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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:37 am 
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Hi all,

My 15 year old DD and a group of friends want to take the train (from the West Midlands) into London for the day in a few weeks time.

I don't feel particularly comfortable about this but don't really know why as the same group regularly go into Birmingham alone.

Advice please?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:41 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
My 15 year old dd goes to London all the time and has been doing so since she was 13.

Central London is very safe so long as you are sensible about your wallet and your phone. Don't walk along clutching it in full view and don't have it peeping out of your back pocket.

She will be very safe with a group of friends provided they behave sensibly and don't draw attention to themselves by loud brash behaviour. DG


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:01 am 
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Thank you. That's reassuring.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:10 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:59 am
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DenDe wrote:
Hi all,

My 15 year old DD and a group of friends want to take the train (from the West Midlands) into London for the day in a few weeks time.

I don't feel particularly comfortable about this but don't really know why as the same group regularly go into Birmingham alone.

Advice please?


Well it's the physical distance as much as anything isn't it. Should by eldest decide to hop on a train to London (he hates it, so improbable) should he get in a pickle I know the streets, know the tubes, know some contacts close by and can be with him in less than an hour. Probably likewise for you and Birmingham?

On the first ever trip, why don't you and another parent twin up, go down town too, have a fab day together without even brushing shoulders with your daughters until the train journey home. That way, you are close by if needed, but they have their freedom for the day and can get to know London a little with the security of you and your credit card close by if need be. Next time they can go alone with more confidence in preparation for city breaks, beach holidays etc.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:54 pm 
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So much depends on the individual. Many children of that age who are familiar with London travel about fine but how much time has she spent there with you? Will they need to get the the tube or just walking from the mainline station?

Also, how big is the group of friends. I would say a group of 3 or 4 is better than a big group - they are more likely to have trouble keeping together but also more likely to attract unwanted attention.

Do they have a plan of how they are going to spend their time?

I think the idea of having adults close at hand is a good one - either yourself or if you have any contacts in London.

Purely personal response to 'would I have let my DD go to London with a group of friends when she was 15?' is no. At 16 did she travel to the West End with one good friend to lunch, matine and home?- yes.

If you don't feel comfortable with it then firstly see if there is a compromise to be found and if not then the answer should be no. Ultimately you know your DD & will make the best decision.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:38 pm 
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I completely agree it is up to the individual. DD has rarely been on her own (London isn't far from us). She doesn't particularly like big cities & isn't terribly aware of her surroundings so would have worried about getting lost on the underground at that age. DS has been going since he was 13, knows his way around and enjoys navigating, but he has always been very aware of directions, surroundings etc. I'm sure with a group of friends they will be fine, as long as they keep an eye on their belongings. London is quite safe, and even if they get lost on the underground, it can always be put right, even if it takes a bit longer to get where they want to be. In these days of mobile phones they all have access to maps etc, just as long as they aren't waving their phones around too much in the streets.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:19 pm 
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Thank you all for your really useful thoughts. DD and friends are sensible and confident, much more so than I was at the same age. I wouldn't have dreamed of a day out in London at their age!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
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Location: Birmingham
My 14 yr old ds went recently to London with his German Exchange student. They went together..not in a group.

They had a good time - no problems. They went to see a few places including Buckingham Palace (I think they got the tube?) and somehow wrangled their way into Harrods outside 'viewing hours' by ds pretending to be a rich Arab (he isn't :oops: ).

I went recently with dd and we took 'The original Bus tour' everywhere by hopping on and off different bus routes (walked to bus stop from Euston) and I'd really recommend it - they were very helpful and we saw lots of sights and had a free 'cruise' along the Thames too.

The tube is a good experience too...went recently also with the youngest two ds via Marylebone to the museums and they actually quite liked working out how/where to change and holding onto the poles/getting squashed and so on!

At 13 I went to Stockholm on my own and at 16 went to Egypt alone (long story :D ) so didn't think London should be an issue for ds. Especially with mobile phones now.
('If not duffers, won't drown'...)


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:42 am 
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I don't mean to scare monger - the chances of anything happening are tiny and shouldnt put you off- but I would make sure
A.you have an outline of their plan for the day ( in any case they will get more out if it if they have some plans & making them is fun)
B.they text you at agreed intervals so you have an idea of their whereabouts. Then if you did loose touch you'd have a point to work from.

Another vote for the tour buses and/or boat trip if they haven't seen the sights before but on a 15 year olds budget might be a bit pricy.
There are lots of free things to do too including various museums and a walk along the river is something we used to enjoy as students oh and picnic in one of the big parks.
Also worth checking if the train company have any deals on tickets for attractions or places to eat.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:05 am 
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"If duffers won't drown" resulted in all sorts of total mayhem involving shenanigans with Amazonian women, hullabaloos, dodgy characters, fire, ambush and finally the police!
Funny though, my boys vanish for the day in the woods on their bikes and I worry far less than when they are up town......I still worry though, annoyingly my brain seems incapable of not doing so.
Test the water before swimming.

We walk everywhere in London, much to my sons disgust, because you see so much more....depends on the weather of course, but I would try and avoid too much hopping on and off tubes, Oxford circus is a good central stop.
Also, simple stupid, but pre-warn them to read the road, look left/look right is spray painted on the kerbside or tarmac. My dimbo son nearly walked into traffic at Xmas as he was looking at the cars stopped on the other side of the road, our fault as we hadn't shown him to read the road and traffic flow is so different from normal towns and cycle couriers whizz round corners ahead of cars too.
Definitely get them to plan a rough schedule, it's fun anyway.
I have this to come, quite soon probably!


Last edited by southbucks3 on Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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