Many people are put off from booking a family trip to London mainly due to the fact that they think it will be far too expensive. It’s true that there are areas of London that can be pretty pricey; however, it’s easy to avoid spending beyond your means if you are prepared to shop around a little.
Perhaps the biggest expense of a family trip is travel, closely followed by accommodation- if you get organised though, you should be able to make considerable savings on both. As soon as you have a date in mind, it’s a good idea to start shopping around for somewhere decent to stay. There are often London hotels special offers to be had online, especially if you have the luxury of booking a few months in advance. If you are going to be travelling with children or teenagers, then you might want to look for a hotel that offers a family room. This can save you from having to book two separate rooms, meaning you can save even more money. If this isn’t an option, adjoining rooms can be another good idea, especially if you have older children- as it gives them a bit of freedom whilst still being under mum and dad’s watchful eyes.
After booking your hotel, you should start to think about how you will get to the city. You can of course use your car and drive in, but you should be aware that roads coming into London are usually very congested. Some roads will also carry a toll road charge, not to mention sky high fuel costs. And, if you’re travelling from the other side of the Severn water crossing, you’ll also have to budget for that fee too. It may be that because of these reasons, coming to London by rail is often a popular choice for visitors travelling to the city. Also, children under 5 can travel for free with a full paying adult across many network lines.
Once in the city, getting around from place to place is relatively inexpensive and easy too thanks to the intricate public transport network. For example it’s easy to get from the Park Grand Paddington court hotel London to the heart of Oxford Street for a family shopping trip by hopping on the tube. If you intend to do a lot of sight seeing and are going to be exploring quite a lot, then you might want to think about getting a travel Oyster card. This can be topped up before travelling with an amount of your choosing, depending on how often you think you will be travelling. Then instead of using up your loose change to pay for tickets and holding the queue up in the process, you simply tap the card against the machine as you alight and your tickets are paid for. This method of payment is universal across London buses, trains, trams and the underground system, and offers complete peace of mind to tourists travelling around the city as the card balance is protected against theft too.
Another way to save money when planning to take your family to London is to look out for discount coupons and vouchers that can be used at attractions such as the London Eye experience or the London Dungeons. Cereal companies or Pizza products often offer 2 for 1 vouchers that can save you a considerable amount of money at some of the more pricey places of interests. The money that you save can then be used to pay for further entertainment in the city, such as going to see a show in the West End. There are plenty of shows to pick from that will enthral the entire family, from ‘The Lion King’, ‘Shrek’ or even ‘Matilda the musical’. Whichever show you decide upon, you’ll be guaranteed a fantastic evening out, with catchy songs, fantastic acting and a live orchestra. You could even push the boat out and treat the family to a pre-theatre dinner too- not as expensive as it sounds if you know where to go. Many of the bistros and restaurants near to the theatres will offer a set menu of 2 or 3 courses that will be heavily discounted if ordered before a certain time. (Usually before 6pm) It’ll be an evening that won’t be soon forgotten, which means it is also the perfect family-friendly way to celebrate a special occasion, such as a birthday or an anniversary. Just imagine the look on the children’s faces as you surprise them with tickets to see one of their favourite movies come to life on the stage- it’s the gift that keeps on giving!
London also makes a great base to stay at if you are planning on going to one of England’s many music festivals, many of the biggest ones are now extremely child friendly, so the little ones can have as much fun as the adults. You could spend a few days exploring in the city before travelling down to where you need to be to enjoy some incredible live music- Glastonbury, for example, is particularly notorious for an electric atmosphere, strong line up of bands and all-age inclusivity.
After your trip is over, memories have been made and the trip home has begun, you might want to spend some time thinking about the things that you’ve seen and done that particularly excited you. If London has seduced you into returning again soon, then keep hold of attraction leaflets or tickets as some will offer a discount to returning customers, if you visit within a specified time frame.