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London for the day(31 Posts)
I'm just booking train tickets to go to London for the day on the 27th August I've not been since I was little and I've wanted to take my boys for a long time, ds1 is 9 and ds2 is 3.
Has anyone got any tips or any advice on places we must visit, were coming from Manchester to Euston.
What do they / you want to see.
I would narrow it down as its too huge a place for one day. Do you want to see the sights? You can do a 3 mile ish walk that takes in Buck palace, Westminster abbey, house of P, Big Ben, downing st, Leicester sq, Covent Garden, traf sq stopping off for lunch and dinner...
Or you can do some museums? Science/nat history - you are then close to Kensington palace gardens with a huge park for lunch.
Or you could do the Tower of London - kind of a full day tho.
Am happy to help but need clues as to what you like!
It is school holidays/tourist season so it is likely to be busy!!
Are you happy to use tubes/bus or would you rather walk. Are you bringing a buggy? If so can your older ds help the little one whilst you carry buggy on and off or up escalators.
Sorry never thought just a rushed post, Yes we'd definitely like to see the sights so the 3 mile walk sounds perfect.
Would love to visit the museums too but I'm hoping to come down again nearer to Christmas and maybe do that then.
Ok will write some suggestions up here later for you, have to pop out now to get ds.
Have a look at buying the eye spy London book for your older son. They are about £2.50 - my kids love ours!
I'm quite happy to walk, yes we'll bring ds2's buggy as he will get tired walking all day if not.
I know its going to be so busy but we have a busy August and its the only weekend we don't have plans, I thought it would be a nice surprise for ds1 whose been desperate to go to London.
Thank you flikflaktictac just found the book on amazon, it looks fab will order it now!
I would finish off your three mile walk in Covent Garden by going to the London Transport Museum.
There are a couple of bus routes that allow you to see quite a few of the sites,I don't know what they are as we went with a Londoner who just took us around but I'm sure Google will bring up some suggestions.
Hyde park has a lovely enclosed park with giant sandpit and pirate ship. - Diana memorial park
Google changing of the guard times for Buckingham palace
The no. 11 bus, Victoria to Liverpool St, is the one that passes most of the sights. Or the 15, Trafalgar Square to the Tower. Be aware that you can't pay a fare in cash on London buses. Visit www.tfl.gov.uk for advice on getting around d London, route maps etc.
I wouldn't recommend trying to fit in the LT Museum at the end of a day spent sightseeing. It's quite expensive, iirc, and the 3 yr old will be tired - you won't be able to make the most of it.
Won't it be the BH weekend? There might be special events on, to visit or avoid, depending on your taste.
Another thought - is your 9 yr old good with maps and guidebooks/websites? Perhaps he could have a go at planning an itinerary, with help?
I would avoid the Tower of London. It will take up at least 3 hours, is really very expensive and is just as good and less crowded in winter.
I had extended family visit for a whole week last year. 5 kids ranging from 5-11. The parents went all out and they did everything, it must have cost a small fortune. I saw them about 6 months later and the only thing that the 6 and 9 yr old remembered off the top of their heads were:
The lions in Trafalgar Square
How multicultural London is [they are very rural]
No mention of the Eye, Mme Tussauds, Nat His Mus, Westminster etc etc
It will be very busy but that will only be a really issue if you try to jam too much into your day. Then it's all really stressful trying to get around with all the queues etc.
What does DS really want to do in London?
One nice way to see a lot of sights and have a bit of a sit down is to take a Clipper boat down the Thames - maybe from the London Eye to the Tower of London.
If you get into Euston you could get the tube to London Bridge, walk up the south bank of the river past the Belfast to Tower Bridge, walk north over the bridge, round the outside of the Tower of London, there's a few places to grab a snack there if you need one, then catch a boat west to the Embankment pier from where you can do a variation on flikflak's 3 mile walk, (loads of places to eat along the way - do they have Pret in Manchester?) then catch the tube back to Euston from Leicester Square or wherever.
I wouldn't bother with museums or playgrounds - not if this is a once in a decade trip.
The open top bus tour combined with a cruise from Westminster Bridge down to Tower bridge (or vice versa) means you see loads of sights without having to go there and queue. You can buy combined bus/boat tickets.
We bought ours with Tesco days out tokens and what would have cost £70-odd cost us £6! It's great because you can just hop off and hop on again and in most cases the commentary is brilliant (and often very funny).
Take a wander round the top of the Mall and Buckingham Palace - kids love that, especially if you manage to catch the changing of the guard. You could walk from there through St James's Park down to Westminster and see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
I haven't done anything like the London Eye or the expensive entry fee things, but would like to do the Eye next time we go down.
My kids also have Blue Peter Badges which gets them in free to loads of places. The Tower of London was brilliant - you could combine it with the river tour to Tower Bridge.
You can't beat just walking around - trying to fit loads of 'attractions' in just means loads of queuing, especially in August!
Right here's a few ideas, have listed loads of bits but feel free to ignore or ask more questions. Have tried to list all the things in the eye spy book that you will pass on this route. If you do not know London then it may be worth you buying an a-z or printing off from google maps so you know where you are going! And plan the route out first....
From Euston get Northern Line 2 stops to Leicester Sq (it will be busy there's no denying!)
Walk through LS, there is a big m&m shop here. Look out for the old Swiss centre glockenspiel opposite, it still operates on the hour.
Walk towards Piccadilly Circus going past the Trocadero / Ripleys believe it or not.
Eros will be in front of you
Walk down Picadilly (look out for regent st on your right) you will also pass the Royal academy of arts, Burlington arcade, the ritz, fortnum & masons, old Bond Street
Walk through green park to the queen Victoria memorial, Buck house will be to your right, walk down the mall with st James park on your right. You will pass st James palace & Clarence House on your left. Admirality Arch will be in front of you. Turn right down horse guards parade then keep going down storey's gate. Look out for the cabinet war rooms on your left
Westminster Abbey will be in front of you, turn left down broad sanctuary to parliament square (Churchill statue)
Big Ben & Houses of Parliament will be in front of you. You may see some more of the statues like Boudica depending on which way you walk past these.
Turn left up Whitehall you will pass the cenotaph and downing st. To see the Battle of Britain monument / the Thames take Richnond Terrace on your right and you will come out on the embankment, the London eye and aquarium will be on the south bank opposite you.
Continue walking up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square. You should be able to see St Martins in the field and the national gallery.
Walk up the strand (look out for theatres) turning left up Garrick st Covent Garden will appear on your right. (If you want to see the savoy on your right take Henrietta st instead) Walk through CG (Royal opera house, London transport museum) and left down long acre and this will bring you back to the Charing Cross rd & Leicester Square tube station will be in front of you.
if you turn right, then first left it takes you into Chinatown.
Along the way if you have the eye spy book you can look out for all the iconic London signs at the back (tube signs/blue plaques/black cabs/double decker red buses etc)
If you look on a map it really isn't that far and you will see loads. Also you can decide where to fit in lunch/dinner breaks. You could always do it in reverse!
Hope that helps, feel free to pm if you want more help. I love doing London walks with the kids (possibly more than they do!)
Wow flikflaktictac, i'm going to print that off for next ime I do London sightseeing.
I will type up another couple tomorrow. We have done a few - all based on the eye spy London book
Hope you don't mind me jumping in Mable?
Flik - can I ask a bit of advice. Heading to London for weekend with 10 year DD and eh. Friday we are going to sky garden and Tate Modern. Sat we were hoping to have a look round and do " must sees". Going to Matilda at night.
Staying in Holiday inn kings cross. Happy to walk, use bikes etc. Any good route? Shall we just follow the one above from Buck palace?
Also which eye spy book do you think? There's a few on Amazon.
Oh and all the other advice is fab too ( sorry again Mable)
Shannie - I’m not too sure where the Holiday Inn is but the obvious first things to do if staying near Kings Cross (and if you are HP fans) would be to go get your photo done on platform 9 & ¾, you will spot the queue! It is next to St Pancras too, which is what they used for the exterior station shots. If you are doing the Eye Spy book – you are also right behind the British Library. The I Spy book we have is a red michelin one that was £2.50
So I would get the northern line from Kings Cross down to Tower Hill tube, there is an exit that brings you out opposite the Tower of London, its well signposted! Tower bridge will be to your left and you can walk all the way around the outside of the Tower without going in (unless you want to) you should find Beefeater or two opposite the TofL shop. When you have finished looking around, come out onto Lower Thames Street and turn right, you will seeOld Billingsgate Market & you should be able to see HMS Belfast on the Thames, turn right up Monument St and follow this to the actual Monument ( the great fire of London) this is worth a visit, has great views where you will be able to tick off lots of sights St Pauls, the shard, the gherkin etc, not too expensive and you get a certificate at the end! – but might not be worth it if you are doing sky garden! . Pudding Lane will be just behind you on your right and there’s a small plaque underneath the street sign.
I would go down Pudding Lane, turn right onto Eastcheap, then left onto Philpot Lane for the sky garden.
If you wanted another museum to do near here, you are not far from the Bank of England museum. It’s free, not too big and actually quite interesting! There is a trail for the kids to do, but check its opening days. You can try and lift a gold bar.
After Sky garden I would go back down Eastcheap, but turn left onto King William St and cross London Bridge. As you come off the bridge you want to head right in front of Southwark Cathedral which joins you to the start of the southbank.
Not sure of your timings but Borough Market is just behind the cathedral if you wanted lunch (again check opening days/times – it does get very busy). There is also another fab but small museum called The Old Operating Theatre just by the market, def check opening times/days its up a few flights of stairs. It has a great kids trail, loads of herbs/potions to small, old bottles, instruments plus the operating theatre but I guess it depends on your kids interests. We got in half price I think with NT or EH membership.
Anyway as you walk along the southbank (just keep next to the river!) you will pass the Golden Hinde (they do pirate type tours which are great but you need to book in advance I think, they are all in character – we used our tesco vouchers to do this) the clink museum, the globe and then you'll find the tate modern.
Afterwards I would continue to walk along the southbank, past the millennium bridge, oxo tower then you have the London eye, aquarium, shrek experience & the dungeons…not forgetting that on the opposite side of the river you will have Big Ben & the houses of parliament etc. It is quite a long walk but there is always lots going on down there and lots to see (and tick off!)
Loads of places to eat along here too. If you walk through the small park next to the London eye, you will come out almost opposite Waterloo where you can pick up the northern line again to take you back to Kings Cross.
You could of course always pick up a boat if not, I am sure they go by Westminster bridge on the HofP side. That is soemthing they haven't done yet.
Do you want any more suggestions for the Saturday?. We actually saw some Chelsea Pensioners (one of the things in the ISpy book) when we went to see Matilda, they were sitting in the row behind us!
Sorry should have checked for typos *something we have not done yet
Thanks so much. I'm going to have a good read. You are v kind to take the time.
Oh and yes please to the sat. Was thinking of Buck palace etc can we walk round and see Big Ben etc ?and then maybe the clipper boat . Maybe the cable car too and back to hotel to chill before Matilda. ( we are coming down from sunny! Glasgow so don't need to it all this weekend)
You could spend some time going out to the O2 and back on a Thames Clipper, then all the way back to Westminster. Would be a nice break in the middle of a day of walking and you will see many London best sights on the boat.
The boats are pretty cool and very comfy. Your DC will love them. Coffee on board.
If you have the time you could get off at the O2 and go on the cable car. Bit of a gentle thrill and great views.
I was thinking that. Where do you think would be best to get on and off? If that makes sense.