London with 10 year old

Jul 24th, 2003, 09:56 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
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London with 10 year old

Talking my 10 year old daughter to London next week (July 31-)and staying for 6 days. Any "must do-s?"

Here what has been recommended:

- Tower of London & crown jewels
- See "We Will Rock You"
- Buckingham Palace, Guard Changing
- Hyde Park on a Sunday
- BBC Experience
- London Dungeon
- Harrods
- Picaddilly Square
- London Eye
- Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum (surprised by this recommendation)
- Hampton Court
- Kensington Palace
- Pub Crawl
- Underground London ?

Any else? Any above over-rated and a tourist trap?

FDR is offline  
Jul 24th, 2003, 11:42 PM
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Tower of London & crown jewels
Certainly the Tower, with a Beefeater?s guided tour, but the crown jewels call for lines (queues) and are a bit garish and boring. You could skip them. You save a queue if you buy your Tower tickets at any tube station the day before you go.
See "We Will Rock You" Each to his own taste. At a newsagents in the concourse of your arrival airport you can buy the listings magazine Time Out for Kids and look for their notes on proper plays for bright boys.
Buckingham Palace, Guard Changing
No. Long waits and difficult to see. Replace with the changing of the horse guard, nearest tube Westminster
Hyde Park on a Sunday
Yes, but not for too long. Nearest tube Marble Arch
BBC Experience
The site says this is now closed, but suggests a visit to their television studios. I like the BBC World service bookshop on the Strand opposite Kings College (nearest tube Temple), and 100 yards away the Church of St Clement Danes, with memorials to the RAF during Hitler?s war, including that to the furious fighting Poles. If you ask at the church door they can direct you 300 yards to a Roman bath, which you might call part of underground London
London Dungeon
Is the boy a sado-masochist ? If so, he needs help. If not, not, miss this trashy show. Please see
Harrods, Knightsbridge tube
Yes. And Hambleys toy shop on Regent Street, near Oxford Circus tube
Picadilly Circus
You should take a bus map and a London 2 zone travel card from any tube station, and ride on the tops of busses any time except the rush hour. That way you are pretty certain to see Piccadilly Circus without the trouble of getting off the bus. It is just a roundabout with people, pretty dull
London Eye
Probably. But it is easier and cheaper to climb the stairs to the top of the Monument or the top of St Paul?s
Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum (surprised by this recommendation)
So am I, but it is heavily publicised. Some children like it, but you cover the same ground with much more interest in the (free) National Portrait Gallery, at the north east corner of Trafalgar Square, tube Leicester Square. Please see , What?s on, Lectures and Events, Introductory Gallery tour. Also, stand by to read him the interesting bits of the labels. After the visit you can pop into an internet cafe to read about those people who take his fancy.
Hampton Court
Yes indeed. Local train from Waterloo: you can buy the entry tickets with the rail tickets
Kensington Palace
No. Displays of court dresses and memorials of Princess Diana and the young Queen Victoria. Please see
Pub Crawl
Many pubs will refuse a boy of ten indoors, but you can keep to pubs with outside gardens, which are few in central London. All pubs serve lemonade and other fizzy drinks. Also, you can both lunch in pubs. I have alist of pubs withlunches thazt I like: please tell me if I can e-mail it to you
Underground London ?
I am not sure what this means. The London Underground is useful for distances, but busses are better for short hops. To me Underground London includes drinking dens and clubs (no fun for him at all, and closed to him), the Cabinet War Rooms (a very good idea:, the magnificent steel tube stations from London Bridge by Jubilee Line to Stratford, the lecture rooms in the British Museum (but their Gallery Talks are better, and shorter: please see, then events), and the foot tunnel under the Thames at Greenwich which leads to a great view of formal Greenwich

You would find much to help you in a list I have compiled since 2000 of London places that Fodors forum writers say has please their children. I shall gladly e-mail it to you if you so ask.

Welcome to London

Ben Haines
ben_haines_london is offline  
Jul 24th, 2003, 11:49 PM
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Sorry, forgot my address
[email protected]

Also: I see you have a girl, not a boy. So I hope I am not sexist when I reverse my view of Kensington Palace: she will like it
ben_haines_london is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 12:13 AM
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Above poster has really covered it all. I took my two girls 6 & 9 earlier this month to London. The things they enjoyed most were the following: Tower of London & Crown Jewels, Changing of the Guard (in the rain)I remember seeing it when I was 10 so there you go., Westminster Abbey, Kensington Palace dress display (the 9 yr. old), riding on a London bus and in a black taxi, buying lunch in the Harrods food halls and eating outside on the steps, rock climbing and bundgy swinging in Covent Garden, Natural History Museum, the British museum for the mummies, lunch at Kenwood House and running around Hampsted Heath, a great dinner at Mela an Indian restaurant near Leister Sq. and all of the chocolet. Just goes to show, they often most enjoy the unplanned stuff. We did this and more in 5 days. Hope this helps. Cheers.
Calamari is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 02:25 AM
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My daughters (9 and 10) really enjoyed London Frog tours, which is now called London Duck Tours. Website The tour is on an amphibian WWII craft, which plunges into the Thames halfway through the tour. They also like the Aquarium, which is near the London Eye. And the toy department in Harrods!
Tulips is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 02:30 AM
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And I don't know if your daugher would enjoy this, but the Regents Park Open Air Theatre is doing a Midsummernight's dream, as well as the musical High Society. It's a magical place when the weather is good; very informal, and you can buy food there or take a pick-nick.
Tulips is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 02:54 AM
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Here's a few suggestions both of you might like: Horseguards parade, Thames River boat trip, double decker bus rides, pigeons in Trafalgar Square, eat in the crypt at St Martin in the Field, Harrod food halls, British Museum, and the tombs in Westminster Abbey.

Skip London Dungeon & Madame Tussaud's

Walk around Buckingham Palace, but skip the crowds at the guard changing. Horseguards parade is better.
Jul 25th, 2003, 03:06 AM
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If you are going to visit harrods, I'm sure your daughter would much rather see the toy department than the food halls!
m_kingdom is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 03:36 AM
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RE: M_Kingdom

Do you always try to put your size twelve foot on everyone's neck when they post something you agree with?

Sorry I didn't state the obvious about kids "naturally" going to the toy department in any big department store.

Jul 25th, 2003, 04:02 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I've taken my 11 year old to London twice in the last year and these are the things she enjoyed most:

"Tourist" Spots: Definitely the Tower of London. And with all due respect to Mr. Haines' unimpeachable knowledge of London, the crown jewels are a must for a 10 year old girl. Mine loved the ravens too.

London Eye (but only if the wait is brief which I hear it is mostly)

Kensington Palace

If time and scheduling is a factor, consider replacing Hampton Court with a day trip to Windsor Castle. My daughter loved the dollhouse display as well as the larger dolls belonging to the young princesses. You might also be able to catch a changing of the guard without all the wait and neckstretching at Buckingham Palace.

Shopping: Skip Harrods (unless you want to go) and replace it with Hamleys Toy Store. Better than FAO Schwarz. If you have a shopper (mine is), then add Covent Garden and she'll enjoy places like Lush, Accessorize, Gadgets, Muji, Paperchase, Pollacks Toy Museum. We also enjoyed the street markets. A trip to Boots also turned into a big hit for fru fru bath and body products.

Theater: We Will Rock You??? You know your kid best but it wouldn't be my first choice (but then mine is a Les Miserables fanatic). Don't know how much musical theater your family sees but also consider My Fair Lady, Mama Mia, Lion King, or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Time Out for Kids is indispensable. Have a great trip!
obxgirl is online now  
Jul 25th, 2003, 04:19 AM
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I hear there is a Harry Poter tour somewhere in London or outskirts - has anyone else heard anything about that??
4totravel is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 04:20 AM
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I agree that for toys, Hamleys is hte place to go. Five or six floors of fun, with a snack bar on the top floor.

Yes, you must go to the Tower and see the Crown Jewels. Get there when they open, and go straight to the jewels. We did this on a July day and had hte place to ourselves for 15 minutes! After that, go back to hte entrance and take a Beefeaters tour, they're wonderful (and included in the admission price).

Forget about Madame Tussaud's and especially the London Dungeon, which is a tourist trap of the worst sort, pretty much all the gory nasty stuff that Madame T. wouldn't have.

Hyde Park on a Sunday (AM) isn't something that I would think would appeal to most 10-year-olds.

Definitely, you should place more emphasis on London's genuine treasures (British Museum, historic sites) rather than on tourist traps like the Dungeon. The Museum of London is worth a visit, too: Keep the museum visits short, do a bit of research ahead of time and choose specific exhibits to focus on. Sime most museums are free, short visits are fine!

We can suggest more specific places if you give us an idea of her interests: sports, history, music, fashion? Is she more interested in indoors things like museums or outdoors things like sports and gardens?
Anonymous is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 04:29 AM
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FDR- Yes, you will definitely want to see the tower and especially the Beefeater tours. But, if you plan to see the jewels, then use Rick Steves' suggestion and go to the Tower when it opens and go straight to the jewels. We made three trips around the moving sidewalk before anyone else showed up. Don't miss the ravens' cemetary near the exit by Tower bridge.
Anything that Ben Haines says is always a good advice.
We went to the Horse Guard can reach out and touch the horses you are so close... but we also went to Birdcage Walk directly across from the Wellington Barracks to watch the beginning of the changing of the guard. You will see the troops assembling, getting inspected, striking up the band, and setting forth toward the palace. Very few tourist at that point. MILLIONS of tourist 2 blocks down, at the palace. Yes, on the War Rooms. The 10 year old might not be thrilled at that moment but I bet she will remember over time. And, it will strike your soul.
Tussaud's? 50-50. People are a lot shorter than I thought.
London Eye...yes, expensive but an experience.
Buy a travelcard and jump on every bus and tube that you can. It is great and cheap. Tubes are fun to negotiate. Sometimes you will take a LOOOOng escalator, other times an elevator, or long tunnels. All are interesting and worth the experience (not during rush hours). Buy a London Mapguide by Middleditch..very handy.
The ferry to Greenwich is fun, relaxing, scenic but a tube on the way home is fine. Huge flea market in the covered market area. I found kid books for less than a pound and there is bound to be treasures that you can both enjoy and afford.
Harrods is very expensive. The food court is fun and hopefully your child can find a souvenir with Harrod's name there. Candy containers, lunch insulated carrier, etc. All the merchandise seemed very over priced.
I wouldn't try Westminster Abbey, personally. We were overwhelmed by the third room. It is a lot of money to spend when you are only praying to find the exit soon (by the way there are no bathrooms in the Abbey.)
Don't forget Chinatown unless you have one near you. GREAT food.
Take time to people watch.
Have a grand time. I wish I was going back with you.
lclarke is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 05:28 AM
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My 11 and 9 year olds have been to London 4 times and love it! Here are some of their favorites:
-- doing brass rubbings in the crypt at St. Martin in the Fields
-- playing in the Princess Diana playground in Kensington Gardens (when they need some down time)
-- going through the maze at Hampton Court Palace
-- Maritime Museum at Greenwich (they have a GREAT kids gallery)
-- National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery (be sure to get the CD gallery guides for kids)
-- we saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in May and loved it. Don't know about We Will Rock You.
-- My daughter's absolute favorite store is Accessorize, which are sort of all over the place
-- Titanic exhibit at the Science Museum was one of the hits for us on our last trip. Not sure how long it is there.
-- We love to buy baguette sandwiches from a bakery and take them to any of the parks for lunch.
-- For fish and chips, we liked the Golden Hinde in the Marlyebone area.
I could go on and on..... London is our favorite place! I did type up some information about travelling to London with kids that I'd be happy to e-mail to you if you like. My e-mail is [email protected]
annettetx is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 09:46 AM
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Oh yes; second that about Accessorize. My daughters adore it. Very inexpensive handbags, jewellery. I lived in London for 9 years, and often go back with my children. We don't go to many museums (ie the V&A wouldn't thrill them) but they love the science museum, natural history museum, the mummies in the British museum (one of my daughters loves that, the other doesn't). Their favorite lunch place is the sushi bar in Harvey Nichols.
Tulips is offline  
Jul 26th, 2003, 01:40 AM
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We took our 2 children (ages 7 & 11) 3 weeks ago to London and in addition to what others have mentioned, my children enjoyed climbing St. Pauls to the top. They also climbed the London Monument so that they could say they climed a thousand steps. The loved the Cabinet War Rooms (be sure to get the audio guide geared to children). Black Cabs-my daughter loved the little pull down seats so we took a couple of easy trips for the experience. They also liked the Queens Gallery (small, but with some cool jewels), the Lion King Play, going to Kings Cross Station for Harry Potter's Platform 9 3/4 and touring Covent Garden.
itsv is offline  
Jul 27th, 2003, 02:00 PM
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For some aspirational shopping try Bond street, and if your daughter's into jewellery which I no doubt you are, have a quick glance into the window of Graff Old Bond St for some of the finest comtemporary cut stones available.

Also have a walk along picadilly from the end of old Bond St. pop into Fortnums one of the last remaining "old-fashioned" department stores.

As for a "pub crawl" most pubs are rather loud in the evening - those in central london attracting mainly office staff, however some pubs can be rather seedy. Perhaps more suitable to experience duting the day.

The Science Museum might also be a fun place as I believe that there are many "hands-on exhibits" that should keep you and your daughter amused for hours on end.

Madamme Tussaud's is not really a London "must-see" however, if you have a spare couple of hours and are able to book advance tickets to avoid the long queues then by all means judge for yourself.

Buckingham Palace may also be open during your stay, however, tickets need to be booked in advance!

Whatever you decide enjoy your stay in London!
m_kingdom is offline  
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