London!

Hi,


We are going to London next weekend to visit family, I have two kids - age 5 and 3. Can anyone recommend things to do whilst in London with kids that wont cost a small fortune please?


Also, while we are there, I'd imagine we will be using the tube to travel, can you buy any sort of family day ticket to keep costs down? We have a family & friends railcard, if that helps?


thanks!
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  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    What you need if you're ever going again is an Oyster card for each adult. Under 5s don't pay so you're OK for the 3yo. TFL site is the one to look at for info on the 5 yo. There are day tickets.

    The parks are free, the museums are free (except for special exhibitions) - what do your children enjoy?
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  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
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    You don't need an oyster card, if you have a contactless credit or debit card. Use it like an oyster card. There is a daily cap and it is cheaper than buying a day ticket. You do need one card per (paying) traveller, and remember to use the same card for the whole day if you make several journeys, otherwise you won't benefit from the daily cap.

    In terms of what you do, it deeds a bit on what your kids enjoy, and where in London your family lives / plans to meet you.

    The Science Museum and Natural History Museum are both free to enter and suitable for children of that age (V&A and British Museum are too, but are probably less interesting to children of those ages.

    You can take them to see the guards at Horseguards Parade - get your timings right and you can see them changing the guard.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
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    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • Children up to the age of 11 travel for free as long as they are travelling with a fare paying adult, so no need for a family card, if you have contactless card that will be easiest for you, otherwise you an buy an oyster at the tube station that will need topping up.

    As for free/cheap things to do, there's plenty! Most of the museums in London are free, the Museum of Childhood is one of my absolute favorites. The Horniman isn't free, but it's cheap (£2-£4). Outdoors there's the Princess Diana memorial park that is free, there's the Olympic park, Coram's Fields, London Transport museum is free for children, but £17.50 for adults. There are also a few city farms around.
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  • edited 14 September 2017 at 9:40AM
    rach_krach_k Forumite
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    edited 14 September 2017 at 9:40AM
    The museums are good (although don't expect younger kids to manage to see much in each!) but my kids' favourite thing to do in London is to go and walk along the Southbank, as long as the weather isn't bad. You can watch the London Eye go round (don't pay to go on it, it's pretty boring for a child), there's a lovely carousel, street performers (think acrobats, moving statues, musicians - all kid friendly stuff), a nice grassed area to sit (I think there's a playground too, although not sure), you can watch skateboarders do their stuff (I have to drag my kids away), a book shop for browsing, a book stall for buying (cheaper!) and a couple of family-friendly places to eat, plus you can watch the river, take a nice walk and if the tide is right there's a funny band that play down on a tiny beach sometimes.
  • When going through the gates at the tube with your children, make sure you use the luggage ones.

    As well as being wider, they are also give you more time to get through which minimises the risk of someone getting left behind!
  • Can you use the same contactless credit card for two adults?

    Might need two separate ones, not sure.
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  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
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    Can you use the same contactless credit card for two adults?

    Might need two separate ones, not sure.

    Yes, you would need one each. You can't use the same one for two people
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    I do apologise for my outdated information! Do not often go to London, and would always use my Oyster card anyway as it is linked to my disabled railcard ...
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  • OP hasn't explained very well. Yes, you can use a contactless credit card instead of Oyster - but you have to register it first, with the TFL website. It's up to you whether you are happy leaving your credit card details on TFL's database; personally, I still think it's safer to use the Oyster card and top it up online with whatever I think I will need. Or register a contactless credit card with a really low credit limit - then, if it gets hacked, they won't be able to run up a big bill on your card.
    You also have to take into consideration that Oyster cards aren't free any more - you have to pay £3 for each new one.
    But before you get into buying, or registering, cards to use on the Tube: are you sure this is the right method of transport for you, with a 5 year old and 3 year old? Are you sure you can get them up and down long and steep escalators, possibly in heavy commuter traffic? Will they be frightened of the whooshing noises in the tunnels, and the rush of air as the trains approach? Having seen much older children have total meltdowns when faced with this much unfamiliarity ( I saw one child on the Jubilee Line clear an entire platform with his screaming,his head virtually rotated!), you might want to think about buses, or even taxis. Just saying.
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