Madam Tussauds

Jan 27th, 2010, 08:11 AM
  #21  
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Thanks AtlTravelr. We do have a son age 10 and want to do things that he would enjoy. We will see how long the lines are. It doesn't appeal to any of us to wait for 1-2 hours just for seeing wax figures. However, if the lines are manageable then maybe.
europeannovice is offline  
Jan 27th, 2010, 08:24 AM
  #22  
 
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Sadly the London London Planetarium was closed awhile ago, to make way for more rubbish. There is one in Greenwich, but the best equipped in the UK is at the Glasgow Science Centre.

http://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/
alihutch is offline  
Jan 27th, 2010, 08:34 AM
  #23  
 
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All our British Fodor friends who disdain Madame Tussauds and claim to have never been there is redolent of the number who once here claimed they never watch Coronation Street- some saying they never ever had watched what is Britain's top TV show now for 40 years and running. And then they extrapolate this to say British folk never go to Tussauds, etc.
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Jan 27th, 2010, 10:41 AM
  #24  
 
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Having been going to Great Britain for the last 25 years I can say that It never entered my head to go to Madame Tussauds, watch Coronation Street or gone on the Eye. Nor Tate museum. I go to places I want to see and others are free to see what they want...to each their own. However, I really don't understand spending all that money to see purpose built amusement sites.
rogeruktm is offline  
Jan 27th, 2010, 10:46 AM
  #25  
 
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roger - i take it you never had small kids?
Palenque is offline  
Jan 27th, 2010, 11:20 AM
  #26  
 
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Young child...Yes. Took him to Disneyland and the like. Zoos, rides and the full exercise, fishing, surfing, pony rides and the like. However, when in Europe he liked the natural historic places. Tower of London, Brighton, Science museums, York and the Wall. Well you get my drift. I expect children to enjoy wax museums, but not on a trip to London
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Jan 27th, 2010, 11:31 AM
  #27  
 
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Also, as I recall I got tickets with a time stamp - we would NEVER have waited 1-2 hours for something like this. It may be different now, but I called once we were in London and got the "reservation". It was very crowded inside(summertime) but that ended up being part of the fun - watching what the other tourists were doing as well - very crowded yes, but good natured.

When our kids were younger they also liked the Tower of London and climbing to the top of St. Pauls. I especially liked the Churchill museum which opened only a few years ago in the War Rooms - by this time my son was 16 and he liked it too.
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Jan 28th, 2010, 05:38 AM
  #28  
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I should probably start a new thread, but what are your thoughts on Primrose Hill. It is near the top of Regent's Park not far from the zoo and seemingly not too far from Madam Tussauds if we end up there. Is the view something really special to make a special trip over there?
europeannovice is offline  
Jan 28th, 2010, 06:14 AM
  #29  
 
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Well it’s a view over London that has been painted by all sorts including Constable and Canaletto. However it is just a view.

It is handy for Camden Market though – just walk down through Chalk Farm and there are a couple of very good pubs and restaurants there (and it’s crammed with famous people, so if you want to see real life rockstars rather than waxworks…If you want a great place to eat and hang out I like the Engineer).
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Jan 28th, 2010, 07:21 AM
  #30  
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Thanks, CW. We will keep it mind.

I also read in some guidebooks though not to hang out around the Regent's Park area up near Camden at night. Not that we will be there too late anyway but is it a relatively safe area to wander around? Just checking based on what I read.
europeannovice is offline  
Jan 28th, 2010, 08:36 AM
  #31  
 
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If CW is not there it should be safe enough
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Jan 28th, 2010, 09:46 AM
  #32  
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By the way, I took a look at the Engineer Pub website and it does look quite good indeed.

As far as neighborhoods, if you have never been before, you don't know which blocks are relatively good and which ones you don't want to venture off into by mistake, especially when the guidebooks say avoid a certain nearby area at night etc. I think they were referring to the area near the canal near little venice though so not sure how that relates to the top of regent's park by Primrose Hill which is suppose to be a tony area but what do I know. That is why I ask the questions.
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Jan 28th, 2010, 07:06 PM
  #33  
 
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Our trip this June with our 13 year-old is her first and she has expressed a wish to see Madame Tussauds. This is my fifth and probably last trip for awhile and I have so many places that I haven't been to and want to show her that I'm hoping she will lost interest. We are taking her to the Tower, Greenwich and the London Eye. I can't wait to show her the Cast Courts and fashion exhibits at the Victoria and Albert.
I just can't see standing in line and spending any of our precious time at Tussauds. Still if it were a "must" see for her and she wanted to see it above all things I would seriously consider it.
We are watching a lot of travel videos, she is reading a book about the Tower, and we just saw "Young Victoria," and she loved it, so hopefully faced with so many choices Tussauds will not be one of them. I'd rather spend more time at one of the parks having a picnic or window shopping at Selfridge's then jostling the crowds at a wax museum. If you think I'm a tough Mom and make choices based on what I just want you may be right; but if it were up to me the days would be full of museums and the night's filled with the West End, so the London Eye is a great concession from me. Still as I said the "Chamber of Horrors" could be in my future.
We'll just wait and see.
idesofmarch is offline  
Jan 28th, 2010, 07:59 PM
  #34  
 
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idesof, don't miss the Jewellery Gallery when you're at V&A. I'd bet she'd like it.
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Jan 29th, 2010, 01:42 AM
  #35  
 
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I also read in some guidebooks though not to hang out around the Regent's Park area up near Camden at night. Not that we will be there too late anyway but is it a relatively safe area to wander around? Just checking based on what I read.>>>

It's very dodgy indeed. But it's a bit misleading. The area in question is the Regents Park Canal - the bit by Camden Lock. Specifically the towpath under the bridge by The Lock Tavern and the Elephants Head (it's a pub, not a real elephant's head).

It's a huge drug market and it's also North London's biggest prostitution area (the two are obviously linked). I didn't like going there even in uniform (many years ago many many yers ago many many may years ago. Many many years. Many years).

Having said that - there really is no reason for you to be there. It's not on the way to or from anywhere.

But avoid it. In fact if you are out in Camden Town late at night don't really stray off the main street (which is where you would want to be anyway) as it gets very nasty very quickly. You could well bump into Amy Winehouse for a start!

Also don't hang around outside the tube station as it's a robbery hotspot.

CW - Stationed in Camden for many years.
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Jan 29th, 2010, 02:31 AM
  #36  
 
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As so often, CW is giving - perfectly accurately - one side of the story.

The other is at the trip report for Sunday May 3 2009 at http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...at-belated.cfm.

Frankly, the experience of this solitary 50 year old woman and friend along the Regent's Canal on a Sunday evening is a lot closer to most Londoners' experience than CW's description.

London hasn't really got "tony" neighbourhoods. However posh an area (and the north side of Regent's Park scores high), there's always some low income housing, or an obscure patch of land where drugs and sex can be sold, a few yards away.

The trick isn't - at least within central London - to worry about neighbourhoods. It's to avoid uncrowded, or unlit, areas once it starts getting at all dark, or after 9-ish in summer. But, almost always, the well-lit street ten yards away will be as safe as practically anywhere on the planet. It's also wise to be leery of places where lots of young people fall out of pubs around 10.30-11: not so much because you'll get into trouble but because you might get caught in the cross fire of missile or body fluids from the young people.

None of this affects the walk from Camden Town across Regents Park. Even walking the canal towpath you're probably in greater danger of falling in than of being attacked (drugs dealers generally attack each other or defaulting payers. Rarely prospective cash customers).

By all means avoid the specific places CW mentions. But avoid dark places anywhere else as well. And NEVER assume in London that a problem in one street means anything at all about safety 20 yards away. If anyone did, hardly anyone would live in London.

CW, perfectly correctly, knows where crime's more likely than elsewhere in London. What that knowledge can disguise is that crime almost anywhere in visitors' London is HIGHLY unlikely in the first place
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 29th, 2010, 02:58 AM
  #37  
 
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Flanneur is of course right, as am I. How so?

Well…

Firstly remember that for professional reasons I know the underbelly of just about anywhere – someone says Mayfair and I think of toms in Shepherds Market not the Ritz.

But something to remember about Camden is this: There used to be a large drugs market in the area between the tube and Plender St market (mainly dope). The council and old bill finally pulled their fingers out and sorted it about six months ago.

What has happened is that the market has been displaced to the areas I mentioned. That area has always been a hive of class A dealing (mainly crack and smack). There’s no point in trying to rob junkies – they never have anything of value – but the sort of trendy young things who would buy a ten pound bag of draw have mobiles, ipods, and cash. So they are worth robbing. So they get robbed (and the robbers know the plod are just going to tell the victims that it’s their own stupid fault).

That’s why it’s dangerous. And at night it is bloody dangerous. During the day it’s OK but it represents a higher risk than most parts of London that tourist might find themselves in.

In general Camden is safe if you stay where the tourists would go – mainly the main street and the Stables. Go past the Hawley Arms at your peril!

BTW when I worked there a fisherman fished a penis out of the canal. We never found out who it belonged to.
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Jan 29th, 2010, 04:16 AM
  #38  
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Thanks for the inside information. As anywhere, if you are a local and familiar with an area, you know which blocks are usually fine and which ones to avoid. I appreciate the "heads up" no pun intended.

We are leaning against wax (We can visit the ones in NY and Washington which we haven't done yet--thought the original would be better but from popular opinion I guess it is not).

We are leaning more toward the Regent's Park itself if it is a nice day to see the Zoo, Queen Mary Rose Garden, possibly the Engineer for lunch etc.
europeannovice is offline  
Jan 29th, 2010, 05:16 AM
  #39  
 
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Regent's Park is lovely. I wouldn't bother with the engineer as it's quite out of your way (the park is huge). Aim for the Baker St end and there's plenty of places (but very few pubs) there (and the Inner London Court Where I spend quite a lot of time).

The zoo? I don't know what you're expecting but all the big animals were moved out years ago. There's all sorts of creepy crawlies and slithery things (and the first Harry Potter was filmed in the reptile house) and plenty of small furry critters and some penguins that I think are wonderful. Also a porpentine that I sponsor called Spike. (he never writes, he never phones).

But if I were a kid I'd find it a bit disappointing, and it ain't cheap.
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Jan 29th, 2010, 06:42 AM
  #40  
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My son likes the creepy crawlies. We went to the bug zoo in Victoria Canada and he was the only one who volunteered to have the hissing cockroach crawl up his arm when everyone else took a step back. They have huge beetles there too.

He also ate a cricket at the San Diego Zoo along with a few other brave kids who went up there for either cricket or beetle larvae. Yuck! But he said it was crunchy. San Diego also has a facinating reptile house. I had more fun with the pandas.

At the Cincinnati Zoo they have a whole building dedicated to insects. He loved it. I couldn't wait to leave. For the big animals we have great zoos here in the states that we have been to and I agree the big animals need a lot of space. It is unfair for them to be cooped up in small cages and environments. The more land they allot that replicate a natural environment for the animal, the better. I read though that the London Zoo had a nice insect pavillon and a nice butterfly house so maybe we will go there to check it out for him. Not sure. It all depends on weather and if we have the stamina to make it from the bottom of the park to the top. I think we can take bus #274 from Baker St up to Primrose Hill per London Transport so that is an option too.
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