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Would you let your 15 year old go on a day trip to London alone?

(207 Posts)
Comefromaway Sun 24-Feb-19 20:31:02

Just before he broke up for half term I had a phone call from ds’s school. His head of year was very concerned because he’d told a member of staff that he was planning to spend his birthday money going to London on a train to watch a West End show!

I of course made all the right noises, promised to speak to him. Explained that we were actually planning a family West End trip and we go approx once or twice a year. The head of year said he’d told her he’d been in London alone before and they were concerned. I assured her that had never been the case. (Turned our he meant last year when dd and dh went to get sushi, I went to a jacket potato place and he went to Burger King in Leicester Square and we met up 15 mins later outside the Lego shop.

So I spoke to ds and it turns out he was serious. He said yes I was going to tell you. I’ve done the maths worked out how much the train and tube will cost I looked up the price of tickets for the Saturday matinee and I have enough left over for lunch at Bella in Leicester Square at 12.30 before the show starts at 2.30. I was quite impressed to be honest. However I pointed out that pretty much all West End theatres have a no unaccompanied children under 16 policy (and he looks young for his age)

But AIBU to think there are worse things a 15 year old could plan? The school was treating going to London like it was Syria or somewhere!

The upshot is that he is going to post phone his trip until after his 16th birthday next year!

DinoGreen Sun 24-Feb-19 20:34:03

I find it odd that the school would be so worried about a 15 year old going to London alone. Unless you live in the outer Hebrides, most 15 year olds should be capable of getting themselves into a city and back on a train.

However I don’t understand why he’d want to go alone? I went off on trips into London with my mates at that age - we lived about an hour away on the train.

hopefulhalf Sun 24-Feb-19 20:34:20

I grew up in London ds isn't 15 yet. But has travelled to and around London alone or with his 12/13/16 year old cousins for the last 2 years.

BlueSkiesLies Sun 24-Feb-19 20:35:26

Absolutely fine for a day trip at 15!

aibutohavethisusername Sun 24-Feb-19 20:36:51

My daughter and a friend went when they were 15. Not sure she’d want to go alone though.

Leeds2 Sun 24-Feb-19 20:38:24

My DD did this lots of times at 15, although we only live a 30 minute train ride away. I am surprised school were so concerned.

HaveNoSocks Sun 24-Feb-19 20:38:30

YANBU. I grew up in London and we would go into town on our own without a second thought at 15. I wouldn't have been allowed on my own at night but during the day no problem.

fedup2017 Sun 24-Feb-19 20:38:41

I don't know the right answer but the have a 15 year old who has asked recently to do a similar thing ( although he wanted to go to the British museum by himself on an inset day). I wasn't too fussed by DH felt uncomfortable in the end so we said no for now. I'm actually super proud that he feels confident enough to go and do his own thing..... I'm sure 15year olds and younger who live in London travel on the tube by themselves every day with safeguarding referrals and phone calls to parents by schools
Whereabouts are you in the country? We're in Suffolk and "that there" London is considered a very scary place by 50% of the population..... In fact I know lots that have never been.

NorthernLurker Sun 24-Feb-19 20:39:11

Fine with me. You should point out to school that London is full of 15 yr olds who live there without being eaten by wolves.

HaveNoSocks Sun 24-Feb-19 20:39:42

Think it's fine if DS wants to go without a mate. I wouldn't have had the confidence when I was his age I would worry about what people thought but if he's more of an introvert and likes time to himself then good for him.

Iseesheep Sun 24-Feb-19 20:39:51

Not a problem. I went on the bus to Paris for a week with a friend when I was 15! It was fun trying to navigate my way from Kings Cross to Victoria but we made it. Just.

bibbitybobbityyhat Sun 24-Feb-19 20:40:38

Really flabbergasted that his school rang you up and spoke to you about this.

PengAly Sun 24-Feb-19 20:41:07

What an overreaction from the school! I mean, im suprised he wants to go completly alone- id have expected he would want to go with some mates but i cant imagine why not let him? (Except the theatre under 16 policy)

cariadlet Sun 24-Feb-19 20:41:44

My dd's 16 and I'd be impressed if she was organized enough to work out the prices and timings herself like your ds has done. He seems very sensible and if he was hoping to go to a matinee then he wouldn't be getting a late train back which would be my only worry at that age.

If he's familiar with London and confident about finding his way around (which he seems to be) then I can't see any problem - apart from the theatres being unlikely to admit him on his own.

We live in Sussex and dd's been to London with me loads of times. I'd would have let her go without an adult at 15, but would prefer her to go with a friend rather than on her own, just in case something unexpected went wrong.

Comefromaway Sun 24-Feb-19 20:43:15

However I don’t understand why he’d want to go alone? I went off on trips into London with my mates at that age - we lived about an hour away on the train.

He’s got a friend from his theatre group who he says he’s planning to go with next year as they can save up. But many of his school friends have never a professional theatre show and he knows most couldn’t have afforded his planned trip.

Its 1.5 hours on the fast train 2.5 hours on the slow train.

edwinbear Sun 24-Feb-19 20:43:18

I went to Wembley to see Gun’s and Roses with a couple of mates when I was 16. We now live in London and I see plenty of 14-15 year olds out and about in town unaccompanied.

Arowana Sun 24-Feb-19 20:44:16

I grew up in London so this would hold no fears for me. I'm very surprised the school phoned you!

Comefromaway Sun 24-Feb-19 20:45:12

His birthday was 2 weeks ago. That’s why he had the money.

We are in the North West.

JasperKarat Sun 24-Feb-19 20:46:50

I grew up in Essex about a fifteen minute drive or half an hour bus journey from a zone six tube. I was often in and out of London at that age, with friends and alone to shop etc. The school are massively over reacting . He's going to the west end, not a sink hole estate in East London

MaryBoBary Sun 24-Feb-19 20:47:28

I would allow this, he sounds very sensible, presumably has a mobile phone so he can contact you in an emergency? I would let him go but ask him to text me when he arrived in London, and text me again when leaving so I knew he had got on the train ok and there weren’t any delays to expect.

AnnaComnena Sun 24-Feb-19 20:48:23

I used to go to London on my own from when I was fifteen. I grew up only half an hour away on the train, was accustomed to being taken there by parents, and was confident about finding my way around, using the Tube and so on.

As pp said, unless you live hundreds of miles away, a day in London, or other big city, seems an entirely age appropriate thing for a fifteen yo to do. A refreshing change from the 18yos one reads about here who have never taken a bus or train alone.

crackofdoom Sun 24-Feb-19 20:49:12

Your son sounds very sensible, pricing everything up like that.

I grew up 30 miles from London, and from the age of 14 or so would regularly get the train into London with friends. We'd just go and hang around Oxford Street mainly, and felt so grown up grin

From the age of 15/16, I was assembling a load of second hand clothes I'd got from jumble sales every weekend, packing them in a suitcase and getting the train into London on my own to fly pitch them at Camden Lock. If I was lucky, I'd make my train fare. God, I loved it.

It's fairly difficult to fall in with bad company and get dragged into a den of iniquity on a day trip to London. It took me years of sustained effort

foundoutyet Sun 24-Feb-19 20:49:13

15 y old dc went on her own, 1 hour by train. Same reason, to see a West End show. No problems at all

Jezzifishie Sun 24-Feb-19 20:50:16

I grew up in the South East, if we wanted to do pretty much anything in my little commuter town we had to go into London! I was definitely heading into London with friends at 15, probably didn't do it by myself until a little later (but had no need to, really. The point was to hang out with friends in Camden...)

Stompythedinosaur Sun 24-Feb-19 20:51:36

I grew about an hour from London, it was very normal to go on a day trip there from about 12. 15 is absolutely fine!

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