Queen Not Available; What to see/do in London in November with Child?
September 22, 2008 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Looking for kid-oriented/friendly things to do in London and environs in November. Child has requested an audience with Her Majesty, but not sure we can pull that off on such short notice. Scenario: Mom is going on a business trip for a week and we (Daddy and 6 Year Old Daughter) are going to tag along. Daddy's looking for fun things to do during the day while Mommy's hard at work!

We (Daddy and Daughter) are good travelers and enjoy figuring things out as we go; in the best MeFi spirit, we're open to new and different things. We're especially open to day-trips via train/bus outside central London. There are some good ideas in a prior thread, but we'd love to hear about things that might be more seasonally-appropriate for late November in that part of the U.K.
posted by webhund to Travel & Transportation around London, England (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Science Museum!
It's awesome for all ages. And free. And literally right next to the Natural History Musem which is also great.

The NHM usually also has an ice-rink outside it during winter.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:16 AM on September 22, 2008

First, promise yourself that you'll go back again later to look at this stuff in more detail, but:

A visit to the lower-level area of the British Museum, the area with all the very large ancient statues, might be interesting for her. But I doubt you'll be able to stay long, or to see all that Daddy will want to see.
posted by amtho at 9:22 AM on September 22, 2008

For a day trip - when I was younger, I loved visiting the animals at tilgate park. But I guess that could be weather permitting.

Within London - definitely the science museum. Tate Modern can be fun for children - my little brother loved it when he was 8. The London Dungeon is popular, but could be scary.

And I always tell people visiting London to go to the top of primrose hill - just north of Regents park. Fantastic views of London, and it will tire you both out!
posted by timmow at 9:38 AM on September 22, 2008

I searched by date on Londontown's website and came up with these two options: Ice skating at Somerset House and a children's film festival. There are probably some more goodies to pick from, that's just what i saw first!
posted by ukdanae at 9:38 AM on September 22, 2008

don't forget the london eye! every kid loves that thing.
kind of expensive - I think 12 pounds per person.
posted by krautland at 9:42 AM on September 22, 2008

It may be more of a boy thing but I love the Imperial War Museum.

I loved it as a kid. I loved it as an adult. And I can't wait to take my kid. Judging by the hundreds of kids there the last time I went, it is very kid friendly.
posted by cjets at 9:48 AM on September 22, 2008

Best answer: There's Hamley's, of course. The West End can be crazy as the shopping season gets up to full speed, but you'll have the street lights and the window displays in the big Oxford/Regent St shops in their Christmas glory. (No waiting till after Thanksgiving in the UK.)

The British Museum and the South Ken museum circuit are obvious choices, prepping the 6-y-o with One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing. If you go to South Ken, you're not far from Hyde Park, which will have its winter wonderland open from Nov 22nd. The Somerset House Ice Rink opens on Nov 19th. It's nice and central. There's also a rink at the Tower.

Mudchute Farm is on the Isle of Dogs, close to Canary Wharf, which might be a good fit for Mommy's work activities. The V&A's separate Museum of Childhood is also out east. Day trips? Windsor is easy to get to, and has Legoland as well as the castle. The whole train-trip thing would be part of the fun -- and you could always go to King's Cross to see Platform 9¾...

Basic tips: it'll get dark about an hour earlier than where your profile puts you (before 4pm in late November), and it can be chilly.
posted by holgate at 10:01 AM on September 22, 2008

London Zoo, and a trip along the Regent's Park canal
The London Eye and London Aquarium (next to each other)
Ditto the science and natural history museums
Changing of the guard at Horseguard's Parade (11am Mon-Sat), by Buckingham Palace
Legoland Windsor and Windsor Castle
Duck boat tour (book ahead)
Madame Tussaud's
The Lion King (show) at the Lyceum theatre (book ahead)
posted by dowcrag at 10:02 AM on September 22, 2008

Best answer: Your daughter is the perfect age for a traditional English pantomime, if you can find one that has started by the time you are here. There are listings here. I would suggest Mother Goose at the Hackney Empire if you are here late enough in November, but it might even be worth going to a town outside London and making a day trip of it. If you search around a bit, you can find all sorts of interesting stars (Steve Guttenburg! Britt Ekland!) appearing in panto.
posted by sueinnyc at 10:18 AM on September 22, 2008

Best answer: One thing I always recommend is going to the Victoria and Albert Museum. It's my one and favorite museum in London, perhaps the whole of the UK. It's just acres of beauty and seems to have everything from Gilgamesh to giant swords. They do great kids stuff. Since I am guessing your daughter is able to read, I would suggest checking out the Back Pack program at the V&A.
posted by parmanparman at 10:23 AM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Back again. for day trips out of London (in addition to Windsor) you could get on the train and go to:

Brighton (beach, seafront, generally nice place)
Oxford (university buildings, nice town)
Paris (via Eurostar)
Leeds Castle, in Kent
posted by dowcrag at 10:43 AM on September 22, 2008

LondonEye and that museum next to the Saatchi nearby for the kid.

For dad, there are several football stadiums:

Ask the concierge to wrangle tickets to one or more matches at the following venues:

Emirates Stadium (Arsenal)

Stamford Bridge (Chelsea)

White Hart Lane (Spurs)

Upton Park (West Ham)
posted by Zambrano at 11:05 AM on September 22, 2008

Best answer: Coram's Fields! "Coram's Fields is a unique seven acre playground and park for children living in or visiting London. It is open access, provides a calm, safe and stimulating environment where children can play freely and enjoy a varied programme of activities."

One of the awesome things about Coram's Fields? Adults can visit only when accompanied by a child. Plus it's really close to the British Museum!
posted by hot soup girl at 11:31 AM on September 22, 2008

Best answer: Windsor is an easy daytrip out of London. Aside from touring the castle, which is really neat, there's Queen Mary's Dollhouse, perhaps the most famous dollhouse in the world. I would have gone completely gaga over it at age 6.

Legoland is also in Windsor. I've never been so I can't comment much on it, but it seems age-appropriate.
posted by c lion at 12:24 PM on September 22, 2008

hot soup girl, I had never heard of Coram's Fields. Thanks for linking it! Now I want to go back to London and take my daughter there.
posted by mogget at 3:53 PM on September 22, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great ideas and the wide variety. We'll see what suits our fancy once we arrive and we'll have plenty of things to choose from, thanks to the Hive.
posted by webhund at 10:15 PM on September 22, 2008

Whatever else you do, do not miss The Tower of London, where they display the crown jewels. The tour is guided and fun. That place is old!

Your daughter may enjoy, assuming it's still there, an exhibit of Princess Diana's dresses, at Kensington Palace.

Geocaching is very good in the UK.
posted by Goofyy at 11:51 AM on September 23, 2008

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