British Prep: Family Attractions

July 6, 2010

As I mentioned in my first British prep post, there are just too many choices in terms of interesting accommodations in England, and the same goes for attractions. There's no way we'll be able to see even a quarter of all the things that look interesting. I am trying to really narrow our list down which means there are plenty of reasons for a return trip. You will have to wait for our post-visit blog posts to see which places we actually ended up visiting. And same as with the accommodations post (thanks for those suggestions!), please share your favorite places to visit in England.

Before I get to our list, here are a few questions:
Regarding it worth it? or should we try to see Avebury instead? Avebury sounds a bit more appealing with kids because we could actually get closer and I have read good things about the museum, but Stonehenge is so darn famous...any advice on this?

Letterboxing? We will be heading to Dartmoor and looking forward to exploring the birth place of letterboxing, have any tips for that area? Any good boxes to be found in London or Oxford?

London Museums? How do we possibly pick? There are just too many good ones. Please help. And what about the London Eye? Worth the money or skip it?

Here's a rough list of spots (mostly outside of London) that I have bookmarked over the past couple of months. I know that some of them will be geographically out of our reach for this trip, but I still wanted to include them for future planning:

River Dart Adventures
Beatrix Potter in Cumbria
Alice and Harry in Oxford
Kew Gardens with kids
Best Places to Play in London
Alnwick Castle
The Lake District with Kids (including the adventure park)
The Roald Dahl Museum
Family Time at the Tate
Fossil Hunting
Jousting Tournament at Blenheim Palace
Birdland (thanks for the suggestion, Martha)
Footscape Family Walking Trips
Laurie said...

London Eye - SOOOO worth it. Really amazing views! :) Plus, from the kid perspective, when you are at '3 oclock' or '9 oclock' it really DOES feel like you are hanging out in thin air. Tower of London tours are neat - the kids I took to London loved it. I agree with you about Stonehenge - mostly it is cool to grownups. The kids (admittedly older than yours) didn't seem overly enthused. Oxford is much fun - you and the kids will love it. We did one of those boat tours there and it was awesome (or maybe that was Cambridge?). Once things wind down tonight, I will try to pull out my trip logs from when I was in London and see what I remember. Love, love, love London. :)

Tisra said...

London Eye- worth it! I've done it twice. Best on a clear day, but great regardless. Modern London. Love it.

Stonehenge- NOT WORTH IT. Saying you've been there is really not enough.

Tower of London- MUST. The while tour is so well done and the tie-ins for history for years to come are limitless!

Windsor/ Suningdale- sweet, sweet castle set amongst a sweet, sweet town.

Kew Gardens- lovely memories as a kid, but I have yet to take my kids.

National Gallery on Trafalgar square- one of my favorites. Free. Lots of famous works. Pop in pop out, repeat the next day.

Haven't been in awhile, but the Victoria and Albert museum has a fantastic array of the worlds best, too. I remember my mom swooning over the textiles, though I didn't fully appreciate it then.

Day trip to Bath- a favorite. You're in Italy, and have been to Rome, so it may not be as amazing to you. But, I loved the Roman Bath and imagining Jane Austen creating her great works there. Beautiful location.

I'll keep thinking. London is a favorite city of mine. Like a second home, really Though I've never lived there, I feel so at ease after 31 years of visits.

And, sadly, I'm usually visiting family, so I've never done much outside of London. No Lake District. No Scotland. No Wales. We have done Brighton and Eastbourne etc. and the Chunnel to Paris. Yes, yes, yes... Too much to do, and not enough time!

Anonymous said...

Never been to London but I think the Beatrix Potter site would be awesome. Hope you guys have a great time.


LindyLouMac said...

I think you should definitely visit both Stonehenge and Avebury. Stonehenge first. I disagree with Tisra it is an important part of the UK's heritage.However I forget how old your children are if very young they may not appreciate either place.

likeschocolate said...

The LOndon Eye is pretty fantastic! I would just balance it between what is great for the children and what you would like to see. The Nation Museum is a must, but Ronald Dahl museum sounds like it might be fun for the children. Good Luck! The Cliffs of Dover are pretty spectacular and Brighton Beach, but that is a little out of the way.

Laurie said...

And, if you do Bath (which I think you would love- great place to picnic!), there is a little town called Wells near there. We did a homestay there my first year traveling with students - and it is the home of "Jack and Jill hill" - where the nursery rhyme was born. And yes, there's a well there. Very cute. :)

Laurie said...

Ok...I am sorry I keep posting...I feel like a spammer...BUT I remembered someplace else our kids LOVED - Warwick Castle outside of London. Lots to see and do - lots of re-enacting, etc. Don't remember HOW far out, but it was cool!

Anonymous said...

The Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms are amazing. You can visit where Churchill ran the war effort--it's an amazing museum in London. You can see where he slept, the map room, the Cabinet room. Maybe the kids are too young? Maybe not though.

We also liked the Tate Modern


Cami said...

Stonehenge--WORTH it--IF you do this: Call ahead and get a pass to actually go inside the ropes with only 20 people after hours. (It's called the "Inner Circle" or something like that.) THAT's the good stuff. Then you can take pictures right up next to them, hug them if you want, and possibly frolic about them as I did. It was my favorite thing I did in England--close second was the top of St. Paul's, and possible first could have been Westminster Abbey if my dumb friends had let me go in.

Jeannette said...

Be sure to take a ride on the bus in London - and sit up top, at the front. Kids would love it, plus it is a great way to see the city and get where you need to go. And enjoy the stroll from Buckingham Palace, trough St. James Park to Whitehall, and over the bridge by Big Ben to the Eye. You hit many must-sees, plus, it is just a beautiful walk. Oh - and if you are looking for an interesting take-in, try Buckingham Palace Mews - where they keep the horses for all the parades.

This is a cool thing that your kids are probably too young for - but would be very cool if they are into history/politics when they are a little older: visiting parliament when it is in session. First you get to the see the inside of the fab building, second you get to see the MPs discuss current issues live from a viewing area above. Mind you, we went when I was pregnant, so I'll admit I caught a quick shut eye, but it was very interesting.

And Cambridge and Oxford are everything you think these amazing University towns should be.

Finally - for getting around in London, pick up an A to Z - it is a book that maps the entire city. Plus - you'll need it for your return trip. ENJOY - I wish I were heading there now!

Latest Instagrams

© Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish. Design by FCD.