London is a glorious city and especially for young people and their parents (if you get the chance to visit)! Although I am concerned just like many parents I am also super excited to visit and do some fun things together. While my daughter is living in London I plan to spend some time getting to know the city with her. Obviously the shared language makes the United Kingdom far less foreign than, say, Paris or Rome and in a way I think this also makes it more accessible to immerse yourself in the culture! Perfect.
Exploring London with your child is the best way to spend time together and learn more about the culture.
Here are some ideas I have been considering in an effort to become familiar with the city together.
- Take a Jack the Ripper tour
With the rising popularity of suspenseful British television shows such as Whitechapeland Ripper Street, Jack the Ripper has become back en vogue. Older boys especially will be attracted to the grisly storyline, while parents can take comfort in the historical aspects.
- Take in a football match
It is quite possible the young person is already a soccer fan, even if they do not follow the sport professionally. The football culture can be fascinating to Americans even if they do not quite understand what is happening on the field, or “pitch,” as they say.
- Get scared at the London Dungeons
Again, this idea is a bit grisly, but it is a rite of passage for many teenagers in the UK. The London Dungeons is a sort of haunted house based on real-life crimes that took place in London (such as Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street). For a teenager over age 16 or so, this might not be very frightening, but it is still interesting for all ages.
- High Tea
Whether you choose the Ritz, the Strand Palace Hotel in Covent Garden, or one of the countless other options for afternoon tea, this is not something you should miss. Young ladies might enjoy getting dressed up and making a real “event” out of the meal. Young men and women alike will almost certainly love the food.
- Use public transportation
Depending on what part of the United States you are from, a young adult might not be very familiar with public transportation. Many parts of the U.S. are so reliant on “car culture,” after all.
Still, do not allow an unfamiliarity with public transport to deter you from making us of London’s tube and bus system. Young people will no doubt think it is fun to ride a proper red double-decker bus, and that has the advantage of giving one a lovely view of the city.
The advantages of taking the tube include looking like a local and never having to worry about getting lost. Every tube stop has a name, so you are always somewhere. Public transportation has the added benefit of being affordable. London can be a rather expensive city, after all. Check out the Transport for London website for a journey planner.