CHECK IN to the West End for theatrical magic, super-cool food and endless culture, says deputy editor Ellie O’Mahoney and daughter Molly, four.
When one thinks of London, the West End almost always springs to mind – not least the shopping meccas of Covent Garden, Carnaby, Regent and Oxford Street.
With the kids in tow, head straight to Hamleys, the world’s oldest toy store, with seven floors of the latest toys and a candy store (Hamleys.com).
And a theatrical performance is a must. The adaptation of Disney’s Frozen, set at Theater Royal Drury Lane, stars the incredible Samantha Barks as Elsa.
Watch closely for a truly mind-blowing surprise at the end of the first half.
Tickets are from £20 (Frozenthemusical.co.uk).
by the way
The Theater Royal Drury Lane is the oldest theater in London, originally opening in 1663.
PICADILLY’s Royal Academy Of Arts was the centerpiece of Bridgerton’s first series and is home to 250 years of art including Tracey Emin and JMW Turner.
It’s also great for children. Get a free Art Detectives Pack that includes a sketchbook and card pack full of artwork-focused activities.
Paid exhibitions start from £15 per adult (Royalacademy.org.uk).
Visit the Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition in Covent Garden for a behind-the-scenes look at iconic goodies.
Have your picture taken on the green screen broomstick and grab yourself a wizard’s favorite drink, Butterbeer, which comes with a free souvenir mug from £6.95.
Tickets are £20 for adults, £14 for children under 16 (Harrypotter onlocation.co.uk).
For lunch, the Seven Dials Market offers 11 micro-restaurants.
After some serious hesitation we settled on Shuk’s brisket served with smoky mayonnaise, pickled red onions and pita, £9.75 (Sevendialsmarket.com).
For something more sophisticated, the Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms is all about finger sandwiches, bottomless brews and divine scones – choose between pecan and apple or vanilla and chocolate, £34pp (Scoffandbanter.com).
Save room to explore Chinatown’s dessert alley, Gerrard Street, for one-off puddings you won’t find anywhere else. Tsujiri’s Sundae – heaps of matcha ice cream with a waffle cone – £6.90 is a treat (Tsujiri.co.uk).
For a stunning meal head to Ave Mario.
It looks like the love child of Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci – pure Italian glamor – and the pasta is fantastic.
We opted for Cacio e Pistacchio – fresh bucatini in pistachio pesto and a peppery sauce, £14.50.
Follow with the stracciatella ice cream where they roll out the 60cm tall ice tower and cut off a slice for you before topping it in caramel sauce, £9.50 (Bigmammagroup.com).
A luxury boutique hotel in Seven Dials, the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Mercer Street is as central as can be but with a super chilled neighborhood that makes you feel like you’ve stumbled across a village in the big city.
We loved the Ren toiletries and waffle robes, and the friendly staff make you feel like you’ve just come home to your very own pied-a-terre.
Rooms start from £218 per night, including breakfast, when booked in advance (Radissonhotels.com).
Before leaving the Big Smoke, be sure to head underground to travel on the newly opened Elizabeth Line on Tottenham Court Road.
London’s futuristic chic new railway stretches 100km and is named after Her Majesty.
Single tickets are from £2.50 (Tfl.gov.uk).