app for a family diary, I was intrigued because I am interested in improving family communication when our extended family is spread out all over the world .  They also make great gift ideas for long distance family members. The adults in my family don’t really buy presents for each other anymore but I know that photos are always welcome. I know my mother will be thrilled to receive a family newsletter ever month.

Copies of a printed family diary makes for great long distance family gifts

Copies of a printed family diary makes for great long distance family gifts

Sure, I started this blog trying to document our travels as a digital diary of sorts. There is a lot that happens though that never makes it onto the blog.  And, frankly, some of it is only of interest to family and friends who know us well.

Show your family the Importance of family relationships by creating a family newsletter

Show your family the Importance of family relationships by creating a family newsletter

There are lots of goofy moments and mundane events in our daily life that I know my mother would find amusing.  She’s family and being a part of the small moments in life is the glue that holds us together as a family. And, frankly she will appreciate the irony that I am raising as headstrong a child as I was. Even with long distance family relationships, you can’t deny a bit of schadenfreude especially when you know it is well deserved.

The Neveo app is super easy to use as a digital diary.  The easy of use of this family diary is a definite plus point because I have limited time to create a digital diary. When the twins were babies and had 2 hour afternoon naps and slept for another 12 hours at night, I had the time to create beautiful photo albums. Now, not so much.

How Does This Digital Diary Work?

Every month, you upload up to 50 photos onto the Neveo App from your phone. Then you can add a small caption.

Neveo takes the photos at the end of the month and creates a little family newsletter. You can send a physical printed copy of the family newsletter to yourself and to any other people you would like anywhere in the world. Neveo takes care of the mailing of the family newsletter, too.

So the only thing you have to do for this family diary is upload photos from your phone. I uploaded my photos while my daughter was in between bouts at a fencing competition.

Newsletters make useful gift ideas for long distance family members

Newsletters make useful gift ideas for long distance family members

A Shared Journal For The Family

Neveo works as a shared journal as well. You can get other people to upload photos onto your monthly family diary. I tried to get my kids to participate but in the end it was just easier to AirDrop their photos and upload it myself onto Neveo.  On the top of every photo, it mentions who uploaded the picture. Although our shared journal says it was only my photos, that’s strictly not true.

I love that we have a mixture of photos from everybody’s phone to truly make a shared journal family newsletter. Sometimes the same event is seen through different perspectives – for example we have both my proud mama photo of my daughter on the winning podium at a fencing competition and then her selfie showing off her medal.

A shared journal is great for improving family communication by showing different persectives o the same situation.

A shared journal is great for improving family communication by showing different persectives o the same situation.

All four of us in our family have smartphones and we use our cameras liberally. For example, some of the silliest photos of our dog are taken by my son. And, now everyone can see them thanks to our digital diary!

So many of our memories are in digital form, that its nice to have a physical family diary to flip through. Even my brother who chucked out all his physical books when he went onto Kindle, still prefers his photos in physical form! My mother definitely likes to browse photo albums.  With my Neveo album, my mother can see what happens in between our phone calls – my kids making pancakes, how dirty my dog looks after a roll in Hampstead Heath, etc.

This shared journal also capture our everyday life. As a child, my son was obsessed with a blue plastic tambourine. We called it his comfort tambourine because he would rattle it when he got stressed. I remember that detail but not some of the other quirky things that happened. My husband loves eating the same healthy salmon sandwich at Gails, a French bakery near us, while the rest of us indulge in cherry chocolate scones and almond croissants.  Will we remember that in a few years time? Now, that the photo is in an family newsletter we probably will!

A family diary highlights the Importance of family relationships and saves it for posterity.

A family diary highlights the Importance of family relationships and saves it for posterity.

Importance of Family Communication

My husband and I are both close to our families even though we don’t live anywhere near them. I would like to impart to my kids the importance of family communication. We love our apps for family communication and I can see Neveo becoming a monthly routine in our house.

Our monthly family newsletter will go a long way towards improving family communication with our extended family. When you don’t see people very often, you appreciate the times that you do see them more.

These family newsletters also make great gifts for long distance family members. My mother can look forward to receiving her monthly family diary updating her on what happened in our lives.

Neveo is one of the more useful apps for family communication because it can be printed as a family newsletter and sent to anyone anywhere in the world.

I think a digital diary that is as easy to use as Neveo is great for any family whether they are expats or on the road travelling long-term or even at home. Time just flies and it’s good to capture snippets of life as it happens in real time!

SPREAD THE WORD! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS FOR FUTURE REFERENCE! 

Using a digital diary can improve long distance communication between family members especially when they can be printed out as a family newsletter

Using a digital diary can improve long distance communication between family members especially when they can be printed out as a family newsletter

This site generates income via partnerships with carefully-curated travel and lifestyle brands and/or purchases made through links to them at no extra cost to you. More information may be found on our Disclosure Policy