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Family trips to London: How to plan a drama-free day out

A day out in London is a lovely way to spend time with the family. There’s so much to do, a lot of yummy food to try, and many major transport links in and out – you could really go anywhere once you’re all done! We’ve put together some tips for you for family trips to London to help make them smoother for you all.

There is one thing you need to consider about London day trip planning: how much are the kids going to enjoy being trekked all over the capital? And how much stress will you have to deal with when they get tired, or bored, and cranky? 

So, a drama free day out: is it even possible when you’ve got kids? Even when your kids are generally easy going and interested in everything, there’s always a chance some tears and a tantrum will come out! And when you’re in the middle of London, that’s the last thing you want to have to deal with.

You need some tips to ensure your day out planning doesn’t go awry. That’s why we’ve listed a few handy tricks down below that’ll help keep drama to a minimum. All you have to do now is focus on having some fun, and that’s easy!

This is a collaborative post.

The image is promoting a website that provides tips and advice on how to make a family trip to London enjoyable for children.

We’ve got some top tips to help you out on your family trips to London, to reduce the tears, and increase the smiles!

Make a basic itinerary 

A basic itinerary is just there to keep you on track. When you’re on a family day out in London, you don’t want to cram too many things in, but you can give yourself options for the 2 to 3 time slots you’ll have. How about using our One day London itinerary? Or you could also check out the other ideas for London with kids that we have too?

Get a bit of paper out, write down these three different times of the day (usually morning, afternoon, and evening) and then do some research. Where do you think the kids will want to go? Have they asked to go anywhere specifically? You can even throw in an attraction you want to check out as well! 

A family is exploring London, England, by visiting the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, Soho, and a Harry Potter shop and gallery.

Talk your family trip to London through with the kids

Kids love to know what’s going on, and they tend to be a lot calmer when they know what to expect! Once you’ve made your itinerary, talk it through with the kids so they know what they’re going to get up to. 

Tell them what time they’re waking up, what time the train is (or when you need to get in the car), what attractions you’re off to, how much walking there’s going to be, and anything else you think would be important for the little ones to know.

A tourist admires the majestic dome of a city landmark, surrounded by its beautiful architecture and the clear blue sky.

Buy your tickets early

The earlier you secure the tickets, the cheaper they’re going to be, the more time you have to download and/or print them off, and the safer you are when it comes to refund or exchange policies. So once you decide the ‘musts’ on your London day out, buy the tickets for them at the same time. You’ll have so much more peace of mind once you’ve got them in hand! You might even be able to fasttrack your ways past the queues if you do. Don’t forget to add transport tickets to the pre-planning too.

A family is visiting the Tower of London and purchasing tickets for the day.

Pack a picnic

You don’t need a massive picnic basket, but you could do with a small lunchbox in everyone’s bag. This way you can keep both you and the kids fed and happy when you’re on the train, or in the middle of the afternoon after you’ve been walking all morning. And when the picnic is small, you can still stop off for a proper lunch elsewhere. 

A group sits on the grass.

Don’t take everything with you

How many bags do you need to take with you on a day out? 1 or 2, maybe even 3 or 4? Lugging those around all day is going to be exhausting and stressful! So make sure you check a few in the moment you get into London. 

Use services like the st pancras luggage storage and store the items you don’t really need for the day, such as empty lunch boxes or raincoats if it’s going to be sunny all day. This frees up at least one hand and ensures your back lives to see another day! 

A young lady stands at a clean and well-maintained train station, waiting for their train to arrive on the tracks while observing the public transport vehicles and street around their.

Get on a bus

Taking a bus around the city is a lot of fun! You can hop on and off for a very low price, and it’s a lot easier to wait above ground at a bus stop than take the kids on the underground, going in and out of the stations. 

Plus, the buses go everywhere the tube does, just at a slightly slower pace with a lot more fresh air! Sometimes that’s exactly what you need on a busy day out when you’ve been rushing all over the city to begin with. Take the weight off, travel for a low price, and enjoy the breeze from the window. 

The double decker bus travels down the street.

Get on a cruise

Riverboat cruises are very popular in London, and for good reason! Get on one of the makeshift ports at one end of the Thames and then get off at the other, crossing London in around 20 minutes in a super fun way. You get to see all the same sights as you would from a tour bus, you just do it on a boat on one of the most famous rivers in the world. For kids, that’s a really cool thing to try out!

A boat is sailing along the River Thames in London, passing the London Eye and other watercrafts, with a backdrop of the city skyline and clouds in the sky.

Leave time to run around

The kids are probably going to get a burst of energy at some point, so leave a bit of time for them to run around. Look up parks in the city centre before you go and then stop off at one or two sometime in the afternoon or early evening. This way you can have a rest and the kids get to run around, or play with the new souvenirs they’ve bought with pocket money. You can then slowly make your way back to your car or the train home, and the kids will be a lot calmer for it! 

A family day out in London is always a lot of fun! Just make sure you’ve remembered to prepare with these tips – otherwise the stress might mount up and make you want to get the earliest train back home. 

The sun is setting over the lake, creating a beautiful landscape of clouds, trees, birds, and aquatic animals in the sky and water.

We do hope you like this article, and if you would like more ideas for London, why not check out some of these other articles from the site as well?

More articles on London to check out

Here are some more ideas for you while you are visiting London with the kids. We hope you like them all.

Here are some other ideas from sites beyond our own:

London ideas off site

Here are some ideas from others on travel in London with kids: check them out alongside our tips.

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We’d love to see you again on the site.

Take care,

This image is advertising a family-friendly event in London on Saturday, 07 September 2019, to explore the Tower of London and learn more about it through Kiddy Charts.

Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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