2 Days in London--Recommendations?

Apr 30th, 2003, 05:51 PM
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2 Days in London--Recommendations?

We will be in London for only 2 days. Can you recommend a plan (places to see and places to eat) for a family (children ages 7 through 15) for 2 days?

tracy is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 09:39 PM
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2 days? there is so much to see in London..let's see. I would definitely try to see the Westminster Abbey,cruise the thames river, Tower of London; ride the London Eye at sunset and then walk the westminster bridge back ( you didn't say where you would be staying). If you're not too tired, try to catch a play at night, the kids would probably prefer a comedy. Go to the center of Leicester square the afternoon of the day you want to attend the theater and you can get 50% off tickets...be careful, lots say discount tics, don't buy except at the spot in the center of the square. On day 2 perhaps you can squeeze in Madamme Toussand's wax museum It was really fun...my 16 yr olds loved it ( bring lots of film).
As far as food goes...don't expect anything exciting. I found the food the most disappointing of the trip. The Hard Rock Cafe was the best meal we had. I wouldn't waste time shopping, the prices are ridiculous. Of course Harrods is a must see and Carnaby street was fun. If you have time and alot of $ do the afternoon tea at the Dorchester I wanted to but couldn't fit it in, there were lots of things I wanted to see...food was secondary. The most disappointing thing for me was everything closes early...stores etc
Have a great time
rnb607 is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 10:36 PM
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If you have not already done so I would suggest doing a Search at the top of the page as there has been a huge amount of discussion recently on London, and London with Teenagers. I am sure you will find all you need to know.
prue is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 06:04 AM
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Message: My 9 and 10 year old love London! If this is your first trip, I'd suggest: riding a double decker "Big Red Bus" tour to get an overview of the city (tickets are valid for 24 hours, and you can hop on and hop off of these), "flying" on the London Eye, touring the Tower of London (including a tour with a Yeoman Warder and seeing the Crown Jewels), picking up sandwiches in Harrods food hall and having a picnic in Hyde Park.
If you want to fit in a little shopping, Hamleys is the best toy store, and the Trocadero is every video-game addict's heaven!
I'd skip the changing of the guard.
Have fun!

annettetx is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 06:25 AM
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I'm hoping that one of your two days is not the day you arrive after a long tiring flight. That will dramatically cut into every one's energy level and mood I fear.

But let's assume two full days, each divided into two parts, you can mix and match depending on weather or interests

I would say on day one, go to the Tower first thing, take of the Yeoman Warder's tours.
Here's a busy afternoon:
start at Trafalgar Square and walk along Whitehall. If you time it right you can see a relatively uncrowded Changing of the Guard at the Horseguard. You could stop at Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms. You'll see Big Ben and Parliament. Stop in Westminster Abbey. Their guided tour is only about an hour and is good, there are also audio guides to do it on your own. Kids can do brass rubbings in the lower level.

Swing over to St James Park (as the late lamented fodorite Wes Fowler once said, you can feed the Queen' ducks) and end up in front of Buck. Palace for pictures.

Cut through Green Park and you will end up on Piccadilly, near the Ritz Hotel and not far from the Hard Rock if you want dinner there. It's a pricey mediocre hamburger, but the kids will like it. Warning--there is a gift shop.

Another half day
I don't know the logistics of getting tickets for the London Eye, but work that in. I haven't done it but I'm told even grownups like it. You might also like a visit to the Imperial War Museum (lots of interactive exhibits)
or Shakespeare's Globe Theatre just to see it.

The other half day:
do something outdoorsy
You could take a boat ride.
You could go to Windsor Castle or Hampton Court (where there's a great maze to walk through)
You could visit Madame Tussaud's or the British Museum or go to the London Zoo
or Hyde Park and ror have even a modest afternoon tea.
elaine is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 06:55 AM
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Elaine has a great plan laid out, but there is no longer brass rubbing at Westminster Abbey. I think the only 2 places in London for that are in the crypt at St. Martin in the Fields, and at All Hallows by the Tower.
annettetx is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 07:42 AM
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sorry to hear that, thanks for the update
elaine is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 08:56 AM
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For meals, Pizza Express is a London chain with good value and good quality pizzas. It looks more upscale than Pizza Hut (which you can also find), but is not much more expensive. This could be a good choice for dinner (if you want to go somewhere "nice", but comfortable.)

If your children are willing to be a little adventurous with their food, take them to Wagamama at least once: it's a modern Asian noodle house (with moderate prices); long picnic style tables, so everyone sits together. They serve some fairly simple meals too, so probably all but the finickiest eaters will have fun.

It's hard to go anywhere in the UK without running into a sandwich. There are several good chains of sandwich shops (Pret is the most common, but also EAT, Costa and several others). They have simple and exotic sandwiches, lots of juice and milk, salads, etc. You can also buy sandwiches and other package lunch fixings in the supermarkets (Marks & Spencer is probably the best), so you could picnic if you want to.
Kate_W is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 08:44 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. And yes, Elaine, one of the two days is the day that we arrive, unfortunately. We are taking advantage of a "stopover" in London on our way to Spain, so we do only have the 2 days. But, my children are very good travelers, and we don't intend to let our fatigue stop us!

Also MB607 & Annette-what is the London Eye?

Kate--Your food suggestions sound wonderful!

Annette--Where is Trocadero? What type of place is it? My children do like video games!

tracy is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 09:11 PM
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Tracy -- The Trocodero is basically a 6-story Dave & Busters decorated in neon located at Picadilly Circus. The website is www.londontrocadero.com
Personally, it's not my favorite place, but it is a good break from history, museums, etc. The Virgin Music megastore is located across the street as an added attraction.
The London Eye is a HUGE ferris wheel (www.londoneye.com) on the banks of the Thames. Instead of seats that sway, it has enclosed capsules that remain level during the 30 minutes it takes to make one circuit. Great fun, especially on a clear, sunny day!
Since your first day is a travel day, I'd use my time that day to go through the food halls at Harrod's, pick up picnic provisions, then walk over to Hyde Park for a picnic. (We've found that being outside and moving helps us stay awake.) Perhaps hit the Trocadero in the late afternoon. I'd use the second day to ride one of the double decker bus tours and tour the Tower of London.
I've written about travelling to London with kids for friends, and would be happy to forward you a copy if your interested. My e-mail address is [email protected]
annettetx is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 07:13 AM
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For your arrival day, I suggest outdoor, active plans, assuming the weather cooperates. With jet-lag, if you go into a quiet museum or dark cathedral, the urge to just lie down and sleep is almost overwhelming...

That said, London has many great walk possibilities. Elaine included one ambitious walk in her post. I'll add my version:

Starting at the London Eye, which you now know is a "must-do" for a family trip, walk across Westminster Bridge, right past Big Ben. Glance at Parliament, and then at the outside of Westminster Abbey, heading in the direction of St. James's Park. Stroll through this beautiful park, look for the black swans and pelicans. Head to Buckingham Palace. A nice introduction to one of the most scenic areas of central London.

On your non-travel day, I also recommend the Tower of London. Most kids enjoy the Tower and the tours lead by Yeoman Warders (aka "Beefeaters"). You can easily spend 2-3+ hours here. Suggest you get tickets online in advance, or from most London Underground stations. Go early, before lines get long. New cafeteria in the Tower (Armouries Restaurant) is a decent place for lunch.

From the Tower, some nearby afternoon possiblities include:

--The Globe Theatre Exhibition (and tour of the Globe, if no performances are scheduled)

--A boat trip on the Thames

--Taking the Docklands Light Railway to Greenwich and going to the nautical museum and old observatory

With only two days in London, you may want to consider taking a hop-on/hop-off bus tour through the city...that at least allows you to pass by and look at major sights (and plan your return trip to London).

Hope this helps.

David White

KidsToLondon is offline  

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