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London for the day

(31 Posts)
charliesweb Thu 30-Jul-09 13:36:13

We are going to London for the day in a couple of weeks. I need ideas of how to spend our day. If you had 3 kids (2, 4 & 6) and only 1 day what would you do?

dotty2 Thu 30-Jul-09 13:54:34

Not too much! Trip on the river, London Eye, double-decker bus ride will probably be plenty. If you are getting there early-ish you might have time for a museum or something in the morning. But don't over-plan - I recently took DD1 (4) on her own for the day and almost her favorite thing was watching the street performers on the South Bank. When we lived in London pre-kids I used to walk past things like that without a second glance, so would never have factored that in to our plans.

sis Thu 30-Jul-09 14:04:19 to see if your day coincides with tower bridge being raised - if it is, then I recommend it for a few minutes so that you and the children can relax on a nearby bench (on the embankment) and watch it go up or down. A trip on the docklands light railway is also good for young children - the bit near canary wharf sort of goes between the buildings and feels a bit futuristic.

sis Thu 30-Jul-09 14:05:10

sorry, I messed up the link - try this:

TheWorstWitch Thu 30-Jul-09 14:29:20

I'd go and chill by the Southbank.
Lots of street performers and they can run around in RFH if raining.
Maybe go up London Eye - queue might be long, but you can enjoy an ice-cream whilst waiting, and there's a children's playground there ... can also gawp at big ben.

haventsleptforayear Thu 30-Jul-09 14:30:11

We went to the natural history museum and loved it (DSs 2.5 and 4.5).

TheWorstWitch Thu 30-Jul-09 14:30:55

Oh, and if you still have time to spare, you could walk along the river and visit Tate Modern and run across wobbly bridge and gawp at St Paul's

verygreenlawn Thu 30-Jul-09 17:34:10

I'd go for one of two options - walk along the Embankment to see the London Eye, Big Ben, HMS Belfast - maybe even take a river trip.

Or the Natural History Museum, combined with a walk up to the Diana Memorial Gardens (fantastic pirate ship to play on).

charliesweb Thu 30-Jul-09 20:13:50

Thanks for all your replies. We will be staying in london the night before and possibly the next night so we do have quite a lot of time on our hands. I was thinking we might check out the London eye.

Has anyone been here?

Kids zone at the national army museum

haventsleptforayear Thu 30-Jul-09 20:17:08

I think the London Eye would be pretty dull for little ones - it moves v. slowly and it's just a view.

It's also ££££.

Museums are free (and then you can spend loads in the shop!)

moocowmrs Thu 30-Jul-09 20:33:33

I am taken DS tomorrow 3.5 down on the train and then have booked sight seeing bus and then staying with a friend and then the natural history museum. Just want to enjoy it anything else in a bonus the bus is free for under fives!

Was just wondering though do I am to pay for him on the underground?

I am so excited taking him on such a big adventure and having some quality time with him.

Is the diana garden worth it?
Also where is nice for coffee and cake in that area, which would be a treat for me but also nice for children.

Will let you know how we get on Charliesweb

jemmm Thu 30-Jul-09 21:13:04

Just got back - two hours ago... from trip with DS 4.5

London Eye - bit of a disappointment - too long, too slow - queueing was a nightmare, even though we booked in advance.

Southbank - just wandering - brilliant, breakdancers, mime, skateboarders - just really good. Had a drink/ice cream outside the Royal Festival Hall, which was good, later had a drink/ice cream outside the National Theatre, which is astro-turfed and has giant sofas, all recommendable. Think we could have spent longer just wandering/exploring down here - he loved Big Ben - think he was a bit taken aback by the size.

Agree about not over planning... build some flexibility into what you doing.

Natural History Museum was excellent. Been before, always find something new there - last time it was dinosaurs and the whale, this time, the volcano gallery. Didnt do the butterfly jungle bit - but it did look really good.

Science Museum was good - think we'd worn outselves out by then... Did the IMAX there - something about 3d and space - last ten minutes before a spaceship blasted off, seats shook - DS demanded to leave... it had all been going so well?!?

In a way I think DS enjoyed the little things Southbank, as I said, he loved the underground - asked repeatedly how many stops we had left - thought it was a "are we there yet" thing, only to be old he wanted another 86 stops...

Diana Garden... we went, but only made it to within ten yards of the gate, had a sit down and an ice cream, and then left - it did look pretty cool though. That said two ice creams set me back a fiver...

moocowmrs You don't pay for 3.5 year old on tube.

I hope you have the adventure we had - the whole quality one-on-one thing was the idea - and we've had an absolute ball - I'm knackered, we've walked some, but we're both buzzing on it, and DS has come away from Museums with all sorts of questions about space, volcanoes, the big bang (don't ask) and allotments (really don't ask!).

Have fun!

jemmm Thu 30-Jul-09 21:13:47

wow that was a rant wasn't it...

GrungeBlobPrimpants Thu 30-Jul-09 21:24:14

Natural History Museum & Science Museum the best for this age with lots of special kids things on during the holidays - and free and in the dry (but v v busy)

Any of the London parks (Hyde park has the peter pan playground)

Short boat trip -say westminster to tower bridge

Southbank good - thug I agree about London eye not being the best for little ones

city - Tower bridge, tower of london 9just looking at outside for free is good), St Katharines dock. Trip on Docklands light railway off peak can be good if you get a seat at front of one of the trains - bit like a sort of very, very slow roller coaster iykwim

wotzy Fri 31-Jul-09 11:42:50

If you can manage to fit in a show have a look at this

Children 5-16 yrs - free London shows if accompanied by an adult paying full price

Through the summer. Lipn King sold out on dates I wanted, but I managed to get something booked.

Great thread.

Also I like taken mine to mooch around Covent Garden for a bit. No hassle with cars.

wotzy Fri 31-Jul-09 11:43:18

Obviuosly my fingers and brain aren't in the same gear

wotzy Fri 31-Jul-09 12:02:40

If you get a railcard you can use the 2 for 1 website

nikki1978 Fri 31-Jul-09 12:06:49

I took my 4 and 2 year old to the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green last week. Was a really good museum with lots for kids to do. You could have a morning here (it is right next to Bethnal Green tube station) then maybe head over to one of the parks (Hyde Park or go to the Diana Memorial Playground at Kensington Gardens). I like the Science Museum and NH Museum but find that area is just so busy in the summer hols.

Covent Garden is also good for lunch and street performers. Or Southbank for lunch and a wander.

Don't try to do too much just do one thing in the morning and one in the afternoon.

sis Fri 31-Jul-09 12:48:32

Diana garden is lovely and I'm sure you and your children will enjoy it - the pricey but nice orangery in in the same park ( about 300metres from the Children's park) is nice for tea and cake.

Underground is free for under tens. Personally, I don't like Girrafe for lunch so i would avoid it - suggest somewhere like Pizza Express where the children can wander around and watch the chef make the pizzas whilst waiting. I think there are some 2 for 1 vouchers online if you do a search. Alternatively, there is Paul which do sandwiches, cakes and pastries - the website is

jemmm Fri 31-Jul-09 13:01:36

Another thing on the museum - Grungeblob is right - they were very busy and there were very long queues - but they moved very very quickly - so don't necessarily (sp?) be put off if you turn up and they're snaking around the block.

Didn't particularly find the number of people inside either the NHM or Science Museum a problem.

Nice security guard said that queues start forming after 11'ish.

frazzled74 Sat 01-Aug-09 19:03:57

just got back from 2 day trip to london with 3 and 5 yr old.Keep it simple.First day we did south bank, they loved that, thames clipper to greenwich then maritime museum in greenwich. Not too much walking and no busy tubes.second day we did natural history museum, and kensington gardens pirate playground,it was a great day but more stressful and tiring.

lottiejenkins Sat 01-Aug-09 19:07:55

This is fun!!

wotzy Sat 01-Aug-09 19:16:41

bump for summer London visits

glinda Sat 01-Aug-09 20:21:08

Thanks for that Lottie just booked duck tours for my lovely ds!

snickersnack Sat 01-Aug-09 20:32:57

My dcs (2 and 4.5) adore the Transport Museum. You do have to pay for adults, but children are free and we spend hours in there - I think because it charges it doesn't get as busy as some of the free museums. The displays are really well put together, everything works and everyone has a ball. The picnic area is right next to the children's play area (models of buses, trains etc that they can pretend to drive) and it's right in the heart of Covent Garden which is good for wandering around afterwards.

Duck Bus is excellent - dd still talks about that and it was over a year ago.

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