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London itenerary--need help pretty please...its been 25 years!

London itenerary--need help pretty please...its been 25 years!

Jul 7th, 2006, 03:49 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 14
London itenerary--need help pretty please...its been 25 years!

The last time I was in England I was 22 and wearing a backpack. I will be there again at the end of July with my husband and three kids (14,14, and 12 years). We have one week in London and then we are off to Paris for a week. I am overwhelmed by all of the info before me. Too much info, not too little, if that makes any sense. Anyhow, my preliminary thoughts follow, and I would appreciate any and all feedback very much!

Arrive Friday-July 28 mid-day: Take it easy first day--bus ride around city, take a walk around South Kennsington (we are renting a flat)

Saturday: Tower of London
Lo ndon Dungeon
boat ride on Thames to Greenwich

Sunday: Can't decide...either shop , go to
a park and have high tea or take train to Hampton Court and do some shopping when we return, if time.

Monday: Trafalgar Square, National Gallerly Soho, Picadilly , British Museum and Library.: Dinner and Mary Poppins.

Tuesday: Changing of guards, Tour at Parliment, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben Cabinet War Rooms

Wednesdayay trip to Warwick Castle...combine with Stratford if time. Considering Birds of Prey hands on experience for my husband. Expensive...is it worth it?

Thursday: Maybe St Paul's Cathedral, some shopping, and perhaps the Old Bailey (would love to do this, but don't know how strict they are about ages. The books say minimum 14 and my youngest is 12)

Friday morning--Chunnel to Paris!

Thanks for any and all help...as I am sure you can tell from this, I need it!

ambergirl is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 04:37 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,472
Saturday: I'd skip the Dungeon. I've heard it is a tourist trap. You'll have your hands full with the Tower (min. 3 hours) and Greenwich.

Monday: That's too much to pack in, especially on a day when you have theatre, which means an early dinner. I wouldn't do two "big" museums in one day. The British Museum is a monster and is filled with things that will be of interest. You may know that the British Library is no longer in the same building as the British Museum. It is well worth a visit - probably in my London Top Three. You'll need to give at least an hour to see the Treasures room (plus transportation time). You could comfortably handle the British Museum, the British Library, dinner and Mary Poppins that day.

The National Gallery (an absolute treasure - do your children enjoy art?) and Trafalgar Square might fit well on Thursday afternoon. They are pretty close to your Tuesday activities, but doubt you could fit a major museum visit in with the other things. The National Gallery has late hours (until 9:00 pm I believe) on Wednesdays, but that won't help you if you're on a day trip.
noe847 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 05:52 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,801
London weather is still undpredictable, so I would make your plans (apart from theater tix) flexible. If you get sunny weather, grab it for your outdoor activities and use rainy days for indoor activities.

I think seeing the inside of the re-done British museum is fantastic, even if you only stick your head in and look at the Rosetta Stone, or some such famed object and leave. (It's free.)

I suggest you check out what's playing at the New Globe Theater -- it's incredible fun.

Finally, I'll put in a pitch for the National Portrait Gallery instead of the National Gallery with kids your age.

Are you sure your kids (or you) want to sit through high tea? At those prices?

If you are going to the changing of the guards, surely a walk through St James Park is worthwhile.

Getting A copy of Time out when you arrive in London, to see if there is anything on outdoors on Sunday -- like a rock concert in the park -- might be a really smart thing to do. Let the kids pick something.

Enjoy!
nessundorma is offline  
Jul 8th, 2006, 01:38 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,573
Is it really high tea you want or afternoon tea?

High tea is what is sometimes called "meat tea" in the North of England and is like supper, and quite substantial.
It's good for children because it's served about 6pm. However I've never heard of it's being served in London.
In Scotland, however I've stayed in hotels where they serve both High Tea and dinner.
It's good, because families tend to go for tea and leave dinner to the adults.
If you mean afternoon tea, possibly the children might enjoy the formality of the thing.
I would definitely skip the Dungeon.
As for the Old Bailey, I can never understand why anyone would want to use human misery and folly as a source of entertainment, but I'm a little old lady .Why not visit the Royal Courts of Justice?
There is a website about it at http://tinyurl.com/kej65
I don't know about an age limit, but as civil cases are heard there, there shouldn't be anything too harrowing for children.
It's an impressive building and if you go to the "Bear Garden" you can see the barristers in their robes waiting around.


MissPrism is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 09:52 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 4
I would suggest you take a look at http://www.london-walks.com.

London Walks (in town) take about 2 hours and cover the "must see" or "must know" aspects of many tourist sites. You will make the most efficient use of your limited time (e.g., the British Museum tour gives you the museum's highlights -- and takes you directly to them!) Check the schedules to assure that you get your days right (most tours only once a week, some more often.) Some supply you with discount coupons for other places.

London Walks also does "out of town" day trips -- getting you back in time for the theatre. (Ask them if you get some sort of family discount -- it's worth the try.)

I notice your evening looks a bit blank. I'm a theatre nut and London's the best place for it! (No, you DON'T have to spend lots of money for quality shows. For instance, performances at the Royal Court on MONDAYS cost only GBP 7.50.) Make sure your children have "proof of being a student" for some theatre discounts.

I don't know how much time you have before leaving, but a sure-fire money-saving thing is to reserve tickets for BBC recording sessions. (Try to find the ones in Central London or White City.) I generally like music shows and quiz shows (much more sophisticated than those in the US) and avoid comedies (too much questionable humor)

Anyway, you can register at BBC Tickets if you've the time. Great concerts most evenings (free) in the National Theatre Lobby or at the Royal Festival Hall. Want more? E-mail me.
daysiezer is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 12:30 PM
  #6  
jgg
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,683
ambergirl- We did a similar trip to yours this March; a week in London and a week in Paris with our kids, ages 10(son) and 13(daughter) at the time. Here is a link to my trip report that you may find helpful.http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34786762

I agree with what others have said about Monday being too packed, particularly with that night being your night at the theater. By the way we LOVED Mary Poppins!!

If any of your kids are girls I am sure they would love to spend some time shopping on Oxford Street or going to Camden Market or Covent Gardens.

It is fun to climb up St. Paul's Cathedral, boys particularly enjoy this. I had Old Bailey's on my list but we didn't make it there. Overall, I was surprised how much time we spent at each thing so we never made my entire list of things to do each day, but I had left our last day completely open to add anything we missed. We still never made it to the British Library!

You are planning a wonderful trip for your family.
jgg is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 03:26 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 408
I, too, would skip the London Dungeon. Admittedly, I've never been, but I've also never heard anything good about it.
Between the Tower of London and Greenwich, I think you'll have a full and fun day. My family has loved the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich!
For your Sunday -- I vote for Hampton Court. I think at Hampton Court, you could accomplish two of the other three things you mention doing:
The cafe there is nice, and a good place for tea (not high tea, but a cup of tea and something light to eat with it). The grounds at Hampton Court are beautiful, and the maze is always one of my children's favorite things to do.
There used to be a combination Tower of London/Hampton Court Palace ticket, but I can't find any information about it on the internet, so maybe it isn't offered anymore.
Enjoy!
Annette
annettetx is offline  

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