Can London and Paris be done over a one-week school vacation? With kids ages nine, six, and four? In the cold and rainy month of February!? YES, it can! If my family did it, yours can try it too! Follow our 9-day Paris and London itinerary with kids to make it happen.
Flying to London may be the trickiest part for finicky kids. To minimize fuss, try to take a night flight to London. That way, kids can spend time sleeping on the plane and wake up bright-eyed for your adventure! Take melatonin if you have trouble adjusting to the time change. My family likes the Zarbees melatonin gummies for kids! Adjusting to European time quickly means you can maximize your Paris and London itinerary with kids.
Day 1 (London, Kensington)
My family checked into the beautiful Marriott County Hall hotel, which sits under the London Eye. Its central location and room sizes are great for families. Plus, you can use your points! After you arrive, make it your goal to have everyone stay awake until early evening to help adjust to the time. Planning something engaging, and outdoors if the weather permits, will help!
Kensington was an amazing place to explore on our first day in London! First, we visited Kensington Palace, where we took an engaging tour featuring characters in costumes included in ticket our ticket price. If it’s not raining, I also recommend a trip to the Princess Diana Memorial Playground! It’s an iconic tribute to a fallen royal and a tranquil play area for little ones. Then, head to London’s other famous green space to feed the parakeets, Hyde Park!
To do this, pass the Peter Pan statue, take a right at the Wildlife sign, head toward the nearest bushes or trees, and hold out an apple! If your family still has some energy, you can also check out the nearby neighborhood of Notting Hill, a great area to walk around for independent shops and a cute atmosphere. Or, find a cute coffee shop in Kensington and get the kids started on their travel journals!
Restaurants in Kensington:
For lunch in Kensington, we dined at Maggie Jones (located at 6 Old Court Place, London W8 4PL). In addition to a cozy atmosphere, the staff was incredibly patient with my children. It was so nice to sit down to a proper meal after a long flight. Plus, you can’t beat some tasty pub food! I recommend the onion soup, lamb, and guinea fowl. Kids who are less ambitious can try the smoked chicken or steak and chips. Other lunch options include St Elmo Fish Bar in Kensington, perfect for seafood lovers, and Italian restaurant Osteria Basilico.
Day 2 (London, Westminster)
Westminster is also a must-stop on your Paris and London itinerary with kids! Children will definitely want to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, a quintessential London activity. My family booked a Fun London Tour that ended at Buckingham Palace, allowing us to march alongside the guards and marching band. It was great to see it all up close, rather than stand in the crush of people in front of Buckingham Palace. It’s definitely worth it if you purchase a “family ticket.”
Try to schedule your Westminster day for a Sunday to see the horse guards too! If it’s not raining, you can also take a stroll through the nearby St. James Park to stop for a quick bite at the little cafe in the middle! Then, immerse yourself in history at the Churchill War Rooms, which offers audio guides to entertain both adults and children! Note that there is a museum section in addition to the actual war rooms, with more rooms to see after. Budget your time accordingly so you can head to the London Transport Museum. Take the Tube there of course!
Restaurants in Westminster:
Westminster is a great neighborhood to grab some food! Popular local options include the Fortnum & Mason Confectionary, Strutton Ground Market, and the Cinnamon Club, which is Indian food served in an old Victorian library. Families can also cross over to Southwark for more diverse culinary options. For dinner, my family enjoyed Dim Sum at Yauatcha in Soho – dumplings, spring rolls, and so much more!
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Day 3 (Central London)
Central London is stocked full of tourist attractions your family will want to visit! The Tower of London should be first on your list. Go early to beat the crowds and lay your eyes on the precious Crown Jewels. Then, visit the White Tower, which has the largest comprehensive of London’s long history. In the end, children will rejoice at the interactive kid room! After that, catch the free Yeoman Warder Tower before checking out the other buildings. End your visit with an iconic family picture in front of Tower Bridge.
Afterward, cross into Southwark and walk along the Thames to the Tate Modern, which usually has some free performance to watch or art exhibit to explore. There’s no pressure to spend any more time than your family’s energy allows! Reward kids for their time in museums with a delightful trip to Hamley’s Toy Store! They will walk out with their nails done, covered in glitter tattoos, having tried countless fun toys. Open late most days, this is a great activity to add on to any Paris and London itinerary with kids!
Restaurants in Central London:
For breakfast in Central London, we took a double-decker bus to the Breakfast Club, which has amazing pancakes. It’s best to arrive by 8:30 am to avoid a long wait, and the timing is perfect to be at the Tower of London when it opens. The Tower of London cafe also has surprisingly good food options from kid-size ham and cheese sandwiches to warm fish & chip plates! After a snack, we went for lunch at Lord Clyde in Southwark, a nostalgic British pub featuring favorites like meat pies and mash. Also nearby is Borough Hall Market, which is open during business hours Wednesday- Saturday. At dinner time, we booked ahead for a table at Darjeeling Express (of Chef’s Table fame — Watch the Asma Kahn episode on Netflix!) and it was amazing. Another Indian restaurant to also try is Dishoom!
Day 4 (London, Bloomsbury)
My family explored Bloomsbury on our last day in London! First, we visited The British Museum. (Be sure to get the kids’ backpack or trail guide!) Assuming the weather will be cool and rainy, we’re off to another museum. Consider visiting the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, or the Museum of Science when your family vacations in London to give kids some educational background. Whatever your preference, they’re all right across the street from one another, and all free!
Restaurants in Bloomsbury:
Cap off your time in London with a classy, traditional Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester! For lunch in Bloomsbury, we also walked to Fryer’s Delight for fish & chips, which were as authentic as they come. I reserved ahead for tea at The Dorchester, which doubled as dinner for us. We opted for tea here for a more classic experience as opposed to the many “kid-friendly” tea options available in London. Still, The Dorchester was very accomodating to our kids, with an excellent a la carte menu, coloring supplies, and a welcoming staff. Afternoon Tea was a perfect way to end our time in London, and it had us back at our hotel with plenty of time to pack for Paris!
Day 5 (Paris, Marais)
Traveling from London to Paris is a breeze. My family took the Eurostar Train at 7 am, and the trip took 2 hours and 15 minutes. Make sure you book your seats ahead and bring food, as the train station has very few options and long lines. Leave time to go through Passport Control as well.
While I dreamed of a cute Airbnb in Saint Germain, I was so happy that we opted to stay at the Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe: centrally located, large rooms, a very helpful concierge, and a friendly staff to welcome to our kids. We found fruit juices and welcome macaroons in the room!
Marais is a charming area to explore on foot. My favorite highlight was the Old Jewish Quarter, right off the Rue des Rosiers synagogue located at 10 Rue Pavee). These bustling side streets also have Jewish shops, falafel stands, and monuments to Jewish children who were deported by the Nazis. It’s a great look at a small ethnic pocket within a larger multicultural city. Shop at Fleux for homewares, Izipizi for sunglasses, and Maison Plisson for gourmet foods — including coffee beans by Belleville Brulerie and black truffle potato chips by Torres!
Restaurants in Marais:
For coffee in Marais, I recommend the Yellow Toucan or Fringe for cappuccino, Boot Cafe for cafe cremes, and Loustic Cafe for their killer espresso and s’ mores! For lunch, we went to L’Aller Retour, great for 20 euro steak Frites without tourists. Other food options include Breizh Cafe, a go-to for galettes, like flat crepes with eggs, cheese, ham, etc.; (You may need a reservation, but you can also take them to-go and eat in the park across the street. Or, check out Cafe Chariot, Creperie Gigi, and La Favorite, a sidewalk spot also featuring heated tables, thick hot chocolate, Croque monsieurs, and burgers. Poulette has a beautiful belle epoque interior that serves French classics!
To satisfy your sweet tooth, check out patisseries like L’Eclair de Genie for their salted butter caramel, Jacques Genin for its chocolates, Popelini for their bite-sized choux buns, and Tout Autour du Pain for their butter baguette sandwiches. For dinner, we went to L’atelier du Marche (located at 1, Rue Saussier Leroy), which was near our hotel. It was authentic and delicious — one of our best meals, in fact! Ask to sit downstairs, but be sure to go early or reserve a table. The duck and bone marrow were perfection, and everyone was local.
Day 6 (Paris; Montmartre, Islands & Left Bank, and St. Germain)
Pack a whole lot of sightseeing into your second day in Paris! Walk Montmartre’s enchanting hilly streets, visit the Sacre-Coeur by metro or funicular, and also enjoy an amazing panoramic vista. Then, take the steps down for a nice view and to wander the area. My family prefers going down the steps to the right of the Church, where there are also buses and trains to help make your trip around this neighborhood easier.
Visit the Ile Saint-Louis by crossing from Ile de la Cite via Pont Saint Louis, where you can also walk along the banks of the Seine. I loved glancing at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral! Also, don’t miss the impressive Sainte-Chapelle, which is best on a sunny day (but any day is worthwhile!) Everyone in my family also agreed that St. Chapelle was our highlight. Facts from Mission Paris: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure for Kids gave us symbols to search for and an appreciation of their importance!
Spend your remaining time walking around St. Germain. Or, drop the family off at the hotel to shop at the local Monoprix, Paris’ version of Target. You can get European snacks to bring home and a classic striped shirt!
For dining in Montmartre, The Marche Bastille is the best open market, open daily. Raphaelle also has amazing warm baguettes. Some great patisseries include Mamiche, for croissants and filled baguettes, and Pain Pain, once the best baguette in Paris. Other options in Montmartre include Bouillon Pigalle: affordable, quality steak, bone marrow, and escargot. Les Arlots is also great for big portions of classics like pot au feu/beef stew and a good lunch special!)
For lunch on this day, we took a break from French food and ate at Cook’N Saj, a fantastic Lebanese restaurant in St. Germain. There are also great patisseries like Cafe de la Grande Mosquee near the Latin Quarter Mosque, serving mint tea and North African pastries. Maison Mulot is great for macarons! Odette offers a view of Ile de la Cite while you enjoy their cream puffs and Poilane serves bread and amazing butter cookies. Cafe de la Nouvelle Mairie is a wonderful classic French bistro!
Day 7 (Paris, Central Right Bank)
Paris’s Central Right Bank kept us occupied an entire day! Here, you’ll find the iconic Louvre, which is also a must-visit for any family. To make the experience more interesting for kids, The Paris Muse Tour Family Tour was an outstanding part of our Paris and London itinerary with kids. Book it the next time you visit! Then, let your kids run around the Palais Royal while you get excellent photos in this striking plaza.
Paris also brags tons of tranquil parks and green areas. Enjoy time as a family in the Tuileries Gardens, great for kids as it includes a playground, carousel, and trampoline park, as well as pony rides and sailboats in warmer weather. Although we never ventured up the Arc de Triomphe, we enjoyed the view from outside! Arc de Triomphe (although we didn’t go up, we enjoyed the view from the outside)
Breakfast at Angelina’s is a no brainer! My family loved its thick hot chocolate. It’s a little pricy, but an experience that the kids enjoyed. For lunch, we went to Bistrot Victories, which served amazing snails and duck confit. They also offer pasta, which made our kids happy!
Other places to eat near the Louvre include Cafe Kitsune for coffee, Balagan for excelled Israeli food, and Claus if you’re craving American breakfast items like pancakes and eggs. L’Ecume Saint-Honore is perfect for an oyster lunch) and Udon Bistro Kunitoraya also offers tasty udon soup in Little Tokyo. For dinner, we ate at Le Petit Champerret, an authentic, small bistro in the neighborhood. I loved the lamb!
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Day 8 (Paris, Canal St. Martin)
The Paris Canal divides the city in half, lined with artisan vendors, souvenir shops, and cozy cafes. My family strolled Canal St. Martin and spent time at a local playground. Nearby, you’ll also find the Nissim de Camondo Museum, a gem off the tourist path. This elegant mansion has room after room of the most incredible French decorative arts, telling the tragic story of the Camondo family, who was ultimately deported to Auschwitz.
The Eiffel Tower is another must-see! My family loved it so much we went close to sunset to see it both before and after it lit up. For the best view, start at the Trocadero. Tourists thin out as you descend, so don’t worry about a perfect picture here. Walk down toward the Tower, stopping at the playground on your right and/or carousel on your left. Playing with French-speaking kids with the Eiffel in the background is a marvelous sight! We didn’t get tickets to go up as the weather was iffy and the kids were thrilled to simply get a view.
In Canal St. Martin, I also recommend morning croissants at Sain or Du Pain, and lunch at Sevan or Tannat. Coffee shops include Ten Belles, Beans on Fire, Aromes Coffeeshop, and Radiodays. I also recommend pâtisseries like Bie Sucre for fantastic lemon madeleines, Du Pain for escargot Chocolat-pistache, and Bretons Crêperie for Le Beurre sucre. Note that some of these places are closed on Sundays. We had dinner at L’Escient, which offers delicious gastronomique (e.g. “fancy”) food in a casual, local atmosphere. I highly recommend their soft boiled eggs, burrata, and steak!
Day 9 (Last day in Paris)
Au Revoir, Paris! Our 7 pm flight allowed us to also enjoy our last day in this mystical French city. We decided to head back to Marais for the Picasso Museum, which my kids liked despite it lacking any kid-friendly features.
For breakfast, we ate at a local farmer’s market behind our hotel, where we picked up fruit, bread, and pastries. For lunch, we went to Gigi Creperie for some delicious sweet and savory crepes!
If you have more time in London…
See the famous Westminster Abbey, explore St. Paul’s Cathedral, visit the National Portrait Gallery, and take a ride on the London Eye!
If you have more time in Paris…
Visit the Luxembourg Gardens, embark on the Consigliere Histopad tour, or enjoy a treat at Berthillon Ice Cream. You can also visit the Musee Jacquermart-Andre, explore the Marche D’aligre Market, enjoy a boat ride on the Seine, and take the kids to the Jardin d’Acclimation! There are so many great activities you can fit into a Paris and London itinerary with kids.
Additional Paris and London Tips
In London, Uber wouldn’t take our family of five, so we relied on their Black Taxis, which were fun, reasonable, efficient, and time-saving. We also took the Tube and a double-decker bus just for fun. By contrast, the taxis in Paris will scam you, so we took the Metro easily. (Buy a discount 10-pack of kids tickets from the station agents!) Fun tip: if you’re at a station with clear partitions on the platform, it means a modern train is coming. Get into the first car so the kids can get a view and feel like they’re driving! No need for Paris Disney!
Don’t worry about taking a late Sunday flight home and sending kids to school the next morning; they’ll be sleepy but up early anyway on Monday due to their jet lag. That last day in Paris is worth it!
We felt like we fit in a lot with our 9-day Paris and London itinerary with kids. You could easily spend a month or more in London and Paris, so don’t stress about seeing everything! Your kids will go back one day. Do what you can, given what will appeal to your family, and just enjoy a coffee, croissant, and a lap around a new museum (which our kids also thought were fun and not boring at all…)
While a trip in warm weather has its advantages, February has fewer crowds, fewer lines, and allows you to enjoy the cities in a way you wouldn’t if it were too nice to be inside! But, I would bring waterproof jackets, carry around extra dry socks in your bag, and bring your own umbrella in case the hotel runs out (as ours did!)
We included visits to many types of restaurants in our Paris and London itinerary with kids. We also found all the restaurants to be very kid-friendly! In Paris, we stuck to bistros and brasseries over the pricy, elevated food at restaurants, but we found this offered us delicious food in authentic atmospheres. We usually ate on the early side, so I think that helped as we were finishing up as the place got more crowded. And we brought sticker books and table games to keep the kids entertained. For the most part, the food was accessible for the kids’ palates. When not, they were also happy to just eat warm bread and butter, or a chocolate croissant for dinner (on vacation, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!)
We also loved these resources to help get the kids excited for the trip:
- 9-year-old: Mission London & Mission Paris; London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd; Spy School: British Invasion by Stuart Gibbs; Terrible True Tales of the Tower of London as Told by the Ravens, by Sarah Kilby.
- 6-year-old: All Aboard the London Bus by Patricia Toht; This is London; This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek; Cityscapes London/Paris sticker book; First Sticker Book London.
- 4-year-old: The Kids Who Travel the World London & Paris by Lisa Webb; My First London Sticker Book; Pop-Up Paris; First Paris Sticker Book; Paddington.
I hope this 9-day Paris and London itinerary with kids has been helpful! Cheerio and Bon Voyage!
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