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  • FIRST POST
    • DRamsay7S
    • By DRamsay7S 27th Sep 16, 10:38 PM
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    DRamsay7S
    0 WOW
    London Holiday with kids - advice?
    • #1
    • 27th Sep 16, 10:38 PM
    0 WOW
    London Holiday with kids - advice? 27th Sep 16 at 10:38 PM
    Hello!
    I am planning on taking the family to London next May. My kids are aged 6,8 & 12. I have a few questions and welcome any advice - I haven't been to London since I was about 9 and my husband has never been! We live in very rural Scotland so will be out of our depth a little!

    1 - I'm struggling to find affordable accommodation for 5 people in one room. Hoping to spend maximum of £100 per night for 5 nights - this is easily doable with 4 people but so many places don't accept 5 in a room. Preferably somewhat central - would be nice to be able to walk to some of the tourist destinations.

    2 - What is the most cost-effective way to travel around the city? We'll be relying on public transport.

    3 - We will be visiting the landmarks that we "need" to see, and the Natural History Museum - anything else that you can recommend with kiddies? Any good science museums or similar?


    Any other advice gladly received!

    Thank you
Page 1
    • warehouse
    • By warehouse 27th Sep 16, 10:47 PM
    • 2,767 Posts
    • 5,131 Thanks
    warehouse
    • #2
    • 27th Sep 16, 10:47 PM
    • #2
    • 27th Sep 16, 10:47 PM
    If you can, go over the Thames on the Emirates cable car thing, then a riverboat from the O2 back to the London Eye. It's a really cheap and excellent way of seeing London. Living in Greater London we have done this a couple of times now and absolutely love it.

    For the tube and buses you'll need 3 travelcards, (the youngest 2 should go free). These can be picked up at most tube stations.

    Science museum stopped being fun a long time ago, (it's now a cash extraction site). Natural history museum is much better IMO. Visit Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Picadilly Circus, Hamleys in Regent Street, Buckingham Palace, The Parks, Harrods, Westminister Bridge, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and Oxford Street.

    ...and going for a row boat on the Serpentine is a great way to spend an hour or 2 if the weather is good.
    Pants
    • susancs
    • By susancs 29th Sep 16, 7:03 PM
    • 3,725 Posts
    • 3,591 Thanks
    susancs
    • #3
    • 29th Sep 16, 7:03 PM
    • #3
    • 29th Sep 16, 7:03 PM
    For your budget, if in the May school holidays you probably would be better looking at staying on the outskirts of London and using public transport. There will be some central London places that cater for a family of 5, but you probably pay much more for it. Most of the budget hotels such as Travelodge, Premier Inn, Holiday Inns have family rooms that only take a maximum of 4 ao using these would mean booking two rooms.

    I had a look at Travelodge rooms and Wembley High Road (not Wembley as it is not near the tube station) is beside the tube/train station and £35-£42 per room per night for dates 21 May to 29 May. In Travelodge up to 3 kids each breakfast free with each paying adult and it is a buffet type one with hot cooked items, cereals, yoghurts, fruit, hot drinks and juices etc. It woudl be £16 for a family of 5 to have the breakfast. The bakerloo line goes direct from there to Waterloo for the London Eye, Thames embankment, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and boats on the Thames. Direct also to Oxford Circus for Oxford and Regent Street shops. Direct train from there to London Euston if you are coming into that train station. Wembley Stadium is nearby if you have any football fans.
    https://www.travelodge.co.uk/search_and_book/saver_search.php?action=search&tab=list&source=XX& search_for=PROM3&checkInDate=21%2F05%2F2017&locpos tText=London+Wembley+High+Road+Travelodge&location _code=30902

    Breakfast details
    https://www.travelodge.co.uk/about-us/food-and-drink/breakfast?cmpid=homepage~footer~breakfast
    For travel in London adults would be best to use a contactless bank card each for cheaper fares as they charge less for single journeys and cap each day and work out cheaper than travelcards. Children aged 10 and under travel free on all London buses, underground tubes and most overground trains. They just follow you onto buses and go through the pushchair/luggage gate barrier at tube/train stations.
    http://content.tfl.gov.uk/adult-fares.pdf

    I assume that if you are coming into London by train that you will be purchasing a family and friends Travelcard to save a third on the fares (look out for discount codes) and you can use this to purchase a daily travelcard for your 12 year old which would cost £2.30 for all day travel. If you don't have a railcard it would cost £6.
    https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/adult-discounts-and-concessions/railcards#on-this-page-7

    (scroll down to friends and family)

    If you go to South Kensington the Natural History and Science Museums are by there and are free entry. You can walk from there to Kensington Gardens to visit the peter Pan park and walk from there into Hyde Park to see the riders on Rotten Row and boats on Serpentine etc. There is also a nice lido there is the weather is nice that charges a reasonable entrance fee. For lunches you could get the sandwich, pasta and drink meal deal from Tesco Express stores (there is one 2 mins walk from Wembley High Rd TL and also Greggs Bakery do lunch deals).

    A visit to Covent Garden to see the street entertainers is fun. You can walk from there to Leicester Square to visit M& M world with its lifesize M&M to take pictures. China Town is nearby and theatres. You coudl check with theatre bix offices to see if they have cheap days seats and see a West End show.

    The Tower Of london is worth a visit and you can use your train tickets from Scotalnd with vouchers to get 2for 1 entry (they will update voucher dates nearer the date). YOu may be able to get free tickets for the Tower Of london nightly closing ceremony of the keys. People do book well in advance and it is a £1 booking fee.
    https://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/tower-of-london#/

    Go to Whitehall to see the Queens horses close up and take photos of the changing of the Guard. Bakerloo line to Charing Cross and few minutes walk. The National Art Galler and Trafalgar Square are by Charing Cross station. You can also take the old London number 15 route to the Tower from there (wait for the older buses on the route). The route is past The London High Courts, St Pauls etc. and you can use Travelcard or contactless bank card on it. it is best to sit on the top deck.

    I would plan what you want to do each day as there is so much to see and do. Use www.tfl.gov.uk journey planner to plan your journeys.
    • Tuesday Tenor
    • By Tuesday Tenor 30th Sep 16, 3:03 PM
    • 902 Posts
    • 1,204 Thanks
    Tuesday Tenor
    • #4
    • 30th Sep 16, 3:03 PM
    • #4
    • 30th Sep 16, 3:03 PM
    Can you let us know which week.
    Not sure if half-term in Scotland is the same as England.

    The only places I can find single rooms or small apartments for 5 at your budget, in our half-term week, are places like Hackney, or MUCH further south of the river. I don't think these offer any advantage over the very cheap Wembley High Road option already suggested.

    When there, consider a day out at Greenwich:
    Go out on the DLR through the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, which feel like Batman's Gotham City to me! (I've not been to U.S. cities, and find travelling into Canary Wharf quite startling; your children will probably find it exciting ....).

    The following are all free:
    Get off at Island Gardens for great views across to Greewich and to walk UNDER the Thames through the Victorian foot tunnel.
    Then the National Maritime Museum (think ships, explorers and adnenturers) for history and entertainment, and Greenwich Park for fresh air and letting off steam. Think there's a boating lake, but never got there ...

    There are other options nearby costing ££:
    - Going on the Cutty Sark (but you can see the outside free, in passing)
    - Royal observatory - Greewich meridian
    - boat trip back along the river.

    But the free stuff can fill most of a day anyway ..
    Last edited by Tuesday Tenor; 30-09-2016 at 3:06 PM.
    • Tuesday Tenor
    • By Tuesday Tenor 30th Sep 16, 3:38 PM
    • 902 Posts
    • 1,204 Thanks
    Tuesday Tenor
    • #5
    • 30th Sep 16, 3:38 PM
    • #5
    • 30th Sep 16, 3:38 PM
    You could also try the Owners Direct website for apartments

    This one-bed in in Willesden Green sleeps 5, £115/night for the May dates I tried. Seems to be on good bus routes and 10 mins to tube, and close to shops and supermarket.

    https://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/accommodation/p97143

    Website allows you to search by no. of people and price range.

    There are cheaper places, but further out of course.
    I didn't look through all the hits.
    • Tuesday Tenor
    • By Tuesday Tenor 30th Sep 16, 4:08 PM
    • 902 Posts
    • 1,204 Thanks
    Tuesday Tenor
    • #6
    • 30th Sep 16, 4:08 PM
    • #6
    • 30th Sep 16, 4:08 PM
    Or this one's right on budget at £100/night.

    Tufnell Park.

    Assume you're arriving Euston or Kings Cross, and this a simple 3 or 4 stop tube journey on the Northern line from those.

    https://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/accommodation/p6146533

    You'd probably do a visit to Camden Locks and Camden Market from there.

    ETA: Check tripadvisor reviews for Carena Apartments. Sounds like a few quirks, but those quirks are probably saving you the £50/night extra you'd pay if it was perfect .... Still sounds well worth considering, for your budget.
    Last edited by Tuesday Tenor; 30-09-2016 at 4:27 PM.
    • lika_86
    • By lika_86 30th Sep 16, 5:10 PM
    • 971 Posts
    • 3,703 Thanks
    lika_86
    • #7
    • 30th Sep 16, 5:10 PM
    • #7
    • 30th Sep 16, 5:10 PM
    Try Airbnb, plug your dates in and adjust the budget slider. Five nights is a long time to be in one room all together, airbnb will give you the option of finding somewhere with a kitchen and so saving on food by eating in (this might mean you have more to play with in terms of budget too).
    • suejb2
    • By suejb2 30th Sep 16, 7:09 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 1,659 Thanks
    suejb2
    • #8
    • 30th Sep 16, 7:09 PM
    London
    • #8
    • 30th Sep 16, 7:09 PM
    Take a look at booking.com don't know the dates you're going, 22-26 May has Acadia hostel for £300.
    Take note of poster susanc she is a mine of information I took her advise when we went to London in July.


    Be quick it's very central and rooms are going quick.
    Last edited by suejb2; 30-09-2016 at 7:12 PM. Reason: Tip
    Life is like a bath, the longer you are in it the more wrinkly you become.
    • greenface
    • By greenface 1st Oct 16, 7:59 PM
    • 4,478 Posts
    • 2,276 Thanks
    greenface
    • #9
    • 1st Oct 16, 7:59 PM
    • #9
    • 1st Oct 16, 7:59 PM
    For your budget, if in the May school holidays you probably would be better looking at staying on the outskirts of London and using public transport. There will be some central London places that cater for a family of 5, but you probably pay much more for it. Most of the budget hotels such as Travelodge, Premier Inn, Holiday Inns have family rooms that only take a maximum of 4 ao using these would mean booking two rooms.

    I had a look at Travelodge rooms and Wembley High Road (not Wembley as it is not near the tube station) is beside the tube/train station and £35-£42 per room per night for dates 21 May to 29 May. In Travelodge up to 3 kids each breakfast free with each paying adult and it is a buffet type one with hot cooked items, cereals, yoghurts, fruit, hot drinks and juices etc. It woudl be £16 for a family of 5 to have the breakfast. The bakerloo line goes direct from there to Waterloo for the London Eye, Thames embankment, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and boats on the Thames. Direct also to Oxford Circus for Oxford and Regent Street shops. Direct train from there to London Euston if you are coming into that train station. Wembley Stadium is nearby if you have any football fans.
    https://www.travelodge.co.uk/search_and_book/saver_search.php?action=search&tab=list&source=XX& search_for=PROM3&checkInDate=21%2F05%2F2017&locpos tText=London+Wembley+High+Road+Travelodge&location _code=30902

    Breakfast details
    https://www.travelodge.co.uk/about-us/food-and-drink/breakfast?cmpid=homepage~footer~breakfast
    For travel in London adults would be best to use a contactless bank card each for cheaper fares as they charge less for single journeys and cap each day and work out cheaper than travelcards. Children aged 10 and under travel free on all London buses, underground tubes and most overground trains. They just follow you onto buses and go through the pushchair/luggage gate barrier at tube/train stations.
    http://content.tfl.gov.uk/adult-fares.pdf

    I assume that if you are coming into London by train that you will be purchasing a family and friends Travelcard to save a third on the fares (look out for discount codes) and you can use this to purchase a daily travelcard for your 12 year old which would cost £2.30 for all day travel. If you don't have a railcard it would cost £6.
    https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/adult-discounts-and-concessions/railcards#on-this-page-7

    (scroll down to friends and family)

    If you go to South Kensington the Natural History and Science Museums are by there and are free entry. You can walk from there to Kensington Gardens to visit the peter Pan park and walk from there into Hyde Park to see the riders on Rotten Row and boats on Serpentine etc. There is also a nice lido there is the weather is nice that charges a reasonable entrance fee. For lunches you could get the sandwich, pasta and drink meal deal from Tesco Express stores (there is one 2 mins walk from Wembley High Rd TL and also Greggs Bakery do lunch deals).

    A visit to Covent Garden to see the street entertainers is fun. You can walk from there to Leicester Square to visit M& M world with its lifesize M&M to take pictures. China Town is nearby and theatres. You coudl check with theatre bix offices to see if they have cheap days seats and see a West End show.

    The Tower Of london is worth a visit and you can use your train tickets from Scotalnd with vouchers to get 2for 1 entry (they will update voucher dates nearer the date). YOu may be able to get free tickets for the Tower Of london nightly closing ceremony of the keys. People do book well in advance and it is a £1 booking fee.
    https://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/tower-of-london#/

    Go to Whitehall to see the Queens horses close up and take photos of the changing of the Guard. Bakerloo line to Charing Cross and few minutes walk. The National Art Galler and Trafalgar Square are by Charing Cross station. You can also take the old London number 15 route to the Tower from there (wait for the older buses on the route). The route is past The London High Courts, St Pauls etc. and you can use Travelcard or contactless bank card on it. it is best to sit on the top deck.

    I would plan what you want to do each day as there is so much to see and do. Use www.tfl.gov.uk journey planner to plan your journeys.
    Originally posted by susancs
    Damn you beat me to it . I was going to say exactly the same . Great advice no brilliant advice .
    North Wales Holiday Home Owner
    • vikingaero
    • By vikingaero 2nd Oct 16, 6:16 AM
    • 10,197 Posts
    • 12,843 Thanks
    vikingaero
    Some advice on visiting the museums:

    (1) Turn up early. 9.45am at the latest and queue for entrance. The main entrance for the NHM can be very slow and I find the Exhibition Road entrance to be faster.

    (2) If you want to visit the Dinosaurs then do that first. Rush there! Otherwise the queues later can be horrific. You'll have a decent time if you get in within the first 15 minutes of opening.

    (3) Escape the crowds in the NHM by visiting The Cocoon. You take a lift up from one of the cafes. The Attenborough theatre needs prebooking and costs money but there is a specimen area next to it that is free and with very quiet toilets and seating.

    (4) Get everyone to wear a rucksack with drinks, snacks and picnics if you wish. Most people sit on the wide benches in the corridors and eat.

    (5) If you plan to eat in the restaurants cafes then go early -11.30ish.

    (6) It will be hot in the galleries so having a rucksack means you can stow coats and jackets for free. The cloakrooms charge from £2 per item and often have queues to deposit and retrieve items.

    (7) For the Science Museum get to the top level and work your way down. It's easier to get a lift all the way up and then walk down stairs to each level because the wait for lifts can be long.

    (8) If you turn up early for the V&A then use the main entrance. The side entrances can open 5-10 minutes after the main entrance.

    What else could you do?

    Take the Emirates airline cable car.

    Visit the National Maritime Museum/Queens House at Greenwich for free.

    My favourite other site is The V&A Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green.
    The man without a signature.
    • sooty&sweep
    • By sooty&sweep 4th Oct 16, 10:45 PM
    • 1,120 Posts
    • 1,299 Thanks
    sooty&sweep
    Hi
    Have you tried looking at Youth Hostels YHA. They do family rooms that will accommodate 5.
    My children enjoyed the Tower of London

    Cheers

    Jen
    • kathrynha
    • By kathrynha 5th Oct 16, 7:46 AM
    • 816 Posts
    • 2,221 Thanks
    kathrynha
    When we did London the other year as a family we opted to stay outside of London.


    The price for train or coach down to London plus London accommodation was ridiculous.
    Instead we drove from Leeds to Hemel Hempstead and stayed in the Travelodge there.


    Only 3 in our family, but room was £120ish for 4 nights. Train in to London each day was £30ish, and a taxi from the Travelodge to the station was £5 per journey.


    Once in London We bought daily passes where we could use any tube or bus all day, that weren't badly priced.


    Added bonus of staying outside of London was we didn't need expensive evening entertainment.


    Our daughter was 8 when we went, and we did the London Eye and the boat trip. Booked them together and it wasn't too badly priced, and the boat trip was brilliant, they pointed out all the interesting sites
    Also recommend:
    Natural History museum
    M&M shop (not cheap but cool)
    Hamleys
    Covent garden
    Rainforest caf!


    We weren't overly impressed with:
    Tower of London, might be okay if it's quiet, but when it's busy they can't manage the crowds
    Science museum, think we might be spoilt by having a children's science museum close to home.


    Also added advantage of staying out of London, we were only a short drive from the Harry Potter studios, which I highly recommend.
    Living within my means and saving what's left
    • Imlay
    • By Imlay 13th Oct 16, 11:49 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Imlay
    Great thread! We are also a rural Scottish family planning on heading to London for a first visit for our younger 2 children's first visit having previously taken our older 2 many years ago!


    We have discovered the London Pass whilst researching what to do which might be worth considering. We are going to make a definitive list of what we want to do and take it from there. This thread has been very helpful with that.
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