A Family Friendly Hotel, For A Family Friendly London

London is a beautiful and fun city to visit no matter your age. While our pubs and historical sites are unparalleled, London is far from a city made just for adults; there’s plenty of entertainment and fun for every member of the family, too.

At The Melita, we welcome guests of all ages, from the smallest children to those enjoying their golden years in retirement. Hosting families with children is something we take pride in, and something that brings a great deal of joy into our daily operations. It has also made our staff acutely aware of the importance our guests place on finding fun, family-friendly activities when they visit, whether it’s just for a single night or a full holiday schedule.

We also recognize that, as a parent or guardian, you’re incredibly busy and may not have the time to sit down and browse through tour guides to find the right locations.

To help you find your way, we’ve done the searching for you and listed out just a few of London’s most family-friendly activities and destinations. Each of the entries on this list is sure to be an instant hit with little ones, toddlers, and teens.

 

Rainforest Cafe

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Stepping into London’s Rainforest Cafe is like stepping into another world. Almost instantly, you’ll be surrounded by a plethora of waterfalls, aquariums and animatronic creatures, as well as true-to-life sounds sourced from the real rainforest itself. While this is a full-service restaurant, serving both American and International cuisine, it is much more; at its heart, a visit to the Rainforest Cafe is an experience. Sounds of monkeys, parrots, strange birds, and trickling water make this both educational and relaxing, all at the same time.

Within the restaurant itself, both parents and children have access to their own individual menus. Children can dine on kid-friendly menu options like Ham and Cheesy Pasta, Snappy Salmon fish cakes, fresh pizzas made in-house, and delightful Mudpit Sundaes, while adults can enjoy the fully licensed bar or order full-sized entrees like Coastal Calamari, Lamb La Bamba, Ocean Prawn Pasta, and Lost River Salmon. The food is excellent, cooked to perfection, and served by wait staff who are more than happy to impart knowledge about the rainforest when they deliver each plate.

For best results, book a guided tour. This highly recommended service provides you with both an educational tour of each room, with periodic stops to educate kids on the exhibits within, as well as lunch afterward.

Learn more about the Rainforest Cafe’s educational tours, including when and how to book, here.

 

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This activity isn’t going tobe around for long; it closes on August 31, 2016. But it’s well-worth a mention if you plan to stay with us this summer. It’s also a fabulous way to get to see London without the little ones growing bored throughout your on-foot adventure.

The BFG Dream Jar Trail is a whimsical adventure throughout London that’s timed to coincide with the release of the Big Friendly Giant movie and iconic children’s writer Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday. You’ll follow a route around London that takes you to several locations with giant, towering six-foot “dream jars”, each of which was created by master artists like Steven Spielberg, Mark Rylance, and Quentin Blake. The trail eventually leads to The Roald Dahl Museum, a marvel all on its own for young kids.

Better still is that the BFG Dream Jar trail directly benefits charity. After the event’s closure, each of the jars will be auctioned off, with the funds directly benefitting the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity for sick kids.

Curious about the Dream Jar Trail? Learn more here, or give us a call to schedule accommodations. Our friendly staff are always ready to help make your adventure come true.

 

LegoLand

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LegoLand certainly isn’t specific to London; this iconic theme park has locations sprinkled all throughout the known world. It’s a youthful and classic favourite that will enchant little ones (and maybe mum or dad, too–it’s okay to indulge. Who doesn’t love Lego?) and keep the entire family occupied for at least a day, if not longer.

LegoLand is located on a sprawling resort that’s entirely dedicated to Lego, building with Lego, seeing marvels of creation made from only Lego, and getting truly lost in an entire world hand-crafted from these iconic little blocks. It’s suitable for toddlers, young children, and pre-teens alike, and has even been known to draw in the interest of teenagers from time to time.

LegoLand truly caters to kids, so it’s a safe, fun experience for members of the entire family–even the youngest little ones. Mums and dads can visit the Baby Care Centre to nurse, change nappies, or just get some quality quiet time.

Rides and attractions open at LegoLand just after 10:00 in the morning. When planning your visit, it’s helpful to bring a bag with shorts and tee-shirts or swimwear for each child, as some rides do incorporate water and regular clothing may become wet. Other than that, mostly all you need to worry about is getting day passes and arriving early enough to enjoy all the fun!

Getting into LegoLand is a breeze; just book day passes online in advance, and you’re set for the entire day.

 

KidZania

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Yet another of London’s most successful attempts at catering almost exclusively to kids, KidZania is a city-within-the-city and theme park that offers access to almost 75,000 square feet of roleplaying fun. This Westfield location contains a series of locations where kids can dress up, roleplay, learn, and enjoy an adult-like world that lets them learn by doing.

KidZania is all about encouraging children to “try on” adult roles; whether your little one has always wanted to be a firefighter, a doctor, a chef, a scientist, or something else entirely, guides will present them with hands-on activities that teach basic academic skills.

One of the best features KidZania boasts is the fact that it’s an entirely closed-off experience from the outside world. In fact, children are given electronic bracelets when they enter that will notify staff (and parents) if they happen to leave the facility. These can also be used to instantly track down a child who has wandered off or become lost.

Activity stations and rooms are uniquely designed for a blend of safety and fun, and the options are relatively endless. Kids can join the Advertising Agency and learn how to draft ads, become a worker at the Animation Studio, or even work at the Beauty Salon (perfect for little princesses who love doing hair). It’s not difficult to understand why this is one of London’s most treasured extra-curricular activities.

Best of all, safety is always paramount. Kids can wander freely, but they are always under a watchful eye. There’s even a cosy parent’s lounge where you can relax on a comfortable couch, enjoying free Wi-Fi and food options while older children enjoy the fun.

 

Warner Bros. Studio: Hogwarts Tour

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There’s very few kids in London that haven’t seen the delightful Harry Potter movie series. Little ones from toddlerhood to teens are absolutely obsessed with Hogwarts, and for good reason: it’s an incredibly imaginative world that lets children of all ages (including mum and dad) to get lost in a fantasy world, if just for a little while. Warner Bros. Studio’s remarkable “Making of Harry Potter” theme park and museum is a stunning way to while away an afternoon, or even an entire day.

Created using actual artefacts left over from each of the films, this is an experience that’s deeply rich in Hogwarts canon; even the most die-hard fans will be amazed by the sheer quality of the exhibit. Each of the props and sets shown were used in the original film. At the door, you’ll

To make the most of your experience, start with a stop at the Gift Shop to pick up a Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff shirt for each member of the family. This exquisite little shop also holds a bevy of treasures, including everything from chocolate frogs to replica wands. Once you’ve assimilated yourselves in true Hogwarts form, it’s time for adventure.

Inside the exhibit, you’ll go behind the scenes of one of the most successful film series of all times. Wander through the Great Hall, visit the classrooms and learn to cast spells, ride the Night Bus, or browse through the meal rooms. Even the Hogwarts Express makes a brilliant stop and an excellent picture opportunity.

Once you’ve thoroughly soaked yourself in Hogwarts culture, it’s time for even more fun. Visit the flying broomstick ride to play pretend. Children can “fly” a broomstick just like Harry and Hermione did when playing Quidditch; thankfully, this version is much safer. Backed by a green screen, they’ll sit on the broom and then have a short video created that transposes them into the film. Or, parents and kids can have themselves transposed into the Flying Ford Anglia instead.

Photo, video, and HD USB packages of green screen videos are available for families who want to bring this home as a souvenir.

After a few hours of imaginative adventuring, take the family to order a pint of Butterbeer, or delve into some ice cream in the backlot cafe. Drinks and other snacks are readily available, and there’s plenty of seating available. This is an excellent place to relax and unwind, settle in for a nursing session, or even just get off your feet after a long day in your child’s favourite fantasy world.

Booking your visit ahead of time is strongly recommended, as this is understandably one of London’s busiest child-friendly locations. Tickets can be booked online, but if you haven’t booked when you arrive, check with The Melita Hotel staff for more information on accessing tickets.


6 Incredible Places Just 20 Minutes from The Melita

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London remains England’s most treasured city. Home to the Royal Family and some of Britain’s most historically relevant buildings and architectural marvels, the capital is also culturally rich and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Guests who make the sound choice to stay at The Melita have an especially wonderful arrangement of amenities and attractions available to them, most of which are just a stone’s throw away from the hotel. From Westminster Cathedral to Buckingham Palace, these six incredible places are located within 20 minutes from our historic hotel, perfect for adventurous wandering, exploration, and self-guided tours!

Victoria Station

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First, and perhaps most importantly on this list, is Victoria Station just minutes from our hotel entrance, in the heart of London. Not only can you catch a train from the station to just about anywhere else in London; the building itself is intricately designed and quite beautiful. An Edwardian facade and dual mermaid statues with Pre-Raphaelite faces make this building, a stunning marvel of historical art in its own right.

If you’re visiting Victoria Station for transportation, it’s helpful to know that station link buses run twice per hour. Both the London Underground and the Airbus are accessible from this location. If you’re driving, you may park your automobile in the car park next door while traveling around the city.

For more information about Victoria Station, or to verify scheduled times, click here.

 

Westminster Cathedral

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One of the London’s most famous locations, the Westminster Cathedral has remained steadfastly in place since the first foundation bricks were laid in 1875. Owned by the Catholic Church, it remains one of the world’s most opulent and artistic faith-based buildings in the world. Although most royal weddings take place at Westminster Abbey, rather than the cathedral itself, it has played host to a number of famous events.

Lovebirds who are visiting London to marry should know that the cathedral does offer wedding services, but you must belong to the congregation and book at least six months in advance.

For guests who are interested in attending services, both mass and confession are open to the public throughout the week. Because times can change, it’s best to confirm the cathedral’s weekly schedule before your visit; click here for more info.

Guests who simply want to marvel in the beauty of the building itself have plenty of discoveries to make, too. Westminster Cathedral is filled with ecclesiastical treasures. To maximise your experience, stop at the gift shop and purchase a copy of the Cathedral Guide Book for just £5.00. This informative and interesting pocket guide points out the building’s most beautiful areas and opulent treasures, giving visitors a unique glimpse into their historical and religious significance.

For more information on Westminster Cathedral, click here.

Apollo Victoria Theatre

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Yet another of London’s most historic and beautiful buildings, the Apollo Victoria Theatre was originally built by expert architects Ernest Wamsley Lewis and William Edward Trent in 1929. Dual entrances on both Vauxhall Bridge and Wilton Road lead the interior, where you can access the box office and purchase tickets for a variety of shows.

The Apollo Victoria features a year-round selection of masterfully enacted plays, concerts, musicals and performances. Scheduling is subject to change, and depending on the time of year you visit, the content performed may be seasonal, too. Visitors and potential guests can verify the current schedule on the Apollo’s website.

With over 2,000 seats in the auditorium, this rich cultural location has plenty of space for theatre lovers from all over the world. Despite its size, it’s wise to book or purchase tickets well in advance, as some performances, such as 2016’s incredibly popular rendition of “The Wizard of Oz”, “Wicked,” are immensely popular and fill up quickly. Booking with us, has it’s perks and the Apollo Victoria Theatre is just one of the many.

Shows can also be booked ahead of time by making reservations at 0844 826 8000, or by purchasing tickets online.

Tate Britain

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Visiting the Tate Britain museum is like stepping back into art history. With pieces from as far back as the 1500’s, many of which are untouched, preserved originals, it remains important to British culture and history to this day. Famous pieces like “Ophelia” by Sir John Everett Millais, Bt, “Proserpine” by Dante Gabriel Ross, and “Newton” by William Blake make this location a must-see for any history or art buff. We love the arts, and being centrally located to so many art filled destinations makes The Melita Hotel, a travelers haven.

Tate Britain is open from Monday to Sunday 10.00 to 18.00, but scheduling for special events and exhibits may range beyond these hours. Admission to the regular museum is entirely free, though you may shop at the gift shop or make a donation if you wish to support their work.

Once you’re finished browsing the beautiful collection, stop by the Djanogly café. Or, come to experience London’s historical afternoon tea any time after 1.00.

For more information about Tate Britain, or to find out about the museum’s current tour schedule, dial +44 (0)20 7887 8888.

St. James’s Park

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At a sprawling 23 hectares in size, St. James’s Park is the place to be if you want to experience the English countryside without ever leaving London. This beautiful green space is home to exquisite gardens, a beautiful pond, fountains, a small and cosy cafe, and a large number of waterfowl, including ducks, swans, geese, and even pelicans.

Despite being centrally located, close to Buckingham Palace, the park’s gardens are more influenced by French botany than by English gardening techniques. Today, their design draws influence from historical gardens in Versailles, France, and a smattering of modern, contemporary practices. Expect to enjoy an endless array of flora and fauna if you visit during the growing season.

St. James’s Park is also home to a small bridge that offers one of the most beautiful views of Buckingham Palace in all of London. This picturesque location is frequented by tourists seeking commemorative photos and snapshots, and it makes an excellent stop-over after weddings, too.

Depending on when you visit, you may also arrive on time to witness incredible events like the Horse Guard Parade or the yearly Trooping the Colour ceremony. Afternoon tea is served at Inn the Park, as is lunch, dinner, and supper. A variety of other refreshments, like cold drinks and ice cream, can be had by visiting any of the many refreshment points scattered throughout.

St. James’ Park is open to visitors from 05:00 – 00:00.

Buckingham Palace

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No visit to London would ever be complete without laying eyes on the incredible Buckingham Palace. Home to British royalty and high society members since George III first purchased it for his wife Charlotte in 1761, it officially became the British Monarch’s residence in 1837, during Queen Victoria’s reign. Visitors from afar will immediately recognise the balcony that sits on the front facade; this is the most common place at the palace for British royals to make public appearances on special occasions, including Queen Elizabeth II herself.

Buckingham Palace is truly palatial in every sense of the word. The interior holds an incredible 775 different rooms, including 52 individual bedrooms for both the Royal Family and other guests. Receptions and special events take place in one of the palace’s 19 state rooms. In true blue-blooded fashion, Buckingham Palace is also home to 78 individual bathrooms.

Although most of Buckingham Palace’s interior is locked away from visitors for privacy and security reasons, tours are available. Most tours focus on the state rooms and apartments, but this can still provide an intimate glimpse into daily life for the Royal Family within their treasured home.

City Wonders provides an excellent guided walk-through tour that arrives just in time to see the Changing of the Guard; more information is available here. Tickets can be difficult to secure and spots fill up quickly, so if you wish to go, book a spot well in advance.


Off The Beaten Path: Hidden London Gem’s Just A Tube’s Ride Away

Off the Beaten Path: Hidden Gem’s Just A Tube’s Ride Away

 

At The Melita London, we understand first-hand the value in blending tradition with something truly special and entirely your own.  Being personable, approachable, and comfortable all at the same is important to us; it’s what brings our guests back time and time again over the years.

Creating an experience is important; it’s why we strive to go further than just the basics, blending historic tradition with modern appeal to create a warm, friendly hotel where you can truly relax and feel at home. Subtle touches, like the artwork found throughout our hotel, or our steadfast dedication to local artists, set The Melita apart from larger, more sprawling hotels, making it feel special, welcoming, and supportive of your adventurous heart.

It also happens to be what makes The Melita such an excellent “home base” for those who love to explore, foray, and identify what makes the London so special.

With a history of service spanning over half a century into London’s past, we’ve come to appreciate some of the other locations and services that make our city, truly special. If you’ve been craving a bit of time off the beaten path, getting away from busy tourist areas and locations is not only possible, but recommended. We’ve put together some information on three of the city’s most delightful hidden gems, so you can enjoy these treasured little experiences and places, too.
Ye Olde Mitre

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Ye Olde Mitre is a quirky little historical pub tucked away at 1 Ely Place. It’s the type of place that’s easy to miss from the outside, but well worth visiting at least once during your stay if you want the true English pub experience.

What makes Ye Olde Mitre truly incredible is its age; the building itself was originally built over 500 years ago, in 1546. Even the ivy-covered wooden façade and entrance is something truly special; it feels whimsical, charming, and entirely welcoming, like us!

Inside is an endless array of historical furnishings, a delightful collection of beer mugs hangs with care from an old and well-kept ceiling, and a series of signs reveal the many delectable options available to whet your appetite or quell your thirst.

More than a few visitors immediately notice that the interior is somehow familiar to them, and with good reason: it’s just one of the many English locations used in the film Snatch.

A few things to note before you visit. Ye Olde Mitre is a historic location as well as a cosy pub, so be particularly respectful of your surroundings. Many of the furnishings are well-aged, and while not necessarily delicate, deserve to be handled with a bit more care than your average seating arrangement. The pub is open from 11:00 to 11:00, Monday to Friday, serving especially scrumptious snacks—perfect for whetting the appetite midway through your day.

Having trouble locating the pub? You’re not alone. View their 360-degree tour on their website to catch a quick glimpse of the tiny alleyway they call home. Or, ask our staff to help you find your way.

 

Temple Church

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Ask most Londoners where the best faith-based locations are, and they’ll probably tell you Westminster Abbey or the Westminster Cathedral. To be sure, both of these locations are stunningly beautiful in their own right. Temple Church may be a bit less complex, but it’s certainly no less historical or special. Anyone who’s watched “The Da Vinci Code” will recognise it as the temple used in the film.

One of the world’s oldest churches, this medieval location was originally built and consecrated by Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in 1185. The church itself changed hands many times throughout history, first shifting to the Saracens, then to King Edward II, and then to the Order of St. John. Finally, in 1540, the church was again given back to the crown, where it has remained until this day.

Located at King’s Bench Walk, you’ll need to do a bit of trekking to reach Temple Church. There’s no vehicle access to this old and timeless place, so be prepared to wind your way through a series of alleys and paths until you arrive. Fortunately, the walk itself is lovely—many call it one of England’s best outdoor walks–and idyllic on a warm, balmy summer’s day.

Once you arrive, there’s plenty to see. The outer façade retains much of its historic charm, and for architecture buffs, is worth perusing all on its own. Step inside to wander through an endless array of historical information and displays highlighting the many feats undertaken by the Knights Templar throughout history. Several effigies of the Medieval Knights, some detailing their link to King John and Magna Carter, reveal the secrets behind England’s complex and interesting past.

The inner church itself hosts beautiful services throughout the week for those who wish to attend; be sure to check the website before you visit, as times can change without notice. Even the stained glass windows are a sight to be seen. Some tourists have reported that mid-morning seems to be the best time to hear the organist play, alongside the church’s regular services.

Guests can contact John Shearer at the church by dialling 020 7353 3470 for more information about access, tours, and events.

 

Kyoto at Holland Park

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Located at Holland Park, Kyoto is often referred to as one of England’s most serene spaces, and for good reason. Much as with the rest of London, this location is steeped in its own brand of history, too; it’s been around since the early 19th Century and managed to mostly survive World War II.

But set aside Kyoto for a moment; let’s delve into the rich history of Holland Park itself.

Holland Park is expansive, with plenty of open space for sunbathing, relaxing, playing, and picnicking. With a total of 22 hectares of space, it’s easy to get away from it all without ever leaving the city. If you’re coming from the country, and are finding the hub-bub of London a bit much, we greatly recommend a stroll through some of the many beautiful gardens on-side.

Holland Park its name from the Earl of Holland himself, a man also widely considered to be the first successful grower of Dahlias in England. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that visitors are likely to find beautifully grown Dahlias sprinkled throughout the park during the growing season.

The elegantly manicured grounds sit against a somewhat stark backdrop: a partially destroyed Holland House mansion, brought to ruin during the bombings that took place in WWII. While this may seem like a strange pairing, the architecture is quite remarkable, and the building is a constant yet important reminder of Britain’s incredible tenacity in the face of challenge.

Kyoto, unlike the rest of the park and its gardens, features a unique Japanese aesthetic that you just won’t find anywhere else in London. This portion of the park was a gift from Kyoto in 1991, given to commemorate the long friendship enjoyed by both Britain and Japan.

Though it’s fairly small, encompassing just a small corner of the grounds, there’s just something incredibly tranquil and peaceful about this area of Holland Park. It’s the perfect place for a lazy afternoon spent idling in the sunshine with a lover, and the sweetest spot for catching up on your reading time.

Idyllic little ponds, tiered waterfalls, beautiful stonework, the occasional peacock, and a veritable plethora of beautiful koi fish speak to the soul, encouraging you to slow down, if for just a little while.

Science lovers will appreciate the ecology centre for its educational glimpse into the flora and fauna, while music lovers will appreciate the opera performances occasionally held in nearby Holland Park during the summer.

Holland Park opens each day at approximately 7:30, and remains open until dusk. Considering an excursion? We can help with tips for putting together a delightful picnic lunch for a long, relaxing day in the park; just speak with a member of the staff.

So what are you waiting for? Hop on the tube today and #DiscoverLondon.