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In London Now...need some advice

connecticut
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In London Now...need some advice

Hi all...after months and months of planning, we are in London and nothing is going as planned. We ended up sleeping most of the day yesterday after our overnight flight from New York. We did the Big Bus Tour and spent an hour sitting in rush hour traffic along Oxford Street listening to the guide tell us how many shoe stores there were. We decided to hop off the bus and go to the British Museum which was open late. It was great and we spent as much time as we could there before we were ready to drop from exhaustion, bought sandwiches at Selfridge's food hall and headed back to the hotel.

This morning we had planned to be up early and head to Westminster Abbey when they opened - well, we overslept and didn't manage that. We decided to go to the Changing of the Horse Guards first and walked from our hotel in Mayfair to Whitehall which was a lovely walk.

Unfortunately, after standing and waiting for the horse guards ceremony to begin, just as they began "to change" my 12 year old fainted!! Today is his birthday and it was supposed to be "his special day". He ended up on the ground in front of the horse guards passed out cold. VERY SCARY!! - please remember if you are travelling with children to keep them well hydrated and realize they can't walk as much as adults. I don't want anyone to ever have to experience what I did this morning. We manage to get him to a taxi and back to the hotel where we have spent the entire day. So much for his special birthday day in London....and our 24 hour bus pass and boat ride on the Thames and Westminster Abbey and Somerset House....at least the hotel is very nice.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can salvage this trip? We were planning on Windsor tomorrow but now I am thinking of scrapping it and trying to do Westminster Abbey and the Cortauld gallery instead. Or, would it be possible to do Westminster Abbey in the morning and then head up to Windsor for the afternoon? Are the Courtauld Galleries worth it (esp. if we are going to Paris to the D'Orsay/Louvre next week)? Also, we were going to Brown's Mayfair for dinner tonight for his b'day dinner? Will that be a nice, but casuall and not too expensive place? I am having doubts about all my plans right about now, so any input/encouragement would be greatly appreciated and very, very helpful. I just want to turn this trip around so my family has a good time. Thanks!!

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1. Re: In London Now...need some advice

lots of advise could be given to "salvage" the trip....best advise though... set the alarm clock and do what you intended in the first place, hope your son enjoy's the reat of his birthday..

Washington DC...
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2. Re: In London Now...need some advice

Sorry to hear about your circumstance. It must be v. hot and humid there right now then? It sounds like you son may want to take things slow for a bit. I would suggest spending some quality time in one of the parks. Hyde Park is fun with the Serpentine, The Lido Cafe, Diana Memorial Fountain, Prince Albert Memorial, Serpentine Gallery, etc... When I visited Holland Park I noticed children getting excited over the peacocks and black rabbits. There's an ecology center, a cafe, a restaurant, and quiet wooded pathways. Regent's Park has the zoo and a towpath down to Camden Lock. You could then take a relaxing boat ride down the canal to Little Venice. Good luck and hope things work out!

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3. Re: In London Now...need some advice

It sounds to me as if you have a pretty daunting schedule and if it's as humid in central London today as it was yesterday, I'm not surprised that the lad keeled over, particularly after a long flight. Tomorrow, being Saturday, most of the sights are going to be very busyand the weather forecast for southern England is good. Does he have any preferences as to what he's like to do?I think that might be a good place to start. The river is a good idea - doesn't take much effort, plenty to see whether it's Westminster to Tower Bridge or further upstream - say Richmond to Hampton Court. I don't know whether this is a first visit here, but you could consider going further afield by train - there are two excellent restored steam railway lines accessible by train from London - the Watercress Line in Hampshire which runs west from Alton (the station is served by "modern" trains from Waterloo Station and there are several pleasant pubs in New Alresford at the other end of the line) or the Bluebell Line in Sussex accessed from East Grinstead (trains from Victoria Station and a bus/taxi from E Grinstead to the steam railway)

I don't know the "London" Browns you are going to later, but the Oxford establishment is very good so you should be alright.

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us
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4. Re: In London Now...need some advice

I'm really sorry for your trouble, thank goodness your son is ok. Maybe ask your family, in particular your son what he would like to do and see. Set the alarm and get an early start before the heat is unbearable and take it easy in the afternoon in a park or by the river....best or luck, I'm sure things will turn around!

us
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5. Re: In London Now...need some advice

One more thought...I hope your son doesn't feel bad about spoiling things, even though it was not his fault he may feel guilty, cheer him up!

Southlake, Texas
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6. Re: In London Now...need some advice

I would skip the Cortauld Gallery - although it is fantastic and you will recognize every picture there, doing that and the Musee D'Orsay would be Impressionist overkill, especially for a kid (unless he's really into art).

I would do Westminster Abbey and the London Eye if you haven't done that already, then head to Covent Garden or to Gabriel's Wharf for some food.

People constantly make grand plans for early morning in London, and do not take into account that your body will not willingly wake up at what is midnight or 2am by it's internal clock! You are not alone.

How many days do you have left in London?

e

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7. Re: In London Now...need some advice

Get up reasonably early tomorrow then start at Tower Bridge and see the tower of London then stroll down the river to London Bridge and visit borough market - this is the real traditional London and it's a wonderful amalgam of sites/smells and traditional London pubs. From there walk down the river to the Globe Theatre and the Tate modern then end up at the Millenium Wheel - an absolute must.

In terms of Browns in Mayfair it's fairly casual and has a nice basic Menu and will not break the bank.

If you want somewhere fun for dinner whilst you are here why not try somewhere like the Big Easy on the Kings Road in Chelsea - it's basically a rib shack but it's always buzzing and they have a live band on. Or if you like mussels, Belgo in Covent Garden is fun and reasonably cheap. Failing that there's a great mexican place in Covent Garden called cafe pacifico on Langley St. www.toptable.co.uk is a good reference point.

Rather than doing Windsor I would do somewhere like Hampton Court instead and then cut back along the river to Richmond.

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maryland
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8. Re: In London Now...need some advice

Oh my gosh SG, I can't believe this happened (I responded to one of your other posts - can't remember which one, but I remembered you had the same questions I had going to London then to Paris).. Anyway, I do hope your son is o.k. I really appreciate the warning about staying hydrated. If I were you, I would just take it real easy the next few days, let you son enjoy the parks (but something in the shade or near water). Maybe more indoor stuff instead of outdoor activities. Anyway, try to enjoy the rest of your trip. Please post again and let us know how everyone is doing. My sons are 10 and 8, I'll be curious to hear what your son enjoys most. We leave for our trip in September. For sure this will be one birthday your son (and you) will NEVER forget!!

Take care.

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somewhere out there
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9. Re: In London Now...need some advice

So sorry this happened to you. OF course you can salvage the rest of your trip, just don't do too much or you will all end up sick.

Skip Windsor and stay in town, take it easy by going for a walk in Hyde park and Kensington gardens, you can have a ride on a row boat on the Serpentine, eat icecream at the Serpentine lido, watch the ducks and generally relax, you can also do all the above at Regent's park, there is also a nice little tea pavillion there.

Then see how you feel on sunday, Westminster abbey is closed but you can still go to a museum if you feel like it and shops are open till 4pm, you could walk along the river on the south side from the Southbank opposite Westminster until you reach the Millenium bridge then walk back on the other side of the river and look at Temple and the Inns of Court and Fleet street. If you have more energy you can walk on the southside of the river to Tower Bridge and cross over Tower Bridge and take the #15 bus past Fleet street, and St Paul's cathedral.

You could visit one of the Cathedrals for evensong services, both st Paul's and Westminster abbey have them starting about 5 pm daily, sunday they usually have sung evensong and the organ in use.

After that you will probably all feel lots better and be able to resume your regular itinerary.

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Pacific Grove...
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10. Re: In London Now...need some advice

First of all SG: it sounds like you have had some truly lovely moments (British Museum, walk from hotel) which capture the essence of London. But apart from the fainting (which you handled very well IMHO) -- your vacation days (remember: IT'S YOUR VACATION!) and the travel frustrations don't sound too different from what I have experienced at times.

Oversleeping on vacation...what a luxury! Nothing to be upset about.

My flat out advice (since you are asking for help in real time I won't worry about mincing words):

You and the other adults on the trip need to take some time for yourselves, take some deep breaths, and remember that everything is okay. Support each other in remembering that mcuh has also gone well on this trip...and that you can trust yourselves to make good decisions.

Then...I think you need to follow the wonderful advice which some have offered above and decide to let the 12 year old be in charge of the day and spend it doing things that he will enjoy on his terms at his pace especially. Remarkably, and I have no doubt about this, if you truly commit to letting him have his day again you will enjoy it just as much as he does.

Good choices would be the parks, the Eye, a boat ride, possibly the transport museum....whatever he thinks would be good....But take it easy! There's no need to rush anywhere: you can allow the magic of London to reveal itself to you in the moment wherever you are and perhaps where you least expect to find it.

I think some your museum ideas are too adult and intellectual for a 12 year old...you may be asking too much of him.

Most of all, remember this: your trip is going fine. There is really nothing to "salvage" because nothing has been ruined. You are having some travel adventures....you'll be able to come back to London again and you don't have to do it all now....or do it all "perfectly." And you already have some great stories! :-)

Enjoy your vacation! I'm glad you took the time to post here and ask for help. Very good move.

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