Help me plan a dream trip to London please.(25 Posts)
DS has always wanted to go to London, mainly because he is fixated on the transport system (he has ASD).
I've booked a few days for the 2 of us in June, arriving at Euston on Tuesday afternoon until early Friday afternoon. Our hotel is a 10 minute walk from the station.
His wish is to see Tower Bridge opening, go on the Eurostar, visit the Lego store and the transport museum. He would like to use all the "real" transport to get around (bus, subway, river bus) and possibly go on the London Eye and a tour via bus or boat but these are not essential.
The stinger is, because of our location and finances we are unlikely to be down there again anytime soon so I've already booked a day trip on the Eurostar which will take up Wednesday.
Any advice about travel passes etc would be very useful too, I've been looking at visitor Oyster passes which seem like good value?
we did all the methods of transport with my nephews. Our route (we are in SE London) was overground and tube to North Stratford, cable car across the river, DLR down to Island Gardens, footunnel under the Thames to Greenwich (stop for lunch at the market), boat to West,imster and bus home.
Everything apart from the cable car and boat (I think) was covered by our Oyster cards - and kids travel free, of course (if he's under 8 he can just travel with you, he won't need his own card).
Oh you must do the DLR and ideally sit at the front. I loved it when we sat at the front once.
If you have time the Postal Museum is amazing for kids - they have a train
Ride which used to be the post train that ran across London.
be aware that everyone wants to sit at the front, though - we ended up jumping from train to train to get a front seat!
I would recommend getting to the Lego store early (opening time) as it gets very busy. When it is too full you need to queue to get in. The Transport Museum (assuming you mean the TFL one in Covent Garden) is about 10 mins walk away fro the Lego store - the museum is also very busy, as it is free for children and adult tickets are valid for a full year, so lots of people visit regularly with their DC.
The trip is for his 13th birthday so will definitely need a card.
I hadn't seen the DLR before, his whole ambition in life is to be a train driver so he'd love that!
We're taking time out of school here (yes, I know but needs must!) and the schools down south won't be out yet so I'm hoping it may be slightly quieter than usual although that's probably wishful thinking
Is the sky garden with a visit rather than the eye, we're both scared of heights but kind of want to see everything. Cable cars are also a good shout!
The sky garden is fab, and free. I think bookings open 3 months in advance. The views are just as good as the eye, and if it’s cloudy you haven’t wasted money.
Duck tours are good, although they don’t go in the water anymore, but still worth doing imo.
You can also have afternoon tea on a route master.
DLR; and don't be shy to ask adults to move if they are sitting in the front seats. They let my son do the announcements once
for Tower Bridge lifting times. I never have, but you can also book tickets to go on the high walkways, look at the machinery etc -- if that's the kind of thing your son would like.
you can also (for the price of a soft drink, though it'll be a pricey soft drink) go to the Aquabar which is about halfway up the Shard (kids allowed in the day, don't look too scruffy!).
And you get good views from the Switch House at Tate Modern
particularly of the flats next door, which is also free.
You can use any bank debit card with the swiping enabled as an Oyster card so for Tube etc, you hold card over reader at start and end. They do have to pay child rates at 13, the card my DD got cost something like £10 to buy and took 2 weeks to process but you can just get child tickets as you go. TFL site has all details. We used Oyster on boat but take the debit card too.
My son is ASD and loves the boats and would happily spend all day going back and forth on them. You can buy drinks and food on them and he found the toilets amazing 😂. If you go at night everything is lit up. He also loves double decker buses. You can also get a speedboat down the Thames, its pricey though. Cable car when I went on it was windy and they stopped it mid air so not sure if you are afraid of heights though if weather is fine it coordinates well with boat. In summer can also take boat down to Kew etc, not sure if they start that by June or not.
The DLR has no drivers, only tube line that doesn't but that makes it more interesting. My son does like to ride central line to Epping, it gets empty at the end and countryside and you have whole carriage to yourself. The big wheel is good and quite gradual but worth trying to get a deal on.
There used to be a duck tour which was amazing, that's been forced to close but there's on in Windsor, its an old military boat that goes on land and water, my DS loved the London one.
Its worth looking up special events too. There are currently ballots for this if the dates work qbp.army.mod.uk Visit London has details of other events in June.
You can do the DLR all the way to City airport too which is really cool as you are so close to the planes. Then back to Excel, get the cable car across, then take the river bus back from by the O2.
How about a trip on the Mail train
Damn, I wish we had more time now. So much to do!
My original plan was:
Tues: Tower Bridge (6pm lift), Leicester Square, Planet Hollywood for dinner (and to see Arnie's jacket 😂)
Wed: Eurostar day trip
Thu: London transport museum, evening bus tour
I wonder if I could arrange these better or fit things in along the way?
From memory the transport museum is half a day. Would this be if interest?
You probably won't have time for this but at Epping Tube you can take a vintage 50s bus which connects to the Epping- Ongar steam railway.
Is he OK with crowds - can get quite busy around Leicester Square in evenings and on tube. I prefer the boat at night to the bus though maybe able to combine both. Tower Bridge is on the boat route but don't know if that works with your other plans.
It sounds like you've already got a lot of suggestions but I thought I'd chip in as my DS is also completely transport obsessed so we've done quite a few trips like this!
DLR is a must. It's especially fun going from limehouse down to bank as it goes fast down into the tunnel.
If you're travelling from tower bridge (We also watched a bridge lift and he still talks about it) back to Leicester square I'd recommend catching the 15 bus. They have old routemasters and it goes past st Paul's cathedral and other places.
We also travelled from st Pancras to Stratford on the high speed javelin train. It isn't covered by travel card but wasn't much with a railcard and DS absolutely loved it.
Get an oyster card for him, the when you get to Euston go to a desk and get them to swipe it so it's a child's fare one. This cap lasts about a week or so I believe, but at least when topped up you will only spend the child rate.
Use a debit card for yourself, again capped and works same way as an oyster card, but for adult rate.
Also check out the lure of the underground walk.
I’d definitely do the Tower Bridge exhibition while you’re there for the bridge lift.
I agree that LTM is only half a day for most people but your DS may want to see absolutely all the exhibits. Go in the morning and see how it goes - once he’s finally ready to leave then I’d go to Bank, take the DLR to Canary Wharf and then take a Clipper catamaran back to Central London.
This is the booking place for Skygarden if you can squeeze it in.
You might also want to look at the Post Office train.
On second thoughts if you do the Tower Bridge upper levels you can probably skip Skygarden because you’ll have “done” the view.
You won’t need more than the morning for the transport museum if you get in there good and early. So... you could go from Covent Garden to the river boat pier, take the River boat down to Greenwich, quick look at Greenwich (tins to do there: Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum, free, or up the hill to the Datelinevand Astronomy Museum, free) and get the DLR back. But leave Greenwich on the DLR before rush hour starts at 5.
Definitely apply for his Oyster card before you go.
I think if you are getting into Euston early afternoon you could fit in a few things before going to see tower bridge rise.
You know you can go into Towe Bridge. There is a museum showing how the bridge was built.
Fascinating to look down on the cars from above and if memory serves me well it was quite reasonable to go in.
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