I went with 11 year old DD at half term and tried to do less popular attractions as knew NHM, Science Museum etc would be heaving.
We did one day where we did Museum of London (free and has Victorian at etc so good for children), St Paul's, across Millennium Bridge for a quick look at Globe (didn't pay for tour as she was only mildly interested), then walked down to Borough Market to choose some nice treats.
DD likes Spitalfields/Brick Lane so we did lunch there and then got a bus from shoreditch high st to Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. The bus journey was a revelation to DD - we live somewhere v quiet and rural - and she loved the museum.
We stayed at Canary Wharf (as we were squatting in DH's work related hotel room) so got the commuter boat from there to Westminster. Cost about £6 for both of us and me pointing out the sights was enough for DD rather than a more formal tour.
DD is quite unadventurous with food but it always seems a shame to end up in a nationwide chain. She does like The Real Greek which whilst a chain is London only and does a great children's menu. She also likes to get bagels and apple strudel from the 24 hr bagel shops at the end of Brick Lane.
Also why not see if you can get tickets for a show. Matilda?
I would start with a hop on hop off type bus tour to get a good overview of all the sites- it's good value and fun
Also both boys have been to Buckingham Palace, and although I I would class myself a republican we all enjoyed it, and the kids audioguide is very good. You can get a combined ticket with the Royal Mews where the Golden coach is, along with various other royal coaches and cars.
Nhm has huge picnic area in basement wheree we always leave our packed lunches etc on pegs. I have found Fri late afternoon can be quieter in South Ken. If all is manic then top floor of Science Museum where the planes are is usually more peaceful.
I have two boys now 9 and 12 and they and their dad took me to Ripleys for a birthday treat. It was absolutely awful, though they enjoyed it.
HMS Belfast much more fun and the Imperial War Museum is also really good, in many ways better than the Science Museum as it's easier to explain and more compact.
Remember Tate Modern and National Gallery are free, so if anywhere near Trafalgar Square just go in to see the Sunflowers and similar.
We used our Tesco vouchers to get free Red Bus tour tickets and as part of that went on the walking tour to see changing of the guard - it leaves their main office at 10.30 I think and I would really, really recommend it to see way more of the changing of the guards than you would without going on the tour. They know where the other guards are (I forget if they were the old ones or new ones!) who play a bit of a ditty then march down the mall, then we watched another band march out of somewhere else then saw them change the guards outside of Clarence House (where you can get much closer). Our ds's loved it (5 and 7). You can also get a discount on lots of other attractions and a free river trip (has to be used within 24 hours) with your red bus ticket.
On your Tower bridge day, HMS Belfast is great to explore, and the river bank area there (More London) has fun fountains for your dc to play in and around. If it's a warm day, walk down the street away from the river and the fountains to get to Tooley St and there's a massive underground Tesco where you can get sandwiches etc for a picnic by the river and fountains.
Bistro 1 is cheap and cheerful for lunch and dinner. Also Belgo. Have you looked at serviced apartments? They might not be too expensive and there is a fridge do you can make sandwiches. Food costs will mount up.
OK I think I have a plan!
1. Kensington Gardens for Diana playground, Hyde Park for fountain and lots of other things . Walk to Marble Arch.
2. Science museum and Natural History Museum (might need to split these to 2 days?)
3. St James' Park, changing of guard at 11.15 on odd dates in August. Then Ripleys.
4. Tower of London and tower bridge, walk down river
We'll try to fit in the Emirates cable car and bus tour if we can!
Recommend me a nice eatery for lunch each day if you will!!
PS I did look at Hampstead but I couldn't get it on the days I wanted . Am booked into the Excel Premier inn
Don't get confused between the Diana Memorial fountain and the Diana Memorial Playground. The former is the notoriously sloppy water feature the other is a fab playground with a massive pirate ship, a musical garden, teepees and masses of space to play in. Both are great but the playground is something special
Also Beckton is a bit of a trek into town, Hampstead Premier Inn probably also pretty cheap but on tube etc, quicker into the middle.
Diana Memorial much nicer later in the afternoon - especially after a visit to V&A and/or NHM. I was there with friends at 7 last week and it had really quietened down. Nice last activity for the day.
Another vote for the science and natural history museums. They get massively busy on weekends so weekdays are better. The queue for the dinosaur exhibit can be massive so best to hit the natural history musuem at 9 when it opens. I find London zoo very expensive but see if you can get a deal. We like the acquarium but ditto expensive and definitely need to make sure you get a ticket deal, as we arsed up last time and had to pay full price as we forgot to print the sodding voucher. Worth it though, kids loved the sharks.
Definitely Tower of London and walk over tower bridge on the same day. If you can get the boys interested, the House of Commons is pretty cool and right next to Westminster abbey. Walking around buck palace outside and the serpentine also good.
Coram fields. Its tucked away near Great Ormond street, really worth it. You cannot get in without children. Lots of space that is shaded. Zipline, park, water, sand and animals.. Fab place just to relax, have a splash and a picnic. Much prefer it to the memorial water thing.
Southbank is also a nice place just to walk along.. The eye is good if a clear day, but try and get a deal because it really is over priced.
London eye was overpriced and underwhelming in my experience.
NHM, science museum, duck tour, tower of London, walk along South Bank
Ooooo thanks all lots of good ideas here. I will digest them all at my leisure and make a plan of rainy day/sunny day activities! Keep 'em comin'. I'll let you all know what we do and give marks out of ten ha ha
save your train tickets for two for one deals -
beano town onlondon south bank for free
somerset house fountains
Museum of london at docklands (sorry for caps fail, on phone).
Really interesting and free. We also wondered around docklands for a wee while and I'm sure that there are other free activities/places of interest.
Foundling Museum is a good idea.
a river trip perhaps?
oh, and since you're east already, do the Dangleway (can't for the life of me think what it's actually called- the cable car thingy)- you could tie it in with a trip to Greenwich and a run around the park/Maritime Museum
you've got the best ones on your list already! The Diana Memorial water thingy is the BEST thing to do in London in the summer imo
it's good to tie it in with the NHM,or the Science Museum- a good place to cool off and have a picnic
other fab things- the Monument is good to climb up, and cheap, too (if a bit hairy- don't wear heels!)
the Foundling Museum is lovely, and a bit off the beaten track (tho you've got to hope your dcs don't do what mine did, and demand to know, if I had to abandon one of them, which would it be 'go on, tell us, we won't mind')
London Eye on a clear day , Duck tour or Red bus, Museum of London , British Museum (Pompeii Exhibition if you can get there early), the Tower
Mine did really like the Ripleys strange but true place. you will be at the price of things like Madam Tussuads. we loved the science museum and the V and A. you need to do a riverbank walk and the open top bus is a great way to see a lot of the sights in one go.
Horniman is now on my list, thanks!
Horniman Museum in Forest Hill is free and lovely for kids with a great park. Some of the best things are free - see if you can find out stuff on Time Out?
Planning a trip to London in August. On my own with 10 year old and 7 year old boys. I'm thinking a 7 day travelcard would be best as they will be free on all transport? I'm going to stay at Beckton premierinn as it is cheap and good access to everywhere - but any other suggestions welcome!
Want to do -
Diane memorial on a nice day
Natural History museum
But what else for 2 boys? I've not seen much of London so need your advice . Some relaxation for me would be nice too!
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