London in a day – FREE things to do in London with children

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A couple of months ago saw us take an impromptu and extremely rare family trip to the big smoke. I was in attendance at a UK money bloggers conference so my husband decided to drive me down with the kids too and make a [LOOOONG] day of it. Here’s what they got up to on their one day in London!

A day in London!

We parked in the Barbican Centre car park having been recommended it as being cheaper than the one near the venue I was at for the conference. At just £9 for the full day a bargain too! We’ve paid for more parking in the centre of Manchester!!

It was nearing 10:30am when we arrived and off I popped to meet up with some other UK money bloggers in Finsbury Park.

London Underground with children

Hubby headed off to get the underground train to Tower Bridge. The tube is ever so easy to pay for these days with contactless in operation there’s no need, unless you’re regular travellers on the tube of course, for Oysters or queuing for tickets. The kids rode free too which was a bonus!

London in a day - FREE things to do in London with children | underground

Although the children didn’t head into Tower of London you could get pretty close and see what they wanted to see given their ages and the time they had around there without pre paying the family ticket of £40+.

They could also see the Shard from here too which my eldest was super excited about.

London in a day - FREE things to do in London with children | the shard

If they’d actually gone on/into places such as the Tower of London or even one of the tons of free museums… they probably wouldn’t have had enough time to see everything they wanted to see.

How to get cheap tickets to the Tower of London?

There’s always next time though to actually explore London a little more however if we were going to pay to visit the Tower of London for example we would just ensure we prebook because walk up prices were £50-£75!

After the Tower of London and London Bridge they headed down to the embankment. The kids saw the London Eye and Big Ben then walked down past Downing Street towards Trafalgar Square. They touched on The Mall and ended up getting a hot chocolate in St James Park before heading to see the Queen.

London in a day - FREE things to do in London with children | Buckingham palace

Next stop took them back down The Mall to Piccadilly Circus before jumping again on the tube to Paddington Station on the hunt for Paddington bear!

They came pretty much straight back when they realised there was no bear actually at Paddington Station 😉 and headed back down Regent Street and into an extremely crazy busy Black Friday sale at Hamleys.

Things to do in London in November

The Christmas lights had only just been turned on during their visit so they loved to see them in all their beauty.

London in a day - FREE things to do in London with children | Christmas lights

By now it was nearing 6pm with my event finishing at 7 so they started heading back via Baker Street back to the Barbican Centre on the Tube.

We decided to drive down to London because it would’ve cost us £130 with a railcard and taken 4 hours on the train!! It doesn’t usually take that long from East Yorkshire but there were some railworks going on. I was not paying that to be stuck on a train for 8 hours!!

Free congestion charge

It’s worth noting too that on a weekend there are no congestion charges either so with fuel and parking it only cost us around £60 to get there and back, took just over 3 hours and we weren’t tied to train times!

Hotels are expensive in London… I mean it’s London! And although it was a really long day the kids slept all the way home so there was no real need to stay over. They were also more comfortable in their car seats than being on a train for 4 hours and as I touched on earlier we weren’t tied to being anywhere at a certain time.

Hubby actually managed to everything the kids wanted to do and we’ve already talked about heading back as a family for a day. It’s not just around the corner but we were really surprised at how little it actually cost!

I hope this helps in planning your low cost London itinerary and gives you some ideas on what to see in London in one day.

It honestly surprised me how achievable it was to do what they did in just one day and the kids returned home happy as Larry having seen everything they wanted to see and super excited to tell their friends and teachers what they got up this weekend.

London in a day - FREE things to do in London with children | sleepy child

Thanks for reading .. I hope it’s been of use.

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London in a day - FREE things to do in London with children

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