- Published: August 2012
- Price: £4.95 / $9.95
- Size: 70cm x 50cm
The map is illustrated by Robert Littleford who trained under Children's Laureate, Quentin Blake at the Royal College of Art.
While there is a disclaimer stating the map has not been drawn exactly to scale it is a good representation of the area covered.
The illustrations usually have a connection to the area such as marching guards near Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard and the cricket player near Oval station representing The Oval Cricket Ground. Charlie Chaplin in Lambeth made sense to me as I knew he grew up there but I'm not sure why the Pearly King and Queen is drawn at Borough.
What to Expect
Both sides of the fold-out sheet have useful maps. On one side it's a large central London map and on the other there's Stratford and Greenwich.
As well as maps it is filled with enticing treats for visitors and Londoners, plus 20 sightseeing walks that will take you around the best bits of the city.
On the main map the Key is excellent as it includes the "coolest ice-creams", the "yummiest cake shops" and the "best sweet shops" with cute icons, then on the other sides the names of the locations are listed. My daughter and I soon noticed there were more cake than ice-cream icons but we had fun looking for them. I did think the chosen cake shops were quite 'grown up' and the sweet shops list doesn't have Cyber Candy which covers the grownups and kids as it's all retro and international sweets. Also, the ice-cream listings missed Chin Chin Laboratists – surely nowhere is cooler than a liquid nitrogen ice-cream store?
The map is an excellent way to learn grid references and my six year old grasped the concept immediately and was able to call out grid references for locations she wanted to visit.
20 Sightseeing Walks
The walks are divided into central, west, east and north (no south), and are simply listed with a theme, the grid reference and nearest tube station to start the walk, and what you can see along the route. You then turn the sheet over and follow the dotted line on the map.
Most of the walks seem a good length for families, covering interesting landmarks in 1-2 hours and around 2 miles (although walk 20 seems deceptively long to me).
As well as the walks there are museum and gallery listings, fun activities for families, free things to see and do, London's top ten views, I Spy Landmarks, plus useful travel information.
I thought the list of High Street places to eat was an excellent inclusion. It lists chain cafes and restaurants and what to expect at each.
To ensure the kids spent some time studying the map closely there's a fun 'Hidden Treasure' idea where you have to search for ten small crowns. This took us ages (okay, I'll admit we've still not found them all) but I really like the idea to have a downloadable certificate from their website.
Do remember this is only a single sheet and not a full travel guide so there are no opening times or contact details listed – just names, street or area, and grid reference. Nor are there any tips that some places are open seasonally although there is a note recommending you check these things in advance.
As this was published in 2012, it's really up-to-date and includes the London cable car.
The map offers great inspiration and to get you to stop just thinking about getting out but actually going. You might need to do some additional research for a particular walk but the groundwork is done for you.
And even if you're not planning a trip to London for a while the map is fun to view at home before and after a day out in town.