Just two basic rules can turn London into the world's largest playground:(1) Respect the power of simple, everyday experiences. (2) Give in to a child's attraction to the truly tacky. Sure, it's big, crowded and expensive, but it's also one of the most diverse, energetic and just plain fun cities on the planet. Some of the attractions that delight kids are cheap or free.
Sightseeing on the successor to the city's open-air, double-decker red buses tops the author's list of kid favorites. The classic black cabs are there, too, but others are not so familiar: flying a kite at the summit of Hampstead Heath, greyhound racing or making a meal of all the free samples at Borough Market.
Among the book's virtues are a concise guide to London's neighborhoods and ample ink devoted to family-friendly lodging and dining. Carrier suggests itineraries based on length of stay and weather, and she lays out top kids' attractions, museums, royal residences, zoos, parks, tours, shopping and entertainment. There's enough here to keep offspring busy and happy until college graduation.
(San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, March 23, 2006)