It’s an age-old refrain from their teenaged offspring that chills the blood of adults everywhere while on holiday – ‘I’m bored!’. How to avoid it? Well, if you and yours are taking a short-break in the UK capital there may be several ways, actually; so full of diverse attractions is the city. Here are just some suggestions…
Where you’ll find the thrills and the chills
From vampires and zombies to school-going wizards and witches, there are few things that teens eat up as eagerly as mild horror. It’s well known that, within reason, young ’uns enjoy a good old scare now and again (just ask Walt Disney!), so there may be no better attraction for your adolescents than one of the capital’s many family-focused ‘scare venues’. Indeed, the city’s so well served in this respect thanks to its oh-so eventful, rather gruesome history.
Perhaps the premier attraction of this sort is The London Dungeon, to be found amidst the tourist-trap galore that’s the South Bank. A clever concoction – a blend of semi-informative historical recreation and souped-up haunted house, featuring thrill rides, live actors and special effects – once you’ve experienced the thing, it comes as no surprise to learn it’s among London’s most visited venues. If you and yours fancy something a little more historically resonant, though, then how about a walking tour that retraces the steps of the Victorian serial-killer superstar that was Jack the Ripper? Not advised for those under the age of 16 (for obvious reasons), this night-time sojourn through East London nonetheless makes for a grisly delight.
That said, if your teenagers prefer thrills to chills then they may love the giant, high-speed helter-skelter that’s offered by the enormous slide inside the ArcleorMittal Orbit, located at Stratford’s Olympic Park. If the name sounds familiar then you may be intrigued to learn this structure is, in fact, the red, spirally installation that stands beside the Olympic Stadium, which you’ll instantly recognise from imagery of the memorable 2012 Summer Olympics.
Where music and fashion collide
Something that seems to define existence for so many teenagers is the combination of music and fashion and, if you really want to indulge yours while visiting London, you must reward them by taking them to the alt-culture mecca that’s North London’s Camden. Comprising markets over-spilling with fascinating trinkets and delicious street food, evocative boutiques and ridiculously cool record shops and live music venues, it’s a fantastically atmospheric part of town – and really quite unlike anywhere else in the city or, well, anywhere much else for that matter. Alternatively – and not far from the City, so perfect if you’ve chosen to stay at London Suites by Montcalm – you might opt for the ultra-hip district that’s Shoreditch, home not just to many an independent outlet vending modern designer clobber, but also Rough Trade, the leading indie record shop, and a cacophony of exciting, colourful street art.
Where it’s celebrity selfie central
Let’s face it, it’s practically an impossible task to separate a teenage from their phone, so to inspire them on a visit to London, why not take them to a spot that’s tailor-made for celebrity selfie moments? That is, somewhere that enables them to actually take selfies with celebs. Well, sort of. Within an easy, quick Tube journey from wherever you may be staying (whether that’s luxury hotel suites London or anywhere else), Madame Tussauds is jam-packed full of more than 300 incredibly life-like recreations of the great and good of today and throughout much of history. World leaders, monarchs and cultural and sporting icons – and so many more – they’re all waiting for the smartphone camera treatment.
Where London goes Hollywood
Are your offspring among the millions around the globe obsessed with Star Wars are perhaps they’re among the worldwide army of ‘Potterheads’? Either way, you have to take them to the Star Wars Identities exhibition at North Greenwich’s O2 venue, which offers behind-the-scenes artwork and fascinating insights into the Jedi- and Sith-defined big-screen space saga, and to The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter, which is actually located a little way out of town but enables visitors to step on to, walk around and investigate the very sets on which the Potter movie series was filmed. And, as if that’s not enough, if you’re lucky – and you time it right – you might just chance across a major Hollywood premiere taking place in Leicester Square, right in the centre of the city. Another opportunity to get the camera phone out and snap a megastar – this time for real!