London - weekend break advice

I know there are other threads containing similar information but I think I need to condense the answers here.

Please feel free to link other threads if you’re bored of answering.

  1. There are three of us (two adults plus child (6)) and we’re staying Saturday to Monday - what is the best option for transport payment?

  2. The plan is: Sat - Museum; Sun - Zoo; Mon - Probably museum(see 2a). Can anyone offer recommendations?

2a) I think the tube drivers are on strike on Monday. What are our best options for activities that won’t involve too much travel? Somewhere between SW1V and Liverpool St (Stansted express)?

  1. We’re staying in SW1V - can anyone recommend good, family-friendly places to eat meals?

Thanks in advance x

Use contactless. As long as you use the same credit/debit card for each journey, the system will automatically calculate the fares and won’t charge more than the max day fee. Also note that you can take an unlimited number of buses within an hour, you won’t be charged again when you swipe your card.

This probably depends on your interest and where you and your family have been before. There is a cluster of museums in South Kensington featuring the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the V&A. From there you can easily walk to have a look at the Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park.
The other really big museum in London is the British Museum in Bloomsbury.

All the above are free of charge (except special exhibitions).

There is a whole raft of more specialist museums in London, but it depends what you are in to if they are worth visiting.

SW1V is the home of Tate Britain. Again, free entry for the permanent collection. You can also walk to Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. From there you can cross Westminster Bridge and walk along the South Bank. You’ll come across the London Eye, Royal Festival Hall, the Hayward Gallery, the National Theatre, the OXO Tower (!!!), Tate Modern, Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral, HMS Belfast and eventually Tower Bridge and the Tower. From there you can take a bus to Liverpool Street.

Note that this doesn’t affect the Elizabeth line, London Overground, the DLR, trams and the IFS Cloud Cable Car

Not my field of expertise, but I have taken friends with kids to the Victoria Market Halls, one of those food court places with loads of different options and a very casual attitude to seating arrangements


Make sure to book in advance. It is cheaper and much quicker to get in if you have your tickets ready on your phone.

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Young V&A in Bethnal Green is fantastic but I think you’d need to get there early on a weekend as the queues can be pretty big.

We had to queue for about an hour for the Natural History Museum last time we were down too, though you can skip the queue if you pay for membership - depends if you think that’s affordable or worthwhile though!

Tate Modern had some great kids activities on last time we were down though that might have just been for half term.

If the weather’s okay then Kew Gardens has loads of great stuff for kids too.


I really like getting the Thames Clipper or Uber Boat or whatever it’s called now. Can pick it up from Millbank opposite the Tate Britain and head east. It’s fun just sitting on the boat, but you could also get off and use the cable car or pop into Tate Modern. Can pay with contactless.

And +1 for Victoria Market Halls. Great with kids as you don’t all need to order the same stuff. They have a branch of Roti King in there (Gopals Corner) which I love.

I have accepted that my lad is bored by 95% of the exhibitions that I drag him to, but the V&A in Bethnal Green have an Anime thing on at the moment, and he quite liked the Skateboard thing at the Design Museum. Tate Modern has some interactive screen thing on which is OK, and free.


Transport Museum is also excellent, but not free.


Also not affected by the strikes on Monday

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When Jim was 6 I took him up to London, and assumed that the Science Museum would be more his thing, with lots of buttons to press, but the Natural History Museum was MUCH more of a hit. Especially the earthquake room. Mind you, he is a big fan of a natural disaster.

I’m sure we queued last time we went to the Natural History, as @chuff mentioned, but it wasn’t for an hour, and I’d forgotten all about it, so maybe queues are worse at particular times?

The British Museum is crazy. There’s Cleopatra’s coffin!!! There’s loads of Viking Treasure. I think I dampened the experience for Jim by wanging on about how awful it was that Britain had gone around the world stealing all this stuff on the journey there. He needs to know, but perhaps I should have saved the stories for the way home.

He went to the Transport Museum yesterday, and had a great time, but I’m not sure he would have enjoyed it nearly as much when he was six.

I’d quite like to take him around the Golden Hinde at some point, but I’ve got no idea what age range it’s suitable for.


Just to add on museums, the science museum is prob my fave. There’s a power up exhibition at the moment which has pretty much every home computer playable as part of it and is excellently done. My 6 year old nephews mind was blown in there

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Just remembered - if you go to the Science museum (most of which is free), it’s worth paying the extra to go into the Wonderlab bit. There’s lots of cool stuff in there.


Yeah, forgot about the Power Up thing! My son is going on Friday while he’s off for Easter. Looks awesome.

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It’s really good, they had things like machines with every mario/Zelda which he couldn’t quite grasp. Lots of multiplayer set ups too and things like the Nintendo bongos and the Dreamcast fishing rods. Lots of modern PC stuff too so not just retro

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Kew gardens has a really nice kids playground and a Bluey easter holiday event atm. Have been with friends with kids and the kids loved it. There’s a water bit though in the playground so worth bringing spare clothes/waterproof stuff as my friends kids got soaked jumping in the water puddle things


I’ve booked the zoo and the science museum (for different days) and figure we’ll probably end up doing walks around places on the day we arrive.

Thanks to everyone for their advice!

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Pay your respects at the site where the Mound once stood


In case you’ve missed it, the tube strikes for Monday has been called off.

I had missed that!

London folks - what’s the best temporary exhibition etc. that’s on tomorrow? Other half needs to find something to do while I’m working from my London office…

Yoko Ono at Tate Modern