London for Kids
No this post isn’t all about spying on the posh upper class. I’m not going to be offering a Paparazzi 101 course or anything like that. What I will let you in on is my secrets for seeing the palaces, castles and gardens for free (or nearly) as you sightsee in London with kids. I’ll even throw in the latest information on how to find inexpensive theatre tickets to some of the best West End shows and a free walking tour app about London during the Roman Empire. I’ve got you covered with the best savvy planning tips I could find. It’s the latest in what London has the offer for families this travel season.You could make a whole trip just visiting castles, palaces & royal hang-outs.Click To Tweet
London theatre might not be free and it might not even be cheap, but IMHO, London Theatre can’t be missed. Young or old, there really is something for everyone. Classic plays or musicals, Shakespeare, kids shows. Not to mention the latest and up coming hits of the West End. Don’t forget to check out the fringe/off West End theaters. In the past, we’ve found some very off beat, kinda quirky, totally original productions. While some “might” be appropriate for kids, some certainly are not. Make sure you ask the right questions and read the reviews before you lay down your hard earned cash.
If you are trying to get same day or discount theatre tickets. Make sure you buy from reputable sellers, not scalpers. Theatre Monkey outlines everything you need to know to make the best purchases. Other reputable places are TKTS or Matinee Tickets.
Kid’s London: Castles & Royals
You could make a whole trip just visiting castles, palaces & royal hang-outs. If that’s your passion, check out the Royal Trust Collection. It’s not free, but they do offer an annual pass which allows you into all the Royal Trust’s locations in the UK (remember that includes Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) . Of course the grounds and gardens at these royal residences are generally free during daylight hours, but check the website for details, just in case.
The Royal Trust’s properties that are actually in London.
The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace – As the website indicates, “The term ‘State Rooms’ is applied to those rooms that were designed and built as the public rooms of the Palace, in which monarchs receive, reward and entertain their subjects and visiting dignitaries.”
The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace – “The Royal Mews is an important branch of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office and provides road transport for The Queen and members of the Royal Family by both horse-drawn carriage and motor car. It is also one of the finest working stables still in existence, responsible for the training of the Windsor Greys and Cleveland Bays, the horses that pull the royal carriages”, according to their website.
The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace – The Queen’s Gallery was opened by Her Majesty The Queen in May 2002, as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. It hosts a programme of changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection, as noted on the website’s About section.
Historic Royal Palaces in or near London.
These are palaces managed by a different Trust (that’s the British word for ‘non-profit”). There’s a trust for everything. You can save a few quid (pounds) sometimes by buying a pass (annual or consecutive days). See what the different trusts offer and see if a pass is a good choice for your family. You will certainly save if you have time for more than one or two.
Tower of London – The Crown Jewels are located here if you want an up close glimpse!
Kensington Palace – While not ALL about Lady Diana, there is quite a bit to see and learn about this Royal Princess. Book early if you plan on attending the “Diana Exhibits”.
Banqueting House – This place is steeped in history & art. A must see for any Ruben’s admirer.
Hampton Court Palace – There is much to see and do here for the kids. Don’t miss The Maze and the Chocolates Kitchen.
Kew Palace – Queen Charlotte’s Cottage is here. She was married to King George III.
Kid’s London: Walking Tours
If you are trying to make every step a teachable (or at least enjoyable) moment, then a walking tour might be in order. You are going to walk quite a bit as it is, so why not make the most of it! There are loads of apps and podcast walking tours. There’s something for every type of traveler. But sometimes getting a walking tour that will keep little feet happy can be hard to find. Places like Free Tours by Foot and New Europe Tours have so many to choose from! Self- guided, free (although you should tip these starving college students, if you enjoyed their tour) and guided tours for a fee.
The Museum of London has a great app out called Street Museum (here it is from Google Play). It’s free and really great! It has virtual archaeology digs, video clips and pictures and a 3D overlay map to show you what certain places looked like in Roman times. It uses your smartphone camera and overlays the virtual image over the picture of where you are standing, based on matching up GPS coordinates or something. I don’t know exactly how they do it, but it’s pretty cool. I’m pretty sure it will keep any kid occupied as you walk around taking in Londinium’s Roman sights.
Alright, not everyone in the family is going to be content with old buildings, castles, art and history day after day. So, here’s some info. on London’s best sports museums for all you sports lovers! The Arsenal Museum looks pretty cool & I don’t even like football (soccer).
Man oh man! There is so much to see in London. I’ve really only touched the tip of the iceberg here. Do you want more travel savvy tips and tricks for traveling with kids? Check my post about all the best FREE London museums for kids. There are so many, you might need to plan an extra day or 2!
Cheap Flights to London
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