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London as a day trip with four kids ?

(22 Posts)
welliesandwine Sun 06-Sep-15 18:39:17

My youngest dd wants to go and see 'the queens house' and general logistics and budget are making a weekend break or overnight break for four kids (13,10,8 & 5) and us seem out of reach
Is a daytrip to London ..seeing the main sights etc..early train in and a 6pm ish one home and still enjoyable? ....haven't been for a decade so it would be a proper country bumpkins in the big city type event so need to start planning ! Thanks

LocalEditorMerton Sun 06-Sep-15 19:17:06

You could fit loads in on a (9 hour-ish) daytrip BUT it would be very tiring! The best thing to do would be to 'contain' your trip within some geographical parameters.

Your DD wants to see Buckingham Palace. Do your other DCs have any preferences to work around too? That's your starting point

You could walk from BP down the Mall to Trafalgar Square (thro' Admiralty Arch), do the National Gallery, walk down Whitehall, taking in Horse Guards Parade to see 10 Downing Street, Houses of Parliament (and Big Ben) and Westminster Abbey then cross the Thames and walk along the Southbank: a trip on London Eye, visit to the London Acqarium, Shrek Adventure (London Assembly building) - if you're feeling flush, Globe Theatre, Tate Modern ending up with a walk thro' Borough (foodie heaven) market...along to HMSBelfast with great tour of Tower of London and Tower Bridge... (you could also get Routemaster Bus No. 15 which will give you a great ride

But there are loads of other options using Buckingham Palace as your starting point. You could walk up to Marble Arch from there, get a bus along Kensington Gore, get off at Royal Albert Hall, do Science/Natural History/V&A museums, walk along to Harrods and/or walk thro' Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens (including a play the Diana Memorial Garden), get a bus...

You could could do some of your sightseeing on buses which give you a birdseye view of London - either the tourist variety, or if you plan ahead you can also use normal London buses. For example, there are still Routemasters on the No 15 route taking in loads of tourist London (including St Pauls, Fleet Streetfrom/to Charing Cross Station (near Trafalgar Square).

These are all mainstream touristy things to do, so let us know if you are looking for more quirky options.


Rivercam Sun 06-Sep-15 19:21:19

It's possible to do a lot in a day. Near Buck place is St James park, good for picnics.

Local's route is what I would do also.

Covent Garden is another nice area to explore.

London is actually a lot smaller then the tube map appears, so a lot if places are walkable.

welliesandwine Sun 06-Sep-15 19:32:13

That's just the advice I need ...brilliant grin
The first option ticks all the boxes they just want to see the main sights ....the train/tube thing is the next thing to master ?

MerryMarigold Sun 06-Sep-15 19:41:08

All the main sites at really close together. Trafalgar square, Westminster, Buckingham palace. You could do a trip on the eye. Personally love tower Bridge at night. Should be fine with kids older than 10, a v long day if they're longer.

Toomanycats99 Sun 06-Sep-15 20:04:02

How far outside London are you? Is it a option to stay at a premier inn or similar a bit outside but on a fast train line. My oldest is 8 and she still gets very tired if we have a long day of walking and seeing stuff. We usually leave home about 9 getting to London for 10 and leave about 4-4.30 and she's exhausted. It doesn't take much to wipe my 4 year old out. Some of it I think is just down to the sheer volume of people you are always fighting crowds. Also even just changing tube lines can be quite a big walk at some stations. (Thinking green park!)

welliesandwine Sun 06-Sep-15 20:34:07

We're in Chester ....the other option is to airbnb it as that might be cheater , but didn't think of staying outside London (duh!) I think as long as a 'feel' for it then we could do another visit to pick up the bits we missed ..eldest hs been before but rest never ....which I quite bad really hmm

welliesandwine Sun 06-Sep-15 20:36:56

Sorry ...should check my autocorrect before pressing Post ...the other problem is as a family of six we usually end up in two rooms....any suggestions on where to stay outside London? (sorry completely clueless about down South ��)

Rivercam Sun 06-Sep-15 20:38:47

Have a look at the Youth hostels (yha). They are good value, and are really nice. I've stayed in a couple in London, one near St Paul's and one at Kings Cross. They are clean and modern now.

Isn't there a direct train from Chester now?

Also, look at Groupon, Wowcher,, late rooms etc. you can often get good deals.

Toomanycats99 Sun 06-Sep-15 20:49:29

Ooh I'm south London do not sure on North London train lines. Think Luton airport is only about 30 minutes on a train and sure there must be loads of budget chain hotels there!

welliesandwine Sun 06-Sep-15 21:30:55

Brill ..thanks will look at Luton and YHA MN ��

Rivercam Sun 06-Sep-15 21:39:50

Luton airport isn't near the train station. Luton is not really a tourist destination, so there's not many hotels near the station. St Albans may be better.

welliesandwine Sun 06-Sep-15 21:43:58

Great thanks will look there will be back in a few days asking more no doubt ....happy to help if anyone ever wants to visit Chester ..

tribpot Sun 06-Sep-15 21:53:49

On your train line, your stop outside London is Milton Keynes. It looks as if there's a Travelodge not far from the station, a Premier Inn a bit further away. Both do family rooms which 6 can share (as in, not 6 in one room but 6 in two).

I'd get them to pick one thing each, you can't "do" London in a day. But in a long day you can certainly do 4 things, as long as they all pick things reasonably close to each other (e.g. not Hampton Court Palace!)

Tube/bus-wise, I think all the kids will go free (will check in a mo but think the cut-off is 14) so you just need a contactless card or Oyster card for you and DH.

tribpot Sun 06-Sep-15 21:55:53

Ooh no, up to 11. Above that you need a child travel card.

welliesandwine Sun 06-Sep-15 22:13:36

Awww thanks ..this is great info! Doesn't feel half as daunting now smile

tribpot Sun 06-Sep-15 22:28:30

London is incredibly easy to navigate around, Google maps can plan any journey for you (on foot or on public transport as desired). Distances on foot are much shorter than you would think; my mum was there last week when we thought the Tube strike was going to happen - she had to get from Bloomsbury to the Imperial War Museum and with a moment of Google mapping (okay she looked in her A-Z and I Google mapped) we realised it was only about a mile and a half on foot.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Sep-15 10:36:46

I second walking rather getting the tube for 2,3, or even 4 stops. The pain of getting into the station, navigating inside, and walking for ages underground (stairs etc.), getting out the other end and doing it all over again. Most stops are very close to each other in the centre of London.

Train trip from Chester doesn't look too bad, and honestly, I wouldn't bother getting off the train and finding somewhere to stay. You can flop out on the train home hopefully, if it is a direct train and not stopping at any local stations. Make sure there's a few rest times in the day. The train comes in to Euston, which is a very well connected station as it is a v short walk to Euston square which has different tube lines, so you can pretty much get anywhere.

It's a great idea to get each child to pick something they'd like to see and then plan a route. I think an 'attraction' (eg. Madame Tussauds) would take too long, but a site like Buckingham Palace doesn't take that long to see. And everything centrally is easy.

Boat trips are a nice way to see the sites along the river (Tower bridge, Eye, Westminster, St Pauls, Tate Modern) and quite relaxing.

MazyCrummy Mon 07-Sep-15 10:52:50

wellies, we're just north of Nottingham, and regularly take day trips to London with the 4DC (12/10/8/5) but prefer driving to the end of one of the tube lines and parking up (usually Stanmore).

Earlier this year, mine wanted to see Big Ben and the Tower of London, so we did tube to Westminster, wander round H of P/Big Ben, walk to London Eye, lunch, tube to Tower Hill for Tower of London, stop for drinks and cake, tube back to Stanmore. Then we either stop for dinner on the way home, or leave a picnic in the car for eating as we go. Youngest always falls asleep before we're back on the M1 smile

It works out cheaper and quicker to drive so long as we avoid the typical rush hours, and the 7-8 hours we get there are more than enough for the DC.

LocalEditorMerton Mon 07-Sep-15 14:16:11

Hi OP, yes I agree with other Mumsnetters, walking is the way to go really. You get to see more and everything suggested in the first tour (walking from Buckingham Palace down the Mall...) is do-able on foot as long as everyone is wearing decent footwear!

welliesandwine Sat 12-Sep-15 08:07:46

Brilliant ..thank you all for the fab advice , have saved it all ..DH thinks we should just 'do it in a day' ....aiming for Oct Half Term ??

MNWestminsterCityEd Wed 07-Oct-15 13:25:53

You could also check out our MN Local site for Westminster & City, which has a talk board, plus thousands of listings including attractions, restaurants and a What's On guide that covers Half Term, Halloween in central London...

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