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Things to do in London

Amazing, fun things to do in London, days out in and around London to help keep you and your whole family entertained for hours! Family days out and great places for kids to go in London.

Things to do in Trafalgar Square

Early in November one of our Trail writers spent a day in Trafalgar Square and being Trail writers just had to do the Trafalgar Square Treasure Trail first before enjoying the other local attractions!

The Trail is based around a mysterious map that a workman, Colin Nelson, found wedged into a crack when he was helping to put up the fourth plinth installation.

Amanda, the Trail writer, picks up the story!

“David and I know Trafalgar Square well, or so we thought and were looking forward to getting to know it even better with the help of the Treasure Trail. The route started outside the gates of Charing Cross Station and after a bit of scouting around, we solved the first clue. It was a fairly overcast day, but dry which we were pleased about. David was in charge of the booklet for the first page and then it was my turn – we like to share!

Things to do in Trafalgar Square - Trafalgar SquareWe loved the clue about the pub in two halves, but decided it was a bit too early for a drink, so satisfied ourselves with a photo instead! 

Given that it was autumn and there were leaves everywhere, we spent lots of time solving the clue by the Royal Marines in the Mall where we had to stand on the word ‘land’ and walk clockwise and then anticlockwise to get the answer. Normally it would be quite easy, but all the leaves needed moving first which caused great amusement to a couple of far eastern tourists watching our antics.

We were bowled over by the amount of available clue material as everywhere you looked there were statues and plaques and interesting looking memorials and markers. Whereas we sometimes struggle to get enough clue material in out of the way places in darkest Herefordshire, the local London Trail writer must struggle to work out what to leave out!

Things to do in Trafalgar Square - Trafalgar Square 2Once we’d spiralled around Trafalgar Square itself, we ended up in the centre and the most fascinating couple of clues led us to something rather wonderful which we had no idea was there. The standard Imperial measures of length are set into the granite paving in brass. We were intrigued that we could check the length of a perch, a pole, a chain or a yard as well as inches, feet and links. Once we got home we googled and learnt why they are there – just as we imagine other  Treasure Trailers do when we point out something they didn’t know before! 

The final clue was behind a taped off area as it was on Nelson’s column itself and there was a cleaner in full swing with his pressure washer cleaning it. We asked if we could get closer and duck under the tape and he was happy to let us do that. He said he often saw people pottering around the square looking for clues but left us to find this particular one on our own!

After a good morning’s walk, we had some lunch in a local hostelry and then made our way into the National Gallery for some more culture before heading back to our holiday accommodation at the end of the day.”

There are lots of things to do in Trafalgar Square but none are as fun as the Treasure Trail in our opinion! Let us know if you have done the Trafalgar Square Treasure Trail and what you combined it with.

25th November 2015

Posted In: London

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Things to do in London for Families

London, like most European capital cities is fun to explore, but it can get very expensive. I recently joined a family from Israel to spend a day in the city and by the time they had paid the train fares to get from St Albans to South Kensington, been ice skating, rampaged round the Science Museum, had ice creams and coffee, lunch, snacks and tea there wasn’t much left over for the rest of their holiday.

Things to do in London for Families - ice skatingThankfully, the next day they were planning to spend the day closer to where they were staying and were all set up to be entertained using the St Albans Treasure Trail

It got me thinking about things to do in London for families.

There is of course a wealth of stuff to do and it all depends what you are interested in, what ages the children are and what the weather is doing!  But good ideas about things to do can be found from any and all of these sources:-

Laura Porter writes about things to do in London and there is a wealth of information on the Go London website. Laura is very helpful if you have specific questions. She seems to be on twitter most of the time too, so you don’t have to wait long for an answer if you send her a tweet

Trip Advisor provides ideas of things to do in London under two separate categories – activities and attractions. And as you would expect there are masses of suggestions and others’ opinions and reviews of those activities and attractions. At the time of writing, the top ranking went to one of my most favourite places in London – the Wallace Collection – I am in good company! The recommendations do change though as people add their thoughts and ideas. 

Another source of information is of course Time Out. The magazine has been around for decades and its on line version is a rich source of inspiration. According to them “Real Londoners never just ‘go for a walk’: that’s for people beyond the green belt with time on their hands. No, we want action-packed urban ambling” which did make me laugh and the phrase action packed urban ambling could easily apply to Treasure Trails don’t you think? 

The press frequently feature things to do in London in various guises but the one that caught my attention was an article in August of last year entitled the 9 worst things to do in London! We will definitely be avoiding all those suggestions! These recommendations might be worth pursuing though.

And then there are the tried and tested tourist information centres. Visit London is the “official” guide to London and whilst it is possible to physically visit them, in this day and age most people will no doubt do at least some research before heading the capital. 

Last, but by no means least there is Days Out with the Kids.  Their list is topped by the National Gallery, which is of course worth seeing, but I am not sure that I ever would have taken my kids there as the number one thing to do in London!

Have you been to London recently? What did you do with your time there? 

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3rd March 2015

Posted In: London

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