Best Ways to Get Around London With Kids
London is an intriguing and exciting city to visit with kids, and one of the best things about vacationing there is being able to stay in the city without renting a car. Whether you want to travel by bus, train, ferry or taxi, there are many options for fun and convenient ways to see the city that are unique to London. Here are my recommendations on the best ways to get around London with kids.
4 Fun London Transportation Options
Double Decker Bus
The double decker buses travel constantly on London’s roads and are a great way to get around the city while also enjoying a high-level view of the sites around you. Kids usually have a lot of fun sitting on the second floor. Note, there are many tour companies that operate tours using double decker buses, but I am talking about the everyday commuter buses with a regular schedule.
If you would like to ride the bus with your family I suggest picking up a map or visiting Transport for London to select your best route and your bus stop. Then, make sure you have purchased an Oyster card which can be used on all public forms of transportation, or buy tickets at a ticket outlet. We bought our tickets at a convenience store close to our bus stop. You can NOT pay with cash once you are on the bus. A single bus fare is only £1.50 for adults using Oyster. Children 10 and under are free so this is a very reasonable form of transportation!
Tip: If you would like to buy an Oyster card before you arrive in London, you can order online here.
The London Underground railway system is commonly called “The Tube” and is an easy and convenient way to get around London with kids. With 270 stations, you can go almost anywhere in the city of London and even get to major attractions outside the city. The map of the system is clear and easy to use, and of course it helps that everything is in English!
The same Oyster card that words on the buses can be used on the Underground. Fares start at £6.50. Children 10 and under are free but must have an Oyster card proving their age.
Tip: The Tube is busiest during workers’ commuter hours so try to avoid weekdays between 7 and 9 am and 5:30 and 7 pm.
The River Bus is a ferry run by MBNA Thames Clippers with regular stops along the Thames River. It is like a bus, except on the water! The ferries run every 20 minutes with stops at piers within walking distance of major attractions, including the London Eye, Tower of London, Canary Wharf, popular museums and much more. The ferry ride itself is part of the fun with great views of sights along the river, comfortable seats and even a coffee bar on board.
The price depends on how far you travel with fares starting at £4.30 in the East Zone for adult single tickets purchased at ticket offices and ticket machines. You can find all of their prices here. As with other methods of public transportation, you will need to buy tickets at a ticket counter before boarding or use your Oyster card.
If you have a situation where public transportation does not work, taxis are readily available. London’s official taxis are called Black Cabs, and you can book them in advance or hail them down on busier streets or at hotels. As in other large cities, the fares are metered and it is normal to tip the driver.
Unlike other cities, however, London taxi drivers are licensed and must pass a rigorous class on the geography and history of London. This test is so thorough it can take three years to study and pass it. This means that taxi drivers have a wealth of knowledge so be sure to ask any questions you have.
Part of the fun of visiting another country is trying new things. Driving on the left hand side of the road, sitting on the second floor of a bus, and enjoying a boat ride while getting to your next destination are all highlights of a trip to London. Hopefully knowing some details about London transportation will make your trip a little more enjoyable!
You may also enjoy:
Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. To learn more, visit our About Us page.
Know Before You Go
- If you invest in the Oyster card, you can gain passage to the underground railway system as well as the bus system.
- Gin and Tonic is a popular drink in Britain. The City of London Gin Distillery allows you to create your very own gin.
- You can get a city tour through SmallCarBigCity. They’ll drive you around in your own Mini Cooper, which can add a fun dimension to exploring the city.