Trafalgar Square and The National Portrait Gallery With Kids
Activity: Trafalgar Square/National Portrait Gallery. Tube Stop: Charring Cross (exit Trafalgar Square) Cost: Free. Hours: 10-6 every day, 10-9 on Fridays.
Walk down The Royal Mall (pronounced MAHL by the British). Pretend to be in a parade, because this is where they happen. It should be about a 17 minute walk from Buckingham (approximately a 5 hour walk with a toddler) to Trafalgar Square with plenty to see.
When you get to Trafalgar Square, notice the lions. You aren't supposed to climb on them, but people do and it's fun. Look for a Pret-a-Manager for some delicious lunch sandwiches and eat them in Trafalgar Square.
Go around the corner to The National Portrait Gallery. It's free! This is my favorite London art museum because it shows all the British people. Find Queen Victoria, JK Rowling, Will/Harry, Princess Diana, The Beatles, and George Micheal. Isn't England great?
OK ready for some drama? Go find the Tudor room. Flip to day 5 for my brief history of the Tudors and ultimate chauvinist, Henry VIII. Then find the portraits of each person described. I visited The National Portrait Gallery when I was 16, learned the story of Henry VIII and then bought postcards of each queen and daughter and hung them up in my room next to my poster of Zac Efron. I was a weird teenager.
When you're done, stop in the basement of St. Martin-In-The-Field's to do some brass rubbings. Traditionally, people would lay down paper on engraven tombs and rub it with wax for likenesses of famous people. Over time, this damaged Westminster's tombs, so they made replicas and brought them here. You can choose to make your own for 4 pounds. Fun activity, great for kids, and an easy souvenir.