Just how do you and your family authentically squeeze under the skin of a city when time is limited?
You go book yourselves a local host on Withlocals and let their expertise and enthusiasm reveal the urbanscape around you in ways no well-thumbed guidebook ever could.
Last year the Dutch-based company opened its family-friendly label, aimed at involving children in customised city tour experiences just as much as adults. My family and I tried it ourselves at the weekend, and we loved it.
Our host, Rüya, weaved us through London’s Borough Market on a gusty, grey-skied Saturday morning. Which lead me to the first point on convenience: you choose whichever day and time suits you. (Unfortunately there’s no such weather option.)
The itinerary was expansive and varied, but far from clad in concrete. We were able to swap one of the stop-offs for a toasty hot chocolate instead. The ability to customise your tour like this is a big plus. Parents know how picky and capricious kids can be, so the flexibility offered allows for any sudden changes.
Rüya also made sure that our daughter didn’t feel she was just being dragged hither and thither by grown-ups. A treasure hunt was devised especially for her where she had to spot certain objects along the journey. Giddy “Found it!” yelps only raised the day’s adventure.
Consider the kids
Another way in which kids are taken into consideration is the language used. Any historical titbit handed out by Rüya (and there were plenty to enjoy) was delivered in a simple, digestible manner for younger ears. And the content was age appropriate.
By the end of the tour, our stomachs were bulging with approval and we felt we’d had an authentic grope of this particular part of the city. Not only that, it was as if we’d be shown around by more a friend and less a tour guide – something that will stick in the memory for a long time.
Withlocals is available in a range of cities, from London to Prague and Bangkok, and with targeted adventures on offer, be it food-, history- or art-inspired. And whether you’re visiting the UK capital or you live there, from personal experience it’s the perfect option if you’re looking for things to do in London with children.