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Free things to do in London with a very poorly teen?

(36 Posts)
TitsalinaBumSqoosh Thu 28-Sep-17 13:19:24

My son in currently in hospital, he's quite unwell and we will be here for a long time.
He's 13 and we're hours away from home and family and normality.
I'm hoping he can start to get out and about tomorrow so I'm looking for very cheap or free things to do. We visited the museums last time we were here so might do that again but I'm looking for other ideas. smile

JamOrCreamFirst Thu 28-Sep-17 13:26:18

You have my sympathy. I've been there. Where are you based? What is the best way for him to get around? Is he in a wheelchair?

TiramisuQueenoftheFaeries Thu 28-Sep-17 13:26:58

Well if you want "free" museums are kind of the main thing, apart from parks and shops!

You've also got:
- galleries
- free concerts at churches and other venues (the Southbank centre has free events all the time)
- free lectures at places like the Wellcome Collection
- wandering along the South Bank
- (not free but fairly cheap) taking one of the river ferries.

What does he like? There are museums for loads of stuff.

TiramisuQueenoftheFaeries Thu 28-Sep-17 13:28:41

TitsalinaBumSqoosh Thu 28-Sep-17 14:12:52

He can walk slowly and in short bursts.
We're Royal Brompton.
He likes Maths, Animals, Gaming and Making stuff.

JamOrCreamFirst Thu 28-Sep-17 16:47:52

Can't think of anything extra to suggest after PP suggestions. Do the hospital get reduced price tickets or vouchers for stuff? Good luck and I hope your DS's health improves. It can be a long old slog.

RueDeWakening Thu 28-Sep-17 16:51:32

Check the Hoop app, there's loads of London stuff on there. Lots might not be suitable, but you never know.

SquirmOfEels Thu 28-Sep-17 16:54:58

This isn't free, but might appeal to him if you can run to the odd thing as a paid treat:

Does he have a play worker, because asking that team for ideas might be worthwhile (they also might have a budget as well as recommendations)

burntoutmum Thu 28-Sep-17 16:55:32

I was going to say does the hospital give out vouchers? Is he in oncology? When my DS was in hospital ( not Brompton) there was loads of vouchers for days out. Clic Sargent were also good for helping with that too. Obviously that's only relevant if he's in oncology

StatueInTheSky Thu 28-Sep-17 16:56:27

Londonist is a good site for stuff going on

I'd also have a look at the museums...NHM used to do a behind the scenes tour, just a small number of people, have a look if it is still on the website.
Often lots of little classes on in the museums so well worth spending time on the websites to see what is on offer

Some of the taller buildings are open to the public....Centrepoint or Sky Garden (you do need tickets for the SG but they are free) You can book a table in the Shard, they are not outrageously priced for food/drinks if you choose wisely

What about the Roof Gardens in Kensington....again free, but bookable

Outdoor cinema...maybe a bit late in the season?

Walk along the Thames path? Lots of history along there.

2014newme Thu 28-Sep-17 16:56:45

Sky garden
Science museum
Museum of London
South bank

girlwhowearsglasses Thu 28-Sep-17 17:04:05

UCL has the Petrie Museum and the Gramt Museum - Petrie is a proper old school Egyptology museum and the Grant has all sorts of amazing stuffed and preserved animals of all kinds. Both really interesting. It not large - and free.

Also there's the Wellcome museum - has really interesting stuff

youarenotkiddingme Thu 28-Sep-17 17:05:16

If he likes the theatre you can sometimes get very last minute tickets and they go cheap

feelingcalledlove Thu 28-Sep-17 17:07:32

If you can make it out to Greenwich, the painted hall, maritime museum and Queens House are all free, and the cable car from the O2 is really cheap.

TheSpottedZebra Thu 28-Sep-17 17:18:53

Hackney City Farm?
Could you do a walking tour, at your own pace -ie find the info and route online?

Some interesting ideas here for exhibitions on now

Heathen4Hire Thu 28-Sep-17 17:25:53

Cartoon museum? No lift to first floor, but ground floor is fully accessible. It's near Tottenham Court Road station.
The zoo is expensive but fully accessible. If you book in advance you get a little bit knocked off, and you don't have to queue up.

Westfacing Thu 28-Sep-17 17:33:17

I'm sorry that your son is so poorly and you're far from home.

Decades ago when I was a paediatric nurse the sick children received many 'perks' and gifts from local organisations and business, e.g. show tickets and expensive toys - have you checked with the PALS office if there is any such thing now?

Assuming you're in Sydney Street, and they give you a wheelchair, Battersea Park is just over a mile away and they have a great children's zoo - I've just checked the prices and it would be a total of £17 for you both. Even if you don't do the zoo the park is lovely and you can then walk along to Battersea Power Station, still under renovation but there are some public areas open adjacent to Chelsea Bridge and they've recently had events on


Power Station

Your son might particularly like a visit to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home - you pay a donation of £2/£1


SquirmOfEels Thu 28-Sep-17 19:41:30

How about a powerboating lesson?

£15 for access to sessions for the whole year

annandale Thu 28-Sep-17 19:45:57

If you can get to Tottenham Court Road a good old browse round Forbidden Planet used to be good.

TitsalinaBumSqoosh Thu 28-Sep-17 21:09:13

Excellent ideas, thanks! smile

We will certainly have a go at some of the things you've listed.
The ward has given us vouchers for a pizza express dinner so that's great, DS's BMI is incredibly low and he's not got much appetite so hopefully I can tempt him with pizza! smile

Westfacing Fri 29-Sep-17 09:37:22

You're also close to the Saatchi Gallery which is free - your son might like some of the more 'wacky' pieces! My DGS(12) was amused. The building itself is light and airy and a pleasure to walk around


Then across the road to Peter Jones, 6th floor, for tea and a cake and great views of London.

mypoornips Fri 29-Sep-17 22:08:15

This is free and happening on regent street tomorrow.

Hope your DS feels better soon.

Chewbecca Fri 29-Sep-17 22:12:06

The Bank of England museum is free and far more interesting than it sounds!

holdthewine Sat 07-Oct-17 23:56:53

I think he’d love the nearby Pottery Cafe.

You’re also close to Chelsea Physic Garden which may interest him with its apothecary history. A nice gentle spot on a bright autumn day with a cafe which might stimulate his appetite.

Tate Britain is not too far away and they run making things sessions for kids so maybe check their website.

As he likes making things he might enjoy the Design Museum in Kensington High St (short bus or tube from you).

Best wishes to him and you.

rightsaidfrederickII Fri 13-Oct-17 20:09:30

Vauxhall City Farm - pretty close by, free entry (there's a donation box by the door, but it's optional) and there's everything from horses to pigs to chickens there. I don't remember any steps, but the surface isn't totally even so may be a bit of a challenge if he's in a wheelchair. On the plus side, it's very compact so not much walking anyway.

I'm hoping he's not still going to be here in April (i.e. that he'll be much better and back home!), but if he is then EGX Rezzed would fit the gaming bill perfectly (though it might be a bit over budget)

Also on the games front, Namco Funscape at County Hall is essentially an arcade++

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