Travelling with your tot is easy when you know where to go. These popular cities have plenty for kids to do and see, but their baby-centred facilities are also bound to make you smile.
The English capital has numerous parks and playgrounds for your little ones to run around in – think Hyde Park (above) and its playgrounds near Caster Gate, Westbourne Gate and Edinburgh Gate. Battersea Park, Finsbury Park, Greenwich Park and Clapham Common also feature playgrounds. It’s good to know that public breastfeeding is legal everywhere in London, and most department stores, shopping centres, museums and art galleries in the city offer parent and family rooms (most with nappy-changing facilities). Another great reason to travel to London with your tot: Kids under five travel free on public transport, as long as they are with a paying adult. They also get free entry into some of the city’s biggest paid attractions, such as the London Eye and the Tower of London.
Where to stay: The Dorchester offers inter-connecting rooms, as well as a concierge who can help you create a baby-friendly itinerary. The hotel also provides activity books, child-sized bathrobes and slippers, children’s books, board games and DVDs.
Where to eat: Giraffe offers a fun but wholesome kids’ menu (with allergy information), kids’ meal deals, and high chairs. The restaurant has numerous locations in and around London.
What to do: The V&A Museum of Childhood Sensory Pod is a multi-sensory space, with textured surfaces, mirrors, lights and bubble-filled columns that will leave your tot captivated and entertained.
Surprisingly, this crowded Italian city has ample spaces for your munchkins to let loose. Villa Borghese (above) is a massive park with a large playground and picnic areas (in the Zoological Garden). Villa Pamphili, near the Vatican, has playgrounds, lakes and pony rides. You’ll find plenty of rest stops around Rome, too – the piazzas and squares are perfect spots for a quick break. Most of Rome is full of stairs and cobbled pavements, making it a little tricky to navigate a cumbersome stroller, so your best bet would be to use a baby carrier when sightseeing with Junior. Alternatively, bring a stroller that you can fold up and carry onboard the bus or train. Some museums, such as the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, allow strollers on their wheelchair access routes. In Rome, nursing in public is allowed, however it’s best to be discreet, so bring a scarf to shield your baby while breastfeeding. Nappy-changing facilities can be found in some of the major museums (like the Vatican Museum), theatres, prenatal shops and malls.
Where to stay: At Forty Seven Hotel in Rome’s historic centre, children are given a special greeting when they arrive. It also offers a room service menu for kids. Cribs and infant beds are available, and children aged 10 and under stay free when occupying the accompanying adult’s room.
Where to eat: For a special family dinner, you can’t beat the classy-but-child-friendly Mirabelle, which offers a kids’ menu.
What to do: Rainbow Magicland, a family-centred amusement park located in Valmontone, just outside of Rome, has fun rides and stage shows for kids of all ages. Children below 1m tall enjoy free entry.
Among the New Zealand city’s top playgrounds are Daldy Street Playground in the CBD, and Lake Town Green Playground in Takapuna, which is great for crawlers and toddlers with its soft surfaces, in-ground trampolines and slide. Nappy-changing facilities can be found in most of the city’s major tourist spots, including the Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Museum, and the Auckland Zoo. Most of Auckland is generally stroller-friendly – the pavements are wide and smooth enough – but do remember that many streets in the city are hilly. If you need a nursing or parent room, check out the ones at the Westfield Mall and Smith & Caughey’s, both in Newmarket.
Where to stay: At the Heritage Hotel, up to two kids under the age of 14 can stay in your room for free, and cots are provided. Children under five years old also enjoy free meals if accompanied by one paying adult.
What to do: Under-fives will love Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium, which has an interactive play area and special activities designed just for them.