Are you coming to London ? Good choice! Few places offer as much history, fun, excitement, culture and all-round awesomeness as London. We lived here for 8 years around the time the children were born and in recent years we’ve spent months living in the capital, taking time out from globe trotting to explore London in minute detail. We can share everything that we know with you, where to stay in London, best areas to visit, London’s top attractions and where and how to eat in London without breaking the bank. London is expensive in some ways, cheap in others, you’ll need our insider knowledge and it’s all collected here on our London Travel Blog page.
How can we help you?
If you can’t find the London Travel information you need here on the blog in any of the posts mentioned in red below, please let me know in the comments.
Click the links on this page to take you through to more detailed posts.
Accommodation is expensive in London, but there are ways to make your stay in the city easier on the pocket. You’ll find plenty of free things to do in the city, as well as the stunning paid attractions.
What’s in Our London Family Travel Blog?
Hotels in London, Or Other Accommodation?
We have found family rooms for 4 for as little as £40-60/night in London, but realistically you can expect to pay at least double that. The great prices we find are based on ultra flexibility and searching hard for bargains.
In the post below, you’ll find a selection of places we’ve used recently, prices and reviews, all at the most affordable and of the market.
We find that youth hostels usually work out more expensive than hotels in London for families ( same everywhere in the world), because you are paying for an adult bed for each child.
As London is so expensive it makes sense to check out other options, such as couch surfing, house sitting and home swapping. AirBnb is always mentioned, but we often find it expensive and not user friendly, but if you get lucky, as we have recently with the gorgeous apartment below, you’re onto a winner.
We use cheap hotels and apartments, prices are similar. A hotel may give you breakfast, an apartment may give you a washing machine, it depends what you’re looking for but prices can be similar. One we used for summer 2016 was $900 / week fully equipped, that’s less that we paid the year before to rent our own apartment for 6 months and of course included utilities and wi-fi.
Getting Around London
Getting around London by public transport is great value for families as children travel free with their parent. The cost of a day’s unlimited transport on buses and the underground ( London overground and Docklands Light Railway included) is capped with an Oyster or travel card. These days you can just use your contact-less credit card on the Oyster scanners, it works in exactly the same way. Once kids reach 12 years old it becomes complicated, really you need to get them their own kid’s Oyster to access child fares but you need a residential address to get one. Otherwise you can buy them single child fare tickets from the machines in every station.
Central London is actually very small and getting around on foot isn’t hard at all. Taxis and minicabs are expensive, particularly the iconic black cabs. Cab fares are metered, you don’t need to negotiate a price and cab drivers do not normally expect tips. Find information on taxi fares here.
“Boris Bikes” ( AKA Santander Cycles) are a fun way to explore London’s parks and cycle routes. You can collect a bike from the racks around the city and return it when you’re done. Cycle helmets are not compulsory and there are no child sized bikes available. Read more about our Boris Bikes here.
To get an idea of where to start your London explorations, begin with our post on 7 Top Areas of London to Visit, you can easily do these on foot or by taking public transport. Another way to tour the city and get a one day overview would be by trying a hop on hop off bus tour, we trialed The Original London Bus Tour.
Where to Eat in London?
You’ll find tips on buying food in supermarkets and from street stalls and restaurants in this post. London has some incredible street food, but it’s not cheap!
At What Time of Year is it Best to Visit London?
My personal choice would be to avoid the UK long summer school holiday. London gets ridiculously busy at this time of year and the queues and pavement crowds could spoil your trip. I would also avoid Easter and any UK bank holidays. You can find school holiday dates here. Of course, we don’t all have the luxury of being able to avoid school timetables, so the choice of time of year isn’t always a simple one.
Climate wise, any time is a good time, London enjoys a fairly benign climate, you’re unlikely to swelter or freeze and don’t believe the hype about it raining all the time, it doesn’t! View London rainfall and temperature information here. My personal choices for the best times to visit would be spring and autumn and summer, outside school holidays. Christmas is also a magical time in London, the city goes to town with markets, lights and fairs, but expect crowds, particularly in shopping areas. We have a post about London at Christmas here.
London Attractions to Visit
Of the paid attractions, we highly recommend The Tower of London. I haven’t posted about this yet, but it’s a big day out packed with history and historical artifacts. You really have to meet the Beefeaters and ravens and see the Crown Jewels and Henry the Eighth’s armour. He was a big boy. Next on our list would be The London Eye and London Zoo. Both are fantastic, click-through to get our full reports on them. I’ve been up The Shard to please my kids, heights freak me out but it had to be done. We’ve tested out heaps of smaller attractions like The Clink Prison Museum, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and a Harry Potter bus tour. We’ve also been along to the sensational Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tours outside London. We’ve browsed markets, coffee shops and eateries all over London and can tell you that our favourite foodie outing is to historic Borough Market, beneath London Bridge. We’ve tried and tested all the big museums in London for kid friendliness, including The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, The V&A, The British Museum, The National Gallery and the Tate Modern. All are outstanding. London has plenty of smaller free museums too, like the Museum of Childhood and the Grant Zoology Museum. So, as I said, if you need any further family-eye-view information on what to do during your time in London, don’t be afraid to ask in the comments.
Other Great London Blogs for Further Information
A Short Guide to London by Laura at Savoured Journeys
London Events Month by Month by Lisit London
18 Fun Things to Do in London by HostelGeeks
London at Christmas by World Travel Family
Cheat Sheet and Itineraries for First Time Visitors by Globetrotting Teacher
If you are looking for a hotel in London, start your search here.