Does anybody fancy helping me with a London plan please?

(82 Posts)

3 full days
2 adults and 2 16 year olds

One day they want to go to the zoo; we will take them there and pay for them and leave them for the day with a picnic and then collect them. Meanwhile we'll probably go to Wahacca and to Sir John Soanes, plus maybe the National and Portrait galleries.

Any ideas for the other days please? I imagine it'll be a mixture of doing things together and them going off for a couple of hours. In the evenings, we'll stay together.

Thanks. smile

SashaSashays Sun 10-Mar-13 16:42:34

Have they been to London zoo recently? Personally think it's pretty grim. Best thing was the reindeer at Christmas.

Otherwise what are they into? Shopping? Museums? Art? Techy Stuff?

They haven't been to the zoo for years and years and say they really want to go. They could be talked out of it in favour of something else, I guess.

They like indie music, art (but not dragging around galleries for ages; they'll probably tolerate Tate Modern for a bit), eating junk food etc! They might want to go to Camden but are not sure yet (have been before).

VerityClinch Sun 10-Mar-13 16:47:07

London Eye/lunch on the Southbank

Take in a show

V&A and Natural History Museum

Take the river bus down to Greenwich for the afternoon

For meal ideas Wahaca is fab, PingPong dim sum is great too, and if you're around Holborn, Bounce has ping pong tables.

bakingaddict Sun 10-Mar-13 16:48:14

Camden Market and Camden Town is quite good for teenagers

If the weather isn't too cold the Thames Clipper is a nice way to see London. You can go from Woolwich up to Embankment, passing the houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge and then get off of for the London Eye. They also do 2 for 1 deals on the Clipper or a family ticket, you'll need to work out which is cheaper

You can do Greenwich and the new Emirates Skylift, lots of places to eat at the O2 or head up to the park and observatory. The clipper also stops at the O2. There is also the Shard but it's ridicously expensive so personally I wouldn't bother

corlan Sun 10-Mar-13 16:50:49

Have you been on the cable car over the Thames at Greenwich? You could combine that with a trip down the river if they're interested.

Deffo can't afford the Shard! May well be around Holborn, so thanks for that.

Greenwich itself is not terribly exciting for teens though, is it?

What is the skylift?

VerityClinch Sun 10-Mar-13 16:52:15

And you could leave them in Carnaby St and surrounds while you went in Liberty, Banana Republic etc

I wish I had teenagers to take to London. Instead I have preschoolers who are scared of the tube.

WillowinGloves Sun 10-Mar-13 16:55:15

We've always thoroughly enjoyed London Zoo and it has lots of indoor stuff so works well in bad weather - the Rainforest bit where you lean over the side with no barriers, the butterfly house etc. Squirrel monkeys are good value too - scampering around you in a walk-through area. London Zoo has fewer of the big animals (they're at Whipsnade) but lots of lovely primates and the new penguin pool is fab!
Agree on the river - you could do Tate-to-Tate boat taking you between Tate Britain and Tate Modern. Covent Garden for street theatre (ties in nicely with Soanes). Globe Theatre? Brick Lane? Spitalfields?
And judging by your name, OP, have you done the Warner Bros Potter tour at Watford?!

cardibach Sun 10-Mar-13 16:55:17

My 17 year old absolutely loved Camden Lock Market this time. She also loves Borough Market for all the food samples.

VerityClinch Sun 10-Mar-13 16:56:26

If they're indie kids Greenwich has loads of little hippy shops and the market.

I lived in Greenwich/Blackheath as a teenager, loved it!

cardibach Sun 10-Mar-13 16:57:16

THe big vintage shop, Beyond Retro, is good if they like that sort of thing. THere is one in/near Brick Lane and one nearer Carnaby Street.

VerityClinch Sun 10-Mar-13 16:58:47

Ping Pong and fries

Kings Road for shopping and Saatchi Gallery, Peter Jones and the Crab Shack for lunch

We haven't done the Potter thing and they would love it. Is it easy to get to from central London? That might be more appealing than the zoo too.

Leaving them around Carnaby Street is a good idea, although dp would soon lose interest in Banana Republic etc! I suppose I could always dump him at the Wallace Collection...

VivaLeBeaver Sun 10-Mar-13 17:00:40

If you go to the zoo afterwards you can get a narrowboat from the zoo to Camden market. It's a nice boat trip down regents canal.

EuroShaggleton Sun 10-Mar-13 17:02:43

Greenwich has the university now so is quite studenty, which might appeal.

I also find London Zoo rather sad. The Aquarium is nicer though.

See if something is on at the o2?

akaemmafrost Sun 10-Mar-13 17:03:08

The Emirates Cable Car is brilliant. It really is. Right across the Thames to the O2. It's a bit scary but well worth it. Unless its windy then it doesn't run. We went about 11.00 on a Sunday no queues and the DLR rid their is great too, straight past Canary Wharf. Honestly I am a Londoner so not easily excited about The London Thing but that was fab.

I do love the DLR! The cable car looks perfect - do you do both ways? Is it near any other good stuff?

Blimey the ping pong table hire is expensive!

akaemmafrost Sun 10-Mar-13 17:13:32

Well you're only a short distance from Canary Wharf there, which has A LOT more going on than you'd think. Museum of the Docklands is there and that's fascinating. Loads of lovely restaurants and bars with outdoor seating areas. Then a boat back down the Thames to the south bank which is great too. Big skateboarding and BMX area there which has some unbelievably talented youngsters performing, it's right on the south bank as you're walking down, so no trips to get there. Your teens might like that. We do and we are obviously adults. Tower of London and Crown Jewels in that neck of the woods too and that's always worth a look.

Iheartcrunchiebars Sun 10-Mar-13 17:16:31

Afternoon tea at the lanesborough is great fun (but treat it as a big meal- we were stuffed). Walk along the south bank, explore Chinatown, Greenwich market is great.

racingheart Sun 10-Mar-13 17:18:30

The cable car is great and very cheap. IIRC it's about £3-4 per person return trip. So's the Clipper Boat down the Thames.(You get a big discount on Clipper if you have travelcards.)

If they like indie shops Greenwich market is brilliant. So is Spitalfields market near Liverpool Street (and you could also have a curry on Brick Lane.)

Lichtenstein is on at Tate Modern right now, which is perfect for teens (massive pop art, comic book humorous pics)

Covent Garden is still fun with all the street performers, string quartets, little shops (cybercandy - if they have a sweet tooth - is amazing)

Soho is still interesting - great comic book/manga shops. There's a fab ice cream shop which sculpts your ice cream into the shape of a rose. Worth paying a tiny but extra.

Also nice to do one of the parks - St James is pretty.

I'd also definitely book a show in the West End or at The NT or The Globe.

snice Sun 10-Mar-13 17:22:44

Wagamama would be fun for lunch

Some brilliant ideas, thank you.

Icecream like a rose - where?

Southbank, Soho and Covent Garden all on the list and we'll probably do the 'tourist walk' from Trafalgar Square to Westminster to saint James' Park to Buck Palace to see the dogs, to Green Park, to Picadilly.

And Wagamama also on the list, as dd2 has insisted!

snice Sun 10-Mar-13 17:24:18

and Wicked would be a good show

VerityClinch Sun 10-Mar-13 17:27:26

Oh, you MUST go to Postman's Park to see the memorial to "have a go Heroes", your children will love that.

Postman's Park?

akaemmafrost Sun 10-Mar-13 17:40:41

Oh Wicked is brilliant, definite recommendation if seeing a show.

VerityClinch Sun 10-Mar-13 18:06:33

The Memorial To Heroic Self Sacrifice in Postman's Park

This would have made my day as a sixteen year old (indeed, still does)

Is in a great part of town close to St Paul's too.

VerityClinch Sun 10-Mar-13 18:08:53

Lots of plaques like this

VerityClinch Sun 10-Mar-13 18:10:41

I think this is my favourite

If favourite is the right word?

Wow! That looks perfect! smile

VerityClinch Sun 10-Mar-13 18:31:11

V close to St Paul's, Paternoster Sq, the London Stock Exchange, the Museum of London, and more or less guaranteed to be empty.

There's a church nearby called St Andrew without wardrobe or something similar which has always intrigued me.

Thanks Verity. Saint Andrew by the Wardrobe - tis v famous but I can't remember if it's Wren or Hawksmoor.

Not sure when from but the Olympic park is open for tourism so if you didn't go last summer, might be worth a wander round.

Def print some maps and walk about the west end. Or use smart phones!

It may be quirky but you could get them competing with ispy books on London.
Ride on Boris new routemaster and an old vintage one

Flag down black cab (the kids obv)

Look up facts about palace and Big Ben etc. I know you're not doing educational, but I made my kids guess how many windows buck palace had and how tall Big Ben was etc

gatheringlilac Sun 10-Mar-13 19:16:31

The V and A has a big exhibition on David Bowie. But you HAVE to book your tickets in advance. I would truly recommend that. And the V and A is near to King's Road.

Which days are you there for Remus?

HeeBeeGeebies Sun 10-Mar-13 19:30:00

Take them to the light show at the Hayward gallery. It's amazing, pricey but definitely worth it.

It's on the south bank so lots of other stuff to see too and easy to walk across to charging cross if you want to walk around covent garden/soho.

Liking Charging Cross!

Don't know what days yet - it's likely to be the end of July/beginning of August.

No educational - dd2 eye rolls at me enough as it is. It's dd2 and her friend, so dp and I will have to be on our best behaviour, so as not to make dd2 cringe too much!

Kings Road - never been. Do I want to? Is there a Westwood shop there?

They will be interested in shopping then. Top shop at Oxford circus a must. Carnaby st, covent garden ( fit all this in one day with maybe sushi lunch) and high st ken with museum and routemaster buses another

Bottom of Carnaby st is large magazine house you could point out, they'd like that too prob
Actually on broadwick st but has posters in window they could oooh over

And walk them carefully through soho pointing out cool and seedy side.

LayMizzRarb Sun 10-Mar-13 20:51:46

Go to the TKTS ticket booth in the middle of Leicester Square. Any shows with spare tickets sell them via the booth right in the middle of the Square. You could get a good bargain, and see what is available without traipsing round to the individual theatres. Please be wary of any other outlets around town who claim to be 'official'. The majority are not.

magazine house?

They are not much into shopping tbh, except for CDs and band t-shirts.

irisgrey Sun 10-Mar-13 20:57:01

West Side Story is on at Sadler's Wells around then. Could be a good alternative to the usual shows.

lalalonglegs Sun 10-Mar-13 21:01:33

Take a walking tour around one of London's lesser known neighbourhoods - Spitalfields would be great: it's crammed with immigrant history (Huguenots, Jews, Bangladeshis), has incredibly beautiful early Georgian (Huguenot) houses and is really interesting as it has bonus bonanza City workers and uber-successful artists (Tracy Emin, Gilbert & George) living alongside very, very poor households. You get a real sense of London in its extremes. There are lots of Jack the Ripper tours in the area too because that's where he operated but I've never quite understood why anyone would want to do those confused.

You can then go onto Brick Lane (which runs through Spitalfields) for a curry or to its 24-hour beigel shops for a proper Jewish feast.

lalalonglegs Sun 10-Mar-13 21:04:16

Also this website which offers 2-4-1 entry to loads of attractions (including London Zoo) with a rail ticket valid for that day - the trick is to buy a London travel card at a railway station rather than a tube station on the day that you want to use any of these offers.

Thank you re the travel card advice - excellent tip! So if we buy a tube day pass but at Euston, it'll count?

Never been to Spitalfields or Brick Lane, so that sounds interesting. Is it tube-able?

lalalonglegs Sun 10-Mar-13 22:34:57

As long as it's the overground bit of Euston, yes. But, if you come to London by train then the ticket for your journey down will be valid as well. So if you arrive reasonably early, you can have a day of 2-4-1 fun - at the station, just pick up a booklet about it and there are a load of little vouchers at the back that you fill in and hand over at the front desk of wherever you're going.

For Brick Lane, Aldgate EAST (not Aldgate) or Shoreditch are the best stations. Have fun.

dinkystinky Sun 10-Mar-13 22:45:02

Light show at the Hayward is good (and not too cerebral) if you want some art on the south bank - likewise Liechtenstein at Tate modern.

London zoo is small - they would be done in 3 or 4 hours good, is v near primrose hill which is good for people watching and not far from top end of Camden - so could combine all those together.

Agree the cable car is great - and you can pretty much walk on it if you have an oyster card.

View from top of St Paul's is great - and good work out for your legs if you so desire.

Graceparkhill Sun 10-Mar-13 22:51:14

Don't want to lower the tone but my teens enjoyed Ripley's Believe it or Not and also the Imperial War Museum ( tone raised once more)

highlandcoo Mon 11-Mar-13 00:02:22

The Imperial War Museum is excellent - and far from being just cases of weapons as I feared when dragged along by DH for the first time - but I'm pretty sure it's closed for refurbishment till July.

A couple of other suggestions, depending what sort of stuff you're interested in:

We got a Blue Badge Guide to take us round the Tower of London - he was brilliant; we learned loads more than you would on your own - all the extra details behind the well-known historical facts. Not cheap but really worth it.

The Cinema Museum, near Elephant and Castle, is good for film buffs. A labour of love by a couple of guys who obsessively collected memorabilia from old picture-houses that were closing down, stored it for years and eventually raised enough money to open this quirky museum (in a building which was a former poor-house). You have to go online and arrange a time to come along, when Martin will take you round and chat you through all the stuff. Possibly most interesting for those of us who remember a seat in the stalls being 2/6, although teenage DS also enjoyed our visit.

I like the sound of the memorial in Postman's Park earlier in the thread - I'm definitely going to check that one out.

KCOZ Mon 11-Mar-13 03:20:42

The shoreditch / spitalfields area would be great for teens into things "indie". There are walking tours run by homeless people that are apparently fab. Can't remember the name, but a quick google should find it. The Boxpark next to Spitalfields station would be good for coffee / lunch.
You can then walk to Tate Modern then along the river to Southbank so that would be a good days activities.

GreenEggsAndNichts Mon 11-Mar-13 15:12:57

Making notes. Might be going with my 4 yr old for a day, if I'm feeling brave...

These are brilliant. Thank you so much everyone.

Any more ideas v welcome! DD's friend is seemingly a v fussy eater, so recs for anywhere she might cope with appreciated. Fish and chips maybe? Or she says she likes Chinese sweet and sour! Oh and pizza...

VerityClinch Mon 11-Mar-13 20:21:58

Giraffe is all over the place and has something for everyone (burgers, stirfry, all sorts) plus sharing plates etc

One on the south bank, one in Soho, plenty of others

VerityClinch Mon 11-Mar-13 20:26:07

Phoenix Palace close to Baker St Tube (for Regents Park, Marylebone High St shopping, Madame Tussaud's if you must) is THE BEST CHINESE IN LONDON. And cheap. I used to work just round the corner do my research on this tip is extensive!

Afternoon tea might be a good idea for a fussy eater? T'is just sandwiches and cake after all. The Mandeville (again, near Regents Park/Marylebone) does a good one and it's not stupid money like Fortnum's.

VerityClinch Mon 11-Mar-13 20:28:19
ATouchOfStuffing Mon 11-Mar-13 20:31:17

I'm sure someone will have mentioned it - DD climbing on me and refusing to sleep = not reading all responses, but the London Dungeons is open now near the London Eye, and I imagine 16 yo's may enjoy both, so you could kill 2 bids close together there smile

VerityClinch Mon 11-Mar-13 20:31:45

St Christopher's Place is a little pedestrianised square with a fountain in the middle just off Oxford St (literally just down a tiny blink-and-you-miss-it alleyway) has loads of teen friendly food options, pizza express, carluccios but in a much nicer setting than Oxford St itself.

VerityClinch Mon 11-Mar-13 20:37:04

And last but not least of my hot tips, at Detroit Bar in Seven Dials (just up from Covent Garden) you can get a cocktail (for you and DH) and manicure (for DD & friend) for £12 on a Wednesday. I swear this is the best bargain in London at the moment. It's an amazing bar with great drinks. DH and I went there so often (pre-children) they named a cocktail after us in honour of our engagement (sadly no longer on the menu!). Ask for a rose petal martini - like liquid Turkish delight!

VerityClinch Mon 11-Mar-13 20:38:16

I miss living in London. Does it show?

Yes to St Christopher's Place - and yes to Carluccio's! Detroit Bar sounds good - googling that now.

Am a horrible snob and Tussaud's and the Dungeons will not be happening! Anyway, they've been to them before (phew!).

Primrose Hill is nice to go strutting around in, the park itself and the area. It's very close to London Zoo and Camden. I like to pretend I live there grin

The best fish and chips I've had here is at Fryers Delight on Theobalds Road in Holborn.

You'll all love mooching around Spitalfields/Shoreditch. Bagels on Brick Lane is a must.

I find the Westfield in Shepherds Bush less claustrophobic than the one in Stratford but either is worth a visit.

The Lichtenstein exhibition at the Tate Modern is fun if quite pricey.

Borough Market is another must but get there early. The best coffee in London is to be had there, from Monmouth Coffee.

Monmouth Coffee is elsewhere too, yep?

Maybe dp and I could go to Primrose Hill when the girls are at the zoo, and then all go to Camden later? Is Primrose Hill walkable from the zoo? I'm scared of London buses but don't mind the tube at all!

Spitalfields and Shoreditch on the list - now need to get my head around where they are and how to get there.

Not bothered about shopping centres at all - Covent Garden and Carnaby St and around there will be fine for them.

I need somebody to plan it all day by day for me now!

Thanks again.

There's another Monmouth in Covent Garden, and in Bermondsey.

Primrose Hill is a ten minute walk at the very most from the zoo. You can easily walk to Camden from P.H too.

You can get to Shoreditch and Spitalfields directly on the tube now - the East London line - but most people walk the five minutes from Liverpool Street. Otherwise get the 8 or 242 bus from the west end.

Thank you - VERY useful!

dinkystinky Mon 11-Mar-13 21:16:16

It takes 10 minutes Max to talk to Primrose Hill from the zoo! lovely view from top of Primrose Hill.

dinkystinky Mon 11-Mar-13 21:16:47

Bloody autocorrect - walk not talk!

Another vote for the cable car. It's brilliant.

I took my 10 yo DD for a day out to London in half term. As we come from Essex, our route was train to Stratford then DLR to cable car across to Greenwich North. Followed by river bus one stop to Greenwich to visit the observatory then home the easy way.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Mar-13 21:20:59

Hi there
We will move this out of chat section.

Wow - that was quick! Thanks Olivia.

I hope it can stay alive a bit more, now it's moved from Chat... smile

dinkystinky Wed 13-Mar-13 09:09:53

Another tip if you're having a southbank day - they often have food markets on round the back of the Royal Festival Hall. Real mixture of food so pretty sure you'll find something for everyone there - and tables at the end of the market to sit and eat. If you dont find anything you like, there's a Canteen there (which serves Fish and chips among other things).

If the weather has warmed up the rooftop garden on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall may be open - is lovely and in summer there is a bar up there so you can people watch the people ambling by below.

If you're in the St Paul's area, the new shopping mall at One New Change has an open roof space where you get a great view of the city, for free. It's only about 6 storeys up, but it's still lovely.

Ambridge Wed 13-Mar-13 09:27:42

Spitalfields market is worth a visit - there's usually a lot going on there.

You probably don't want to do too much museum-ing but I would recommend the Museum of London, which is also very handy for St. Paul's and also not a million miles from Tate Modern, the Globe etc. I was passing the MofL the other day and just dropped in, as I had some free time. I hadn't been for years but it was fascinating.

A tip - Sir John Soane's Museum gets horribly crowded. I tried to take a visiting friend there on a Saturday and there was a queue of an hour to get in (I was shock as I've always just strolled in with no problem). The helpful guide said the best time to go was when they open on a weekday, ie 10 am. It's closed Sundays and Mondays.

drwitch Wed 13-Mar-13 09:39:21

Don't 16 year olds just want to hang out? I would buy them a pre pay oyster card, give them some spending money and just arrange to meet again in the evening.

Thanks everybody.

DrWitch - I want a mixture of them going off together and us doing things altogether. If it was my two dds I would let them go off, as dd1 is v used to the tube. But dd2 and her friend are not used to London and don't want to just go off altogether.

LayMizzRarb Fri 15-Mar-13 21:19:22

Canteen on the southbank also sell fish finger sandwiches grin

smile That might work for fussy friend, I guess!

So far I'm thinking -

arrival day - Spialfields/Shoreditch maybe?
next day - dump them at the zoo for the morning whilst dp and I go to Primrose Hill and then meet them and go to Camden possibly. We could maybe fit something else in too then?
next day - the Harry Potter tour and something else?
Last day - National/Portrait/Carnaby Street for them and Liberty for me/Covent Garden / maybe China Town

I need an events manager now though to fine tune it all! smile

sis Thu 21-Mar-13 18:59:40

The cable car! You missed the cable car!

AnuC Fri 22-Mar-13 11:43:55

Hello! If you're in London for that long, then it'll be very useful to have this app that we use with you. It's called Haystacks and it's available for the iPhone. It is specifically for London and lists thousands of locations and hundreds of events searchable by area or what's near you. We use it and many of my friends do too. Hope you have a good few days!

Agh - can the cable car fit in there anywhere? I still need an events manager! We also need to do the tourist walk of Trafalgar Square to the river to Number 10, Buck Palace, Piccadilly I guess, for cheesy photo opportunities?

Thanks AnuC but no iphone (no phone at all, in fact!).

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