Here are our top picks for family-friendly and family-size lodging in London, England, UK, along with rate and location information so you can make the best hotel choice for your family.
Year in, year out, despite terrible Pound to Dollar exchange rates, occasional terror attacks and the fleeting fads of other fashionable cities, London, England remains the American family’s number one foreign destination. Our roundup of kid-welcoming hotels that sleep more than three to a room should help you book your stay, as long as you plan ahead — this is a very popular place at any time of year.
Super Posh, Family-Friendly London Accommodations
Athenaeum Hotel & Apartments
116 Piccadilly, W1J 7BJ
(800) 335-3300 / +44 (0) 20 7640 3557
This contemporary tower of stylish connecting rooms is just off the hip Hyde Park in Mayfair. But what delights us at the Athenaeum Hotel are the 34 private, furnished ‘flats’ in a row of adjoining Edwardian brownstones The apartments offer families extra space, a full kitchen with washer/dryer, a plasma screen TV, CD, and DVD players, as well as bike rentals for guests. Specific “Family Apartments” — 18 fabulous ones — offer bunk beds in a 2nd room big enough for nanny, a game console built into a coffee table and a full store of video games, DVDs, a selection of books, and puzzles all pre-ordered to fit your child’s interests. The Athenaeum’s restaurant serves English dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a pleasant Afternoon Tea; kids 12 and under dine free at all times. And if you’re in the mood for a night-cap or a pre-dinner aperitif, the hotel’s Whisky Bar offers 270 whiskies to pair with selections from a cheese menu. Room service has an affordable kids’ menu; and, if you have a picky eater, the chefs will cater to their tastes. Children are greeted by a warm Front Desk staff and Kid’s Concierge who specialize in childrens’ events. The Athenaeum also houses a gym and spa where guests can reserve treatments. Car pick up from Heathrow, trained nannies for private childcare, tour assistance services are available for a fee including specially-escorted tours for kids. See FTF’s review of this Top Ten Getaways for Tiny Travelers Award winner.
Rates: $$$$ for 1BR apartments sleeping two in king bed and two to three in bunk room (some have sofa bed), cots available. From $$$ per double hotel room; special rates year round.
Location: Walk to Buckingham Palace in Green Park (right across the street), also near Hyde Park, the West End and Royal Albert Hall.
The Milestone Hotel and Apartments
1 Kensington Court, W8 5DL
(877) 955-1515 / +44 (0) 20 7917 1000
This five-star luxury, boutique hotel, located near Royal Albert Hall and The West End, was built in the 1880s and has been completely renovated, receiving the 2012 “Best Small Hotel in the UK” prize from International Hotel Awards. The Milestone consists of 44 deluxe guest rooms, 12 suites with butler service, and 6 two-bedroom, long-stay apartments (with a minimum of a 7 night stay required) with kitchens, maid service on request and other perks. Most of the apartments also include a jacuzzi-style tub in the master bathroom and access to a private rooftop terrace or deck. The hotel’s wellness center has a spa, array of athletic activities, including an indoor resistance pool, access to jogging tracks at Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, and a fully equipped gymnasium. The Afternoon High Tea is a tradition worth trying. When booking with the “We Are Family” package — designed for two adults and two kids, 12 years old or younger — guests have complementary access to the hotel’s DVD library, Wii console, and collection of boardgames, along with two sets of mini robes and slippers for the child-size royal treatment. Children can take part in the Mini Milestone Experience and get a behind-the-scenes look at the hotel with a special certificate of achievement at the end of the tour. And, for a final added bonus, when booking with this package, children can dine for free when eating at the hotel with their parents. Here’s a firsthand review of a Milestone Hotel family stay.
Rates: $$$$-$$$$$ Ask about their family packages and kids stay and eat for free specials.
Location: Opposite Kensington Palace with views of Kensington Gardens and the Royal Parklands.
150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR
(877) 748-9536 / +44 (0) 20 7493 8181
Money not an object? This is a sister property to the Ritz-Carltons we know and love, with similar perks, including an evening turndown with mineral water, a decorative fireplace in every room, and complimentary shoe cleaning. At the Ritz, kids are also given the five-star treatment: kids under 16 stay free in their parents’ bedroom; babysitting and free cots are, of course, available; and free ice cream is served at the hotel’s two restaurants. And the perks don’t end here. There is a Teen Concierge, milk and cookies every day at turndown, and a Kidz@theritz Program. The 135 bedrooms and 60 suites sport stunning color schemes; a fitness room is available as well. The London Ritz, a member of the Tea Council’s prestigious tea guild, serves Afternoon Tea with a selection of 17 loose leaf brews. In the evening, dining at the Ritz is a stylish affair complete with a a tie and jacket dress code; for holiday meals a reservation must be made 12 weeks in advance.
Rates: $$$$-$$$$$ per standard room or suite.
Location: At the corner of Green Park, across the park from Buckingham palace.
The Landmark London
222 Marylebone Road, NW1 6JQ
+44 (0) 20 7631 8000
This is another pricey but worthwhile five-star hotel boasting the largest guestrooms in London, with marble bathrooms (with a separate tub and shower). Both a concierge and room service with a varied children’s menu are available 24 hours a day. The Family Escape package allows two adults and two children to stay in a room with two double beds (ask about the hotel’s baby rates), and includes complimentary cookies on arrival and daily English breakfast. The Winter Garden, one of four bars and restaurants located in-house, serves a traditional Afternoon Tea as well as Mediterranean menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner beneath a spacious glass atrium. For further pampering and relaxation, the spa offers an affordable escape for both parents and kids at a small fee; it’s free if guests book a treatment. Babysitting can also be arranged through the hotel’s concierge. For a fun family excursion, be sure to ask for directions to Regent’s Park and the London Zoo, both of which are nearby.
Location: Marylebone, between Regent’s Park and Hyde Park, and a short walk to Baker Street.
The Mayfair Hotel
Stratton Street, W1J 8LT
(800) 333-3333 / +44 (0) 20 7629 7777
One of several Radisson Edwardian brand hotels in London, The Mayfair has the highest reputation for well-rounded and useful family travel perks. Among the 406 bedrooms and 12 signature suites (many with jacuzzis), family rooms are available with two queen-sized beds. Quite sizable for Europe, these rooms can sleep up to two adults and two kids. Day passes to the hotel spa and gym are available for purchase at the front desk for guests over age 16. Use of the facilities is, however, free when you book a treatment at the gym or the spa. Workouts in the gym can be conducted individually; or, if desired, guests can purchase one of four workout sessions with a personal trainer provided by the hotel. Added amenities include 24-hour room service, cribs on request, and arrangements for babysitting. Children 14 and under stay free.
Rates: $$-$$$$ per standard, deluxe, or suite.
Location: Very close to Piccadilly, Bond Street, and Buckingham Palace.
The Goring Hotel
Beeston Place, Grosvenor Gardens, SW1W OJW
+44 (0) 20 7396 9000
A classic and quiet 71-room hotel that’s been family-run by Mr. Goring himself since 1910, the hotel is filled with comfy sofas and friendly staff, features a large private garden, and prides itself on welcoming children. One third of the rooms at The Goring overlook the central gardens; and the family rooms with individual but connecting bedrooms make traveling with kids a breeze. Baby baskets filled with essentials are given to parents upon arrival. Older children find a stuffed sheep and kid’s coloring packet waiting on their pillows. There’s also a special kid’s bedtime library, gift bags and classes in the kitchen for your blossoming culinary artist. Kids receive a Goring Passport to help them learn about and keep track of their travels, and they can collect stamps from stops throughout the hotel. As a favorite of the Queen Mother, who was partial to the Eggs Drumkilbo at its restaurant (the hotel is around the corner from Buckingham Palace), The Goring has many Royal connections, including hosting Prince Charles’ 60th Birthday in the Archive Room. The Goring also housed Kate Middleton’s family during the 2011 royal wedding. With traditional English cuisine served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, meals at The Goring complete the experience. All guests can avail themselves of the local health club and babysitting is available through arrangement with the concierge.
Location: Near the Natural History Museum and Buckingham Palace.
London Budget Hotel Options With Some Flair
Dolphin Square Hotel
Dolphin Square, Chichester Street, SW1V 3LX
+44 (0) 20 7834 3800
A lovely hotel with 148 suites set in 3½ acres of private gardens in a residential area of Westminster, the Dolphin Square Hotel is right on the River Thames. Apartments range from studios to three bedrooms, each styled with king sized beds. One of our readers told us “the two bedroom apartment was huge – a great value if you can get a special discount rate.” The bar and grill restaurant on the premises provide plenty of culinary variety for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And, for a more adult evening, guests are invited to stop at the chic Club Lounge and Champaign Bar for a quick cocktail with friends. The fitness club at The Dolphin is another great addition, perfect for relaxing or a fun round of family games. Facilities include a gymnasium, spa, squash courts, a riverside tennis court, and an 18-meter indoor swimming pool perfect for family fun. Gardens add a fresh touch to the otherwise urban property, adding elegance and completing a well-rounded stay.
Rates: $-$$$ for one-two bedroom suites.
Location: In the bustling neighborhood of Westminster at the Pimlico tube stop, not far from Piccadilly Circus.
49-50 Cartwright Gardens, WC1H 9EL
+44 (0) 20 7387 1515
Comfortable and family-run bed and breakfast-style hotel, this 27 room property welcomes families, offers babysitters, and can even provide a baby listening service. A full English Breakfast is served, and high chairs are available for the little ones. The Crescent welcomes international guests, and includes a reception staff who speak English, French, Italian, and Spanish. Tea, coffee, and snacks are also offered in a peaceful lounge, and access to a private garden as well as four tennis courts and tennis equipment are available to guests. A triple room family suite is available with an extra single bed. Children under 2 stay for free and cots (cribs) are provided upon request.
Location: Near Euston Station.
28/30 Seymour Street, W1H 7JB
+44 (0) 20 7402 5401
Poet Edward Lear, author of “The Owl and the Pussycat,” resided at this address in two 18th-century townhouses, and his illustrated poems are posted throughout. Rooms are large, family rooms and rollaway beds are available. Children under 2-years-old stay free. Free internet access is available in the lounge, and a complimentary English Breakfast is included with every reservation.
Rates: $-$$ including full English breakfast.
Location: Marble Arch. Steps to Oxford Street, London’s main shopping district.
The St. Ermin’s Hotel
2 Caxton Street, SW1H 0QW
(877) 218-6004 / +44 (0) 207 222 7888
The St. Ermin’s is a beautifully restored historic property in a prime location, offering guests a selection of 331 rooms and suites. In addition to the glitz, marble, cameos and mosaic accents in its lavish Victorian-era lobby, a discreet sign warns guests that a bell will ring when Parliament resumes session (presumably to wake the Lords who might be taking tea in the lobby bar). Yes, you’re in the heart of the British political scene. All rooms, however, have been attractively updated to include all the modern conveniences, including fluffy bathrobes, a minibar, and 24-hour room service. Connecting rooms can be arranged depending on availability. The St. Ermin’s Hotel also includes three in-house bars and restaurants, allowing for full meals in the Caxton Grill or a light snack in the Caxton Terrace.
Rates: $$-$$$$ with specials on weekends include complimentary breakfast. Children to age 16 sleep free in their parent’s room.
Location: Near Parliament, across the street from Scotland Yard, around the corner from the St. James Park tube stop and a few minutes walk from the park or the Westminster Bridge.
London County Hall
Belvedere Road, SE1 7PB
+44 (0) 871 527 9222
We particularly like this budget inn next to the Saatchi Gallery on the South Bank of the Thames across from some yummy hip cafes. You can take advantage of Premier Inn’s bargain rates for a surprisingly spacious family room with a queen size bed, single sofabed and separate pull-out single bed, full bathroom with shower and floor space to spare. The briskly modern décor relies solely on formica, brightly hued sheet rock and wall-to-wall carpeting for warmth but it’s spotless. The staff is friendly, and a big but inexpensive English breakfast buffet is offered in the morning at their full service restaurant. Kids under 16 eat breakfast for free and those under 15 stay in their parents’ room for free. A childrens’ menu is also available at the restaurant. Premier Inn is for those families looking for a super-convenient place to sleep and wash up; forgotten toiletries are available at the front desk for a fee, as are candy bars and beverages in vending machines. This Premier Inn at the London County Hall is in central London; the second location is the Premier Inn at Tower Hill and the whole Premier Inn chain won our 2008 Top Cheap Getaway award.
Rates: $ Family rooms sleeping four on weeknights, and a bit more on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Check their website for details.
Location: In the shadow of the BA London Eye and a quick walk to the Westminster Bridge. There’s also a well-located Kensington branch as well as hundreds of others along the major motorways of Britain.
This chain of apartment-hotels, which can be found in cities throughout France, as well as in Brussels, Barcelona, London and Berlin offers good rates for spacious accommodations (including a full kitchen) for up to six people. Also offered are a Baby Service (which provides cots, bottle warmers and changing mats) as well as a Shopping Service which will deliver groceries to the hotel for you. Maid service, new sheets and towels are provided once a week; anything more than that is extra cost. Straightening up your rooms yourself will allow you to save a bit of extra money. Check out Citadines.com or call +33 141 05 79 05 for current rates.
London’s Family Welcoming Youth Hostels
City of London Youth Hostel
36 Carter Lane, EC4
London, U.K. (Tube Stop: St. Paul’s)
+44 (0) 84 5371 9012 (from outside UK); 0870 770 5764 (within UK)
Rates: From $ (including breakfast)
Location: Near St.Paul’s Cathedral and Tower of London, not far from city center. Very accessible by tube or bus
Rotherhithe Youth Hostel
Salter Road, SE16
London, U.K. (Tube Stop: Rotherhithe, Canada Water)
+44 (0) 20 7232 2114 (from outside UK); 0870 770 6010 (within UK)
Rates: From $
Check out YHA.org.uk or call 44 1629 592700 for more information on hostels.
More Useful Contacts for London Lodging
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.