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A day and a half in London with 2 small children

(19 Posts)
lemontwist Mon 20-Oct-14 14:33:08

My husband will be at a conference in London in November and his boss has said he can upgrade to a family room to allow us to take the kids and have a day out down there. It would be in term time so would take our 4 year old out of reception, and also would have our nearly 3 year old with us.

We will aim to get there for early afternoon on the first day and have the rest of that day and evening together, then I would have a full day with the kids while DH is working. We will be staying in the Westminster area.

So any suggestions for what to do / see? We don't have a big budget but would like to make the most of the time there. DS1 is dinosaur obsessed so the natural history museum is probably on our list. Other than that I'd really appreciate a few ideas.

GoldenGoat Mon 20-Oct-14 14:41:20

There are dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park too.

Don't have DCs myself but I was recently on a DLR train with grandparents and 2 very young boys (probably similar ages to yours) and they were having a great time at the front of the train pretending to be train drivers! That's a very cheap way to entertain small kids for a while!

Science Museum has a hands-on play section.

South Bank always has something going on and the DC may enjoy watching the skateboarders.

Under 5s travel free on the river bus so you could get on at Westminster and cruise down to Greenwich and only have to pay for your ticket. Much more fun and less stressful than the tube.

Other than that, check out Time Out for free things happening while you're there.

lemontwist Mon 20-Oct-14 14:47:28

Thanks GoldenGoat . The DCs love a good boat trip so thats a nice idea. I did look at the duck tours but they are just so pricey so thats a nice alternative. I remember seeing the Crystal palace dinosaurs on a news article recently but I'd completely forgotten so they definitely might be worth a trip.

noramum Mon 20-Oct-14 15:58:32

To be honest, if it is your first time in London I would skip Crystal Palace. It is a way out and while it is a lovely park I think I would stick to Central London.

The majority of museums are free including the National History and in November the school kids are back in class and it will be better.

You could take a Thames Clipper instead of a boat tour. Greenwich Park is great and you can take tube or DLR back. If you stay outside the rush hour taking the tube/DLR is no problem.

There are some bus routes which go via most of the tourist attractions, just jump on one and have a look around. Children are free on tube, bus and DLR and under 5s also on trains. So you just need a travel card for the two days.

Coram's Fields near the British Museums is nice. www.coramsfields.org/

frazzled74 Mon 20-Oct-14 23:43:38

Peter Pan , Diana memorial park Kensington gardens, hamleys , Big Ben , walk along south bank. Science and natural history museum, Coventry garden, you shouldn't need to spend money with a 3 and 4 year old, lots to see and do.

lemontwist Tue 21-Oct-14 21:53:00

Thanks, some great ideas. I'm getting really excited now grin

Needmoresleep Tue 21-Oct-14 23:05:58

The science museum. Lots of scope for experimentation and play. Take a set of dry clothing.

Then if a nice day across the park to the Princess Diana playground. If you are anywhere near Russell Sq, the playground at Coram Fields is also very good. Agree, skip Crystal Palace. Loved by locals but a long way out.

Heels99 Sat 25-Oct-14 11:20:27

Agree skip crystal palace, it is good for dinosaurs but you would miss out on all that central London has to offer. Aim for 1-2 hours max in a museum with small kids before you go for a runaround. Lots of park options near the natural history museum

Have a great time

rosy71 Sat 25-Oct-14 21:37:24

Natural History Museum, Hyde Park, open top double decker bus ride, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Hamleys. There's loads to do!

rosy71 Sat 25-Oct-14 21:38:13

Boat trip Westminster bridge to Tower of London. We then got the open top bus back.

Troublesometrucker Sat 25-Oct-14 21:58:50

Natural history museum and science museum are next door to each other. Natural history museum you can order an explorer kit which makes the museum so much more fun for little ones (they have to spot certain things, draw things etc) and science museum you can go to shows - we are fans of the bubble show. Your also near to harrods

Hamleys is worth a visit on regents street and can easily lose up to 2 hrs watching the toy demonstrators in there

Covent garden to watch the street entertainers quite fun too

And check out when the Xmas lights go on in case your visit coincides... If it does, just wander around in the dark or take an open top bus tour in central London... Amused mine anyhow!

lemontwist Sun 26-Oct-14 09:11:42

Some fantastic suggestions. Thanks for all your help. Any ideas for somewhere to eat as a family on the evening?

Troublesometrucker Sun 26-Oct-14 09:20:22

Rainforest cafe is fun... But v expensive. (I take mine for a smoothie in the bar then elsewhere to eat just to have the experience)

Haagen Daaz restaurant in Leicester square is fun for sharing pudding in (and walking distance from rainforest cafe)

If your not fussed on how 'healthy' food is then Chinatown (walking distance from Piccadilly and Leicester sq) has a lot of all you can eat buffets and can be an experience. Though they are not v buggy friendly IME and can get incredibly busy.

Will have a think some more

GoogleyEyes Sun 26-Oct-14 09:24:35

For eating, Giraffe on the South Bank is v child friendly. And it's a good place to go anyway, with street performers, the carousel, random art installations (not sure if the slides are still there), the river walk, a playground next to the London Eye etc.

Waswondering Sun 26-Oct-14 09:30:43

I googled lots of restaurant chains before we took our 8 and 5yo to London, and printed off "kids eat free" deals, eg for pizza express, chiquitos, zizzis etc, and noted any London restrictions. I had these in my bag, so that we had known options for eating! Also, whispers, McD's was a cheap lunchtime treat on Oxford Street!

Enjoy. I'd love to take the kids back again!

lemontwist Sun 26-Oct-14 09:32:54

Thanks, I'll look into some of those. The voucher idea may come in handy too grin

dylanthedragon Sun 26-Oct-14 09:49:16

You've had loads great of suggestions but just to add that if you are in Westminster, a wander round the lake to see the pelicans in St James' Park is nice.

Also, don't underestimate how tiring travelling round London will be. I'd suggest picking one or two things to do and not cramming in too much.

If you are on your own with the boys on the second day, you might want to think about what you are taking with you. If you have a buggy, Westminster station has good access but some of the other stations don't so don't take more than you can comfortably carry with your DC up a couple of flights of stairs. (A mistake I have made I the past!)

noramum Tue 28-Oct-14 18:12:30

Other good chains are Strada, Carlouccios or Cafe Rouge.

Doingakatereddy Sun 23-Nov-14 07:56:36

Just hijacking thread as there's loads of great posts here - also going to London in December with two smalls. Would like a nice hotel (not into Airbnb) - any suggestions? Close to south bank, centre of town and no more than £300 for one night

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