Dh and I are planning to take Dd and a friend to London for a day as a birthday treat. We are in Winchester, and I'm not sure if its better to get a train or drive, where would be best to park if we did drive, best way to get around once there etc. We'd like to go to the Natural History Museum, Madam Tussaudes, maybe have a look in Harrods, and see the palace. Is this all possible in a day? What's the best way to go about all this?
I would get the train and buy a day pass for the tube.If going to all those places you will be travelling around quite a bit.You need South Kensington for the Natural History Museum,then could walk to Knightsbridge for Harrods or get back on the tube(it's one stop after S Ken on the Picadilly line).Then get back on the tube at Knightsbridge and go to Green Park to change on to the Jubilee line north to Baker st for MDMA Tussauds..Parking in Central London is very expensive,I wouldn't bring it.
I agree with Beatrix about the cost of parking, unless you come on a Sunday. Last summer we parked at the side of the history museum for free.
You don't say how old DD is, but I have 3DC aged 8,6 and 2 and would contemplate some of those with DS at 8, but not my younger girls. We had a great day at history museum and they all slept in the car home, we live near Twickenham so not even far.
Depending on age of children, the London eye is interesting, my oldest has been 3 times, the second one twice. It can be expensive, but we have merlons passes. If you shop at Tescos their clubcard deals can be brilliant value for using your vouchers. We also like the London aquarium which is next door.
The Tower of London is interesting, but again quite expensive, we haven't taken ours as want to be push chair free to try it.
We thought the london dungeon was expensive and not scary, and we got in for free with merlons passes.
One really interesting thing we did was go on a duck tour (google it) using WWII amphibious vehicles to do a whistle stop tour including a ride on the Thames. You can get this near the london eye.
How old are they? There are fast trains from you to Waterloo, so I really wouldn't drive. Get a return including a Travelcard, first buying a Family Railcard if they are 5 to 15. Three of four could be doable. Tussauds is v expensive and book in advance to be less ripped off and avoid 2 hour queues. Full of celebs and less history now.
NHM - book dinosaurs in advance if a weekend. Back entrance is good to avoid queues. Harrods is amusing if never been there, esp the toys and food hall. No trainers allowed though!
Palace not near the other stuff so wouldn't bother.
That's all really helpful thank you! Dd is going to be 9 on her birthday, Dh and I would like to go on the London eye but Dd is having none of it! I love the idea of the duck tour but she has a real fear of water (although she loves swimming ) so not sure she'd like that. She wants to see the blue whale in the museum, and she wants to do Madame Tussauds, we'll book that online before hand.
I'd be careful of over-packing the day. It's tiring to get around London. I'd plan on one fun thing in the morning, a nice lunch at somewhere that's very London in feel (e.g. Chinatown), and another fun thing in the afternoon.
www.tfl.gov.uk is helpful for planning travel. If you choose to get around by bus with an Oyster card and you have an iphone or ipad, there's a v helpful app that tells you how long till the next bus for the stop that you're at. If you get cabs, you might want to get Hailo as well.