We love London with all of our hearts!

Oliver, 6, proudly informs anyone who’ll listen that he was born in the Big Smoke and after 11 years in the city with uni then life as a filmmaker before a move back to Yorkshire when Oliver turned 1, it will always be our first geographical love.

I do find myself there most weeks for work and shoots too so never get chance to miss it.

I was actually there three times last week with work and we’re now contemplating a move back, perhaps in a year or so… I often joke I live on Virgin Trains and thank goodness they are so utterly amazing, making my life in two cities feel easy.

We don’t, however, get to London with the kids often enough.

We did make a trip there in half term-and had promised to return soon so literally jumped for joy at the chance to head back there this summer when Virgin asked if we’d like to take part in their fabulous #ParentingLikeABoss campaign.

What’s more, Virgin are offering a fabulous family offer for travel so you can bag yourself a bargain fixed- price ticket for a family of any size (minimum of 1 adult and 1 child, up to a maximum of 2 adults and 4 children). Don’t worry, you won’t have to prove you’re related if you’d rather take a friend and kids with you!

The ticket enables families to travel anywhere on the network along the West Coast Mainline as long as they’re travelling to/from London Euston. It’s super flexible too, allowing families to return anytime with a month of the outbound date.

London Euston

Here are the destinations and prices of where the Virgin Trains Family Ticket goes to:

– Euston > Birmingham (£60)

– Euston > Manchester (£90)

– Euston > Liverpool (£90)

– Euston > Chester (£90)

– Euston > Preston (£95)

– Euston > Holyhead (£105)

– Euston > Glasgow (£150)

The super flexible Virgin Trains family ticket makes a day out in the city cheaper than you think.

But back to our trip…Rendezvousing in Manchester on the Friday night, seeing friends in the city and staying overnight, we woke up (late)! and caught an afternoon train on Saturday-the kids singing their version of ‘The wheels on the train’ before we’d even set off…Cute!

Virgin Trains are so sleek, modern and spacious, travelling by rail is always a joy with them.

With a reserved table too, we were able to sit face-to- face, making the two-hour journey go super-fast. And Manchester to Euston IS super fast at just 2 hours and in speeds of 125 miles per hour. Whoosh!

Family Travel on Virgin West Coast Mainline


Plenty of time to chill, scoff and play!

What a dude!

eating on westcoast mainlinehaving fun on the Virgin train

Check out the cardboard toy Virgin trains you can pick up in the on board shop too. They’re filled with jelly beans and make the best treat!

family travel on Westcoast Mainline

My boys both simply adore trains, so much so, we know the National Railway Museum like the back of our hands- but going on actual real life trains isn't as frequent as we’d like.

I actually dislike travelling long distances with kids in the car. The constant questioning of ‘are we there yet?’and endless traffic jams particularly from Leeds to London, not forgetting high parking costs once in the city, means travelling by car can be pretty frustrating for all!

Trains make life so much easier and travelling by rail with kids is always stress-free.

My kids just didn’t have any time to be bored on our trip- and sitting close to the train shop meant buying food was easy and we all got quality time together too.

And here’s the other thing, taking the train means your holiday starts from the minute you board.

We played cards we bought from the brilliant on-board shop and filled our boots with delicious food purchased there too from hot sandwiches to snacks, fruit and the perfect cup of coffee.

Playing cardssnacks on the train eating on the Virgin train Mini Cheddars Aroma coffee

Virgin Train’s sure know kids’ tastes too with their simple cheese sandwiches of just cheese and no extras which pleased my kids no-end, as did the mini chedders and chopped apples they happily scoffed as we went.

We loved our little train picnic- and all enjoyed looking out through the window at the picturesque landscapes we passed on our trip.

Dotted cows and sheep made for perfect eye-spy fodder too and the most perfect of sunset melted our hearts on the return journey home…

…With plugs for our iPads and phones to keep the kids (and adults) busy- and the brilliant Virgin app BEAM (on board complimentary entertainment-films, box sets and game), the kids and we- could watch films with ease and we all honestly, had the BEST time on our journey.

listening to music on the train ipad on the train watching DVDs on the train eye spytoy virgin train

It was so relaxing, after all that food, fun and games, Oliver fell fast asleep…

sleeping on the train

And before we knew it, we’d arrived!
arriving into London by train Virgin Train

…Once we got to London we legged it to our hotel in Borough (a super destination for families with lots of links all over London, the thriving and fun market and delicious restaurants and cafes). We relaxed a while, showered and changed before heading out into the evening light, scoffing street pizza outside the market (so good) and a sushi dinner at firm family-favourite Feng Sushi.

lightschild playing kid pizza lentaeating out in London sushi in London salmon sashimieating a Japanese dessert

After a super night’s sleep, it was time to get up early and head to Westfield in White City (another family fave as I spent a lot of time there towards the end of my pregnancy with Oliver as my hospital Queen Charlotte’s was so close)-for brunch with the Lebanese fare there, being top notch.

Hallumi, hummus, chicken kebab and tabbouleh salad all washed down with lemon and lime juice was just the tonic for us all.Hommoussaladhalloumi cheese

Then it was onto the much-anticipated Kidzania: a magical world where children get a dose of career-inspo as they become fire fighters, doctors, bank clerks, actors and more in this incredible set-up in the shopping centre.

I adore the ethos behind this child-friendly world as it encourages independence for little ones as kids earn money, allowing them to set up a bank account and then spend it if they choose too. It raises their confidence and brings them so much joy.

Kidzania London

Cuddles outside before we joined the short queue!

Kidzania mascot

What a wonderful, vibrant, engaging world for little people! Kidzania was such a joy! pretend high street at kidzaniabank of england at KidzaniaKidzania

Look at my little man!

learning to be a security guard at a bank at Kidzanialearning career at Kidzaniakids bank fake street

Then it was time to drop off the money from the vault to all the stores and earn some cash for himself!


Oliver got a chance to animate with Pokemon too and Xander joined an acting class before putting on a puppet show!

pokemon animation

puppet show

kids statue

My heart melted as little girls in the queue helped little Xander pop a hair net on before doing a supermarket dash- and while there isn’t tonnes for a3-year-oldd to do there, the over 4’s have access to the entire place.

supermarket work

That face!

working a supermarket at kidzaniacheck out

Both boys learnt so much about everything from biology to recycling through role play at Kidzania.

recycling centrerecycling signlearning to work in a recycling centrelearning about recycling hospital signHamptonsboyfire engine

We had hours of fun there…

early learning centreplay room

Xander got the chance to decorate a chocolate button muffin too-yum!

chocolate bunmaking chocolate buns

Then it was mama’s time for fun (!) and it was straight to the The Village where I picked up a much-coveted neverfull Louis Vuitton bag. I just wish I’d had the chance to grab a latte at the VOGUE cafe pop up-next time for sure!

vogue cafe

Louis Vuitton bag

I’d borrowed my bestie Rebecca’s before so knew it would cut the mustard able to fit my laptop and entire life in there-so there you have it, happy kids and happy mama.

After all the excitement, it was time to grab some fish and chips then cab it back to Euston and return to Manchester where we’d left our car.

chip and fish

Another blissful train journey followed as Xander slept most of the way on Daddy’s knee and Oliver and I played chirades (in between scoffing hummus) literally all the way back!


return train returning home on the train

What a wonderful whirlwind of a weekend- the kids have talked non-stop about since we got home.

There’s so much to see and do in London from mesmerising museums to fabulous restaurants and stunning parks so do seize the opportunity to head there with Virgin this summer and enjoy!

This is a commissioned post but all words and opinions are mine and honest.

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54 Responses

  1. Alexa

    What a fabulous trip…children and trains= fun

    First thing that jumped out in your pictures was the Euston sign and brought back memories of a first visiti to England many moons ago where my husband’s wallet was pick pocketed .

    Quite a stressful time as we had to cancel our credit card which was being used for our trip….we tested American Express with their promise to deliver a replacement card to wherever .

    They did, by motor bike 🙂

    Alexa-asimplelife visiting from Sydney, Australia

  2. Silly Mummy

    Kidzania sounds great! I do love how fast the trains from the Northern cities to London tend to be – much better train links up there. I live on the south coast & really not that far from London, but the trains to London from here only take about 10 min less than it would from Manchester – they just stop so much! #brilliantblogposts

  3. Tracey Williams

    Ah this is making me SO excited for this coming Sunday as we are off on our very first night away in London with the kids. We booked our Virgin tickets in the recent sale for £60 for the 4 of us and takes 2 hours from our home town. We have done day trips with Virgin to the capital before, but it will be our first overnight stay. Love all your pictures and Kidzania looks amazing. That reminds me as we must all download BEAM as I have heard so many good things about it x

    • Honest Mum

      Oh fab you will have the BEST time, we loved our weekend there and Virgin trains make the journey stress-free and so fun, BEAM is brilliant x

  4. Mouse, Moo and Me Too

    I love travelling my train and a trip to London always makes me feel extra important and professional – I love getting lost in the hubbub and I enjoy staring out of the window on the way up. I’m going to London on a family trip this weekend but we’re driving, yikes – not half as romantic or soothing for the senses! #brillblogposts

  5. Mirka Moore @Kahanka

    Looks like a fab day out, we loved Kidzania too. I agree, travelling by train is far better, as you can do things together with your little ones. We were supposed to take part in the Virgin trains campaign too, but as you know we are out of the UK for the whole of summer hols, but maybe next time when we go to see you in Leeds! xxx

  6. mummy here and there

    What a fabulous experience, you can not bit a good old train journey. Especially ones with charging points for the tech 😉 Your son is sure cool dude! i love the concept of Kidzania and a fun way to do role play and get totally lost in your imagination. #brilliantblogposts

  7. Petra

    Once I move closer to Manchester I am sure I will be doing the train journey to London quite often since I fly from London to my home country pretty often.. You’ve had some delicious food, Middle Eastern food is just up my street!

  8. Alana - Burnished Chaos

    Looks like you had a great time. All those food pics have my mouth watering! I’ve never heard of kidzania before but it is now firmly on our list for when we do a big London trip so thanks for the recommendation.

  9. The Tale of Mummyhood

    I totally agree, long car journeys and children just do not mix! It looks like you all had a fabulous time, I have to say both of your boys have gorgeous hair!


  10. Alison (MadHouseMum)

    Wow! You packed it in! It’s funny, but I never think of getting the train long distances, but it makes perfect sense. Your blog has really opened my eyes to this. It sounds brilliant and I always thought it would be really expensive, but I guess there are always deals to be had. Thank you for making me more aware! Lovely photos and a great vlog too. Alison x #brilliantblogposts

  11. Sarah - Arthurwears

    Ahh I was super excited that this was going to be from Leeds to London, knowing you are in Leeds too. We want to do a family trip to London soon to see family but I’m not sure we would combine it with a pre and post trip to any of these starting places on the way… -#brillblogposts

  12. five little doves

    Wow what a fab time you had!! We went to London in April for my eldests 12th birthday and also got the Virgin train there. It made it so much easier, and quicker, than had we dared to drive! Kidzania looks FAB! Never heard of it before but will bear it in mind for the next time we visit! #brilliantblogpost

  13. Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb

    Vicki what a fantastic time it looks like you had – the photos of the boys are just wonderful (their expressions crack me up)!!!!!! I agree about the ease of train travel, and I can imagine it’s even easier if you have kids. Plus that Lebanese food looks so delicious, I haven’t had Lebanese since I used to work on the Kings Road and used to visit the one there (can’t remember its name now).

    Kidzania looks amazing!! I’m going to tell my niece about that for the next time she takes her boys up to London, I’ve never heard of it before – what an incredible idea… I can imagine kids must love it 🙂

    Catherine x

    • Honest Mum

      Such an incredible trip Catherine, the train made life so easy and fun for us all and Kidzania is incredible, a haven for kids x

  14. Kate Orson

    what a fantastic trip. Kidzania looks amazing, I know my daughter would love to go shopping! We are definitely going to plan a visit soon!. #brillblogposts

  15. Cheryl @ ReimerandRuby

    Totally agree with you, traveling on the train is less stressful, more fun and exciting too compared to traveling by car. Looks like you all had a lovely days out, kids seems to enjoy all the activities they partake. I love all your photos, so beautifully captured! #brillblogposts

  16. Lou

    The train is so much less stressful than driving and parking and looks like you made the most of the journey too!! Kidzania looks amazing- i had never heard of it before reading this and loved the hairnet part! Great photos and delectable food! #Brillblogposts

  17. Happy Mummy

    Virgin trains are fab we use them from London to Mamchester!

    Looks like you had great fun that pizza looks yum! #BrillBlogPosts x

  18. Toni | Gym Bunny Mummy

    Kidzania looks amazing, we were offered a trip there but I just don’t think it would really suit Archie with his Autism & sensory issues. It would all be too much for him Maybe one day when he’s older we manage a trip to London with him. Looks like you all had a fab time x

  19. Mel

    I have always loved travelling my train. I have a fear of flying and I’m not that keen on driving long distances, so travelling by train is always my 1st choice. In France, we’re lucky because it is usually cheaper than driving, even when opting for 1st class. I’d never heard of the app on Virgin train to watch films etc. I’ll definitely be looking out for it when I next travel with Virgin. x

  20. Yvadney @ Style After Nine

    Wow, what a treat! I’ve always wanted to go to Kidzania ( I mean take the kis – ha). I’m a born and raised londoner, think I need to get out and appreciate my home city abit more. So excited for your lush Vuitton purchase. Yvadney x #Brillblogpost

    • Honest Mum

      Aw thanks lovely, LV is such a lush label and Kidzania was awesome, I think when you live in a city you can take it for granted, know we used to in London but there really is so much to see and do-go make like a tourist hun x

  21. the frenchie mummy

    I never travel on their train but your journey looks pretty cool and all these things were so great! Guess what is my favourite thing about this post? The Louis Vuitton bag! I love this one. I have the same, but the white version. Obviously mine is a bit old now… Oh your kids as well! They are gorgeous!!!!

  22. Caitlin

    Sounds as if you had such a fab trip to London – busy day but lots of fun! Your lovely boys looked like they loved Kidzania too from all your pics 🙂 I will have to take my little pickle there when she’s a bit older! Xx

  23. Sunita

    I think after our two car journeys up to Leeds one weekend and to Manchester another weekend, we will be getting the train next time! It’s great being in the car so we can pack all of our stuff but I think it’s time to have a train adventure. As you say, it’s so quick up to Leeds/Manchester on the Virgin trains. Thanks for the tip about the family ticket. Wow Kidzania looks great. They have something similar in Tokyo but Big Munch was too little to get in! Enjoy that new bag! #brillblogposts

    • Honest Mum

      Thanks lovely, trains really take the stress out of travelling and we had big and little cases which were easy to store on board and wheel on and off. The bag is dreamy huh x

  24. Lucy (@Lucy_at_home)

    My hubby is desperate to take our kids to London but we haven’t yet. I didn’t visit until I was a teen-ager and I remember it feeling like stepping into a film set as I was seeing all these places in real life that I’d only seen on TV before! Amazing!

    Kidzania looks fantastic too! Never heard of anything like it! Glad you had a lovely family trip. #brillblogposts


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