If you’re traveling to London with family, planning in advance is essential. There are so many things to do from tours and museum visits to park explorations and a never-ending list of restaurants and other dining options. You could easily spend months without exhausting the options for fun, history, and culture.
To help you plan a trip that every member of the family will enjoy, we gathered 10 top tips for traveling to London with family in tow. It’s time to get down to business and plan a trip with as few hiccups and headaches as possible.
1. Own your itinerary.
That simply means that you should choose activities and events that appeal to members of your family rather than going with the most popular London attractions. There are so many different ways to see the city, and you want to select transportation methods, guides, and tours that fit the personalities, interests, and physical abilities of your group.
2. Always read the fine details before purchasing a tour or other group activity.
Some tours can last for three hours or longer, and that includes some that are designed with children in mind. If you go on one tour that includes drinks and refreshments, you can’t assume that the next tour will offer the same for your family. Every event and activity is different, so read the details and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before you arrive.
That allows you to prepare. For instance, you may need to bring a light snack and water bottles for the kids when going on a long boat tour that doesn’t include refreshments.
3. Dress in layers and prepare for changing weather.
London is known for unpredictable weather and sudden downpours, especially in the spring and summer, are not uncommon. If you’re out from morning into the evening, the temperature could change substantially. It helps if you dress in layers and then add or remove clothing as you go along.
4. Shop online to bundle the cost of attractions you want to see most.
Searching online for the best attractions in London will lead you to tons of opportunities to buy tickets in advance. If you look for bundle deals, you will get tickets for multiple events at a discounted price. That may allow you to enjoy more of the attractions while sticking to your budget.
You may also combine tickets to your favorite attractions with boat tours, restaurant meals, and other experiences. That’s a great way to fill a full day in London at one great price.
5. Don’t skip the museums with the assumption your kids will get bored.
Most museums now offer guided tours, audio tours, and a variety of interactive stations to keep the attention of children and teens. There’s a lot to learn from the museums of London, and you want your kids to experience the educational side of the city along with the fun. Plus, your kids may surprise you with what they already know or want to learn even while on vacation.
6. Bring comfortable shoes that are already broken in for your feet.
While you’re on holiday in London isn’t the time to bring out brand new shoes that you’ve never worn. You can also probably do without those spiked high heels that start to dig into your feet after 30 minutes of walking or less. London is walking intensive unless you go to great effort to ensure private transportation for the entire trip. You’ll want to get out on foot, but you won’t want to wear shoes that aren’t up to the task.
7. Always book tickets online in advance, if possible.
You may notice that some London events allow you to buy tickets when you arrive, but that’s a great way to miss out on the attractions you want to see most. During the busy summer season, most attractions have long lines. Some may close or sell out before the line is exhausted, leading to disappointment for all.
You can avoid that by simply buying your tickets online before you arrive when traveling to London with family. You can do that before you even leave for your trip, but keep cancellation details handy just in case something goes wrong. You need to know how to cancel, the window that cancellations are allowed, and whether you will receive a full or partial refund.
8. You don’t have to stay right in London if your budget is tight.
Hotels in London are quite expensive, especially if you have a larger family and need more space than a typical hotel room can offer. One option is to stay in a hotel outside of city limits with traveling to London with family. Just make sure that it is within walking distance of a train station or public bus stops. You can travel into London daily to save a bit of cash while traveling to London with family.
9. Don’t leave food options to chance.
There are tons of restaurants in London, but they won’t all appeal to the taste buds of your family. It’s best to look up the options close to your hotel and the attractions you want to visit before you head to London. If you’re familiar with the food served in those restaurants and have some favorites you want to visit, it will save you a lot of time trying to figure out where to eat while on your trip.
10. Take full advantage of your hotel’s concierge.
If you’re lucky enough to stay in a hotel that offers 24-hour concierge services, go up and introduce yourself at the beginning of your trip. Those professionals know London inside and out, and they can help you pick attractions, secure tickets, find tour meeting points, and much more.
Are you ready for your family trip to London? This website contains a ton of activities, tours, and general travel ideas that will help make your trip a success. We hope to help you plan a London vacation that entertains and educates your loved ones, whether you have one weekend or one month to explore while traveling to London with family.