Madame Tussauds, London
Date: April 11, 2014
We asked GentleParenting member Sarah, and her 7, 9, 10 and 11 year old children, to review Madame Tussauds in London, here are her thoughts:
I have fond memories of visiting Madame Tussauds – and what was then the Planetarium – as a child. I particularly remember the Chamber of Horrors, as I’m sure most children do. Given this I was really excited to take my own children for the day as soon as they were old enough to recognise the figures.
In hindsight visiting in the Easter Holidays was not the brightest of ideas as it was absolutely heaving (this is London, what else do you expect really?) and the queues outside were at least an hour long. I would definitely recommending pre-booking.
Once inside we started off in a ‘party’ room full of Hollywood stars. I wasn’t sure what the children would make of the figures and indeed if they would recognise any, but they were blown away by the very first model, Morgan Freeman, swiftly followed by Johnny Depp (who they know as Captain Jack Sparrow!), Patrick Stewart (who they know from X-Men), Daniel Craig and Judi Dench (James Bond naturally). We stopped to post for the obligatory photo with most of the models and given that they were life size I was struck by quite how small many of the stars are (particularly Tom Cruise!).
We ‘met’ Shrek and Tinkerbell in the next room, much to my daughter’s delight as she doesn’t really watch many films and hadn’t recognised anybody until this point. That all changed when we ‘met’ One Direction though in the next section. Even my almost 12 year old couldn’t contain his excitement, despite how ‘uncool’ he usually proclaims them.
This was swiftly followed by a sporting section, including the obligatory lightning pose with Usain Bolt and a quick photo with Tiger Woods and Lewis Hamilton. Next it was Royalty and history figures where my 9 year old was over the moon to ‘meet’ Shakespeare! Followed by the section my daughter was most looking forward to – music. Having her photo taken with Katy Perry absolutely made her day (in fact it could only have been better if it was Taylor Swift who was surprisingly missing).
A quick sprint through world leaders (where I succumbed to my only photo of the day with my personal hero – the Dalai Lama) and we entered the Chamber of Horrors. My daughter truly hated this bit and we waited at the side while my husband took the boys into ‘Scream’ the live action bit. They loved every minute of it.
Last up we queued (for quite some time) for the Marvel 4D show. My boys are Marvel mad and this was the highlight of the trip for them, particularly having their photo taken with Iron Man. This 4D cinema show is in the old planetarium and as much as I was sad that it no longer existed for that purpose (it used to be my favourite part as a child) the show was very good and the boys loved it.
All in all our visit lasted for around three hours. The crowds were pretty bad, but this is a London attraction so you do really expect that, I’m not sure if there are some days that are quieter, if there are it would certainly be worth visiting then. My only real complaint was the lack of toilets as you walked around. My daughter needed the toilet within about five minutes of arriving and we couldn’t find anywhere to take her until an hour later by which time she was more than a little desperate! The drinks were also ridiculously expensive (£2 for a bottle of water) so I would definitely plan to eat and drink elsewhere. We had a great time though and would like to go back one day. In my opinion it is best suited to children aged 8 and upwards, I think younger children may find it boring, and the Chamber of Horrors too scary.
Entrance to Madame Tussauds costs £22.50 for adults and £19.25 for children 4-15yrs (children sunder 4 are free).