Treat the kids (and yourself) to a day out in SW1X with our favourite things to do with the whole family
Family-friendly activities in Knightsbridge
Enjoy a spot of afternoon tea
It’s not as if we need an excuse to book an afternoon tea and, thankfully, there are plenty of places in Knightsbridge that cater to petite palates when it comes to this most decadent of British traditions. The Royal Albert Hall serves a mini version of its traditional offering with either tea, hot chocolate or a glass of milk, while The Lanesborough currently has a children’s version of its Queen Charlotte Afternoon Tea for your little prince or princess. For older kids and fashionista tweens, there’s the oh-so chic and Instagrammable Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley, with its delicate creations that celebrate the likes of Christopher Kane, Jean Paul Gaultier and Dolce & Gabbana.
And if you don’t have an entire afternoon to sup tea and munch finger sandwiches, then why not pick up a sweet treat for your little darlings from the plethora of bakeries, patisseries and cafés in the area? Stock up on beautiful, homemade cakes from Feya, EL&N, Caffè Concerto and L’Eto, enjoy Portugal’s national dish – pastel de nata – at Café de Nata on Brompton Road or indulge your inner Augustus Gloop at Harrods’ celebrated Chocolate Hall or Knoops, which specialises in luxury hot chocolate.
See an exhibition
Just a stone’s throw from Knightsbridge is Exhibition Road, home to some of London’s most prestigious museums. For older children, the V&A is full of inspiring treasures (quite literally in some cases) and it’s free to peruse its 2 million plus objects and artefacts. Just across the way, the Science Museum is the place to stimulate young minds with its unique range of immersive experiences and exhibitions, including the sprawling Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery (recommended for 7 – 14 year olds), the Power Up gaming hub and the interactive Pattern Pod designed for younger children under 9. And don’t miss the Natural History Museum, which is free to enter and offers a huge array of entertaining and educational activities for the whole family.
Stay at a fancy hotel
With so much to do on your doorstep, Knightsbridge makes a dream staycation destination. Better still, many of the area’s five-star and boutique hotels go above and beyond to accommodate little ones and to make their stay as fun and memorable as possible. Tucked away on Basil Street, just behind Harrods, The Capital Hotel, Apartments & Townhouse has a family offer that includes two interconnecting rooms at a special rate, a full English breakfast each morning and arrival gifts for mini guests. Another boutique bolthole, The Knightsbridge Hotel, features spacious family rooms, a dedicated children’s menu, stacks of books and board games, and even milk and cookies at bedtime. But truly going the extra mile is The Lanesborough hotel. Aside from the aforementioned afternoon tea, this landmark five-star hotel has a plethora of activities for kids through its Little VIP Club. This includes a Little Butler Bootcamp, mocktail lessons, horse riding in Hyde Park, mini manicures and pedicures and an in-room treasure hunt on rainy days. Still not enough? The Lanesborough also works with event planners Notorious Kids to create the bespoke stay of your dreams – from fantastical in-room décor to arranging a teddy bear’s picnic or an indoor teepee. Your wish is their command…
Go on a treasure hunt
It’s not just The Lanesborough that offers a curated treasure hunt (both indoors and outside via the head concierge). Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London has its Little Rangers Adventures experience, which encourages families to explore the surrounding neighbourhood. Children will be given a bespoke treasure map (and plush toy to take home) that corresponds to different themes: red for Royal Ranger, blue for Sloane Ranger and green for Park Ranger. Activities include customised shopping experiences at Harvey Nichols, horse feeding at Hyde Park Barracks and a sensory game to play at Hyde Park. Meanwhile, the Bulgari Hotel’s Family Experience takes you out of SW1X on a treasure hunt that begins with personalised invitations leading to a private driver. The car will then whizz the entire family on a clue-driven hunt around London that passes such landmarks as Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and Buckingham Palace. Closer to home, Huntfun London Hyde Park is a self-guided tour across the Royal Park that you can print out or download on your phone. Once given simple directions and a map, you’ll be asked questions and given scavenger tasks to complete at your leisure.
Enjoy a luxury dinner
Fed up of family dinners that consist of cheesy pasta and undercooked garlic bread in chain restaurants? In Knightsbridge, there’s no need to compromise on fine dining just because the kids are in tow. While popular Italian restaurant Harry’s Dolce Vita and modern French dining concept Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay don’t have kids’ menus, they are very child-friendly destinations. Similarly, the antipasti and Middle Eastern small plates at Al Basha, The Mantl and Signor Sassi are great for little foodies with a taste for the finer things in life. But if your little one prefers a plate of sausage and chips to tabbouleh and olives, The Bunch of Grapes pub on Brompton Road has a classic kids’ menu which even includes Quorn options for mini vegetarians. Finally, why not make a day of it with a spot of shopping at Harvey Nichols, followed by lunch in the Fifth Floor Café. Children under 12 eat free from the excellent kids’ menu, which even includes mocktails and low-gluten fish and chips, so long as they’re accompanied by a parent ordering one course from the main menu. Download the Harvey Nichols app for more information.