I recently stayed at Park Lane and had a great stay, here is my review:
There are some here that swear by County Hall. I did walk through the lobby of County Hall when I was at the London Eye and while impressive, I wasn't sure about the location. As you may know, it's just across the bridge from Parliament and I didn't find the area as nice or convenient as Park Lane, which is truly in the heart of things.
Mikieginfl has given you good advice. I really like county hall (and we have stayed there with our kids as babies (I have pictures of my 3 month old son (his name is Ben) in his "pram" with big ben in the background), and found it to be very convenient, with the access to the tube system, both Waterloo and Wetminster stations are close by and have elevators, and you now have the London Eye, Aquarium and London dungeon all in the County Hall complex. There are a number of restaurants nearby and you are also close to several parks, which is great for kids that are young. You are also close to the Strand where there are drug stores (like Boots) where you can buy baby formula and baby food, diapers, wipes, etc. As to Park Lane, it is close to the Marble Arch tube station which is also good, and it accross the busy road from Hyde park (which is really pretty, but mainly grass, and wlaking/biking trails). You are also close to shopping and the aforemetioned drug store chain. There are some good restaurants nearby and the neighborhood is a good ethnic mix. Park Lane is really more west london whereas county hall is more central london. Counbty hall is 7-9 steps from street level to lobby, so the bellmen will need to help you with the stroller if you so chose, if I recall, park lane has no such entry step up or down. Either one would suit your needs well, but county hall is a quieter location, and county hall has an indoor pool (good for little ones if you go in with them, just bring or buy swin daipers), but I am unsure if Park Lane has this feature, check thier web site. So, all in you cannot go wrong with either one, so really good choices either way.
Both great tips! stelzer001 has it pretty well broken down, I'd only add that it probably will boil down more to what you as parents are looking for out of the experience. Each offers a lot of value and great locations so I guess for me it would come to how much exploring you are looking to do vs staying in/near the property. As noted Hyde park is right there which would be amazing for walking with your baby in a stroller. Lots of great things there that would keep all entertained and the property is quite nice. Its more "city" street life with a fair amount of tourists mixed in but is pretty close to a variety of touristy things. County Hall is amazing, with some rooms that have even more amazing sights. The area definitely more touristy and could be more crowded at times. There are also a good number of areas along the water with stairs to get around. Not a problem but like I said, just depends on what you are looking to do while you are there. Here's some pix I took around Hyde Park when I was there a while ago. As you can see plenty of places to get out and walk around or play
And here's one of County Hall, you can see that there are definitely some steps and crowds in that area. Could be a little harder to navigate with a stroller but the area is quite nice for the touristy stuff too.
Was that picture from your room? It is a great shot. It is amazing from that location to see all the people all over the place from this location. Especially on the walk below this spot. Across the Thames, it is really amazing to see "Boatload, after boatload of tourists" enjoying the river cruise.
This is one advantage of County Hall. The comfort of walking and seeing so much so easily, and then having a room close by to relax when you want to!
Again, thanks for sharing!
This was actually taken from the river walk but just below the room. It would have been completely dark in the time to get back up to the room. You nailed it though Jerry, the close proximity to area attractions is a key factor for choosing County Hall over others in central London. I think the other aspects are the close proximity to various tube/train lines.
To your point about the boatloads after boatloads....I grabbed this pic showing them all tied up at night. Its a little blurry at full res but
Keep these wonderful pictures, along with the helpful information coming!
Hope others, especially people that are looking forward to going to London can appreciate this location. Your photo's really portray the quality of this location.
One more thing that is very helpful is "In spite of the rapidly changing weather in London, being close to your room is very valuable"! Wet clothes are no fun to travel in, especially for a family!
One should keep an small umbrella with them most of the time. Keep it in a shoulder bag, along with a bottle of water, and a light snack!
Thanks again, zukracer!
The Park Lane is a very nice place. You cannot go wrong here, just make sure you get a "Tube Pass" (Oyster), and don't forget "The Big Red Bus".
Lastly, you will want to enjoy "The Changing of The Guard" at Buckingham Palace. Get there early and hope the weather is good that day!
The Oyster card is the way to go. With each card you'll need to pay an additional 5 pounds for the card itself. However, when you are ready to leave town just go into the local station and you can turn it in and get the 5 pounds back in addition to any unused fare. This is a great feature because you can load up the card and not worry about buying too much since you can get it all back. Lastly, the maximum you will pay for any one day on London Transport with the card is £8.40, even if you take a dozen trips. This means that if you are in town for 5 days all you'll need to do is load up on £42 and it will cover all the travel you'll ever need.
Here are some attractions you can walk to and some of them are a little longer than others, but you one of the most beautiful parks in the world to enjoy a stroll, "Hyde Park"!
Some places that are available are:
The "Odeon" a wonderful British Movie Theatre, across the street from The Marble Arch!
Here are a few other places you may enjoy:
The Changing of The Guard, is a nice walk to Buckingham Palace!
The Marble Arch, is steeped in history. Some of it rather gruesome!
Harrod's is a nice "Walk thru Hyde Park"!
The Big Red Bus stops across the street, (On the Hyde Park side) and affords a great and inexpensive way to see London. Would recommend that you first full day after arrival! It's a hop on/off bus, and can offer you discounts on certain attractions!
The Audley, is the best local British Pub in the area. Close to the US Embassy on Audley Street! Wonderful food!
Lastly, enjoy some nice burger at The Hard Rock Cafe, it's worth a nice walk, coming our going from Buckingham Palace!