Off to the big smoke – what to see & do

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  • Off to the big smoke – what to see & do
  • Premier Icon kimbers

    they will probably like camden market

    Premier Icon chrisdw

    London dungeon was fun when I went a few years ago!

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner

    The underground stations double up as excellent air raid shelters.
    The smog can be awful.
    Despite rationing, the cheery smiles of the local Cockerneys was a right tonic and one in the eye for the Hun.
    They walk a bit funny in Lambeth.
    Careless talk costs lives!
    Never trust a Yank in the blackout.
    Lyon’s corner houses do a lovely inexpensive tea.

    Mind you, not been for a while, might have changed.


    I live abroad in forrin land, so going to London is always a pleasure, because the reason I don’t understand anyone is THEIR fault for speaking bad English, not MY fault for speaking bad forrin.

    Yup Camden is a good bet for kids that age


    Take them for lunch at Maroush Express, about 300 yards up Edgware Road from Marble Arch on the right. Order mixed mezze with grilled halloumi followed by mixed grill and enjoy the tastiest, freshest most delicious food you’ve ever experienced.

    Premier Icon hatter

    If it’s a beautiful clear day then London Eye + 1, if it’s rainy and cloudy then less so.

    The British Museum and the Natural History museum are both absolute musts IMHO, well above the tower of London.

    Camden is fun but the area around Covent Garden is also good, some genuinely good street performers and you won’t have someone trying to sell you low-grade skunk every 5 paces.

    If you want relatively inexpensive and decent grub try and find a Benito’s Hat Burrito joint, there are a few dotted around and they’re a great bet for a quick, fulfilling lunch on the hoof when on a day out in London.

    Premier Icon notmyrealname

    Definitely the London Eye.

    It might be worth looking at getting one of the river taxi’s up the Thames to Greenwich then you can do the walkway over the top of the O2 and use the Thames cable car.

    Becton Sewage works, largest in Europe.

    Premier Icon MadBillMcMad

    Not been for 20 years.

    We are taking the boys 16 & 13 who have never been and we have three days, so the plan is:
    Science Museum
    Tower of London
    London Eye

    What would you suggest doing/seeing & what should we not do?

    Our NOT list so far is:
    Madame 2swords.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Tower of London is good, but expensive, good if you need a break from museum stuff. Do a tour with a beefeater, if you’re really lucky you’ll get a crazy furious one.

    Science museum is great, natural history museum also great. V&A not a patch on those two IMO though some folks love it.

    I tend to visit the british museum just about every time i’m in London, it’s got a brilliant sense of place for one thing and I love the elgin marbles hall, properly monumental. Churchill War Rooms is good as is the Imperial War Museum.

    Camden seems a wee bit cleaned up these days and dare I say it sanitised but the changes to the markets aren’t all bad, the new extension on the stables is fab. Eat street food, people watch.

    Greenwich is great for a wander around, lots to see out there and as mentioned above, take a river taxi to get there (or back, or include it in a river tour)- it’s too easy to go to London and travel by underground and get no sense of how it all bolts together, seeing it from the river helps fix that.

    I’d give the Tower of London a miss, long queues for not much reward. River taxi is good. Imperial War museum is also very good if it’s not museum overkill to do that the natural history and the science museum. Is there not a gig on somewhere in town they would both like to see? That would be instant coolest dad in the world award.

    Premier Icon pedropete

    Olympic park is good & free

    My lads are similar ages and we did the following:
    +1 for Greenwich, go by boat and visit the Naval Museum and Observatory
    Go up and over Tower Bridge
    Climb the fire of London Monument
    Climb the Dome of St Pauls (not cheap but brilliant, go right to the top and look down through the window in the floor!
    Borough Markets are good on a Saturday morning.
    The Rose Theatre in Southwark is a quick visit but interesting nonetheless
    The Globe is also pretty good – saw Merchant of Venice there and it was superb.
    Cabinet War Rooms are pretty good.


    At that age they need engaging, Spitalfields Mkts good for tat and trendy Tarn but I’d steer clear of central Tarn, it’s just Tourist hell, soooooo head to…

    Greenwich Observatory pop down to the Nautical Museum then into the market for street food yummyness. Head into Canary Wharf via DLR to see where modern London meets Docklands, head back into Tarn via Jubilee Line to Bank and walk them around the B of E and then back into Tarn to see rubbish Tourist sights like TrafSq etc.


    The main thing I look for in London is the way out of the place


    It might be worth looking at getting one of the river taxi’s up the Thames to Greenwich then you can do the walkway over the top of the O2 and use the Thames cable car.

    This, less the walkway, gets you good views and some fun for cheap.


    I’ve been on the London Eye, and I’ve also been up The Shard, and believe me, the view from the Shard is truly spectacular. Not cheap, but although it says 30 minutes per ticket, I was up there the best part of an hour last August. Worth a wander around Borough Market and Southwark Cathedral while you’re there. A couple of good pubs around there, too.
    Other than that, +1 on all the other places. Tomorrow I’ll be going round the Viking exhibition, then over to the O2 for Elbow.

    Premier Icon MadBillMcMad

    Awesome thanks all.
    Some great tips

    Like the idea of Up’n’over Tower Bridge.
    Borough markets has been suggested as well.

    Must admit was dubious myself of the Tower, will put it to the family to discuss.

    And thanks Rusty, I wonder if we might have met up when I was last there.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    I would choose the Shard over the Eye any day. Except one with a low cloud ceiling. Museum of London is good, better than the Tower and also free.

    My favourite thing to do in London is walk and look at cool stuff. Depending on your kids tho they might not enjoy that.

    If you want to shell out for one expensive attraction, Westminster Abbey is better than the Tower. Esp if you know (or are studying in school) a spot of history as the graves in there are like a who’s who of the most famous people in Britain.

    Natural History Museum has been on my list since I was knee high to a raleigh tomahawk


    I’d agree on giving the inside of TofL a miss… just enjoy it from the surrounding area. Have a little look in St katherine’s dock close by to get away from the crowds.

    Look up London bike tours… I always see them as I run through the parks…. might be a good way to see some sights??

    Talking of parks… the Olympic Park has been getting great reviews… let them have an afternoon in the pool while you and the Mrs hit westfield stratford for shopping (shudders) or a spot of lunch.

    Westmister tube and Canary Wharf are like the future, they’ll like that and LLoyds of London, Gerkin etc are all pretty cool I’d imaging to a teenager and not too far to walk to from TofL.

    In Borough market see if you can find the set from Lock Stock (guessing the 16 year old may have seen it, even if he’s not meant too?) Carry on along the southbank to the Tate Modern and Globe for some proper culture.

    Do they Skate? If so don’t let them miss the South Bank Undercroft… 300 yard east of the wheel… it’s not going to be there for much longer.

    Take the a new Route Master bus (the number 11) from the east side of Traf square to the City, you’ll see loads.

    And find out what is on at the Imax

    Have fun

    Premier Icon curiousyellow

    Kew Gardens.


    Carry on along the southbank to the Tate Modern and Globe for some proper culture.

    Tate Modern is really worth going to, it’s free to get in, and the Turbine Hall is breathtakingly huge!
    Always something to see in there, and the food and beer are good, but a bit pricey.


    British Museum & Tate Modern +1

    Premier Icon zippykona

    If the War Museum is open I would spend the whole time there.
    Then I’d go to the pub by The Cutty Sark and have English tapas.
    The only time I’ve not finished all my crackling.

    Thames Rib Ride out to the Thames Barrier, great fun. They chuck it about a bit and go very fast when the speed limit allows, then they slow down and the sights you see up close are great, the barrier, MI5, The O2 etc.


    I’d give the Science Museum a miss, it’s very disappointing.

    Actually Cutty Sark and the Greenwich Maritime museum are fantastic if you like model ships and inspiring paintings. Go there by river boat.

    Try The Chelsea Kitchen in Fulham road for value for money traditional family food.


    Borough Market – get to the Ginger Pig for amazing roasts and pies that take two people to eat.
    V&A is very good if you remember it’s several hundred other museums bought together.
    You MUST pay your respects to the Temple Bar Gate Dragon and curse the Blackfriar.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Cutty Sark is actually brilliant- I think I begrudged the money but I loved it once inside.


    Hmm will I think The Tower is a fantastic place – so many wonderful stories and so central to the history of London.


    Northwind – Member
    Cutty Sark is actually brilliant- I think I begrudged the money but I loved it once inside.

    Absolutely, really well restored, and it takes longer than you’d think to properly look around. There’s a terrific noodle restaurant in the centre of town which is nice and cheap too.

    Some from the Shard:


    Thought the eye was magic, went at dusk and got a capsule to ourselves, 2swords was better than expected, science museum was very interesting especially the Apollo Capsule and Stevensons Rocket but very busy! Always wanted to see the Natural History Museum and thought the building was stunning but felt let down by the exhibits, the dinosaurs and big whale room were smart, but things like the snakes and reptiles were a let down, knowing how much of a collection they have I would have liked to see more on display, take some comfy shoes and have a good walk around the city centre and every street has something interesting or famous landmark on it. I went prepared not to like London but absolutely loved it!

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    Few beers then head into Soho?

    Premier Icon matthewjb

    If you have time before you go order Oyster cards. Makes tube easier and I think buses will be free for the kids.

    To see:

    British Museum (The bowling alley nearby has great food)
    Natural History Museum
    Tate Modern

    All fantastic buildings

    London Eye is great as a feat of engineering and for the view. Booking in advance means you can skip the queue but it’s pricy.

    The river bus from Tower Pier to Westminster lets you see a different view of the city.


    Another +1 for the Tate modern. If you find yourself out that way take the riverboat from the Tate to the Tate modern.

    On the avoid list, give the aquarium at county hall a miss.

    If you are there on a Sunday walk down from Trafalgar square to the House of Commons. Some nice sights to see and v quiet you can then walk over the bridge to the London eye.


    Surely only one big museum in a day, they are huge, then outside stuff and parks:)

    +1 for Monument!


    Doing little tour using boris bikes might be fun for an hour or 2 – after the natural history/science museums head up the slight incline to albert hall pick up bikes, ride down through hyde park, past buck house onto the mall/green park and finish at Trafalgar square/Camden


    Have you thought about one of those Tours?
    THe Fire of London one or the Sherlock Holmes one or …

    You get the picture.


    We were in that London for 3 days last week. Did The Eye, London Aquarium and a day at The NH museum. All were excellent.

    One word of advice, if you can book stuff in advance, do it. We saved hours of queueing/waiting time by doing this.

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