Tips for Families Visiting London with Small Children

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Traveling with children always poses unique challenges. You can never have enough diapers or snacks on-hand, and nothing induces fear like hearing someone has to go potty in the middle of a crowded street. You may even find yourself second-guessing plans to travel as you imagine managing a fussy toddler and rambunctious second grader in a bustling city like London.

Fear not, as this is one family-friendly destination that has plenty of attractions parents and kids can enjoy together. But taking children out of town and into a metropolitan area does require some prep and extra caution. Being such a fast-paced environment, it’s important to always keep your children close and know exactly where you are. Bear these travel tips for families in mind as you get ready for a fantastic adventure in the UK’s most famous city.

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Pack Less, Buy More

When you are trying to plan the perfect family vacation you probably aren’t looking forward to hauling overstuffed luggage through Heathrow Airport. Spare yourself the hassle and only pack what you’ll need to get the kids through the flight and to the hotel. Then, head out to a Tesco’s, a popular convenience store chain, and grab the essentials you’ll need. You should also avoid packing anything that’s overly sentimental. What if your child refuses to part with their beloved teddy? Let them know their plushie is keeping watch over the home, and surprise them with a small stuffed travel companion whose loss wouldn’t be felt nearly as hard.

Avoid Tourist Gimmicks

When you arrive in London, you will be pressed by street scouts for a myriad of double-decker sight-seeing tours, walking tours and anything else you can imagine. Avoid paying for these as they tend to be double the cost you’d pay when you book through a reputable agency online. These on-the-spot buys can quickly funnel your travel budget, which will limit how much you get to see later. Instead, plan out your trip day-by-day. List at least two must-sees for each day, then keep the afternoon and evenings open. Be sure to schedule a few hours free for the kids’ (and your) much-needed naps.

Take a Trip to the Park

Enjoy some fresh air, and let the kids stretch their legs, as you tour one of London’s pristine public playgrounds. The Diana, Princess of Wales’, Memorial Playground is a fantastic sight for parents and little ones alike. There’s even a full-size pirate ship for them to climb on. Afterward, pop over to the Kensington Gardens for an extended afternoon of leisurely sight-seeing.

Take Advantage of Transportation

Passengers under the age of 5 can ride the London Underground, Overground, trams, and buses for free. You can also score the best deals on the inter-city coach systems if you’re traveling to Manchester or London, for example. You can use a travel search platform to find Manchester to London coach tickets without any extra fees to ensure you stay within your adventure budget. If you are planning on seeing multiple spots in the UK you can also compare the top train carriers as well.

Explore the Cultural Cuisines

The culinary scene in London is one of the most diverse in Europe. You’ll have your fair pick among dozens of Indian eateries, Chinese take-out hot spots, classic British pubs and more. Plan your menu with the kids to sample different fare and really enjoy getting to encounter so many different flavors in one place. Appetizers are a low-risk, low-cost option to satisfy picky eaters who are prone to leaving a lot on their plates.

Keep Them Entertained with Kid-Friendly Attractions

While museums are always a great family choice for travelers, they can get dull for children. This is their trip too, so have some fun by awakening your inner kid and taking full advantage of all the imaginative experiences London has to offer. It’s impossible to even mention this idea without bringing up Harry Potter. Let the kids experience Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station, then visit the adjacent Harry Potter Shop for some magical souvenirs.

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