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London On My Mind

December 4th, 2010 · 6 Brilliant Opinions · International Travel, Travel Tips


Tower Bridge, London

In four months we are off to London.  We booked our accommodations at a 2 bedroom flat overlooking the Thames River.  Our ten night stay will cost just under $1800 (US) and comes with a parking space, washer/dryer and full kitchen.  We saved a bit by staying outside central London.  Big P grew up in London so driving or taking the Underground, buses or rail systems won’t be as intimidating for us.

Thanks to the miles we accumulated on Continental OnePass, two out of the four plane tickets were essentially free.  We are on budget for this trip – so far.  However, those of you who have been to London know its a pretty expensive place to visit.  We started planning our itinerary and the head butting has started.  I have a list of attractions I would like for us to see.  According to Big P – “We can’t go everywhere.”  That’s his way of saying, “I don’t want to pay these admission prices.”   He would be happy to sit in a pub and watch sports but I am determined to have an adventure!

I’ve been reading the book “Let’s Take the Kids to London” by David S. White.  White’s travel guide has great tips on things to do in and around London. (I would recommend checking the internet for updated ticket prices and admission policies.)  So far on my  “must see” list:

  • Windsor Castle
  • Thames River Cruise
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral (site of Princess Diana’s Wedding)
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Kew Gardens
  • Tower Bridge Exhibition
  • London Zoo
  • London Eye
  • Royal Artillery Museum

Since we will be spending a bit of time commuting I want to be particularly organized in regards to sight-seeing.   I’ve opted to purchase the  London Pass.  The pass is cost effective if you plan to visit a number of attractions during a short period of time.  Cost savings might also be overstated at the London Pass site as it does not take into consideration family discounts that a number of attractions offer.  At  some attractions, children pay no admission.  Travellers who know exactly what attractions they want to go to and dates – might do better buying individual tickets online.  I wanted the flexibility to go to 55+ attractions.  I didn’t want to be locked into seeing a cathedral because I pre-purchased tickets. London Pass has another major advantage – pass holders bypass regular ticket lines. There is an option that offers a travel pass – but since our kids would travel either free or at a reduced rate on most London transportation (and we may rent a car for a portion of our stay) – I didn’t purchase this.

Harrods Department Store

Do you have any great tips for saving money in London?  Any suggestions about  family friendly restaurants?


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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Liz

    Hi! We’ll be going this summer, but staying about 45 minutes outside of London accessible by commuter rail. We are also doing a home exchange, so we will be saving money that way. Can’t tell you what to do once you get there, but I look forward to reading about your trip as we prepare for ours!

  • Ann

    Liz – I haven’t done a home exchange …but it definately is a great way to save money. We hope to have a few dinners with my in-laws:) to save on meals. I will definately be writing about our trip so stay tuned!

  • Big P

    Nine activities in and around London in 10 days, thats a lot love…and you forgot an overnight trip to the Eiffel tower and no pub time,I feel sick i don’t think i can go.

  • Ann

    Big P – I am not sure how to respond to this. But you can bet I’m rolling my eyes as I type.

  • David White

    Thanks very much for purchasing LET’S TAKE THE KIDS TO LONDON. I hope you have a great trip!

    I have a new version of the publication in eBook format for anyone with an iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, Sony reader, etc. The new version has updates on sights, photos, and hot links to more information about London.

    My money saving idea of the day? Purchase and use an electronic “Oyster” fare card for use on the Underground and bus network.

    PS. You might want to think twice before renting a car and driving in London (except if you are traveling outside the central city). London is not easy for non-residents to navigate by car: it’s expensive to park there and the central city “congestion charge” makes driving even more expensive.

  • Ann

    David – It’s a great book! Thanks for writing it. We plan on using the “block” plan you describe in the book to do our itinerary. Thanks for giving me the heads up on driving – scary enough driving with my husband in the States!

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