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London - please help(29 Posts)
Me and OH are thinking of going to London for the day this Saturday or Sunday before Christmas. We will also be taking our 12 week old baby with us. I want to go for the purpose of shopping and seeing what London is like over Christmas and OH has never actually been to London so I thought it would be a nice day out for us all. As we're not familiar with London or that area at all we're really struggling to figure out how to do this. We were thinking we would drive down and maybe park outside London and get the tube in. The only problem with that is that we'd like to visit multiple locations in London so we'd have to jump on the tube with the pushchair quite a bit. Also need to think about feeding LO every 2-3 hours . Would it be easier, better and more practical to just pay the congestion charge of £11.50 and drive through the center of London ourselves? What would you recommend? Thanks so much in advance x
My son and I went on Saturday 8th December, just for the day
There were so many people and it was so crowded
Tube was packed and we had to wait for 3rd or 4th one before we were even able to get on together
I had a list of shops to visit and we are very familiar with the route we needed to go
Liberty is my favourite shop and we bought nothing there at all as you could not even move in some of the aisles
We went to Harrods and again bought nothing. It was a bit easier to get round in there but was so, so hit and claustrophobic we came out as soon as we were able
Fortnums was very busy but the queues were not too bad and we got what we wanted and needed from there
Food places were very busy too, although we found a lovely place just off Sloane Square and ate there
I reckon it will be even busier this coming weekend
Could you perhaps leave the little one with someone and just the two of you go?
The last weekend before Christmas is going to be absolute carnage!
Do not try and drive through London this weekend. You will spend the entire day sitting in traffic (not to mention the parking charges, if you can find any space).
Why not get the train down?
The centre is going to be heaving. You will probably be be able to find coffee shops to stop and feed your LO, but you may have to wait for a seat. You will be making very slow progress down the road as there will be so many people all ambling around and crashing in to you. The tube will also be packed, and not all stations have step free access.
I think you could have chosen a better weekend...
I recommend visiting another time.
this weekend will be as bad as it can be possibly be. It will be utter chaos. I'm a lifelong Londoner and wouldn't dream of attempting your plan for this weekend! It's hard enough to wander across town on a normal weekend.
My advice - don't do it.
I love London and always want to encourage people to enjoy a visit, but shopping in London the weekend before Christmas will be a nightmare, especially with a young baby.
If you must, you could take a bus along Oxford Street/Regent Street to see the lights. The pavements will be horribly crowded to negotiate with a pushchair. Maybe use a sling or carrier.
Or go, but stay well away from all the shopping areas. Trafalgar Square to see the tree, perhaps.
Which side of London do you come in? You could look at the tfl.gov website and plan a bus tour that takes in a lot of the sights. Routes 11 and 15 are good for sightseeing. You can use contactless cards to pay and get on and off as you please.
oh and there's a possible Tube strike cutting across Saturday, on the Central Line.
congestion charge doesn't apply at the weekend, so if you go in January, you could drive, it will be quieter and you don't have to factor in that cost.
I live in London and love big cities but would not go into the centre of town on the last weekend before Christmas. Never. And certainly not with a 12 week old baby!
If you really want to come into London that day, then I would recommend getting the train directly into London Waterloo, and walking along the south bank. It will be picked but not as busy as oxford street/ regent steer and there will be lots of lights up, very pretty etc
I would recommend shopping somewhere quieter in London such as Spitalfields (Liverpool st station is closest), Hampstead, Kensington High Street or Chiswick (Turnham Green station) after seeing lights etc in central. That way you’ll have the London vibe and atmosphere, with enough space not to be so overwhelmingly busy and more chance of somewhere comfortable to eat/feed baby
I wouldn't go if you don't have to. I avoided even when i lived there the last weekend before xmas.
Go instead in 2-3 weeks time. January sales will be one, and less panic buying. You can look easier and without rushing.
I agree with the pp, avoid central London on the weekend before Christmas. It will be so crowded! Would you be able to go in between christmas and new year instead - all the christmas lights etc will still be up, but it should be a lot quieter!
Agree with all the PPs, don't even think about driving into central London. If you can get the train to Waterloo/London bridge, then you could walk along the southbank, visit borough market, look at all the scaffolding around the houses of parliament etc. Should be able to do that with a small pram as well, they will be lots of other families out there.
The City/St Paul's area will be quiet next week, for anyone who fancies going for a walk around.
I would avoid London at this time of year. Especially with a baby! If it was essential to go then use a sling. Don't even think about taking a pushchair at a weekend near Christmas!
I think if you visit this weekend it might put you off for life. There will even be marshals with loud-hailers directing the crowds around Oxford Street. I'd definitely leave it for a few weeks unless you're desperate to see the Christmas lights on Regent/Oxford Street (which are lovely, but not really worth fighting the crowds IMHO).
Go after Christmas. It will be utterly hellish this weekend
I would also advise against this. It will be so busy. If you don't know London just before Christmas you really can't understand how busy.
Tubes are a nightmare with a pushchair at the best of times.
I agree with PP that if you're going to do it get a train and walk somewhere.
Honestly this is not the time to do this. You and the baby will be jostled. The crowds will be terrible. It won't be a nice experience. I happily lived in London with a baby but there is no way I would have gone Christmas shopping with her in the centre on the last weekend before Christmas. Come another time. Don't drive.
Congestion charge doesn't happen on weekends but from April 2019 there is a charge for driving in London 24/7 for polluting cars
I get that you are both excited to visit London and that I think it will be easier with a small baby than a larger baby/toddler who might get bored and will certainly be heavy to carry
I agree that the south bank from Waterloo would be lovely walk along the river
Also, that a bus ride to see the lights would be great (find out where the bus starts from so you can get a seat upstairs)
Carry baby in a pouch or sling if you go by bus then you can go upstairs without worrying about your buggy being stolen while you are upstairs
Don't put yourself or your baby through this madness.
I went to Oxford Street alone last Sunday afternoon. It was just unpleasant. You coudn't see the lights properly, Oxford Circus tube station was dangerously overcrowded.
And your buggy will be at just the right level for your baby to be bashed by other people's bags.
I live in London. I am in Oxford Circus / Soho every week day. I know the back streets and how to get from shop to shop avoiding Oxford Street (ie. back entrances etc). I can do the centre without getting hot, bothered and stressed. I know the tube entrances to use / avoid.
There is no way on earth I’d do the West End this weekend. At all.
Hell doesn’t come close.
Like they said. Absolutely do not drive and don't do it this weekend at all if you plan to go ANYWHERE near the West End. Do the South Bank instead, or wait until next year. Also, use a sling instead of a buggy, way more transport options.
I have a baby and a 4yo, live in London and love it but only an insane sadist would go near Oxford St this weekend and I would not take a baby for any money.
Also, you can feed in coffee shops which are everywhere. That won't be a problem at all.
I wouldn't take a baby in a buggy on the Tube at any time of year, let alone the weekend before Christmas. Sling or nothing.
I work in London and normally love doing a bit of shopping on Oxford Street/Covent Garden and seeing the lights, but this year I'm not going because I'm pregnant and I just can't cope. And that's on a weekday evening, not a weekend. If you don't know London at all it will put you off for life.
If you do go, can you take the baby in a sling rather than buggy? Would be much easier.
Come down between Christmas and new year. It's fab. Everything's open but really quiet. This weekend will be carnage. I've lived in London my whole adult life and no way would I go in this weekend with a baby. If you do come - definitely don't drive (congestion charge least of your worries) and don't bring a buggy - a sling would be essential.
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