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London on the Cheap!

(16 Posts)
Weegiemum Mon 23-Jun-08 00:45:51

Taking advantage of the fact we live in Scotland, where school hols are earlier, we are spending 2 days in London in about 10 days time. En route to a gite in France, our kids asked about Christmas if we could go there, as they have never been.

We have just found out that there is a delay in out tax rebate and thus we have seriously no money!! NONE!

Any ideas for things to do on the cheap/free very much looked for. We have booked and paid for accommodation already (hooray) but want to know what 3 kids (4, 6, 8) woudl find fun on a limited budget.

Am I right in thinking museums (Natural History/Science etc) are not free?

MadBadandDangeroustoKnow Mon 23-Jun-08 01:21:34

The museums are free for general entry, but charge for special exhibitions and extras like the Imax at at Science Museum.

The Science Museum has a hands-on room for younger children in the basement which might appeal to your 3 year old. Haven't been to the Natural History Museum for years (shamefully) so can't say what they offer. How about combining a trip to one of the South Kensington museums with one of London's parks? There's a lovely playground in Kensington Gardens.

Other possibilities - Tate Britain (good activities for children); walk along the river to Tate Modern; lovely playground at Coram's Fields.

Obvious really, but if the weather's fine, save money on food bills by buying food from supermarkets for picnic lunches in the park.

xlr8 Mon 23-Jun-08 01:34:23

If you buy train tickets then there is a website that give bogof tickets for various attractions around london. I went for the first time last year and just loved the street entertainers, we took a picnic & ball, played in every space possible and the kids loved it too. Not sure about the museums, but, I thought at least some of them are free.
Or if you are interested I have bogof tickets for tusaads and the dungeons which I could send you.

Weegiemum Mon 23-Jun-08 08:48:38

Thanks for the ideas.

We will deffo do the general stuff at the museums - that sounds great. Didn't realise they were free down there - in Glasgow they all are but I thought that was just here.

We will do picnics (we are good at that anyway) and for our kids, merely riding on the underground will be a treat. Nice that Tate is free. Good ideas about playparks as well, I wouldn't know where to start in London.

Thanks a lot!

laurawaterford Tue 24-Jun-08 09:52:27

if you don't have accommodation booked, friends of ours stayed in a hostel in Kensington in a hostel called Ace. They really rated it, and it does look great on website.

frankie3 Tue 24-Jun-08 18:40:40

The best of London is free - all the poeple watching and the wonderful sights. The South Bank next to the London Eye is exiting for children - looking at the River, and there are also street entertainers. Also Covent Garden has street entertainers. Take a picnic lunch to eat in one of the parks - St James is nice. There are some Tesco Metros around so you can make a cheap picnic - there is one in Covent Garden. If it is raining the Museums are great and you do not have to pay entry. They have picnic areas. And get buses everywhere as it is fun for the kids to sit on the top deck and see the sights.

Kbear Tue 24-Jun-08 18:45:49

Walk through St James's Park to Buckingham Palace for a photo opportunity!! St James' Park has a children's play area and toilets and somewhere to buy icecreams etc.

Where are you staying?

Kbear Tue 24-Jun-08 18:46:47

Natural History Museum is great, dinosaurs well worth seeing. Picnic area downstairs too which saves a bundle. Next door is the Science Museum.

Kbear Tue 24-Jun-08 18:47:59

My friends from Scotland came down earlier this year to visit London for the first time - they were very impressed and I was a proud Londoner showing them my manor!! They loved sitting outside the London Aquarium by the river, looking at Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament - great view.

Notalone Tue 24-Jun-08 20:00:01

We were in the same situation a few weeks ago so here is what we did.

Day 1: Tube to Queensway followed by a few hours in the Princess Diana memorial park with a picnic. There is a huge ship and teepees so loads for kids to use their imagination with. We then strolled through the park and went to the Science museum which has a great basement section with water play for the under sixes and Launchpad for older kids. There is also a fantastic section on the 1st floor with computers that show what you would all look like as old people / the opposite sex which was weird but really interesting. The tubes and buses are all free for kids and a travel card is about £5 for an adult which will get you around Zones 1 and 2 all day (you won't need to go further than this)

Day 2: We went on a fab boat trip which was about £3 for me and £1 for DS. Can't remember the name of the company but the boats go from Westminster pier and you can see the loads of great landmarks. If the weather is good you can walk it (along the Southbank) and still see all those landmarks (London Eye, Big Ben, HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge etc) Trafalgar Square is lovely and the kids will probably like seeing Piccadily Circus too.

Have fun - we loved it!!

MadBadandDangeroustoKnow Tue 24-Jun-08 20:56:27

Reading these posts has made me remember a few other things

Don't go on the open-topped tourist buses - they're expensive and (of course) you'll get just as good a view from a standard double decker

There's a water bus between Tate Modern and Tate Britain which will give you a good view of the Houses of Parliament

The London Aquarium is great but quite expensive - they're one of the places that usually offers bogof deals through the rail companies

If you're going to Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are very nearby

Weegiemum Fri 27-Jun-08 01:46:56

Thankyou everyone!

I think we have 2 days booked pretty solid - and all for nothing £

thankyou so much!!!

Lola234 Mon 21-Jul-08 12:45:24

no luckily the museums are mostly free, you could try taking the kids to harrods to look at the pet shop, where you can play and look at the pets for free.(puppies and kittens)
there is also, st james park which is nice for a picnic.

frazzled74 Tue 22-Jul-08 15:03:44

my kids love the princess diana memorial playground in kensington gardens(peter pan theme),also a nice lido and paddling pool in hyde park.

Blu Tue 22-Jul-08 15:28:18

If you are travelling around definitley look at the TFL website and work out what will be the cheapest travl option - otherwise you will spend a fotune on tub and bus tickets.

You might ant to spend a little time getting an oyster card for adults - bus tickets cost £2 each - or 90p on an Oyster card!!!

Not sure how all the oyster options work - robably best for you to get an ordinary one (each adult needs one...but check whether your children need them) and top it up as necessary - tube stations have machines that top them up from your debit card.

Tate Modern is free, as well as Tate Britain, British Museum, also there are usually some free events happening somewhere in the summer. Your accommodation might have a Time Out magazine to trawl through, or check the free newspapers given out at tube stations.

angelene Tue 22-Jul-08 15:37:23

Oysters rock - just pay £3 deposit for one and then top it up as needed. ALWAYS costs less than a travelcard. Hang on to them to use next time you go, lend to friends, family etc, never runs out. Kids under (I think) 5 are free.

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