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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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eurochick · 18/07/2023 22:09

The Wonderlab in the Science Museum is really good for those ages. You have to book it in addition to an entry slot to the museum. I took my daughter last week and she is still buzzing about it.

idontknow54789 · 18/07/2023 22:15

Personally I'd always go for science museum over natural history - that might just be my kids but seems more for kids really. Do that first thing Sunday then head to Covent Garden, street performers etc and China town isn't far. It'll take longer than you think in the museum though so don't plan too much after if that's what you want to do. Leicester Square (near Covent Garden) also has a huge Lego store if your kids are anything like mine (or you might want to deliberately avoid walking past it!)

londonmummy1966 · 18/07/2023 22:18

Kids section of the Science Museum (pre book) then onto China town for lunch. Afternoon in the transport museum or running around in Green Park (a couple of stops on the Piccadilly Line) and looking at Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.

For supper in the evening there are quite a lot of Italian restaurants around Brompton/GLoucester ROads.

Hiddiddleyho · 18/07/2023 22:22

These are fab suggestions, I'm so glad I asked!

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nancy75 · 18/07/2023 22:25

If you’re feeling really brave/ masochistic you could walk up from Covent Garden to Hamleys ( personally I would rather boil my own head but kids like it!)

nancy75 · 18/07/2023 22:27

Be warned Lego store often has a big queue & the M&M store opposite is about a billion times more expensive than buying M&Ms in tesco!

SeaToSki · 18/07/2023 22:30

I second the Diana playground at Kensington Gardens and get to any museums early, much quieter… then go for an early lunch at 11 ish when it starts to get busy and back for one more play at noon ish when the queues at the lunch places are building.

EmpressaurusOfCats · 18/07/2023 22:32

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.

If you go to the Diana memorial playground, look out for the Elfin Oak just outside the entrance.

When going on tube escalators, also warn your kids that they need to stand on the right - people will be walking on the left.

There are big black & yellow maps all over Central London that are a massive help if you’re walking & the kids might enjoy using them.

northerngoldilocks · 18/07/2023 22:35

I think that the science museum is way better than the natural history for that age kids - but agree that its worth paying for the Wonderlab. You can spend hours in there - there are shows where they blow things up etc each hour and loads of interactive experiments to do. We've easily spent 3 hours or so in there before. If you're staying at Kensington I'd do that first - it opens from 10 each day.

Where do you need to get to for travelling home?

Hiddiddleyho · 19/07/2023 14:10

Either Victoria or Marble Arch on the Oxford tube and then drive home from there.

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northerngoldilocks · 19/07/2023 14:40

In which case I'd go for Science Museum and Wonderlab in the morning and then if its nice grab food for a picnic and go to the Diana Playground in Kensington Gardens. Then can walk to Marble Arch or hop on a bus to there or Victoria if its too far and the kids are tired. Best advice is don't try to cram too much in as it gets overwhelming plus travelling between places can take longer than you'd think.

gogomoto · 19/07/2023 14:47

I'd do Covent Garden rather than Camden market, it's walkable to China town. There's always street entertainment, have a couple of pound coins ready for dc to throw in the hat if you watch for a long time (I was watching for nearly an hour last time!)

If raining hamleys is good but it's heaving usually. I would give both dc your mobile number about them in case you get separated (I had wristbands for mine) it's very busy and kids not used to crowds can panic and rather than stand still if separated, they run

Hiddiddleyho · 19/07/2023 15:40

Good point, Ds 6yo has form for running off in a crowd! I will be keeping a hold of him! Dd not so bad.

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Unexpectedlysinglemum · 19/07/2023 16:49

Google maps is really good for journey planning

Unexpectedlysinglemum · 19/07/2023 16:50

Boat trips are great try from Westminster to Greenwich, or to Hampton court

yikesanotherbooboo · 20/07/2023 21:32

My DC liked catching buses, the natural history museum, the imperial war museum, boats on the river, entertainers in Covent Garden and eating in China Town.

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