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London Easter trip - I need help!!

(62 Posts)
Honeymoonmummy Fri 18-Mar-16 12:42:52

Hi all,

I'm planning our first family trip to London with DC (5 and 7) but I'm not massively familiar with London so need some help esp with hotels, places to eat and itinerary (so everything basically!!) We should arrive at Euston around 9am on Sat 2 apr and return train is 6.30pm Mon 4 April.

The thing I'm most struggling with is where to base ourselves? Was thinking Covent garden because there will be plenty of choice for breakfast/dinner? Accommodation will be cheap and cheerful, Travelodge type family room.

I'd also like to take them somewhere "wow" for dinner if possible, as we live in a rural area where the only alternatives are Chinese and Indian! Again, any suggestions? This will probably feed into our choice of hotel.

I note that luggage can be stored in some railway stations so will do that if the hotel won't take it or it's inconvenient, so any suggestions for a luggage store easily accessed from London Euston would be good.

Finally, my draft itinerary is as follows - what do you think - too much? Am sure we'll be back within a year or 2 so won't be gutted if we miss something out.

Sat 22_
Arrive around 9.15. Drop luggage somewhere

Do duck tour (between London eye and Waterloo) - 75 mins - buck palace, houses parliament, Big Ben, 10 downing then water 
Walk nr Thames/ London eye
Lunch (buy from convenience store) 
Check in hotel 
Covent garden? 
Transport museum (couple hours) 
Watch street acts
Dinner Covent garden - where???

Sun 3

Science museum (need good few hours) / Natural history museum Kensington (just for dinosaurs)
Afternoon - Shrek experience? (Too much walking??)

Mon 4 

Check out 
Kidzania shepherds bush 10amm_ slot 4 hours (to 2/3) - looks really good, interactive kids experience, nothing like it locally

Sky view walkie talkie say 3/ 4pmm_ for say 1 hr 

dinner at station where pick up luggage 
18:400_ train home


yarnjunkie Fri 18-Mar-16 12:53:21

Sounds like a brilliant weekend!

Cov garden is a great base. Restaurants, I recommend wahaca, Mexican street food, fresh and delicious, you order several plates of food to share, so it's fun. Or sofra, lovely Turkish food. Both of those are reasonably priced. If you want something a bit prices and a bit more wow I'd recommend Asia de Cuba in st martins lane hotel, it's Asian Cuban fusion food, absolutely delicious, plates are big so between three of you you'd order two starters and two mains, if you go early enough they offer a pre theatre menu at a fixed price.

Hopefully someone else will come along and have other tips, I just really like food!

Honeymoonmummy Fri 18-Mar-16 12:55:11

Thanks Yarnjunkie smile

I'm just looking and a lot of the Travelodge type family rooms are fully booked, so might have to take what I can! shock

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Fri 18-Mar-16 12:56:21

Everything just seems much harder work in London than most other places (speaking as a Londoner here!)

You might find you're trying to cram too much into each day. I'm not saying to change your plan, but be prepared to play it by ear a bit and maybe not build up too much expectations with the little ones about the stuff you've got planned for the end of the day.

You need to be prepared that the Natural History Museum (especially the dinosaurs) and the Science Museum will be PACKED on the weekend.

I haven't been for a couple of years, but the last time I went to see the dinosaurs on a weekend I promised myself I'd never do that again! It was unpleasantly packed.

If you really, really want to go (and they both are fabulous places) I'd suggest maybe getting there first thing and doing the dinosaurs first.

Honeymoonmummy Fri 18-Mar-16 12:59:17

Thanks Tangerines. I had suspected there was too much on there and had read about the crowds. I would plan to get there for 10am when it opened, would that help??

Have found a new Premier Inn in Holborn, what's that like as a location? I've a feeling it's not a restaurant area, more of an office location??

almightygirl Fri 18-Mar-16 13:02:55

Covent Garden is a good base as you're within easy walking distance of everything. Most hotels will have a luggage room.

From experience - we've found it hard to fit in Science Museum & the Natural History museum in the same day. By the afternoon the queues for the dinosaurs are long, especially over the school holidays. You're generally just shuffling around without a chance to stop and look properly.

A walk along South Bank is fun too - that's close to the Shrek experience. Loads of street entertainers & places to eat. Wahaca is along there, as is the BFI restaurant (forgotten the name - sorry!).

Your dcs might enjoy The Rainforest Cafe. Food's ok, a bit pricey for what they offer, but my dcs loved it at that age.

Hope you have an amazing time!!

almightygirl Fri 18-Mar-16 13:04:51

Holborn is more of a work place but it's still an easy distance to Covent Garden. It's definitely walkable, or its one stop on the tube.

almightygirl Fri 18-Mar-16 13:07:08

Sorry, one last suggestion - if it's nice, there's also the Diana Memorial playground at Hyde Park. Big sandy play area with a pirate ship, swings etc.

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Fri 18-Mar-16 13:09:33

Well yes, there are lots of offices in Holborn - I used to work there!

But it's proper central London, so not all office land. Good bus routes. There are a couple of corner shops next to the hotel IIRC (you won't get that at a lot of London hotels). It's a bit of a walk to the tube.

If you've got lots of options / money and want something with a pretty view or whatever, then hold out.

But if this is last minute, and you don't mind not being right next to a tube, then go for it I reckon.

slicedfinger Fri 18-Mar-16 13:11:15

I think you'll struggle to do science museum and dinosaurs and shrek in one day. But! If you do end up on the south bank at kids tea time you have a great range of restaurants to choose from. There's sushi, Chinese, wagamama, giraffe, and usually a food festival/ market outside with great things for them to try.

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Fri 18-Mar-16 13:12:14

YY to South Bank.

About the Museums - honestly I'd prioritise just one, and do the other as a bonus if you feel up to it!

The earlier you get there, the better.

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Fri 18-Mar-16 13:14:34

Whatever you do, don't plan to buy lunch at the museums unless you are MINTED!
So, so expensive!

Lots of space on the lawns outside the Natural History museum to eat picnics however.

Cleanandclothed Fri 18-Mar-16 13:15:52

If you end up based in Holborn how about the British Museum, maybe instead of South Ken to cut down on travel? It isn't as in your face exciting as the Natural History or Science Museum but they will probably enjoy the Egyptian bit, and they have a lot of children's 'backpacks' with activities.

For dinner in Covent Garden we like wagamamas. They serve quickly and the restaurant is busy, so you don't have to worry about the children behaving for too long (oh dear how my priorities have changed grin). If you have 2 perfect children (and a decent budget) Rules would be my choice!

Honeymoonmummy Fri 18-Mar-16 13:17:29

There are also family rooms at the Park Plaza County Hall - this is near Shrek experience I think? Would this be better location than Holburn? It's £150 more over the 2 nights but don't mind if the location is better.

Solasum Fri 18-Mar-16 13:17:33

I think it is too much travelling across London. You don't want to be stuck on the tube in every spare moment.

Duck tour is a great idea. There aren't really any convenience stores that you'd want to rely on round the end point, though. There is a Mcdonalds, a big playground, and a short walk to the Southbank where there are lots of restaurants, including wagamama, giraffe, etc
Lots to do and see on the Southbank also, Tate Modern turbine hall is worth a visit, then you could cross over the millennium bridge in front of St Paul's.

Transport museum is excellent, and an easy distance from
Trafalgar Square and then along Whitehall
Via the horse guards to St James's park, where you can see the Pelicans (they are fed everyday between 2.30 and 3), visit the cafe for tea and cake, and see Buckingham palace in the distance.

I'd definitely allow some time just for pottering.

Solasum Fri 18-Mar-16 13:18:34

Park plaza county hall you could hear Big Ben chime, which is pretty cool.

Honeymoonmummy Fri 18-Mar-16 13:18:52

Premier Inn, Travelodge, holiday inn express - where else is cheap but does family rooms??

Solasum Fri 18-Mar-16 13:20:00

It would be pretty easy to get to south Ken from there too - walk across Westminster bridge to get on circle/district line tube at Westminster

Honeymoonmummy Fri 18-Mar-16 13:20:50

Premier Inn, Travelodge, holiday inn express - where else is cheap but does family rooms??

Honeymoonmummy Fri 18-Mar-16 13:22:23

This is all brilliant, thanks, keep it coming! I think the county hall option is better with kids because it has a kitchenette.

Sootica Fri 18-Mar-16 13:23:43

That premier inn in holborn is only about 10-15 mins walk to Covent Garden and is v central, v close to the British Museum. Try the Tune hotel in Westminster (there's one at Kings Cross too which is handy for Euston but you might think too far out) Tune is similar to travelodge premier etc

Cleanandclothed Fri 18-Mar-16 13:23:45

Yes I think park plaza would be good. You are right across the bridge from Big Ben, and can get the bus (rv1) to covent garden.

Sootica Fri 18-Mar-16 13:27:11

Ah if you've got a kitchenette you could easily make up the extra hotel costs by having toast and cereal for breakfast and making sandwiches for lunch.

Cleanandclothed Fri 18-Mar-16 13:27:32

There is also the aquarium at county hall. Will also be busy but possibly an alternative to kidzania. Having read the review thread on the mumsnetters trip to kidzania I am in two minds about it.

If you end up staying at County Hall check out what is on at the Royal Festival Hall that weekend as they often have child friendly activities.

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Fri 18-Mar-16 13:28:07

The Park Plaza looks great, you're right on top of the tube so easy to get on the network.

Do take buses if you can though - good tip above about the bus to Covent Garden, and sit up the top if possible - lots to see, much more interesting as visitors than the tube!

I think both hotels look good.

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