With the swell of excitement surrounding the recent coronation of King Charles III and all of its glorious pageantry, bows and curtsies, London is the perfect spot to tour again from a new vantage point — with mini 50-to-58-inch scions by your side. While half the fun for kids might be adopting a British accent for a few days, you can still savor hidden luxury accommodations, new boutique debuts, dazzling exhibitions and exclusive private tours like the modern sovereign you are.
With a regal address in Buckingham Gate, nearly hidden in the streets of Westminster, is the unmistakably British boutique hotel The Guardsman (from £290 per room and £900 per residence per night). Private and prestigious, The Guardsman is the perfect base—just a brisk walk to Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Place and Wellington Barracks—to spot the iconic Changing of The Guard. Service is tailored to each guest (and the tots!) and the interior features rich color and snug, luxe furnishings. (Nary a judgey blink from our afternoon pastry crumbles on the couch.) It boasts 53 spacious rooms, with the top three floors housing six ultra-exclusive suites. For those who want to learn more about the British Royal Family, the hotel offers The New Guard package with the option of a Royal Walking Tour to take in the palaces, royal parks, famous monuments and Royal jewels, ending at Westminster Abbey, the scene of King Charles III’s coronation. (If you are venturing to Marylebone, check out The Guardsman’s brand new sister hotel, the BoTree, by Preferred Hotels and Resorts, opening this summer that promises “an immersive experience created through enchanting spaces.”)
SIP & SAVOR
Every Royal knows that teacups are pinched between the thumb and forefinger, with the middle finger supporting the base of the cup (extended pinkies are frowned upon). Delight in a musically inspired Afternoon Tea in the heart of London’s theatreland with “The Covent Garden Crescendo” at the luxury Middle Eight hotel. After “Matilda the Musical” or any other kid-friendly show, savor sweets like Hazelnut Harmony, a twist on the classic Hazelnut eclair, and Treble Clef Treat, a Pistachio macaron filled with buttercream and roasted praline.
While the King and Queen Consort got to ride in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, you can re-discover London in private comfort in an iconic London Black Cab. Put the babes in the back seat and save little legs from whiny walks for the Premiere Classic London Tour from Black Cab Heritage Tours (starting at £315). Four hours in the rain flew by with Dave, our professional and extremely knowledgeable driver, who took us to Tower of London, Admiralty Arch, Trafalgar Square, Marble Arch, Park Lane, Piccadilly Circus, London Bridge and so much more. “You’ve probably come across me once or twice if you look at [five star] reviews … I’m the only Dave,” he said. He reached out 24 hours in advance to make sure all plans were in order, tailored nuggets of information for my “Harry Potter”-loving daughter and took snapshots of us for our own social postings.
Skip the official coronation quiche dish, or for that matter, the traditional Yorkshire Pudding (jellied eels), to opt instead for the Neopolitan fare at Jacuzzi. The newly opened eye-popping trattoria with a gigantic limone tree and plush green space bedecked with murals offers delicate pizzettes and delicious truffle spaghetti. Designed like a palatial villa replete with Italian decadence, it will please both picky eaters who want to feel ritzy as well as those with more advanced taste buds. The restaurant is part of the Big Mama London group and buys all their products from Italy.
Let the children spin and twirl with grand abandon in Frameless (starting at £12.50 for kids), Britain’s biggest immersive art experience, “where art breaks free.” Without any actual tangible art, you’ll find an Instagram-friendly experience across 30,000 square feet where you feel like part of the art — stepping into a giant computer screen of animated works by Monet, Dali?, Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Klimt. It’s simply enchanting. Keep the mind-altering immersive experience going at Twist Museum (starting at £18.50), where you get up close with unexpected interactive illusions, and discover how your brain interprets reality with joy and wonder.