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Old 03.12.2009, 15:30
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Travelling alone to london for xmas with a 6 year old son

Hi all,

I need your help here. I am a mother for a 6 yrs old boy, and we are travelling to london alone thrd wk in December.

I haven't been there before, and have no clue what to visit and what to skip. I just want him to have fun, see interesting things, and don't mind shopping for a day

I want to have your recommendations on the best places to visit within a week. We are staying in Trafalgar(spelling?) . Is there any reservations to do prior to being there (Museums, public transportation etc.? as I know it will be a high season)

Hope to hear from you soon.
thanks
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Old 03.12.2009, 15:44
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

You say you dont mind shopping, but oxford street can be mayhem before xmas. I would recommend shopping to be done on a week day not a weekend.

Harrods also chaotic but fun to look around, christmas department has lots toys and santas grotto.

The zoo could be an idea.

As most of my non working time in london was spent in pubs/clubs not sure how much more help i can be
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Old 03.12.2009, 15:50
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

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I just want him to have fun, see interesting things, and don't mind shopping for a day
Take him to Hamleys

London Regent Street location: http://www.hamleys.com/Regent_Street...efault,pg.html
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Old 03.12.2009, 15:56
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

The Natural History Museum and the Science Museum are a good bet. Lots to see and do in both, for all ages.
As with most of the big museums in London, entry is free, except to certain special exhibits.
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Old 03.12.2009, 15:59
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

timeout is a good source of info -

http://www.timeout.com/london/kids/
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Old 03.12.2009, 16:01
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

Hi,
Christmas can be very chaotic in London, but you have the lights on Oxford street, Madam Tussaud's wax museum, the London Eye ) I think you will probably need to book this. The Natural history museum.

There are a couple of websites I have found which may be of use

http://www.enjoyengland.com/find-tic/london.aspx

http://www.enjoyengland.com/find-tic/london.aspx

You could always see if there are tickets available for a Pantomime and I think Harrods have a santa's grotto but I am not too sure .

Hope this helps and I hope you have a lovely time.
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Old 03.12.2009, 16:02
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

I took my boys to central London quite a lot when they were small. The museums are free and I would recommend the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum, if I recall they are next door to each other.

Also, I agree Oxford street is not what it used to be, the Kings Road area is ok for you, but maybe a bit boring for him. Hamleys and Harrods are good though, Harrods also has a pet department, which I'm sure he'll love.

For a browse round, Covent Garden is great loads of Market stalls, and street entertainers and I'm sure they'll put on some Xmas stalls. You could then follow this up with a child friendly show like Lion King or maybe a Panto, all very close to Trafalgar Square. You could also eat in Planet Holywood which is in Leicester square, my boys used to love it.

A word of warning, some of the tourist attractions like Madame Tusuards and the London Dungeons can be very expensive and my boys were terrified of the Dungeons had to leave 5 mins into the attraction!!

Hope this helps.
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Old 03.12.2009, 16:21
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

Hi, A must is that you buy a 1 day travel card (after9am) for I think around 7 pounds and 1 pound (ish) extra for your son, it gives you until around 2am next morning unlimited travel on all tubes (underground) and London buses (RED).

Lunch at the rainforrest cafe cannot be missed as it has animated animals but do be aware that some do make frieghtening noises at random and my scare timid kids.
www.therainforestcafe.co.uk

Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace at 11am everyday is also not to be missed as is the natural history museum (and it's free entry) and is full of interacting stuff for your son (min of 4hours recommened)

Check out visit London.com for loads of stuff and discounts.

http://www.visitlondon.com/offers/

Another great one is Martin Lewis the money man for upto 50% off vouchers in shops and restaurants.
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/ and just click / print then take voucher with you.

HOPE THIS HELPS, I'M AUSTRALIAN AND ALWAYS LOOKING TO SAVE FOR TREATS. WAS IN UK FOR 20 YEARS, any other Q's please feel free to ask!!!
Regards, John.
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Old 03.12.2009, 17:50
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

Anyone mentioned the ol' Tower of London yet?

Lots of stuff there to fire up a young un's imagination
.
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Old 03.12.2009, 19:13
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

My kids loved the London Eye - we did it in the daytime & evening (around 4pm as it falls dusk with the crimbo lights coming on will be magic) tickets can be booked online or bought at the site.

A bus tour (double decker) is also a good way to get a quick appreciation of whats where & just how big the place is. A ride on the top deck of a bus down Oxford St to see the lights & Selfridges windows at Christmas are magic!

British Museum is worth a head around the door - good exhibits - free & in a nice part of the city.

I thought the Tower of London was overpriced & very boring - ok if you are into that sort of stuff, swords on walls, racks of ancient guns, etc (zzzzz)

Go to the theatre - ticket booth in Leicester Square for ticket returns for the same day 1/2 price or less. Or the cinema - but personally the atmosphere of the theatre is fantastic. If you want to sample a really British experience go to a panto - warning - sense of humour required & may already be fully booked.

Being 6 - just stood on a platform watching all the tube trains coming & going will be an endless source of entertainment especially for a boy!

China town - for eating & strange things in shops!
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Old 03.12.2009, 19:26
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

be aware that the Tube does not run on Christmas day.,
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Old 03.12.2009, 19:29
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

I'll avoid shopping with a child in tow at all costs, during the Christmas period, especially on boxing day.

What about pantomines? Couple of nice fairytale ones on there which I am sure your child will love.
http://www.bigpantoguide.co.uk/london.php
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Old 03.12.2009, 19:58
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

Hi, just to expand on the already mentioned ideas... my boys really love the launch pad at the science museum. On the top floor and is full of interactive things. Is free but can get crowded. Is one of their favorites... there is a new darwin center at the natural history museum which is great and all about how scientists study the natural world. He may be a bit young, but if he is into that sort of thing, might love it. You need to book tickets ahead of time, but they are free, and if you have a ticket, you can cut the long que waiting to get into the museum. while you are there, the dinosaurs are a favorite as is the creepy crawly room. It can get really crowded during prime times though... and even though hamley's will be crowded, kids love it, and it can buy you some shopping time on oxford and regent street! Also, some of the other museums have kids activities. Check the local time out for info, but the victoria and albert usually has a kids cart with activities for kids, and the tate modern has a great kids pack which takes the kids into different rooms to explore some of the work. That is a great museum to visit, and not far from the london aquarium, which is not the best i have seen, but the kids love it. There are lots of shows for kids around christmas time, and you can check out lastminute.co.uk for some reduced price tickets, and there is also a theatre that has shows for kids in shepards bush that are good and not so expensive. and I would get an oyster card, which lets you go on any train/bus and just takes off the correct amount, and your son can go free with you. and just take a regular double decker bus, as he can get the experience without being stuck for hours on one of the tours buses... and there is a great playground in kensington gardens (diana playground) by hyde park that kids love for a break. just a few thoughts! we have spent alot of time around london with 2 boys, so if you need any help, let me know!
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Old 03.12.2009, 23:38
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

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IA word of warning, some of the tourist attractions like Madame Tusuards and the London Dungeons can be very expensive and my boys were terrified of the Dungeons had to leave 5 mins into the attraction!!

Hope this helps.
I wouldn't recommend taking a young child to the London Dungeon. I haven't been myself but from friend who have it sounds like something for teenagers at least.

The Science Museum and Natural History Museum are definitely worth a visit.

The London Eye is great if you have a head for heights. Prebook or be prepared for long queues.

Take an open top bus tour if the weather is good or riverboat tour if the weather is not so good.
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Old 04.12.2009, 10:05
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

Also - forgot about this - A day out in Brighton is also a thought, trains run every 15mins from Victoria (45min-1hr journey). Brighton is very compact & walkable (& very shoppable). Head for the seafront & smell the sea & get blown along the front (can't do this in Switz!).

Visit the Palace pier for the fun rides, candy floss, donuts etc. The Royal Pavilion is fab with its own guidebook for children, you can see what the nutty British royalty spent its cash on.

Visit the Lanes & North Laine for lots of quirky/funky shops with interesting places to eat there too. Churchill Square for more retail therapy.

Afternoon tea in the Grand or the Metropole Hotel.

Fish & chips out of the newspaper.

Personally I wouldn't bother with shopping in London (esp with a 6yr old) at that time of the year - its a cattle market, just go & do the sights & have loads of fun.

A wetsuit & canoe may also be useful items in your luggage.
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Old 07.12.2009, 00:21
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

Duck tours are a good way to see the city sights...its a kind of land rover x boat which drives round the streets then floats down the thames. See the link below:
http://www.theyellowduckmarine.co.uk/

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland might be worth a visit, christmas market stalls, rides and an out ice rink.

http://www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/

EDIT:
This might be useful depending what you are planning see http://www.londonpass.com/index.asp?...Fcts4wodA2ikqg
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Old 07.12.2009, 00:24
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

check this out

http://www.londontreasures.com/children.htm

also kids are welcome here (it's the best Italian in the world...probably)
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Old 07.12.2009, 00:38
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

I would recommend a trip to Hampton Court Palace. Check it out in advance because they have special days with tour guides all dressed up as Henry VIII etc. Plus they have an outdoor ice rink. You need to prebook for that. It's a beautiful place outside of the mayhem of central London. The icerink is open on boxing day (26th) when lots of other places aren't...
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Old 07.12.2009, 15:23
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

OOHH WAW,
Didn't expect that much feedback, all what you proposed sounds AMAZING. Looks like we will definetly have much fun. Thank you all for the posts.
I'll need to start doing a plan for our stay based on your recommendations, I will definetly ask you again if I have questions, you are all very helpful

Thanks again
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Old 07.12.2009, 17:26
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Re: Travelling alone to london in xmass with a 6 yr old son

I like all of the above mentioned. I always get a copy of Time-out and carry a copy of the A-Z and pick up flyers for deals. I walk everywhere so need good walking shoes, waterproof jacket and backpack. You are centrally located so it will be easy. I prefer Hampton Court to the Tower, you can get an express bus there from Victoria Station. Harrod's and Selfridges are a must for me. I buy packed luches from Tesco or Safeways because I knpw that I am getting someting the kids will eat, that it is clean I am not paying a fortune for it and I don't have to wait.
One of kid's favourite things was/is just to be up top on a London double decker bus. Pick your routes and you get a bird's eye view of the Christmas decorations. When I get tired I take a taxi. I spent years travelling the tube- it's hell at Christmas.

When you read Time Out remember that it also caters to Londoners, my family in London are always trying to get me to do the new stuff, when they forget that my kids still haven't covered the traditional.
http://www.timeout.com/london/kids/

Last but not least you must go to Covent Garden at the weekend- free shows acrobats- jugglers, Punch and Judy. Have a hot chocolate or soup at the restaurant down on the lower level and possible get some great live music.
You can walk from Trafalgar to Convent Garden then up to Picadilly.
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