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3 day stay in London with 9 year old - Oystercard?

3 day stay in London with 9 year old - Oystercard?

Old Oct 18, 10, 1:47 pm
  #1  
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3 day stay in London with 9 year old - Oystercard?

I'm spending some of my hard earned travel miles and taking my 9 year old to London in early December for a long weekend. I've only ever travelled here on business so didn't pay much attention to expenses previously.

If we plan to do lots of travel on the Tube, is an Oystercard our best bet? Or just day travel cards?

We'll arrive at LHR, take the train to Paddington, then the tube to hotel at Tottenham Court Road. I plan to do shopping in the Oxford Street area and some museums (British museum, V&A). Maybe a tourist-y thing like the Palace as well. I plan to use the Tube most of the time and not spend on taxis if possible.

Thanks in advance, and any other suggestions to amuse a 9 year old boy on his first trip to London (and anywhere outside the US) would be appreciated.
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Old Oct 18, 10, 2:27 pm
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You'll be fine with day travelcards which cost 5.60 per day off peak for zones 1&2 (can't be used before 0930 Monday-Friday). You'll only need to make 3 journeys in a day and you'll have recouped the cost. Oyster won't save you any money - you'll be charged per journey up to a 5.60 price cap per day so it works out the same. Your son's travelcard would cost 2 compared to a 1 daily price cap on Oyster but you would have to pay 3 for the Oyster card so you're not saving anything over the course of a weekend.

If you're looking to save make sure you take the Heathrow Connect to Paddington and not the Heathrow Express. The journey is only a fraction longer but the adult single fare is just 7.80 cf 16.50 on the HEX. The tube from Heathrow to Tottenham Court Road is easy enough too - it will take about an hour but would only cost 4.50 cash fare
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Old Oct 18, 10, 3:08 pm
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Oyster cards don't cost 3. You pay a 3 deposit but this is refundable (along with any remaining credit) at the end of your stay.

This also means you haven't got to worry about buying tickets each day - you just hop on the tube/bus.

Avoid public transport between 5pm and 7pm on weekdays. Never fails to amaze me at the number of tourists who don't have to travel then deciding to jump in with the commuters....

As for what will appeal to your son, probably worth checking out the science and/or natural history museum in South Kensington. Another idea would be to take the DLR out to Canary Wharf and get a river boat (Thames Clipper) back into central London.

Some of the old Routemaster buses still run scheduled services in London, so take a ride on that (upstairs of course).

The London Eye.

The London Transport Museum is good (Covent Garden)

Enjoy!
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Old Oct 18, 10, 3:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Swiss Tony View Post
Oyster cards don't cost 3. You pay a 3 deposit but this is refundable (along with any remaining credit) at the end of your stay.

This also means you haven't got to worry about buying tickets each day - you just hop on the tube/bus.
I would still go for the daily travelcards. It takes 60 seconds to buy and avoids the hassle of having to return the Oyster card and a refund of the 3. Using Oyster pay as you go also means you are at the mercy of the system working when you touch in and out at the start and end of each journey. If the start or end doesn't register properly a maximum fare is deducted and you have to call to arrange a refund. Not worth the hassle in my opinion especially as the OP is only here for a couple of days and Oyster will not actually save him/her any money
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Old Oct 18, 10, 4:00 pm
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Originally Posted by britenbsas View Post
Your son's travelcard would cost 2 compared to a 1 daily price cap on Oyster but you would have to pay 3 for the Oyster card so you're not saving anything over the course of a weekend.
9 yr olds travel free on bus and tram at all times and they also travel free on the Tube if accompanied by an adult
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Old Oct 18, 10, 4:16 pm
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5-10 Travel Free on the LT

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14554.aspx

No need for a ticket for your son - so long as you have an Oyster Card, and pay the fare, you good to go.

You'll need to approach the barrier staff to let your son through, then you go through as normal, so you may go through the big gate - don't forget to touch in/out.
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Old Oct 18, 10, 9:16 pm
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Tower of London - jewels, beheadings, the Beefeaters.
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Old Oct 18, 10, 10:49 pm
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Originally Posted by carolinaaaflyer View Post
Tower of London - jewels, beheadings, the Beefeaters.
And the Ravens.
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Old Oct 18, 10, 11:31 pm
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Although already mentioned, I wanted to re-emphasise the Natural History museum, and the science museum. Neither are as grand as the British museum, and the V&A is lovely, but for a nine year old, those two will by far be the most fun.

tb
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Old Oct 19, 10, 12:24 am
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The Imperial War Museum might be good for a 9 year old too. I guess I'm a big kid and it's one of my favourite museums in London.
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Old Oct 19, 10, 11:59 am
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Thanks kindly for all the suggestions. It just wasn't clear online but you've helped explain beautifully. I definitely want the convenience of an all day pass. I also won't mind taking a longer journey from Heathrow (my son will love the experience and I won't be in a business/hurry mindset this trip). I had thought the Tower might be too much tourist, but sounds like a must see. I think Natural History museum as well.

The Eye terrifies me (heights).

Now I just have to find another hotel. The one I had earmarked booked up while I dithered on my dates (my fault). Trying to keep it around USD$150-$175 for a clean, twin double, since we won't spend much time there.
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Old Oct 19, 10, 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by kbins View Post
Thanks kindly for all the suggestions. It just wasn't clear online but you've helped explain beautifully. I definitely want the convenience of an all day pass. I also won't mind taking a longer journey from Heathrow (my son will love the experience and I won't be in a business/hurry mindset this trip). I had thought the Tower might be too much tourist, but sounds like a must see. I think Natural History museum as well.

The Eye terrifies me (heights).

Now I just have to find another hotel. The one I had earmarked booked up while I dithered on my dates (my fault). Trying to keep it around USD$150-$175 for a clean, twin double, since we won't spend much time there.
If you're over early Dec then the tourist crowds won't be too bad. Leave it past about the 15th and it gets busy as the schools break up.

As for hotels, look at www.holidayinn.co.uk/thetimes You have to book in 2 night blocks and prices exclude 17.5% VAT but it's buy 1 night, get the next one free. Your budget is tight for central London but you might find something that fits.

Another option is the Premier Inn chain - a solid, clean, 2.5* type affair. See if the one at County Hall is available as this is right across the river from Parliament, next to the London Eye

You might also like to try and check out www.lastminute.com but I think with a US IP it pushes you to travelocity. If you can get onto lastminute, go for the top secret hotels. It gives a bit of a description and if you put that into google, there's another site called Moneysavingexpert where people list all these top secret hotel, saying what you actually get. ^

Note I have had problems booking in London in early December and hotels are currently quite busy too, so the longer you leave it, the more prices are likely to rise.
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Old Oct 19, 10, 3:54 pm
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If the PI at County Hall is booked (or pricey) have a look at the PI in Knaresborough Place. It's two minutes' walk from Earl's Court station - that station about 35 minutes from LHR on the Piccadilly line - and quite a decent hotel overall.

Not far from that PI is base2stay, a firm favourite of mine and also worth a look. If you'd rather stay a bit more central, check out the Morgan Hotel in Bloomsbury Street (Underground from LHR to King's Cross then taxi to the hotel) or the Park Inn in Southampton Row.

Using PAYG on Oyster will allow you to take the Tube from LHR to central London and ensure you pay the lowest fares going. Touch in and touch out on the Underground, DLR and Overground but touch in only on the buses.

Routemasters run on the number 9 from the Royal Albert Hall to Aldwych and from Trafalgar Square to the Tower. There are six on each sector so if you really want to ride one you may have to wait for a while, depending on traffic.

If you want to take your son to see the lights in Oxford Street and want the view from the upper deck of a bus, bear in mind that because of road works the eastbound lane of Oxford Street is closed until some time in December, and eastbound buses are on diversion from Great Titchfield Street.
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Old Oct 20, 10, 6:59 pm
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Thanks again for all the suggestions. The Morgan is where I originally hoped to stay. Will investigate the other options promptly. My company's UK offices are in Bracknell, so no experience staying in the city except years ago at the St. James.
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Old Oct 24, 10, 8:39 am
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If the youngster is into planes, the RAF Museum is a must see. It is a short 5 minute walk walk from the Colindale Underground station, and admission is free.

http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/
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