first trip to England

I'm traveling with my 10 yr old. we are staying in Kedington at a private home. (home swap) want this to be enjoyable for us both. Plan at least 3 daytrips to London for what is to be determined. Outside of that, what are "HAVE TO'S" for us? There seems like so much to see and do. planning seems overwhelming at times. Thanks for any tips

Posted by Rosalyn
Berkeley
1000 posts

You don't say if your child is a boy or girl, which might make a huge difference in interests. However, here are some thoughts gleaned from my year's experience as an exchange teacher of 9 year olds. There is a museum of the history of London which will give you both a feel for the history of the place from ancient to modern times. It's quite doable in an hour or two. I think it was designed with children in mind. (Get address from TI, as well for boat schedule and pier location below.)
You can get a boat and go down the river to Greenwich, where there is a maritime museum, the clipper ship, Cutty Sark, and the famous observatory. The longitude line, 0, runs through there. It's marked on the ground outside, and it's fun to take your picture with one foot in the eastern hemisphere and the other in the western.

If your child is interested in the ancient world, especially Egypt, the British Museum is a must.
You can e-mail me if you have more questions.

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
2845 posts

We took both of our kids for their first trip to London when they were 10-11 years old (one boy, one girl). They both loved the Tower of London. The Beefeaters do a really good job of entertaining while educating. I'd also recommend a day at Windsor. The Castle there is really nice, without being overwhelming. The boat trips there are also VERY nice, and reasonably priced. For a change of pace, I'd suggesst a walk around Covent Garden's markets. Each day is different, and you might find Friday or Saturday to be most interesting for kids. Monday-Wednesday tends to be more antique/crafts and Thursday is a blend. Taking a boat trip up to Greenwich is also nice. I'd suggest doing that on Sunday as there is a nice market there then. The Greenwich park is very, very nice and peaceful.

Posted by Ann
Waukesha
9 posts

I agree with the above post. We were planning on 2-3 hrs at the Tower and ended up spending 6 hrs there! My boys (ages 10 and 8) couldn't get enough of it. They even liked seeing the Crown Jewels. If you want to see them-you should go there first thing in the morning to avoid the lines. There are free tours all day with the Beefeaters. My boys especially enjoyed the "Storming the Tower" tour. One last thing you might consider is attending the Ceremomy of the Keys at the Tower. It's basically when they lock up the Tower at 9:40pm. You have to write in advance to get tickets to this event- I'm not sure where we got ours from, maybe you can find out on line.It was kind of spooky and moving to watch this ceremony.

Posted by Robin Z
Troy, Oh, USA
1634 posts

For tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys write to
Ceremony of the Keys, Waterloo Block, Tower of London
London EC3N 4AB. You have to request a specifi date, but list an alternate date. This needs to be done 6 weeks in advance.Your request must be accompanied by a self adressed envelope along with 2 Internatioanl Reply Coupons which you can get from the post office.
In between seeing sights, I would suggest going to St. James Park or any park, let your child feed the birds, squirrels, swans. In St James Park it you hold your arm straight out with food in your hand some birds will land on your hand to eat. My daughters loved it. I also would suggest Windsor it is a fantistic town to visit. You can get the train at Paddington Station in London to Windsor. If you do go to Windsor after touring the Castle walk down to Windsor Great Park, you have a fantistic view of the private residents of the Queen. Take a picnic lunch sit in the grass and enjoy the peace and beauty of the park.

Posted by Nicole
San Francisco, CA
9 posts

Another vote for Tower of London... Could easily spend a half day there with 10 y.o. and the exhibits all seem pretty kid-friendly.
Are you interested in seeing a show? There are a few kid friendly ones on the West End (like Mary Poppins).
British Museum has "family" themed audio tours (plus mummys - what 10 y.o. doesn't love a mummy! Plus the museum's free - what mom doesn't like free!)

Posted by Christine
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA
12 posts

travelled last year with our 11 and 13 yo. Ditto on tower london. They enjoyed British Musuem, but dont try to do it all. Docents will spend time with kids and let them touch some artifacts! Surprisingly the enjoyed a quick trip into the Brit Library. There is one big rooms of all the famous manuscripts and some interactive displays.
Dont forget the Science Musuem--lots of displays for children.
If you are at King's Cross station, stop for photos at platform something and three quarters and pretend you are Harry pOtter goinginto the wall. Ask where it is.
Not too far from Tower of London is the Borough Market. Stop for Cornwall icecream. Tons of ethnic restaurants close by.
Also the folks at the stalls will sample foods and the kids seem to get the biggest chunks!
enjoy.

Posted by Arn
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
215 posts

Agree with Tower of London and limited time
in British Museum. Would suggest the Natural
History Museum at kensington tube stop for fantastic dinosaur display.

Posted by Susan
Prince George, BC, Canada
104 posts

If your child likes airplanes and war history, the Imperial War Museum is an interesting place. There's lots of interactive displays that are interesting for both adults and children. There is also an airplane museum that is just outside of Cambridge (take a train), in a town called Duxford. You can take a bus transfer to the museum. There are both outdoor and indoor exhibits.

Posted by Jennifer
Seattle, Washington, USA
25 posts

I am not sure if I understood this right, but it sounds like you are asking for places besides London to visit. This looks like it might be a bit far from Kedington, but Bath and Stonehenge/Wells/Glastonbury are two great places to visit that are in Rick's books. Bath has lots to do for kids!