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London and ? - Trip with 1 yo


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Hubby gets a company anniversary trip to briefly visit the office in London. The company gives us 2 plane tickets and $1500 to spend, plus extra time off work.


Hubby went on a short trip to London for work, but we've never been to Europe apart from that. We'll be traveling with our 1 year old and leaving our older 3 boys with my parents.


Where would you visit, besides London? Any advice for traveling with a 1 yo? Where do I even start with my research?!?!? And what would we not want to miss in London, or other parts of England?


We probably want to be gone about a week-ish.

Edited by KBadd
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I would spend most of that in London, but with a day trip or overnight to Bath.  You can easily take the train to Bath (direct from London, frequent services), wander the Jane Austen style streets, visit the Roman Baths, then take the train back to London.


In London, I love to walk (there are some great walks online), particularly along the river (wrap up warm) taking in the Tower of London and The Globe Theatre (daily tours of the building).  Other highlights include the British Museum.


London has great parks - take a picnic, sit on the grass and let your little one wander.


ETA: tips for all of you.  It can rain and be chilly at any season of the year.  Dress in layers and leave the sandals at home.  Leather, Gore-Tex or other more-or-less waterproof comfortable shoes are essential, as are proper waterproof coats/jackets with hoods.  Umbrellas often don't work well in London because the pavements (sidewalks) are crowded. 


Think about what to do when the little one gets tired.  You will need a lightweight folding pushchair/stroller (you may well need to fold it on the Tube/bus) and/or a backpack carrier.  The Tube has lots of stairs, and lifts (elevators) are hard to find, so you need to be prepared for carrying.  Attractions like the Tower of London, being ancient, will also not be particularly pushchair friendly.

Edited by Laura Corin
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How exciting!! You will love it. 


General Thoughts:


I would watch Rick Steves shows and read his guide books for starters. His style of communicating is clear and basic, and the books are organized nicely. That will give you a good sense of what you may want to see, plus inform you about bits of travel that will be helpful. 


Also do a lot of looking on the Google Maps Earth view to get a sense of where things are.


I would NOT recommend doing one of those "hop on hop off" tours. You will spend so much time in traffic, plus a long time waiting for the bus to pick you up to head to your second/third site that you won't get your money's worth out of the deal.  Perhaps if you use the bus to get to your first place and then just use the Underground for transportation and the card for admission you could make it worth it...


The Underground is easy enough to figure out, and is economical. It's quite crowded, there are lots of escalators (elevators also), and people move very fast, so it may be a bit of work with a one year old. Buy and Oyster Card (pre-paid Underground card) at a train kiosk once you're there.


Most (all??) of the big museums and galleries have free admission.


Eating out is not cheap. If you end up at a VRBO or Airbnb with a kitchen, you'll save $$. The grocery stores all have a pre-made meal section, and we found them to be more than passable. Even the little convenience-sized grocery stores had a very good selection.


The cafes in the museums and historical sites all have real food. Not just hot dogs and fries. You'll get stews and chicken and roast potatoes. It is not cheap, but you don't feel as bad about paying when it's not pre-frozen, deep-fried junk.


Things to see:


I've not seen the zoo, but hear it's good.


I've heard that Sky Garden has an amazing view of London. It's free, but you have to book ahead. It looks beautiful, and I'm sorry we missed it. Apparently it's waaaay better than doing the London Eye.


A lovely walk would be to start at Westminster Abby, go along Parliament (enjoying green spaces and statues along the way), walk across Westminster Bridge, turn right (so you will eventually end up where you started) and walk along the Thames (stopping at the Florence Nightingale Museum if you want, and noting Lambeth Palace), cross Lambeth Bridge, and you're back at the park that is just beside Westminster. In a way it's a low-key walk, but there's just so much to take in. 


Another nice walk would be to start at the Horse Guards Parade, meander through St. James Park, and come out the other end to see Buckingham Palace. 


Westminster Abby (not free) is well worth seeing, and I recommend the audio tour.


I've not been to St. Paul's (not free), but have heard it's also beautiful.


The Tower of London is great. It's better to catch some sort of tour, even if it's the free ones the guards give, because there's so much to see and it's hard to figure it all out. I'd say, catch a tour at the beginning of your visit, and then afterwards you can go see the other bits that interest you. 


I would not miss the Imperial War Museum (free). It is so very well done. They have a boat from the Dunkirk evacuation, a bit of the Berlin Wall, air raid shelters, etc. It is well laid out and the interpretation is excellent.

After that, I'd go to whatever museums, etc. suit your fancy. They're all amazing.  


Other things worth seeing, depending on your interests:

The Crypt Cafe at St. Martin's in the Fields 

Camden markets

Hamleys on Regent Street 

The V & A Museum has an enclosed outdoor cafe. There's lovely grass, fountains, lots of tables and chairs. 


If you want to do something really touristy, go on a "Tea on the Thames" tour. 


Day trips to many cool places...Bath, Stonehenge, Oxford (actually, not a lot to see there unless you're a Lewis/Tolkien fan...but even then...meh), Windsor Castle, etc.


Happy planning!!

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We went to the UK with a 10month old in '96.   It was also a company trip, but we split our time between staying in the hotel and staying with friends, IIRC.    We actually didn't do too much in London, but went out into the countryside each day via train.  We loved the Cotswolds area and I remember we took her to Salisbury to visit the cathedral.  I'd have to look back at our photos.


We used a baby backpack carrier but she was 10months and she didn't weigh a lot.


I flew alone as my dh went ahead for the conference he attended.  It's always a red-eye.  She didn't sleep until about 20 min. before landing.  :001_rolleyes:   Fortunately, she was a happy social baby otherwise it would have been a miserable flight for everyone.  Of course, she woke up when we got there because of all the bustle of going through customs. 


But, we were there in Oct. 2015 visiting this same daughter, who was now doing her study-abroad in London.    One of the things we loved the most was the Harry Potter walking tour.  It was very cheap (10-15pounds pp), but then you tip the tour guide.  Ours was great and there was a lot of enthusiasm in the group.  It was a long tour with LOTS of walking, so if I had a 1yr old I'd definitely want a stroller for that. 


We also did the Tower of London tour with the Beefeaters.  That was fun too, but more expensive.  


We also went down to see the Eye.  Some of us rode the wheel.  I took pictures from the ground. 


I remember asking about things to see/do in London here on the Chat boards.  I got some really good ideas.  We couldn't do all of them however.  



Edited by PrincessMommy
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I would do an apt vs a hotel. You can normally get two bedrooms or at least some sort of division, and no worrying about housekeeping to wake up baby from nap. Plus one year olds need room to explore. We traveled in the us with a one year old and much preferred our Airbnb apartment to the hotel. And in the hotel there was no table, so he was eating off of the desk and throwing food onto the carpet! The hotel was free with work trip but otheerwise we would've done apt.

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