England With Kids
Once the center of the thriving British Empire, which inhabited lands all over the globe, England today is an attraction of opposites. Thriving London offering fast-paced activity gives way to the beautiful English countryside ripe with wild lands for exploring. Massive, manufacturing cities like Manchester and Liverpool, which gave birth to more than a few famous rock bands, still holds dear tried and true traditions like afternoon tea. And although this country is marching quite nicely into the 21st century, history is held in high esteem. Visit Roman ruins, stone circles, lavish castles or learn it all in one of London’s many award-winning museums.
London is one of the mega-cities of the world. People come from all over the world to live, work and visit this thriving city. And with all the big-time attractions (think Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey) and excellent museums like the British Museum and the Tate, it’s easy to see why. Find out all these is to see in Travel With Kids London.
Just about on hour outside of London is the Roman town of Bath where visitors can see the enormous influence Rome had on the people of England. The baths here are quite extraordinary and include elaborate engineered heating. The kids thought the idea of sitting in the murky green waters was cool…too bad it’s off limits now. If you would like to dip a bit further back in time, travel just south of Bath to the stone circles, the most famous of which is Stonehenge. Built in the 6th century, there are many legends about how the massive stones got here. The kids like the idea of aliens building this pre-historic formation. We were all interested in the time-keeping aspect of the stones.
In northwest England you will find more Roman ruins at Hadrian’s wall. Built to keep the Scots at bay, this wall marks the farthest north the Romans progressed in the British Isles and is the site of many battles. Just southwest of the wall, the Lake District is known for a more quiet time. Its beautiful green landscapes are known for inspiring poets and writers like WB Yeats and Beatrix Potter.
Getting to England
England has many big cities, which means many big airports. Of course, London is the main landing point for passengers outside Europe. London has three airports: Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton. If you arrive at Gatwick or Heathrow, you can take the train into town. The trains leave right from the terminal and will land you in a central station in London from where you can connect to trains further abroad. It’s much easier, and cheaper, than taking a taxi.
Trains and cars can enter England through the Chunnel from France. Eurostar provides the train service and it takes just a few hours to get from London to Paris on this high-speed connection. Cars are driven onto a shuttle across the Chunnel. Check Eurotunnel for more information.
Ferries are another popular way of getting to England. Ferries run from Ireland, France, Spain, The Netherlands and more. For a run down of ferry routes, schedules and rates try AFerry.com
Getting Around England
Finding a way to see all of England can be a bit challenging, but with an excellent train system getting around is quick and easy. BritRail offers an extensive service of trains running to most places in the country. The BritRail Family Pass means extra saving for people with kids. Kids 5-15 travel free with a paying adult on the Family Pass and kids under 5 always travel free on BritRail. These discounts make taking the train easy and inexpensive. And, kids love trains! No car seats holding them in place, bathrooms on board, plenty of room to explore, snack carts rolling by…it’s much easier than driving, and better for the environment! To get to smaller areas not serviced by trains, Britain has a great public bus system. CheckStagecoach Bus and National Express for schedules and rates.