Private London tours for families can be a great choice to see the city without scrambling to make group tours work for your kids.
Have you ever gone on a group tour and wished the guide could spend more time answering your questions or stopping at points of interest that you find fascinating? Perhaps you’ve had a horrible time trying to keep up with a tour that moved at a pace much too fast for your toddler’s little legs or that moved so slow your kids grew bored quickly.
While group tours are significantly cheaper than private tours in London, they’re not always the most convenient or comfortable experiences for families. There are times when you may want to spring for a private tour, and we’re here to help you determine when it makes sense to do so. We’ll even offer some tips for working the added expense into your travel budget.
How to Find Family-Friendly Private Tours in London
You can often find private London tours for families the same way you find group tours: Look online. If you can find the website for the group offering the tour, you can get details on the tour, including:
- Attractions or route covered
- Departure and ending locations
- Length or duration
- Age restrictions or recommendations
The website should also mention whether private tours are available. It should give you instructions for scheduling your private tour, either online or through a telephone number. All prices are often listed on the website, so you can compare the cost of the private tour to the group tour option.
Searching for keywords like “private tours in London” will deliver even more results. There are some tours that only offer private options, so you might not hear about them if you don’t go looking for them.
To get your research started, consider this short list of private London tours for families that are suitable for some families touring the city with kids:
- Tours by Locals – A tour group that matches travelers with private tour guides who have intimate knowledge of the area. It’s like meeting up with a friend who lives in London and can show you around, catering to your family’s unique interests and needs.
- Black Taxi Tours – Load the family into a classic London black taxi and listen to your driver reveal interesting commentary on some of the biggest attractions and points of interest. You get the advantages of private transportation with the insight that comes from a knowledgeable tour guide. There’s even a Harry Potter Black Taxi Tour if you have little Potterheads in the family.
- Thames Rockets Private Speedboat Tours – Pick one of the themed speedboat tours of London from Thames Rockets and reserve the boat all to yourselves. You’ll hit the waves while stopping for commentary on London’s biggest attractions seen from the river.
10 Reasons to Book Private London Tours for Families
1. You want to choose some or all of your stopping points.
The only way to personalize the itinerary for a London tour is to pay for a private experience. Group tours must stick to a pre-determined route so that all participants know what they are getting when they sign up. When you’re the only participants, the tour guide can make adjustments to ensure your family’s needs and preferences are satisfied.
2. You want to determine the pace of travel.
Great tour guides work hard to create a pace of travel that suits every member of the group, but they can’t guarantee the perfect pace for every participant. That’s why they tend to strike one pace regardless of who is in the group.
When you’re the only participants, the guide can slow down or speed up, depending on the pace preferred by your family. If you want to linger at an attraction your kids are enjoying, you don’t have others waiting on you. If you family is uninterested in an attraction, you can move along without waiting on others.
3. You may need to take unexpected breaks during the tour.
You never know when a newly potty-trained toddler is going to scream for the bathroom or a baby is going to demand a feeding or nap. Families may need to pause a tour at an unexpected moment to fulfill the needs of the youngest members. A private tour guide can accommodate those needs in the moment with a smile on their face. In a group tour, it may seem more like an inconvenience as other group members don’t want to pause.
4. You want to make sure your family has adequate space to travel comfortably.
Some group tours are overcrowded, leading to discomfort that can easily turn younger children into unhappy campers. Private tours ensure that your family has all the space available to stretch out and relax. That makes a big difference in how well children behave during the tour and the overall enjoyment level for every member of the family.
5. You’re concerned that your children may disturb other participants on a group tour.
What if your toddler decides to throw a fit because her sippy cup is empty right in the middle of the guide’s monologue? What about your teenager’s earbuds playing a bit too loudly or the youngster who struggles to sit still without fidgeting? Of course, you may find your little one’s nonstop questions adorable, but your fellow tour guests may not agree.
There are so many things that happen in family life that other members of a shared group experience may find annoying or distracting. Private tours allow your family to interact with one another and the tour guide in a more relaxed manner because there is no one else to disturb.
6. You’re concerned that other participants on a group tour may disturb or interrupt your family.
This pertains particularly to families with members who struggle with sensory overload and other issues. You can’t control or predict the behavior of strangers enjoying a group tour with you, but you can eliminate them from your group experience to ensure your loved ones are comfortable and able to focus. How do you do that? Private tours, of course!
7. You want the undivided attention of your guide.
If you want to get the most out of an attraction or a day of sightseeing, set it up so that you have unlimited access to a knowledgeable guide willing to answer your questions and share interesting historical stories along the way. When you schedule a private tour of London, you’ll have the opportunity to turn the storytelling in directions that are of interest to you or other members of your family.
You may also want the undivided attention of the guide when you’re visiting attractions of serious interest to you or another family member. You can ask questions on a deeper level and will have the full length of the tour to learn from the guide. Group tours may not give you as much time to have discussions on a deeper level, assuming other members of the group will take up time with their own questions and may not know much about the attractions going into the tour.
8. The tour will serve as a break from the crowded streets and buses of London.
Private London tours for families are often quieter tours. London is a busy city year-round, and you can use private tours as an escape from the nonstop activity happening out on the streets. Tours that place you in taxi cabs or other forms of private transportation are your best picks if you want to give your family some time to unwind, enjoying pleasant conversations with just one trusted guide.
9. You want to treat your family to a unique experience.
You’ve probably heard other people talk about going on tours in London or other destinations around the world. How many have you heard talk about exclusive tours that cater to only their needs? Probably not as many. Group tours are everywhere, and you can even find them for free in London. Private bookings take the experience to a new level, allowing you to pamper your family with something more unique.
10. You’re concerned about the safety of a group tour.
Some families have safety concerns when it comes to touring London with a group of strangers. If that applies to you, then addressing those concerns with the tour group and paying for a private tour will ensure your family stays safe and your peace of mind is intact throughout the journey.
TIPS! Make Room in Your Budget for Private London Tours for Families
- How many restaurant dinners do you have on your itinerary? Restaurants serve the most expensive meals in London. Cross one or two off your list and use the funds to upgrade to a private tour. There are many places for fun picnics in London. Pick up food from a small diner or market stall and head off to the park or the gardens or a public square.
- Invest in the London Pass, London Explorer Pass, or another attraction pass. For attractions not included in those deals, look for ways to bundle tickets to secure discounts. You rarely have to pay full price for attractions and entertainment venues in London.
- Carefully plan your daily schedule to limit transportation expenses. Hopping on the tube or a bus is easy, but those charges can add up on your Oyster Card. Careful planning will limit those expenses so that you have more money to book a tour.
- Compare prices online just as you would for any other purchase back home. Once a tour idea catches on in London, competitors play copycat. That’s great for your budget because you can compare companies to grab the most affordable private tour price.
Book Your Private London Tours in Advance
If you decide that it makes sense for your family to enjoy a private tour or two while in London, try to reserve your tour at least a month or two in advance. Tour companies must work their private bookings into the schedule with their group tours, and they often have a limited number of private spots available.
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