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Finn in London

 

 

London at night
Crossing one of many bridges on the way to a pub

I’m the member of the family who likes to know the details about getting there and getting around a destination.  On our recent family trip to London I had a lot of questions that seem obvious and simple after having visited but were kind of important to know beforehand so that we could make the most of our visit to this thriving city. Without further ado:

  • Buy an Oyster card first thing. This is how you pay for the underground and overground transport.
    • £5 deposit and then top up.  Return to shop when you leave to get your £5 back.
    • Touch when get into tube/rail and touch again when you leave.
    • Only touch once on buses.
    • More info HERE
    • The tube employees are all over the place and very willing to be helpful. Ask if you have questions.
    • Kids under 11 ride for free
    • Kids 11-6 get a half price fare.
  • If taking a train trip outside of London, consider getting a family rail pass for £30.  It gives steep discounts on tickets.  We are probably only doing one train trip and it still saved us money.
  • you can get prices and schedules for national rail HERE
  • Sandeman’s New Europe tours offers free walking tours (need to tip the guide though).  Our kids really enjoyed it.

Sandeman's New Europe Tour London

Andy our guide on Sandeman’s New Europe Tour was a hit with our boys.

  • Kids seem to be allowed in pubs and bars, though I’m sure there are places where it’s looked down upon.
  • Tipping is apparently for table service, not for bar service
  • We bought EE Sim cards at the airport for £15 and have used google maps a ton. Be sure to select the correct plan though!
  • Google Maps will give you public transport options if you select that option for directions including times and lines.
  • There is no cell signal underground so get the directions before entering.
  • If you have a lot of baggage, consider an Uber from the airport.  The tube can get crowded and if you have a bunch of bags, it might not be worth it.
  • Uber is cheaper than cabs.
  • Forbidden Planet near Leicester Square for Pokemon cards.
  • Have a plan if someone gets separated (i.e. kids) eg. if you get separated stop and stay where you are (kids) or get off at the next stop and wait if you on public transportation.
  • Buskers at Covent Garden are a show in themelves.Buskers Covent Garden
  • If you have Apple Wallet setup, or other contactless system, it makes life easier and faster.
  • Pret a Manger is a chain that has relatively healthy food with fast service.
  • White coffee is an americano with milk.  They rarely have drip coffee but plenty of instant.
  • Go early. For everything.  It’s winter but there are still tons of other tourists.
Finn enjoying the Night Bus at Warner Brothers Studio Tour London
  • Harry Potter Studio tour
    • Train from Euston station to Watford Junction
    • Bus station is out front of train station.  Stand #4. It’s wrapped in Harry Potter marketing
    • requires 2.50 cash for each person for return ticket.
    • They have a starbucks and a couple of buffet style places to get food at the studio.
    • It’s very much a filmmaking tour, not a themepark.
  • The tower of London is expensive but pretty cool too.
    • Apparently you can save a few bucks by buying the tickets online from their site.
  • It is not possible to do the British Museum well in a single day. It is incredible and overwhelming.

 

I hope these help answer some of the more simple questions.  To learn more about our travels, check out TravelingMel.com

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1 Comment

  1. I haven’t heard anyone say bricking it in years, thanks! I miss Britain. Happy New Year to your travelling family too.

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