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Late night return from theatre, mom/daughter only

We are visiting London this July for the first time. As a family of five with kids ranging from 7 to 14, we've decided that only my 14-year-old daughter and I are interested in seeing a musical. We thought of a matinee, but don't want to eat up our daylight time for sightseeing. We are looking at a 7:30 show of a three-hour production, so I am guessing we will be heading back from Queen's Theatre to our rented flat in South Kensington (5 min walk from Kensington High St. tube) around 11 pm or even later.

Given that we are not familiar with the city, I'm a little worried about the two of us getting back on our own. (I would have no qualms if my husband were with us.)

Would you be concerned? What is the best way to get back? Tube, taxi for peace of mind?

Posted by
795 posts

I wouldn't worry about walking in South Kensington at night at all. We've stayed there many times. Just take the normal precautions people must take when walking anywhere at night. A taxi will make you feel safer and might be right for you.

Posted by
3428 posts

Hubby and I almost always used the tube after our (multiple) theatre indulgences. Most everyone else will be also. Check out your route ahead of time so you know your stops (and changes, if needed). Simply stay aware and DO NOT take valuables with you. Preferably do not take purses- the crowds on the trains make it easy for pick pockets, but you just need to be vigilant. Often there would be one or more cars full of many patrons from the same show and they would sing the songs, etc.

Posted by
4661 posts

I enjoyed evenings out in London, travelling back to my hotel by tube and on foot and never felt unsafe. And this was as a solo woman. Know your route ahead if time and be aware of your surroundings. Walk purposefully. You'll be fine. If you're still unsure, take a taxi.

Posted by
915 posts

I've traveled by myself on the Tube/walking from the theatres/Charing Cross to Baker Street and on to my hotel that time of night with no issues.

Posted by
6113 posts

Getting a taxi will be expensive and unnecessary, as you should be safe travelling by public transport. Travelling back at 3am after a night of drinking would be a different matter......

You should be out of the theatre before 10.30 - London will still be busy. Avoid Leicester Square tube, as all the theatres will be emptying out at a similar time and the pavements aren't wide enough to cope will the crowds! Head to Charing Cross underground station and take the Bakerloo line to Oxford Circus - change there onto the Central line as far as Notting Hill Gate, then switch to the Circle or District lines for High St Ken. It sounds complicated, but isn't!

Check the tfl.gov.uk website whenever travelling in London for the latest updates.

Posted by
94 posts

I live in a mid-sized city, and we usually drive downtown when we are there for sporting and cultural events, so I am somewhat uncomfortable with really large cities and am not adept with public transport.

That said, I have heard wonderful things about London's underground -- and its public transportation in general-- so I am hoping I will get comfortable after using it for a few days.

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone, and for the specific tube advice, Jennifer!

Posted by
2770 posts

I believe that Piccadilly Circle tube station is closer a 3 minute walk. At Piccadilly take the Piccadilly Line (dark blue on tube map) to Gloucester Road Station (5th stop) then change to the Circle Line (yellow on tube map) to High Street Kensington (1st stop). Have fun in London!!

Posted by
1396 posts

I've taken 3 children under 10 out to the theater, and never felt unsafe getting back afterwards. London feels very safe, much more so than San Francisco or New York.

London is buzzing at that time of night. It's perfectly safe and you'll enjoy the atmosphere of people milling about post-theatre, going home on the tube etc. The worst you should encounter is a bit of drunkenness. You're staying in a very safe area and 11pm is in no way late for London. You'll have a great time.

Posted by
3996 posts

High Street Kensington is quite residential, and "high" priced at that. The actual High Street business strip should be quiet by the time you get back from the show. While there are pubs sprinkled around the neighbourhoods, there is no cluster to attract a noisy late-night drinking crowd. The bus is indeed a good ride.

Posted by
3387 posts

Go with Sasha's idea of taking the bus! If you're lucky you can go to the top level, get the seats at the very front, and have a movie-theater view of the city through the floor-to-ceiling window as you wind through the streets of London at night...one of the best things to do there!

Posted by
15779 posts

We used London buses for after-theatre transport on our last two trips to London. It was very nice. Since we were heading east, we took the No. 15 to Tower Hill, past iconic sights like St. Paul's, then walked across Tower Bridge.. One time, as we crossed Tower Bridge, they opened the bridge for a "party cruise" boat full of celebrants---very festive.

It looks like the No. 14 runs until midnight, every 10-11 minutes at that time of night. Make sure you consult the bus maps, and understand the letter codes for the proper bus stop for your destination.

Nd note that you cannot buy tickets for the bus from the driver. You will need Oyster cards or Travelcards----which you will likely need for other transport during your stay. The bus is less expensive than the Tube, and Ibreally prefer staying above-ground, so we use them a lot (along with walking).

Posted by
136 posts

We just saw Les Mis tonight. I'd seen it before on Broadway, but this was every bit as good if not better. The voices....

Anyway, after the theater there were tons of people around and walking in all directions, and this on a Monday night.

Posted by
4684 posts

The 14 is a twenty-four hour route. If you are very late, you could walk down to the first stop on Piccadilly where you also have the option of the night-only N97.

Posted by
52 posts

Another thought is to use Uber. My wife and I were in London last week and saw a show in the west end. We took the tube to the show and used Uber to return to our hotel after, which was less than 10 pounds and totally worth it. Quick, easy and no crowds to deal with.

(Note, we exited the theater, walked a block away to escape the large line of taxi's and selfie takers and were off and on our way in just a few moments.)