Zoie Kingsbery Coe, founder of travel firm Kid & Coe shares her travel tips and secrets
As a mom of two based partly in New York City, Ibiza and London, I’ve packed more mini suitcases than you can imagine. I love London for its buzz, attitude and green spaces – it’s so much more open than New York – and thought I’d share some of the things that make it great for me.
Insider blogs about the city
I look up what to do with the kids before and during my trip when I’m in London on hyper-local blogs like London Baby and Urban Explorer. They have such great on the ground knowledge and give me access to the things that local moms are doing. As someone who is a resident of the city for only part of the year, it’s nice to feel that I can fit in easily and not feel like a tourist.
Where to stay
You don’t have to stay in a hotel – and that’s really changed visiting cities with the kids for me. I set up Kid & Coe because I wanted to find a solution to the problem of staying in a cramped hotel room with kids, and we’ve now got properties listed all across London that cater perfectly for families, with gardens, plenty of space and bedrooms for everyone. Many are family homes rented out while the owners are away themselves, and they work out as much more spacious and comfortable than a hotel stay.
A bit of culture
You don’t have to be scared of boring the kids by going to the big museums in London. I’ve discovered great family arts programming and tours in New York’s blockbuster art galleries, and the same in London.
The British Museum provides crayons and pads for kids for free; Tate Modern has an open studio for kids to get creative in on the weekend; The Science Museum has a basement water play area for toddlers. There’s more to discover in these galleries than you’d think! The Wallace Collection is right by my house and has great programming for kids, suits of armour, it’s free and it’s on the way to Selfridges!
I also love the Serpentine Gallery, right on the water by the boats, and close to the Diana Memorial playground – great if you can go in the middle of the week or outside holiday periods. It’s a bit of culture for you and fun for the kids too.
Finding out these local secrets is one of my passions – it makes a trip with kids so much more fun – and we offer insider information like this to our key destinations at Kid & Coe in our City Scout guides. It’s a way to live like a local family while you’re abroad.
I love Regents Park and its revamped playground, which is right by my house, off Marylebone Road. We do a day out at the open air theatre in summer, feeding the ducks, walking to the playground and bringing a picnic from Natural Kitchen on Marylebone High Street.
One of the benefits of staying with Kid & Coe is that many of our hosts have a trusted babysitter that they can recommend. In London, we choose Like Minders – email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re looking for childcare or a babysitter in the city.
An alternative to the tour bus
I also love the canal boats from Camden Lock – the kids love walking through Camden because it’s full of colour and crazy people – you drift up the Thames and stop off at Little Venice and Maida Vale. It’s a cute way to see a secret side of London with the kids.
By Zoie Kingsbery Coe, Kids & Co