Spring is the perfect time to take a relaxed city break with kids. Laura Mason shares her experience of staying at the family-friendly Park Plaza County Hall in London.
A London break with kids
London is the ultimate hive of activity for all ages; whether it’s the latest theatrical West End show, exploring dinosaurs at one of the many museums, or just doing the tourist thing and taking in the historic sights throughout the city. I find whenever I am in the city, for business or pleasure, I get caught up in the rush and somehow end up falling in step with the ‘mad dash’ that everyone seems to be in.
Therefore it can often be off-putting when it comes to taking the kids on a trip to London. There is so much for them to enjoy and experience, yet I hate the rushed nature of everything, so if time allows then I find incorporating an overnight stay really helps us set our own pace.
Park Plaza County Hall
With this in mind, we booked a stay at the Park Plaza County Hall under their Family Fun in the City offer. I am familiar with the Park Plaza hotels, there’s a number of the four star properties dotted across the city (and wider UK) in very central locations. They’re comfortable and of good standard without breaking the bank.
The Park Plaza County Hall is conveniently located a short walk from Waterloo station so fab for over and underground links. It is also handy for the Thames, London Eye and the bustling Southbank, which is just a few minutes walk away.
Family Fun in the City
We visited the hotel back in December, and while undoubtedly London dazzles in all it’s festive sparkle and glory, the hotel had gone above and beyond with a flurry of super sparkling trees lit up to welcome us.
We wanted to check in early to make the most of our day, and while the room wasn’t ready, the staff were really accommodating taking our bags, and details to update us. They handed the two children activity packs and we decided to camp out in the bar with a festive tipple until our room was ready.
The hotel is really family friendly and bustling with parents with children and babies. If you’re there to escape and enjoy some quality time together as a family then you really don’t need to leave – the hotel has put together some free of charge activities different to what you might expect – on Saturday afternoons older kids can get their hands involved with one of the pizza making classes or sit back and dig into a bucket of popcorn while enjoying one of the family movie evenings. Other thumbs up go to the play area, and general public areas that are friendly and spacious.
Checking in to the Executive Studio room, we were blown away by the view. Forget the amenities, this room was showcasing south London at it’s best. Floor to ceiling glass windows looked over Waterloo station and miles beyond as far as the eye could see. Once we had all taken it in, we got familiar with the room.
The family room is a great use of space, a large open plan room welcomes you in with a kitchenette featuring essentials for storing/heating all your baby foods and milk. The living/bedroom space is comprised of a master double bed split by a partial partition that forms a mirror image onto a living area with sofa bed that was made up for our stay.
While it’s compact, the room didn’t feel tight on space. All your essentials were at hand and easily accessible, and the bathroom even featured a separate shower cubicle and bath.
Staying away with children, it’s really important to have a good night’s sleep. I was slightly concerned about the train station noise, however by night the trains were calm, and the sound proofing on the hotel was no issue day or night. There’s something quite ethereal about looking out to a world of activity from the absolute silence of a hotel room. Waking to do the night feed, I drew open the curtains to sit and breathe in the view.
Breakfast at the Plaza
Morning bought with the delights of breakfast. One word of warning – it’s a big hotel and breakfast is a key meal so weekends are super busy and fair to say more than a little chaotic! We did have to wait a few minutes but the turnaround was quite quick. Adults’ breakfast is complimentary with the package, and kids eat free which is a great plus point, so with a hearty choice of hot and cold breakfast items, it’s the best start to putting you in good stead for a day in the big city.
Check out came much too soon for my liking but with full tummies and a day of memory-making ahead, we happily set off on foot to the London Aquarium.
To find out more, including rates and availability, visit www.parkplazacountyhall.com.