London was the first stop on our maiden European adventure with our little tot, Benjamin. Why London? Well, we came across an irresistible deal on a direct Norwegian Airlines flights from LAX to London direct, which we used as the starting point for the trip.
A big reason for wanting to go to Europe when we did is that Benjamin would soon be turning two and we wanted to take advantage of not having to pay for his own seat. However, the flight was such a good deal that we went ahead and bought a seat for him anyway. I can’t tell you how thankful I was, because I just can’t imagine either of us being comfortable with a squirming 25-pounds on our laps for the 10-hour flight.
What comes to mind when you think of London? The Queen? History? Culture? Architecture? I would say all the above and more!
London is a bustling city with so much diversity to offer. We were unsure of how the first leg of our trip would go with the 8-hour time change and our 22-month old, so we set very few expectations for the first few days.
The overnight flight was direct from Los Angeles to Gatwick (10hrs 20min). Benjamin slept about half the time when on average he sleeps 10 to 11 hours each night. Therefore, as soon as we landed and got him in the stroller he was out (he loves sleeping in the stroller) while we made our way from the airport to the hotel.
The Gatwick Express / Southern train takes 30 to 40 minutes and brings you to Victoria Station, which is right to the center of London.
We opted to stay in a hotel in verses an Airbnb on the first leg of our trip because of the convenience of checking in at any time and a place to store our bags on the last day while we finished up exploring the city.
The Grosvenor Hotel is conveniently attached to Victoria Station, so it is just a quick walk when you get off the train. This was nice because we didn't need to worry about transferring trains with our luggage and Benjamin.
Cheap Flights to London
The main reason we spent 3 days in London was because of the flight incredibly cheap. Flying to London can be super cheap; like cheaper than flying somewhere an hour away from home. We are subscribed to Scott's Cheap Flights email list which alerted us of a European sale that was going on.
Norwegian Airlines fares were listed so we started to look into it further. Using their Destinations search tool, we were able to find nonstop one-way flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to London Gatwick (LGW) for $74 per person. It doesn't even seem possible, but trust me, it was real. We ended up paying $140 each so we could check a bag and get a meal, and got Benjamin (our toddler) a seat for $74.
3 day London Itinerary
All the child-friendly activities we did in our 3 days in London.
- Arrived and Checked in to The Grosvenor Hotel.
- Visited the Science Museum that has FREE admission, like many London museums. Benjamin’s eyes lit up seeing planes, trains, and cars. He was sold and so were we! There is so much more to this museum than we could see before it was closing time.
- Walked in the charming Kensington area before meeting up for dinner with family who also happens to be visiting London.
- Dinner at Luna Rossa in Notting Hill. A fun little Italian restaurant which had delicious pizza and was one of our better and definitely most reasonably priced meals in London.
Disclaimer: We were graciously provided 2-day Big Bus London passes during our visit. All thoughts and opinions are always our own.
- Quick breakfast at The English Rose Cafe and Tea Shop.
- Big Bus London Hop on Hop Off Tour. I highly recommend taking a hop on hop off bus tour when visiting London. With the sprawling size of the city, the hop on hop off bus is a great way to get a grasp of the different areas while being able to hop off and explore wherever catches your interest.
I recommend starting with the Red Tour, which hits the major landmarks and has a live English speaking guide on-board that is there to answer questions.
Shortly after we hopped on, we landed the upper deck front row seats, which give the best view. Benjamin was happy and when Benjamin is happy, so are we!
- Hopped off the BigBus at stop 16 (Tower of London) for lunch and to take the River Cruise on the River Thames, which is included in the Big Bus Ticket.
- Back to the Big Bus changing lines and hopping off at Mayfair. Walked around prior to attempting to dine at The Mayfair Chippy. Unfortunately, we needed reservations. So if you go please let us know how it is. We did find some fish and chips which definitely needed to be dipped in malt vinegar as most of the food we tried in London is quite bland.
- Visited Hyde Park Playground. FREE! Never a bad idea finding a place where kids can run around and not be strapped to a stroller or carrier. Benjamin enjoyed this playground and even got to see some horses training right next to the playground.
- Walked and window shopped at the famous Harrod’s department store. FREE...unless you shop til you drop! No London visit is complete without checking out this giant luxury department store. They have a department for anything you could think of from gourmet foods to an Hermes scarf to even a new car.
- Took a ride on the London Eye. If you're not afraid of heights be sure to check out this giant observation Ferris Wheel on the South Bank for the River Thames. On a nice clear day, you can really see just how big London is and watch your little one (if you have one) point out all he or she can see.
- Toured Vauxhall City Farms. FREE! A great place to have a snack (may want to bring your own) and have your little explore the small city farm where they can see and pet a few of the animals. Just a few to mention are horses, alpacas, ducks, goats, rabbits, sheep, pigs, turkeys, chickens and more.
- Dinner at The Marquis of Westminster, a pub near the hotel that had some really tasty bangers & mash dish and burgers. Our best and last dinner in London.
- Played at the Diana Memorial Playground. FREE! This is the ultimate playground and we miss it already. If only our parks at home could be more like this one. It is a true heaven for little kids with so much to explore. It is a locked playground where you are buzzed in...safety is always great in my opinion and with clean bathrooms and changing tables which are hard to find in Europe.
- Visited the Natural History Museum to escape the rain. Another great museum that is FREE! The only unfortunate thing about this museum is that it was absolutely packed with people also trying to stay out of the rain.
- Back to the hotel to grab the luggage and head to the airport for Amsterdam.
Best Things to do in London with a kid
- Big Bus London Hop-on Hop-Off discovery tour
- Hyde Park (to picnic or just take a stroll)
- St. James’s Park
- Tower of London
- Westminster Abby Royal Church
- Buckingham Palace
- Houses of Parliament
- Portobello Open Road Market in Notting Hill
- Museums - pick one or two that interest you the most and check them out
- London Eye
- Harrod’s Department Store
- Experience the famous Tea Time
- Enjoy a pint or two at a pub
- Visit the wonderful playgrounds if you have kids
- Vauxhall City Farms (only if you have kids or love animals immensely)
London Travel Tips
Seven Tips for Traveling to London with Small Children
- Check to see how far your place of stay is from a tube / underground station. London is a huge city and there are infinite options. With the tube and the busses, it’s fairly easy to get around, but it can be a lot of walking if you aren't close to a station.
- Don’t forget to check the weather. You may need your umbrella, rain jacket, or rain shield for your stroller/buggy/pram depending on when you visit.
- London is not very stroller/buggy/pram friendly. While they are allowed on the Underground, the majority of stations do not have lifts/elevators so you will have to carry the stroller up flights of stairs.
- The best way to get data on your phone is to buy a Big Value Bundle Sim card for £10 at Vodafone. This will give you plenty of data for your trip throughout Europe.
- If your child is not hungry or napping when your eating lunch, choose a dish where you might have extra or order something extra for when your little one awakes.
- Pick up a yogurt, banana, pastry, or individual oatmeal cup (that just needs hot water) from the local supermarket. This allows your little one to have breakfast in the room while getting ready for the day.
- Don’t be surprised if you don’t find many changing tables. Bring something you can lay down to change your little one. I find it easiest to do in the stroller, but always put something down just in case. Accidents happen.
Getting around London
London has quite a few methods of transportation to get around. The London Tube (also called the Underground) is their subway system. It's easiest to buy an Oyster card when you first arrive, which you can load up with money to use during your stay. You pay a deposit when buying the Oyster card, which is refunded when you turn it back in.
Cabs are all over the streets, but they are a bit touristy and super expensive. Uber is available in the city, and is a much better option than a cab for shorter rides to avoid walking when you want a private car.
We utilized the hop-on hop-off bus to not only see the city but as transportation to the top spots for the two days that our tickets were valid.
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We hope you have enjoyed our tips and suggestions for London. If you have any feedback or questions, please ask in the comments. We hope you enjoy your future visit to London as much as we did.