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8 days in London with two 14 yrs old in August

Planning a trip to London for 8 days (including travel). My husband cannot join us until the 5th days so kids and I are on our own for the first 5 days. I would like to take the kids on side trips to Bath in addition to seeing London. My husband is not big into museum or Harry Potter so I was thinking of hitting those areas before he arrives. Below are what I was thinking about, any advice?

Day 1, 8/11(Fri): Arriving Heathrow around noon. Check into a London hotel (any idea which central location??). Walk around

Day 2 8/12(Sat): Warner Brother Harry Potter Tour, Charles Dicken Museum/Nightingale Museum

Day 3(8/13 Sun): Day trip to Bath & Stonehenge (join tour)

Day 4: (8/14 Mon) : London Zoo/science/British/London museum??/Thames River Cruise

Day 5:(8/15 Tues): Nice leisurely Breakfast somewhere?? Husband arrives afternoon

Day 6:(8/16 Wed) Hop on & off tour- Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Shakespeare Globe

Day 7:(8/17 Thur): Windsor Castle

Day 8:(8/18 Fri): London- Sherlock Holmes walking tour, Thames River Cruise, Kensington Palace, London Bridge

Day 9:(9/19 Sat): leave London

Need help on
1. Where in London should we stay? best way to go to/from Heathrow airport to that hotel with 2 kids and luggage? if it make sense, we can break up the stay in 2 different hotels in London to be closer to attractions and to save money.

  1. Does it make sense to buy London Pass + travel? How many days and starting which day? Any suggestions on changing the order of days to get maxi use of London Pass ?

  2. Any suggestions on the above 8 day plan?

  3. Good place to experience first time English afternoon tea for 14 yrs old ?

Thank you

June

Posted by
136 posts

If you can rent an apartment as we did with teenagers, (we booked with airbnb a 2 bed flat near the tube line)food is expensive and if you go to a local grocery and stock up you can save also they have room to breath after a long day and something in the frig anytime without going out to get it. Just be sure you are near a tube line (circle line or in zone1) nothing like grumpy teens after a long day that have to walk.

Afternoon tea for 14 year olds probably not a good idea. Tower of London go early and take the Beefeaters tour(free), they will enjoy it as will you. Check out the Original London Walks (Rick recommends) www.walks.com as they do some really good days out and at half the price of a big bus tour. Aug 12th they go to Bath, 13th The Cotswolds, 14th Cambridge, 15th Stonehenge/Salisbury, 16 Oxford & Cotswolds. Best part no reservations so if things change no money lost. You just show up at the designated place and pay your money and go, very easy and the guides are Blue Badge professionals. They also have some good 2 hour walking tours in London, like Jack the Ripper at night which my kids really liked, just be sure you are on the London Walks Jack tour or else you will pay a lot more, they liked the Beatles tour, and the British Museum was good as they show you what you need to see and your not endlessly walking around. We liked St Paul's as you can climb up the tower to the Whispering Gallery and test it out and climb all the way to the top to check out the view of the city. Also Camden Market on Sunday morning was fun as it is funky, Borough Market on Saturday is great to get some lunch/snacks and a walk along the Embankment maybe up to the London Eye and if nice weather take a ride. My kids liked the theater especially Phantom, Wicked, tickets are cheaper than NYC.

We did the London Pass once with my 14 year old but didn't find it gave great value. Get Oyster cards then you can use them on all London transport (not trains going in/out of London) and at a discount, check and see what is best for you but I tried the London Pass and we didn't get the value we thought we would.
You might give the zoo a pass (not much different than other zoos) especially if you have those other things planned, lots of walking and will need to sometimes just stop and break. Walk through Covenant Garden, there are usually street performers around, walk through Trafalgar Square, maybe grab a lunch in the crypt at St Martin's in the Field across the street, Piccadilly Circus and up Regents street. Most churches at 5pm have evensong, which is where the choir sings, it's very relaxing as we always try to get to St Paul's for it once as it gives time to be calm rest those feet and reflect on what a good vacation you are having! Above all Enjoy !!!

Posted by
11292 posts

"best way to go to/from Heathrow airport to that hotel with 2 kids and luggage?"

Different people will have different ideas of the meaning of "best," but for me, it would be a minicab (prebooked car service), which is cheaper than a black cab from the airport, and much easier than any other method since you get door to door service with no changes (a "one seat ride"). Plus, it's not necessarily more expensive than other methods since it's for 3.

Just Airports is one service often recommended, but there are others. If you do use Just Airports, note their substantial discount for cash instead of credit card: http://www.justairports.com/

As for the London Pass, some make it pay off, but for many it's a rip-off. And the transport add-on is for all six zones, which is usually a waste since almost everything you are seeing is either in zones 1-2, or else is outside of the zone system altogether (Harry Potter, Bath, Stonehenge). Be sure to add up all the things you are definitely seeing and see what that costs, to see if a pass will be worth it for you.