London on a budget with kids
Looking for half term ideas/ inspiration with the kids? We managed to travel to London and have an amazing family trip on a budget. Here are our tips if you are looking for ideas of how you can experience the great sites of London but not break the bank…
- We didn’t actually stay in London! This saved us a HUGE amount of money and actually added to the experience as we were able to travel in with the kids on the tube. The boys found this a really exciting experience and a novel way to travel around the city! We stayed in Borehamwood a town on the outskirts of London in Southern Hertfordshire. We stayed at a Travelodge which we have used their hotels on many occasions. The hotels are competitively priced and well equipped for a family. After breakfast we caught the London Underground from Cockfosters into Central London on the Piccadilly line. This took about 30 minutes, we took some snacks and activities to keep the boys entertained along the way but they so excited they didn’t really need them!
- On our first day we decided to use a London Bus to see all the sites. We didn’t use a tourist bus just the normal iconic red ones. With the swipe of a contactless card we able to access the buses and tube throughout London. If you ask the boys what they got most excited about on our trip to London it was riding a London bus. From here we went to see Buckingham Palace where we managed to catch the changing of the guard. We definitly recommend this as the boys were so excited. You can go to the gates of Buckingham Palace and also along the left hand side this a gift shop and there is also the Queens Gallery. This is a paid for exhibition so we didn’t get chance to do this on this occasion. It hosts old master paintings, rare furniture and decorative arts. We then hopped on the tube to London Bridge station. From here we walked alongside the River Thames where we came across HMS Belfast. The boys loved spotting this across the river. Heading towards the iconic Tower Bridge there was a Christmas market along the river. We weren’t expecting this so it was a lovely surprise allowing for some beautiful shots along the Thames. We didn’t go inside the Tower Bridge exhibition but just walking along the bridge seems to satisfy the boys curiosity. We then hopped on another London Bus and spotted as many sites as we could including St Pauls Cathedral, Houses of Parliament and and the London Eye. We stopped at Traflagler Square where were delighted to find another Christmas market! The boys found planning our trip around the London Transport buses a great idea. In the evening we headed to Covent Garden which was decorated beautifully for Christmas. The boys were especially enthralled with the street performers. It was a short walk from here we found some reasonably priced restaurants for tea.
- Day two we headed to the Natural History Museum. We have wanted to visit here for many years especially since myself and the boys have been big fans of children’s television ‘Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures’ filmed here. The museum itself is free and you could easily spend a whole day here. Well worth a visit! From an educational point of view there is loads of learning opportunities here from dinosaurs to learning about different periods of history. Hope the blue whale, a species at risk of extinction hangs in the grand entrance of the Natural History Museum. It was breathtaking to see this skeleton during our visit to the museum. This whale was stranded by the harbour town of Wrexham in 1891. She is the only blue wale skeleton to be hung in the diving lunge feeding position in the world. The whale takes the place of the famous diplodocus dinosaur skeleton and is really magnificent to see. After touring the museum we headed outside where a during Christmas they have outdoor ice skating. This the only paid for activity we did and the boys absolutely loved it.
- Day three we checked out of our hotel and decided to head to London again from Cockfosters. We headed to Leicester Square where there plenty of amazing shops to visit. The boys loved the lego store and the M&M store. The lego store had some fantastic lego creations so well worth a visit. A visit to London’s not complete without a a trip to Harrods and Hamleys. After this we were ready to travel home to our home town of Nottingham! I hope you find our tips useful there is so much to see and do even on a budget. We can’t wait to explore London again soon!