London with Kids - part 6
by Geri Wagner
Your last day in London and you've already seen a lot!
If you've followed my itinerary, you've had a ride on the double-decker bus and toured all the "must-see" sites in London. You've had a chance to eat some British food, ride the London underground, and people-watch in various corners of this city of cities.
Speaking of people, it's famous people - stars - that we'll be focussing on today. The kids will see a lot that's educational without realising it because it's all about the movies and music and entertainment stars!
OK. For starters, you can point out a few things to the kids to get them geared up for today's adventure. The kids have no doubt seen the movie, "101 Dalmatians," that live-action version of the much-loved Disney cartoon about a family of Dalmatians hunted by Cruela De Vil who wants to make a coat from their fur, starring Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels and Joely Richardson. Well, the movie was shot on location in and around the locations of places you've already visited: Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Burlington Arcade, Battersea Park and Kenwood House.
Another movie Mom and Dad might be more familiar with is "First Knight," starring Richard Gere, Sean Connery, and Julia Ormond. This film, "a stunning and epic version of the legend of the Knights of the Round Table, with Connery as King Arthur and Richard Gere as Lancelot, the man who falls for Arthur's wife Guinevere, was shot on location largely in Wales, but also used was the Tower of London!
You might like to go around London and look at those sites again. But if you suggest that, I warn you, the kids will mutiny faster than you can say "Margaret Thatcher."
Here's my suggestion for today's outing.
Piccadilly Circus, London W1. Open at 10 a.m. every day, except in autumn months when they open at 11 a.m. Either take the 5-minute walk from Leicester Square to Piccadilly Circus, or grab a seat on the Piccadilly line to Piccadilly Circus.
Rock Circus is easy to find. It's located in the London Pavilion at No.1 Piccadilly Circus, Piccadilly, in Central London.
Your first stop, Madame Tussaud's Rock Circus, "is a must for anyone who has ever dreamt of being a pop star or of living like one.
The home of Rock Circus, the famous London Pavilion building has been recreated as it was in its 60s heyday, when it hosted the world premieres of The Beatles' films 'A Hard Days Night' and 'Yellow Submarine'.
A "new look" at Rock Circus takes you on an insider's tour of the world of rock and pop. You can hang out with the hip in the VIP room, get in vogue at a Madonna video shoot, join reggae master Bob Marley in the recording studio before paying tribute at the "Cemetery" to those late, great rockers who lived fast and died young.
By special invitation meet the stars at a pre-concert VIP party. Rub shoulders with stars like Elvis and Bono. Your tour includes a tribute to the multi-talented Jackson family, with special focus on the amazing and ever-youthful Michael Jackson and his sister Janet.
The centre of music and fashion, a sixties-style London street also gets the Rock Circus treatment with a wild and wonderful array of star-filled shops that mix the musical generations. Guitar greats Jimi Hendrix and Mark Knopfler enjoy a Tin Pan Alley style jam, Townshend and Daltrey play at pinball wizards and bad boys Johnny Rotten and James Brown add a touch of raunch to a typically sleazy Soho boutique.
If you are still going strong after all this, Rock Circus invites you to an after-show party area designed by U2's concert designer, Mark Fisher, where you can join Robbie Williams and the Spice Girls.
If you've got time, depending on the day of the week and how fast you get through Rock Circus, you might want to check out one of the London Beatles Walks.
There are two extensive and informative London Beatles Walks that end up at the Abbey Road Studios where the Beatles recorded their famous music.
There's the "Magical Mystery Tour," every Thursday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and Wednesdays at 2 p.m. from Tottenham Court Road, the Underground Dominion Theatre Exit.
Or, choose the "In My Life" Tour leaving every Tuesday and Saturday at 11 a.m. from the Baker Street Underground Station.
For more details on these popular tours, contact: The Original London Walks.
If you've done Rock Circus and decided to skip the Beatles Walk, how about spending the rest of the day outside London at the seaside? It's a continuation of the theme of entertainment and stardom, a bit funky, but also refreshing and gives the kids a chance to blow off a bit of youthful steam.
It's only 49 minutes by rail, outside London to the seaside city of Brighton and Hove, one of the UK's most photogenic seaside cities. Rail services to and from London Victoria are fast and frequent with Connex's 49-minute service.
Brighton and Hove have been featured in many famous films, including Sir Richard Attenborough's "Brighton Rock" and "Oh What a Lovely War", "Quadrophenia", "Mona Lisa", "Dirty Weekend" and "Richard III". It has also been a haven for countless TV and film celebrities and media types, and a lively backdrop to numerous advertisements and TV programs.
If the weather is decent, there are all kinds of watersports to try and you can hire in-line skates to rollerblade along the esplanade, or play petanque (like boules) on the piste next to Alfresco's. And Hove's wide, elegant esplanade and peaceful lawns are perfect for strolling, picnicking, kite flying and playing.
Bait and fishing is also available at the Brighton Marina. So if one of the family wants to fish and one wants to see a film and another wants to shop or take a nice walk, it is the perfect day out for a family. Afterwards you can meet up for a snack or a full meal before grabbing the train back to London.
Take another look at the Thames if you want, before you head back to the hotel to pack, do your last-minute souvenir shopping, and maybe even get time for one last storytelling session. But tonight, you'll have visions of London dancing in your heads. Why not just talk about everyone's favourite places and have some fun reminiscing?
There's a lot more to see in London that can't be stuffed into five days. You'll just have to plan for another trip over and maybe by then, the kids will be old enough to bring their own spending money!
SOURCES USED FOR THIS SERIES
article by Geri Wagner
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