16 Jun

Written by Kristin on June 16, 2016

FESTIVE STYLE

 

I recently returned from a weeklong holiday in London with my family, and although I’ve been to the capital many times, it was the first time my three-year-old had visited. Travelling with children, as any parent knows, is an entirely different experience to holidaying on your own. Along with all of the extra stuff (ever brought a pushchair on the Tube?) comes extra money. More people = more food, more admission tickets, more people in a hotel … but that doesn’t mean you need to think a visit to London with your kids is out of budget.

 

Save on lodging 

Although I’ve stayed in London hotels before, we wanted to have two bedrooms so my husband and I didn’t have to go to bed early every night and be trapped in a tiny city hotel room with a toddler. And, when you look at the cost of a holiday rental, it absolutely makes sense to stay in a flat instead of a hotel. We hired a flat through Airbnb and absolutely loved the experience. Check out other sites like Homeaway.co.uk and Holidaylettings.co.uk as well – you’ll be spoilt for choice because there’s absolutely thousands of rentals across London. The hardest bit will be choosing your favourite neighbourhood!

If you’re more of the hotel sort, Travelodge have some great offers, including London rooms from £49, plus kids under 16 stay and eat breakfast free.

Save on food

If you stay in a flat or house instead of a hotel, you’ll automatically be able to save money on food by using the kitchen, even if it’s just for breakfast each day. Whilst we were out for lunch every day and never cooked dinner, we did take advantage of the Tesco Express nearby to stock up on supplies like cereal, milk, tea, coffee, etc. Another way we saved on food was by picking up simple lunches like salads or sandwiches at an M&S Food Hall and sitting in a park when the weather was fine. By doing this we spent about half of what we would have at a sit-down restaurant, plus the kids can run around and play instead of having to behave during a long meal.

Save on attractions

If you’ll be going to loads of the main tourist attractions in London, it absolutely makes sense to purchase the London Pass. With the pass, you’ll get free admission and fast track entry to more than 60 locations such as The Tower of London, Madame Tussauds, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey, London Zoo and more. Plus, you’ll currently save 6% on passes with our promotional code. This made it really easy for us to save money on our last trip considering we would’ve spent hundreds on all of the admission tickets, and the 3-day pass cost £95 per adult. On this holiday we focused on more of playing in parks, free museums, and visiting with friends, but I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase the London Pass again when we haven’t got a toddler along!

London has so many free kid-friendly attractions that you could easily stay a weekend without spending a dime on tickets. We visited The British Museum, The Natural History Museum, and The National Portrait Gallery all for free, but that’s barely scratching the surface of the free museums you’ll find in the city. If you luck out with the weather like we did, don’t forget to take advantage of all the royal parks, as well as smaller outdoor areas like the fountains in Russell Square or the grassy stairs along the canal in Granary Square. My friends and I had a great time taking the kids to run and play while we relaxed and had a chat. Keep an eye out for free events and festivals as well –  our visit coincided with Trooping the Colour and got to see the Queen and the rest of the royal family for the amazing birthday parade!

Use your rewards

Lastly, using a credit card with a reward scheme is one of the best ways to save money on your holiday to London. Many cards allow you to apply a statement credit for travel purchases once you’ve accrued a certain number of points so those train tickets or hire car might wind up being free. I was able to use points I earned from my Visa card to cover half of the cost of our Airbnb. Also, don’t forget to sign up for airline programmes like British Airways Avios. Due to all of the miles I’ve saved up, it took a few hundred off the cost of our flights.

Got a favourite money-saving London travel tip? Share with us in the comments below! 

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