Days out don’t usually come cheap but if you spend time looking at what’s around and what deals are on offer, then you’ll know a family day out with kids doesn’t mean having to tighten the purse strings for the weeks leading up to it.
Some of the best places and attractions to visit in the UK are free – even in London! We haven’t dared venture to London with the kids yet, although I’m sure the time will be come where I have to psyche myself up and take them but when we eventually do get round to it, these are the places we’ll be doing in London on a budget with kids!
Genuinely not just for the children as Jamie and I also both very much love a museum – especially a free one. There are loads of free museums in London for the kids but the two that stick out for me would be both the Science Museum and Natural History Museum. Jamie and I have both been to the Science Museum but when we walked past the Natural History Museum the queue was incredibly long.
Toby loves to know how things work and I think as he gets older he’ll be interested in finding out more about that, and Teddy is amazed by dinosaurs. That’s not to say one of them wouldn’t like the other as they are, in my opinion, equally as fascinating (as is every other museum) but these are the two we would seek out to visit. I’d love them to be at an age where they can visit the hands-on areas and take an interest and get excited about seeing something.
Enjoy The Outdoors
London has some of the most beautiful outdoor areas, though you wouldn’t think you’d find half of them in the concrete jungle that is the Capital. There are parks with wooden structures to climb, others with sensory trails and even more where you can just run around with a frisbee, ride through on a bike (the Santander hire ones look fab especially at only £2 for 24 hours) and explore, or just get the kids to run around and tire themselves out a bit.
Oh, and if it’s particularly sunny you could always take a picnic! Hello cheap day out!
Forget A Tourist Bus – Ride The Routemaster
While an open top tourist bus sounds like great fun, it really ought to be the weather for it. Not only that, it can work out quite expensive! A cheaper alternative is the No11 route; get on at Fulham Town Hall and go all the way to Liverpool Street.
The route will take around an hour but you’ll see the Houses of Parliament, Nelson’s Column, Westminster Abbey, Horse Guards Parade and St Paul’s Cathedral. Plus, if any of them take yours or the kid’s fancies you can always hop off at the next available stop to have a wander!
Children under 11 ride free and it’s around £1.50 for adults.
Hamleys is a sight to behold for children and adults alike. To keep on top of the kids going crazy for all the toys, tell them they have a budget to spend on anything they’d like in store. Encourage them to look around the whole shop before making a decision and they’ll have more than enough fun just looking for the toy they want the most. Hamleys often have toy displays and areas where the kids can ‘have a go’ – so let them have a go! This will only be as expensive as you allow it.
Alternatively, if it’s still open, you could head to Harrods’ Toy Kingdom; a magical kingdom that is full to the brim of all things toys, sweets and imagination! If your children are relatively well disciplined you could also take a look around at all the expensive things! And, if you’re lucky enough to visit toward the end of the year, the lights are utterly spectacular.
Sea Life London Aquarium
One to head to if your kiddo loves an aquarium! I know this is somewhere we would definitely venture to, especially on a rainy day, as the boys love the one that’s most local to us. I’d be willing to bet that they’ve also got a cool exhibition on too! Make sure to book ahead; check for discounts as you can get some fab deals!
See A Show
Ok, so not the friendliest attraction to the purse, but oh so worth it if you’re visiting London and the kids are the right age. There are some wonderful shows on at the minute that I know the boys would love to go to. Often you can get tickets outside the venue, last minute tickets direct from the venue and occasionally they have some fantastic deals on as they won’t want the seats to go empty! Think Shrek!, The Lion King and Aladdin.
Strictly speaking this is absolutely not an attraction but more a necessity when it comes to taking on London whether underground or over. Using a ‘Visitor Oyster Card’ can be as much as 50% cheaper than a travel card or single ticket – oh, and they have special discounts and offers for food, drink, culture and entertainment.
The London Pass is used by more than 3 million visitors; a sight-seeing city card helping visitors see London’s top attractions which should save you both time and money. Get fast track access at selected attractions for 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10 days for a fraction of the price you’d pay to get in combined – a saviour when the children don’t understand the concept of queuing.
If you’re looking for more inspiration or more great discounts then check out Groupon’s top deals on things to see and do in London! You won’t be disappointed.
What are your top tips for visiting London on a budget, specifically with children? Is there anywhere you would highly recommend? Or perhaps you have some insider info on the best times to visit?
*This is a collaborative post.