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Trip List by lindagaf

Not-So-Touristy London (and around) for Kids

1 May 2006  London expat with kids
3.0 of 5 stars based on 9 votes

Do you want a fun week in and around London for parents and kids, but without hoardes of tourists? Do this stuff!

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: London, Bodiam, Hever, Uckfield, Beaconsfield
  • Category: Perfect week or more
  • Traveler type: Sightseeing, Active/Outdoors, Never been before, Repeat visitors
  • Appeals to: Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Tourists
  • Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Sir John Soane's Museum
    Sir John Soane's Museum, London, England

    This tucked-away museum is not on the beaten path, and is full of oddities and mysteries for kids and adults. The house itself is interesting to explore, and it is impossible not to find something to engross even the most sulky tot or adolescent.

  • 2. Docklands Light Railway
    Docklands Light Railway, London, England

    Get your kid up in the first car of this automatic train, so they pretend they are driving and enjoy the view once you hit daylight. Arriving into the post-modern world of the Docklands is a bit of a shock to the system after leaving the old Europeaness of London. Plus, it is only a short walk to the Greenwich tunnel, which takes you under the river. Kids think that's cool too.

  • 3. Greenwich and the Thames Barrier
    Greenwich, London, England

    Which leads me to my next kid-friendly place, Greenwhich itself. Most kids probably won't be too interested in the Prime Meridian itself, unless they are very interested in time, but the Maritime Museum is great, and the replica of the Cutty Sark is perfect for the kids. Lots of nice cafes and shops in Greenwich too. You can also check out the weird and incongruous sight of the space-age looking Thames Barrier. Make up a wacky story about what it is, they will believe it.

  • 4. Highgate Cemetery
    Highgate Cemetery, London, England

    Perhaps not great for small kids, because the tour guides expect you to be quiet, but older kids will love this creepy place and will marvel at the elaborate mausoleums of the now-obscure rich and famous society folk. The open-access side of the cemetery is also interesting and is home to a number of famous dead people, and is also fun for trying to get lost.

  • 5. Bodiam Castle
    Bodiam Castle, Bodiam, East Sussex

    This castle is a must! It is a classic 4 walled castle with a moat, drawbridge, turrets, courtyard, and all kinds of neat nooks and crannies. Impossible not to have fun here, plus it's in the most beautiful area immediatlely outside of London. LOVE IT!!!

  • 6. Hever Castle
    Hever Castle, Hever, Sevenoaks District

    The BEST castle in the world!!! So much fun, where to start? Any school kid will love the whole Henry the 8th connection, the castle is lovely, small and manageable. A hedge maze and a water maze (late April through Sept., but check) acres of beautiful grounds, good cafes, can't say enough about this place. In a way, if you go here you almost wouldn't need to see anything else in the UK. It is very representative of the idea of "England.'' The really great thing though, is that while it is popular, it's mostly locals, and not busloads of camera-toting tourists. A gem.

  • 7. The Bluebell Railway
    Bluebell Railway, Uckfield, East Sussex

    Great for young kids, and lovers of old-fashioned trains. The ride isn't too long, so kids won't get antsy. Try to go when the bluebells are out (call ahead), they are stunning. Lots of train memoriabilia, large cafe with standard fare. Special theme days, including Thomas and Friends.

  • 8. Bekonscot Model Village
    Bekonscot Model Village, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire

    This little place will keep kids entertained for hours. It even has a small playground and a mini steam-train for kids to ride on. Most kids will be in awe of the miniature replicas of everything ffrom a coal mine to a zoo, plus there are tiny little trains zooming around the whole village. If your kids have never seen a model village, they will love this. Adults will marvel at the patience it must have taken to create the whole thing.

  • 9. Little Angel Theatre
    Little Angel Theatre, London, England

    Try, oh try, to get to the Little Angel Theatre for a real, honest-to-goodness puppet show. Kids are enthralled with the wonderful puppets that are created at this place, you can even buy one to take home with you. I have very happy memories of beautiful and innocent shows here, and my kids still remember them to this day.