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How do I make London interesting for a 15 year old boy?

(37 Posts)
lilibet Wed 15-Feb-12 12:39:29

Dh and I have been offered a friend's house for a week in early June half term, they are going to be on their honeymoon and we willbe looking after their cats.

You would think that we had told ds2 that we were off to a concentration camp for a week.

He doesn't want to go anywhere/do anything. All he wants to do is stay in their house for a week ad play on his playstation. I feel this is such a waste.

There must be something that I can suggest that he would like to do? Museums, theatre, dungeons, river trips have all met with a very teenage, sulky "no"

Any ideas?

SecretSquirrels Wed 15-Feb-12 13:08:18

Has he been to London before, does he know what to expect?
We took DS1 and DS2 last year when they were 15 and 13. It may be because we live in a very rural area but they found the whole city experience very exciting, not least the underground. We did all the usual stuff - Globe theatre, Natural History museum, boat trip, open top bus trip. Every touristy thing you could think of and they loved it.

maristella Wed 15-Feb-12 13:15:53

My teenage DS loved the Duck Tour. The guy leading the tour was so funny that Ds just laughed and wowed his way around smile

He also enjoyed Harrods, in which I showed him what he could have if he works really really hard on his GCSE's, A Levels, degree etc grin

Also check out the shows. DS has really enjoyed some street dance, Chinese shows etc

cyb Wed 15-Feb-12 13:19:15

Tate galleries

Cant imagine anyone would walk round and have nothing to say!

And dont ask him, tell him wink

Blu Wed 15-Feb-12 13:22:33

Take no notice - surely this is normal?

He'll enjoy it once you get here, even while pretending not to.

Imperial War Museum, time on his own in TopMan, Hard rock Cafe, a visit to the Apple Store , where they sometimes have events, to fiddle with things and window shop, maybe a London sporting fixture?

Don't start arguing now about the playstation use - it will become a point of honour for him to stick to it.

Which general area of london will you be in?

CornishKK Wed 15-Feb-12 13:25:24

Does he like music? We took our niece to a bar with an open mike night playing Indie music, she felt very adult & enjoyed it. I'm sure there's a place in Camden that does afternoon for teenagers. She also loves Camden Market and is happy with street food/people watching which is a cheap day out grin

SootySweepandSue Wed 15-Feb-12 13:27:26

Can he invite a friend and they could explore on their own?

lilibet Wed 15-Feb-12 15:00:50

thanks for the replies

He has been before, about 5 or 6 years ago, we did the Tate, the Eye, the Science Museum, the Globe, the usual stuff.

What's the duck tour?

Harrods and the Apple store are good ideas as is music, but you know what they are like, once they've made their minds up, they are stubborn little critters!

We can't really take a friend as it's not our house

lilibet Wed 15-Feb-12 15:02:18

We will be in Greenwich.

EverSoLagom Wed 15-Feb-12 15:09:52

I took a school trip of 15 year old boys to London - shopping on Oxford Street and eating at mcdonalds were high on their lists, but they also enjoyed Madame Tussauds and loved wandering around Camden Market/Spitalfields.

posey Wed 15-Feb-12 15:12:09

Imax cinema at Waterloo
imperial war museum (especially if he likes war stuff or Green Day grin)
There'll be lots of Jubilee stuff going on...
Westfield at Stratford for shopping plus look at Olympic site (don't know if there might be tours)
Will try and think some more.

posey Wed 15-Feb-12 15:14:08

The duck tour is a WW2 Amphibious bus, that tours London on the road then goes down a jetty thing into the Thames and becomes a boat!

bigbluebus Wed 15-Feb-12 15:14:17

My 15 yo DS loves London. We live in a rural area so that may have something to do with it.
We went last year for 5 days. Did some of the less well know museums such as Bank of England, Hunterian (Royal College of Surgeons) and a bit of the British Museum. Have done Natural History, Science and Imperial War museums on previous visits which DS loves too. We did the London Eye on last visit as well as Tower of London (as DS was only 5 when we did that last). Also did the London Duck Tour which we all thought was fantastic - need to book in advance on their website - it is an amphibious vehicle that does sightseeing tour and then goes into R Thames. Will 2nd the tour guide being great and very entertaining facts - not just boring run of the mill stuff.
Also went to Greenwich - museum and observatory.
We did also do a day trip to Paris by Eurostar - but that might be a bit difficult if you are cat sitting!
There are so many things to do in London - just google - they don't all cost a fortune either - some are free, or can get cheap if you have Tesco vouchers.
Oh and we actually have to drag DS out of the Apple store - he would spend all day in there if we let him. Oh and I forgot, we also booked a tour of the Houses of Parliament - which you book in advance through your own MP and is also free! See, there is so much to do, I forget what we crammed in to 5 days!!!

My advice would be plan an itinery that has something for all of you in it - and leave the PS at home !!!!

BerniW Wed 15-Feb-12 15:27:05

You could try around Liverpool St station particularly on a Sunday. There are lots of trendy markets etc for teenagers to look around - real buzz.

The Southbank is usually interesting for people watching, street theatre and getting a coffee (and cake). We have spent years bribing our two sons with coffee and cake!

SecretSquirrels Wed 15-Feb-12 16:41:42

Yes the Duck tour! Very funny.

PastGrace Wed 15-Feb-12 16:57:29

I was going to suggest Imperial War Museum and Camden Market, which I see have both been mentioned already...

What does he like doing? There's a skate park on the South Bank (underneath Southbank Centre) where teenagers can graffiti and do skate-park type things - it's great to watch, but your DS might like to join in?

There's a cinema in the O2 which should be easy-ish to get to from Greenwich, and have a bit of novelty value (the IMAX at Waterloo is good, but expensive, and the things they show can be a bit hit and miss).

The E4 Udderbelly is on the South Bank during June - you could let him see if any of that appeals?

I agree about turning him loose in the big Topman but arrange a meeting point beforehand - in the Oxford Circus Topshop there are areas where there is no mobile signal <voice bitter experience>

webwiz Wed 15-Feb-12 19:50:48

What about the theatre? DS is 15 and we have recently seen "The woman in black" and "We will rock you". DS likes the london film museum as well which is near to the London Eye.

JasperJohns Wed 15-Feb-12 19:54:51

I see someone else has mentioned Hunterian - very good for teens as quite gory.

I remember going at his age and I loved it!

BeadyBagsaTella Wed 15-Feb-12 20:52:14

I would second the tour of the Houses of Parliament, DS15 and DS13 found the tour surprisingly engrossing. They also enjoyed the Bank of England museum.
Don't forget food - always interesting to a 15 year old boy in my experience! Maybe try a new restaurant, you can often find reasonable lunch menus?

Asterisk Wed 15-Feb-12 21:07:51

I think you need to do a deal where you each get to choose what to do as a family on a particular day. If he chooses to stay at home on his day, then that's fine, but he needs to come with you on your choices (if you're a bit strategic about it and choose things you think he will like when he gets there, he may surprise himself). You could take the boat into London one day -- that's easy to do from Greenwich and good fun (although wrap up warmly as it's always cold on the river). Also Maritime Museum and Observatory, and Greenwich market, are all great. Is there any subject he's particularly keen on at school? If he has projects to do, perhaps he will be more amenable to going along to something that is relevant where it will give him a mark advantage. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking... Anyway, make sure you have a lovely time even if your DS is determined to be a drag.

KWL51 Thu 16-Feb-12 13:30:59

ds1 will be 15 in july, we went to london recently (the week between xmas and new year) primarlily as we have merlin passes so can use them for the london eye, aquarium, madam tusauds and london dungeons.
He enjoyed the eye, aquarium and dungeons, but said tussauds was a joke (in a bad way) as the wax wors often look nothing like who they are supposed to be (took us ages to work out miley cyrus and a few others that signs werent directly next to)
we also went to the imperial war museum which both ds enjoyed (14 and 10), science museum and then as a reward we went along oxford and regent street, gave them a budget to spend and they could choose what they wanted. both had healthy budgets as had christmas money from grandparents and relatives who live up north. needless to say ds1 was stright into superdry, but he also loved selfridges (like mother like son!)
the favourite restaurant was a posh burger place off of carnaby street and krispy creme in paddington station (as far as the ds are concerned that is a restaurant blush)

lilibet Thu 16-Feb-12 13:40:47

Thanks, so many ideas. When they children were younger, (ds2 is the youngest of three) and we were on holiday we used to do 'days', everyone would have a day where they chose what to do. I think that this may be resurrected.

Some excellent ideas here, I shallget together with dh and we will come up with a shortlist.

We love Greenwich Market, we've stayed with these friends before but ds2 didn't come with us.

He will probably be the typical Harry Enfield teenager but you never know what grabs their imaginiation do you?

PastGrace Thu 16-Feb-12 16:59:12

Does he like being in control? When my sister and I were younger and my parents took us to London if they picked something they thought we might get a bit fed up by they gave us the task of planning how to get there (bus/tube/walk/boat) and to work out the route (obviously with a map...). It made us feel like we had played a very important part in the day (we were a bit younger than your DS, but I know teenagers who love being put in charge of route-planning)

RubyFakeNails Fri 17-Feb-12 02:06:50

The family and I are all lifelong inner London residents, but ds is same age so hope I can help. I don't know what type of area you live in now but when godson came to stay from a v rural area up north we did other posters great suggestions but he also found some of the less touristy things fun. Going to Brixton or somewhere like Ridley road market (just off dalston high rd, this is our local but are many others) a really multicultural market was an eye opener, camden is fun but spitalfields and shoreditch/old street are the current it places so great for people watching. The dodgy end of Berwick street made him laugh. If you visit viewlondon website you can see what's on at the time your going, some of the smaller comedy gigs are great.

Dc mainly hang out at Westfield Stratford now as is nearby but they always love dungeons, IMAX, Covent Garden and the parks.

spendthrift Fri 17-Feb-12 11:35:43

going up the tottenham court road for the electronic wizardry is a sure fire things, with some really good burger places around.
agree south bank, and covent garden, for performance artists, skateboarding etc.
Time Out will carry ots of stuff including around concerts/plays, think about gigs/plays in pubs, in the open air with a picnic. I think the Greenwich festival is later, but there's normally some good stuff down by the river. Wandering around docklands, the museum of london there and the stratford imax for a film is quite teen friendly, and we like the dlr -great to be in a driver less train.

Go under the river.

also, a day in cambridge punting might be quite fun - 45 mins from kings cross.

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