Tips about London holidays

Hey there!

I’m planning a trip to London during the second week of the Easter holiday, with my two youngest (9 and 12). I haven’t been to London in ages, so it would be great if you could share some tips:

  • hotel and good location. I certainly don’t need a 5*, but hygiene is very important to me. As long as it’s clean, I’m fine with it! I’ll be using public transport, so I’d like to be somewhat close to the ‘tourist’ stuff. Colleagues suggested Kensington? Any suggestion?

  • Recommanded flight company? An airport to avoid?

  • I read about the ‘Oyster card’ for public transport? Specific tip I should know about?

  • I intend to do the classic tourist stuff, somewhat kids friendly: Harry Potter Museum, Crown Jewels, Bristish Museum, etc. Advice?

Hi!

We went about 1 yr ago after being away for a long time also.

Stayed at the Marriot near Marble Arch and found the location great to quickly get everywhere - also to and from both Heathrow and City airport. (there is a new Metro line, think purple and called Elizabeth) that goes to Heathrow from Paddington and is cheaper than Heathrow express.

Both airports are fine, would probably recommend to fly into City as quicker to get out of than Heathrow.

We messed up on the Oyster card and just tapped in and out with credit cards everywhere - I don’t think this is the best so hopefully someone can advice on this.

Have fun!

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I would agree with all the advice you have been given so far. Kensington is a good base and easily accessible from Heathrow which would probably give you the most choice for flights. If you haven’t been to the iconic London museums before, then it might be worth noting that some are huge and you can literally spend a whole day there … Natural History Museum for example. I would also recommend the Imperial War Museum if that is of interest to your kids. There are lots of sky rise buildings for great dinners/lunches and views … Heron Tower, Sky Gardens, The Shard. I always took my sons for afternoon tea in a posh hotel when they were younger (check dress codes). It’s still a very fond memory for them. It is pricey though. The Lion King is a great show imo for adults and children. Hope you have a fabulous time in my home town.

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For me the smart choice would be Wembley Park where you’ll find tons of excellent hotels which should be a lot cheaper than central London. In the Wembley stadium complex you’ll find entertainment venues, bars, a cinema, an outlet shopping centre and lots of restaurants. Just try and avoid stadium/concert dates when prices sky rocket.

However the real benefit of staying there is that you have the fast Metropolitan Line tube service which takes just 12 mins from Wembley Park station to the centre of town (Baker Street).

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Use your credit card on the underground. Tap in, tap out. It’s really easy and if you use the same card all day it calculates theh cheapest price for you. Just like using the SBB app in Zürich on the tram and getting the cheapest fare at the end of the day. But make sure you tap out.

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When we went you needed one credit card per person to do this so ensure you have enough if travelling with children :slight_smile:

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Better to get an Oyster. For Oyster cards there is a daily cap which is applied automatically when your journeys reach the appropriate amount. Doesn’t apply to credit cards, you keep on paying for every journey.

You also need one oyster per person.

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Where’s the easiest to buy an Oyster? I have only one credit card, and I’ll be travelling with 2 children so I guess it’s not ideal.

I assume that will work.

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Children under 11 travel for free as long as they are with a fare paying adult. You would need to use the wider gates (for luggage and wheelchairs) since the single person gates close too quickly to allow more than one person.

If the children are between 11-15 they pay half price and would need their own Oyster cards which you can pick up at any station for £7 + at least £10 of ‘pay as you go’ credit.

Unfortunately the old paper travel cards have now been phased out (Jan 2024) which would be simpler and cheaper for one off journeys for visitors.

N.B there is no way to get child fares if you tap with a credit card, the system will assume everyone in the party is an adult.

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I’ve been studyinf the Oyster website, which is overly complex to say the least: between zones and peak times, it’s somewhat confusing :face_with_spiral_eyes: And I couldn’t find any mention of paper travel card being discontinued?

I guess taking a 7-day pass would be the cheapest? How many zones for the typical ‘tourist stuff’? Zones 1-2?

Zone 1-2 should cover you for most of what you’d typically want to do in London. If you wanted to do something further afield e.g. Harry Potter studios near Watford you could get a travel card extension for the day (I think its Zone 8).

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Don’t forget to go on a London bus or two. My kids thought that was cool and gave them a respite from walking but they still got to see things.

I’d stay in Kensington - it’s central and Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park are there which are nice for kids to let off a bit off steam. My kids loved all the squirrels in the park!

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We’re certainly going to do that! And the Harry Potter museum… Amd the M&Ms shop…

That was another favourite.

I have never been to London, except for the M25 and the underground from Victoria to Euston, many, many yonks ago, 40 of them I think.

Are you sure ca

Are you sure? This link seems to imply otherwise and I’m sure I was capped with the credit card when I was there. Could be wrong :smiley:
Capping - London TravelWatch.

Looks like you’re right - must have changed this in the last couple of years then! Still need one card per paying traveller though…

Is Swiss health insurance valid in UK?

Yes it is. You should have a EHIC card on the back of your health insurance card.
If you don’t have an EHIC for some reason you’ll need to contact your health insurers to look into getting one.

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