Sightseeing in London with 7 and 4 year old, best way to get around?

(20 Posts)
Monroe Sat 15-Feb-14 14:45:35

DS has been asking for months now for a trip to London. We are not going abroad this year so are hoping to arrange an overnight visit travelling from Manchester in June.

So far we have decided to get the train down and book into somewhere cheap and cheerful for the night but I am wondering where would be best to stay and also how best to get around in the day.

The 2 top things DS would like to do is visit the Tower of London and also the Natural History Museum. I have no idea how near or far they are from anywhere else. He also wants to meet the queen but will settle for seeing Buckingham Palace.

So any advice please bearing in mind we will have a 4 year old with us too. She is generally happy to join in with everything but I'm worried little legs will tire easily over a busy day.

Basically can someone please plan my day, tell me where to stay and how to get to and from the various attractions we want to see, thank you grin

OP’s posts: |
Bunbaker Sat 15-Feb-14 14:47:19

I always use the underground when I am in London. It is the quickest way to get from A to B.

Princessdeb Sat 15-Feb-14 15:12:11

Dear OP,
The good news is that both of your top choices are on the district line. The bad news is that they are both things that could easily take all day to do by themselves. I think trying to do both of these and fit in seeing Buckingham Palace is unrealistic especially with two young children. If you are coming down early in the day I would go to the Tower of London on the first day and do the Natural History Museum the next day before you travel back.
If you don't have a pushchair then the tube is really easy. If you do both Tower Hill (Tower of London) and South Kensington (Natural History Museum) have steps but you should find plenty of friendly Londoners willing to help.

teenagetantrums Sat 15-Feb-14 15:25:25

The underground will be quicker than the bus, all children under 11 are free on public transport. My nephews always like to go on the buses when they come down for some reason. It will be be a long day if you want to do the tower and the museums. I would do the natural history and then go round the cornor to the science museum, which is great for kids. You wont be far from Buckingham palace there and can just hop on the tube to have a look. Which station will you be coming into? I will see if i can recommend any hotels near there.

Monroe Sat 15-Feb-14 15:39:46

Thank you all. As of yet we have no idea where we are staying! The plan is to arrive early in the day, spend our first day sightseeing then spend a few more hours the following day before travelling back.

I had worried about how much time we would have to do things. I know one day isn't long but thought we might squeeze a few things in.

We are happy to stay pretty much anywhere as long as it is reasonably close to the underground seeing as this seems the best option for getting around (and no, no puschair)

OP’s posts: |
Monroe Sat 15-Feb-14 15:46:20

So would it be feasible to arrive, make our way to the tower and do that on the first day. Are there other attractions in that area to make it worthwhile spending the day there? <shows ignorant side>

Then on the second day go to the natural history museum and a quick visit to Buckingham Palace before heading home?

Also does anyone know what we could expect to pay in train fares etc.

DH is considering driving and staying somewhere a little bit further out if this works out cheaper than the train journey,

Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
IsletsOfLangerhans Sat 15-Feb-14 15:48:07

We did this last year with an 8 and 5 year old. Got into London early and went first to the British museum (eldest obsessed with Romans at the time!). We walked from there, through covent garden to Trafalgar square and down to the houses of parliament. We caught a tube to Tower of London, then a tube over to where we were staying in South kensington. Highly recommend South Kensington as a place to stay as we only had a 5 min walk to the Natural history museum in the morning, so got there nice and early and satisfied the youngest's dinosaur obsession. We only had a day and a half and packed a fair bit in!

FoodFoodFood Sat 15-Feb-14 15:54:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

teenagetantrums Sat 15-Feb-14 21:00:07

Probably be cheaper to get the train than drive if you book in advance, get a family railcard, you will get 1/3 if your fares and 1/2 of your sons, under 5's free. If you finish the tower of London, you could always do a trip the river from tower hill the first day as well, or climb up the london monument if you dont mind the 100's of steps. There is a travel lodge over near the tower i think not sure how much it cost.

SpookedMackerel Sat 15-Feb-14 21:59:07

Tower of London is v expensive, over £20 for adults, but you can get 2 for 1 voucher with a train ticket. Not sure if they would accept the return part though, so that would make it worth doing the tower on the first day. Tower bridge is just by the tower - might be fun to go over it on a bus. You could get an open top tour bus from the Tower to Buckingham Palace - there will probably be several competing companies, and prob cheaper to book online (they are also expensive).

At least the Natural History museum is free!

pootlebug Sat 15-Feb-14 22:09:43

Maybe spend an hour or so going up and down the river on one of the river cruise things like City Cruises - you can get a boat from the Tower of London, it involves sitting down (good on a long day out) and seeing various landmarks like Houses of Parliament, St Paul's, Tate Modern, London Eye etc.

They often come up as Groupon offers, or you can get 2-for-1 tickets for going by train into London with the 2-for-1 forms you pick up in stations and your rail ticket.

If you have time after the National History Museum, either head to the fab basement area in the Science Museum across the road for a bit, or if the weather is nice head up to Kensington Gardens and the Princess Diana Memorial Playground for some fresh air.

Monroe Sat 15-Feb-14 22:34:44

Some great ideas, thanks everyone

OP’s posts: |
rockybalboa Sat 15-Feb-14 22:45:23

DH took DS's (5 and 2) to the Tower of London today. Left at 11.30, 1.5hr on train, then tube, there by 2, lunch, couple of hours tops at the Tower, boat to Westminster, tube, train, home by 7. They walked the lot. They had a great time.

Blu Sat 15-Feb-14 22:45:50

I would suggest staying at the Premier Inn at County Hall, which has on it's doorstep the London Eye, all the street performers on the S Bank, you can see the houses of parliament and Big Ben across the river. get the boat from the S Bank to the Tower Of London.

Next day walk over Hungerford Bridge to Embankment station and go on the tune to The Natural history Museum.

Or, I wonder if there is a bus that goes from Westminster Bridge via Buckingham palace? St James' Park by Buckingham palace s good and you can see the Changing Of The Guard etc.

BobbyGentry Sat 15-Feb-14 22:54:22

We're also planning a four night trip to London soon, so far:

accommodation: we've rented a three bedroom apartment from airbnb

London original sightseeing tour (buy now and it'll include 48 hrs, boat trip & guided walking tours - changing of the guards):

Travel cards (delivered to my door)

Ideally buy your train tickets 3 months in advance for advance saver tickets:

With your train ticket, Virgin offer a 2 for 1 deal on the Tower of London

The British Museum and Natural History Museum have great apps for kids (treasure trails) Like 12 objects, for example

Plan your London journey

Have a good one!

meeliesmum Sun 16-Feb-14 00:27:02

We stayed at the Premier Inn at Waterloo last year- only a street behind County Hall. The Eye and South Bank very close. We walked over to Buckingham Palace took about 20 mins. Mt two hated the Tube! They loved the Jubilee playground near the hotel.

Monroe Sun 16-Feb-14 10:45:21

Rocky that sounds very similar to what we plan on doing.

After thinking about it we are going to stay for 2 nights not 1 so we are not rushing as much.

We'll probably do the natural history and science museums the day we arrive then have a full day the next to do tower of London, Thames cruise big Ben etc.

still not sure when to fit in buck palace though but was thinking day 2? No ides where it is in relation to everything else so tips welcome

Bobby, thanks, I'll check out those links later

OP’s posts: |
teenagetantrums Sun 16-Feb-14 17:55:33

if you get a cruise down to Westminster pier from tower bridge you wont be far from Buckingham palace, just walk up to Trafalgar square and down the mall from Westminster, nothing is that far in central london as long as your kids dont mind walking, i miss having little kids and doing sightseeing , mind you i have lived in london for 20 years yet to go into the tower, both kids went twice on school trips.

sittingbythepoolwithenzo Sun 16-Feb-14 19:02:00

What Blu said - inlaws stayed there a while ago, and it was perfect location.

South Bank is great - lots of restaurants and stuff to see. Get a boat to the Tower. A Thames Clipper, which is like a bus, and not a tourist boat. You can see all the sights on route, like St Pauls, Big Ben etc.

Walk over Hungerford bridge, you can do all the sights on the north side, including Buckingham Palace.

The Natural History Museum is another whole day trip, really. The queues can be a nightmare, and you usually have to queue again for the dinsosaurs. It is a good trip, but allow a fair bit of time.

dagmarsablob Wed 07-May-14 11:13:22

I am doing the same trip in June and found this thread really helpful. Just in case you haven't already booked your train, I thought I'd let you know that I have just booked train tickets for 3 of us for just over £26 return. (1 adult + 2dc with F&F railcard).


The trade off for the cheap tickets is that we are tied to a specific train, so we don't need to be at Euston til after 8pm. Would Hyde Park be a good place to kill time?

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