In Part 1, London with Kids: Parks & Free Museums, I told you all the best free museums & parks to hang out in so you can absorb culture, history & probably some good people watching too. In Part 2, London with Kids: Castles, Royals & Theatre, I gave you the low-down on West End theatre with kids. I also doled out the inside scoop on the best castles and royal residences you can explore in and around London. I’m winding the series up in with Part 3, by talking about ground transportation, lodging & food – or as we call them “Eats & Sleeps”.
Cheap In-Country Transportation
When it comes to the UK, most people think train travel. I would agree that in many cases train travel is the best choice. For London specifically, you are going to want an Oyster card. Here’s why:
- It’s good on all city buses, trams, trains & subway, Check out where you can use your Oyster card for full details.
- They even go beyond the city into some suburban areas.
- Kids 10 and under travel free and 11-18 year olds travel at half fare.
- It’s contactless & you can top up super easy.
- Most, if not all, public transportation in the city of London is contactless. The Oyster card is the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to get around.
You can even buy your Oyster card and have it mailed to you so you’re ready to go the moment you step off the plane.
Of course, there is the Hop on Hop Off option too, if that suits your travel needs. I’m not much for it, as it’s a bit too touristy for me. Although, if you only have 1 day in London, it might be the best for a drive-by of all the major sights.
Trying to find a place for the whole family to sleep
- where you feel safe will leave you with a few quid for meals, theatre and souvenirs that’s not more than an hour commute on the Tube for most excursions doesn’t break the budget.
I think lodging is the hardest part to plan. So many things to take into account. I found this helpful site gives a good understanding of what to look for in family accommodations. While, I haven’t used their recommended facilities yet, their information is valuable to any independent, budget traveler. We’ve also found hostels & Airbnb to be good choices no matter where we travel.
Another interesting idea is to be a house/pet sitter for someone. These arrangements can be found though sites like TrustedHouseSitters.com. These can be great arrangements that will really make a difference in your travel budget.
Sometimes cities are so big, like London, it’s hard to figure out which neighborhood to stay in. Airbnb has this great feature for London. Check it out to help choose the best neighborhood for your family.
If you aren’t able to find lodging with a kitchenette, you’ll be eating out a bit more, maybe. Remember, hostels generally have community kitchen areas. Check with your specific hostel to confirm. Rest assured, there are loads of places that provide a family atmosphere at a reasonable price. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with Marks & Spencers Cafe, Tesco or Sainsburys in-store cafe’s or lunch grab and go meal deals. If you want to go gourmet, just pop into a bakery or deli (or even the big shopping chains) and grab some bread, fruit, deli meat, chocolate and your favorite beverage. Then head for the nearest park bench or grassy spot with a view. Some of our best memories are of simple meals with beautiful scenery.
Here’s a few links to help you find an inexpensive sit down meal in a location that’s not attached to a supermarket.
If you’re stumped on how to save on flights to London, check out Secrets for Cheap Flights to European. I share all my airfare secrets to help shave dollars (or whatever your currency) off your transportation budget. Here are some tips on long-haul air travel and other things to consider if London is not your only European destination.
Alright, THAT should solve all (or most) of your bucket list on a budget travel challenges & get you in and out of London with a few quid in your pocket & a fire in your belly to plan your next ambitious adventure.
Cheap Flights to London
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If you have specific questions, just pop them into the comments. I’d love to hear from you! If you want even more help planning your London trip, grab my London for Families City Guide.
Related posts in this series: