Going to England
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Going to England
We're off to London in a couple of weeks with our infant and toddler. The archives on
this city are a few years old, so I am hoping for updated advice on places to go, things
to do, places to eat, etc. I'd especially be interested in any advice on what NOT to
do. If you've been to London recently with your young kid(s), please pass on some
Thanks so much!
We were in London last summer when my daughter was just two years old. We
spent time in Regent's Park, where there is a beautiful lake with geese,
amazing rose garden, my daughter loved seeing all of the birds and
flowers. Great place to run around. I'm sure there were other great
places, but we were there for only a short time.
My family of 4, including a 2 1/2 year-old boy and a teen, stayed in
London for 4 nights in early July. We stayed near the South Kensington
tube (very close to Natural History and Science museums)in a little
apartment, so we could eat at home sometimes and shop at the local
supermarkets- cheaper and easier, even got some great Indian takeout for
the grownups. My son's favorite experiences there were riding the
''tube'', train and the double decker bus. He also really enjoyed the
Natural History museum (which is one of the many free ones)- it has a cool
dinosaur exhibit, amongst many other things. You could spend hours and
hours there (and at the Science museum). Running around in Kensington
Park (the Princess Diana Memorial Playground is impressive) and Hyde park
are fun, and so is Regent's park. We didn't try to do much in the way of
visiting the historical sights, in part because we didn't want to wait in
long lines in the busy tourist season. One book you may want t!
o get is ''around London with kids- 68 great things to do together in the
city and beyond''- I found this little book helpful. Overall, we didn't
try to do too much, tried to stick to normal nap and bedtimes as much as
possible, and we had a great time. Hope you have a great trip! Feel free
to e-mail me if you want to chat more.
Can't recall what time of year you'll be going, but if the weather is
warm, I highly recommend Hampstead Heath.
The whole Heath is lovely - but for little ones there is a fantastic
playground and a huge but safe paddling pool (both brand new in 2006)just
south of Parliament Hill.
We approached via Kentish Town tube station, taking a short bus ride to
Highgate Road, where there is a nice child friendly bakery/cafe just
outside the park (much better than the cafe in the park).
Note: Hampstead tube station is closer, but it's very hilly right around
there and not much fun with a stroller and a slow walker.
In the summer, there is also free kids' entertainment at the bandstand (we
saw a magician).
It's also where the locals go (mums and nannies), so it's easy to start up
conversations and get some good advice on kid friendly things to do.
You can download a pdf map at the City of London website.
Mom of Two
We had a lovely time in London a few years ago with our then 2yo daughter. I
highly recommend taking your little ones to the Princess Diana playground.
It's frequented by locals and is the most amazing playground I've ever seen.
It's not a typical tourist spot, our concierge didn't know anything about it.
But it's worth seeing if you're looking for a place for the kids to play around
freely. It's nearby Kensington Palace and if I remember correctly, convenient
to the tube.
We had a chance to live one semester in Hampstead, London, postal code NW3,
when the kids were 3 and 7. It is a posh, highly desirable area just off the
Tube or the bus #24(?). Convenient, safe. Maison Blanc Bakery on High Street
is heavenly. Giraffe Restaurant is family friendly and tasty. The local
playground is small, but very friendly. There are also some other areas off
the Chalk Farm northern line that are also worth considering. Have a fabulous
Our family of 4 (kids ages 2 and 16) will be visiting England
early July, and plan to spend about four nights in London. I'm
looking for recommendations for centrally located hotels or small
apartments that would be comfortable for four. I'd love to be
near a nice park for my 2 year-old, but it would be great to be
near the major sights, theatres and museums too. I'd be open to
staying a short tube ride away from central London if people have
a good recommendation for such a place. I want to spend no more
than 150 pounds ($300.00) per night. Thanks a lot,
We were in London for a week last August. There were 5 of us:
parents, grandma and two kids 2 and 12 years old. We rented a 2
bedroom apartment through the internet. It is near the South
Kensington tube station. We loved the location. The apartment is
not big but sufficient and having a kitchen is great with a two
year old. I am not sure they rent for 4 nights but you can
inquire and find out. Their web site is chelsea-cloisters.co.uk
There were other web sites that responded to our inquiry
homefromhome.co.uk and euracom.co.uk Good luck and have fun
London is great
We are traveling to London and Scotland in late July/early
August and are looking for suggestions on where to stay in
central London and Scotland as a family. We would love to
know what other families have enjoyed doing with teenagers.
We have two 15 year olds and one 12 year old. Thanks for
any help you could offer.
When deciding where to stay in London, be sure to look into renting a
flat. They are usually no more expensive than hotels. They have the added
advantage of providing you with a kitchen, laundry facilities, and more
space. We stayed in London 2 years ago in a South Kensington flat. We used
the kitchen frequently because restaurants are very expensive, grocery
stores were nearby, and prepared foods from the stores were pretty good. I'm
not recommending any particular neighborhood because I think that so many
of them would be great. The most important thing is to be walking
distance to an underground station. To find flats to rent, check out vrbo.com,
homeaway.com and greatrentals.com.
Lucky you! My husband and I and my 3 kids (13,16, &19 at
the time) went summer before last, and it will remain in our
memories forever as a golden moment.
We stayed at Morgan House B&B (taking 2 rooms) on Ebury St
just behind Buckingham Palace. I've stayed there before, so
familiarity helped make the decision. The folks there are
beyond wonderful, and the place itself is beautiful.
Activities we enjoyed:
First, a tour on the top of a double-decker bus to get
oriented. Then, in no particular order: Tower of London (go
as soon as it opens in the morning & you get a private look
at the Crown Jewels!), St. Paul's (to the very tippy top),
London Eye (13 year old went bungee-jumping next door to the
Eye--height of the trip for her), River trips to Hampton
Palace, Kew Gardens, & Greenwich, shopping, British Museum,
Nat. HIstory museum, Chelsea Physick garden (they do one of
the best teas in London! Kensington Palace Orangery's tea is
also not to be missed), the V&A, John Soane museum (a must
see if you're interested in unusual architecture or interior
design), a few train trips (Cambridge--leave from King's
Cross & see platform nine-and-three-quarters--Kent, &
Canterbury in our case), walks along the Thames, (esp. at
night when the bridges are lit up in Chelsea), tour of
Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey (one kid was into the
Da Vinci Code bigtime--so WA was a pilgrimage for her--she
would have also visited Temple Church if she could have),
Trafalgar square, concerts at St. Martin-in-the-fields, the
Imperial War Museum, the Garden History Museum (in a
deconsecrated church--Captain Bligh's tomb is there). Also,
if you stay in Belgravia as we did, DO NOT miss The
Chocolate Society on Elizabeth just off Ebury, the deli
across the street from it, or the great Italian restaurant
nearby (called Oliveto!)
Also, when you have teens (as opposed to toddlers or tweens)
you can split up & do what different people want to do,
which was an incredible boon. Just give them some money,
put them in one of the wonderful cabs, & agree on a time &
place to meet up again! My kids loved the freedom & feeling
of being intrepid world travelers. We also bought some of
the wonderful needlepoint kits that they sell in the museum
shops & oldest daughter & I whiled away evenings, waiting
time, & resting time soothing our travel-roughened nerves
One further suggestion--save brochures, tix stubs,
postcards, etc. & take these & your photos to do a family
scrapbook project when you get home. We did this one night
a week in the months after the trip, and it was like we got
to go back to London every week. The more elaborate the
book, the longer you get to prolong your ''trip.''
Oh, this is making me wish I could go again! Bon Voyage!
And have a wonderful trip.
My wife and I took my son (then 13 months old) and father to the UK last spring. We
all had a great time, and I'd be happy to give you more information if you like. We
flew straight from Heathrow to Edinburgh, stayed a week in Edinburgh, stopped in
York and Newcastle, and then a week in London before returning home. We did not rent
In Edinburgh, I'd highly recommend the Knight's Residence to stay. It is located
just south of the Castle in a quiet neighborhood, and is either newly built or
recently renovated set of apartments. We had a 2 bedroom with kitchen, washer/dryer,
and dishwasher, and very comfortable rooms for reasonable rates. The staff were very
friendly, and there is a library of movies to borrow. Rosalyn chapel was an easy bus
ride away, if anyone has read Da Vinci code. St Andrews is a bit further by bus.
Sterling Castle sounds nice; we didn't go, but should be an easy train ride.
York is a well-preserved medieval walled town, but it is very touristy. Still, it is
worth a stop. We stayed at a B&B about a half mile outside of the walls and walked
in to town. If you stay at any smaller towns, there is a tradition of Sunday roasts
for lunch. Most pubs will advertise them, either turkey, lamb or Roast beef with all
the trimmings. Nice local custom to try, and most pubs outside of city centers have
a family area.
London is expensive, but the tube is so easy and convenient, don't hesitate to stay
out further and take the bus/tube. I've stayed in both Earl's Court area and
Chelsea, and found them convenient. We rented a 2BR at the Chelsea Cloisters last
time, but I think their minimum stay is a week. The Tower of London shouldn't be
missed for you and the kids. Across the river from the tower is giant outdoor food
market on the weekends.
LondonWalks has a huge set of guided tours; the one we took was a great way to see
an area. They also have things like a Beatles tour. I would assume Da Vinci code too
:-) The options for day trips is huge as well.
We will be going to london in decebmer for about 16 days.
What are places to visit that teenagers will enjoy? any
money saving tips? we are on a tight budget. thanks for the
excited but a bit apprehensive
What your teens would enjoy will depend on your teens. (If
they want to meet local teens, you should get
introductions to English families arranged ahead of time,
through friends and acquaintances.) For tourist
attractions, my friends strongly recommend the Tower of
London (jewels! dungeons!) and, outside London, Windsor
Castle (dungeons with waxwork torturers). There's always
Madame Tussaud's for celebrity waxworks, and the Eye (a
giant ferris wheel on the Thames). There are certain
shopping districts that are more hip than others. There
are music clubs, including traditional singing in pubs,
and there may be rock or jazz concerts. There's incredible
theater with half-price tickets. Rather than the British
Museum (with its great Egyptian and Greek stuff), I like
the Victoria & Albert museum and the National Portrait
Gallery off Trafalgar Square, because they are about
people. Don't miss Harrod's, and Fortnum & Mason's for
food. There's the Vampire tour of London, and possibly
other tours that are lively (Harry Potter in London?
Sherlock Holmes?). In December there may be Dickensian
living history events. There's also High Tea at the
fanciest hotels, or lunch at Simpson's on the Strand. St
Paul's cathedral is impressive, and at its best with
Evensong or other choral services. Try to leave some time
to just enjoy being there. Within three hours of arriving
in London last summer, my teen walked over to Westminster,
saw a lot of police about, sat down on a park bench to
watch, and saw-- Prince Charles and Camilla come out and
drive away in a Rolls! So you never know what will happen.
Almost all the things my teen enjoyed the most were free or
practically so. His favorite thing was going to flea markets
in London. I think the Camden market was the one he liked
best. I liked the Portobello Road market. Some of the
markets are only on one day of the week so google it before
you go. I recommend the walking tours also - London Walks is
the famous one. The Jack the Ripper walk would be popular
with teens. They are not expensive - maybe 5 pounds. Look at
the websites for the various museums and see what the shows
are while you're there. The Tate Modern was a big hit, and
we lucked into a really incredible Japanese anime exhibition
at the Barbizon and a sci-fi exhibit at the Natural History
Museum. Hamleys Toy Store on Regent St - 7 floors of toys -
good place to buy trinkets to take back home to the friends.
Riding on the tube, lunch in pubs, walking through the
parks, maybe a boat paddle at Hyde park. LondonTown.com is
a good resource as are the travel guide websites like
fodors.com and also check Wikipedia. Have fun!
London is an amazing city and you will have a great time-but it won't
be cheap! The exchange rate is horrible and it's a pricey city, that said,
here's some ideas
TopShop reasonably priced teen heaven like H&M
Covent garden-outdoor street stalls
London dungeon -Gory wax musuem
Tower of London- a don't miss
Hampton Court Palace-good castle has re-enactments around xmas that are
Walk around the Parks, Big Ben etc.
Get out of the city
Any charming little village, will be cheaper, cleaner and easier to get
around Lewes near Brighton is good and there's a boardwalk similar to santa
cruz. Lots of historical sites as well
Amesbury is a free alternative to stonehenge, it's messier but still
pretty cool, also there are usually some pretty interesting characters wandering
round take the chunnel to Paris for the day-it's not that much and you can go
in the morning and be back for dinner
Don't drive if you can-it's terrifying, roads are tiny, zillions of
cars, tickets are rampant due to CCTV it's everywhere (almost no speeding-which is
Take the tube, bus, or train all cheaper than driving and easier public
transportation is excellent there.
Have fun -you'll love it!
We'll be in Oxford for a semester or two with our young kids (1
and 3). We'd love advice on life there, including where to live
(preferably close to the university), how to find childcare,
things to do, places to visit there or further afield. Thanks!
I visited a friend on a postdoc in Oxford 2 years ago, for a
couple of days with a 3 1/2 year old. They lived in Stanton
St. John, a village nearby. It was an idyllic setting on a
country lane. The village preschool looked terrific and they
walked 4 blocks from the house. I don't think you can drive
into Oxford, so you drive to a parking lot and take a shuttle
bus in. Other than hang out with them, we went to Warwick
Hi -- I grew up in Oxford and have gone back to visit frequently with our
2 small kids (4 & 1 last we went). Around Oxford
itself there are plenty of parks & playgrounds, you can walk along the
Cherwell River or if you're brave & the weather's nice take a punt (boat)
which is great. About 1/2 hour from Oxford, near Burford, is the Cotswold
Wildlife Park -- basically a zoo, but set eccentrically on these country
house grounds. It's a bit pricey, but fantastic with little kids -- in warmer
seasons there's a little train, there's a huge playground, & all around
there are lions, rhinos, zebras, monkeys, penguins, etc. There is also an
old historic farm on that same road to Burford that is fun to go to. I'm
happy to give you some more thoughts about neighborhoods, buses,
the Covered Market, etc if you want to get in touch -- Have fun! Oxford is
a beautiful city as I'm sure you know...
I am from Oxford. We lived there until two years ago when my
son was three. There is a book called 'Oxford for the under
eights' which is very useful. It lists things like daycare,
days out, schools, swimming lessons etc. I may be able to find
my old copy for you but they were just bringing out a new
edition when we moved away. You can probably get one on
amazon.co.uk. and they will ship it to you here. You can
contact me by email if you have more questions, I would also be
happy to meet with you if you think that would be helpful.
I will be in London and Oxford for three weeks from 13 June-5
July. I need someone to play with my 3 yr old while I work
from home in the mornings or afternoons. We'll be staying near
the Hammersmith tube station. Any recommendations of
babysitters? Or suggestions how I might find a babysitter?
Many hotels will set you up with a babysitting referral service.
Call yours and find out. Expect to pay a lot more than you would
at home, although you may get someone more experienced and
qualified than your average teenager. We used a babysitting
referral service in Florida last month that was $16 an hour!
We will be traveling to London with our 11-yr-old this summer and
are looking for an affordable place to stay for about a week.
Ideal find would be between $100-$150 USD (or less!) per night.
Has anyone been there within the last year who can make a
recommendation? Would also love to hear of any out-of-the way
discoveries or tips people have for visiting London, great
day-trips, places to score cheap(er) theatre tickets before we
leave the US, etc. Thanks.
Try the County Hall Travel Inn. Travel Inn is a chain in the UK,
and the County Hall location is part of the former London County
Hall, which was turned into the more budget concious (~$120 US)
Travel Inn in one half, and an upscale (~$400 US) Marriott in the
other half. The location is great - on the Thames right beside
the London Eye, a 5 min walk to Big Ben, and a 3-5 min walk to
the Waterloo Tube Station. The rooms are comfortable, with beds
and fold-out couches and ensuite bathrooms with showers. I had a
good stay there in 2003, and have a friend who regularly stays
when she is in London on business.
I was in London in November of 2002, so some of my information may not be up-
to-date. We stayed at a bed & breakfast walking distance from Victoria Station,
which cost us $100 US a night (I don't recall the exchange rate at the time). We
booked it on-line from California, but then when we got there, we realized we could
have just gone to Victoria Station and found a reasonably-priced hotel in the area
without an advance reservation (mainly because it was off-season). As far as
attractions and museums, I strongly recommend getting a copy of the magazine
Time Out when you arrive in London. You can also get a copy at Cody's on
Telegraph, I believe. Time Out has listings for absolutely everything in London,
from West End shows and dance performances to offbeat attractions.
One of those attractions we went to was Dennis Severs' House (more information
http://travelguides.wanadoo.uk.com/sisp/?fx=event&event_id=59776). This is a
combination historical house/museum. The house consists of several rooms, all of
which have been restored to 1900 and before. We did the candlelight tour, which is
a bit pricey at 12 pounds per person. But it's well worth it as one gets the feeling of
how people actually lived at this time. You do need to make reservations in
advance, and their hours that they are open vary.
We're planning a trip to London with our then 8-month-old baby.
Trying to figure out logistics of getting around with stroller
(worth it?), where to eat, how to get a baby used to the new
time zone, will I be able to breastfeed in public without
offending people (have heard ''no'' but wonder), any London
hotspots for changing diapers on the go?, etc. Also, does
anyone know if you can push a stroller through the British
Museum? Any advice and recommendations welcome!
Some friends brought their baby, younger than 8 months I believe,
from Europe to the US, and the kid had no problems with jetlag,
as opposed to the parents...
The main way to get around in London is the subway/tube, and some
of the stations have plenty of stairs, though mainly escalators.
I imagine most, if not all, have elevators, but you'll want to
try to plan your tube-trips outside the rush hours!
British Museum should be fine; even if there's trouble with
elevators the 1st floor has enough to see for many days :)
(Bring plenty of water & something to snack on for yourself, too!)
Areas like Camden and Brick Lane (highly recommended!) are great
The Brits are probably not too impressed with public
breastfeeding. And diaper-changing should absolutely take place
in restrooms - there are plenty of MacDonalds' there to utilize...
I've been to London many times, although without baby/stroller,
but feel free to e-mail me offlist if you'd like further inputs,
if so, tell me what you like/would like to see, and I'll be glad
to share :)
(A hot tip is to get a copy of London's Time Out Magazine, either
before you go or as soon as you get there, to check out basically
everything that happens.)
Oh boy, you'll have a great time. Yes, take the stroller.
Indispensable. British Museum, no problem. You'll all need to
get used to the time change, but a couple of days should do it.
My recommendation is to stay up as late as you can the day you
arrive and then go to sleep when you're too exhausted. The baby
you're just going to have to let adjust as s/he can. British
Musuem has a wonderful cafe/restaurant in the new central
section. TGI Friday's and Hard Rock Cafe are both fun places to
eat, although the latter is probably too noisy for the little
Did this with an 8-month-old about 3 years ago. DO take your
stroller - London is famously walkable and it's good to have the
baby inthe stroller rather than toting him around. Added plus,
the first couple days when baby is adjusting to the time change
he can just fall asleep while you are walking around or visiting
museums or whatever. I don't recall having any problems bringing
the strollers into museums but you should check their websites
before you leave to make sure - some museums in the US don't
allow strollers. Jet lag was much harder for the adults than for
the baby but it does mess up their schedule for a while.
Caveat: make sure your stroller is lightweight. You WILL be
carrying it up and down the stairs at the tube stations.
Sometimes a LOT of stairs. We got pretty good at doing a
2-person carry of the stroller but the heavier the stroller, the
more painful this will be! Our MacLaren umbrella has survived
almost 4 years of many plane trips - highly recommended.
i brought my son to london at 8 months and again at 2 years. Yes, bring a
stroller. it's great at the airports, museums, streets, naps.... and it will go right
into those big cabs without breaking down! BUT stollers are impossible in the
tube which has lots of stairs, so i recomend bringing another carrying option,
sling maybe so you can fold up the stroller to carry on the stairs. (obviously this
is easier with 2 adults, but possible alone). at the airports you can bring the
stroller right up to the airplane and then they will take it from you to put in the
lugguge hold and have it ready for you as you get off the plane.
Yes, nurse in public nurse on the plane while ascending and decending to help
your babies ears. nurse in the museums, in the streets, in the parks. with the
jet lag and new environs nursing is to important a feeding and comfort tool to
consider compromissing. i nursed in public in london, florence, rome, and
jet lag is a pain. i always find that we'll be up for some part of the night ... like
1am till 4am.... for a week. be ready with snacks and toys. it's nice if you
staying where you can turn on the lights and not worry about waking
anyone.then plan a nap in the afternoon.
it's a great city. have fun.
Hi there - go ahead and breastfeed in public when in London.
I'm from England and I breastfeed whenever I'm back visiting
the folks. Just be discreet the way you are here and no one
will bother you at all.
As for catching up on the jetlag just be prepared to take your
time, our kiddies have gotten through the time difference in
their own time, sometimes waking up a little more at night,
sleeping more in the day but after a couple of days it all
Getting around with a stroller in London; the Tube system is
pretty old, and deep underground, not many elevators around (as
far as I remember) so take a light umberella stroller to get up
and down those escalators.
Go ahead and have a great trip, London is full of life and a
lot of fun!!
We took our 3-year-old to London, and I think taking an 8-month-
old would be easier. Also we went in January, so it was cold.
You will have problems using a stroller. There are not many
ramps, and the Tube is a nightmare with a stroller. I carried my
little guy and his stroller up so many stairs, it was
unbelievable. If the baby likes something like the Baby Bjorn,
you should bring that; it will be much more manageable.
As for breastfeeding, I don't know what it will be like in
London, but I breastfed my baby all over Florence recently and
didn't get a single negative reaction, that I noticed. It could
be quite different in Britain, but I say do it anyway.
Getting meals might be a problem for you. Many pubs don't admit
children, and they are very smokey. There are a few ''family
pubs'' in London that have rooms specifically for families with
children and they are ''smoke-free'', however, they are difficult
Have fun. I love London and can't wait to take my two boys back
there...when they are much older and can appreciate the history.
London with a baby is a lot of fun. Museums are free and child
friendly. But if you haven't done it already - get used to
carrying baby in any kind of baby carrier/bjorn/wrap/backpack or
sling. Why? Most of the Underground stations, built in the
Victorian era, aren't fully equipped with escalators or
elevators, so if you are out with the stroller, you'll be
carrying it up and down lots of steps. The buses are crowded so
it's hard to get a stroller on a bus. And it's easier to walk on
the streets with baby in a sling. But the stroller might be good
for short walks or the airport.
We took our 2 boys to London last December. I can't give you advice about diaper
changes, but I can about getting around, since our younger one was 3 at the time
and we brought the stroller. We bought transit passes that were good for both the
Tube and buses and if you can buy them ahead of time (go to visitlondon.com). It's
a great deal, too.
That being said, it is NOT easy to get around London with a stroller. Remember,
London is an old city. Most of the Tube stations are old and don't have lifts
(elevators). An 8-month old is easier to lift up and down stairs, of course, but you
should be prepared. And, people are generally really nice and may offer to help you.
Once you're on the platform, it's easy just to push the stroller on to the train. If
are going around with your partner, you'll have an easier time. The newer buses are
easy to get on and off of, but the double decker ones can be trickier. We resorted to
cabs more often than we would have liked, but the drivers were always patient as we
collapsed the strollers and helpful.
We did go to the British Museum. You didn't say what time of year you're going, but
in late December, it was so crowded and difficult to wheel a stroller through.
It wasn't the most relaxing trip in the world, but I am really happy we went. Hope
Take the baby to London! We've taken our 1st son twice to London
to see my family - at 6 months and 18 months. England in
general is VERY child friendly. As for the stroller, the British
practically invited it. We took our McClaren stroller every
where, and due to the time change our son slept while we hit all
our favorite museums and restaurants.
When you arrive at Heathrow with a child, airport officials at
customs put you into a special express line for people with
children. The taxi's are large enough to accomodate a stroller
too. The only thing we had to do was carry the stroller and our
child down the stairs at some of the tube stations.
Overall, London is very baby/child friendly.
This isn't really about London specifically, but I just returned
2 days ago from Germany, Austria, France, and the Czech Republic
with my 10 month old. We decided to bring a backpack rather than
a stroller since that's what she prefers at home-- no regrets.
There are more opinions about that in the archives. I had no
problems with breastfeeding in public anywhere. About eating, I
recommend baby-friendly fast food chains like McDonald's-- they
are everywhere, provide good high chairs, bathrooms with changing
tables, and a bit of noise from your little one won't bother
anybody. Alternatively, picnicking works if the weather is good.
When I was last in London (pre-baby), I found good, fresh
deli-type take-out for picnics in Marks & Spencer food
departments, and at a deli chain called Pret-a-Manger, though
there are lots of other possibilities. As far as feeding the
baby, we pretty much regressed temporarily to exclusive
breastfeeding for convenience, though it helped to always have a
few Cheerios on hand to keep her occupied while the adults were
eating. Hope you have a great trip!
London with a stroller can be hard - you're forever on and off buses or
up and down stairs in the Underground. However, it is done by locals all
the time. Just pace yourselves and bring an easily collapsible stroller.
You might already know about the weekly guide - Time Out - http://
www.timeout.com/london/ for more ideas and suggestions on baby-
friendly dining options, things to do, etc.
If I recall, the Natural History Museum had a great child exploration
center on the lower floor - things just for babies and toddlers to play in
Yes, you can bring a stroller to the British Museum, and every other
museum as well.
Breastfeeding - like anywhere - just be tactfully discreet. You may even
find breastfeeding rooms or comfy ''Ladies Lounges'' in hotels or
department stores, which usually happen to be near enough to most of
the tourist sights.
If you're going soon, it'll be cold and wet, so remember to get a rain
cover for your stroller and probably even one of those ''sleeping bag''
type things they sell in colder climes that slip over the end to keep your
baby's feet warm (the UK baby shop Mothercare calls them ''cosytoes'').
Have a great time!
We took our baby to London last summer when he was 4 months old,
and it was a great time to do it. I would strongly recommend a
baby backpack rather than a stroller because most of the Tube
stops have many stairs (no ADA rules there!). We had taken both
a stroller and a backpack and abandoned the stroller after 1
experience with those Tube steps. Also a heck of a lot easier
on crowded buses. We also found that the Brits were absolutely
FASCINATED with the baby backpack concept -- they just don't
have them there -- and it was therefore a natural conversation
starter with locals.
I don't know if you can take strollers in the British Museum,
but I know that you can take baby backpacks in.
I never had any problems or bad vibes breastfeeding anywhere in
public (including on a bench in the British Museum and on the
steps in front of St. Paul's Cathedral).
One nice thing about England is that, unlike in the US, you can
take your baby with you into the pubs if you and your husband
want to have a pint of ale or a meal. The downside is the
amount of cigarette smoke, but it's simply unavoidable and our
baby hasn't seemed to have suffered any effects from it. Again,
the baby was a great conversation starter and we met many locals
As far as getting used to the time change, I admit that it did
take a few days, but it was tolerable.
We went to London to visit my husband's family when my daughter
was a baby and had a great time! We actually didn't take a
stroller because she was happier travelling in the backpack and
we found it easier...however, London is full of babes in
strollers, I think it would be fine if you prefer a stroller. We
did actually go to the British Museum...we had a backpack, but
there were plenty of strollers there.
Breastfeeding in public is certainly not as common as it is
here...but its not completely unheard of. In most public places
they actually have these really cool babycare rooms (can't
remember exactly what the term is)...think ladies lounge in
Norstroms...with couches, changing tables, sinks, etc, that are
really convenient for feeding & changing. In an emergency
situation, if you are discrete, you can breastfeed in a shopping
I found, regarding the time change, it was best to just bite the
bullet and get onto local time as quickly as possible. My
daughter woke up in the night for a few nights, but proved to be
remarkably adaptable. And she went back to her old schedule
almost immediately when she returned.
Have a great trip!
mom of UK baby
We took our daughter last Xmas to london(she was about 15 months)
but we were staying with relatives. I think our daughter did
great with the time zone but she had a tendency to wake up at
midnight and stay up for about an hour. But she was so much fun
when she did. She was keeping to her regular sleep times though.
A stroller is a must I think and the larger the better. with
the weather and all it is a must. Strollers are everywhere in
london. Take the rain cover for the stroller. I don't remember
the stroller issue at the museums because we did use a backpack
for her as well which was not a problem there. Good luck and
This is a vacation we've done and I'd do
it again at the drop of a hat.
One of our favorite places in the world is the Lake District of
England, just south of the Scottish border. Beautiful scenery,
walks about marvelaous lakes ranging from the easy (Tarn How) to
strenous (Wastwater), Beatrix Potter land for little kids, easy
day trips to Yorkshire (Fountains Abbey should not be missed)
and Hadrian's Wall, boat rides on Coniston Water. I'd rent a
house or houses (depending on how much time you want to be in
each other's company) in Ambleside and spend a week. Fly
Continental into Manchester via Newark and rent a car for the
easy drive to the Lakes. Then I'd drive down to London (unless
I wanted to hop up to Scotland for a few days to see Loch Lomond
and Loch Ness), with a stopover in Warwick (Warwick Castle is
hecka fun, although now run by Madame Tussaud's) or Stratford
(Shakespeare country). Drop the rental car at Heathrow (no way
will I drive in London) and have transport company pick you up
for drive to hotel or, again, rental flats. We love having the
extra space/privacy of a flat and the ability to have breakfast
and the occasional dinner in rather than always having to go out
for food. Theaters (there's something for every age group:
Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, Queen's We Will Rock You, Les
Miz, Shakespears at the Bobe Theatre, etc. etc. etc.), history
(the Tower, Buckingham Palace), museums galore (and most of them
free). Day trips to places like Windsor (not just the castle,
Legoland Windsor is 10 times better than San Diego), Stonehenge
(touristy, but still magnificent), and Hampton Court (Henry
VII's place and fantastic tour guides in period costume). No
problem finding a week's worth of things to do. For a third
week, you could take the channel tunnel train over to Paris.
If this sounds interesting and you want any specifics, like
rental agencies for the Lakes and/or London and ideas about
getting around (e.g., best buys for Tube passes), drop me a line
and I'll be happy to give you web sites, phone #'s, etc. Happy
travels, wherever you go.
Taking Kids to England
re: travelling to england. We spent 6 weeks in England last summer with our
then two year old daughter. You don't mention the ages of your kids but if
they like to travel they will have a great time. The Cotswolds are lovely
and I also highly recommend the Lake district- its beautiful and there are
sheep cows etc roaming all over, loads of green fields and walks-country
living!(Beatrix Potter lived and painted there).
Kids love castles and there are plenty to choose from but they can be very
espensive to get in so take the time to investigate costs before you
choose. Cornwall is lovely too, but more touristy as its coast and beach.
Brighton is always a lot of fun for the kids because of the amusement park
type rides on the boardwalk and the beach (rocky beach cold water but thats
england for you-its still loads of fun).
As to cheapest stays: With families your options are more restricted, but
there are hostels with family rooms (so family all sleeps together) still
much cheaper than other options. Next best bet are B and Bs but quality
varies tremendously to great to awful, so again cull through travel guides
before you book. Book ahead as summer is a difficult time to find
In London, the tower of london and madame tussauds
are what kids usually like to see. Greenwich is a lovely outing as well
(loads of green space views lots of other kids and play areas, some
deer...). Get to greenwich on a double decker bus, and sit upstairs it
gives you a great view of the city and the kids will love it. Have a good
I'll be in London with my 14 years old in March for a few
days and I wonder if anyone could recommend a clean,
affordable (up to $150 per night)B&B or hotel (with private
bath) in a nice location. Thanks.
We stayed in a place called ''Chequers'' in Kensington two
years ago with our then-13 year old. Nice little
apartments with in-wall kitchenette and private baths. We
slept in the bedroom and our teen had the fold-out sofa in
the living room. Walk to Goucester tube station and
Whitrose grocery store, the Natural History Museum,
Victoria and Albert and Harrod's!
The rate was reasonable for us, especially since it was
part of a package deal thru Virgin Atlantic Airlines.
My teenage daughter and I have stayed at the Cavendish (
http://www.hotelcavendish.com/ ) and at the Fielding (
http://www.the-fielding-hotel.co.uk/ ) in London. The Cavendish is
very funky, no private bath, no working tv, but is very pleasant:
quiet, lovely garden, nice people, good breakfast. Cheap and a block
from the British Museum. Popular with college kids from the
continent, which seemed very cool to my daughter. Ask for a large
room with a view of the garden. The Fielding has the best location
imaginable (for me, at least), right in the heart of Covent Garden,
though my daughter thinks Bloomsbury and Camden Town are much more
interesting. For its location it's very affordable, with private
bath, but not very charming. Its clientele is mostly theatre people,
for obvious reasons, and children aren't entirely welcomed. We're
careful to be on our best behavior. No breakfast, no view, but most
of London's theatre and bookstores are within five blocks of the
Scott and Jeanne Mills run great Trips Unlimited out of
Portland, Oregon, and handle a number of flats in London
(and elsewhere). I think some of them may be available for
short term stays like you plan. We had a fantastic 2-BR
flat in the heart of Chelsea for a week last summer. I've
used other brokers in the past, and dealing with Jeanne &
Scott was a breeze. Helps that they're in same time zone
and handle all the communications with the London end. Can
even arrange for airport pickup & delivery, which we found
a lot nicer than hopping on the tube at the end of that
long plane ride. Their web site is
http://www.gtunlimited.com/ and I highly, highly recommend
I can't give specific recommendations because my children are much
younger, although a boat ride along the Thames to Greenwich would
probably satisfy all of you. I would suggest that you look into the
White Card (family and individual cards available). This gets you into a
number of museums for one price. You buy it at the first museum that
honors it and it's good for a full week. (I think there are also 3-day
cards available too.) Anyway, check out your guidebooks for this deal.
Also, if you go the public transportation route, be sure to look into
the various passes available. For some, you need a passport size
picture, which you can pay for at a machine at some tube stations, but
it may be more convenient to get the pictures here before you go.
It has been almost ten years since I was in London, but I do remember that the
theaters sell half-price tickets the day of the show. They go on sale at noon,
I think. However, I don't remember the name of the square where the sales are.
We bought tickets to see "Bent" with Ian MacClellan and Paul Rhys, and our
seats were in the Orchestra, 6th row center -- for half price (I think 6
each). I highly recommend going this route. I assume you can call any theater
in London and ask where the half-price tickets go on sale, or you can ask your
hotel concierge. Good luck, and have fun,
To the woman asking for recommendations for a trip to London and Wales:
London tends to tempt adults into visiting museums non-stop, but the
British Museum is definitely fun for all ages, especially the archaeology
section (the Rosetta stone, the huge Egyptian artifacts etc).
To make the typical 15 year-old happy, go to Camden market. It's a HUGE
market in an old factory area featuring lots of antiques, interesting
second hand and flea market stuff, but also high quality ethnic art and all
kinds of curiosities (I forgot on which weekdays it is - ask when you
arrive in London).
Practically every 11 year-old is delighted if you let him/her figure out
how to use the "tube" system and how to get from one place to another. It's
vast compared to BART and is the fastest way to get around, and fun to use.
If you get to Wales and you and your kids are into books, go to Hey-on-Wye
(spelling?). It's a small village in which one out of three houses is a
second hand book store, worth a visit if you like that kind of treasure
hunt. Nearby Black Mountains are a great hiking area, with remains of
medieval churches and monasteries along the trails.
London with a two-year-old
Does anyone have any recommendations for activities a 2 year old might enjoy
in London? Are there restaurants in central London which are particularly
toddler friendly? I am particularly interested in indoor suggestions, as it
will undoubtledly rain much of our stay. Thank you.
I have been going to London every year with my daughter since she was
10 months old. The outings she enjoyed most at 2 were:
"The little farm" in Battersea park (just across the Chelsea Bridge). Just
minute bus ride from Sloane Square. This place is geared for small kids with
the cleanest petting animals you have ever seen. Also little merry go round
pony rides. You can easily spend a morning or afternoon there. There is also
a great playground there for tots.(not expensive! actually very cheap by
For kid friendly restaurants there are many along the King's road (again not
far from Sloane square). If you go to Harrods you may want to try "Planet
Harrods" a restaurant surrounded by TVs that show cartoons. Food is simple
but very good. They provide luxurious high chairs, bibs and all kinds of
food. Let me just warn you it is on the fourth floor in the middle of the
section!! Not a coincidence, I am sure. Pizza on the Park at Hyde Park
good as well, but a little fancier.
All the local libraries have kid time (you don't have to live there to join in
a session or two).
The Natural History museum is great as well. Try late in the afternoon if you
are just going to stay for a little while. (No entrance fee). This might be a
little overwhelming, so you may want to show your 2 year old just a small
section of it...but it certainly could keep the family entertained for days!!
Check out TimeOut for plays and puppet shows for kids. We went to see a
on a barge in little Venice. It was fabulous. Old fashioned puppets
three little pigs. The whole setting was magical. You might try to check
this out before
you go since kid performances tend to sell out quickly and you may want to
advance. Good luck. Ariane
Just having returned from London with a 1 year old, I can point out a few
spots. The Science and Technology Museum across from the V&A is terrific
(Kensington area); lots of hands-on and interactive exhibits that appealed
to my daughter (the steam engine was a particular favorite). The British
Museum (Russell Square area) was another hit; lots of Egyptian, Greek and
Roman statues to. Be forewarned: not all restaurants are kid friendly and
the Tube can be a nightmare with a stroller. There are not very many lifts
(elevators) to the actual platform so you are left carting child and
stroller up and down numerous flights of stairs. (Fortunately, Londoners
never failed to assist me when I was by myself, and what a pleasant surprise
that was!) Museum cafeterias were surprsingly good. Garfinkles is an
American-style chain that worked out pretty well and we ate lots of Indian
A simple but nice afternoon:
On Hampstead Heath, the south side, (next to the
adventure playground) - ie use the Constantine road
There is something called the '1 o'clock club', where
every afternoon from about 1 to 3 pm toddlers play
together in sand etc while mothers can sit and chat.
It's in a fenced in area, so safe, and perhaps a good
way to meet people on a sunny afternoon.
And it's free.
The Heath itself is good to run around on; people fly
kites at the top of the hill.
Kenwood House, at the North side of the Heath, has a
big grassy slope looking over ponds, again good for
running around, and in the house itself is a popular
tea room where you can get tea and cakes, or ice
cream. Very popular with my children when we lived in
The Princess Diana Memorial Playground, in Green Park (I think), is a truly
playground, featuring a large pirate ship, an area of strange devices that
make sounds, amongst
much more. It's free, but only a certain number of people are let in at a
time, and on busy days
queues have been known to form. It kept out two-year old very happy for hours.
My suggestion would be park at Kensington Palace.
There's a great big children's playground where
nannies take their kids. There's a toddler area and
another area for older children.
There's a chain of pseudo-American restaurants called Garfunkels which are
very toddler-friendly -- the one we went to provided a splendid kids' fun
pack with crayons, colouring book etc. The food isn't bad: pizza,
spaghetti, salad bar etc. For activities, all I can think of offhand are
non-rainy-day things like feeding the ducks in Regent's Park, going to the
Zoo, or going for a boat trip down the Thames. We enjoyed that and so did
our (then) toddler. Indoors, you and your toddler might enjoy the
dinosaurs and other impressive creatures in the Natural History Museum in
Finally if London is part of your plans I highly recommend
renting an apartment for one or two weeks-you have full kitchen livingroom
etc and this cuts down on food expenses plus gives you space and time to
get over jet lag (your kids will be up at 2 am, at 4am etc wanting
something to eat etc. and its nice to know you aren't disturbing anyone
else and you can set your own schedule). Its also way cheaper than a hotel
in London (one of the most expensive cities for accomodations).( FYI:Do NOT
BOOK thru Europa-let as the woman is unreliable and never refunded our
security deposit despite a call from our lawyer). Guide books have apt
rental agency listings-if you can work directly though someone in london
you save the commission.
My husband and I need to travel to London the third week of Sept. for an
interview. We both need to be there and will be taking our two year old
daughter. I am six months pregnant as well, and a bit overwhelmed about the
logistics. Can you recommend an inexpensive place to stay but most
importantly, advise us on how to set up childcare arrangements in advance?
We will need one afternoon and one evening of care. Or, does anyone know of
someone coming from London from the 22-29th of Sept. to the Bay Area who
needs a place to stay? We could trade houses. Any help would be greatly
We just came back from London with our three year old son. We stayed at The
Cranley at 10-12 Bina Gardens, South Kensington, London. They were very
reasonably priced for London and we used their childcare for three nights.
The childcare was provided by staff and was very good. Our son was well
taken care of. The staff are very helpful and friendly. This is a small
quiet hotel that is welcoming to families. The e-mail address is
firstname.lastname@example.org and their web site is www.thecranley.co.uk
We have stayed in the Travel Inn near Euston Station -- very ugly and
modern, but large and centrally located with rooms large enough for a crib
or extra child's bed; rooms cost in the order of $80-100, which is very
cheap for central London. (The nearby Ibis Hotel which is part of a large
French chain costs about the same but is extremely unwelcoming to children
and the rooms are tiny.) I don't know about childcare but I have heard of
a service called something like "Universal Aunts" which friends have spoken
very well of.
There are some good hotel bargains listed on LondonTown.com
Virgin Airlines also recently ran a "kids fly free" promo, and do package vacations which includes accomodation in small apartments.
I would also check timeout.com/london - London's weekly magazine that lists almost everything you need to know about staying in London.
These are several agencies that rent houses and flats:
Almost all of the above sources can assist in finding safe and secure childcare as well (in particular, www.timeout.com/london/kids/taking_a_break.html and babysitter.co.uk)
Have a great time!
Oxford with 1 year olds
We are going to Oxford, England, for a week in June with our 1-year old
twins, and I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for:
- What to do with them in the area (parks, restaurants, entertainment)
- Travel tips - To stroller or not to stroller? How to get from Heathrow
to Oxford? Renting a car (with carseats). What items should we absolutely
bring with us, and what should we leave at home?
- How to adjust to the time change
Thank you for any and all advice/recommendations!
I don't have kids but I am from England and can recommend some things.
if you're going to rent a car, and I always do, make sure you book it from
as the price will triple when you get there if not. You can order car seats
the children, and is enforced by law. I would pick the car up from the airport
and get on the orbital motorway, M25, and go clockwise, which would be north
from Heathrow. Signs are excellent there. Driving in the UK has 2 main rules
besides driving on the left. 1. keep the flow of traffic moving,i.e., let
in, and 2. always keep to the left unless overtaking. Americans tend to putter
along in the fast lane, and the Brits won't stand for it. It's illegal there to
overtake on the left.
Most restaurants are child friendly, same as restaurants in the US,
although I don't
think many provide toys,crayons etc.
To be honest, Oxford is my favorite city, but I don't see much attraction
for 1 year
olds. A lot of college's, churches, and cobbled streets, and pubs too. You
to be imaginative, and bring your own entertainment.
Adjusting to the time change, you'll probably arrive early in the day or
feel tired. Do not go to bed, even for a nap. Go to bed early that night,
say 8pm, and
you'll wake up about 7am and feel ok. Coming back is a different story
I would stroller, they are called pushchairs there, because in Oxford
you'll do a lot
of walking. Cars aren't allowed everywhere.
Hope this is helpful
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