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London for a beginner....

(110 Posts)
gingajewel Mon 19-Aug-19 13:58:39

I need some help please mumsnetters! I have never been to London before and so me and the OH (who has also never been) are planning to take two DC (3 and 9) in October overnight. Please can i have some planning help! We are coming from the Midlands, would train be better/more cost efficient than driving? Are there any cheapish travelodge type places in the centre that would be worth staying in? Or is it better to stay in a hotel a bit further out of London with parking and catch the tube in? Once i get my head round this i can start planning our actual trip! Oh also money is extremely tight so the cheapest way to do this would be brilliant!

OP’s posts: |
Geraniumpink Mon 19-Aug-19 14:48:41

Go on the train - get a family and friends railcard and book now online for reasonable price tickets. Use the underground for getting about - you can get a map easily. We use either youth hostels or the Premier inn for accommodation, we tend to stay by Kings Cross as that is the train station we come in on and the youth hostel or the Premier inn will store your luggage until you are ready to go home.

Spidey66 Mon 19-Aug-19 14:59:18

There's loads of Premier Inn/TravelLodge places in central London. Best to leave the car behind as London can be a bugger to park in. If you're staying somewhere central you won't need it anyway, public transport is fine.

Herocomplex Mon 19-Aug-19 15:13:14

Little tip for travelling around. Compare the actual walking distance between things you want to see, sometimes it’s quicker to walk than go on the underground. The underground train map does not correlate geographically!

What do you want to see? Make a list of must sees, look for discount vouchers now. I think there’s offers on London attractions with some train tickets. There are lots of free things to do and see in London, lots of the museums offer workshops for kids in the holidays, book now for any theatre things you want to see.

gingajewel Mon 19-Aug-19 15:54:06

Thankyou all, and thanks for the tip about the family and friends railcard 👍 we will go by train, and Thankyou for the top about walking\tube, I feel like a complete beginner! We have Merlin passes so I am going to book the London eye and I would also love to go to petticoat lane, apart from that I have done zero research!!! Thankyou all

OP’s posts: |
EduCated Mon 19-Aug-19 15:57:22

Depending on where you are in the Midlands, Warwick Parkway often has v cheap trains.

TurnOffTheTv Mon 19-Aug-19 16:00:51

I normally stay in the at the Travelodge at Covent Garden (the one near Holborn station) with the kids, lots of stuff in walking distance and 5 mins walk from the tube. Just use your contactless debit card for the tube, you can just tap it on your way in. Any reason you want to go to Petticoat Lane? it's a bit of a dump and just naff market stalls there.

There is loads of free stuff for the kids to do, when were you planning on going?

EmpressLesbianInChair Mon 19-Aug-19 16:02:34

There are big streetmaps all over the place in Central London that are really helpful.

The kids will go free on public transport & you and your OH can pay using contactless bank cards. If you can avoid the underground in rush hour, when it will be full of commuters on autopilot, do.

TfL has a section with advice for visitors.

BlueSkiesLies Mon 19-Aug-19 16:05:25

Download and use city mapper for getting around - it will show you walking, bus, tube, taxi and combination options.

franke Mon 19-Aug-19 16:05:49

At that age my dc were just happy to ride around on double decker buses, so once you know where you’re staying, find out which bus routes you're on.

franke Mon 19-Aug-19 16:06:31

Also a boat ride will be fun.

Chelsea26 Mon 19-Aug-19 16:11:46

I’d download the Citymapper App - it’s great for finding your way around.

It tells you how far the walk is or what combination of tubes/buses to get. It also tells you which exit to leave the station at and where best to stand on the platform for your connections.

And it does postcode to postcode (or landmark) so will show you the walk when you come up from the tube too.

Disclaimer - I don’t work for Citymapper - just think it’s brilliant! grin

Bowsy5 Mon 19-Aug-19 16:17:07

There's a Travelodge about a 4 minute walk from Liverpool St. Station. It's a good place to stay.

If you go to the travellodge website and click on central london hotels, you'll find the ones in the city and the west end.

Sign up to a website today such as
For e.g. they have 8% off bookings at the moment.

Similarly, they might have 10% off

You'll probably be talking about 130 for the four of you in October in a Travelodge for the one night. So if you keep your eye on the likes of voucher codes and see when they have deals on hotel booking websites, you will get a few quid off at least.

Tap in and out with your contactless card (don't know if children travel free?). It will cap the usage once you use the same card for each trip regardless if you take 20 trips or 30 trips. You only need to tap on to a bus, not tap out of it lol (maybe I'm the only muppet who did that when I moved to london haha).

Geraniumpink Mon 19-Aug-19 16:18:03

Do you not have to buy a travel card for the tube anymore?

Bowsy5 Mon 19-Aug-19 16:19:04

And definitely don't bring the car, you'll have congestion charge, parking etc. Train a must.

Bowsy5 Mon 19-Aug-19 16:19:55

No, your contactactless bank card works just like an oyster card (same prices).

Geraniumpink Mon 19-Aug-19 16:20:59

Thanks! We’re going there soon and I didn’t know. Will have to find out about 14 year old though.

caranx Mon 19-Aug-19 16:22:06

I like Timeout London for narrowing down what I would like to do on a trip to London:

I'd go full-on tourist if you haven't been before and do the big sights


Bowsy5 Mon 19-Aug-19 16:23:53

Will probably have to get an oyster card for 14 year old, unless you've a separate credit card they could use all day.

Cinammoncake Mon 19-Aug-19 16:26:00

Definitely get to a museum and gallery if you can - Science Museum and the National Gallery are good ones and both free.

pontiouspilates Mon 19-Aug-19 16:26:20

An airbnb might work out cheaper than a Premier Inn. I'd look a little further out and use the tube. Don't drive down, get the train. Parking is v expensive and the driving can be quite an experience to the uninitiated! Have fun x

HappyintheHills Mon 19-Aug-19 16:27:48

On the bus vs overground vs tube vs walk vs number of changes choices; the transport for London website has a great planner - but you need to set your preferences, I know mine would be totally different back when out with the kids to commuting and needing a brisk walk.

AndromedaPerseus Mon 19-Aug-19 16:28:07

If you want interesting markets then I’d recommend the following:
Thursdays-Saturdays: Borough Market for amazing food and produce from around the world nearest tube station is London Bridge
Sunday: Colombia road flower market also has interesting shops nearest tube station is Bethnal Green
Spitalfields market nearest tube is Aldgate East and has lots of interesting independent stores selling clothes etc with nice eateries similar to those at convent Garden
Other free things are strolling down the south bank always something going on there. the royal parks Hyde, St James and Kensington palace, all the main museums though long queues. My favourite is the Grant Zoology museum near Goodge Street kids love it only open on some days of the week though. Check out the changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace you can’t fail to be impress by it. Also I’d take the Thames Clipper from Putney to Woolwich Arsenal much cheaper than the tourist river boats.

HappyintheHills Mon 19-Aug-19 16:29:18

Look from here

HappyintheHills Mon 19-Aug-19 16:31:11

You can see the old walls - explore around Barbican, Museum of London walk from there down to St Pauls

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