london feb half term help needed planning!(12 Posts)
Hi all we are getting the coach to london on mon 17 feb and arrive at 9.20. We are staying at holiday inn victoria on belgrave road and leave at 4.30 on thurs 20th. Its me and dh and dd1 9 and dd2 4. Want to cram in as much as poss and am buying hop on off bus tickets from the Original London tour company to get us about.
so we want to see big ben, buck palace, london dungeons, tower london, madam tussards, london zoo, Hamleys, science and natural history museum , m and m shop and possibly ripleys museum.
so is it feasible to cram this lot in? My girls are good walkers so walking not a prob as I realise it may be easier to walk to some places rsther than walk elsewhere to get the bus.
any ideas what order I should do this lot in? The first day we def want to get straight out and do something I just struggle with how long everything takes to do!
Probably not possible to do ALL of that.
So you have two full days, one almost full day and one 3/4 days. TBH I'm not a huge fun of the hop on hop off they take an awful long time (just stuck in traffic which was not fun) and in your case you really don't want to spend your time travelling. We gave it a go but abandoned it mid way round as it was too slow and DD(7) lost interest very quickly
In one day you can walk between Victoria and Hamleys, enroute is Buckingham Place, the mall, horseguards parade, Trafalgar Square, the M&M shop and ripleys. the total walking time for this route is max 1hour but the longest walking time is only about 20mins along the mall. The rest is broken up looking at things. Walking really is the best way to see things. you could either walk from Victoria and catch the tube back or vice versa. Walking back has the advantage of walking down the mall to Buckingham palace which really is spectatcular You could make it a round walk coming back or going via big ben but think that would be a bit much
The details of the walk can be found here which incidentally is an awesome website for working in out what can be walkable in london
Natural History and science can easily take a day each but you can combine them (they are next door) and get good overview in a day. Plan ahead an lectures you want to see (the dinosaur talk in the Attenborogh theatre in the natural history is awesome) but again for this you would probably just want the tube from Victoria to south ken.
Tower of London is a day not necessarily time wise we were there 4 hours but from a brain ache too much to take in perspective. you must do a beefeater walk they are free and awesome. Worth a look is the boat service than runs between Westminster (big ben) and Tower of London. we did just the regular riverbus, cheap but a fabulous view of the city and the best view of big ben. (incidentally you haven't mentioned London eye but we actually did tower of London, river bus to London eye, ooking at big ben on route that was a superb day out )
The three above days out I would definitely do. Which leaves Madame tussards, London Zoo and London Dungeon. London Zoo is easily a day if for no other reasons than it's a bugger to get too and there is an awful lot there, the monkey houses are breathtaking. I'm not a fan for Madame Tussards so can offer no tips for that but it would fit nicely in your last day. I wonder whether London dungeon wouldn't be a little scary for the youngest?
Incidentally in your position
day one I would do the walk etc,
day two I would do tower of London day (riverboat back gives the opportunity to rest your feet up a bit)
Day three Natural History (check up timed entry to the museum and dinosaurs on the website) followed by science museum.
Day four - I would consider not booking definately. kids are likely to be a little overwhelmed by then and what you want to do may well change. If you book an open topped bus I would perhaps do it for this day. personally in yoour position I would consider spending some of the day at covent garden watching the street artists or taking a riverboat down to Greenwich and the cutty sark.
Fab thanks thats given me a load of info so helpful! We may knock madam tussards on the head and just do ripleys instead. Would rather not get the tube so will go on that website and work out what is walkable amd what isnt
Tube really is the quickest and easiest way of getting round London, esp journeys like Victoria to South ken.
I can however appreciate the desire to avoid the tube as ds has sn and uses a special buggy. nightmare on the tube!
The walk I suggested does make a good circular, esp if you go via big ben (about 2 hours total walk) I'd happily make my 7 year old do it. Not sure about a 4 year old.
The river bus is a 15-20 min walk from Victoria station, the tower of London is right next to the river boat pier. so easily walk and boat able!
I as yet have not worked out a sensible way of getting to the museums without using the tube. it's just a little too much to walk there and round the museums.
I wouldn't want to take the time away from the museums to do the whole tour, if you were going to open tour bus for a couple of days consider it for this and your last day cos you may be a little fed up of walking by then. But I really wouldn't bother for the whole time, it'll cost a bomb!
we take a little "eye spy London" Michelin guide. great to get dd noticing things
Thabks so much paper. Dd1 has adhd and will walk for britain dd2 has anxiety and sensory issues and hates walking so im looking into tubes but she may whack a few fellow travellers
Its 2 miles from our hotel to science museum so i figured maybe we could walk that on the first day as we wouldve been stuck on a coach for ages and kids will be excited so hopeully they will walk no probs! I know I can get the circle line tube to the zoo
Ahh! you live in my world then!! Ds is diagnosed with ASD although jury is out as to what is actually going on with him. can well see why you would want to avoid the tube!
I can see the appeal of the hop on hop off. i was thinking like you, (doing it with dd whilst being a treat for her) was a sneaky trial for taking ds up. problem is once you buy the tickets your committed. no possibilty of stops between the planned stops which makes me anxious and although the first bus we got on was dead the next was rammed. might be worth looking at the regular buses. the transport for London website is the one you want for public transport.
be wary of the walk from the tube to the zoo. it is a very very long one. especially on top of walking all day in the zoo.
right i risk outing myself with this but have experience with liaising with Natural history museum planning a special needs kids trip there.
Take diagnosis paperwork to the natural history museum. according to the customer service manager if you show the paperwork on the gate and again at visitor services there will take you straight in as opposed to waiting in the often vast queues outside. Wouldn't rely on this as front line staff don't seem quite on page as management. but if you can't get a timed entry on the Web well worth a try.
also at natural history museum there are quiet break out spaces you may benefit from. There is apparently a garden you can get to without exiting the museum and if you really need a quiet space and none is using it from prayer you can also use the chapel. customer services by the front entrance should be able to help
I have to say the dinosaur exhibition was not a massive success for us; too busy and a little conveyor belt ish. but both ds and dd were entranced by the expert leading the talk in the Attenborough lecture theatre which covered basically the same stuff. We also loved the hands on discovery centre downstairs. it was light and quiet with lots of stuff for dd to explore and ds to touch and weigh you have to book a session on the day and they do book. we were lucky though the ones after us weren't quite fully booked and we stayed there for a couple of hours!
Fab thanks paper! I read on tower of london weboage that carers go free! So have emailed them to ask what proof they want me to bring.we are now considering walking the whole thing with maybe one taxi ride! Ive never been to london sinxe I was a kid, we often go abroad but wanted to stay in uk this year and kids cant wait to go!
One good tip is that Hamleys is hellish and not close to anything you want to see. Harrods toy department is much nicer, no more expensive, and an easy walk from the Natural History museum.
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