Our recent family weekend in London for Caroline’s cancer wish with the charity Rays of Sunshine was a fantastic urban adventure, including some great restaurants, the London Eye, a tourist trail walk, Chinatown, the Lego shop and the highlight, watching parts 1 and 2 of Harry Potter & The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre with a stage door visit to meet the actors.
We returned home exhausted but buzzing and are still talking about it two weeks later!
Pop over and read Caroline’s cancer dream come true to hear all about our unforgettable experience and find out just how remarkable the shows really are, then use my tips here to book your own trip.
How to Travel to London with Kids
3-day Itinerary for Harry Potter & The Cursed Child
Kings Cross, Platform 9¾ and the 9¾ shop
London by Night
Central London hotel
Tourist trail walk
The London Eye
Jamon, Jamon restaurant
The Lego shop
Our journey to London took 4 hours so if you live closer you could fit a lot more into your weekend. Here’s our itinerary: –
- Train to Kings Cross station
- Visit Platform 9¾ and 9¾ shop
- Across London via tube
- Arrive at Premier Inn, Leicester Square
- Evening meal at The Rainforest Cafe
- Free time in Leicester Square for (semi-naked) street entertainment! – read here
- Breakfast at hotel
- Sightseeing walk via Trafalgar Square etc
- London Eye flight
- Arrive at Palace Theatre 12-12.15pm
- 1pm the magic begins
- 3.45pm leave theatre
- Tapas meal at Jamon, Jamon
- 5.30-5.45pm return to theatre
- 6.30pm second performance begins
- 9.05pm – it’s all over!
- Stage door visit
- Breakfast at hotel
- Visit the Lego shop/Leicester Square
- Return home via Kings Cross
For great photos and full details of the fun adventures on our epic trip read Caroline’s cancer dream come true.
Top Travel Tips
HARRY POTTER & THE CURSED CHILD Parts 1 and 2
Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London – tickets from £75 per person per show
Firstly, the show is in two full-length parts. During the week you watch parts 1 and 2 on consecutive days; at the weekend you can watch both on the same day. My itinerary is for same-day performances.
Secondly, it’s recommended for children aged 10 and over but there were several children a lot younger than Caroline and Evie and if you’re happy, the theatre are happy. No babes in arms though.
Plan your London itinerary around the showtimes, not the other way round.
Have a really good read of the theatre website – arrive 45-60 minutes early for security checks as latecomers are not allowed in.
Drinks and snacks are on sale at the theatre and water refills are available too.
Ask for a child booster seat to improve their view – available free of charge, first come, first served.
KINGS CROSS STATION
Pancras Road, London
Obviously you HAVE to go via Kings Cross if at all possible!
There can be long queues to see the trolley in the wall at Platform 9¾ so factor that in if you plan to take a photo there (which you pay around £10 for). We’d already done it so we went straight into the Platform 9¾ shop. It’s not cheap but this is Harry Potter after all.
Plan in advance and treat the kids with some Harry Potter sweets and chocolate for the train journey – click images to order.
Leicester Square, London – rooms from £49 per night
Located just off Leicester Square this really is a great bargain hotel and a perfect central base to explore the city.
It’s secure, requiring keycard access at night, surprisingly quiet with excellent all-you-can eat breakfasts.
Shaftesbury Avenue, London
The Rainforest Cafe is a really fun, family place to eat with an American/International menu and smaller kids portions too. Allergies etc catered for if advised in advance.
The rainstorms and sudden animal movements can be quite scary for little ones. They get used to it, but be warned if you sit close to anything remotely animal-like.
Children receive a colouring sheet and pencils and the food is great though the decor is a little dated now.
There’s also an unavoidable gift shop on entrance and exit so be prepared with either money or excuses!
THE LONDON EYE
Westminster Bridge Road, London – tickets from £24.30
Depending on the time of year/day, queues can be very long so ensure you allow enough time around the rest of your sightseeing list.
Check the website for opening times, which vary throughout the year.
To avoid queues, book time-slots and save 10% online on ticket prices booked in advance.
Once on board, there are signs above the windows showing you east and west, very helpful for spotting icons in the city.
JAMON, JAMON RESTAURANT
Delicious Spanish tapas and paella chain with outdoor eating area during sunny periods. Great mojitos!
Drury Lane, London – billed as ‘the show after the show’
My favourite West End restaurant for something a little different with the kids. It doesn’t open on Sunday afternoons but is well worth checking out if you like Mediterranean food and flamboyant, theatre-style decor!
How To Get Harry Potter & The Cursed Child Theatre Tickets
Don’t forget the play is in two full-length parts so you see them on consecutive days mid-week or on the same day at the weekend, which is what we did.
With tickets so sought after and bought up years in advance, it’s not easy to see the show! This post from Mums do Travel has all the top tips on how to get tickets including getting in the call queue on days that new tickets are made available – see next paragraph! Well worth a read.
I also know that there is a new release of tickets on September 18th for performances from April to July 2019. All the information is on the Harry Potter and The Cursed Child website. Read up now so you don’t miss out.
We loved everything about Caroline’s cancer wish weekend and if you get to see the shows I can guarantee you’ll love them too.
KIT FOR KIDS
Keep the children happy with a wand or Hogwarts robe, and for entertainment on a long train journey try I-Spy books. We loved On a Train Journey and London as well as this great pop-up guide to London for younger children. And of course don’t forget the book itself… Click images to buy