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Help a London novice with navigating with kids in tow

42 replies

Hiddiddleyho · 18/07/2023 21:00

I'm taking the kids age 6 & 8 to London for a weekend. I'm a London novice, been a couple of times only. I'm worried about silly things like how to get on the right tube line, how to get us all through the gates, how do you know where places are in relation to each other up on the surface... I heard you don't need to get tickets or an oyster card for the underground these days, you just pay by phone and it's capped? Would dearly welcome any tips!

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EternalSunshine19 · 18/07/2023 21:16

Use your contactless debit card to pay for the tube and bus (or your phone if you have your cards on your phone). Yes there is a daily price cap.
check the TFL journey planner to see the best way to get to and from your destination. Also google maps on your phone for when you're walking to a place and want to know how far it is or if you're going in the right direction.
best way to get through the ticket gates is to go to the bigger ones for prams / wheelchair users. Put the kids in front of you and tap in with your debit card. Once the gates open push the kids through and walk though quickly after them.

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yikesanotherbooboo · 18/07/2023 21:27

Look at the tube map or a map of London to get a vague mental picture . I think of it based on various landmarks and have a mental idea of the geography so; river, Tower of London, BT tower, Houses of Parliament, Marble Arch, St Paul's etc.use City mapper, large maps of public transport, tfl staff for help. Don't forget that you can walk quite easily between most central areas of interest

Hiddiddleyho · 18/07/2023 21:35

Thanks @EternalSunshine19 ,how do I pay for multiple tickets though for me and kids?

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lucasnorth · 18/07/2023 21:35

Youre right you don’t need an Oyster. I suggest using an actual card rather than your phone in case battery runs out. Whatever you do, don’t use a combination of a physical card and your phone as it won’t recognise them as the same account and you’ll be charged 2x incomplete journeys (max price).
I prefer Citymapper to the TfL app but they both work well
Enjoy your trip!

fufulina · 18/07/2023 21:36

The kids are free on tube and bus

lucasnorth · 18/07/2023 21:36

Under 11s are free

Hiddiddleyho · 18/07/2023 21:37

Oh really! I had seen I could have applied for an oyster card to make them free but I had left it too late. That's great!

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nancy75 · 18/07/2023 21:38

Give us a list of what you’re planning to see & we can tell you what’s near what & if it’s walkable.
Visitors often make the mistake of getting the tube when it’s quicker to walk!

Bemyclementine · 18/07/2023 21:38

Following, as I'm taking my DC for the day soon, I just posted in chat. Same ages.

Rainallnight · 18/07/2023 21:38

Hiddiddleyho · 18/07/2023 21:35

Thanks @EternalSunshine19 ,how do I pay for multiple tickets though for me and kids?

Kids that age travel free, so you’re only paying for you. Go to one of the wider gates, as a PP suggested, and coach the kids beforehand to all walk through at the same time as they open. Stand them in front of you and shepherd them ahead quite briskly.

Whataretheodds · 18/07/2023 21:40

Under 11s are free -
Tube: go to the wide gates, tap once and you all go through. Best to shepherd the kids in front of/alongside you. Gates open when you.
Same on the way out.

Bus: tap on Only.

Citymapper will show you tube/bus/train/overground and what combo is best. Also taxi options.

Where there are several bus stops close by look for the letter codes in white font on red circle background at the top of the shelter.

Hiddiddleyho · 18/07/2023 21:41

Day 1 booked onto a blasted peppa pig sightseeing bus, thanks dc!!!

Day 2 wondering about lunch in China Town as a bit of an experience, someone suggested Camden markets is a nearby walk, might do Nat history or science museum, might do a boat trip.

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nancy75 · 18/07/2023 21:43

China town is about a 45 min/ hour walk to Camden - don’t even think about doing that!

Hiddiddleyho · 18/07/2023 21:44

Ha I obviously got that wrong then!

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nancy75 · 18/07/2023 21:44

Where are you staying?
Are you going home day 2?

Whataretheodds · 18/07/2023 21:45

Camden markets isn't a nearby walk to Chinatown!. Not sure how appealing it would be for 6 and 8 year old tbh.

London Transport Museum (Covent Garden) very convenient to/from China Town.

Rainallnight · 18/07/2023 21:46

Download Citymapper to help you plan journeys and gauge distances.

nancy75 · 18/07/2023 21:48

Camden market probably hadn’t got much the kids would like & it’s always really busy.

Hiddiddleyho · 18/07/2023 21:52

Oh I think I meant Covent Garden. I don't know what that area is actually, will look it up.

Travelling Sat morning, peppa bus, dinner not sure where, staying in Kensington Sat night. Heading for home later on Sunday, need to decide when is the latest but can be flexible if the kids have run out of steam. Getting the bus to a park and ride then driving.

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nancy75 · 18/07/2023 21:55

If you’re staying in Kensington do the Natural History first thing Sunday morning - get the Piccadilly line from South Ken (front of museum) to Covent Garden

nancy75 · 18/07/2023 21:56

Covent Garden has street performers, a little market, shops & food - it’s an easy walk to soho/China town from there

parietal · 18/07/2023 21:56

go to the Diana memorial playground in Kensington Gardens - it is massive and excellent, and the water stuff is probably on in the summer. bring a towel and get there early because there is often a queue to get in (numbers are limited)

river bus along the Thames is a great way to see things if kids are tired and want a break.

book things in advance if you can - the good things like Science Museum have limited tickets and can fill up.

nancy75 · 18/07/2023 21:58

The museums often take longer than you expect - don’t try to cram too much in, the kids will be exhausted!

Riverlee · 18/07/2023 22:04

This is a great book to read before going to London, and I think could be a good basis for your holiday.

Also the I-Spy books.

Parts of London are actually quite close together and walkable.

I think Natural history museum will be more interesting to 6 and 8 year old, then science museum. Also Harrods is at Kensington, I think. Always great fun.

Hiddiddleyho · 18/07/2023 22:04

We've been to the Natural history museum in Oxford twice, so currently torn between doing that because I know they'll love it, and doing something else for novelty!

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