In case you follow my blog or Instagram account you might remember that my partner and father of my two kids works for a London based company. During the pandemic he worked from home entirely, but recently started to commute between London and Austria again. Over the early May bank holiday weekend we decided to take the two kids to London for the first time. We wanted them to get used to flying, as we will be flying to Canada this summer. And also for our nearly 3 year old son to get relate to the city and to make it easier while his dad is away from home. And all the hassle was worth it. We had a great time exploring London. In this blogpost I’ve compiled the best tips and tricks exploring London with two toddlers, while I will write a separate blogpost on travel tips with toddlers in general.
Getting around London
When exploring a big city with two small kids we were face with two major challenges: How to keep them from running around and getting into dangerous situations? and what to do, when one of the kids gets tired or wants to nap? (their nap times not being aligned). Especially, when I was on my own with the two. Therefore we usually take our small and foldable Babyzen Yoyo stroller for our son and a Ergobaby babycarrier for our daughter. I would also bring a diaper backpack that I could either carry on my back or pin to the stroller. With that setup I could easily walk around with the two kids under my control or being able to nap comfortably.
Exploring London by tube
Exploring London with kids has its challenges. Transport is one of them. The London tube network is one of the biggest in the world, however it is not very accessible for strollers (or handicapped people). Although most of the newer stations offer lifts, the majority of stations does not. (you can check out the accessible tube map here )But most of Londoners will be extremely helpful and offer to carry your luggage or stroller up and down the stairs.
Exploring London by bus
Our favorite way of transport in London was the famous red double decker bus. Our son knew about these busses from photos and videos and all he wanted to do was to ride on them. Preferable in the front. Luckily our Babyzen Yoyo stroller was super easy to fold and carry to the upper deck. That’s why we went everywhere by busw, even if it took longer.
Getting around London by taxi and Uber ride share
We used a taxi to get to and from the airport with all our stuff. A taxi is definitely the easiest option as legally you are not required to use a car seat for your kids. (even though it is much safer). In Uber etc. the general rules apply and you must have a car seat for your kids. Side note: For traveling with a car seat we bought this super light Maxi Cosi Nomad foldable car seat. (also available in light grey for summer). It super light and has hand luggage size. It can be used with the normal seatbelt of every car for kids from 1 to 4 years old. For older kids there are also other options like the Chicco fold’n’go or the Urban Kanga. These foldable car seats might not offer the same stabilty or protection compared to regular car seats. But in my opinion using one of these car seats is still way better than using no car seat at all!
Activities for kids in London
London offers some great activites for kids, indoor and outdoor. I have compiled our favorites below. Don’t forget: London also has great public playgrounds in every district!
The London transport museum
The London transport museum at Covent Garden was our favorite museum. Here you can learn about the history of transport in London and ride old tubes and busses. The facilities for kids (aka indoor playgrounds) make it the perfect bad weather activity. The queue at the ticket counter was quite long. but we got the annual ticket (for the same price as a regular ticket) an plan to come back soon. Side note: Another great activity in London is watching all the artists around Covent Garden with your kids.
Natural history museum
The Natural History Museum is another amazing indoor activity for kids. Why? watching all the dinosaurs and stuffed animals is just beyond exciting! For us adults is is also an architectural highlight.And don’t forget about buying enough dinosaur stuff at the gift shop!
The London Zoo
Going to the zoo is always great for kids. The London zoo not only offers that, but you can also visit Primrose Hill in Regent’s park or go on another boat tour through little Venice. Do you want more tips about London? Just leave a comment or send me a message!
Taking a river bus
Most people don’t know that there is actually public transport on the river Thames. Please find the map here! You can use the boat services with your normal oyster card. We live close to Vauxhall station, so next time we are in London we will definitely take a boat to Greenwich to visit the Royal Observatory and the Cutty Sark sailboat.
We visited London again in November 2022 and took a boat to Greenwich and visited Cutty Sark and the Royal Greenwich Observatory. In addition we’ve visited the National Army Museum, which has a great indoor playground. You can find videos of our trip on my Instagram account: London part 1, part 2, part 3 und part 4.
Update no 2:
We visited London again in February 2023 right before our daughter turned 2 and needed her own seat. In the future we will probably use our British Airways Avios for reward flights from Salzburg or Munich as they have great deals available. But more in a future post.