London with Small Children – Top Three Things to Do on a Budget

London with Small Children – Top Three Things to Do on a Budget


London with Small Children


Top Three Things to Do on a Budget


In one of my particularly optimistic (or possibly slightly tipsy) moments I booked a weekend in London with my parents and our three small children.

After realising the gravity of what I had done I did some SERIOUS research in where to go and how to get there – with the minimal amount of stress possible. What transpired was a fabulous (but exhausting) couple of days in the capital brim-full of memories for us and the children.

The research was crucial. For each leg of our journey, using the London Transport website, I found the best possible route with minimal changes and steps. I also purchased Oyster cards so that we didn’t have to worry about buying tickets every time.

We stayed in an apartment, which was much better than a hotel room as it meant that the children could stick to their usual bedtime routine – avoiding grumpiness – and we could enjoy a take-away and bottle of wine in the evening.


Here’s what we did:

The Science Museum

This place is fantastic. We loved the space gallery and the play area in the basement – which is specifically designed for under sixes – kept the children entertained for hours. There are wonderful hands-on sensory activities, a huge waterplay (complete with aprons), a bubble show and much more.

Emirates Air Line

Emirates Air Line and the Thames Clipper

What a way to see London! We took the Docklands Light Railway to Victoria and then the cable car across the Thames to the O2, which has a great selection of family-friendly eateries. From there we took the bus to Greenwich for a quick look at the Cutty Sark and then took the boat down the river. It was late afternoon and just turning dusk, so the buildings and bridges looked magical, lit up against the skyline and reflected in the water. Whilst people relaxed inside with their coffees, we sat outside at the back of the boat for the best views (and the most fun!)

Museum of London with Kids

The Museum of London

This was my first visit to this excellent museum, which illustrates the history of the city in a way that is accessible to everyone. We all thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits and learnt a great deal – the Victorian street was a particular favourite.

Although we had a brilliant time, we didn’t spend a great deal. I booked the train tickets 11 weeks in advance, and used our friends and family railcard (well worth getting for big savings).

This resulted in tickets for the
seven of us at the price I would
usually pay for myself for one
day in London for work.

The Oyster cards were really useful; giving us discounted travel on every mode of transport we used (including the cable car). I booked the apartment via a discount website and it was an absolute bargain. Being in an apartment also meant that we spent much less on food – we only ate out at lunchtimes. And of course, the two museums we visited were free (though we ate in their cafes and spent pocket money in their shops and so we did our bit to support them.)

A weekend in the big smoke with small people is not a relaxing weekend, but it can be so much fun with a bit of forward planning (and as little luggage as possible!).

Go for it.








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