Britain’s best boast no shortage of instantly recognizable landmarks. Antiquity and history, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey all showcase the grandeur of royalty. Couple that with modern innovation of one of the world’s most visited cities, you’ll find modern art, culture, food, architecture, and theater at every turn the iconic Double-Decker Red Bus takes you.
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Hiya! I'm a working wife and mom of 3 amazing kids! We moved our family to the UK a few years ago and have adored living in the most amazing city in the world! We love to travel and see as much of the continent as possible while we're here!Book this Guide
What to know before you travel to London with Kids
London is a magical city for families to explore.
Family outings can be enjoyed going to markets (the food at Borough is to die for), exploring historic churches (there's so many more than just Westminster and St Pauls), and getting lost for days in the many amazing (and mostly free) museums!
Love shopping? London has some of the world’s best shopping. Kids could get spend hours exploring six floors of toys at Hamley’s. Nearby Liberty is built with the wood from an old ship.
Learning about history has never been more fun than exploring the Tower of London, imagining yourself trying on the Crown Jewels, then hopping on a boat for a cheeky jaunt down the river, and ending up at Greenwich to check out an afternoon Planetarium show and stand on the Prime Meridian. The learning never ceases! What better way for families to learn than together as you see original Roman walls, the Rosetta stone, and palaces of queens and kings!
And in true British fashion, end your wanderings with some chips at family-friendly pubs where kids can play games while mom and dad enjoy a pint.
Book a flight to one of several London-area airports. The largest is Heathrow International. Gatwick has become a very viable option and many of the new low cost flights from the US are landing at Gatwick. If you're flying from the European continent, Luton, Stansted, and City are all smaller, yet very efficient airports, all with transport options directly into central London.
Whatever airport you fly into, consider taking an Express train into the city. Tickets are less expensive if you purchase well in advance. The Heathrow Express train ticket has gone up to 32 pounds on the day. The Gatwick Express is the same price no matter when you buy, but you can save 10% by buying online ahead of time.
Public transportation is arguably the best in the world in London. It is highly recommended you take advantage of it! Buying Oyster cards in advance or using travelcards can temper any anxiety one might have of using public transit. In addition, Google Maps has real time arrivals and departures showing different public transit route options, along with Transport For London (TFL). It's SO easy to buy a SIM card for a tenner and as long as your phone is unlocked before you travel you'll have no problems having a tour guide in your pocket!
If you venture out on a drive, don't forget that driving is on the left side of the road! An international driving license is not necessary if your license is in English and from a recognized country designated by the UK DVLA, however, with the availability of public transportation in London, and an extensive train system to other locations, driving is not recommended. Please also be aware that most rental cars, unless otherwise requested, are manual transmission. If renting a car and staying in London, please ensure you lodging includes a place to park the car as parking in London can be very expensive and difficult to find.
One of our favorite places is the Swiss Cottage near Primose Hill. Or stay at the Regents Park Marriott. It's very close to the Jubilee line (Zone 2) and just a few stops from Baker St. Still in central London, but less foot traffic, great quick restaurants, and it's residential enough that there's a pharmacy and a mall one stop away at Finchley Road if you didn't pack for rain!
If renting a flat on Airbnb is more your style, look in the areas of Marylebone or Wimbledon. To save money, head out to Zone 4 and find a nice AirBnB or stay at a Hilton property at Wembley Park. The Hilton is right next to Wembley Stadium and an outlet mall for those things you may have forgotten. The best part of this station is that on the Met line, it is literally only 2 stops from Baker St, despite it being a Zone 4 station. So you are further out (which usually means paying a bit less) but still very easily accessible!
Fish and Chips Bangers and Mash Curry... London boasts the best Britain, as well as amazing international fares from around the world.
Have picky eaters and need something quick and kid friendly? Not to worry, there are McDonald's virtually everywhere or, if you need something non fast food, there is a chain restaurant called Tortilla that is delicious tacos and burritos so good for the whole family! Specialty burgers what you're looking for but with the option to have a basic option for kids? Honest Burger, with it's five locations, can suit your fancy and not sacrifice on quality. If you want the full tourist experience, there is a Rainforest Cafe right smack dab in Picadilly Circus but reservations are recommended. If something more local is your focus but you're still right in Picadilly Circus area, Jamie Oliver has a Diner and an Italian restaurant right in the heart of Soho that are family friendly. Kids open to expand their palette? Try Yalla Yalla, a phenomenal Lebanese place with two locations in central London. Or check out Dishoom for some of the best Indian cuisine in London (five locations - Carnaby St typically has a long queue after 7pm). If Fish and Chips is what you fancy, most pubs will offer a very decent version. For a small takeaway location and supposedly one of the only outside of Yorkshire that still uses beef drippings in their batter, check out The Fryer's Delight near Holborn.
The best time to visit London is in May/June or September. The weather is more typically clear than rainy, the temperatures have risen, and the English/European children are still in school. The exception to this is during the last week of May/first week of June, when the local schools are on half-term holidays, and the museums and touristy locations get a bit crazy.
There is not a lot of snow in London so the Winter is mild with regards to snow and ice, however, the winter is typically full of rain, as is spring and autumn. May-Sept is the most mild and temperatures can usually be found to be 60-85 F. While it may not be bitter cold in the winter, it does still get below freezing at times and with the precipitation, it tends to feel colder as it's cold and wet. Also note, if it does snow or ice, the public transportation tends to shut down entirely. All that said, there is nothing more beautiful than the lights in London during the winter holidays. There are a sight to be seen! Also of note, London is at 51 degrees N latitude, which means that during the months of May-Sept, the hours of light are significantly longer, giving you many more daylight hours to be out and about (past 9pm in June). Conversely, in the winter, it can get dark as early as 4pm. No matter the season, London is known for the rain. But with most Londoners, as long as you bring your wellies (rain boots), an umbrella, and your waterproofs (rain coat and bottoms - bottoms not really necessary), you'll be able to see all the sites, even with the rain!
Experience frustration-free planning and travel like an insider to the best family-friendly hotels, restaurants and places to visit in London