My 10-year-old has been asking to go to London for years, but I wasn't sure with a toddler in toe. I kept putting it off dreading the tubes, the busyness, and then there is the cost.
This summer I finally caved in and booked a last-minute trip using my Travel Lifestyle Club account allowing me to not only save some of the cost on the hotel but also the activities which made such a difference.
I thought I would share what helped us as a family traveling to London.
1st up I checked out train fares which where coming in at around £400 from North Wales, as it was last-minute. If we had booked 2 months in advance we could have got a family ticket for £65. As I didn't want to pay £400 for the train I decided to drive, however not being an active London driver I didn't fancy city centre driving as well as not understanding the charges so I found a hotel which was just off the M1 which didn't require me to drive into the centre of London.
Once I had picked location of where I wanted the hotel to be I checked out my Travel Lifestyle Club to see if I can get any discounts and of course I managed to save £86.27.
Once we booked hotel I then reached to social media for recommendations for things to do as a family in London, and as usual there was so many amazing suggestions. Once we had all the ideas we researched them all, looked at costs and where they were located to formulate a plan.
This was our plan -
We planned to arrive around 12pm on our 1st day after a 4 hour drive.
Once we arrived we booked an uber to get the closest tube (make sure you register for uber much easier for taxi's).
The girls loved their first ride on the tube.
Once we arrived in London we went to Harrods to show them the chocolate, and of course we left with a teddy to remember their first trip to Harrods.
We then went to the ELN London cafe, with being pink lovers this was a must stop for us, it was filled with pink vibes. If your looking for something girly this was definitely a top choice.
Once we had a snack stop we ventured over to Battersby power station, there was a fabulous range of shops, although this wasn't really what we wanted. There was also some family outdoor games which the kids loved. They did have an outdoor screen but unfortunately when we visited there was no films showing. Lots of choice for food, as well as a park and other family stuff.
We then got the uber boat down the themes which was fun and would be something I would recommend doing.
Day 1 completed and we survived tubes and getting around without stressing. planning was definitely my secret.
Again I had planned day 2, I had pre booked London eye using my Travel Lifestyle academy, this saved me over £30 on our tickets which is a huge discount.
We then walked over the bridge towards big ben, and made our way through St James Park towards Buckingham palace.
I wish I had planned some lunch so we could have stopped in St James park, it felt so lovely and calm away from the hustle of the city sitting right outside the palace it had some royal vibes.
With a Harry potter fan daughter we then took a tube over to Leicester quare to see the statues and visit the Harry Potter shop. We also stopped for some milkshakes and waffles. There is a huge M&M shop here which we didn't go in as the queue was pretty long and we had not long visited the one in Florida.
I had also signed up for todaytix to try to get some west end tickets but unfortunately we wasn't able to attend as most of the theatres have a policy for over 4 only. We had a 3 year old with us so we had to make the choice to skip this one out. But if you are wanting to watch a show then great app to get those last minute tickets which are released each day at 10am. On my list for our next visit.
We then headed on over to see the outernet experience, it was very fascinating however wasn't really for kids so I wouldn't go if your looking for family entertainment, unless you was already in this area it is worth popping in to check it out. Wasn't my favourite from the trip, but it does seem popular to many.
Which then lead us to a walk down oxford street, with a 10 year old pre-teen fashion addict we had to show her the famous place for shopping. We didn't have a budget for shopping so just called in a few shops to show her and experience shopping in London.
We ended our 2nd day in London with food at Leicester square, again using the Travel Lifestyle club to access 2 for 1 on our meals, another great saving.
If we was to head back again I would visit Harry Potter, Shrek and also do a London Bus tour.
My overall top tips for staying in London with a family would be.
Look for discounts to save money.
Download the tube map to your phone as there is no signal underground (we got caught out with this).
Try to use the stations that have a lift or carrying the pram can be a faff.
Pack a cooler bag with snacks and drinks for everyone.
Make sure you add something for everyone in the family to do.
Check in advance what is happening in art/culture events as these can change.
By day 3 we was all London'd out so we opted for a scenic drive home and stopped at stockwood discovery centre and cotsworlds.
If you want to find out more about how you can save on your travel check out the details below.