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End of November in London with a 16yr old

Surprised my son with a trip for just the two of us Nov 25-Dec 1st.

Looking for any unique, good for teen boy ideas that may not make the usual lists. Open to sights, places to eat, hiking etc.

Also trying to narrow down a day trip between Cotswold, Oxford or Bath. We would take the train so also curious which is most walkable from train stop.

Thanks!

Posted by
3140 posts

Bath is easily walkable from the train station-don't know about the other two. If he's interested in seeing the Roman Baths, it would be worth a trip-or spend one night and also go to Stonehenge. If he's a Harry Potter fan, I assume you know about Warner Brothers Studio in Leavesden near London? If you want to go, you need to order your tickets NOW. If weather isn't good for hiking, I question whether he'd be interested in Cotswolds unless he's a Churchill fan who wants to see Blenheim. I would think he'd really like the British Museum(mummies!) And while it seemed like a waste of time to us-after all, we have zoos in US!-we really enjoyed the visit to the London Zoo we made in Dec 2014 to please our college daughter. If he likes classical music at all, evensong at Westminster Abbey is a memorable experience.

Posted by
3428 posts

Both of our kids really enjoyed Windsor Castle and the Tower of London at that age. Windsor has (or at least had) an impressive weapons display and an excellent 'history' of Windsor display after the fire which showed lots of the modifications that had happened over time. The Tower has great stories attached to it. It also has a small 'museum' off to one side (very low entry fee) that is the history of one of the military regiments. Turns out to be the one we Americans called the Red Coats and has a good bit about the American Revolution.

Both Bath and Cardiff Wales are easy, fun day trips. Cardiff is a very funky, modern city that has preserved its past well. The castle in the middle of the city is small, but nice. The Victorian shopping areas are cool, as are the markets ( and there is usually good , if small Christmas market with lots of local craftsmen). If your son is into soccer, the very modern and fairly new stadium usually is open for tours and the harbor has recently been renovated as a tourist area.

Bath is a lively city with lots of great Georgian architecture and Roman history. They have a very large Christmas market that we found to be excellent.

Both are an easy train ride from Paddington station. Bath about an hour and a half long, and Cardiff just over 2 hours (at least that was the time when we were traveling).

The Cotswolds is an 'area' rather than a one stop town. Not easy to access by train. We did a 1/2 day tour from Stratford-upon-
Avon when we stayed there.

We haven't 'done' Oxford', but you might want to have your son research it, to see if he is interested, as he is approaching college age.

In fact having him research all the possible destinations is a good idea. See what HE is most interested in visiting. There are a number more that make good day trips from London- if you are interested, I could email you a copy of an article I wrote for AAA Carolina's "Go!" magazine several years ago. Private message me with your email and I'll be glad to share.

Posted by
333 posts

My teenaged daughter loved the Jack the Ripper walking tour we took in London. We also took a sunrise tour of Stonehenge and paid the extra to be part of a group that actually got to walk among the stones. It was incredible! (Most tours keep you about 30 feet from the stones on a path that circles the stones) Being able to question our guide and weave in and out of the stones as the sun rose was unforgettable. We took a daytrip tour that included Stonehenge, breakfast in Lacock (where parts of Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice were filmed) and then the town of Bath. Lacock was neat because we ate at a 500 year old Inn where there was a "dog wheel" (like a hamster wheel) where in the old days a dog was placed to turn the spit over the fire. We had a traditional English breakfast there. The Roman baths in Bath were also very cool. A fantastic day trip! If he likes the theater, find a good show and get tickets!

Have a great time in England- what a trip!
Lisa

Posted by
5470 posts

I wouldn't have thought that Bath or the Cotswolds would appeal to a teenage boy. What does he want to see?

Oxford or Cambridge are more interesting for teenagers, with their universities. Windsor is a good day out as is Greenwich with its Observatory and take a river boat to get there.

In London, the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden is interesting. The Operating Theatre Museum also fascinates children.

Posted by
6239 posts

You'll be in town when all the Christmas decorations and lights are up.

The Hyde Park Winterwonderland will be in full swing. Games, rides, food. Like a carnival. FREE entry.

Camden Lock Market

Definitely Tower of London. Then walk up to the glass covered Leadenhall market which abuts the futuristic looking Lloyds of London building.

The Horniman Museum.

Have lunch or diner in a pub like The Blackfriar.

Check TimeOut London online to see when and where Santa runs are scheduled.

Enjoy a Sunday roast.

If neither of you suffer a fear of heights, the Tower Bridge Experience.

Westminster Abbey. Take either a London Walks or Vergers Tour.

London Walks Jack the Ripper or Ghosts tour(s). www.walks.com

Imperial War Museum.

Can he ice skate? The rinks will be set up. One outside the National History Museum.

A Theatre performance of Wicked or Aladdin.

I'd opt for Bath.

Posted by
1094 posts

Winter WonderLand?

While I love Camden Lock Market recommended by another poster, I don't know how good it is after the fire (though a 16 yr old might find it interesting). You can visit the Stables Market instead. It is close by.

Posted by
631 posts

As already said, I don't imagine a 16 year old would get too excited by Bath or the Cotswolds. And Oxford might only appeal if he has an interest in one of the museums.

As a suggestion from the offside, how about a daytrip to Liverpool? The direct trains travel at 125mph and can do the journey in around 2¼ hours. If you book "Advance" tickets around 12 weeks before travel fares (fixed to specific trains) can be as low as £17 each way, sadly 16th birthday is the start of adult fares. Normally I would suggest the nationalrail.co.uk website but in this case just go straight to www.virgintrains.co.uk/best-fare-finder . Make sure you select Add Return journey after giving the route. It will give a matrix of dates and times. And for a treat, when it has shown the cheapest fares click the drop box and change cheapest to 1st Class, you may find those for around £40 and they include free food and drinks (at business travel times this is a full breakfast or airline style dinner). The real bargains need booking 2-3months in advance but tickets can be issued as e-Tickets for print at home, m-Ticket to use within their cellphone App or collected from the Fast Ticket machine at London Euston (you must have the same credit card you bought them with). Avoid Sundays as the trains aren't as good.

Liverpool has a range of museums including The Beatles within a walking tour from Lime Street station.

Posted by
3661 posts

A 16-year-old is an apprentice adult and can act like one. Why not ask him to do some research and than follow at least some of his suggestions?

Posted by
8293 posts

The Natural History Museum and the Imperial War Museum would have interested my sons when they were 16.

Posted by
3140 posts

Emma, you and I stand corrected about him not liking Cotswolds- there is one thing in the Cotswolds that might interest him if he likes Harry Potter. My 21 yr old daughter wants to go on the Mad Max tour from Bath to Avebury, Lacock, Castle Combe-although the weather might make this less enjoyable in November when the OP is going. And the tour without Stonehenge doesn't start until 11 AM-important with teens. OP, Theatre performance of Lion King

Posted by
537 posts

You might consider York if your son likes trains - there is an amazing train museum there. The walls and minister are impressive as well.
But have your son do some research.