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London on a Budget: 8 Affordable Family-Friendly Activities

City Guide September 20, 2023

 

So you've chosen London over a beach vacation, great choice! London is a beautiful city with so much history it's worth a visit, but it's undeniable that the prices can be a little steep. Navigating London without breaking the bank is feasible and just as fun. If you're yearning for affordable, family-friendly sightseeing, rest assured that exploring London with family on a budget is entirely within reach. We mean embracing the city's charm doesn't have to come with a hefty price tag; instead, consider these budget-friendly alternatives in London. In this guide, we'll share some ideas that will hopefully serve as inspiration during your stay in London.

We're all about budget, and that's why we understand the struggle of not having a place to store your luggage if you book a hostel or an Airbnb. So, if you're looking for luggage storage for a day in London, think Nannybag. Nannybag has partnered with many locations to make it easy and convenient for you to store your bags. It's only £6 per bag per day, and it can all be done with your mobile device. Efficient and without breaking the bank, how we like it.

 

1. Free Walking Tours

There's something about a free walking tour that makes it so unique. The guides are usually passionate about the city, and it's an infectious spirit. London has many free walking tours to choose from. You'll find traditional historic ones where you can discover the rich history of the British royal family. An expert local guide leads the free walking tour by Sandeman's, and the tour leads you to key royal residences, including Buckingham Palace, the official home of His Majesty King Charles III, and some lucky groups can witness the iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony. Pass by St James's Palace, the childhood abode of Princes William and Harry. Wear some comfortable sneakers because the cobblestone can be just as hard to navigate while we are not hitting up a hiking trail.

If that's not kid-friendly enough, try a Harry Potter walking tour that will make you feel like you're on a Harry Potter studio tour since the whole city is pretty much the studio! So put away the oyster card and skip the London Underground because we're going on a walk!

 

2. Double-decker vs. Hop on Hop off

Taking a day trip in London on a double-decker is a quintessential tourist experience, and many companies offer the chance to do so with guided tours and options to get on and off at famous landmarks like Big Ben. Many come cheaply, and we're here to find alternatives.

One of the most incredible things about London is its public transportation. If your objective is to sightsee from the point of view of a bus because we understand that visiting London with kids can get exhausting, we've got just the thing. The public double-deckers have specific routes that let you do that for simply the swipe of an oyster card. Here are some of the routes you can take:

Number 11 Route

This route commences at Liverpool Street Station, culminating at Victoria Station. It traverses the heart of London, treating you to essential landmarks, including St. Paul's Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament, and the iconic Westminster Abbey.

 

Number 9 Route

The best section of the No. 9 route starts in Kensington and ends on the edge of Covent Garden. It goes past Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park, along Piccadilly, St. James's Palace, and Trafalgar Square.

 

139 Route

Starting its trip in West Hampstead, this route goes through fancy North London areas, including St. John's Wood, where the famous Abbey Road crossing is. Then it moves along Oxford and Regent streets, passing by Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, and finishes at Waterloo with stunning views from Waterloo Bridge.

The bus fare is £1.75, and a day of bus-only travel will cost a maximum of £5.25.

 

 

3. Museums

London's world-renowned museums are a treasure trove of art, history, and knowledge, and many of them offer free entry. For families, you can immerse yourselves in a wealth of cultural experiences without worrying about admission fees. Here are some of our favorite museums:

 

London Science Museum

From interactive exhibits on space, technology, and engineering to mind-bending experiments, this museum offers a thrilling and educational experience for all ages.

Address: Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD

 

Natural History Museum

Walk among colossal dinosaur skeletons, marvel at precious gems and minerals, and dive into the mysteries of the Earth's history. With captivating displays and interactive learning, this museum is for curious minds.

Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD

 

National Maritime Museum

Discover intricate ship models, intricate navigational tools, and tales of legendary voyages. With its rich collection and engaging exhibits, this museum offers an immersive experience that will captivate both young and old.

Address: Romney Rd, London SE10 9NF

 

 

4. Cable Cars

We're skipping the London Eye and choosing cable cars to experience the bird's eye view perspective of London. The IFS Cloud cable cars offer a breathtaking aerial view of London's skyline and are more affordable than you might think. Family-friendly fares make this experience accessible, and the unique perspective will captivate adults and children alike.

The journey takes about 10 minutes; a one-way for adults is £6, and for children over 5, it's £3. There are also family deals, and prices are a bit cheaper if you book online. Happy Travels!

 

5. View from Sky Garden

For some reason, viewpoints are always so pricey. If you want to catch a view from the infamous Shard, it will run you over 35 euros per person, but don't worry, we have just the dupe for you. If you want to see London from up, check out the Sky Garden. Kids and Parents will be fascinated by the views and the enchanting decor of the area.

Admission to the Sky Garden is free. Crazy right? Those views feel like they have to be worth something! But there is a catch: you have to reserve with plenty of anticipation because it tends to fill up fast. London might not offer white sand beaches or water parks, but it's still a premiere vacation destination.

Address: 1, Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF

 

Nannybag - London on a Budget: 8 Affordable Family-Friendly Activities

 

6. UBER boat

We've talked about traversing through the land, and now we're getting on the Thames. There are many ways to tour the Thames— one of the best things in London. You can take a traditional boat or a speed boat, but those will be a bit expensive. Totally worth it, though. But the alternative here is the UBER boat.

The UBER boat is a low-cost option for experiencing a boat ride on the Thames River. You're guaranteed a seat on the UBER boat, and trips start at £5.20. It's a fun way to get from East to West or vice-versa.

 

7. Catch a Disney Show in the West End

Experiencing a world-class theater performance in London's West End is attainable for families on a budget. Sharing the magic of live theater with your loved ones can be an affordable and enchanting outing and a must-do when visiting London with kids.

Every Monday is a Magical Monday. Now, you can grab seats for certain Disney Shows for just £29.50. How? Well, you can buy these special tickets for performances that week every Monday at noon. Just head over to the DisneyTickets website. But here's the trick: these tickets go fast, so be quick! Log in early and keep your card details handy. Make sure to create a profile on the Disney website beforehand. And remember, once you buy them, that's it – no changes or refunds.

 

 

8. London Pass

If you're a family looking to make the most of your London adventure, the London Pass can be like a treasure chest of value. It's an all-in-one pass that opens the doors to many cool places and is like a budget superhero.

By bundling up the entry costs, you save money and the time you'd spend buying separate tickets. Visits to almost everything are included in the London Pass from the Hampton Court Palace to the London Zoo— and even a day pass to go on the UBER boat. Additionally, you'll score exclusive discounts on gift shops and certain food venues.

Prices for a one-day London Pass are £74 for adults and £34 for children ages 5-15.

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