‘They’re not statues, just people dressed in gold’: a kid’s guide to London

I love London because it’s an exciting place to live and it has lots of landmarks. London can get very busy because lots of people want to come here. You might not know this but it’s great being a little kid in a big city because there’s lots to do and it’s easy to get about. It’s fastest to go on the train because then you don’t get stuck in traffic. I like to do crossword puzzles waiting at the station and to wave at the driver. All aboard? Off we go …

Blackfriars station

London in a nutshell

Start right in the middle of London – literally, because Blackfriars station is on the river. It’s right near a big art museum called Tate Modern. There are cool exhibitions with light-up kaleidoscopes and swings. Outside, look for the performers by the river who blow massive bubbles so big you can jump inside. Watch out for the statues. They are not real statues, but people dressed up in gold.

View of the City of London and Blackfriars Bridge station with the River Thames the foreground in Summer at dusk. Shot from the OXO towerFE8M0C View of the City of London and Blackfriars Bridge station with the River Thames the foreground in Summer at dusk. Shot from the OXO tower

  • Blackfriars station

Walk past Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and on to Borough Market where you can eat any sort of food you fancy. Maybe sausages or a big lunch like paella and the most ginormous fudgy chocolate brownie.

You have to go to Tower Bridge because at the top there’s a glass walkway. It looks like you’re standing on air. Me and my mum and little sister lay down on the glass and it was super duper scary but really exciting. It feels like you’re flying above the buses and boats below. The road rises up to let tall ships in and out of London. From the top you can see an old warship called HMS Belfast, the jungle at the Sky Garden, lots of skyscrapers like the Shard, and the Tower of London.

‘The Crown Jewels look delicious, but they’re not sweets and you’re not allowed to lick them.’

The Tower of London is a real palace where the Crown Jewels live. Mummy was happy cause my little sister got in for free! They look delicious, but they’re rocks not sweets and you’re not allowed to lick them. The crown has a sparkly disco ball on top, which is cool. You can go on a tour and meet the ravens and look at the king’s armour. It’s silly there isn’t any armour for queens. Why isn’t there any? If I was the Queen I’d want my own armour.

Greenwich station

Pirates, tall ships and turtles

The train takes you right past the Shard and St Paul’s Cathedral to Greenwich. Climb aboard the big ship from long, long ago called the Cutty Sark. You can run up and down on the deck but you’re not allowed to jump off the railings. You’re not allowed to jump on the little bunk beds either, but it’s fun to play in the captain’s cabin. The ship isn’t in the water. It’s in a big hall with a cafe where you can get a kids’ lunchbox or a fancy afternoon tea with lots of little cakes.

Don’t bother with the meridian line. It’s not time travel like I thought it would be. It’s just a line with lots of people queuing up to take boring photos. But you might like the space exhibition at the planetarium in the Royal Observatory. You can fly to the sun or land on Mars and see what a star looks like when it is born.

The National Maritime Museum is my favourite because it’s got a big kids’ zone. You can climb the rigging, fix old boats, dress up like a pirate, catch pretend lobsters and sell them in the crab shop. Upstairs by the cafe there’s a giant map you can run all over. You can stand on your country and run across the ocean. Russia is very big. England is teeny weeny. In the grownup part of the museum there is Lord Nelson’s jacket with a bullet hole in the shoulder, paintings by Turner, who I’m learning about in school, and figureheads from old boats, which I used to be scared of. My mum got me a little baby turtle (not a real one) in the gift shop. She’s called Turtle.

‘Don’t bother with the Greenwich meridian line. It’s not time travel, it’s just people queuing to take boring photos.’

Wimbledon station

Den-making, multisports and peanut butter ice-cream

On Sunday morning come to Junior Parkrun in Wimbledon Park. It’s free but you have to register. I run 2km with my friends Josie, Alex and Emily. Sometimes I walk. After Parkrun you can get peanut butter ice-cream or strawberry sorbet in the park cafe. Sometimes the sprinklers are on if you want to cool down. Wimbledon Park has everything: a big lake where kids can sail their own boats, an obstacle course, two playgrounds (for babies and older children), mini golf and beach volleyball. I prefer playing sports to watching them so I haven’t been to the famous tennis court in Wimbledon, but my nana and grampy have been to the museum there and they ate a lot of strawberries. They didn’t bring any home for me.

Carousel on Common

The best lunch is in Wimbledon Village, which looks like the country but it is in London. Everybody will like a margherita at the pizza van. They do spicy pizzas for grownups too. The orange juice at Megan’s on the High Street is the most delicious drink I’ve ever had.

Before you get on the train home, walk up to Wimbledon Common where you can make dens out of big sticks and leaves. It’s a good idea to wear wellies. There’s lots of colourful flowers and wildlife, like birds and squirrels and dogs. Once I saw a beautiful brown horse.

All aboard
Up to four kids per adult can travel with Thameslink on most journeys for as little as £2 on Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak tickets (T&Cs apply). Find out more and book at thameslinkrailway.com

The Guardian

Leave a Reply