Travelling to London with kids or teens? Blue Badge guides Sarah Ciacci and Eve Milner know just the right places to keep them engaged and enthralled so they have plenty of tales to tell their school friends when they get home.
1) The Bloody (and not so bloody) Story of the Tower of London
Over the 900 years since it was built, the Tower of London has been used for many things – a castle, a royal palace, a zoo with wild animals including a polar bear, an observatory to study the stars, and most famously it was a prison and a site of execution. With a Blue Badge Tourist Guide your family can learn about all of this (and we can tone up or down on the gory stories for you), as well as seeing the Crown Jewels, the “Beefeaters”, the Ravens… and maybe even a ghost or two.
2) Pomp and Ceremony with the Changing of the Guard and Royal London
You cannot miss the invigorating spectacle of the Changing of the Guard – Royal pomp and ceremony at its finest. The most distracted of kids or the moodiest of teenagers can’t help but march in time to the military band alongside the Queen’s Guards in their bearskin hats, and we can also explore Royal Westminster on foot, and see Buckingham Palace where the Queen lives when she is in London, the Houses of Parliament – our government buildings, and Westminster Abbey where kings and queens have been crowned for nearly 1000 years.
3) Time Travelling at The British Museum
If you want to travel back in time and see what is was like to live in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome then a Blue Badge Tour of the British Museum is a must – what did they eat? What clothes did they wear? What was their jewellery and make up like? Did they have pillows? How were they buried? And what Gods did they believe in? All this and more can be explored at the British Museum.
4) “What’s in a painting?” at the National Gallery
A horse called Whistlejacket, a tiger in the jungle, the most amazing lace and silk dress, a man who loved perspective more than his own wife, a hidden skull, and a story about a woman who fell in love with a god … these are just some of the things to find on a tour of the paintings in the National Gallery with a Blue Badge Guide, while also looking at some of the most famous works of art in the world.
5) Hampton Court Palace – How to live like a Royal
When you visit Hampton Court Palace with a Blue Badge Guide you get three palaces for the price of one: there is Henry VIII’s Tudor palace from the 1500s, William and Mary’s Baroque palace of the 1600s and Queen Caroline’s Apartments of the 1700s! There is something for all the family – The Tudor kitchens are enormous and unique, there’s Mantegna’s Renaissance masterpiece the ‘Triumphs of Caesar’, extensive gardens to explore with a 250-year old grapevine and – a winner with kids of all ages – an outdoor maze.
6) Tate Modern – What is Modern Art all about?
If your family is up for a challenge, why not visit the Tate Modern to find all the weird and wonderful works of 20th century art and discuss with your Blue Badge Guide what they are all about – I promise you that you will be surprised, challenged and engaged. There will be some artworks you hate, and some that you love, and some that will really make you think. If you want a tour to really get the whole family thinking, then try the Tate Modern.
Also see: Top 10 tips for travelling with Kids.