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Layover in Gatwick with 3 kids

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Tallinn, Estonia
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Layover in Gatwick with 3 kids

Hi there :)

I'm travelling with 3 kids (aged 2, 3 and 11) and we need some suggestions how to have a nice day in London while waiting for the next flight.

Plan is such:

Arrive Gatwick 9AM. Maybe on to two hours for passport check, luggage drop (to left luggage), some breakfast? Reasonable?

Heading to town.It's sunday, so hopefully no peaks hours. Which is the easiest (and reasonably cheap of course) way to travel to and in the city? I went to the southernrailway.com website and there's a possibility to buy travel card which says: Origin:Gatwick Airport

Destination:London Zones 1-6. Is it ok to buy, can we have tran as well as city transport with that? I see my two youngest travel for free, which ticket should I get for the 11-years-old? I wanna buy online and have everything planned and ready in advance, since it's not gonna be easy with kids :)

In London the plan is to visit Science museum for few hours (is it very crowed on Sundays? Best way to find it?) Then have something to eat and maybe find a playground to spend another hour.

Next flight is scheduled to 19:50, so have to back in GaTWICK BY 18. Leaving town around 17. It leaves us maybe 5-6 hours in the city, so I'm not really sure if any more sightseeing can be squeezed in, but any suggestions suitable for a bunch of maybe-not-behaving kids is welcome :)

Thanks in advance :)

Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: Layover in Gatwick with 3 kids

"Heading to town.It's sunday"

Please let us know the exact date. The train and tube lines have engineering works at weekends (rather a lot on the Gatwick-London lines recently and now) and so we need to check whether they would affect you.

Given an 11 hour layover (and yes you're already thinking right with immigration/customs and being back in time) you should be able to get around six useable hours in central London.

For the ticketing, you and your 11 year old should buy one day travelcards from Gatwick. That's a combination (same day return) train ticket and travelcard that will cover Gatwick-London, all public transport, and London-Gatwick. The child travelcard is approximately half the price of the adult one. Depending on which train you take those (adult) cards cost either £15.80 (Southern to Victoria) or £13.50 (Fist Capital Connect to London Bridge or Blackfriars). But again, which one to get will depend on what services are running on your particular Sunday, so we need to know the exact date.

Edited: 06 March 2014, 08:51
Tallinn, Estonia
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2. Re: Layover in Gatwick with 3 kids

"Please let us know the exact date"

It's March 30th.

Portland, Oregon
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3. Re: Layover in Gatwick with 3 kids

Thank you.

On March 30, the Southern trains to Victoria (the £15.80 travelcard) are running from Gatwick pretty much as usual, with a journey time of 32-38 minutes. The FCC trains (£13.50) are running but on diversion, and not calling at London Bridge, so you'd need to go to and from Blackfriars (still central London), with a journey time of about 45 minutes each way.

Victoria is closer to Buckingham Palace and Westminster (Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square) so if I were you I'd take the Southern service. The tubes in central London are largely unaffected that day.

Edited: 06 March 2014, 09:11
Tallinn, Estonia
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4. Re: Layover in Gatwick with 3 kids

Thanks a lot. I'll purchase the travelcards from Southern then.

Can anyone suggest some kind of kids playground or just kids-friendly park in the central area as well? Some place where I can maybe let my kids run free for few steps :)

London, United...
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5. Re: Layover in Gatwick with 3 kids

St James and Green parks are both next to Buckingham Palace with plenty of space for your kids can run, the former has a big lake to walk around with ducks, geese etc on it.

Tallinn, Estonia
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6. Re: Layover in Gatwick with 3 kids

Nice :)

Thank you a lot!

London, UK
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7. Re: Layover in Gatwick with 3 kids

I'd grab something at Gatwick to eat on the train to Victoria. You want South Kensington station for the Science Museum - 2 stops on district/circle line. Then you'll find signs to the museums.

The Science Museum will get crowded, but you'll be there fairly early so make the most of it. There's an area in the basement 'The Garden' that your little ones will particularly love and your 11 year old will find tons to see. Try 'Launchpad' there too.

Then agree St James' Park is quite convenient and will give you a glimpse of Buckingham Palace too. It has a lake with ducks and pelicans, a cafe and a small playground at the palace end. St James' Park Station is 3 stops on the tube. From the park you can easily walk back to Victoria.

London, UK
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8. Re: Layover in Gatwick with 3 kids

Btw, that's Mothers' Day so they'd better be nice to you!

9. Re: Layover in Gatwick with 3 kids

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