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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!

flyingplum Mon 25-Feb-19 11:55:21

I think I did much worse at 15. We went to see Green Day at Wembley Arena, missed the last train home (back to Richmond, where my friend's dad was due to pick us up), ended up getting multiple night buses across London via Hammersmith, a little tipsy from contraband vodka in a 2L coke bottle, and finally got picked up in Kingston by said friend's dad at something like 2am. I don't think I told my mum until about 10 years later.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 11:56:18

I am glad that the school cared to give a heads up. But when I said that we regularly as a family travel to London the attitude was very much well he is very lucky (priveleged) to be able to do that. I don;t thinnk many people from there travel much outside our county.

I am absolutely convinced that he was going to tell me. As soon as I spoke to him (as soon as school eneded that day) he was not ata ll perturbed about me knowing, he showed me his Excel spreadsheet of costs and his itinery for the day.

Abra1de Mon 25-Feb-19 11:56:28

Often let my two do this at 15.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 11:58:24

he showed me his Excel spreadsheet of costs and his itinery for the day

He does sound a little odd doesn't he.

IncrediblySadToo Mon 25-Feb-19 11:58:30

This thread is getting more bonkers by the minute.

Though I am laughing at the people who don’t bother even reading the OP’s posts then asking daft questions or treating her like she’s completely stupid.

...all very odd, but amusing.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 11:58:35

As for out computer set up at home. Well we have our garage converted into a music room (dh is a musician/teacher) with a Mac, 2 keyboards, guitar and Logic and Mainstage set up on the computer. Ds also has an ipad Mini with various music programmes.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 11:59:58

Odd, quirky, whatever.

he is hypermobile and has handwriting issues so he does everything onhis computer whereas I'd write it all out on an A4 sheet of paper.

IncrediblySadToo Mon 25-Feb-19 12:01:55

Clarinova. That’s REALY rude. Why be so nasty about a child?

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 12:02:07

The moment I told him of the theatre age policy he was dispointed but didn't try and come up wioth any alternative etc. Which also points towards the theatre show being the main focus of his day.

(If anyone was at Tottenham Court Road tube over the weekend bythe way ds was the kid playing Madness & Hamilton on the public access piano)

flyingplum Mon 25-Feb-19 12:04:43

Aww, bless him. If it wasn't a) a bit weird and b) I was more frequently in London, I'd offer to take him for you. Love the BoM, it's brilliant (and definitely right up the street for 15yo boy humour!).

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 12:06:21

As for out computer set up at home
Sounds impressive - yet your ds' teachers don't know who he's talking to online.

Odd, quirky, whatever.
Which is probably why the school contacted you - do they think he's a little socially unaware for his age?

VietnameseCrispyFish Mon 25-Feb-19 12:08:07

I’d be concerned if a kid made it to that age without being able to do that tbh! Wtf school?

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 12:09:59

Why be so nasty about a child?

I'm not being nasty.
And why is a child planning to see The Book of Mormon by himself - 170 miles away.

flyingplum Mon 25-Feb-19 12:13:28

If they go down to London a lot, @Clavinova, then London probably doesn't feel like 'far' - it's just normal. Plus, once you're on the train, there's not a huge amount that can happen. a train is a train...doesn't really matter how long the distance or time is. And if he really loves musical theatre, then London is the obvious place to want to go. I think it's a bit of a shame he was going on his own, but if none of his mates could afford to go with him, then it probably seemed logical. Plus, it's an adventure, and teenagers like a bit of adventure. I used to travel backwards and forwards between the UK and Bermuda to see my dad in school holidays at that age (and slightly younger, actually) on my own, and felt ever so grown up doing it.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 12:13:43

I answered that one ages ago.

He was planning on seeing it by himself becasue he knows that dh and I have already seen it so we won't go again to the London production as its a lot of money and there are umpteen other shows we want to see.

He has now found a friend from his theratre group who also wants to see the show so they are planning a trip in July 2020 (post GCSE's) as it gives his friend time to save and they will both be the correct age for the theatre.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 12:15:09

Anyway folks I;m at work so had better sign off.

Hasa Diga Eebowi

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 12:23:20

He has now found a friend from his theatre group who also wants to see the show so they are planning a trip in July 2020 (post GCSE's) as it gives his friend time to save and they will both be the correct age for the theatre.

"Well, that's pretty neat!" wink

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 12:25:44

I used to travel backwards and forwards between the UK and Bermuda to see my dad in school holidays at that age

I expect your dad knew you were coming - or did you surprise him? grin.

I have to sign off now as well.

SleepingStandingUp Mon 25-Feb-19 12:38:43

Abra1de
Often let my two do this at 15
Well there's two of them as a start. How far from London are you?

I’d be concerned if a kid made it to that age without being able to do that tbh! I don't think most 14 yo's travel 170 miles across country in their own to meet no one at the other end. Even if they wanted to, many kids simply wouldn't have the funds to do so - day return from say Liverpool to Manchester plus food let alone theatre ticket. Implying that a child is someone behind the curve of lacking because they aren't financially able to do this is ridiculous, as is the other assertions that kids who aren't regularly traveling cross country will struggle later in life!

I certainly never did it at those ages and went off to uni at 18, on holiday alone at the end of Uni and up and down the country travelling for volunteer work on my own ever since.

flyingplum Mon 25-Feb-19 12:38:45

heh heh - no, he knew smile my grandma used to drop me at the airport and then I would do the rest on my own (and he'd pick me up the other end). The first time I did it, i did it as an unaccompanied minor, but airlines only insist on this if you're under 13, so after I'd done it once, i insisted I be allowed to do it on my own. A lot of my contemporaries from primary school in Bda were doing that for school, so i didn't want to be the only one that was being babied!

and yes, I guess it's the fact that OP's son hadn't told her that would be the worrying thing, and I think it's good on that basis that the school flagged it. But she seems fairly certain that he was going to tell her before he went, and she knows him best.

ineedtostopbeingsolazy Mon 25-Feb-19 14:07:24

I grew up in London and went out on my own practically every day at 15 and younger , but I wouldn't like my dc to walk around London on their own, no idea why because if we lived there that's what they'd be doing.

VietnameseCrispyFish Mon 25-Feb-19 14:20:36

don't think most 14 yo's travel 170 miles across country in their own to meet no one at the other end. Even if they wanted to, many kids simply wouldn't have the funds to do so - day return from say Liverpool to Manchester plus food let alone theatre ticket. Implying that a child is someone behind the curve of lacking because they aren't financially able to do this is ridiculous, as is the other assertions that kids who aren't regularly traveling cross country will struggle later in life!

Yes, but being unable to due to not affording it doesn’t mean they’re incapable, does it? If a kid lacks the necessary skills to be able to book a train or coach ticket to an event, get there, stay alive and get back again when they’re a year away from leaving secondary school i’d say that is certainly behind the curve and a bit concerning/maybe indicative of something else going on (MH issues such as anxiety for example would make that tough for some kids).

I’m only in my early thirties but at 15 pretty much every friend I knew had done stuff like this, I certainly was going off to gigs in other cities on my own from 13, sometimes meeting up with friends while there but sometimes not. And we weren’t in a wealthy area before you bring that in. If a fifteen year old was given a bit of cash as a gift or saved up from pocket money or paper rounds and it wasn’t within their skill set to be able to do something like this that’d be really odd at 15. And for the kids who could never afford that, if they were incapable of booking a travel ticket and going a few towns or cities over for something that meant a lot to them it’d be strange, but not having the funds doesn’t mean they’d be unable to.

Justanotheruser01 Mon 25-Feb-19 16:14:23

One thing came to mind here - are you sure hes not planning on meeting somebody?

AnnaComnena Mon 25-Feb-19 16:34:26

When I was at school we went by school coach to see a west end show. We got there really early so our stupid teacher said 'go have a look around for 45 mins and come back

Our group of four got completely lost ... we were 15-16 at the time - stupid bloody woman!

Why is it stupid to assume that a group of 15/16 yos is capable of asking for directions if they get lost? Or indeed, capable of not getting lost in the first place?

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 16:59:18

I would expect to be given an area to be confined to eg Covent Garden but I wouldn’t expect a group of 15-16 year olds to get totally lost.

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