Less obvious things to do with a 7yr old in London

(50 Posts)
Grockle Tue 15-Jan-13 20:25:01

I'm wondering about less touristy or more unusual things to do with DS when we are in London for a couple of days.

We have been several times before & DS has done:

Museums (Natural history, science, Transport, Imperial war, Household Cavalry, National Army)
Galleries (Tate modern, national)
London Eye
Westminster Abbey
St Paul's Cathedral
Cutty Sark
Buckingham Palace, changing of the guard

Open top bus tour + boat on Thames
Selfridges, Harrods, Hamleys

Covent Garden
Olympic Village
Borough Market
China Town
Trafalgar Square
Green Park

Shows: Wizard of Oz, Lion King, Shrek, Matilda

Tower of London, Tussauds, London Zoo, Zoo parks (there's one at Golders Green but I think there are others)

tribpot Tue 15-Jan-13 20:47:45

The Globe - the guide was really good at making sure the content was accessible for the children in the party as well as the adults (obviously there are some fruity bits that completely pass a 7 year old by!). We had a fab time then over the Millennium Bridge (out of Harry Potter thus must be A Good Thing) and St Paul's, then down the road to Monument as they had just been doing the Great Fire of London at school.

HMS Belfast? You can go on a tour inside Tower Bridge as well, we were going to do that.

noramum Tue 15-Jan-13 20:47:54

Wetland centre in south-west London
Mudland city farm
Museum of London and Museum of Docklands
London Dungeon
Hampton Court Palace
Kensington Palace
Tower of London
Windsor Castle
Kew Garden
The viewing platform of the Shard is open I think, cost a small fortune though

Have a search at www.timeout.com/london

HeartOfDixie Tue 15-Jan-13 20:51:35

Museum of London is good and free, follow it up with a trip to viewing platform in the St. Paul's shopping centre also free. There is a walking tour company that does gory walks of London aimed at kids but sadly I lost the details. Time out is good for inspiration.

EverybodysSnowyEyed Tue 15-Jan-13 20:54:09

DS loved the london fire brigade museum followed by HMS Belfast and time around the south bank

Science museum is amazing!

Mintyy Tue 15-Jan-13 21:01:10

HMS Belfast. 100% satisfaction guaranteed for a 7 year old boy.

Grockle Tue 15-Jan-13 21:03:17

Ooo, I want to go to The Globe & I have tesco vouchers we could use at the zoo...

I can't go to the Dungeons because last time I did that, I nearly peed myself when a 'model' jumped out at me blush

We did the Museum of London last time, I forgot! It was really good! I'll look up the fire brigade museum & HMS belfast.

Does anyone know where is a good place to eat snails?

Thank you.

TheFallenNinja Tue 15-Jan-13 21:05:37

Changing of the guard, ceremony of the keys. If you get in touch with your MP you can go up Big Ben. Other than that there are loads of events listed in time out etc.

EverybodysSnowyEyed Tue 15-Jan-13 21:05:39

coq d'argent does snails and has the infamous roof terrace!!!

Mutt Tue 15-Jan-13 21:08:15

Take him to M&M World in Leicester Square. DS loved it!

SavoirFaire Tue 15-Jan-13 21:15:14

Grant Museum Go. It is brilliant. Also have some great looking activities on at half term. Mine are too small to appreciate it sadly, but will be going in the next year or two. It's also close to the British Museum so you could combine the two.

Fairyloo Tue 15-Jan-13 21:15:52

Raggedy school museum, very good

Kiriwawa Tue 15-Jan-13 21:20:10

Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is good and second Museum of London. And (it's a bit of a trek) but the Horniman is fab

Lozza70 Tue 15-Jan-13 21:21:36

The museum of childhood at Bethnal Green is good. Was also going to suggest the tour of Tower Bridge, you can see all the workings!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Tue 15-Jan-13 21:22:07

Museum of childhood - Bethnal green
Discover - Stratford
Golden Hynd - southbank
Emirates air line - royal Victoria to north Greenwich, then see what's on at the 02. The dinosaur exhibition was on recently

3mum Tue 15-Jan-13 21:31:04

Dennis Severs House in Folgate Street (you need to pre-book via their website) It's an amazing Georgian house full of the original stuff. My children love it.

Then go round the old streets of Hugenot weavers houses in Fournier Street and surrounding area and end up in Brick Lane. Walk down Brick Lane and look in all the arty places and get a lox and cream cheese bagel at one of the two bagel shops at the Bethnal Green Road end (unless your DS likes curry).

On a Sunday do the flower market at Columbia Road and have a hot chocolate in one of the lovely cafes.

Also try riding the Emirates airline cable car in docklands. Huge waste of money as a practical form of transport but great for children. DLR also popular for children as they are driverless trains and you can sit right at the front and pretend you are driving.

Grockle Thu 17-Jan-13 01:51:54

Thank you so much. Wonderful ideas smile

breward Wed 23-Jan-13 18:21:21

Did not know you could climb up Big Ben...and for free too! (Is it £24 to go up the shard?!)

I have just emailed my MP to arrange a tour of parliament and to climb Big Ben during Whitsun holiday. Can't wait!

jojane Wed 23-Jan-13 18:24:36

Duck tour

greencolorpack Wed 23-Jan-13 18:26:05

The Wellcome Collection is awesome if he likes freaky weird things.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Wed 23-Jan-13 18:29:01

Horniman Museum
Climb The Monument

TaggieCampbellBlack Wed 23-Jan-13 18:32:47

Which is the museum with all the bits of humans in glass bottles? That was good.

3rdnparty Wed 23-Jan-13 18:37:59

this was a hit with boys and girls...


ds really liked the trail thing in the v and a (I wanted a change from the the science museum grin)

also ditto mudchute farm - cafe was fab ds loves the dlr so we do that often til the end of the line just to make sure get a front seat! and hop off at the farm for a bit or sometimes just go to Grenwich and the observatory - planetarium shows are great and not too expensive although we found the maritime museum v dull

friends recently recommended the speedboat if you fancy splashing outgrin discount if you book via the duck tour website I think..
failing that a thames clipper under tower bridge or tate to tate is good

some of these could be helpful

JustAHolyFool Wed 23-Jan-13 18:41:59

Yes to Museum of Childhood and Museum of London - both underrated imo. There's a Museum of London in east London at the Docklands too.

Emirates Airline was good (and terrifying if you hate heights.)

Battersea park is less touristy and has a pagoda.

Crystal Palace park has a petting zoo and weird anatomically incorrect dinosaurs from the Victorian times and sphinxes.

Take a ride on the DLR, it's like the underground but fun.

Grockle Wed 23-Jan-13 20:16:32

Great suggestions, thank you. I really want to go to the V&A but thought DS would probably not enjoy it as much.

This thread has been really useful, thank you.


tribpot Wed 23-Jan-13 20:25:44

Agreed, Grockle. I reckon I have about our next 5 trips all planned out from this thread alone smile

thewhistler Wed 23-Jan-13 20:40:03

Liquid nitrogen icecream in camden ( not Monday).

National gallery, if he likes drawing, they have sessions for children first sat and sun of each month, or used to. And go to computer room and work out your own plan of what you are going to see and get him to map read you round it.

Take the no 11 bus all the way from Liverpool st station to sloane square. Them go to the army museum.

Football? Tour of the emirates, wembley?

thewhistler Wed 23-Jan-13 20:41:52

Wallace museum, the armour is wonderful near the cafe.

thewhistler Wed 23-Jan-13 20:47:23

Cabinet war rooms?
Tour of parliament?
Then feed the ducks in st James' park? Icecream to follow, or tea at the jolly st ermins in caxton street, or Japanese at wagamama top end if Victoria street above marks and Spencer.

Go up the tower at Westminster cathedral? There is a lift..

Wellcome institute museum.

LindaMcCartneySausage Wed 23-Jan-13 20:48:16

I'd base yourself in and around the City. It's very underrated for tourist stuff and especially for children, if you ask me. Lots to see and do. Museum of London is awesome for children (noted that you have been there before) and I'd second climbing the Monument. The Guildhall has London's Roman amphitheater in the basement of their museum, if he is into Roman stuff or Horrible Histories.

There are all sorts of hidden corners that may appeal to curious 7 year olds like Postman's Park, Dr Johnson's House. The whispering gallery at St Paul's Cathedral is fun. Leadenhall Market (otherwise known as Diagon Alley) If you want a view of St Paul's Cathedral and London, go to the top floor of the New Change shopping complex - there is a huge terrace at the top.

If you want to eat snails, try Coq D'Argent as someone else said.

It's also dead easy to get the Tube 2 stops from Bank to the Museum of childhood in Bethnal Green, which I'd recommend.

LindaMcCartneySausage Wed 23-Jan-13 20:55:45

TaggieCampbellBlack - the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road has lots of human anatomy stuff, but i think you mean The Huntarian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons on Lincoln's Inn Fields? It is brilliant and has rather a lot of pickled appendages. I'd be wary of taking some children. It depends on the child though - they may love it or they may run screaming from the building and have weeks of nightmares and don't go there the week after you had a miscarriage like I did

Meglet Wed 23-Jan-13 21:05:17

Great ideas on here. Might head for HMS Belfast in the Spring.

3rdnparty Fri 25-Jan-13 09:22:49

if a transport fan the new London bus is on the 38 route - which is not far from the british museum..we didn't have to wait long and goes to green park/hyde park from there...

or by St Pauls is the 15 route which has some old routemasters too

The southbank centre and the barbican often have really good things on for kids lego books and robot building at half term!

This was great and free but not very central..

legalalien Fri 25-Jan-13 10:24:02

Slightly out of london but an easy tube ride and worth the journey, the raf museum at hendon.

I can recommend the wembley tour. Stamford bridge tour also good.

Harrods? Ds quite likes looking at the fossils and the pet store.

Mon plaisir for the snails?

legalalien Fri 25-Jan-13 10:25:42

Also, the cutty sark at greenwich is now open again - may not have been on your previous trips.

NormaStanleyFletcher Fri 25-Jan-13 10:26:48

Great ideas. I am going to steal some.

Feeding the squirrels in st James park went down very well with mine (they eat out of your hand)

NotAnotherPackedLunch Fri 25-Jan-13 10:27:04

The Thames Barrier is impressive and then you can catch a boat back into London.

123rd Fri 01-Feb-13 09:24:14

We took our Dd7 and Ds4 to The Golden Hind. Everyone loved it. Stinky Pete, the tour guide was fab.

wearymum200 Fri 01-Feb-13 20:57:35

Maritime museum at Greenwich has a fab interactive gallery for kids. My ds could have spent most of the day there aiming guns, sending morse and semaphore, loading cargoes from cranes.. combined with the cutty sark, it might well be his dream day.
London wetlands centre at Barnes also has lots of kids activities

PeasandCucumbers Fri 15-Feb-13 23:09:06

Just marking this thread, lots of great ideas, enough to cover several trips for us grin

sarahsmith150 Sat 16-Feb-13 00:33:11

Children under 11 years of age are not permitted to climb Big Ben... Shame as I just looked to see if I could book to do it with our children! sad

Loughrigg Sat 16-Feb-13 08:12:27

GGreat thread for ideas. Thanks

tribpot Sat 16-Feb-13 08:18:56

I'm liking the Thames Barrier suggestion particularly! Lots of great ideas on this thread.

tribpot Sat 16-Feb-13 18:13:44

I just checked and the Thames River Service doesn't run up to the barrier until March (it's mentioned in red here). So we're putting that one on hold in favour of Amazing China at the British Museum, followed by the London Eye and London Aquarium.

Grockle Sat 16-Feb-13 23:24:12

Ooo thank you. I didn't realise this was still going. We're going tomorrow for a couple of days. We often go to London but I'm really excited this time.

I'm hoping we can go to the zoo or the Globe. I need to find a good place to get bagels. We have nowhere round here.

Museum of childhood is a good idea & DS would enjoy HMS Belfast.

Loughrigg Mon 18-Feb-13 08:37:20

The emirates air line was brilliant. We tried it yesterday.We were there early and got a car to ourselves both ways.

The bubble show at the science museum was good, and obviously the launch pad on level 4.

Grockle Wed 20-Feb-13 15:39:49

Just wanted to pop back and say a proper thank you.

We had one free day & DS wanted to go up the Monument, so we did that first then walked to Leadenhall Market (thank you for the suggestion - he is a big Harry Potter fan!) and then Spitalfields. We wandered round Petticoat lane as I remembered it from when I was a child but it's changed so much. The bagel shop that was there 20 years ago has gone shock. I wanted to go to Fortnum & Mason & DS liked smelling the teas. Then my mum took him to hell on earth Hamleys.

We also went to see Matilda which was amazing.

I have made a note of all the suggestions on here for our next visit.

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