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itinerary suggestions - spring break with kids

We’ll be spring breaking in London with our 3 kids (8, 6, 3) in a month and a half, meeting up with my brother and sister-in-law for the weekend. We rented an apartment in Westminster and plan on taking the tube/buses (taxis in a pinch). The idea plan is to eat breakfast and some dinners at the flat as we are managing food allergies and picky eaters.

Rough Itinerary – Subject to being thrown out based on weather and kids temperament, not to mention suggestions!

Mon – arrive early … Buckingham Palace, St James Park, National Gallery
Tue – Kensington Palace, Park, Harrods, Kids Bus Ride
Wed – ½ day trip to Windsor, ideally a kid friendly West End show
Thu – British museum, Covet Garden, Tea (if we can find an allergy friendly option)
Fri – visiting friends
Sat – Camden Market, boat to Kew and gardens
Sun – Westminster Abbey, Tower, boat trip to Greenwich
Mon - leaving

• Neighborhood strolls – Soho, South Kensington (my old hood), West End, City, Regent Street, etc
• ½ day trip to Canterbury or Hampton Court
• Science Museum, Transport Museum, Zoo
• London Eye (if I can convince a skittish youngster)

Our goal is less to hit a bunch of sights, than share cool ones with our kids. Thanks in advance for suggestions!

Posted by
11450 posts

Um - too much stuff !

Everything takes time - just getting from sight to sight - and lots of walking - and you have three kids !

I’ve been 5 times and haven’t seen everything on your list yet ( and I go for 5-7 days each time lol ) .

If weather is nice - the boat ride to Greenwich is nice - but it may be a bit boring after the first 15 minutes for the kids - the Maritime Museum is nice up there though .

The British Museum is always super crowded and can be overwhelming for kids - so look at plans first and jut pick one or two areas .

Kids generally love the Natural History Museum and it is right beside the Victoria and Albert Museum which is quite nice and has some hands on sections for kids , th can try on costumes etc

Posted by
2611 posts

The kids would love the musical The Lion King. I took my granddaughter the first time when she just turned 4, she could sing every song word by word on the way home. I have taken her two more times, she absolutely loves it. Will go again!!

Posted by
1218 posts

I agree you are planning way too much. Day we arrived in London at 9 am we made our way to hotel, dropped bags, had lunch, went on London walks in Westminster area, crashed at hotel, had early dinner and walk.

You expect to do three times as much with three kids. I assume you are coming from North America and will be here lagged.

The day we went to Westminster abbey, we also walked through St James park and went to Harrods (which was not worth the effort and would think even less with kids.) I would try to mix up one indoor activity with an outside activity.

We went to Kew Gardens and unless you are a horticulturalist (like my husband) I would not include it on a first trip to London. It is more of an arboretum than a flower garden. It also was our only activity for the day.

Posted by
4429 posts

Currently referring to Frommer’s Easyguide to London for an upcoming trip, and on the “families” page is mentioned 1. Cruising on the Regent’s Canal (best value) or Thames Clipper that passes under the Tower Bridge, 2. Riding the Tiny Tube, part of the post office railway that shuttled mail under London’s streets, and part of the “kid-oriented Postal Museum,” and 3. Warner Bros. “The Making of Harry Potter,” a wildly popular attraction. Kew Gardens, the Transport Museum, and the Science Museum also are listed.

Posted by
46 posts

Perhaps I should have mentioned that my "audibles" mean we take something out of the list and add something in, walks aside I guess. My goal was to do put 2 to 3 things (at a few hours each) per day, which given our history is doable. Our kids do better if we keep them moving, hit highlights, and don't doddle. I've been to all the itinerary stops save Camden, over a few visits and a stint living there. If we don't make it to everything that is totally OK.

There is some really cool kids stuff at Kew, the idea is to hit that (the canopy walk and playground) and drop in the main greenhouse and move on, but it really only makes sense if it is nice out.

Thanks for the museum and show suggestions!

Posted by
46 posts

I hadn't heard of the postal museum, sounds fun! Thanks!

Posted by
511 posts

It looks like Monday is your jetlagged "Zombie Day." That's a great day to wander around and get your bearings.

My children loved the Tower of London and spent nearly a whole day there at ages 8 and 11. Get the audioguides. We rode one of the Thames river boats back to the Westminster area and wandered around afterwards (found the entrance to Scotland Yard). We skipped Windsor Castle that visit, there's not enough time to do everything.

Try to see the Horse Guards Parade one morning. I've heard this is way better than the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace if you're traveling with children.

The boat trip to Greenwich is a scenic way to get there if you're going to the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. The Cutty Sark (a clipper ship) is great for all ages, and if you have budding scientists they may enjoy the observatory and straddling the prime meridian. Allow at least half a day.

If you hit a rainy day and have to cancel your outdoor plans, the Museum of London will give a great introduction to the history of the city to your children, even though it will be crowded.

Stop at all the playgrounds you see. This will burn off excess energy and pave the way for calmer museum-going.

Sounds like a great trip, please come back afterwards and share your tips (or write a trip report in the Trip Report forum).

Posted by
18158 posts

Current conditions in the Egyptian collection at the British Museum are very difficult. The area is just plain mobbed. My tour group (London Walks) was told that's the busiest part of the museum and it's especially bad when the weather is poor. I second the recommendation to explore the museum's website to develop a plan of attack before you get there.

Posted by
2643 posts

If the weather is good, London has a great zoo. It was our daughter's idea to go there when she was 18 and we all loved it.

Posted by
1127 posts

Are you going to a worship service at Westminster Abbey on Sunday? It’s not open for tourism that day.

Posted by
46 posts

Wow, there are some great suggestions here. Thanks all!