Suggestions for London vacation

Oct 12th, 2010, 06:38 AM
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This is great. Exactly what I was looking for. Trying to narrow down exactly what would appeal to kids vs. adults is what is a little trying, especially as my MIL keeps saying they HAVE to go through Buckingham Palace, see the crown jewels, go to the Tower of London, etc. She's been to London several times and has seen all these things. I don't know that my kids will care about the crown jewels. We went to the Louvre last year, and they couldn't have cared less about the fancy schmancy jewels they saw. They did love Versailles, though, so Hampton Court sounds like something I'll add to the list.

It's just that there's so much to do, I'm having trouble narrowing it down. I thought I included enough info in my initial post that folks could tell I wasn't a first-time traveler or planner.

anyway, budget: we like to be economical but I realize the problems of traveling with so many. I have found a few flats that are possibilities. One is near the Marine Memorial Gardens in London. What do you think of that location? Also found one in Islington but wasn't sure about it. I'll check out the other web sites. Thanks, chris45ny
ksbeem is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 06:57 AM
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Your children should like HMS Belfast....(and so should the adults!
alihutch is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 06:58 AM
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Is that first apartment location near the Merchant Marine and Navy Memorial Garden in Tavistock Square? If so, that's a good location. Walking distance to the British Museum, lots of tube stop and tube lines available. Islington is not bad, but not nearly as convenient as the first.
Mimar is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 07:00 AM
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I lived in the UK. I have actually been to Madame Tussaud's several times (PQ always recommends it but has never that I remember mentioned stepping inside the place)>

Stop you ad hominen attacks, pleeeze - I have been to Madame Tussaud's several times, once with my young son. Not sure why you insist on such false attacks - perhaps it makes you feel superior I guess.

From janis's post above:

Our PQ must be at the paint again. The Eye is great (though it isn't actually a 'Ferris Wheel'), but the other three are among the worst of the worst>

I stand by my recommendation of Madame Tussaud's and the London Dungeon for kids - heck they are probably the top two paid entry attractions in London - and who do you think is going - mainly Brits. Get off your high horse IMO and try to put yourself in with the little people - indeed calling London's most popular attractions the worst of the worst is an insult to the average British person IMO!

Janis - have you ever set foot in the London Dungeon? If not how can you call it the worst of the worst - I read that it is the single most popular paid entry in London and again mainly Brits.

As for the Ripper Tours that would be more for the 14 and 15 yr olds not the 9 yr old.

Well it is obvious you have never had any kids nor traveled with any.

and about the London Eye not being a Ferris Wheel - if it looks like a Ferris Wheel, acts like a Ferris Wheel it is a Ferris Wheel IMO.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 07:01 AM
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PalenQ is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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I could be entirely wrong on this one but I don't think you can actually go into Buckingham for most of the year. You can stand outside and take pictures, but that's about it. As for the crown jewels, your kids might not be that enthused, but it takes very little time if you go straight there. I think I was through the entire jewel house building in under 20 minutes the one time. If you wait to go in, you'll be stuck in line forever.

For narrowing it down, print out all of the options and a short blurb or picture about each (I don't know how computer/guidebook savvy your in-laws or kids are). Then let your kids pick what they want to do or don't want to do. Everyone gets to pick at least one thing that they really want to do. You could let each pick their top 3 places, everyone gets their #1 choice (if reasonably possible) and then use #2's and 3's to fill in the rest of your time.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 07:17 AM
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The part of Buckingham Palace that adults and kids may both enjoy would be IMO the Royal Mews, working stables, with the behemoth horses that pull royal carriages, many of which are on display - yup all the smells, etc of a working stable and open to the public, unlike the Palace proper, only open during much of August and September I think.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 07:18 AM
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......The London Dungeon is a total tourist trap, and Jack the Ripper -- I ask you, is a guided walk w/ explicit descriptions of women being disembowelled is appropriate for a 9 yo???? I think not. (plus not one Ripper location still exists - you get a lot of >>that car-park is where such and such was murdered<< and >>that block of flats is the site of yadda yadda<<).......

I would agree with all of that.
They might well enjoy the London Eye. Don't rule out the British Museum. Children usually love the Egyptian part, especially the mummies.
Josser is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 07:39 AM
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They might enjoy seeing WWII through children's eyes

The 70 year olds are of the generation that would actually be going into the shelters and going to school with a gas mask on their back.
MissPrism is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 07:44 AM
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If the teens get bored give them a few quid and leave them in the Trocadero Centre for a spell - right in the heart of tourist London by Picaddilly Circus - my teen son loved a respite there from the rigors of sightseeing.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 08:59 AM
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"MIL keeps saying they HAVE to go through Buckingham Palace,"

You are safe on that one-- since it is not open to the public except for Aug/Sept.

The Crown Jewels are IN the Tower of London so you'll see them for sure.

Give us a link to the flat (or its post code) so we can be sure.

The Marine and Navy Memorial Garden is across the street from the Tower of London. But there are memorials in other gardens such as Tavistock Square which is near Euston Station. My guess is you mean the one near the Tower--but it could be other. (Some landlords take a bit of 'license' describing locations)
janisj is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 09:57 AM
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I think the landlord does mean the Marine garden near the Tower of London. Is that a good location?
ksbeem is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 09:59 AM
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PalenQ is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 10:38 AM
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ksbeem: Some people would think that isn't the greatest location. But it has a LOT going for it.

• It is just next door to the Tower Hill tube station.
• The #15 bus passes right there which travels from the Tower to St Pauls, to Charing Cross/Trafalgar Sq., Piccadilly Circus, etc. Basically all across central London.
• It is across the street from the Tower of London which is a "Must" for most folks.
• Just on the other side of the Tower are piers for boats trips upand down river.
• It is a 5 minute walk from St Katharine's marina w/ several casual restaurants good for family dining
• An easy walk across Tower Bridge to things on the southbank (HMS Belfast/Globe/Tate Modern etc)

If the flat is large enough and fits in your budget, I'd go for it.
janisj is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 02:47 PM
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Definitely consider the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower. It is their ceremonial locking up of the tower and the grounds. Really cool at dark. Our kids loved it. Plus, it is free.
PeaceOut is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 06:37 AM
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Re. apt.: I tend to agree with janisj - the Tower is not a "bad" location, but a similar apartment in terms of square footage/amenities/furnishings located in a premium area will cost much more for the same physical apartment.

It's not clear if you are watching the apt. budget closely. If you are, the Tower apt. is fine provided it is large enough. If budget is not a concern, then you might look for something more central in Covent Garden, St. James Sq. or Mayfair.
bardo1 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 10:17 AM
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ksbeem - Travel Lodge and Premier Inns can have great prices if you book the limited number of deep discounted rooms - they are rather like our Holiday Inns I think (though I have not stayed in one of our H Inns recently) - anyway modern hotels and often rent by the room for families I think - any scour the sites and see if you can cop the 29 pound or so rooms even in places like Covent Garden one Fodorite recently said she did.

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PalenQ is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 06:12 PM
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Just don't forget the parks, if the weather's good. Kew Gardens is my favourite, especially on a Sunday afternoon.
WWanderer is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 06:20 PM
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We stayed very near the Tower Hill tube station last year, and we were pleased with location. We did a lot more South Bank things than we had in the past, and we also, as mentioned above, did the Ceremony of the Keys.

But truly, we were all over the place and never found that location to be inconvenient. Not the most central, but certainly not inconvenient.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Oct 15th, 2010, 11:28 AM
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Greenwich is a great place for families - can cross from Eastern to Western Hemipsheres and see the old Observatory where Greenwich time is kept - plus the ornate War College buildings (some of which are now a technical college it seems) and it is a great place to see the Thames at its finest - plus the Cutty Sark boat

And a great way to get to Greenwich is either by boat on The Thames and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) - the DLR can be especially exciting because it runs from London's Bank or Tower Gateway tube stations on pillars thru the vast and amazing Docklands - over water at times and thru the high-rises of London's new financial annex to The City - get off the DLR at the last stop before Greenwich and then walk thru the old pedestrian tunnel under the Thames to add variety to this great excursion.

Go one way to Greenwich by boat and hop the DLR the other way.

But Greenwich itself is a great place for folks of all ages.
PalenQ is offline  

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