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London Spring Break

I’m looking at possibly doing a London trip for Spring Break (April 1-9) with our kids who will be 12 and 15. The kids aren’t big into museums as much as my wife and I. So we only have the British Museum and Churchill war room. Is the war room worth a visit? We were in New York last spring break and visited the Met and Natural history museum. How different is the British museum compared to those? I’m wondering if we should skip it and do something else. Here’s what I got planned so far. Any critique would be very helpful. I know April 6 and 7 are big travel days if we do Paris so I’m not sure on rearranging our schedule or skipping it all together and staying in London. Thanks

April 1- Fly to London

April 2- Arrive at London: Big Bus Red Line Hop on Hop Off(get a overview of the city), Covent Garden/ Neal’s Yard, London Eye

April 3-Buckingham Palace, Church Hill Museum, Elizabeth Tower

April 4-Full day tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Bath (Roman Baths/ Cathedral) from London

April 5- Changing of the guard, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Leadnehall Market

April 6- Warner Bro Harry Potter

April 7- Paris Day Trip? My wife and I were here last year for 4 days so it’s whatever the kids want to see and do. We are fine just walking around and soaking up Paris again. Or we could possibly do Disneyland Paris and skip the city itself.

April 8- Horse Guard Parade (is this different than changing of the guard?), British Museum possibly , Trafalgar Square. Checking out sites we missed or wandering the city one last time.

April 9- Fly Home

Posted by
7528 posts

The War Rooms are very interesting - if you are well read into WWII, the Blitz and understand the significance of it. Not so much if your kids dont have background into it. Seeing the room where Churchill slept is not exactly exciting. Its also underground, cramped and a maze. That's just my opinion.

Trafalgar Square is just a place with a monument, not something to visit other than walking through it.

Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge, all in one day. All worth seeing, but thats one long and wearing day. Bath is a whole city, not just a walk through. I'd spread those out.

Posted by
250 posts

Thanks Stan,
We were planning of doing a fully day tour to Bath, Windsor and Stonehenge. My kids aren’t so much in WWII stuff but my wife and I did all the Normandy/ D-Day while we were in France last year so I thought that might be interesting to see the Churchill war room. And copy that on the square. I put that on there so we didn’t miss it. As I’m sure we will stumble upon it on our days is London.

Posted by
266 posts

I would not do a hop on hop off bus tour on your arrival day. We did and were falling asleep on the bus.

I think you have too much planned for April 5th. You could do the Tower of London in the morning and since you are over there, Tower Bridge and maybe St. Paul's Cathedral. Or do the Tower of London in the morning and Westminster Abbey in the afternoon. I would not try to cram all that in one day. The Tower is big and takes time to see. And you don't want to rush through Westminster Abbey either. I would actually do them on separate days.

When my husband and I were on our honeymoon (2004) we did the one day tour of Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath. Of course any of these deserves much more time than you'll get on this tour, but if you're not going to be back for a long time, it's better than not seeing them. I didn't get back to London until 2018, so I'm glad we did it. It was fun and I do still remember a lot of it. People say it is too much for one day and will be a blur, but I didn't find that to be the case.

Having said that about the Windsor/Stonehenge/Bath trip, I feel bad about discouraging the Paris day trip. I haven't done that, so I can't really advise, but it sounds really ambitious and rushed. But maybe someone will have some experience with it and can give some good advice.

The British Museum is huge and wonderful. Check out their website and figure out what you want to see, because you won't be able to see everything.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
250 posts

Thanks for the advice Mary, we have done a few all day tours and really enjoy them even though it can be a little fast paced. I would rather see them than not see them at all in my opinion! Paris is definitely up in the air, I don’t care either way as I know we will have to go thru customs to and from and that can eat up an hour each way. That day can always be a chill and relax day and hit up the Abbey or British museum and that’s it for the day. I’m one of those people that’s like well we are here might as well go check Paris while we’re here :)

Posted by
2647 posts

I would skip Paris and slow down.
I actually think a tour of Parliament is interesting, and it's very close to the Churchill War rooms, which could be interesting to the kids, as they see the antiquated equipment used. Take in account that crowds slow down your touring through sites and getting around, especially around Easter.
The Tower of London should fascinate the kids, and maybe they can read/ watch some history of Henry viii and Anne Boleyn. To see the Crown Jewels, arrive at opening and go to that section first. This is at least a half day visit, if not more.
If the airline chaos continues, you may not even arrive on the first day when you intended , so don't plan too much, especially locations that would require pre-purchase of tickets.
Where in London are you staying?
Have a wonderful family trip!

Posted by
250 posts

Totally makes sense on skipping Paris all together and see more of London at a slower pace for sure. We went last year to Paris my wife and I so I’m not dead set on a Paris Day trip. It would only be for the kiddos if they had their heart set on it. Can always call an audible and just stay in London!

I’ve got a few AirBnB places in mind by the Tower of London that I’m keeping an eye. But I’m really looking at airfare right now and seeing if any deals pop up. Keeping an eye with Scott’s Cheap Flights, Foogle flights and sky scanner to see if airfare will come down and see if any Black Friday deals possibly.

Posted by
12601 posts

Buckingham Palace is usually not open to visitors in April. Only the summer months. You'll see the outside of it at the Changing of the Guard.

I would also move the Churchill War Museum to the 5th and the Tower of London and London Bridge to the 3rd.

Posted by
455 posts

I haven't seen any of London except for 4 hours in 1982 (all I remember is seeing Big Ben) so far from an expert ... and I'll be heading over in April also ... here's my 2 cents worth:

April 2- Arrive at London: Big Bus Red Line Hop on Hop Off (get a overview of the city), Covent Garden/ Neal’s Yard, London Eye ... skip the bus, you'll sit in traffic ... save the time and money for better sites ... ditto London Eye ... for the 4 of you, it will cost over $150, so not worth the time and expense just to stand in a line for hours then go around in a big circle for 30 minutes in a box filled with others for the few minutes of view at the top ... go to the Sky Garden instead, it's free, you can walk around and get different views and stay as long as you want

April 3-Buckingham Palace, Church Hill Museum, Elizabeth Tower ...could probably fit something else in here (Changing of the Guard maybe since that happens at the Palace)

April 4-Full day tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Bath (Roman Baths/Cathedral) from London ... this seems like a real long day with not enough time at the locations

April 5- Changing of the guard, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Leadnehall Market ... no way this all gets done in 1 day, do one of these on the first day (since the Tower, the Bridge and St Pauls are all kinda close, do those 3 and do Westminster Abbey on day 1)

April 6- Warner Bro Harry Potter ... if the kids are big fans, this might be the highlight of their trip ... can't relate since, while being a Harry Potter fan, I wouldn't spend my time here

April 7- Paris Day Trip? ... one word ... NO ... you'll need at least a half day of travel whether by plane or Eurostar so not much time to see anything ... Disneyland? ... sorry, but are you nuts?

April 8- Horse Guard Parade (is this different than changing of the guard? ... yes), British Museum possibly, Trafalgar Square. Checking out sites we missed or wandering the city one last time ... British Museum - definately ... other possibilities include Churchill War Rooms, Victoria and Albert Museum (free), water Uber down the Thames to Greenwich to the Observatory, Cutty Sark, etc... then Uber taxi back.

Posted by
3614 posts

If they're HP fans you must go to Warner Brothers Studio, but you should book now. If the weather is nice, take the boat from Westminster Pier to Kew Gardens.

EDITED: On our trip when when she was a freshman in college, our daughter wanted to go to the London Zoo. Even in December, it was fun.

Posted by
858 posts

I am not a huge HP fan, but I enjoyed the Warner Bros studios and have been twice. This will be a highlight for the kids. It takes about 3 hours to go through. I would book it now as your trip is during the Easter Break for British Schools which usually have a 2-week break for Easter (my sister works in a school in England and her break is scheduled for April 3 to April 14th, 2023). Paris is doable and even Paris Disney World (not both) as Eurostar still provides a direct service until June 5, 2023, when it will discontinue. You would need a very early start to make it worth your while and it would be an extra long day. I would personally leave this for another vacation, but if you are young and energetic then do it if you want to. The train ride itself is something unique and exciting for the kids.

I would skip the bus. London is an easy city to navigate and many attractions are close together. Buckingham Palace is not open during April, so it will just be walking past it and taking photos. You can walk through St James Park to Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) and Parliament and Westminster Abbey. They are all close together. The entry to the Churchill Museum is just around the corner. It is quite impressive inside, with lots of artifacts to look at. It was quite intense and very busy with the crowds, so do this when you are not tired. If the kids are not into this type of History, I would skip it.

Depending on your hotel location, you will need to take the tube to Tower Bridge/Tower of London or you could take the Uber ferry down the Thames after visiting the Eye. The ramp to the ferry is literally next door to the Eye and you just scan, buy a ticket, and get on. For the Eye, we purchased tickets before we left the US and did not add on the fast track. The regular line moves fairly quickly even though it looks long. Using the underground is easy but make sure you read the post about using contactless cards.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
6829 posts

The hop on hop off bus is a tour of London traffic jams, nothing more. I would skip this entirely.

I agree that April 5 has way too much listed.

Here is a day schedule that I think would work well.
Tower of London right when it opens. Head directly to Crown Jewels and then take a Beefeater Tour.
Exit the Tower and take the Uber Line boat from the Tower Pier to Greenwich. Here you can explore the Cutty Sark, The Royal Observatory, Naval Museum as desired and have lunch. It is mid afternoon by this point. Take the boat back to Tower Bridge if you want to explore it. Dinner.

Put Westminster Abbey first thing on April 3rd and then do the short walk over to Churchill War Rooms. Walk by Buckingham Palace afterwards.

Posted by
23114 posts

The Churchill Museum section of the Churchill War Rooms is very interesting for those into 20th-century history. That sight took me well over half a day (maybe 6 hours). It's not a quick visit unless you just want to see the war rooms, but if that's the case you're spending a lot of money to see 1/3 or less of the sight.

The British Museum is a monster and quite crowded (the ground floor being the worst). If you show up around opening time, you may be in line for 30 minutes or more (my experience in mid-September). I suspect--but don't know for sure--the wait may be a bit shorter later in the day, but the museum will be more crowded than it is right at opening time. If you're go-getters you could try lining up 30 minutes or so before opening time and hoping to get inside at 10:10 or so. In any case, you'd be very well advised to spend some time on the website, figuring out which exhibits are most important to you. I think I covered about half the museum over the course of 20 hours, and I certainly didn't read all the explanatory material along the way. Yes, it is that big. There's a sit-down restaurant on the upper floor; food's OK and not crazy-expensive, but it's popular, so you might have to wait in line if you don't have a reservation, and service isn't especially fast. There's a grab-and-go spot on the ground floor that will chew up less time.

I'd encourage you to consider taking a day-trip to Bath or Windsor or Salisbury/Stonehenge on your own rather than sitting on a bus for so many hours and being rushed through three different stops.

I think a last-minute decision to take a daytrip to Paris is likely to come at an extremely high cost for transportation. At the moment Eurostar tickets for tomorrow are 194 euros per person, one way.

Posted by
250 posts

Thanks for all the info this really helps out a lot. I didn’t realize it was a holiday for the schools.

Posted by
422 posts

Hi, one thing for you - and the kids - to look at, is the London walks site to see if they have anything that you'd want to do.

Their walks in London take 2 hours, and I know they do walks in the British Museum, National Gallery and the V & A - a good way to get the highlights with someone who knows their way round these large buildings and can give you a good overview. They also have Harry Potter walks. And do day trips to the places outside London you have mentioned, if they work for your timetable, you would have someone else organising trains, buses, guides etc.

Posted by
858 posts

Don't be too alarmed about it being a school break. I just wanted you to make sure you got tickets for the Harry Potter Studios, as that does stay busy during those times.

Posted by
2034 posts

hey hey edryer
how fun to take the kids and let them see this big crowded city with lots to do. stay in london, your days there are too short.
don't know where you're staying, day 2 could be jetlag for all of you, stay outdoors, NO to hop on hop off, like others say you'll be stopped more in traffic than moving
register for free, check out things to do in london, restaurants, afternoon tea (some themed) 2 for 1, look under travel check out seaside and take a train to brighton for an overnight or day trip, beach and boardwalk on your paris day which is a NO WAY! in covent garden (world's largest candy store), roam and walk around think we ate fish & chips around here. being with you need to slow down, you're trying to cram so so much in each day. stop and enjoy just being in london, many things are more "adult" that kids will be bored in 5 minutes.
under restaurants the afternoon tea would be fun for all. there is a burger afternoon tea, on the london yacht. ice cream tea, mad hatter's tea, has a big red bus tea tour
see a theatre show
a regent's canal boat ride down the canal from little venice to camden lock markets
map of the street markets 20 of them and where and what they offer
cafe in a crypt, kids may enjoy walking thru
speedboat experience on the thames london
so much info for you to investigate
do windsor one day and bath another if time, not both same day. we took train to bath and was a whole day
we saw the changing of the guard, just by accident. the horses clomping down the street when we got of bus. so we followed, it was absolutely crazy, nuts, packed, people climbing on fences, statues, "bobby's" everyone directing, pushing and shoving trying to get up front to fence, people mad and yelling to move away "i was here first". if you're short hard to see, i was as close as i could be to see watching between elbows. so happy to get video and pictures, would i do it again, NO WAY. we waited about 60-90 minutes it's your decision, inform the kids and don't want grumpy/too tired/"are we there yet?" it was all there.
walked by horse guard parade (it's very different & in different area, got picture with a guard, less rigid, pet the horse without much fanfare there.
boating on the serpentine at hyde park, statues and fountains, enjoy the day in the park with the kids. give you guys time to relax, people watch, sit at a bench, if foot get tired and sore, call a cab
keep asking questions, these posters will tell you good bad and ugly

Posted by
7375 posts

Been going to London since Nixon was in office…

Some thoughts:

How adventurous are the kids? Any interest in climbing the O2?

See theatre. The London 1/2 price ticket booth offerings is now on line or you can visit in person. Its in Leicester Square.
The Play The Goes Wrong, Hamilton, Jersey Boys are all well done and research to see if Witness For The Prosecution is still being performed. Its set in an actual courtroom.

Do the kids care about mummies? British Museum
is about Egyptology and mummies. Honestly, might punt the British Museum and instead visit Greenwich, then picnic or enjoy a pub grub lunch.
Somehow think 12 and 15 year old will like visiting and dining in a pub. Kids, dogs and cats are allowed in pubs. Try the Trafalgar Tavern. Or the Plume of Feathers where there is a pub cat.

Take them to Shoreditch and tour the wall murals. For lunch visit the BoxPark food court. Then wander about Brick Lane.

Visit Spitalfields. Something for everyone.

Visit the Victor Wynd Museum of Curiosities then stroll along the canal path up to Victoria Park.

If the kids are into rugby research one of the clubs. Might get to watch them practice. Same with soccer.

If into shopping: Liberty, Fortum and Mason, Lilywhites ( sports ) Neals Yard and Carnaby Street.

Food options: Dishoom, Nandos, Wagamama, Pret a Mangers, Leon, HomeSlice, Wahaca….

Pubs will often have a sidewalk board advertising a lunch option. The variety of food options in London is outstanding. Hopefully, you kids will be willing to try something new.

Posted by
178 posts

Everyone is providing excellent advice. I’d like to add that you can see the changing of the guard at Windsor castle as well. We were there in 2019 and it wasn’t very crowded then. I should add that we were there in November so that definitely could have made a difference in the crowds.
Have a great trip!

Posted by
656 posts

Overall not a bad plan. You need to take into account travel times. Your Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge day trip is going to end up being more of a “drive by” then actually touring of the sites. I would split that day into two days. As for a day trip to Paris, not worth it. Again more time traveling than site seeing.

Posted by
23 posts

The British Museum is fantastic. The Egyptian collection is fun; so many mummies and statues. The kids should be old enough to understand the importance of the Rosetta Stone and it is actually pretty impressive looking. The Balawat Gates in the Assyrian collection are stunning as are the rooms with the series of Lion's Hunts. I can't imagine any 12 and 15 year old kids not being entertained by all of those things. You might even be able to talk them into letting you see the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon. The building itself is also pretty impressive. The Great Court is a much nicer adaptation of an old museum space than the Louvre Pyramid.

Posted by
1422 posts

So what does your kids trip research determine are their interests?

Posted by
250 posts

We have our flights booked. Landing in London at 7:15am on the 31st. We are staying at Leonardos Royal London St. Paul hotel for 8 nights. From the recommendations, I made a few changes. Im wondering since our hotel is close to St. Paul should we hit that first on the 31st the day we land? We can leave our bags at the hotel. We are a stones throw from it. Also do you recommend getting car hire, uber or taxi from Heathrow? Our April 7th day is completely open and was wanting to do a day trip or just stay in London. Any ideas? Thanks for all the help!

Foodie Questions:
What are the best pubs to go to, that allow kids. Mine are 12 and 15.
Afternoon tea that the kids will enjoy (Mad Hatter or Charlie and the Choc Factory)
Favorite local non touristy places to eat

March 31- Fly to London
April 1- Arrive at London: Check in to hotel, walk the city, Covent Garden/ Neal’s Yard, Trafalgar Square, London Eye
April 2- Buckingham Palace, Changing of the guard 11am, Elizabeth Tower, Leadnehall Market
April 3- Full day tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Bath (Roman Baths/ Cathedral) from London
April 4- Westminster Abbey, Sky Garden, Horse Guard Parade 11am
April 5- Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Borough Market
April 6- Warner Bro Harry Potter 8:30am
April 7- Oxford/ Stratford-Upon-Avon Day Trip?
April 8- British Museum
April 9- Home

Posted by
7375 posts

All pubs allow kids. Some have rules for later in the evening. Pubs by definition are family gathering places and are very unlike American bars! You might see babies, children, dogs and occasionally a pub cat.

Be aware the pub toilets are often down in the basement. Stairs can be narrow and the climb back up to the bar a good workout.

Hop on Hop bus is a complete waste of time and your money. Traffic is abysmal. Use your feet. 20 minute stroll from Covent Garden to The Eye. You’ll get to walk by Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben. Big Ben chimes on the hour. Walk across Tower Bridge
( great view of Parliament )

Or use Waterloo Bridge and follow the river path to Parliament square.

Remember traffic flows the opposite way to what you are used to so don’t jaywalk. Cross with the crowds.

The walking with help you adjust to the time zone, and the sights, sounds and smells of London

Yes Horse Guards parade has their changing of the Guard which is different from the Changing of the Guard in front of the Palace. The latter is massively crowded and unspectacular. Since you are going to Windsor watch the changing of the Guard there.

I also have no clue how that tour includes a visit to Stonehenge. Go on your own by train. Train from Waterloo to Salisbury then bus to the Stonehenge visitor’s center. So much better.

British Museum is all about Egypt. Mummies, sarcophagus, etc.

Check your dates to see if Maltby Market will be open. Food offerings. Dishoom, Nandos, Franco Maca chains are great. Kids should like and remember pub lunches are good.

Very walkable city. Been visiting and staying there for nearly 50 years.

Imagine kids would like all the street art in the Shoreditch neighborhood. Great coffee at OAT. Could then walk to Spitalfields for food, shopping and meandering. Or a few blocks more to Brick Lane

Always changing yet always the same.

Posted by
266 posts

There's more to the British Museum than Egypt and mummies, but as much as I like museums [and Egypt and mummies :-)] I couldn't spend a whole day there. You might want to see what else might be within your family's walking range, and interests. This summer my husband and I are sandwiching the British Museum in between the Temple Church and tea at The Wolseley--with a trip to Hatchards thrown in since I love books.

Posted by
3209 posts

"April 7- Oxford/ Stratford-Upon-Avon Day Trip?"

You'd spend so much time traveling on the train it wouldn't even be worth it.
Pretty much impossible to cram those two sights into one day.
Both of the places named are destinations in their own right with lots to see, not places to spend an hour and hop back on the train.

What would you like/expect to see in each place?

Posted by
250 posts

For the Day trip on April 7th it was just an idea. Im also looking at instead of an all day tour on April 3rd is do Stonehenge and Windsor. And then on April 7th go to Bath for the day. Thoughts on that? What's the best way to do Windsor and Stonehenge?

Posted by
162 posts

We’ve been traveling to Europe with our daughter since she was 9 (she’s 28 now and still wants to go with us!). For a bit of sightseeing texture and outdoor time, wherever we go, we check out the zoo. The ZSL London Zoo is lovely, with a particularly well presented penguin exhibit.

We saw “The Play That Goes Wrong” on our last visit and thought it was very funny and as Claudia suggested above, would be perfect for kids. Check the Leicester Square TKTS booth for discounted same day tickets.

You asked for a comparison of NYC museums, (the Met and Natural History) to the British Museum. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not sure they are comparable. To me, the Met is like the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert and the British Museum all under one roof.

If you have any fashion design lovers in your party, I would recommend the Victoria and Albert for the permanent fashion collection and special fashion exhibits. And, the V&A has the most beautiful cafeteria I’ve ever seen.

Posted by
272 posts

From your hotel it’s an easy walk across the Millenium bridge to the Tate Modern, Borough Market and the South Bank. I think your kids will really enjoy this area.

Posted by
7375 posts

You can do Stonehenge by yourself.

Take a SW train from Waterloo Station to Salisbury. Then take a Stonehenge Tour Bus to the visitors center.

Can’t do Windsor and Stonehenge on the same day.

Posted by
422 posts

to answer your Q about transport from Heathrow. Don't think about taxis, way too expensive. I have never used uber in London so can't speak to this. There are various car services you can book in advance. I've never used any of these, I mostly use the tube from Heathrow and in future possibly the Elizabeth Line, but the services below are the most often mentioned and seem to have good reports.

Re your proposed schedule, April 2 Changing of the Guard and Leadenhall market - assume this is because of Harry Potter - this market is less than a mile from St Pauls and could probably easily be fitted in one evening, +there are restaurants in the area. I've never understood the attraction of the Changing of the Guards, seems to be standing round for hours to see not very much. Notice you also have a similar item on another day at Horseguards Parade, which seems overkill.

Agree with others combining sites outside London, means a lot of sitting on transport. What sites do your kids really, really want to see?

A whole day for the British Museum sounds a bit too much.

Have a look at London Walks and see if they have anything in their schedule that appeals. They do 2-hour walking tours.

Posted by
250 posts

Thanks Katy,
The British museum would be in the morning till we get hungry. And just see the thing we want to see. We are doing the Jack the Ripper tour with and looking at some others. Are there any other you would recommend with walk that are a must do? Our kids definitely want to see Stonehenge and Windsor. Bath would be cool to see but not a must. I’ve heard those same thing on changing of the guard. We like like to see some of it just to say we did. And for the horse changing of the guard if we are in the area at the time or didn’t have a set plan for the day we would check it out as well.

Posted by
422 posts

re London Walks. I've done lots of their walks over the years. As have many other posters here. They do a British Museum 2-hour walk - I did this some years ago (the guide I had was Tom who, I know, is one of Rick Steves tour guides). It's a good way to see the BM without being too overwhelmed. They also do good overviews of the National Gallery and V & A Museum, just picking out a few highlights and talking about them. A recent favourite is their Street Art Walk, with Pepe - he points out stuff in the City which you just wouldn't notice otherwise. I don't really recommend their Harry Potter walks, although good, they are just rammed. I've never done the Jack the Ripper walk, thought it wouldn't be worth it as all the old sites are gone.

I've also done the City Churches Tour recently, which I thought was excellent, ie Wren churches in the City, but if you are doing St Pauls and Westminster you may be churched out. The Brunel river cruise is also good. But, a lot of this, is down to personal preference/interests.. Suggest reading the reviews of each tour that you are interested in to get more feedback.

Posted by
23114 posts

I've taken over 10 London Walks--maybe nearly 20. They were all interesting to me. It's a matter of looking at what the tours cover to see what sounds most interesting to your group, especially the children. There are tours of neighborhoods that I like because they take you to some our-of-the way spots, with the guide describing events that occurred nearby, famous folks who lived there, etc. Those tours mighr be a little subtle for the kids. There's a Sherlock Holnes tour that might work well; I haven't taken that one. I liked a tour about spies and one about the blitz.

Posted by
521 posts

Bear in mind that the coronation will take place a month after your visit and there may be some impact on places you want to visit around Parliament Square as preparations are under way….for example Westminster Abbey, Horse Guards Parade, etc. I seem to remember reading somewhere that King Edward’s crown has been removed from the Tower of London for resizing. Mind, still lots of goodies to see in that collection!

Posted by
3209 posts

I would ditch the Jack The Ripper Tour. As someone else said, the exact sites where the murders were committed are long gone. This is a tour of a dingy, drab section of London with no lovely buildings at all. Boring!
It's amazing to me that American tourists, with all the gun violence and murders we have in America, can't wait to get to London and see......where more murders were committed. Some of the victims (all women) were dissected and mutilated, some so badly they couldn't be identified at first. The Jack the Ripper tour is truly something I wouldn't be doing with my kids as family entertainment.

You don't have much time in London. I truly wouldn't waste any time doing this walk.
Better to do a Tower of London walk with the London Walks Company, and hear the tales of the executions that took place at the Tower, tales of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and more, if your kids want scary stuff.
Or a walk with the London Walks Company around what used to be the Roman city of London. Your kids will learn something of value there.

I'm betting you children will enjoy The Natural History Museum and the Science Museum a lot more than any Ripper walk. There are three major museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington:
The Natural History Museum
The Science Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum

Posted by
422 posts

Quick point, I would download the Citymapper app onto your phone(s). This gives real time travel information and routes. Also walking maps/directions.

And seeing the suggestion of Tate Modern, reminds me that from your hotel it would be easy to get to, using the wobbly bridge - ie the Millennium Bridge - across the Thames. It is also close to Shakespeare's Globe, they do guided tours which are very interesting.

Posted by
250 posts

Thanks for the responses this help out a lot. After looking at the Jack the Ripper tour I think we will drop it and see what else they have that we are interested in. We used the city mapper app when we were in Italy and France and that app was awesome! I’ll have to check out the Natural History museum and see if that’s what we want to do!

Im also curious how much time at Windsor Castle/ St GeorgeChapel is needed. If I get an 0930 entry to the castle is 3 hours enough their website suggest 1.5-2 hrs? Im thinking of doing Windsor in the morning and Bath in the afternoon. Is that too much? I feel based on the thing I've read Windsor is really only a half day at best. Thoughts?

And our day to Stonehenge we will do on April 7th and also spend some time Salisbury. Is the inner circle ticket at Stonehenge worth it? Or do you get close enough to see it

For these day trip do I need to book train tickets in advanced, if so what website? Or can I get them at the train station. From the hotel it looks like Blackfriars is the closest main hub.

Thanks for all the help

Posted by
1 posts

I am traveling with my 15 year old also. Have you looked into the Imperial War Museum? We have decided to do that over the War and Cabinet Rooms.

Posted by
422 posts

Salisbury pairs well with Stonehenge. One idea is keep an eye on the page as they do day trips outside London in the summer, see if they add anything for April (their schedule was hit badly by the pandemic and its still not back as it was and they did trips to both this option and to Windsor).

One thing to remember is that the time you are here is school holidays, so some sites will be very busy. The National History Museum for instance will be crowded; the Science Museum (has hands on stuff for kids), effectively next door also will be busy. If you can be flexible this will help. I'm sure you'll be back in London to do more stuff sometime.

Windsor wouldn't take a full day, for me at least, although there is the town as well as the castle but I would think of coming back into London that day and doing something else there. Bath really is an outlier when you are here such a sort time and there is so much you can do in London.

One close to London site, good for kids, that I don't think I have seen suggested is Hampton Court Palace - there is the option of taking a boat along the Thames to get there or back (but only do this one way, takes a while, and do the other leg by train).

The Churchill War Rooms, which you have mentioned, is also close to Westminster Abbey - short walk.

I am not an expert on trains, many others on this board are and I hope will chip in. But generally for local trains ie to Windsor I don't think of buying ahead but for trains to Salisbury I would buy in advance for a better price.

For a short trip you could fill your days with London sites and still not see much,

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3020 posts

Some say they were happy spending only 2 hours at the Tower of London, but we spent 6 hours there and loved it. There is a suit of armour display within the White Tower that the kids may enjoy.

While in the area, there is a historical pub across the river called The George. If the sign can be believed, Charles Dickens and Shakespeare spent time there.

Not a pub, but if you're going to Leadenhall Market and are looking for a sit down meal, check out La Vina on the 2nd floor.

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At busy times I recommend going to the Science Museum and Natural History Museum at the end of the day for the last hour to hour and a half before closing. It’s much quieter by then. You won’t see everything but it’s quite unbelievable how busy the Natural History Museum in particular gets in school holidays.