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London overnight with a 3 year old where should I go...please plan my stay!

(20 Posts)
mumma2cjh Wed 15-Oct-08 17:35:23

Arrive Sunday 7 December arrive 11am
Depart Monday 8 December 6pm train.
Staying most probably Covent Garden Area

Definately want to do tea at Rainforest Cafe on the Sunday. So need to find places of interest that are near or walking distance to each other:

1. Arrive 11am head to CG and check in or drop bags off at Hotel. Where do we go from here?

2. Up and leave hotel at 10am - where do we go from here

Ebb Wed 15-Oct-08 20:37:31

Hamleys toy store is not far from Rainforest cafe. Always good fun to browse and get a treat. You could always hop on the tube to the science museum which has an exploratory childrens basement area and is also next door to the natural history museum if your lo likes dinosaurs. Be aware alot of children find the t Rex a bit scary! Both museums are free but appreciate a donation.

onehitwonder Wed 15-Oct-08 20:41:22

The London Aquarium is good. It is on the South Bank. Could be considered walking distance from Covent Garden, but if not tube or bus should be fairly easy. We took 3 year old DD this summer - took maybe 2 hours or so to go around and then there are a lot of restaurants around the South Bank (Wagamamas etc). Maybe would be a good idea for Sunday am?

MrVibrating Wed 15-Oct-08 20:42:31

Some ideas:

Buskers/performance artists in the Covent Garden piazza on Sunday.

London Transport Museum is in Covent Garden, but might not suit a 3 year old unless really into underground trains and busses.

Might be something on for kids at the South Bank Centre - if so, walk over Hungerford Bridge (goes from Embankment station) and look at the view of St. Pauls and the city.

Where are you arriving at/departing from?

What sort of thing usually holds his or her interest?

hifi Wed 15-Oct-08 20:43:01

the transport museum in cg is excellent, took dd and a friend they loved it even though i thought they wouldnt. cafe there is fab, i really enjoyed it aswell.

rachels103 Wed 15-Oct-08 20:50:01

Museums at South Kensington are straight down piccadilly line from Covent Garden.
Natural History for dinosaurs
Science Museum for space men and vehicles
(I have a ds tho so for dd not so sure?)

Also buskers / performance artists in Covent Garden definitely.

Have fun!

mumma2cjh Thu 16-Oct-08 13:39:14

Ummumm ... what do you think about this

Day 1.
Think I will head to hotel at CG, go to Transport Museum, buskers, then head to Rainforest Cafe for tea, then back to hotel

Day 2.
Go to the science museum then to natural history museum - do lunch there.

Later in day head back to hotel get bags and tube it to Kings X..pick up sandwiches/picnic food from M&S Foodhall for teatime treat on train.

MrVibrating Thu 16-Oct-08 15:17:41

Sounds good. In December they usually have a merry-go-round in Leicester Square (a proper one, gallopers and organ) so I'd recommend walking either to or from tea and getting a ride (not cheap though).

Bear in mind that from 5pm on Monday the tube will get very crowded, and although Covent Garden to Kings X is not the worst journey you will have bags and a small child. It's almost worth doing that an hour early but there is nothing to do at Kings X (bit young for platform 9 3/4) and keeping a 3 year old amused there for an hour sitting on bags is an even worse prospect. Check that the train has the modern carriages with airline-style tables: again at commuter time you will not be popular spreading your picnic out on a table for 4.

PortAndDemon Thu 16-Oct-08 15:23:17

There may be a Christmas market outside the Natural History Museum, too -- there has been in previous years.

elkiedee Thu 16-Oct-08 15:36:44

Which train company are you travelling with? Is it a long distance journey and have you got seat reservations? Although you don't have to buy a ticket for a 3 year old, if you have a Family Railcard, you can save more on your ticket than you pay for child (assuming you'll travel by train more than once or twice during the year of course). And then you can book seats for both of you. On National Express, you can specify table seats.

A tube journey late afternoon in December on the Piccaddilly line sounds like a bit of a headache - give yourself plenty of time. There's a waiting room at KX outside the main station concourse itself - nappy changing and an accessible toilet in separate cubicles, which most users look for because it's free and/or because they don't want to hoik bags down and upstairs to the ones in the station.

mumma2cjh Thu 16-Oct-08 16:53:26

Yes it will be National Express - DS is 3.8 so hadnt thought about seating...the journey is only 1 hour 10mins so will pre-book 2 seats with airline trays he can sit with me...it will be a squash but fine Im sure.

Yes had planned on getting there in good time and looking around the little shops there ie WHS etc...

Just check Rainforest - do you HAVE to pre-book as online is showing no availability until Jan

PortAndDemon Thu 16-Oct-08 17:15:24

You don't have to pre-book, and IIRC (which possibly I don't) you can't pre-book unless you're a large party or a birthday. You turn up, tell the man in the booth how many there are of you, and he puts you on the list and tells you to come back in 30 minutes (or 45 minutes, or an hour, or whatever). Then you come back at your allotted time, are allowed downstairs, and hang around the bar for a variable period of time for your table to actually come free. At least, that's how it worked about a year ago.

bundle Thu 16-Oct-08 17:17:41

the London Eye, right next to the Aquarium is great
there are plenty of child friendly restaurants on the south bank close to there iirc

nolongeraworriedmummy Thu 16-Oct-08 17:22:28

Hamleys toy store do a ymyy afternoon tea and its quite reasonable. Me and dd and my mum shared one and it was either 6.99 or 9.99 inc drinks.

nolongeraworriedmummy Thu 16-Oct-08 17:24:14

yummy even! we are doing the national history museum which might be ok for your 3yo as there is lots of hands on stuff they can draw and weigh things and they have huge elephants and lions and things,

bundle Thu 16-Oct-08 17:27:09

if you're coming to London it would be a good idea to get an Oyster card - you can get them online, don't have to live here, kids go free on public transport but it means you can just pay eg for a one day travel card if you do auto-top-up and jump on/off buses/tubes/dlr

NellyTheElephant Thu 16-Oct-08 20:26:57

My 3 yr old DD's all time favourite places are the Natural History Museum (she calls it "my museum" and knows the names of pretty much all of the dinosaurs!) and the London Aquarium. I would really really recommend the acquarium, it is fantastic and the most amazing treat for a 3 yr old. We rarely go as unlike the NHM you have to pay and also it's a bit further for me to go, but there is no doubt that it is probably her favourite place in the world ever!

bananabrain Thu 16-Oct-08 20:46:38

Sounds as though you have lots of ideas already, but thought I'd mention boat trips. We went to London recently with 4 year old and went on a river tour from Victoria Embankment down to the Tower Bridge and back up to Houses of Parliament. Was a good way to see lots of sights (Tower of London, Gherkin, London Eye, St Pauls (just, through the buildings), Tate Modern, Big Ben in a short space of time without lots of walking.

After reading this I want to go back and fit in the NHM!

bossykate Thu 16-Oct-08 20:51:56

fwiw, i think natural history museum and science museum in one day is far too much. these places are huge! and usually crowded and oppressive with it. i would pick one of them and plan for a visit of 2 - 3 hours max. afterwards you could go to the princess diana memorial playground perhaps.

although i think if you spent say one day in and around cg including transport museum (which is fab) plus boat trip and then one day doing aquarium/eye/south bank that would be plenty.

nolongeraworriedmummy Fri 17-Oct-08 10:18:02

oh dd loved the Diana fountains! kids are allowed to paddle their feet by the side but not walk or stand in the middle. In fact there are guards to stop people walking in.

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