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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!

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Sun 24-Feb-19 21:51:48

I can't imagine why the head of year was so concerned, unless they are one of those people who never leaves the village they grew up in.

Given that they have done the journey with an adult before I'd say its absolutely fine, on the proviso that keeps in phone contact and has cash for emergency.

I wonder how the HoY thinks children in London cope with having to get to school etc.

Drookit Sun 24-Feb-19 21:56:28

@crackofdoom grin

formerbabe Sun 24-Feb-19 22:02:25

All sounds very well planned and civilized...at that age, I was sneaking into nightclubs in London, downing shots and walking home barefoot! grin

I think it's fine...the only thing I'd be concerned about it how far away it is from home...but he sounds pretty sensible.

Also I'm totally confused as to why the school contacted you.

Comefromaway Sun 24-Feb-19 22:03:20

Crackofdoom - I could imagine ds trying to make his train fayre busking (he asked one of the buskers at Euston yesterday how they got their pitch!)

babysharkah Sun 24-Feb-19 22:03:37

I find it utterly bizarre hat the school called you about it.

Comefromaway Sun 24-Feb-19 22:05:20

At least he’s not causing havoc round Sainsbury’s (as was reported in the local paper the other week with kids from his school)

NigellasGuest Sun 24-Feb-19 22:06:31

Dying to know what show he was planning to see!

wejammin Sun 24-Feb-19 22:08:45

I live in the north west, when I was 14 or 15 I got the train from Preston to London for the day, went to Camden market, covent garden, Oxford Street and came home again, all agreed by my parents and I had a lovely time.

They didn't let my sister go at the same age, but she has zero common sense!

HeronLanyon Sun 24-Feb-19 22:09:20

Why would the school be worried ? Honestly don’t understand. I used to get a bus into and back from central London from outer suburb every weekend from around 12ish. It might be a little odd that he didn’t plan this with a friend ? But frankly each to their own. Enterprising to budget save and sort out lunch even !!
Kids are funny/great sometimes !

Comefromaway Sun 24-Feb-19 22:09:52

Hmm - well let’s just say that his choice of show is not the most appropriate (though we are all seeing it on tour in Manchester later in the year. )

Yesterday we all went to Gander. He was planning to go to Uganda if you know what I mean!

Comefromaway Sun 24-Feb-19 22:11:03

He said he knew none of his friends would be able to afford to go with him this year.

Kittybelle123 Sun 24-Feb-19 22:23:48

The school called?! Wow. My 11 year old will be making her way across London on her own in the morning to get to school... an hour by tube and bus there and then the reverse on the way home.

Your son sounds very clued up - impressive planning on his part! I hope he has fun if he goes this year or next - 170 miles out of London is very different to being on the doorstep.

JockTamsonsBairns Sun 24-Feb-19 22:31:20

How utterly bizarre that the school have contacted you. My nephew is heavily involved in musical theatre, and was regularly travelling alone from Glasgow to London from the age of 14 to attend auditions. His school didn't bat an eyelid.
Similarly, a friend's dd used to fly to New York from Heathrow from the age of 15 to visit her father in school holidays. Nobody was bothered in the slightest.
When I lived in Sussex, my dd used to go to London from about 13/14 for the day, just to hang out in Camden or Covent Garden - usually with some friends, but did it alone a couple of times. I genuinely can't see the issue, and it wasn't something her school got involved with.
Why on earth would your ds's school be voicing an opinion on this? confused

JenFromTheGlen Sun 24-Feb-19 22:36:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rockbird Sun 24-Feb-19 22:39:58

Good lord. I used to get the train into London from when I was about 13. I'd pop my headphones on and spend the weekends pottering around in my own visiting museums etc and different areas of London. Granted that his journey in will be longer than mine was, I'd be impressed by his planning and confidence.

And I was way happier to do things on my own than with others. Still am. Not everyone needs a gang of people to accompany them every time they step out of the house.

eponine8 Sun 24-Feb-19 22:40:59

I’d be more worried about the parochial attitude of the head of year. How do they think London kids get around and to school confused from age 11! And he’s 15! Heavens.

Silkyanduna Sun 24-Feb-19 22:44:45

I used to go see my boyfriend- now husband from Manchester to London aged 15

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Sun 24-Feb-19 22:44:48

DS and a couple of mates travelled from the Midlands to London at 15 to watch their football team play at Wembley. They got the train, then sussed out tubes and went into central London for a bit of sightseeing before the game. It didn't bother me, DS knows his way round the centre of London roughly because I work there and he has come to meet me from work with DH before, but even if he hadn't done that, he is a sensible lad and I trust him.

It all depends on how mature your 15 year old is, really.

Clavinova Sun 24-Feb-19 22:45:04

I wonder if the school think he's met someone online? Do they think he might be gay?

PhilomenaButterfly Sun 24-Feb-19 22:45:24

DD 11 lives in London and goes all over the place.

jcyclops Sun 24-Feb-19 22:47:11

If Euston grinds to a complete halt, don't hang around there waiting for something to happen. He can get a train to Birmingham from Marylebone (best option for connections to North West) or to Sheffield (change for Manchester) from St.Pancras. When there is severe disruption tickets are accepted on other companies and routes.
I toured the UK alone at 15 for a week using an All Line Railrover only spending 1 night (out of six) at home. The price would have doubled on my 16th Birthday.

SleepingStandingUp Sun 24-Feb-19 22:48:23

I suspect s hook have called be ause it's 170 miles away so if there is an issue, you are hours away from being able to help.
I imagine if he was heading into Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds etc they'd be less hmm

I think deferring it for a year is a good plan. Also, no idea what show but you implied it was old for him? Check the age he Nedd to be to go in alone even next year.

Comefromaway Sun 24-Feb-19 22:50:32

Dh and I used to work in Birmingham and we also visit there regularly but Ds doesn’t know his way around Snow Hill to New Street That well.

KennDodd Sun 24-Feb-19 22:52:56

I'd be ok about it (well, with one of my children, perhaps less so with the other two) and I live in Devon.

ladybirdsarelovely33 Sun 24-Feb-19 22:53:35

He will be fine. I was a short 11 year old catching a bus into central London to school everyday by myself. Not that long ago. We went all over London at that age.

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