london: 3 days with a 13 year old

Mar 31st, 2002, 07:33 PM
  #1  
marnie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
london: 3 days with a 13 year old

I think the message title says it all -- except that we'll be there along with all the other tourists in late July. We're spending time outside London with family and friends but are taking some time in the city itself. Any suggestions on what might be fun for all of us? Thanks.
 
Mar 31st, 2002, 08:04 PM
  #2  
janis
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
13 yr old boy or girl and what are his/her interests. With only 3 days for a young teen my basic recommendations are: London Eye, Portobello Rd or Camden Market, Covent Garden, one or two plays - My Fair lady, Mousetrap (not great theatre but fun murder mystery), Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (hysterically funny), or Blood Brothers (if he/she is mature for his age - otherwise it's pretty intense), Tower of London and a round city hop-on-hop-off bus. If there is time add Hampton Court Palace. Plus Shopping, shopping, shopping. Girls really like the V&A - especially the costume galleries. And a lot of kids like the Natural Hist or Science museums. All 3 of these are practically right next door to each other.

With only 3 days you won't have time to see a whole lot but can certainly have a good time.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 06:28 AM
  #3  
marnie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
thanks, Janis. He's a boy. We'd already considered the London Eye. And he's wanted to see the jewels, so we're in for the Tower. Any ideas on cutting down on the time waiting in line?

We've also heard the Tate Modern is great -- and getting there across the new bridge. Besides, it's something we want to see! Otherwise the Natural History Museum.

Portobello Road's a great idea.

And he's into drama big time so the idea of the theatre is brilliant. Is this something we can get tickets for before we leave North America? I'm scared they'll be sold out by the time we get there mid-July.....
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 06:32 AM
  #4  
Nancy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Just returned with 15 year old son. He really liked the Imperial War Museum, London Eye and Tower of London.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 07:25 AM
  #5  
janis
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
marnie. The lines/crowds at the Tower are no problem IF YOU GET THERE ERALY. Plan on being at the Tower about 20 minutes prior to its opening. There will be a short queue but it will move very fast. Ahen you get in there will be a Yeoman Warder (Beefeater) standing on the entrance bridge organizing a group tour. Ignore him and head straight to the Jewel House. There will be no one else ther and you can go right in. A hint about the Jewels. Once you get into the Vault you step on a moving walkway that takes you up one side of the cases and down the other side. Don't worry about it moving too fast to see things. Because after you step off the walkway you can step up to the platform behind the walkway and stand as long as you want at each case. Then after you've seen the Jewels go back to the entrance and join the Beefeater's tour - they are about every 20 minutes all day long.

As for getting theatre tickets ahead of time - only the Biggies like My Fair Lady need to be booked ahead. Most plays/musicals are available everyday at the 1/2 price ticket booth (TKTS) at Leicester Square. It miggt be fun for you son to go to the booth and pick the show(s) from the long list.

Tate Modern is magnificent - if anything the Bldg is even better that the art. And then you can walk across the Millenium Bridge to St Pauls.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 07:35 AM
  #6  
Ellen
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
To minimize waiting time at the Tower of London, get there before it opens (IIRC, 9 AM daily, except 10 AM Sundays), and go directly to the jewels. Then return and take the Beefeaters tour. We did this on a summer Sunday and had the jewels all to ourselves! If your son is particularly into royal jewels, dno't overlook the second "jewels" display in the Martin tower. At the Tower, my 13 yo son was especially impressed with the ravens and the armor.

He also enjoyed Churchill's underground Cabinet War Rooms, which have recently been expanded; climbing to the top of St. Paul's, and the National Portrait Gallery. If your son enjoys theater, don't forget to look into the new Globe Theater for some Shakespeare (unabridged).

janis's suggestions were all good, too.

I would strongly recommend that you have your son look up the web sites for all these attractions, and give him a lot of input into your itinerary.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 07:49 AM
  #7  
teen
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
If he likes watching skateboarding or skating, there is a great skatepark in Notting Hill called Play Station that always has lots of action going on. Unfortunately unless he has access to his own equipment, he'll just be able to watch as there are no rentals available. Still, some of the kids are real pros and it's an exciting way to spend an hour or so in a great part of town.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 09:09 AM
  #8  
Barbara
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We are taking a 13 year old granddaughter in mid August.But I need a suggestion on where to stay. I hate to pay for 2 separate rooms but I need a room with some privacy for her. A pull out sofa in an Embassy Suites type setting. Or an apartment in a good location for 4 nites. Any suggestions?
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 10:29 AM
  #9  
marnie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Fantastic! Thank you all so much.

About the comment of involving our 13 year old in planning the itinerary: showing him this series of responses is the first time he's been engaged in the process, so for that alone, my thanks.

Thanks for the input about the Tower. Since the jewels are the one thing he's been consistently wanting to see, it's a for-sure.

Does anyone know more about the Globe theatre? we'll check the website too (first search brought up a Globe Theatre in Maryland, USA, would you believe?!).

If our son were his cousin, the skateboard park would be It. Nothing would compare.

Also, about a place to stay with your granddaughter: your budget may be considerably looser than ours, but at a friend's suggestion, we're staying at a Travel Inn. There are several around London. They have family rooms: double bed and a pull out cot. This may not fill your need for privacy, though. At least -- for London -- they're affordable.

Thanks again.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 11:15 AM
  #10  
Ellen
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Regarding the "new" Globe Theater: The tour is pricey but (IMHO) worth it, the museum is very extensive (we wished we had allowed more time), there's even stuff outside to see like a fancy ironwork gate with representatives of every animal species mentioned in Shakespeare's works!

Actually attending the plays is a whole 'nother experience. The seats are wooden benches; you can rent a cushion for £1 or even bring your own. If you sit against a back wall, you can lean against that. The theater's so small there are no bad seats. Groundlings, who stand in the "orchestra" area on authentic nutshells, also get to stand in authentic rain or hot sun.

We were very disappointed last year that one of their productions was a very "modernized" version of Macbeth, with everybody dressed in tuxedoes (except Lady M, of course). In a place that has gone to extremes to have an authentic building (hand-hewn timbers, the only thatched roof built in London in hundreds of years), I'd like to see an authentically Elizabethan production! I have no problem with updated Shakespeare in other venues, loved the RST's modern Hamlet, etc., but the Globe is the Globe.

Sidebar: The building was erected through the efforts of American movie director Sam Wanamaker, dad of Zoe Wanamaker, who played Madame Hooch in the recent Harry Potter film.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 12:13 PM
  #11  
Ben Haines
Guest
 
Posts: n/a


You can cut waiting for the Tower by buying your tickets at any tube station the day before, and arriving at the Tower as suggested at 0840, twenty minutes before opening time.

A boy who is into drama big time will find more to think about, experience and enjoy at a play that is a play rather than a blockbuster attraction and tourist draw. If you and he agree with that, then you need book ahead only if you have the National Theatre or the Royal Shakespeare Company in mind. This is most cheaply done by holding a credit card and phoning the theatre during the London hours eleven am to seven pm. But you will almost certainly do better to wait, and to buy at a newsstand at your arrival airport in London a copy of Time Out listings magazine, or one of Time Out for him and one of What's On for you. Then you can start to choose theatre on the boring train ride towards your hotel or your friend s house, and complete the booking by phone (from a call box) that afternoon.

No on-line listing includes all the Fringe, where is some of the best work. The half price booth at Leicester Square misses most of the Fringe and all the serious West End plays that have been well reviewed.

The ideas you have had so far are good, but of course too many. So I'll review them, trying to be critical, to help in cutting things out.

To watch people skating seems low priority in so short a visit. Shopping at markets suits a lad who is keener on objects than on ideas, so may have a place. Portobello Road and Camden are a bit distant, but are large markets for serious sales: Covent Garden is central but meretricious, with shoddy goods at high prices, or crafts goods at even higher.

I am unconvinced by the London Eye. You pay a lot, and wait in line a lot, then go up to see over a city whose history and buildings you hardly know. But people say they have liked it.

For a boy keen on ideas all the other places listed are good. While Hampton Court is exciting and stirs much thought, it is large and far out, so needs at least half a day. But then, so do the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum, if you see them properly and do the things there are to do there.

The National Portrait Gallery is seldom mentioned in these postings and is good. Also, it opens on Thursdays and Fridays until nine pm.

With so little time you'll want to avoid zig-zagging, and to visit places that are near each other. If I sweep from west to east north of the river I get Science Museum, Natural History Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Cabinet War Rooms, and Tower, and south of the river Hampton Court, Imperial War Museum, London Eye (if you bother) Tate Modern and Globe Theatre, website for the Globe http://www.shakespeares-globe.org/home.htm.

To the e-mail copy of this message I am attaching a note I keep on disc on pub meals in London. All but the Founders Arms accept children, and the Founders Arms accepts them outdoors: it is near the Tate Modern and the Globe.

Please write if I can help further. Welcome to London.

Ben Haines
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 12:50 PM
  #12  
Ben Haines
Guest
 
Posts: n/a


You can cut waiting for the Tower by buying your tickets at any tube station the day before, and arriving at the Tower as suggested at 0840, twenty minutes before opening time.

A boy who is into drama big time will find more to think about, experience and enjoy at a play that is a play rather than a blockbuster attraction and tourist draw. If you and he agree with that, then you need book ahead only if you have the National Theatre or the Royal Shakespeare Company in mind. This is most cheaply done by holding a credit card and phoning the theatre during the London hours eleven am to seven pm. But you will almost certainly do better to wait, and to buy at a newsstand at your arrival airport in London a copy of Time Out listings magazine, or one of Time Out for him and one of What's On for you. Then you can start to choose theatre on the boring train ride towards your hotel or your friend s house, and complete the booking by phone (from a call box) that afternoon.

No on-line listing includes all the Fringe, where is some of the best work. The half price booth at Leicester Square misses most of the Fringe and all the serious West End plays that have been well reviewed.

The ideas you have had so far are good, but of course too many. So I'll review them, trying to be critical, to help in cutting things out.

To watch people skating seems low priority in so short a visit. Shopping at markets suits a lad who is keener on objects than on ideas, so may have a place. Portobello Road and Camden are a bit distant, but are large markets for serious sales: Covent Garden is central but meretricious, with shoddy goods at high prices, or crafts goods at even higher.

I am unconvinced by the London Eye. You pay a lot, and wait in line a lot, then go up to see over a city whose history and buildings you hardly know. But people say they have liked it.

For a boy keen on ideas all the other places listed are good. While Hampton Court is exciting and stirs much thought, it is large and far out, so needs at least half a day. But then, so do the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum, if you see them properly and do the things there are to do there.

The National Portrait Gallery is seldom mentioned in these postings and is good. Also, it opens on Thursdays and Fridays until nine pm.

With so little time you'll want to avoid zig-zagging, and to visit places that are near each other. If I sweep from west to east north of the river I get Science Museum, Natural History Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Cabinet War Rooms, and Tower, and south of the river Hampton Court, Imperial War Museum, London Eye (if you bother) Tate Modern and Globe Theatre, website for the Globe http://www.shakespeares-globe.org/home.htm.

To the e-mail copy of this message I am attaching a note I keep on disc on pub meals in London. All but the Founders Arms accept children, and the Founders Arms accepts them outdoors: it is near the Tate Modern and the Globe.

Please write if I can help further. Welcome to London.

Ben Haines
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 03:27 PM
  #13  
janis
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
marnie: The Globe is great. It is practically next door to the Tate Modern (a short walk down river). A good logical day would be: Tower early, afterwards walk across Tower Bridge to the southbank, walk up river to the Globe (besides the museum and tour, the Globe has two really good restaurants - one inexpensive and one pricey - with great views of the river), Tate Modern, then keep walking to the London Eye - If you are staying at the County Hall Travel Inn this is "home".
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 03:47 PM
  #14  
paul
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I would like to suggest taking the tour of Tower bridge.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 04:19 PM
  #15  
marnie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks again. It seems we're getting our days sorted out with this help.

I was just reading about the Tower Bridge tour. Worth it, eh?

Globe sounds great. Maybe we will wait til we get there to see about getting tickets. We'll just pick up a copy of Time Out.

We're debating between the Travel Inn at County Hall and the one at Putney Bridge. Any input?
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 05:06 PM
  #16  
paul
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I thought the Tower bridge tour was worth it. You have to walk up to the point where the cross over beams are. But, there are stops along the way with different parts of a show(animatronics(sp?)) on the history and construction of the bridge. You then walk over an enclosed walkway and can look down the Thames and out over London. Then you climb down with additional stops including one room that has a small version of the weights that raise and lower the bridge, it wasn't working when I was there in November. Then you can tour the stram turbine rooms that used to power hydrolics of the bridge(electric now if I remember).

Also on the south side of the Thames, if you walk to the Globe, there is a replica of Drakes ship the Golden Hind, the HMS Belfast is interesting.

 
Apr 1st, 2002, 06:54 PM
  #17  
janis
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
marnie - IF you can get into County Hall there is no comparison. But County Hall Travel Inn runs almost 100% occupancy and you need to book early. If you can get in, it is the best located budget place in all of London. It shares the bldg (but not the views/amenities) with the Marriot which charges 5 times more per room. It is walking distance from: The Eye and everything on the southbank, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, etc.

Putney Bridge Travel Inn is in a much less convenient area and on not such a good street. It is not near anything of note except Fulham football club and a couple of parks.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 07:21 PM
  #18  
marnie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi again. Turns out I was wrong about the Travel Inn. Sure enough, we tried to get rooms at the County Hall one and it was sold out. So we had the choice of Tower Bridge and Putney. I had asked about County Hall and Putney but county Hall's out of the running.

If Putney's on not such a good street (what's that mean, by the way -- "bad" neighborhood, downright dangerous, ???) how about the Tower Bridge Travel Inn? Anyone know?

Thanks and thanks.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 07:29 PM
  #19  
Laurie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
For Ben Haines:
My family is considering a trip to London and Bath in summer of 2003. We have 2 teens. A boy 17 and a girl 14 who are also very interested in theatre.
Thank you for your suggestions on where to take them. We are also interested in trying English Pub food, but we don't know which places the kids would be welcome. Could you please email me your list of pubs where teenagers can eat with parents. Thank you very much! Laurie [My email address is as posted.]
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 09:59 PM
  #20  
janis
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
It is too bad you can't get into County Hall. The Putney Bridge Travel Inn is not on a dangerous street - just a nondescript one.

The main problem is that both Tower Bridge and Putney Bridge Travel Inns are not too convenient. Putney is on a south branch of the District line and The closest station to the Tower Bridge TI is London Bridge on the Northern Line. But Putney is much closer to a tube station - it is quite a walk from Tower Bridge TI to London Bridge Tube.

Have you checked the Kensington Travel Inn (it is actually in Earls Court)? It is not as good as County Hall but MUCH more convenient than Putney or Tower.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:39 AM.