Help me plan 3 days in London in summer hols!

(30 Posts)
Honeymoonmummy Sat 13-Aug-16 15:12:01

Hi all,

We went to London with the kids for the first time at Easter this year and I started a MN thread to help me plan and posters made it a brilliantly planned weekend that DH and DC's still rave about! Original thread here

What we actually did last time:

Day 1
Duck Tour (loved),
Walk along South Bank and lunch in market
Walked to Covent Garden and Transport Museum/ James Bond exhibition/ street acts
Tea at Rainforest Café

Day 2
Kidzania (amazing!) then mooch around shopping centre/ had dinner there

Day 3
Science Museum (planned trip to Sky Garden but didn't have time in the end) then home

So MNers, no pressure but can you help me plan another equally awesome trip?!? It's next weekend, Saturday 20 Aug to Monday 22 Aug, we arrive 9am on the Saturday and leave at 19:40 on the Monday so 3 full days. DC's are 5 and 7, boy and girl

Current thoughts:

Definites:

Kidzania - was awesome last time, kids want to do it again so that's a definite. It is a 4 hour slot and is at Westfields so takes 30-45 mins to get there (one way).

Maybe's:

Sky Garden - I've got tickets for 10am on the Monday - no tickets available any other time. So thinking of doing that area while we're there -
Tower Bridge, have breakfast at Jamie's Italian near Tower Bridge (I've been there with work, it's amazing!!), have a splash in the water fountains there, do the Golden Hinde II, Fire of London Monument.

Natural History Museum - kids really want to do this (I blame Andy!) maybe just a couple of hours to see Dinosaurs and couple of other bits (earthquake room??)

Covent Garden/ Transport Museum (again)

Greenwich - I'd quite like to get a boat to Greenwich and do this area. Is the planetarium as awesome as it looks? Would you say this was the place to do in summer or could it work equally well in winter

Show? I've had a quick look at the shows on because I know there's a special deal on at the moment but nothing takes our fancy from the website I checked - which is the best website for seeing all the shows available and are there any you would recommend?

Food - the kids want to do Rainforest Café again but is there anywhere else??

I appreciate there's a lot there but I'm sure we'll be back and actually have just been talking about a Christmas visit! So current (very draft) 3 day plan:

Day 1 (Saturday) - drop bags at hotel then boat to Greenwich (but may leave for another time)
Day 2 (Sunday) Kidzania then maybe Covent Garden/ Rainforest café?
Day 3 Tower Bridge/ Sky Garden/ Golden hinde II/ Fire of London monument, eat dinner there then back to Euston for train home.

Questions for you lovely people (if anyone is still reading!!)

- Is there anything on at the moment, summer holiday activities, that I should know about?
- Along the same lines, given that we'll probably be back again during the winter months, is there anything we should definitely do in summer in London (fingers crossed for good weather!)?
- Is Greenwich definitely a full day or could we do it in half a day? What would you recommend we do there, other than the planetarium?
- Question about Shows above
- Which art gallery would you recommend for kids given current exhibitions? We'd like to just take them for an hour to see some "wow" pictures
- What do you think of the itinerary given what we did the last time and is there anything else you would do instead?
- Recommendations for places to eat please!

Thanks all in advance! flowers

Honeymoonmummy Sat 13-Aug-16 15:18:36

Not asking for much, am I?!? grin

Honeymoonmummy Sat 13-Aug-16 17:43:02

Oh dear, have I scared everyone off with my "War and Peace" OP? Thought you lot didn't like dripfeeding!

Have spent the afternoon researching and am now thinking that we could get a 24 hour jump on and off ticket for City Cruises which actually has stops at the London Eye (where our hotel is), Tower and Greenwich, so am thinking on day 1 we drop the bags at the hotel and then get on the boat and stop at Tower, have the Jamie's brunch then back on the boat to Greenwich to spend the rest of the day there. That ticks the Tower Bridge, a boat trip, Jamie's breakfast, the fountains near Tower Bridge and Greenwich off all in one day. Does that sound reasonable and will it leave us enough time to do Greenwich properly? Think we could get on the boat for 10.15 and be at Tower until say 12 then the rest of the day at Greenwich.
If we did this, where could we have evening meal?

NickiFury Sat 13-Aug-16 17:52:05

My kids like the Hard Rock Cafe and while it's expensive, the portions are huge, it's way better than RFC imvho.

Definitely do Sky Garden, it's brilliant.

Maybe have a look and see if any tickets left for kids go free in August theatre tickets?

Walk along Horse Guards and see the changing of the guard, never gets old.

M&M world.

Transport museum - our favourite museum.

cissyfuss Sat 13-Aug-16 17:57:05

I'm in London with my boys for a few days right now. We've booked the sky garden for tomorrow, followed by Tate Modern... Been told the Olympic Park is great and have booked Extreme Inflatables in the Aquatic Centre and The Mittal Orbital Sculpture Slide on Monday... Looking forward to it! (Am going to check out Kidzania now!)

Honeymoonmummy Sat 13-Aug-16 20:43:33

Right, have looked on the Kids Go Free site again and there's nothing left that I think would be suitable so I think we'll leave a show... unless there's any Cirque De Soleil or other circus type things anyone knows about?

Changing of the Guards is a good idea, we might do that. The Mittal slide looks awesome, I'd love to do it but I think my two would chicken out! The Extreme Inflatables looks great Cissy but I couldn't face bringing all their swimming gear!

Hard Rock Café looks good, thanks. A friend has suggested Bubba Gump as a good place to go with kids?

Nydj Sat 13-Aug-16 20:50:58

Keep an eye on this website which lists all the dates and times that tower bridge is due to be lifted up - in case you can match it with a time you are in the area, or even better, in the sky garden, as I think it is worth watching.

lightgreenglass Sat 13-Aug-16 20:51:43

Greenwich is fab in the summer, lots of mooching potential - cutty sark, the maritime museum, the park itself, the observatory and the planetarium. You could easily spend a whole day in Greenwich - great idea to get the boat from the Southbank.

lightgreenglass Sat 13-Aug-16 20:52:52

Also, a friend of mine went to the top of tower bridge and said it was fantastic. They have glass floors to look down below.

EnquiringMingeWantsToKnow Sat 13-Aug-16 21:03:39

I think it's a bit expensive to go via City Cruises. The Clipper boats are probably cheaper?

If you want to go to the Nat Hist in the school hols then get there at 10am on the dot because the queues get horrible.

Greenwich National Maritime Museum is great if you're there for the Observatory, as is the Cutty Sark. Between them it's the best part of a day.
M

EnquiringMingeWantsToKnow Sat 13-Aug-16 21:04:21

I really like the Tower Bridge tour - joint ticket with the Monument.

PrincessHairyMclary Sat 13-Aug-16 21:06:59

We've just come back from 5 days in London today
Here's what we did:

British Museum
Kensington Palace, Picnic Lunch at the Princess Diana Park (Giant Pirate ship/Peter Pan themed) the. We went to see Wicked

Greenwich Observatory, Planetarium and Cutty Sark

Ridleys Believe it Or Not, Aladdin

Tower of London and Lion King

Ripleys and Cutty Sark were a surprise hit with DD. Princess Diana park is brilliant and not too far from Natural History Museum but NHM will be BUSY. We really did t have to aye for anything which was a surprise.

I've been to most London musical now, Aladdin really is very special opened this year very funny, amazing costumes and singing dancing. Lion King is beautiful and had DD awestruck. Wicked no treat for very young but wonderful costumes and story. Stomp is really good, no speech but very funny and enjoyable.

PrincessHairyMclary Sat 13-Aug-16 21:07:49

Aye = should be we didn't have to que

PrincessHairyMclary Sat 13-Aug-16 21:08:53

If you go to the planetarium sit in the seats on the back row and take a picnic to eat on the hill, amazin view of London.

Honeymoonmummy Sun 14-Aug-16 00:45:53

Thanks all. Is it worth paying to go on the Cutty Sark or just look at it from the outside? I'm also looking at the Golden Hinde II which looks good with the pirate themed sessions. Anyone been on both and if so which one is best for a 5 and 7 yo?

Honeymoonmummy Sun 14-Aug-16 10:56:43

Also the city cruise and clipper fares don't seem to be much difference at all, unless I'm missing something? The only thing it doesn't say is whether the city cruise takes much longer than the clipper?

PrincessHairyMclary Sun 14-Aug-16 13:28:07

I you are travelling to London by train then it is 241 on lots of attractions.
Cutty Sark has lots for children to do inside DD is 6 and loved it.

I wouldn't bother with either boat tour and just get the normal River bus. We got the DLR to Canary Wharf and then the River bus up to the London Eye last year (you could go all the way to Greenwich). It was much cheaper than the tours and DD wouldnt have been interested in listening anyway and it was much faster and less busy than the touristy ones. She liked going fast and seeing the sights. You can sit outside at the back and get some lovely photos.

NickiFury Sun 14-Aug-16 13:50:22

The Golden Hinde was fun. Very interactive. The kids we took really enjoyed it.

Honeymoonmummy Sun 14-Aug-16 18:29:43

I'm confused - isn't the clipper the normal river bus?

Honeymoonmummy Sun 14-Aug-16 20:20:12

Bump

PrincessHairyMclary Sun 14-Aug-16 20:24:58

Sorry, just checked my mistake the Clippers are the normal river bus.

Honeymoonmummy Tue 16-Aug-16 23:27:04

Thanks Princess. Bumping for any other ideas/advice?

Honeymoonmummy Wed 17-Aug-16 05:57:20

Bumping - I'm starting to panic now! I am in London at the moment with work near Tower Bridge and there's a big Telly screen set up with a couple of bars for people to watch the olympics which is fab. I'd love to know about this kind of thing?

Bumpinthenight Wed 17-Aug-16 06:35:33

We did Tower Bridge (and the monument) last year with DD who was 7, we were on the glass floor when it lifted up and a boat went under which was pretty cool - you can check out lifting times on the website.

This year we ate at Bubba Gump and Planet Hollywood. DD didn't know the story about BG but we all enjoyed the experience. If you have a gourmet society card you get 25% off the whole bill at both places.

You definitely need to be at the NHM before the 10am opening.

Diana playground and fountain are good to play in. You could get a pedalo on the Serpentine.

This year we did the BFG dream jar hunt. There are trails on the website but we just downloaded the map and found jars wherever we went! Saw some places we have never seen before!

Shows we have seen since DD was 5 - Matilda, Wicked, The Lion King, The Railway children, Charlie and the chocolate factory. All were great!

Shop visits - M&M world, Harrods, Hamleys. DD loves watching the toy demonstrations and had some nail art and glitter tattoos applied (for free) at Harrods and Selfridges!

Don't forget to spend half your time watching the street artists in Leicester Square and Covent Garden, or that might just be us that had to do that!!

We walked past the big telly - there are some deckchair seating and some food and drink stalls selling food and drink with a Brazilian twist!

Have fun!

Honeymoonmummy Wed 17-Aug-16 06:35:54

Re Greenwich - I'm thinking we'd like to do a Planetarium show but not fussed about the Observatory as it doesn't sound that great so what's the cheapest way to do this? Also the Maritime Museum sounds great and I'm undecided about going inside the Cutty Sark. I'm also a bit unclear about the cable car - how do I get to this from where I'm already planning to go and what's best to do first? The planetarium has a show mid afternoon that I'm planning to book.

Also, is there somewhere good for tea in Greenwich or somewhere on the boat route we could stop at on the way, or are there any restaurants based on a boat?!?

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