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London visit: Kennsington or Hampton Court Palace

London visit: Kennsington or Hampton Court Palace

Jan 2nd, 2006, 02:21 PM
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London visit: Kennsington or Hampton Court Palace

We are visiting London for 6 days in February with our 6 and 10 year old daughters. I am looking for input to narrow down our choices of activities. Which would you choose 1) Kennsington or 2) Hampton Court Palace, and between Natural History Museum or the Science Museum. We had also planned on visting the British Museum and The Tower of London. Is this over kill?

and finally -- is the London Eye worthwhile? I had heard that lines can be 2 hours long. Is this true even if you have a ticket for a certain time slot.
Thank you in advance.

carlened is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2006, 02:28 PM
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I saw your other post but waited until you posted over here.

Both Kensington and Hampton Court Palace are great visits. But for kids that age I'd think it would be HCP hands down.

KP is grand and all but not much to interest kids, especially those so young they have no memory/knowledge of Princess Diana. HCP on the other hand has TONS of things for kids - costumed characters, the wonderful Medieval kitchens, the maze, etc.

One thing they might injoy in Kensington Gardens (not in the Palace) is the Princess Diana playground - but your 10-year old is about at the upper limit.
janisj is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2006, 02:29 PM
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Carlene, The Natural History Museum is great for kids and has lots of interactive displays. I love the building itself. We really enjoyed Hampton Court. It's more of a journey to get to than Kensington, but there are some great tours led by costumed guides. Maybe over the head of your 6 year old but your 10 year old might enjoy them. Both girls will like the maze. We went in March and there were crocuses blooming everywhere.

The London Eye is worthwhile. You won't likely encounter a line in February. What you have planned isn't really too much or overkill. Enjoy London.
Catbert is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2006, 02:34 PM
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Oh - I meant to add about the Eye. Whatever you decide, do not pre book for a specific day/time.

There are seldom queues - especially on winter weekdays. And what if the time you pre-paid is the coldest, wettest, windiest, lowest ceilinged time of your whole stay?

You can buy tickets after you are in London. Or better yet wait for a nice-ish day and just go then.
janisj is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2006, 02:42 PM
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Thank you for your advice! It is much appreciated.
carlened is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2006, 02:45 PM
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The London Eye will still be closed for maintenance in early Feb. When will you be there?
bardo1 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2006, 02:47 PM
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Carlene, take your girls to Harrods for a browse, its about 15 min walk from museums. My kids loved it. Also try lastminute.com & see if you can get tickets to a show, I can recommend chitty chitty bang bang but there are lots of others.
Jan 2nd, 2006, 03:14 PM
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We will be in London Feb 21-27, so hopefully, the Eye will be re-opened. Thanks for the heads-up re: maintenance and on not prebooking.
Will check out lastminute.com - thanks for the tip - I personally love Chitty,chitty bang bang myself. We are so looking forward to this vacation.
Thanks for all the wonderful insights.
carlened is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2006, 06:56 PM
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Dear Carlene,

I think your daughters would enjoy the Tower, especially to see the jewels. Also think the British Museum could be fun. Have you given them a picture oriented guidebook to look at, or put them on the Museum's internet site, so they can look ahead for things they might like? Egyptian and Assyrian collections are especially impressive.
SusanEva is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2006, 07:05 PM
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I would time museum visits to not keep the kids in them for too long.

I agree with Hampton Court and the Tower. But a quick visit to the clothing museum in Kensington Palace would have pleased my daughter at the age of yours.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2006, 07:25 PM
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We took a trip to London when my daughter was 11. She loved Hampton Court, the British Museum (Rosetta Stone- she studied in school), the War Rooms (believe it or not), Tower of London, and the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House (she loves impressionist art). She wanted to go on the Eye but didn't have the interest to wait in line. Some other things she loved were Picadilly Circus, walking through St. James Park, and going for Tea (she loved that experience), and the performers and outdoor market at Covent Gardens. We also did a show which she really enjoyed (My Fair Lady). I know this is more than you inquired about but thought I'd share all of the things I remembered her really enjoying. Have a great trip.
risab is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2006, 09:04 PM
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I have to admit - I love this forum thing!
I have gained so many ideas to help tailor our trip - great idea on having the kids explore websites, picture books and watching the time while exploring the amazing array of museums.
Love the going to tea idea -- suggestions on good place to go without totally breaking the bank?
Thanks to all and keep the ideas coming!
carlened is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2006, 04:34 AM
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The advantage of the South Kensington museums is that they are close together (and free) - if the children get bored, try another one.

Natural History Museum - dinosaurs
Science Museum - lots of buttons to press and interactive experiments
Victoria and Albert - much more stuff in cases, but lots of decorative and everyday things from all ages and all over - costume, furniture, musical instruments, all sorts.

I second the idea of getting them to look at websites to see what interests them:

and you might be interested in:

You might want to try a river trip, maybe after you've visited the Tower. Not the best time of year weather-wise, but you can sit down in comfort inside.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 04:57 PM
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There is a chain called Richoux that serves a good afternoon tea (in addition to meals all day) that isn't as expensive as some other places. There is one on South Audley Street off Oxford Street, and there is another on Picadilly near Fortnum & Mason that I know of.
carolyn is online now  
Jan 4th, 2006, 05:50 PM
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We used to land early in the am in London, leave our bags at the hotel and go over to Richelieu for a lovely breakfast..off Oxford St.
Tea is also very good, fresh and tasty food and nice rooms.
Scarlett is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 05:57 PM
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My 6-year old loved Hampton Court and the Tower. She also loved Mary Poppins which I think both your girls would like. (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is closed.)

If you can convince your 10-year old to hang around for a little while, janisj has given you good advice re: the Princess Diana Playground which is in Kensington Gardens; my 6-year old said it was the best place she had ever been to.

We had good luck with restaurants; let me know if you are interested.

Mary in D.C.

marymarra is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 05:59 PM
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I liked the sound of Richoux, so looked it up and found this link. Each location has interior pictures, and there is a menu for Afternoon Tea. Cool, eh? Good prices, too.


I don't know how the weather will be, but if it is nice, you can take the girls to search out the Peter Pan statue and the Animal Cemetary at Hyde Park.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 06:17 PM
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As I recall there is a RIchoux along Knightsbridge..or maybe that was awhile ago..If you are buying 7 day travel cards..you get 2 for 1 at the London Eye
jody is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 07:20 PM
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Thanks for the recommendations on tea, museums and such - I've added all the links to my favorites to peruse.

Mary, would love any suggestions you had on dining since you had good luck with them during your visit.

Jody, is the travel card worthwhile? It seemed as if a person would have to visit lots of sights to make it pay.

and since you all have so much experience, might as well ask one more question -- Orginal Bus Tour or Big Bus -- seem to be a good value for imparting info and get around town. Would I be correct in my assessment.

Thanks all!
carlened is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 07:21 PM
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I do think the Tower of London and the British Museum are worth seeing, even if you only stay a short time. I would try to get to the Tower early and head right away to see the Crown Jewels as there can often be a line to see them. I think you're daughters will be impressed. Next, be sure to take a tour with one of the Yeoman Warders as they give a short, kid-friendly tour (free with admission.) You can then choose to see more of the buildings on your own if you wish.

The British Museum is huge but you can just visit a few highlights. Your children will certainly study about the Rosetta Stone in school and the Eyptian statues, temples and mummies are very cool. One thing we did in several museums was to get a map, plan on which highlights we wished to see, and then let the kids lead us on a tour by figuring out the map. Another tip is to visit the gift shop first (unless your kids are big shoppers), glance through the postcards and then try to find the art pieces of the postcards they liked best.

My kids really liked the London Eye so I would probably try to add it as well. Kensington Palace, however, was not a big hit.

Sadly, we did not make it to Hampton Court Palace nor to the Natural History or Science Museums. It's always good to leave something to go back for!

Have a great trip!
KathrynT is offline  

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