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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report London with a mature (LOL) 7yr. old TRIP UPDATE

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Just back from my trip to London with my friend and her 7yr old and wanted to give my review while it is fresh in my mind. Try and take the red eye and stay up until after lunch, have a 2 hr nap and venture out again until bedtime. You have very little jet lag the next day. Bring clothes for all types of weather as we had unexpected hot weather, but we were mostly prepared. Buy water everynite upon your return so you are prepared for the next day. If you are staying at least 4 days buy the underground weeklong card. It is soooo worth it. I paid 32 pound which included a 5pound refundable security deposit upon return of the card. It is good for all bus and tube no matter where you go and as an added bonus you can use the boat underground too for only 4pound and 2pound for kids. Now use the tube for longer journey's and bus it for short rides when you have tired feet so you can also see the sights. Tube cards are only purchased at stations. Another option was to buy daily cards and top up when u use the money up BUT you can only top up at certain newsstands and shops AND you have to keep track of the zones you travel into more zones more money. Again, get the weeklong pass.
Continuing on. We stayed at the MarketView apartments right near Little Italy and Farringdon Station on West Smithfield street. If traveling with more than 2 people rent an apt. it is much more spacious and usually cheaper than the smaller more expensive hotels. Ours was centrally located near business district and St. pauls, London Tower, but again right near Farringdon Station. Our apt. was nicely furnished but could use some new carpets and extra bleach in the bathrooms, but we were never there. For food we had a great italian place called Carluccio's. Open for breakfast lunch and dinner. They will pack picnics for you as well and reasonably priced. I must say this area of town was always hoppin at night with business folks and locals. Many pubs and restaurants to choose from. The only drawback to marketview is that they don't really have a "Concierge" that knows the ins and outs of london. But we learned alot from just asking the friendly locals whereever we went. We found 99% of the locals to be polite and friendly. They gave up seats on the tube, bus, answered our questions and gave tips to travel. Also, be careful walking and crossing the streets look both ways as we weren't used to the left side of the road driving. Now for theater. If you want tix to Matilda which is the hottest tix right now, book now before you go you can't even get them at the discounters. There are tix discounters everywhere in the district so shop around. We saw Mamma Mia for the 3rd time but there is something about seeing it with the London accent that made it great. Oh don't go see The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. very dark and dumb. Not a great kids show either. We left at intermission.
Now for the attractions. As I was traveling with a 7yr old girl I was selective (her mom was on a working vacation) We skipped ALL musuems except the Museum of London which was right across the street from out apt. It was small and told a wonderful history of London and also had a hands on replica of a street as you would of lived it in the day of yesteryear. This was fantastic and just enough for both of us. We actually looked at each other and said NO MORE MUSEUMS. Well in short we covered all the recommended sites. I will say all were very good. If it is hot use your head and travel early to churches and hit the parks in the pm under shade when hot. Travel by bus when hot the tube is unmercifully hot and packed at times. Oh also keep in mind very few hotels and apts. have airconditioning. We drew our drapes in the am and had fans going all day so it wasn't so bad. My whole 5 day trip was great. I will detail the last 2 as they were my favs. Thur. HOt HOTHOT we hit Westminster and it was COLD COLD they had a great kids treasure hunt that took us both through the whole place and she got a great big chocolate coin in the end DO THAT IT IS SO FUN AND KNOWLEDGEABLE, took the bus and walked on the shady side of the streets too. Hit Hyde Park at the hottest part of the day had lunch at the very expensive cafe at the end of the lake and walked in the shade trees to Princess Diana's memorial fountain. Now when you come upon this after seeing all the over the top statues and memorials to royalty EVERYWHERE you say boy they really hated her but go on a hot day sit in the shade take your shoes off sit on the side and put your feet in with your child and you look around and say ahhhh I get it. It was so plain and inviting and the kids were everywhere splashing and laughing and playing. We sat there for a long time and cooled off and loved this. You will too.
Our last day was to Windsor Castle. Note: If you are flying out of Heathrow later in the day. Do this prior to your departure it works well. We hired a private driver 120 pounds pick up and drop off to Heathrow plus 10 pound per hour for waiting. We paid 175pounds and was a bargain. Anyway, loved Windsor the town and how the Castle is just there amongst the shops and homes. The queen had just arrived so it was cool. It was hot but a nice breeze on the hill no crowds like at Buckingham Palace. You got a nice flavor of what the inside of there residences and palaces look like and the vast riches that are there that could be sold and used to help her english subjects (I digress sorry, too much largess for the monarchy) anyway we finished this quiet short tour and had a lovely lunch at the Last Confessor pub and headed out to Heathrow.
In closing, I would say my favs were: not in any particular order
Museum of London, Westminster Abbey, The Crown Jewels, Any Play, Hyde Park and Diana's Fountain especially on hot days, FORTUN AND MASON FOR AFTERNOON TEA, Windsor Castle and just looking at all the architecture day and night, Carluccio's. Oh and one last thing the London Eye that everyone boasts about isn't all that great for the price you pay. There is so much construction going on you are blocked from seeing alot.
Well I hope you find this helpful. Enjoy your trip I did!

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