The real West End: Walk London free walking tour

I love it when a plan comes together. Having written about the free ‘Walk London’ tours and walks a couple of times, the latest set happened to fall this weekend – when I was already in central London, having a bit of time for myself at the Mercure London Bridge (more of which to come).

So while a lot of the walks are family-friendly, I didn’t have to worry about scheduling lunch/naps/bored toddlers and simply dropped my bag at left luggage in Charing Cross (£6 well spent) to join one of this morning’s walks.

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There are around 40 different options over the weekend, so if you’re in the capital with time to kill tomorrow, check out the full list.  Continue reading

Thursday Travel Treat: Malta

In London today it’s 3C (and that seems warm compared to the snowy landscapes across the country). A few hours away in Malta, it’s 17C. If it wasn’t for the looming tax bill, I’d be tempted to book a flight this minute.

Instead I’ve dug through my photos from two trips to the island for today’s #thursdaytraveltreat on Instagram.malta-marsaxlokk-fishing-harbour-boats

I’ve never quite understood why Malta has a bit of a dated image – there’s temples older than the pyramids, great diving and the stunning blue lagoon on sister island Comino, historic walled cities, fantastic seafood and lots of quirky touches.

That’s before you even consider laid-back Gozo, a ferry ride away from Mellieha in the north where I’ve stayed both times. And it’s very family-friendly.

I really am cursing that tax bill today…

Do join in with the #thursdaytraveltreat hashtag on Instagram or Flickr, and add your links in the comments below.

Thursday Travel Treat: Morocco

Blue skies are here – in photo form, at least. I love the fact that arriving in Morocco is like being transported into a completely different world, all the colours, sounds, smells, the fabulous decorations on the buildings, the history… Perfect for a #thursdaytraveltreat on Instagram.

And even better, it’s only a few hours away. I’ve been to Morocco a couple of times, to Marrakech, my own favourite Fes and the less visited Meknes. High up the wishlist for the future is Essaouira, especially thanks to the new flights.

I’ve yet to take Minnie, although the country has a reputation for being very family-friendly – let me know if you’ve taken your kids?

And do join in with the hashtag on Instagram or Twitter, and link in the comments below.

 

Family day out: Ham House, Surrey

You wait ages for a family day out, then two come at once. Having headed to the Natural History Museum to cheer up a cloudy grey day, when the sun briefly came out, I put my alternative good weather plan into action.

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A trip to Ham House in Surrey, a National Trust property that’s only around half an hour away from me on the banks of the River Thames.

And while the main house itself was closed, the gardens and below stairs section were open – definitely the best bits to see with a toddler anyway.

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The Natural History Museum, London, with a toddler

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, there’s nothing like striking while the iron’s hot. So I braved the tube (far more successfully than last time) and we headed to the Natural History Museum, easily one of my favourite places for kids in London.

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There’s already a huge difference in experience since our visit to the mammoth exhibition last summer, when Minnie was still small enough to want to be carried most of the time.

This time, I checked the buggy in to the cloakroom and ignoring my own tips on visiting with a toddler, we headed into the museum without a plan to see what we could see.

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