TRAVEL: A perfect weekend stay at family friendly luxury 5 Star Royal Garden Hotel in London
World class museums, iconic landmarks and fantastic attractions - London has to be one of the best places parents with young children could wish to visit.
But finding somewhere to stay in the capital where children are well and truly welcome can be a bit of a minefield.
It's true that many hotels bill themselves as 'family friendly' but this is often just lip service with parents made to feel uncomfortable for their children daring to behave like children.
During a recent weekend trip with the kids to London we were lucky enough to stay at a hotel which went the extra mile to ensure the little ones were made to feel welcome.
The 5 Star luxury Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington offers a London Explorer Package - tailored especially for parents and their children.
The royal treatment for the kids began the moment we arrived at the hotel and they were immediately presented with backpacks filled with all sorts of goodies for intrepid young explorers.
So while myself and my partner were busy at the check-in desk going through all the usual formalities my daughters (aged six and three) were on comfy chairs in the foyer excitedly rifling through the contents of their backpacks - which included water bottles, mini torches, drawing kits and maps.
Our room was an extremely spacious Park Suite with superb views overlooking Kensington Palace and the surrounding Kensington Gardens.
The suite was split into two main sections - a large master bedroom and an adjoining lounge area complete with a dining area and sofa bed. Both rooms have large screen wall-mounted TVs.
The piece de resistance in the latter of the two rooms was none other than a wigwam! The girls were in their element and soon had the wigwam filled with cushions and squirreled themselves away in there with their teddies and torches.
I'm sure given half the chance they would have happily spent the whole weekend in there but it was a lovely spring day and we had some exploring to do.
Backpacks and wigwams aren't the only things the Royal Garden Hotel has up its sleeve for youngsters. The hotel also has scooters for kids to borrow and with the sun shining outside this was just too good an opportunity to miss.
We headed round the corner to Kensington Gardens and the girls had a fantastic hour or so scooting around one of London's most picturesque parks.
As well as being a great base to explore this vast city Kensington also has loads to see and do right on its doorstep.
Located on the same street as the hotel are number of big name stores as well as the wonderful Whole Foods Market - a real feast for the senses.
There are a number of family friendly restaurants in the vicinity - we had great eats at Spaghetti House and Prezzo during our stay.
Also within minutes walk of the hotel are the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum.
As for the hotel itself, it has two restaurants and bars, a health club and therapy suite.
Included in the hotel's family orientated London Explorer Package is a 'Flicks and Food' offer - 24 hours of unlimited movies and a tray of hot food delivered to the room.
Together we kicked back and watched the newest movie adaptation of The Jungle Book while feasting on pizza, chicken wings, wedges, fish fingers, dough balls, chocolate fondue and ice cream.
The next morning began with more food being brought to our room - this time in the form of pre-ordered hot and cold breakfast goodies.
With full stomachs we were then ready to head out exploring once again, this time a little further afield.
Also included in the London Explorer Package is a family ticket for Big Bus Tour. The open top tour stops right outside the hotel and you can hop on and off as many times as you wish.
We took in some of London's most iconic sites including Hyde Park, Oxford Circus, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street, the London Eye, The Shard, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
We hopped off the bus to properly explore Hamley's on Regent Street and also for a close look at the Houses of Parliament.
All in all we had a wonderful weekend in London thanks largely to the hotel and the staff there.
All the hotel staff made a real fuss of the kids and greeted them with warm smiles rather than the sort of disapproving frowns that could well have been thrown in their direction at other high end hotels.
It's fair to say our little girls loved their time at the Royal Garden Hotel. When the head of Guest Services asked if we'd return our six-year-old emphatically replied: "Yes! Next time we can stay for eight nights!"
For more information about the Royal Garden Hotel visit http://www.royalgardenhotel.co.uk/