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London/Twickenham advice for weekend away

(26 Posts)
jumpyjan Tue 21-May-13 20:16:24

Excitedly planning a long weekend in London but not sure where things are in relation to each other.

Day 1 - London Zoo - considering driving from Twickenham as apparently zoo has parking. DCs are 6 and 4 and thought this option might save their legs for actually walking around the zoo rather than being tired our before we get there - is this mad?

Day 2 - fancy seeing the changing of the guard and would love to do a duck tour - are these things miles apart? If so is there anything else we could do near the changing of the guard to make a morning of it?

Day 3- something in Twickenham/Richmond but don't know what? What is there to do in those areas?

Also we will probably mostly pack lunch it to keep costs down but will have the odd meal out so any recommendations for child friendly places to eat in Twickenham or London would be great.

Are there any other must do's that we should consider?

Thanks smile

EatenByZombies Wed 22-May-13 16:42:18

If you're going to the changing of the guard, do bank on the fact it will be absolutely chocka and you may want to get there quite early to get a good view.
Same with London Zoo at weekends, except concerning queues.

EatenByZombies Wed 22-May-13 16:43:56

Also, make sure you pack lots of bottled water, even if you only have small packed lunches, because water bottles can be filled up at water fountains/in restaurant bathrooms (if you're not opposed to that) etc, and if it's hot you wont want to be spending £6+ in one day just to get a few bottles of water smile

bakingaddict Wed 22-May-13 17:03:07

Don't forget to get hold of some 2 4 1 tickets for London Zoo. National Rail do them and at the zoo they never bother to ask for your train ticket

Packed lunch is brilliant idea for the zoo but you can swing down into Camden easily from Regent's Park where there is a Strada, Pizza Express, Japanese and tapas place to eat.

You could combine the museums, Nat His and science with changing of the guard (Green Park) as both relatively near each other. Duck tours are £65 for a family of 4 just seen this in Time Out, don't know how long you get but you could do the Thames Clipper for half the price

MrsBertMacklin Wed 22-May-13 17:27:09

Day 1, getting the tube offers more flexibility than parking and it's a fair drive from Twickenham to Regent's Park, traffic is always heavy and often gridlocked on the A40. I avoid it at all costs.

Day 2, don't know, hopefully someone else will be along!

Day 3. Kew Gardens? Lots of activities for children, check their website for any special events on top of the train that goes round the park, the rooftop walk and other bits.

Twickermum is a good local site that correlates all local events

Horseriding in Richmond Park? Quite a few stables run lessons/pony rides, I've used Park Lane Stables in the past, who specialise in working with nervous riders (I know they all say they do, but they do).

Cake shop in Church Street in Twickenham called Sweetie Pies they are really good with children in there, crayons, toys etc. available and the staff are very sweet. More importantly, the cake is very good.

If for some reason you can't get onto a duck tour, there are various river tours operating from/through Richmond. Also, you can travel between Ham House and Marble Hill House using the Hammertons ferry service. www.visitrichmond.co.uk/travel-river.asp

Also, not too much on the agenda in the coming months, but have you checked that the dates you're planning to be in Twickenham don't clash with any events at the rugby stadium?

Gforgumbrella Wed 22-May-13 18:02:09

I too would avoid driving into London. If you're worried about wearing out the kids, I would suggest that you take the train in to Waterloo, then take the Bakerloo line North to Regents Park, and a cab to the zoo entrance from there. It's only a 15min walk so won't cost you much. Also bear in mind that you'll have to pay the congestion charge to drive into London on a week-day, and parking can cost a fortune.

As you're staying in Twickenham, I think you should also seriously consider a trip to Hampton Court Palace. It's just 10 mins from Twickenham by car and you can park all day for free in neighbouring Bushy Park (the best car park to go to is the one by the fountain on the main avenue through the park). The park itself is worth spending some time in; it's one of the royal deer parks, so beautifully kept, and it's virtually on your doorstep. There's a lovely playground too and a cafe in the Woodland Gardens area of the park. A lovely, child-friendly (and not too tiring) day out, if central London gets too much. There are also lots of river boat trips running from near Hampton Court bridge, which my kids love. Hope this helps.

Gforgumbrella Wed 22-May-13 18:07:47

Forgot to say that if you do go to Hampton Court, there are some lovely cafes and bars just across the bridge on the other side of the river. Lots of cheap-ish child friendly options, including Zizzi's, Pizza Express and other independent cafes.

jumpyjan Wed 22-May-13 20:58:35

Thanks so much for the replies and excellent tips.

Def taking pack lunches to London Zoo.
Chatting it over with DH but he is pretty happy driving to the zoo and its outside of the congestion zone - think we will just have to leave early to allow for traffic. Hopefully it will be ok hmm

Still a bit stuck for the second day I am torn between wanting to show them the sights of London and wanting to avoid crowds (we are country bumpkins!) Impossible I know.

Also have checked and there is rugby on at Twickenham - what does this mean - will it be a nightmare?

MrsBert - love that cake shop.

PoppyWearer Wed 22-May-13 21:04:32

We tend to drive into the zoo from where we are (further out than Twickenham but same neck of the woods) because parking is decent and getting there on public transport from Waterloo, then walking is a faff.

We've tried it, friends have tried it from here and we a have all concluded it's easiest to drive.

PoppyWearer Wed 22-May-13 21:06:00

Twickenham with the rugby will make trains in and out of London a nightmare.

Ktay Wed 22-May-13 21:14:19

The cafe in the old stables at Orleans house gallery is lovely. Not the cheapest but v friendly and nice outdoor space if the weather's fine and your dc start getting fidgety before you've finished your coffee. The exhibitions in the two galleries are often worth a look and they usually have a simple self-service craft activity on. It is near the hammertons ferry stop (twickenham side) if you find yourself doing that. There is also a playground nearby.

MrsBertMacklin Wed 22-May-13 21:15:57

there is rugby on at Twickenham - what does this mean - will it be a nightmare?

Trains between Waterloo & Twickenham are absolutely rammed on rugby days. Very well-managed at the Twickenham end (it takes a long time to get out of the station due to crowd control measures in place) and not scary for children, but rammed and noisy nonetheless. There are normally some road closures in place on roads surrounding the stadium, the 'main' roads affected by this are London Road and Whitton Road, coming off the A316.

The severity of the local traffic really depends on the nature and size of the fixture, but it's generally either a case of Get Out of Dodge, or Batten Down The Hatches for any locals!

MrsPnut Wed 22-May-13 21:20:49

Are you going this weekend?
It's the premiership final and it will be rammed. We will be there with our youngest daughter and we went last year too.

Just getting from the station to the stadium took an age and even longer to get back again. We're staying in Teddington this year and are planning a trip somewhere on the sunday. Probably Hampton Court Palace, as it's one of our favourites.

MrsBertMacklin Wed 22-May-13 21:23:12

Mrs Pnut The Foodies Festival is on at Hampton Court this weekend, it was really good last year, might be worth trying to score tickets...

harbinger Wed 22-May-13 21:25:34

Don't go to Twickenham on Saturday. It's the final. Leicester Tigers vs. Northampton Saints. It will be heaving. If you can get tickets tho' take them.

Sunday is England vs BaaBaas, very low key. Took my DCs when they were about 6! You might enjoy it!

MrsPnut Wed 22-May-13 21:30:46

Thanks Bert, will have a look. Sounds like my kind of thing.

jumpyjan Wed 22-May-13 22:18:47

oh no - yes it is this weekend and am now totally stressing about the crowds etc.

Am wondering if we would be better off ditching London (and thereby avoiding the heaving trains) and going to Hampton Court for the day instead. Presumably if we are staying in Twickenham we would need to time our arrival back home between kick off and end of the match otherwise we won't be able to get back to where we are staying?

Feel like its a shame not to see the sights of London but guess the DCs won't really care and I am v interested to go to Hampton court.

Good to know driving into London Zoo has worked for some - thanks for that.

MrsBertMacklin Wed 22-May-13 22:24:08

When are you actually coming in to Twickenham; the Friday night?

bettycoast Wed 22-May-13 22:27:55

If you are now focussing on hampton court, do think about parking in Bushy Park. The DCs are at a great age for the play park. Also check out Turks launches from Hampton Court up river - ours have loved that since they were tiny.

Southeastdweller Wed 22-May-13 22:30:58

Richmond is fab for shopping. I also like strolling through the park.

jumpyjan Wed 22-May-13 22:32:08

Mrs Bert - arriving prob tomorrow now - going to London Zoo on the Friday for the day and now thinking of Hampton Court Palace on the Saturday.

Yes - will def park at Bushey Park - DH knows that area so hopefully he will be able to find the car park.

..... just a bit concerned about not being able to get back into Twickenham after.

harbinger Wed 22-May-13 22:39:47

Friday night/ Saturday morning should be fine in Twickenham.

There is no reason not to go into London on the Saturday. If they are young and tired, try to get back before the end of the game. 5pm/5.30pm.

It will be deadly quiet when the game is on.

MrsBertMacklin Wed 22-May-13 22:44:08

OK. The road closures in the area get lifted very soon after kick-off and get reinstated about half an hour before final whistle. While the match is on, it's very quiet in Twickenham (if I'm holed in for the day, this is when I'll quickly drive out to the shops etc.). If you're driving back to Twickenham, aim to arrive back in central Twickenham for 330-4 pm and you shouldn't hit traffic (you'll probably be driving back via Teddington and there isn't any traffic backflow from there during this time).

If you're on Twitter, it's worth following @MPSRichmond, as they tweet when they've lifted and reinstated road closures and keep locals up to date on any significant issues on the day.

Also ref. Hampton Court, as mentioned to MrsP above, the Foodies Festival is being hosted on Hampton Court Green (with the Palace grounds, albeit an entirely separate venue and paid-entry event), so parking in the area may be busier than normal. Traffic should be okay though.

jumpyjan Wed 22-May-13 22:56:35

MrsBert thanks for the really helpful post - will impress DH with my traffic restriction knowledge smile. Much appreciated.

MrsBertMacklin Wed 22-May-13 23:01:12

You're welcome, have a lovely time!

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