CHECK into the West End for theatre magic, super-cool food and endless culture, says Deputy Editor Ellie O’Mahoney and daughter Molly, four.
When you think of London, the West End pretty much always comes to mind – not least the shopping meccas of Covent Garden, Carnaby, Regent and Oxford Streets.
If you’ve got your kids in tow, head straight to Hamleys, the world’s oldest toy store, with seven floors of all the latest playthings, plus a sweet shop (Hamleys.com).
And a theatre show is a must. The adaptation of Disney’s Frozen playing at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, features the incredible Samantha Barks as Elsa.
Watch closely for a seriously jaw-dropping surprise at the end of the first half.
Tickets cost from £20 (Frozenthemusical.co.uk).
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The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is the oldest theatre in London, having originally opened in 1663.
PICADILLY’s Royal Academy Of Arts was at the heart of the first series of Bridgerton and is home to 250 years of art, including Tracey Emin and JMW Turner.
It’s fab for kids, too. Pick up a free Art Detectives pack, which includes a sketchbook and a pack of cards full of activities focused on the artwork.
Paid exhibitions start from £15 per adult (Royalacademy.org.uk).
In Covent Garden, head to the Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition for iconic behind-the-scenes treats.
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Have your photo taken on the green screen broomstick and grab every wizard’s fave drink, butterbeer, which comes with a free souvenir tankard, from £6.95.
Tickets are £20 for adults, £14 for under 16s (Harrypotter onlocation.co.uk).
For lunch, Seven Dials Market has 11 micro-restaurants.
After some serious indecision, we opted for Shuk’s beef brisket, served with smoky mayo, pickled red onion and pitta, £9.75 (Sevendialsmarket.com).
For something more refined, Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms is all about finger sandwiches, bottomless brews and divine scones – choose from pecan and apple or vanilla and chocolate, £34 per person (Scoffandbanter.com).
Save room to explore Chinatown’s dessert alley, Gerrard Street, for one-off puddings you won’t find elsewhere. Tsujiri’s sundae – piles of matcha ice cream topped with a wafer – £6.90, is a treat (Tsujiri.co.uk).
For a blowout meal, head to Ave Mario.
It looks like it’s the love child of Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci – pure Italian glamour – and the pasta’s amazing.
We went for cacio e pistacchio – fresh bucatini tossed in pistachio pesto and a peppery sauce, £14.50.
Follow with the stracciatella gelato, where they wheel out the 60cm-tall gelato tower and carve off a slice for you before covering it with caramel sauce, £9.50 (Bigmammagroup.com).
The Radisson Blu Edwardian, Mercer Street, a luxury boutique hotel in Seven Dials, is as central as you can get, but with a super-relaxed neighbourhood that makes you feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a village in the big city.
We loved the Ren toiletries and waffle robes, plus the welcoming staff make you feel as if you are just coming home to your own pied-à-terre.
Rooms cost from £218 per night, including breakfast, when booked in advance (Radissonhotels.com).
Before you leave the Big Smoke, make sure you head underground to ride on the newly opened Elizabeth line at Tottenham Court Road.
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Single tickets cost from £2.50 (Tfl.gov.uk).
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