My mum taking kids to London at Christmas(64 Posts)
My lovely mum (70-ish) wants to take my DSs (11&6) to London to see the lights one early evening next week.
Although I think it will be really lovely, AIBU to be a bit worried that it will be massively busy and the risk of one of the boys getting separated is quite high (as is pickpocketing etc). The DSs are pretty good though but I worry the sheer volume of people will be a bit too much for them!
While I trust my Mum implicitly I'm worried she's taking a little too much on!
Thoughts and suggestions please.
Do they have phones in case they do get separated?
I think two layers - with phone in pocket closest to body - and they’d be OK.
Interested in where to go for good lights - we’re going into London next week.
They could get a bus along Oxford St and sit on the top deck.
I don’t think you need to worry too much - I took 4 8 year olds to do the same (after the theatre) one Saturday recently and it was fine.
Your boys need to be sensible about staying with your mum - and to make life easier for her I would make sure they are wearing something really obvious (my city kids all have brightly coloured coats or hats) and they need the talk about if you get lost stick like glue to where you are and shout and the adult will be able to find you. This has always worked for us in crowds.
Might be a good idea to suggest she gets the bus down oxford street and regent steeet? That’s where it’s likely to be busier with shoppers. It’s a great view from the top deck. And they can go down to trafalfar square. Piccadilly and Bond Street usually less busy to walk down.
I think that was what she was thinking - or the open top bus tour thing... just wonder if it's a good idea - I get that it will be beautiful (and I'd love to go too) but worrying that if something did happen they wouldn't know what to do.
We don't get to cities very often!
Thanks Lal, that's reassuring that you did it recently. And great tip re something bright!!!
I'm guessing 4 days before Christmas it will be heaving but I like the bus/walk idea...
I’ll be fine, just talk to them about safety etc. What do you think Londoners & tourists do?
My parents recently took my two eldest and like you I was worried about them getting separated and lost so I bought them id bracelets and really drummed it in to them if they got lost they where to go to the nearest shop / police / security guard and tell them they where lost and show them there id bracelets with mine and there dads numbers on them. I also sneaked a old mobile into my eldest bag with a little credit on so I could trek them and if really desperate phone them directly. All was ok by the way xx
Yeah it's London not Beirut! They'll be fine. In the absence of mobile phones, all they need to do is have a pre-arranged point to meet at if they do get separated. The lights are beautiful and yes it will be busy but that's all part of the buzz. They'll have a great time!
Write a mobile phone number on their arm. Think about what you should do if you get lost - stand still and wait for someone to find you or get them to ask in a shop if someone can phone the number on their arm, choosing a landmark to meet at - choose a strategy that your kids will understand - we used to practise getting lost - the standing still thing was hard for them but it worked.
Nearly, I recommend New Bond Street lights - stunning feathers.
The lights in Oxford Street and the ones decking John Lewis and Debenhams look impressive. Worth doing it on top deck of a bus but plan/time it well as buses have been packed lately.
It’s made my life so much easier over the years - esp being able to see them at a glance in a busy park. Although this year my DS (11) has a neon orange coat and he’s a bit so time might be running out on that...
We went last year and it was a waste of time. It was so busy we had to keep moving and if we stopped to look at the lights we got shoved and tutted at. The bus is a good idea but could be busy and steamed up. Sorry to put a downer!
Where are you? Do you have a local town they could visit instead?
I think they’ll be fine. Surely the 11 year old is pretty sensible? So she’d really only need to keep a very close eye on the younger one.. I think you can give them your mums mobile number on a piece of paper to put in their pocket incase they get separated and have a proper chat about what to do if that happens (go into the nearest shop or restaurant and ask a member of staff for help etc- that’s what I’ve always said to my dd).
They will br fine.
Grille, We recently went to Beirut for a weekend away amd were fine too. Amasing city I guess you have not been recently.
We did this last night. It was busy but we got the 139 bus from outside Selfridges and just ride round all the lights, getting off at Trafalgar squre. Then just a tube ride home. Your boys are old enough to knowhow stay with your mum. They will be fine and have a great time
I second the bus down Oxford street suggestion. I do that every year with the DCs and we try to get on a route near the start of the line so we can get the front windows on the top deck. Otherwise if it rains the windows get all misted up and you can't see much.
Carnaby street lights also worth a look.
It's absolutely fine. She'll be looking after them and has a hand for each if it gets busy! If you're worried, give them a piece of paper with Granny's phone number if they don't know it and drill into them that, if they get separated, they need to find someone (i.e. Go into a shop, or a cafe, or a tube station etc) and tell them that they've lost their gran. I've always done this with my younger kids and it works well (worked perfectly the one horrible time I did lose one for 5 minutes). You just don't want them wandering round looking for her as there's a lot of traffic.
Can you not go along too?
One child each to look after!
I think you should allow it. It's the sort of thing they'll always remember. I remember my Gran taking me out to our nearest city and I clearly remember the details of the cafe we went to...I was so happy. I was only about 6 too.
Ah thanks all!
Yes, I thought I might be able to sneak off work early and get the train down to meet them, I think bus is a great idea and noted about getting on at the beginning of the line to get good seats! And writing her number on their arm. And wearing something bright. And talking to them about if they did get lost, all good advice, thank you!
And no, no comparison of London to anywhere, we are just country bumpkins and the City seems so big!
Aside from Oxford Street and Regent Street, Carnaby Street looks amazing. Bond Street also looks lovely. The shop window displays in these streets are also lovely.
Liberty (near to Regent Street and Carnaby Street), is always beautiful, and Piccadilly always feels Christmassy to me, but mainly for the shop displays than the street decorations.
If your Mum and children could travel up before the rush hour starts, then that would make for a more comfortable experience. Perhaps they could go to a café in one of the backstreets upon arrival just until it gets a bit darker if necessary. I would advise walking to all of the destinations rather than taking the tube or buses (if your Mum is able), as the transport will be insane during rush hour (including entry and exit of stations, not just on the trains). You also get to see so much more too.
When walking between ‘light’ destinations, they could always walk in the far less busy backstreets - I’m a Londoner and always do this. Your Mum could plan a route beforehand to use the backstreets.
They could exit at Piccadilly Circus & have a little look at Piccadilly if they wanted, then walk along Regent Street for a while to look at the lights, then cross over to the Hamleys side of the street to access the backstreets to Carnaby Street. Walk up from there to Liberty, then out into Oxford Street (near Oxford Circus junction). They could cross the road (to be on the flagship Topshop side), then walk up Regent Street again for about 100 metres, then take the backstreets around the back of Oxford Street. They can then see the back of John Lewis etc, and your Mum can use this as a guide as to popping back out onto Oxford Street at particular locations to see lights and particular shop displays. Walking along the backstreets, they could also re-enter Oxford Street via St Christopher’s Place - this is another beautiful little area (walk straight through to Oxford Street). It leads out pretty much opposite to Bond Street tube station, and Bond Street itself is down the side road near to the station, so they could wander down there for a while for lovely lights.
Alternatively, would it be possible to travel up just as rush hour is winding down and spend a couple of hours there, before travelling home? Perhaps not on a Thursday though when late night shopping is on.
Covent Garden is also beautifully lit at this time of the year, and there are the entertainers as well. If you get a bus that goes down Oxford street, Trafalgar Sq and down the Strand they can get off and walk through to Covent Garden.( I think the bus you need is a 139, or a 23)
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