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London in a week with a toddler?

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May 8th, 2016, 05:29 PM
  #1
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London in a week with a toddler?

I'm hoping to plan a trip to London for roughly a week or two in July. We will be travelling with 5 adults and 1 toddler and no car.

Some of the things that seem to be must sees are...
- Tower of London
- Tower Bridge
- St. Paul's Cathedral
- Westminster Abbey
- Big Ben
- London Eye
- Buckingham Palace
- Green Park
- British Museum

Are there any others that I've missed or other places that might not be right in London that are easily accessible and doable for a daytrip? (Thinking something like Stonehenge but I have no idea if that is doable for a daytrip.)

Recommendations for a central location to stay that can be our home base for the week or so would also be appreciated!

PS. This will be our first time in England so any and all tips would be wonderful!

Thanks in advance!
vivy is offline  
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May 8th, 2016, 05:46 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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If you mean visiting Buckingham Palace during the summer opening -- AFAIK a toddler is not allowed (no strollers for example)

Green Park is . . . just a park. grass and lawn chairs.

Other parks like Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens would have a lot more -- a terrific playground, lakes, paddle boats, cafes, etc. Or Regents Park w/ the zoo, playgrounds etc.

>>Recommendations for a central location to stay that can be our home base for the week or so would also be appreciated!<<

There are hundreds of possibilities. What is your budget? Are you looking for a hotel? (it is getting pretty late to be booking apartments)
janisj is online now  
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May 8th, 2016, 06:09 PM
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With so many people how many rooms are you looking for? What bed configuration? Expectations for a hotel? Cheap and cheerful? Moderate with limited amenities? More upscale with all services?

And yes, a specific amount per night is necessary.

There are many dozens of more sights to see in London, or in a day trip from London by train - depending on your interests and number of days.
With a toddler you will want to allow some time each day in a park or playground and also some activities the toddler will like (zoo, boat rides, etc) so you don;t have a cranky child most of the time while the adults visit things interesting to them.

Do you want to see any shows? In that case either one person will have to stay behind with the child or you will ned to hire a sitter.
nytraveler is offline  
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May 9th, 2016, 07:10 AM
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We're traveling to London with a toddler this summer as well and find whenever we go on vacation, renting an apartment or house is the easiest way so our son has his own room, and it's more of a homey/familiar environment with a living room, kitchen and washer/dryer. If he's too tired or hyper we don't have to stress about eating at a restaurant and can cook and hang out there.

But with 5 adults I'm guessing you'd need at least 3 bedrooms, and if you wanted a separate one for the child, 4, which would be tough to find. We're staying in Hampstead this time, which is north London and a bit out of the way, but I went to school there and have been to the UK many times so we don't need/want to be in the thick of things. On our last trip we rented a flat on Charing Cross Rd, close to Trafalgar Square, that was ideal for walking to many tourist sites and right across the street from the tube. The area near Baker Street Station is also a good one for walking around, close to Oxford Street shops etc. and Regent's Park is wonderful.

There's an amazing playground near Kensington Palace (Diana Memorial Playground). Zoo is great, there's also an aquarium. Natural History Museum with the dinosaurs is always exciting for kids! Depending on your child's temperament, things like British Museum are going to be pretty boring for him/her so I would definitely try to mix in more fun activities and running around parks. Also realizing one or more of you might have to take a time out with the child while others do more adult-oriented sightseeing stuff.

This trip is really about adjusting expectations for us and taking it slow/catering to more child-friendly things (like we usually would see a show, eat at nice restaurants, etc. but that's out of the question this time). I understand it's different when you've never been somewhere and want to see it all, though.
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May 9th, 2016, 07:17 AM
  #5
 
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Oh, and to answer your question about day trips, there are plenty of tour companies that operate day trips out of London (Golden Tours or Viator come to mind) and Stonehenge is certainly a possibility, but keep in mind most of these trips include another destination like Salisbury, or Windsor, so they end up being like an 8-10 hour+ trip. Even if you just went to Stonehenge it's a 2 hour or so drive. For me, bringing a newly potty trained toddler on a 2-hour each way bus trip would never work out in my favor, LOL, so it depends on your family dynamic.
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May 9th, 2016, 07:45 AM
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>>here are plenty of tour companies that operate day trips out of London (Golden Tours or Viator come to mind)<<

>>For me, bringing a newly potty trained toddler on a 2-hour each way bus trip would never work out in my favor, LOL, so it depends on your family dynamic.<<

I would NOT (ever) take a coach tour w/ a toddler. Not fair to the child and definitely not fair to the other passengers. Sealed in a 50 passenger coach for hours w/ no way to get off if the child has a melt down (very likely because of the long hours on the bus)

I think some of the tour companies don't allow very young children/babies.
janisj is online now  
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May 9th, 2016, 09:18 AM
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I suppose my first piece of general advice is that you should book your flights and accommodations first, before you worry about a daily itinerary.

Also, don't feel that your entire group must all be together, 24/7. It can be better to divide up to best accommodate individual needs and interests, and avoid resentment. This is especially true with a small child to consider. Plus it makes for better dinner conversation.

I think a day trip to someplace like Hampton Court Palace would be better for your group than a long day in a coach to look at rocks. The train ride isn't too long, and the grounds are huge, with a maze to explore, and plenty of open spaces. I think they have a new play area for children. You could trade off who watches the toddler so the adults can explore the Palace. (This is assuming the adults would be interested in Hampton Court Palace, which I suggested as it seems someone in the group might be interested in history and/or royal palaces.)

However, a week in London isn't long (especially if it includes travel days) and with only five days in London, I would probably not do a day trip at all. Two weeks is another matter, but I would still never subject a small child (or myself) to a long day in a coach. Again, your group can certainly divide up for daytrips.

There are a million things you could see and do in London, so you will have to decide what you're interested in and choose. You have gotten some great ideas regarding parks and playgrounds, above.

With your group I think an apartment rental would be preferable, but it's late to be booking a flat for July. You could have a look on VRBO and similar websites, just to see what you might find. Otherwise, to get hotel recommendations, you'd need to tell us more, as noted above.

Good luck with your trip planning.
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May 9th, 2016, 11:17 AM
  #8
 
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Sorry - but my understanding is that coach tours will not take kids below the age of 8 or 10 - and even then it's asking an awful lot of the kids to behave in their school/adult mode for all of those hours. (I was on one from London and a couple that turned up with a child of perhaps 5 were turned away - and presumably had their tickets refunded.)

You can certainly do a lot of day trips by train or boat - which will probably also be much less expensive than the all in bus tours. Granted you will probably be limited to one place each day - but really with a toddler that's the most you can do anyway.
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