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To consider London with the DC's?

(56 Posts)
hippoherostandinghere Sun 02-Jun-13 13:48:09

DH and I are thinking about taking the DCs to London for a night or two. They are 4 and 1.10. We would be flying in from Belfast and aren't quite sure if its manageable getting around London with a buggy and a small child. We really want to do some sight seeing and DS four would absolutely love it. But would it be mad?

Also which airport has the best transport links into the city centre? Is there a good train from gatwick?

ihearsounds Sun 02-Jun-13 13:52:54

Its easy to get around. At times you migght have to fold up buggy because wheelchairs do have priority on buses. millions of families live in London and go out. There is transport from Gatwick to London such as train and coach.

happyAvocado Sun 02-Jun-13 13:54:11

Luton is v.easy to get from as well by train.

hippoherostandinghere Sun 02-Jun-13 13:59:09

ihear, that's what DH says, people who live there manage. Is there a direct train from Luton into the city centre?

edwinbear Sun 02-Jun-13 13:59:11

I live in London and spend all day travelling around with a 3.5 year old and 18 month old. Not a crazy idea at all, London is very accessible with small children. There are lifts at lots of the underground stations (the tube map highlights which ones) and the buses work well, although as ihear says, sometimes you do need t fold the buggy up. Gatwick is easy into central London, it's one train into London Bridge.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 02-Jun-13 14:00:06

It's very manageable getting round London with a buggy and DCs. More so than almost any other city I reckon. Your DH will be able to help with buggy - don't bring a massive one though.

Your DS will love Natural History Museum. Science Museum, London Zoo, South Bank, Hyde Park and the Diana Memorial.

Gatwick Express goes.into Victoria and Waterloo. All airports are much of a muchness and it depends where you'll be staying.

MelanieCheeks Sun 02-Jun-13 14:02:10

It's very possible, just have lots of patience and don't try to do everything all in the one day.

All the London airports have good links into central London (even Southend!), but Gatwick is my favourite when flying from Belfast - seems to have least delays, be easiest to navigate round, and copes best with weather disruption. If you use Twitter, follow them on there for real time info.

edwinbear Sun 02-Jun-13 14:02:31

And yes, you can also get a train from Luton to London Bridge, although you have to get a bus from the airport to the train station so not quite as easy as Gatwick.

MadBusLady Sun 02-Jun-13 14:02:44

Re: airports it depends where you want to end up. Heathrow is the only one on the tube (Piccadilly line) so that may be appealing as it's very simple, but it's end of the line and takes ages. The others have rail links. The Gatwick Express is pretty good, 30 mins into Victoria, very regular. Stansted Express into Liverpool Street takes longer, about 45 mins, but is also very regular and Stansted is a small, nice, shiny airport so there's less hassle at that end (Gatwick is a labyrinthine nightmare). I'd try and avoid Luton because I know you have to change trains to get to Kings X, but I've never flown from there, could be wrong.

VinegarDrinker Sun 02-Jun-13 14:04:11

Of course it's possible, how do you think those of us who live here manage? grin

All the airports have direct trains into town.

hippoherostandinghere Sun 02-Jun-13 14:07:18

Thanks everyone, its looking alot more appealing now.

I have no idea how you manage vinegar I've never even tried getting a bus here with the DC's never mind in a big city.

survivingthechildren Sun 02-Jun-13 14:13:36

I think it would be great! Especially if you know your DC would love it! But only you know how well your children would handle this sort of thing. At the same age as your DC2, my DS wanted to run everywhere and was quite a handful. I would have been stressed in a big city.

All the airports have express trains (but they are the more expensive option) that run for the airport to the London central.

Trapper Sun 02-Jun-13 14:18:23

Definitely do-able. Luton does not have a direct train - you have to get a connecting bus to the station which is 5-10mins away. London City is amazing, but expensive. If you come into Heathrow, avoid the Heathrow Express which is massively expensive. Get an Oyster Card and use the tube instead. Depending on where your hotel is, your journey may not actually take much longer. The TFL website includes a route planner that allows you to specify step free access for the pushchair. Busses in the centre are frequent - if there isn't space for the pushchair on the first, there' another along shortly afterwards. I live in London with a 1yo & 2yo and have never had to fold the chair down (not sure I know how wink).
They will love the Science Museum (basement), transport museum etc. you can wheel the buggy straight onto most of the tourist boat trips. Enjoy!

Thymeout Sun 02-Jun-13 14:18:39

Gatwick Express to Victoria is fast and frequent, but the ordinary stopping train, which follows the same route, and only takes about 10 mins longer, is much cheaper.

As are Oyster Cards, for buses and tube. Available just about anywhere, newsagents etc. Really worth getting, will save you a lot of money.

The Princess Diana playground in Kensington Gardens - all based on Peter Pan theme - is brilliant. Also recommend the St James Park sandpit. It's opposite the barracks where you can hear the band practising before they all march off for the Changing of the Guard. I'd recommend river boat to Greenwich as well. You can come back on the DLR - driverless train. Sit at the front and pretend you're driving.

Have a lovely time!

Maryz Sun 02-Jun-13 14:22:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hippoherostandinghere Sun 02-Jun-13 14:24:34

Oh it all sounds amazing. I know nothing about the Princess Diana playground or St James Park they sound good. We would like to do the natural history museum and science museum and the Greenwich river boat sounds good.

I think the Gatwick express would probably be best for us. We can get very reasonable flights to Gatwick.

hippoherostandinghere Sun 02-Jun-13 14:26:36

X-Post Mary, did you find Luton handy enough then? How long would it take to get into the city? Not sure yet where we would be staying.

Maryz Sun 02-Jun-13 14:38:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

quesadilla Sun 02-Jun-13 14:48:18

It's very manageable in terms of transport links, but it is worth planning ahead to avoid rush hours on the tube and bus. The length of a bus journey varies hugely depending on when you do it and tube carriages at rush hour are a nightmare with a buggy.

Just be sensible and allow more time than you think you need.

Probably the closest airport is London City but you need to check whether you can fly there from Belfast. Gatwick easier than Heathrow if that's the choice.

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 02-Jun-13 14:55:10

TFL website for planning your transport around once you get there. London is great with kids. I went aroound the tourist bits with DD when she was 3 months old. Everyone was incredibly helpful.

NotEnoughTime Sun 02-Jun-13 15:10:32

See if you can book a Duck tour, your son would love it I'm sure. Great fun and very interesting in my opinion smile

wonderingagain Sun 02-Jun-13 15:19:36

The tube from Heathrow is cheaper than the express trains. Get an oyster card, you will be fine on public transport with two adults. Avoid rush hour though. Limit museums to short bursts, find the location of playgrounds on google maps. Black cabs are not expensive for short journeys through the day. Make packed lunch and supper if necessary, save food money for ice creams and coffees, which will set you back plenty!

MelanieCheeks Sun 02-Jun-13 17:20:28

I got stuck once at Luton Parkway and had to wait nearly an hour for a train. So it's not my favourite (with most other airports, there's lots of alternatives, so if one train or bus is late, you're not stuck)

Moominsarehippos Sun 02-Jun-13 17:23:16

Isnt the ordinary train cheaper than the branded Gatwick Express into Victoria?

Maryz Sun 02-Jun-13 17:23:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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