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4 days in London (kids 13&10)

Hi all,
We start our Italian vacation in June with 4days on London. Looking for suggestions? We are foodies and like the little jewels each city has. Much thanks in advance! -Alan

Posted by
11450 posts

My kids enjoyed the Beefeater Tour (its included in admission) at the Tower of London. Theres something for everyone there, the Crown Jewels, suits of armour , history,, etc. Worth at least 1/2 a day. The Natural History Museum will be a hit for the kids, and right across the street is the Victoria And Albert museum which I love,, clothing, furniture , jewels,, stuff from everyday life etc, not just paintings and scupltures( which can bore kids and some adults too) Food wise,, i give up, I find the Indian food great, but haven't had as much luck with british food( Perhaps bias against the type, hate fish n chips, meat pies, and mushy peas) lol NOTE for true foodies of course London has some world class dining, its just never been in my budget.

Posted by
214 posts

The British Library and British Museum are both free and very cool !

Posted by
1986 posts

For kids of any age- my favorite sight in London is the Changing of the Guards at Horse guards every morning (approx 11 am). Last time I was there we went on a saturady, and they were accompanied by a uniformed band on horses. horse guards are in spectacular unifroms with brass breastplates, plumed helmets and horses. Boat trip on the Thames? Westminster Abbey English food treats- sandwiches at any one of a myriad of shops, cornish pasties (and probably fish and chips) Not sure whether afternoon tea at one of the hotels would be on your list of "little jewels"
I am also tempted to suggest dinner at the Savoy on te Strand for an old fashioned typical engish meal

Posted by
2349 posts

My kids at 12 & 15 loved loved loved the Borough Market. Lots of samples and fun things to eat. Great for foodies. We spent several hours there. We all preferred it to Harrod's food court. I think it's only open Thursday-Saturday. http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/

Posted by
12 posts

We took our kids to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, London's oldest authentic pub - per RS. It was a bit of a walk down Fleet Street since the closest subway stop (Blackfriars?) was closed for renovation. The pub is actually 3-4 restaurant levels and has a medieval feel. We had a drink in the pub, dinner upstairs and dessert in the lower level.

Posted by
3428 posts

At that age, our kids enjoyed Windsor Castle- and the town itself. You can take the train from Paddington- its about a 20-25 min. train ride with one possible change at Slough, depending on which train you use (there are only a few 'direct' services each day). The Tower of London was also a favorite- son loved the 'gory' stories and weapons displays, daughter loved the crown jewels and the 'romance' of it all. They also enjoyed eating in Chinatown- our favorite restaurant is Top of the Town.

Posted by
6484 posts

http://www.walks.com/London_Walks_Home/FOOD_WALKS/default.aspx London Walks is a GREAT way to explore and learn about London's little jewels. There are many wonderful food markets. The OP noted Borough's which is fabulous but go early. Much more lively in morning. I discovered the Exmouth Market in the Clerkenwall neighborhood on my last trip. As foodies I think you'll approve. Nearby try a Banh Mi sandwich at Banh Mi Bay cafe on Theobald's road. Excellent Vietnamese. Loads of great restaurants, cafes, gastropubs in London. Take a look on the Chowhound and Time Out London websites for more recommendations. Lastly, agree Changing of the Horse Guards is enjoyable. As first timers I'd also take the London Eye. Great POV of the city. Are they into sports? One of my most enjoyable secret gems of London is watching a local team play. One year it was watching the Hampstead Rugby Club play a match. We even got invited back to their local pub afterwards. Still brings a smile to my face remembering the fun we had. All I'd done was look at their website and see where and when the match was being played in the Heath. Maybe you could visit Camden Lock Market and see a match on the same day. The neighborhoods are relatively close. 1.5 walk or hop on the tube. Have a great visit!

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you, Grazie, Mahalo, Cheers! Wow, what great replies! Didn't think I would get so many replies in one night. This is great stuff to work with. Truly appreciated. I should have also asked for hotel suggestions as well. Family room for 4 seems to be rare in London, at least at a decent price :-) Thanks again! Alan

Posted by
3428 posts

Check out the London School Of Economics. They rent spare dorm rooms and apartments to tourists. Several excellent central locations - all near tube stops. Be careful, sometimes their site will show no vacanices, but it may just be the site is not working well with your browser (esp Internet Explorer). You may want to email or phone them if that is what happens. Here are two websites www.lsetopfloor.co.uk/ www.lsevacations.co.uk/ Also check Citadiens Aparthotels. Also has good central locations. We used them when we took our kids (many years ago now)- stayed at the Covent Garden/High Holborn location. http://www.citadines.com With both of these you get a kitchen, ensuite, and either your own laundry facilites or access to laundry rooms. I also forgot to mention that you can see a changing of the guard in Windsor- and get closer and see more than at Buckinham Palace.

Posted by
403 posts

My boys' top 5: British Museum London Eye London Transport museum (Covent Garden)--they might be a bit old for this, but it's charming for anyone who likes buses and trains. Westminster Abbey--ask a docent for the scavenger hunt sheet. Have him tell you about how they wire on the heads of beheaded royals before burial... (My kids are still discussing this!)
Harry Potter sites--free walking tour and scavenger hunt at www.the-magician.co.uk

Posted by
209 posts

Lots of good suggestions. I'll add a few: Tower of London Hampton Court particularly the maze for the kids Kew Gardens Boat Tour up the Thames Greenwich particularly the Cutty Sark
Climb St. Pauls For British food I'd make clotted cream, pasties, cucumber sandwiches, and meat pies a priority. Sample the fish and chips, the kids will like it. Eat them just outside the tourist zone. It'll be better and cheaper. Oh, kippers are good and the "full English Breakfast" must be tried, though I warn you that there is so much of it you won't want more than cheese and fruit for lunch. You have to get used to the idea that bacon and beans or stewed tomatoes are part of breakfast. There is good cheese in London. The traditional cheeses are mostly variations on cheddar but definitely worth sampling. Farmer's markets will have an endless variety of other cheeses including goat and lamb milk versions of all sorts of things. Really good vegetables and fruit are harder and more expensive. I hope that's changed since I was last there. Eat ethnic for dinner. London has great Indian food, you can hardly miss no matter which restaurant you choose. Drink! Hard cider is good and in every pub and hard to get here. It goes well with meat pie. Beer is not nearly as strong there as it is at home, so you can drink more of it. It is just as flavorful. Try the sherry and the port. Liqueurs and hard liqueur are cheaper than at home. When I'm in England I have a liqueur in coffee for dessert every night. Bread pudding is heavy but good.

Posted by
6 posts

Hey, just want to thank you all again for your great replies! Cheers!
Alan

Posted by
310 posts

Just a smattering here - For the kids: The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden The British Museum The London Eye
The Tower of London Slightly further afield is Hampton Court - kids will enjoy the maze. You could also do a cruise on the Thames. As to food - try to find someplace that does traditional afternoon tea. Fortnum and Mason does, as does Brown's Hotel. London also has some of the best Indian food anywhere. Pub grub at a local watering hole is also a great experience - for that matter, a local shop that does proper fish and chips is an option. If you enjoy Thai food, try the Thai restaurant, located in the back of the Churchill Arms in Notting Hill.

Posted by
1353 posts

Hamley's toy store! It's comparable to FAO Schwartz in NY. Otherwise agree - Tower of London. Not sure what's playing right now, but there is always at least one show that is kid friendly. British Museum has a "children's" audio tour which is great. Hang out in Covent Garden and watch the street performers.

Posted by
484 posts

I was there about 10 years ago. However, things have not moved. Here's my choices for kids. Towel of London with the royal jewels - a must. The London Ferris Wheel near Big Ben. There is an archive room in British Library with rare, original documents that's free and interesting. (Not sure for kids, though). St. Paul - the crypt is well-lit and has famous people there like Nelson, Wellington, and Fleming (scientist who invented antibiotics). St. Paul also has a boy's choir in afternoon that's good for a taste of culture. Further, St. Paul has a whispering dome and a next higher level. Take the kids up the steps for a good look down. (I discovered the hard way I had acrophobia here, but the kids in the school groups did better than me.) Harrod's is grossly overpriced. But, we made a game of what departments Harrod had. (i.e. pet department, piano department.) Harrod's had a "chocolate bar" where you can purchase and eat all sorts of chocolate desserts and drinks. Have to pay for the potty though. Have Fun!!!