Parliament architecture-London

Everything You Need to Know About the Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament is one of the most iconic sights along London’s extensive skyline. This UNESCO World Heritage Site rises alongside the River Thames in the heart of the capital.

Also known as the Palace of Westminster, this is the seat of British democracy. And it’s a building that has seen tumultuous events decided within its grand chambers.

The Houses of Parliament is where democracy can be seen in action. The public are allowed to watch debates between Members of Parliament and even watch the Prime Minister speaking.

You can tour through the historic corridors of the Houses of Parliament, and learn first-hand the many unique stories that are waiting within the palace walls. It’s one of the best things to do in London. To inspire your trip, here’s everything you need to know about the Houses of Parliament.

Where Is the Houses of Parliament?

The Houses of Parliament is located in Central London. Given its prime location, it’s an easy place to find and to visit.

In fact, you’ll see the huge clock face of Big Ben long before you arrive, as the tall tower stands proudly above the capital, keeping time.

While you can walk through Central London to reach the palace – just head towards Westminster Bridge and look for Big Ben – you can also arrive by public transport. This is much more advisable than attempting to drive, as not only would you need to pay congestion charges, but parking is almost non-existent in Central London. Where it does exist, it’s expensive.

The nearest underground station is the conveniently named Westminster Station. It’s located on the Jubilee, Circle and District Lines, making it easy to connect on the Tube from almost any other destination in London.

There are also plenty of nearby bus stops and, of course, the classic hop-on, hop-off bus tours also call in close to the Houses of Parliament. These tours can be a convenient way to get around the capital, particularly if it’s your first time, as you’ll have transport between all of London’s most famous attractions and you’ll be provided with plenty of information along the way.

Westminster Tube Station

Guided Tours of the Houses of Parliament

It’s possible to join guided tours of the Houses of Parliament. However, they don’t run all year round. When Parliament is sitting – for most of the year while MPs debate laws and motions –there are only tours on Saturdays, so just one day a week.

During summer though, MPs take a long summer recess, during which time Parliament is essentially not sitting, unless there’s an emergency or crisis.

During this summer recess, tours are run from Monday through Saturday. If you are visiting in summer, usually between August and September, this is the best time to join a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. There are never any tours on Sundays or public holidays, while the dates of summer recess vary each year so be sure to check in advance when planning your trip to London.

Guided tours can be booked in advance, which is a great way to secure your spot throughout the year. Tours last 90 minutes and tickets can be bought online or on the door, although you get discounts for advance bookings. Tours leave at regular 15-minute intervals on the days that they run. Most tours are in English, but there are limited tours in other languages such as French, German, Italian and Spanish during the summer recess.

You can also purchase an audio guide for a self-guided tour of the Houses of Parliament, which is available in multiple languages.

If you are a British citizen, then you can visit the Houses of Parliament free of charge. However, you can’t just turn up at the door; you need to write a letter in advance to your local Member of Parliament, whose office will then make the arrangements.

Tour Costs

Adult Guided Tour Ticket: £26.50

Adult Audio Guide Tour: £19.50

Discounts are available for students, OAPs, children and for families. Ticket prices valid as of autumn 2019.

The Public Galleries

If you are visiting London outside of tour times or if you simply don’t want to pay for a guided tour, it’s also possible to visit the public galleries of the Houses of Parliament free of charge.

The public galleries are the seating areas found behind the main seating areas for the Members of Parliament or the Lords, in the House of Commons and House of Lords respectively.

These are public areas that anyone is allowed to visit, in order to watch the debates and motions in action. It’s an important part of the transparent British democracy system, as technically anyone can view what’s going on inside the Houses of Parliament.

Unfortunately though, in practice, space and seating is limited, so you either need to time your visit well or queue for a long time to get in.

Parliament can run all through the day and well into the night on some occasions. The public galleries can be visited at any time when Parliament is seated.

To enter the public galleries, you must queue up at St Stephens entrance; entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis. Your chance of getting in depends entirely on how busy it is, which can depend on what is being debated in Parliament and who is speaking.

For instance, the most popular time will always be when the Prime Minister is speaking, particularly at Prime Minister’s Question Time, which is held every Wednesday at 12 pm. It’s unlikely you’ll get a seat at this time, but if you turn up for other motions, it’s very possible. You can check what is being debated and who is speaking through the Parliament information services and on the Parliament website.

Inside palace-of-westminster

Security at the Houses of Parliament

This is the seat of government and democracy in the United Kingdom, so you can expect security to be tight when you are visiting.

There are stringent security measures in place. Each visitor has to be checked and their baggage scanned. You cannot take any dangerous items into Westminster Palace. When you’re visiting, just imagine you are about to fly, because security here is very airport-like. It’s best to leave large luggage and bags behind, or you’ll end up slowing down the entrance process.

You’ll also need to bring some form of identification with you. Ordinarily, visitors are also given an ID badge, which must be worn during their tour of the Houses of Parliament.

A Brief History of the Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament were originally built to serve as a palace by the English kings, hence the name the Palace of Westminster, just over the road from Westminster Abbey.

The first palace to be built here was constructed on the orders of Edward the Confessor and would serve as a royal residence from the 11th century through the 16th century. After 500 years of regal use, the palace was caught in a blaze and burnt to the ground. Parts of the palace survived, and the English Parliament used the remaining sections as their meeting area, where they’ve now met since the 13th century.

In fact, the first English Parliament was convened here in 1265, as representatives from across the country were invited to London, to what was then the King’s Palace, to debate laws and to give more power to the people – or, at least to take power away from the monarch. That makes Westminster Palace one of the oldest democratic bodies in the world, and it’s on this site that the Parliament has convened ever since.

Fire again ravaged the palace in the Victorian era, and the complex was completely rebuilt. The current building took almost three decades to complete, finally being opened in the 1870s. In World War II the Commons was the scene of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s rousing war speeches, but it was also targeted and hit by German bombers during the Blitz, causing much damage.

The Houses of Parliament survived once again though, and today they are still the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

While royalty no longer lives at Westminster Palace, intriguingly it’s still owned by the Crown and is in effect gifted for the use of government. With such a long and convoluted history, this is just one of the many quirks and traditions that surround the Houses of Parliament.

parliament-view over thames

What to See in the Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament is an enormous complex, and not everywhere is open to the public, even on a guided tour. While you can see the galleries without taking a tour, you need to join one to see the best sights listed below.

Big Ben

Big Ben – officially known as Elizabeth Tower – is the tall clock tower that has become one of the most enduring and recognisable symbols of London.

Big Ben is technically the name of the clock itself. It was constructed in 1859 and has been telling Londoners the time ever since.

It was possible to take tours of the tower and to see the inner mechanics of the clock, but in recent years Big Ben has been undergoing renovation, although it’s set to reopen again soon.

The Commons Chamber

The Commons Chamber is perhaps the most important place in British politics. This is where the Ministers and Members of Parliament meet in order to hold debates and to discuss the future of the country.

The House of Commons is known as the Lower House, and it takes its name from the fact that it’s here that democracy is enacted by the common people and not the Lords.

The Commons Chamber is an elegant room with benches on either side rising upwards and facing across the hall from each other. On one side sit the government, while the opposition sits opposite.

The central area is where the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition stand to give speeches, while at the far end you can find the Speaker’s Chair, where the Speaker of the House of Commons to keep order between the different factions in the Chamber.

London-House of Commons

The Lords Chamber

The Lords Chamber is otherwise known as the Upper House. Whereas the House of Commons is for elected Members of Parliament, to sit in the House of Lords you must be elevated to peerage, which is by appointment only or acquired through hereditary means. Most Lords remain Lords for life after appointment.

The Lords cannot stop laws being enacted but they are there to provide an independent check on regulations, as they have the power to delay Acts of Parliament.

The Lords Chambers is far more lavish than the Commons, and there are many strange traditions in place. While visiting you’ll see the Woolsack, where the Speaker of the House of Lords sits. This tradition goes back to the 14th century when wool was an integral part of the English economy.

The Robing Room

The Robing Room is a unique chamber in the palace that’s used by the reigning monarch before they give their speech opening Parliament.

It’s an elegant, stately room that’s been graced by several kings and queens throughout history.

The Royal Gallery

The Royal Gallery is another lavish room found in the palace, which serves as a location for ceremonies, dinners and events.

It’s the largest room in the Palace of Westminster and it’s decorated with portraits of historic royals.

Special Events

The Palace of Westminster hosts regular events and exhibitions throughout the year.

There are often talks within the palace, which you can find details about and sign up for online. These talks generally focus either on the history or architecture of Westminster Palace itself or on the history of British politics. If you want to learn more about the Houses of Parliament from excellent speakers, these talks are wonderful events to attend.

To find out more about Premium Tours’ excellent selection of London tours, including trips to the Palace of Westminster, contact us today or browse our website.

Hamleys London

47 Things to Do in London with Kids

London is easily one of the most exciting cities in the world to take kids, with a wide range of sights and activities that you can enjoy with the whole family.

From watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside of Buckingham Palace to exploring the capital’s child-friendly museums, there’s loads of fun to be had in London with children.

Here are 47 of our favourite things to do in London with kids.

  1. Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is one of London’s most famous sights, and it’s the perfect place to take children. While you can only go inside when guided tours are held at certain times of the year, the kids will love the ceremony and appearance of the palace and its surroundings from outside.

buckingham-palace

  1. Changing of the Guard Ceremony

Outside Buckingham Palace, children can enjoy one of the city’s most exciting ceremonies: the Changing of the Guard. Held at 11 am from Monday through Saturday and 10 am on Sundays, the Changing of the Guard sees the royal troopers dressed in their extravagant uniforms marching as they change shifts.

  1. Platform 9 and ¾

At Kings Cross Station children can also take their picture at the world-famous Platform 9 and ¾. This is the hidden, magical platform that leads to the Hogwarts Express, and you’ll find it marked at the station. Possibly the most famous platform in London, there’s often a queue so allow plenty of time.

  1. Harry Potter Tours

If the kids are into Harry Potter, then you can treat them to a Harry Potter tour of the capital. You’ll get to see all the most famous filming locations across London, including iconic destinations such as Diagon Alley.

  1. Warner Bros Studio Tour

One of the best things to do in London with kids is to take a Warner Bros Studio Tour. Located outside of Central London, this is a great day out for anyone interested in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. The Warner Bros Studio is where many scenes were filmed, and you can find a permanent exhibition dedicated to the making of the Harry Potter films.

harry-studio-potter-tour

  1. Hamleys

Hamleys is one of the biggest and oldest toyshops in the world. Located on Regent Street, this extravagant shop is a treasure trove of fun and games for kids. You can spend hours exploring the different floors of Hamleys, but just be careful not to spend too much money!

  1. The London Eye

Get a bird’s eye view of the capital and the famed London skyline by taking a trip on the London Eye. The enormous Ferris wheel offers excellent views as you slowly revolve around.

  1. The Shard

For an even better view of London, then take the kids high above the city to the viewing deck of the Shard. The panoramas from the top floors will amaze everyone.

  1. Emirates Airline

Fly high above the River Thames and take a journey on the Emirates Airline. This cable car is a great way to get across the river!

  1. London Bridge

Of course, you can also take a more traditional route across the river. Walk across London Bridge to show your children the city’s most famous bridge! If you arrive early, there are some fantastic places for breakfast near London Bridge.

  1. Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is another famous landmark in the city located near the Tower of London. If you’re lucky you might see the iconic drawbridge being raised.

  1. Tower of London

Children will love exploring the Tower of London, where they can enjoy guided tours run by the Beefeaters, the guards of the castle. You can see the Royal Crown Jewels and learn about the castle’s dark history, while visiting one of the capital’s best attractions

  1. London Dungeon

If it’s gruesome tales of horrible histories that your kids want to know more about, then take them to the London Dungeon. Here you can learn all about London’s dark stories and characters like Jack the Ripper.

  1. Big Ben

If it’s famous landmarks you want to see, then bring the family to Westminster Palace, where you can see Big Ben. The famous clock tower is the most recognisable landmark in the city.

westminster-Big Ben-thames bridge

  1. Hyde Park

Not far from Westminster, the kids can enjoy Hyde Park. This large, open space is perfect for picnics and walks.

  1. Richmond Park

Another beautiful public park to visit is Richmond Park. Located south of the river and outside of the centre, the park is best known for its large deer population.

  1. Hampton Court Palace

Kids will love visiting Hampton Court Palace, too. The grand palace was the residence of Henry VIII, but it’s the dizzying outdoor maze that will capture the attention of children.

  1. Windsor Castle

Slightly out of Central London, a day trip to Windsor Castle is sure to entertain your children. This is one of the Queen’s main residences, where she spends many weekends. It’s a grand and exciting place to explore!

Windsor-Castle

  1. Legoland Windsor

Also in Windsor, one of the best days out for kids can be found at Legoland. This fun-filled theme park is dedicated to all things Lego, and you can find rides and Lego-building opportunities across the park.

  1. Open Top Hop-on Hop-off Bus

Give your children an exciting chance to see the capital from an open-topped Hop-on Hop-off Bus. Enjoy the best sights and attractions as you feel the wind in your hair! Of course, you can hop off at various stops around the capital to explore the main sights and attractions.

  1. HMS Belfast

Moored on the River Thames, HMS Belfast is an old navy ship that fought in World War II. It’s both a great educational experience and a chance to see the city from the river.

  1. Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a wonderful place to visit with the kids. You can take the family through the market stalls and shops, and be entertained by the street performers.

  1. The Moomin Store

The Moomins are much-loved Scandinavian children’s cartoon characters. In Covent Garden, you can visit the colourful and wacky Moomin shop, where you can purchase plenty of souvenirs and Moomin gifts.

  1. The British Transport Museum

The British Transport Museum is close to Covent Garden, and it’s a fantastic place to visit with the children. You can tour through classic London buses, and see old bicycles and cars.

  1. The Science Museum

Another great museum to visit with the family is the Science Museum. Here you can delve deep into the scientific world, and there are lots of hands-on, educational experiences.

  1. The Natural History Museum

Take the kids to the Natural History Museum in London, for more educational experiences. The iconic museum is home to enormous dinosaur skeletons and many more relics from the natural world.

Inside the Natural History Museum

  1. London Zoo

London Zoo makes for a classic day out with the kids. You can spend hours exploring and visiting the different enclosures to see animals from all over the world.

  1. London Aquarium

After visiting London Zoo, it’s time to learn about the underwater world with a trip to the London Aquarium.

  1. Hackney City Farm

Hackney City Farm is another great place to learn about the animal kingdom, but this time with a more local, English feel. Here kids can pet and feed farmyard animals.

  1. Thames River Cruise

The River Thames is the biggest landmark in London and the best way to see it is on a river cruise. Take a boat down the Thames and enjoy the fabulous London skyline.

london-eye-Thames-Cruise Boats

  1. The British Museum

The British Museum is one of the most detailed museums in London, but there are plenty of opportunities for the children to enjoy themselves too with different exhibits and hands-on learning experiences.

  1. The Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum is another of London’s best museums, and it’s a good place to take your children if you want them to learn more about British history.

  1. The Postal Museum

At the Postal Museum, you can learn all about the history of the Royal Mail in Britain. The highlight of the museum is riding the postal train, a driverless electric train – sure to delight the little ones!

  1. Greenwich

Greenwich is a great place to take kids, as you can show them the GMT line and the Royal Observatory in the middle of Greenwich Park.

  1. The Cutty Sark

Also located in Greenwich, the Cutty Sark is a famous landmark by the River Thames.

The Cutty Sark is an old ship that was once one of the fastest vessels on the seas. It’s a great opportunity to teach the kids more about Britain’s long seafaring history.

  1. O2 Climb

The O2 Arena is the distinctive building in Greenwich that was formerly known as the Millennium Dome. For older kids, there’s a rooftop climb that allows you to walk, attached to ropes and harnesses, across the top of the arena for impressive views over London.

  1. Clip n Climb

For more adventurous climbing experiences head to Clip n Climb, an indoor climbing centre geared towards children. There are climbing walls and vertical drop slides, as well as a cafe and other facilities. It’s suitable for all ages and makes for an active day out in London with the kids.

  1. Musicals

A great chance for entertainment is to visit the West End Theatres, where you can watch many popular musicals. The kids will love being taken to such classic shows as the Lion King, where they can sing along to great songs.

  1. Leicester Square

Leicester Square is a fab place to visit too, because not only can you enjoy the street performers and the sights of this famous part of London, but you can take the kids to the classic London cinemas where many of the country’s best movies have their premiers.

  1. Shakespeare’s Globe

You can also take your children to Shakespeare’s Globe, where you can give them an introduction to more classic forms of entertainment.

Not only is Shakespeare’s Globe a lovely theatre to visit, but you can watch performances of the English Baird’s best plays. Perhaps not one for young kids, but definitely great for the older children when they start to study Shakespeare at school.

  1. Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds is a fantastic waxwork museum where you can see wax statues of famous figures from history and the contemporary world. Have your photograph taken next to Nelson Mandela or Winston Churchill, and many more famous people.

Madame Tussauds London

  1. M&M World

In Leicester Square, there’s a giant store dedicated entirely to M&Ms and all their delicious chocolatey goodness! You can try the whole spectrum of flavours and fillings, and come home with shopping bags full of M&Ms.

  1. Go Ape

Take the youngsters out for an adventure-filled day at one of London’s Go Ape experiences. At Go Ape, you are strapped into a harness as you navigate high rope courses that are set up in tall trees.

  1. V&A Museum of Childhood

In Bethnal Green, you can visit the V&A Museum of Childhood, which offers a lovely insight into what it was like to be a child through different eras of history.

  1. Discovery Children’s Story Centre

Another wonderful place to take the kids is the Discovery Children’s Story Centre. This fascinating place is a world of storytelling where children are immersed in imaginative and creative fairy tales.

  1. Ragged School Museum

The Ragged School Museum in Tower Hamlets allows children to experience what it would have been like going to school in the Victorian era. The living museum offers an authentic Victorian atmosphere and is a great place for kids to learn how different schooling was in the 19th century in contrast to conditions today.

  1. Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London, and it’s a great place for the whole family. This large botanical garden is set in Richmond-upon-Thames. You can spend all day exploring the different climate zones and areas in the gardens and greenhouses of Kew, and the kids are guaranteed to enjoy themselves!

For more inspiration on fun-filled family days out in London, check out Premium Tours’ fantastic range of London tours.

Wahaca London

These Are the Best Family Restaurants in London

Eating out can be a real challenge with the entire family to cater for. Even more so if you’ve got young children. However in London, there are plenty of fantastic options across the capital for families, with lots of excellent restaurants and eateries catering specifically for kids.

Whether you have a small budget and a big family, or you’re looking for a fancy restaurant in a posh part of the city, we’ve got it you covered. To inspire your culinary adventure to the capital, here are the best family restaurants in London.

Budget Family Restaurants in London

Giraffe

Giraffe is a staple restaurant experience for many families across the United Kingdom, as their excellent menu and great prices are a wonderful attraction. With dedicated kids menus for the youngsters, Giraffe also offers great lunchtime deals that are fantastic value. Giraffe restaurants can be found in many locations across the capital, but all of their venues offer open and colourful dining areas that create a welcoming and friendly environment for the entire family.

Giraffe serves food that’s inspired by cuisine from across the world, but they provide the usual kiddie fare too. You can indulge in a katsu curry from Japan or simply have a plate of fish fingers and lots of ketchup on the side.

Giraffe Restaurant

Farmstand

Farmstand is an intriguing, ethical establishment set on Drury Lane in Covent Garden, which is incredibly family-friendly. The menu is mostly plant based, but there are also a few meat dishes that can be ordered too. Everything is sustainably sourced, meaning you can eat with a clear conscience.

It’s the prices that are the real winner though. If you need a budget breakfast, lunch or dinner and want to eat healthily, then this is the place to go. Breakfast options start from £3 for a bowl of porridge, while at lunchtime you can build Farmstand Lunchboxes, including such choices as Thai green chicken or Sicilian aubergine, for less than £10 per person.

Vauxhall City Farm

For a unique farm experience in the city, then one of the best places to visit with kids is Vauxhall City Farm. Despite being in the middle of London, you can feed and pet the farmyard animals and learn all about British wildlife.

At the same time, Vauxhall City Farm is a great budget option for families when it comes to eating out because the cafe here is entirely geared up for family outings.

The Old Dairy Cafe is open from morning until mid-afternoon. As well as being a great place for parents to refuel with coffee, the café offers a range of lunchtime sandwiches and snacks for the family.

Golden Hind

Fish and chips is perhaps the most classic British meal and London is one of the best places in the country to find good old fish and chips. You can choose a greasy spoon or a fast food shop on any street corner in London, but finding quality fish and chips at a good price for the whole family is more of a challenge.

This is where the Golden Hind steps in because this iconic fish and chip restaurant offers some of the best value in the capital. Located in Marylebone, this is classic battered fish and chunky fried chips territory, and you can have all the trimmings too, be they mushy peas or tartare sauce.

With a century of experience frying fish, you can’t really go wrong. If you need a cheap but filling meal, the price won’t set you back too far either. For the adults, there’s even a BYOB policy on alcohol, allowing you to keep costs even lower.

Golden Hind Restaurant

Wahaca

Wahaca is a Mexican-inspired chain that has several restaurants and food trucks across the capital. If you’re looking for a budget family meal but want to take everyone to an eatery with a bit of spice and character, then Wahaca is the perfect choice.

The food here is just about as authentic Mexican as you can find in London and the prices aren’t too dissimilar either! You can order sharing plates of Mexican food to give the kids a chance to try everything or you can opt for a cheap plate of tacos stacked with fillings for just over £5. For the adults, there’s a range of alcoholic beverages and there are many more dishes on the menu to try, from the super loaded burritos to Mexican salad bowls.

Bistro Union

The best budget option for families in London though could well be Bistro Union because if you get your timing right there are certain times of the day when kids can eat for free.

They offer excellent brunch and dinner menus, with simple dishes based on English classics. During the school holidays and if they are running their early dinner happy hour deal, then kids eat free if an adult is paying full price for their meal. The kids’ dishes are smaller versions of the adult dishes, and it can be a refined place to bring the whole family for a meal out in style.

Mid Range Family Restaurants in London

Rainforest Cafe

The Rainforest Cafe is a favoured place for many families to visit in London because this is a restaurant set up for children. This is an experience in itself for youngsters because the restaurant is designed to emulate the rainforest and there are waterfalls and jungle-themed tables that immerse you in a world that’s found far from the streets of London.

There are animatronic animals, bird sounds in the air and, of course, plenty of good food too. The menu is designed specifically with kids in mind, so you can rest assured that they won’t be complaining about the choices on offer at the Rainforest Cafe.

Rainforest Cafe

TGI Fridays

TGI Fridays – Thank God it’s Friday – is an American-themed restaurant that caters well for families and children.

In fact, TGIs is a favourite amongst both kids and adults, and you can find their restaurants in locations across London, be it central London or in shopping centres. The food portions are big, and there are milkshakes, beers, ice cream sundaes and all manner of burgers and ribs to devour. For birthday parties or big family outings, it’s a choice where you can’t really go wrong. Although the food might not be the best-regarded or most inventive in the capital, you always know what you’re getting and that it won’t cost your life savings.

Homeslice

If it’s pizza that the family are demanding, then it’s time for a trip to London’s fabled Homeslice restaurant.

Homeslice has become an icon in pizza-loving circles for the fact that the pizza portions are not only enormous, but the toppings are varied and the food excellent.

The pizza is excellent value given its size and you can order a large pizza for the whole family and even ask for different varieties. You can have half pepperoni and half margarita, so no matter what differences the family might see when it comes to pizza toppings, no one can argue when you eat out at Homeslice!

All Star Lanes

For a fun-filled and action-packed restaurant opportunity in London, then book a table and a lane at All Star Lanes. This is where food meets bowling because All Star Lanes offers both food and bowling in an ever-growing number of locations across London.

You can order from the Lanes Kitchen before, during or after your bowling games, and you’ll find everything from macaroni cheese to halloumi burgers. It’s fun for everyone and the food is great at All Star Lanes, while adults can also enjoy drinks from the bar, including beers and wines from across the world, and specially designed house cocktails.

Sticky Fingers

Sticky Fingers is a restaurant chain owned by Rolling Stones bassist, Bill Wyman. The restaurant has a heavy dose of Rolling Stones memorabilia, a menu full of succulent burgers and juicy ribs, and they actively encourage families with children to visit.

The kids’ menu is perhaps one of the biggest and best in London. For only £8, kids can have a main meal, a drink and a dessert. There are nuggets, cheeseburgers, wraps, mac and cheese, and sticky toffee pudding on offer at Sticky Fingers, and it’s all served in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in central London.

Masala Zone

For a taste of Indian food in a family-friendly restaurant, then head to one of Masala Zone’s branches in London. The restaurants serve up classic Indian dishes and you can get everything from traditional tikka masala to a scorching vindaloo. They also offer wallet-friendly thalis where you are given a selection of rice and curries on a tray.

For kids, the mini thalis are a great way to feed them for excellent value while also introducing younger children to the diversity of Indian food. As well as this, while the kids are occupied enjoying their mini plates of Indian thali food, grown-ups can try a few cocktails or indulge in some fiery, spicy food at one of London’s best Indian restaurants.

Masala Zone London

Expensive Family Restaurants in London

Bubba Gump Shrimp

If you’re a fan of the Forrest Gump film – and who isn’t? – then Bubba Gump Shrimp will be your number one family restaurant in London.

The themed restaurant is inspired by Bubba Gump Shrimp, the shrimping company run by Forrest Gump in honour of his friend Bubba. The restaurant is light-hearted yet over the top, and it’s a fun place to take kids.

The menu is stacked with all sorts of shrimp goodness, and plenty of other American dishes from burgers to plates of onion rings. It’s not the cheapest outing, but it’s worth it for the atmosphere and the Forest Gump decor.

Hard Rock Cafe

Another American-style restaurant that’s perfect for families is Hard Rock Cafe. The famous brand offers huge burgers and American-inspired shakes and drinks to match, but the real draw is the musical memorabilia, which varies from location to location.

It’s another fun restaurant that’s great for families, with children’s menus and plenty of entertainment around the venue too. For burgers though, it’s hardly the cheapest place in London, but you are really paying for the atmosphere and for the experience when you take the family out to Hard Rock Cafe.

Hard Rock Cafe London

Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi is the iconic celebrity chef behind numerous cookbooks and restaurants, while his deli outlets across London are famous for their healthy takeaway menus.

There are both restaurants and takeaway options across London when it comes to Ottolenghi. But even a takeaway salad won’t be cheap, given they are all based in the most expensive areas of the city, such as Belgravia and Notting Hill.

The food is wonderful for healthy-minded families who want to indulge and splurge a little on breakfast, lunch or dinner. The restaurants have a communal atmosphere with long tables and friendly staff, and they are happy to cater to the needs of families with children.

Barrafina

Barrafina is one of London’s most sought-after restaurants because this Michelin-starred restaurant offers what’s often claimed to be the best Spanish tapas in the British capital.

While that will always be subjective, what’s not debatable is the price of eating out here – it’s one for a special occasion. But the pure pleasure of an eating experience at Barrafina is unmissable.

For a Michelin-starred restaurant, Barrafina is a surprisingly family-friendly establishment too. There are currently three locations across London, and the premise is that you not only enjoy excellent tapas inspired by the cuisine of Catalonia but that you get to actually watch the chefs preparing it. It’s a great way to keep the younger kids entertained while teenagers and adults will appreciate seeing Michelin-starred masters at work preparing their lunch or dinner.

Although it’s not cheap, it’s a fantastic culinary experience that can introduce the family to the wonders of Spanish tapas.

As London experts, we know a thing or two about the best places to eat in the capital. While you’re in town check out Premium Tours’ fantastic selection of London tours.