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I've got to make a trip into London with my toddler to meet some friends, I don't live in London so I don't know how this all works.
My options are city mini, 360 nipper and I have a sling that DS can go in. I'm also pregnant (with mild SPD) so I don't really want to put my son in the sling all day. I also have numerous reins etc for keeping him attached to me.
So what would you recomend? It would be on a Saturday.
Go to the TFL website www.tfl.gov.uk and type in your journey plan, using the advanced search that allows you to say you can't use stairs. It will come up with the best route. Many of the stations have lifts, but not all.
I would go for whichever one has the best tyres, makes it easier in case of having to bump up/down stairs if you are not able to get a route which is all on one level. personally i find that easier than faffing about with slings or taking children out, folding and carrying the buggy then putting back in and all of that.
but dont worry too much, generally people will help. especially as you are pregnant too. if you stand at the top of the stairs for a minute, someone will probably come and pick up the whole buggy and carry it down for you!
I would say citi mini, because it is so easy to fold if you need to (fingers crossed you won't), but are you ok to carry it for a bit with your SPD? Although an umbrella fold super light chair would be better - if you don't have one like that, could you borrow one from a friend for the day?
Also see if any of your journey can be done by bus - so much easier than faffing about with the tube, or at least I think so (lots of people have bus fear though)
Deffo do bus. Most stations have no lift, oh and rush hour is terrible so avoid those times too. I've never felt comfortable having someone else pick up the whole buggy. Never know if they are going to slip or whatever...
I would go for whichever buggy is lightest, as you may need to bump it up and down a few steps, or fold and carry it, or hang onto it for dear life when going on an escalator.
One piece of advice: watch out for stations which usually have lifts/escalators but they are currently out of order. This should be marked on the Journey Planner results on TFL. For example, my local station usually has an up and down escalator but at present only an up escalator - the only down option is about 50 steep steps.
Don't feel shy about asking for help. People often will not offer but are usually happy to help (and a bit embarrassed not to have offered!) if you ask.
Buses will take forever over any distance. Also in central london you have to have an Oyster card or buy a ticket from an on-street machine before you get on (I think). But I agree that if you're not in a hurry they will be less stressful than the tube.
Certain parts of London will be very busy on a Saturday such as Leicester Sq, Convent Garden, Oxford St but most not as bad as the Mon-Fri rush hour and anywhere around the City and Canary Wharf will be almost totally deserted
I live in London and use the tube quite regularly on my own with my 2 DC's, I've always had strangers helping me get the pram up and down stairs or putting my DS (4) on the escalator.
Most of the front carriages on the tube will be crowded as people, especially tourists tend to congregate at the main entrance points on the platform. Move down and trying boarding in the middle of the tube as these carriages often have more space to accomodate a pram.
Ask us London mumsnetters about your route. We will get you there. And as Tigresswoods above says, lots of places are much easier to walk to/between than getting on and off the tube. Eg. Covent Garden and Leicester square are only a few minutes walk from each other, similarly Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus.
It's from Bromley to Kings Cross. I was thinking of the city mini with the sling stashed in the basket so that I can pop ds on my back during the tube bits, and then fold/carry/push the empty pushchair up any difficult bits.
Bromley by train to London Bridge - no steps at LB, then follow the staff's directions out the front of the station to the Northern Line lift which is in the Borough High St entrance, again step free, and take Northern line to KX which is now step free to the surface.
I take my Maclaren XT on the tube all the time, and if I have to, cart it up steps and escalators, but usually people help (especially if you stop in the way...)
Basically avoid Victoria tube station if at all possible, but the rest of the network is OK. Hope your SPD doesn't get worse.
That's a long old journey! Over that distance I wouldn't even think about buses. It's not too bad a journey though, you should only need to change once.
Ok so you start in Bromley. I believe some trains from Bromley link to London Bridge and some to Victoria? If it's London Bridge then you will want the Northern line to KX, if Victoria then the Victoria line.
The London Bridge/Northern line option will be less crowded as it will go through the City so be fairly empty at the weekend, whereas the Victoria line option will go through Oxford Circus etc and be heaving.
I expect there are lifts at all of London Bridge, Victoria and Kings Cross but don't know exactly which lines they go to/from, suggest you check out TFL for that (and maybe even call to check).
I would agree with notcitrus on the route. Basically you want to avoid the very deep lines in most cases, Victoria is a nightmare.
But also, most of us Londoners are nice. We will help you carry stuff. Just tuck yourself into the right of the escalator out of the way whilst you sort yourself out and someone will probably offer. And try not to travel at 8.30am!
I would leave him in his buggy, and people will help. Someone will always grab the front wheels and help you up and down steps, or some v fit young man will pick up the whole buggy for you. It's normal - and you will probably get more help that way than trying to carry him in a sling and carry the folded buggy. I agree with getting the train to London bridge rather than Victoria if you can.
It is normally scary looking teenage boys with headphones. However, they have clearly been taught their manners by their mums/dads, as they are far better at that type of thing than strapping middle aged men in suits.