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"London With A Small Child" Topic

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Tommy2018 Mar 2011 10:43 a.m. PST

OK, here's a twist on the "What to see/do in London" threads:

We're taking our 6yo to London this summer. Although my wife & I have been many times, this is the first time with the offspring. We'll hit things like the zoo & aquarium for the first time, and probably only hit a few of the usual haunts (i.e. military/historical sites). I'll get my Guards fix with Beating Retreat and Trooping the Colour (assuming we can get tickets), and the Kings Troop salute in Hyde Park (as an aside, can anyone tell me where in Hyde Park the royal salutes occur?).

So, what can you locals suggest as the best bets for introducing a youngster to the city? The Zoo & Aquarium are already planned, and we'll probably make a trip out to Windsor for Legoland. What else should we hit?



Mapleleaf Inactive Member18 Mar 2011 11:00 a.m. PST

Hamley's Toy Store on Regent's Street

Madam Tussuad's

Thames River cruise

London eye if not afraid of heights

Ducks in the Parks Hyde and Green Park

Front Seat on the Second level of a Double decker Bus

For other ideas


Enjoy and have fun

Red358418 Mar 2011 11:17 a.m. PST

As Mapleleaf suggests upstairs at the front on a bus is always good fun [I still do it and I'm 45!].

Hamleys is a money trap but worth doing…just be prepared for a large bill or a tantrum [or both].

Personally I'd avoid Madam Tussaud's. Expensive, busy and frankly not very good. London Eye is good but again it'll be tickets in advance.

The IMAX cinema at Waterloo can be good depending what's on.

My son loved HMS Belfast that age and you can pretend to be sailors…the reconstructed Golden Hind is nearby and you can pretend to be even older sailors.

Don't go to the London Dungeon…we took my son there when he was quite a bit older and saw several parents with 6/7 year olds in hysterics…not quite sure what they were expecting grin

There is a company that does DUKW trips on the river which are reportedly good fun.

For food the Rainforest Cafe is supposed to be good for kids.

Not sure how easy it is to get tickets for Trooping the Colour…I managed to get some for my dad a couple of years ago and had to write in and then wait to see if my name was drawn in a ballot but I guess some of the ticketing companies might do them at a price.

KatieL Inactive Member18 Mar 2011 11:34 a.m. PST

The science museum.

Imperial War Museum.

Natural history museum.

They're all set up for families.

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member18 Mar 2011 11:59 a.m. PST

KatieL's recommendations, plus:

The Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood:

Polllock's Toy Museum:


Although see from the reviews if you think the syle is appropriate for you; it's not what it was once:


The Museum of London has interesting exhibits:



RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member18 Mar 2011 12:52 p.m. PST

bring peanuts to feed the elephants in picadilly circus!

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2011 3:46 p.m. PST


The DUKW trip looks really cool – I don't know why I still haven't done it :-(

Natural history museum is good for dinosaurs, but gets busy.

Tower of London is quite fun.

Personally I do not like Hamleys – had to go a few years ago and it just didn't seem to be what it used to be (or maybe it's me that's changed ? There's a thought !).

Lentulus18 Mar 2011 7:30 p.m. PST

I have nothing new to add, but want to put in extra votes for Museum of London. We were there on a weekend and there was a group of Roman Legion reenactors there that the kids thought were great; you might want to check the schedule to see what you can tie your visit in with -- but if he will max out on 1 museum, that is the one I would go with.

SECURITY MINISTER CRITTER Inactive Member18 Mar 2011 7:51 p.m. PST

Don't forget the Toy Dept. at Harrods.

Personal logo Chris Rance Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2011 8:59 a.m. PST

Lots of good suggestions already but I'll just add something else: book online beforehand if you can. I take my son every year to see family and he loves London, but I'm not sure he'd enjoy 3 hour queues. Tickets purchased online entitle you to jump the queue in a lot of locations. Definitely worth doing.

ezza12320 Mar 2011 4:53 a.m. PST


Details of the DUKW tours are at;, where they do a daily tour of London highlights or a tour of WWII related sights on the first Sunday of each month.

The Time Out guide is worth checking to see what is going on when you will be over;

If you feel like some gaming during your visit, why not drop in to the Exiles for a game on a Thursday evening; link . We will even buy you a beer or two.


Tommy2020 Mar 2011 3:47 p.m. PST

Thanks for the invite Ezza! Thursday evening will be spent at Horse Guards Parade watching Beating Retreat, but if I have a chance, I'd love to stop by before hand to have a quick look-see.

Thanks everybody for the great ideas. We'll never get everything we want into the itinerary, but that just gives us an excuse to come back again!

Tegetthoff Inactive Member21 Mar 2011 5:44 a.m. PST


Let me know when you will be going to Windsor, and I'll be glad to show you around. Lots for a 6 year old to do!


Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2011 6:17 a.m. PST

Speaking from experience dragging my 2 around central London when they were young, and just the other week with my 6 year old nephew:

If you are going to the Aquarium – especially if it is school holiday time – be prepared for a VERY LONG queue. Like 3 hours…..

HMS Belfast is great for kids and you don't usually have to queue.

The Natural History Museum and the Science Museum are right next door to each other, free to get in, and kids love them.

The British Museum is also free and has an amazing collection of historically significant stuff that we nicked…err…discovered from around the world. Doesn't seem to hold the interest of kids though!

If you want to go on a bus just go on a regular 'getting about' one. The 'open-top guided tour' things are a complete rip-off – don't touch with a barge pole!

Keep an eye on the TfL website. They are constantly shutting down bits of the Tube for engineering works among other transport problems!

Thomas Nissvik24 Mar 2011 12:02 a.m. PST

Forbidden Planet in Shaftesbury Avenue.
I'm close to 40 and I become 6 again when I walk in there.

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