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Karen & co.

London at half term

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OH and I have arranged to take the children to London at half term, and are planning to visit the Natural History museum and of course Hamleys :D


It's a very long time since I've been to London as a tourist and just wondered if there are there any other places that children would enjoy, and don't need to cost a fortune :?


karen x

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That's helpful, Martin... :?


OK Karen - it sounds a bit obvious - but it depends on the age of your children and what they like to do...


If you're going to the Natural History Museum - then next door there's the science museum which is well worth a look - though you could spend a whole day in either one... (both are free!)


If you fancy Westminster - walking around the key London "sights" - then the London Eye is a must - it's expensive - but it is awesome!


right next to that is the London Aquarium in the old GLC buildings - my kids never tire of that - and it is quite good.


a walk down the south bank is great - you go past the Tate Modern - an awesome building - and I think it has a new giant roller-coaster type art installation in the main turbine hall - just for half term..


just to go in there (again, Free!) is a must - the sheer vastness of the space brings a feeling of awe..


then you can cross the new wobbly bridge to St Pauls etc..


an open-top bus ride is a good idea - it saves the legs - you see most of the sights - there's a commentary so you know what they all are - and you can get on and off.


alternatively - a boat trip up the thames - normally go past the tower of london and the traiters gate etc. - up towards Tower Bridge..


that aside - the parks are lovely - St James's - or Hyde Park if you're up at Hamleys and doing the shops in Oxford/Regent Street.


we're doing half term in and around London this half-term - one of the things we might do is use a book I bought years ago called "Secret London" - where it takes you on walks around "old London" - there is so much of Old London if you know where to look between the big shiny new buildings...


if they like history - get of the tube at Monument and wander around the pudding lane area where the great Fire of London began - they've recently done it all up... or go top the tower of London - probably very busy in half-term week - and quite expensive - but it is a good visitor atraction..


then sit in Trafalgar square and feed the pigeons (but don't led Ken Livingstone see you at it..) while you're there - pop into the National Gallery (free) - (but don't try to do it all) - and round the corner to the National Portrait Gallery (also free) which is smaller and has loads of fascinating portraits including many contemporary ones that your children will recognise...


if you like queuing - go to Madame Tussaud's and feel Kylie's bum - or the London Dungeon - but they wouldn't be top of my list - you will queue for ages - spend lots of money - and be mildly disappointed when you come out...


(look out for pickpockets on the underground... as in any major city..)


I hope you have a really great time!



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Have a great half term Karen :D

I'm almost a Londoner myself... 30 mins away from Charing Cross by train and I love daytrips in to London with the children.

Phil has come up with some great ideas there, I particularly love the South Bank walk that he mentioned, from the London Eye to the Wobbly Bridge (disappointingly no longer wobbly) via Tate Modern. I'm not sure how old your children are but mine used to enjoy treasure hunting on the Thames shore at low tide, finding all sorts of old bits and pieces, just in front of the Tate. Shakespeare's Globe is up there too- the tour unfortunately is quite expensive, but it's nice to see the old style of theatre, especially if they're old enough to be studying Shakespeare.

Quite a lot of the museums and art galleries are free, although they charge for special exhibitions and request donations, and there's lots of walks and places to soak up atmosphere, like Covent Garden and a lot of the markets that needn't cost anything at all... unless you choose to go shopping there of course :wink:

More obvious touristy type entertainment things, such as Madam Tussauds and the London Dungeon do cost, and in my opinion are expensive for what they are.

I'd recommend the London Eye... it's a kind of London must do, and on a bright day the views are fantastic :D

Talking of views... wrong side of the river so probably not first on your to do list time this time, but Greenwich Park offers the most amazing view across to the City, also Greenwich has a massive maritime history and museums, the Cutty Sark etc to reflect this, and of course the Observatory and the Meridian line.

A lot depends of course on what you want to do and what your interests are, there really is something to entertain everyone in London... it's all down to finding things that interest you... and the children of course.

I'll be coming up to London myself on half term, trying to fit in a little more education and culture for my little darlings :roll:

If you're looking for theatre tickets or restaurants etc do try lastminute.com, I've had some amazing discounts on tickets for a huge range of things from there.

A quick example here... 50% off tickets for the London Dungeon from them this half term http://www.lastminute.com/lmn/pso/catalog/Product.jhtml?CATID=104688&PRODID=431339236

They're also selling tickets for ghoulish walking tours through the City... no idea what they're like though :roll:

Good luck and have a great half term holiday :D

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Hi Karen


We went on the London Eye, which was really good. The views are fantastic.


Just behind the London Eye you can book a slightly different tour of London on a World War 2 amphibious vehicle, this was quite expensive, but it was worth it and was great fun, the children just loved it when the vehicle splashed into the water




This definitely needs pre-booking as they sell out spaces very quickly


This was really good fun, they have one in Liverpool as well (if anyone visits Liverpool this is a must)


If you do go to Pudding Lane make sure you go up the Monument building, it's not very expensive a couple of pounds. Only thing is you have to climb the spiral staircase which is very steep, there are over 130 steps but the views from the top were brilliant and well worth the climb.


Have a look at this site, we have used various vouchers from here as they have lots of 2 for 1 offers




Whatever you do I hope you have a brilliant time

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I'm no expert on children Karen, but we live in London, and took a couple of teenagers to Camden Lock. They were from a small village in Germany (daughter of our friends + her boyfriend) and they were completely entranced by it - nothing like anything they'd ever experienced before!


As soon as we got off the bus the place was thronging with young people with flamboyant clothes, hairdos, and body ornamentation, and its full of lively alternative shopping experiences! We hadn't been there for quite a few years and it was great to see how its still 'an experience'!


Think your children are probably a bit young for this though!


Not sure about Hamleys - I absolutely hate the place! Full of pushy demonstrating staff trying to whip children up into a demand-frenzy. And none of them can tell you where to find anything as they all work for little franchised stalls and know nothing about the shop in general! Chaos (and probably full of pick-pockets)! Yuk - makes me shudder!

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I don't think anyone has mentioned the Science Museum. I think it's free too now and has loads of hands-on stuff.


Did anyone mention Covent Garden? That is a fantastic place to go and sometimes the opera singers perform, lots of street theatre and entertainers. The stalls are fab too. I don't go there often enough :(

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