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Mother-daughter trip to London

Hello,
My daughter (13) and I are planning a trip to London in June. I rather not rent a car , the tube is just fine for us.
What area is a good place to stay that will allow easy access to public transport or to walk to sites?
We plan on doing one or two day trips ( guided) to Stonehenge and Startford-upon-Avon .
Any suggestions on London sites a 13 year old would enjoy . We plan on being in London a week.

Thanks!

Posted by
8889 posts

As for location, London is spread out, with the places you want to visit spread evenly, there is no one good place. Anywhere within the central tube zone, basically on or within the yellow circle line or on the "south bank", is as good as any other.
See tube map here: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/standard-tube-map.pdf
and central London bus map here: https://tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/images/visitors-guide-map.jpg

I would recommend the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum), "Buck House" (Buckingham Palace), Covent Garden, Tower, South Bank. Hampton Court (on the edge of London, easy by local train). And of course SHOPPING.
Pick a good bus route, and cross London upstairs at the front.

Stonehenge is frankly disappointing. It is important for what it is and how old it is, but up close it is just a bit smaller than most people expect. I would suggest Salisbury (cathedral). Or Canterbury, walls plus Cathedral, easy DIY trip by train.

For a complete user's guide to London Transport (tube, buses etc.) see here: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/london-visitor-guide.pdf

Posted by
5026 posts

A car is a disadvantage in London, so stick to public transport.

Stay anywhere in Zone 1 of the tube system. It depends on your budget. Earl's Court, Kensington and Lancaster Gate are popular areas.

Sorry, but if I had to do 2 day trips from London, Stonehenge and Stratford upon Avon wouldn't be my choices. Stonehenge is very overrated IMO and Stratford upon Avon is a tourist tacky town with a good theatre. If you want Shakespeare, go to the Globe in London and save the trouble of the travel. These are certainly not trips I would have wanted to go on as a 13 year old!

What are you interested in? Harry Potter seems to appeal to teenagers - it's near Watford so is a half day trip. Greenwich is an interesting trip - the Royal Observatory then the markets for some shopping. Hampton Court, Rye, Brighton, Lewes, Kew Gardens, Bath, Canterbury all make for good trips, but without more information as to your interests, it is difficult to advise.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks!
She definitely wants to do Harry Potter and see Phantom of the Opera. She has worn out two DVDs .
We both love history but don't want to over do museums.

Posted by
774 posts

We have been to London a number of times, while our kids were in their teens. The part of London that I prefer to stay in is Bloomsbury, which is very close to the British Museum. We aren't into shopping, so have no desire to be near the shopping areas in Knightsbridge. Bloomsbury is close to the theater district and to Covent Garden, which is good for night life, restaurants, and is generally a central location.

When our son was 10, he was very interested in spies. At the time, LondonWalks had a "Spies and Spymasters" tour that was just right. Their tours are very good, informative and interesting; you may find something that suits you.

Because the museums are free, it's an easy place to visit a museum for a short time, and just leave when you aren't interested any longer. My kids are museum lovers, so we've been to a lot of them. Something a little bit different is Sir John Soane's Museum, especially if you like sarcophagus's. The Victoria and Albert is also fun.

If you want to do a traditional English tea, be prepared for high prices. While we have done that, I find tea (traditional afternoon tea) at a place like Richoux works just as well.

Posted by
4671 posts

If you want to see Phantom book now. The site is currently offering tickets until mid-October 2017.

Posted by
14449 posts

As a little girl in an "mature" adult body, here are some of the things that I enjoyed in London:

The Museum of London
Queen Mary's Doll House in Windsor Castle
The costume/fashion section of the V&A
The V&A Museum of Childhood, in Bethnal Green
Tower Hill Pageant

Friends took their 2 daughters (about 9-11) and they loved the British Museum, especially the Egyptian wing. There are 30-minute gallery talks throughout the museum all day. Check at the info desk when you get there. If you are interested in Henry VIII, Hampton Court Palace is great. London Walks are excellent and the guides I've had were very good with kids on the tours. You must have afternoon tea at least once. It's a full meal so don't have lunch before. Madame Tussaud's can be lots of fun if you haven't been to a wax museum before.

I was also very underwhelmed by Stonehenge. On a 6-day tour of Southern England, I think it was the only sight that was a let-down!

Posted by
26369 posts

I've visited Stonehenge once in all the years I've lived here and have no desire to return.

Has she (or you) done much aerial cablecarring? The Emirates sponsor one in east London over the Thames between Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and Emirates Royal Docks

Posted by
930 posts

I have visited Stonehenge twice and will be going a third time in June. It is on my sister's bucket list and I am going to make sure she sees it. If you really must see it, please do so. Just set your your expectations accordingly.

As for London I'd recommend London Walks, British Museum, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, perhaps a Themes boat ride, Hampton Court, and a jaunt through some parks as well as HP. I am a history buff though.

Posted by
26369 posts

what does your 13 yr old enjoy? What do you enjoy?

Posted by
14 posts

She is easy going. Loves loves Phantom, so that will be a must.
She loves history like me. She's fine with museums but not everyday and same type of concept.
Underground tours she will be go with, thought of bike tour as well. We did one in Munich and it was a blast..
She travels well and is easy going .

Posted by
1291 posts

Took a group of 20 kids (ages 11-18) last summer and one of their favorite things in London was the free (really £1 for up to 6 people) Ceremony of Keys tour at The Tower of London. You do have to reserve well ahead:
http://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on/ceremony-of-the-keys/#gs.pbe3uDQ

And they also enjoyed Hampton Court more than the daytime Tower of London visit. We didn't get to but they would have loved to have done the aerial thing Nigel mentioned. Westminster Abbey was a hit with some - those who either enjoy history or love to read (had to drag some out of the Poet's Corner). I will admit that the Harry Potter studio tour was one of their favorites - it is extremely well done.

Posted by
2788 posts

Two other companies that do day trips out of London are
www.goldentours.com
www.EvanEvansTours.com
They pick you up at your hotel, or Victoria Station, and you travel by large tour bus.
Check out both websites to see which tours suit you best.
More expensive than London Walks.

Golden Tours does a decent trip out to Stratford-Upon-Avon, if that is something you decide you want to do.
https://www.goldentours.com/day-trips-from-london
Choose one of the trips that includes Warwick Castle. I think you will enjoy it.

Posted by
285 posts

If she likes history then the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey are musts. I would also add a day (or half-day) trip to Hampton Court. It's very easy to get to via train from London. The Egyptian Section of the British Museum would also probably be to her liking. I'm a history buff myself and I was enthralled by the statuary, particularly the Ramses statutes and the Elgin Marbles.

Posted by
3632 posts

Does she enjoy Jane Austen Books or Movies? Bath might be a great day trip and probably more interesting than Stonehenge or Stratford upon Avon. I do like Globe theatre tour in London.

Posted by
5757 posts

https://www.royalparks.org.uk/park-management/park-regulations-and-policies/cycling-in-the-royal-parks
Lovely way to see Hyde Park or Regents or Battersea.

I'd also consider exploring Brick Lane. Lots of eye candy, fun shops, the market, galleries, etc.

Was in London over the holidays and throughly enjoyed an early morning walk with my camera as Brick Lane came to life. Be sure to stop for a pastry and tea or coffee at Kahaila. www..KAHAILA.com.
I enjoyed a scone with jam and clotted cream. Yum.

I'd also think about pre booking a tour of Parliament. Well worth the cost to see where the Government of the UK creates and debates their laws. Such an historical building.

Both of you will enjoy wandering around Liberty. Doubt either of you have seen a department store like it. Roam Carnaby Street.

A walk along the Little Venice canals to Camden Lock Market.

Absolutely investigate and ask her which of the countless London Walks she might like to take. See if she'd like mudlarking?

Are you adventurous? No fear of heights? Then consider the Tower Bridge experience.

Pay extra and arrange an inside the stones tour of Stonehenge.

It's been 20 years since I first meandered inside the circle and even with all the documentaries and historians explanations about it I remain in awe on how those stones got there. The weight, the size, the distance, their meaning. Still fascinates.

I like the vibrant Bayswater neighborhood. Close to Hyde Park and Nottinghill. 3 tube stops to chose from. Variety of buses. Walking distance from Paddington Station.

Lastly, be absolutely certain to take in Portobello Market. Go early, get there by 9am to beat the masses. Pay attention to the shops along the road as well. Many will catch your eye. Eat from a food stall. Pleasant way to spend a few hours on a Saturday morning.

Great city. Have fun!

Posted by
1199 posts

How about tickets to see Wicked.? It seems to have great appeal to teen girls.

British Library's Treasue room. (Magna Carta, Leonardo's notebook, original Alice in Wonderland, music from classical to the Beatles).

I thought that Bath was more interesting than Stonehenge.

Posted by
329 posts

We usually rent an apartment because we find it is similar to a hotel price and gives us the flexibility of having breakfast/lunch/snacks and gives us a sense of living in an apt, going to the grocery store, etc. We just returned from a stay near the British museum, Bloomsbury, that had great transportation (Picadilly Line, Russell Square station) and fantastic bus transport. I use vrbo.com or homeaway.com. There is a Holiday Inn in that area with an outdoor mall (grocery store, restaurants, pharmacy, movie theater): https://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/gb/en/london/lonbl/hoteldetail

Things to do:

I took my 16 year olds to London last month and we saw 2 plays, both of which they enjoyed. Neither was a musical. One was Stomp, which was incredible, both teens (and we) were mesmerized by the show, both clapped and smiled and were amazed throug the entire 1.5 hour performance with no intermissions. We all loved it for its creativity and humor as well as the astounding athletics of the percussion/drumming/dancing/juggling. It was certainly one of the top experiences of the trip. The other was one of the longest running plays in the English language, Agatha Christie's murder/mystery The Mouse Trap. That was probably a 7 on a scale of 10--they enjoyed it but not as much as Stomp.

Not sure what your daughter likes to do so here are a few general ideas:
- British Museum has a tremendous display of Egyptian art (mummies)
- Go to Trafalgar Square, look around at all the people/sights, walk to Horse Guards, or to St. James Park, then to Buckingham Palace (the walking will take 1/2 hour and is not strenuous).
- There is a gigantic brand new Lego store in Leicester Square.
- Hamley's Toy Store is one of the biggest in Europe (5 + floors). We went at Christmas time and it was impressive!
- I would advise taking the bus rather than tube because you see so much more and it is usually only 5-10 minutes longer in transport, and can sometimes be the same if you account for walking from the entrance of the tube stop to the time that you get on the tube care. You must buy an oyster card prior to getting on the bus.
- Google maps can tell you what bus to take, how long the ride is, where the stops are, the order of the stops, etc.
- We went on "Tour for Muggles" walking tour (rated 5 star on Trip Advisor). We found it lackluster---there just were not that many things to see and what they were seemed bland ("this is the garage door Harry stood in front of...." bleh). Guide was energetic and great but we found the tour dull. If you want to go to the actual studio tour, BOOK IT NOW it fills up months in advance and gets rave reviews https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductDetail-g186338-d11447345-Harry_Potter_Tour_of_Warner_Bros_Studio_in_London-London_England.html?t=186338
-London is a great place for Pokemon Go.

Have fun---feel free to private message me if you wish.

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