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Monday
Oct122015

Tips for visiting London with a Toddler

My family recently spent five nights in London. We flew non-stop from Los Angeles with our toddler son. The flight left in the evening and we were fortunate to get a good amount of sleep. If you’re thinking about visiting London with your toddler are a few tips to help plan your visit.

Vacation Expectations

My husband and I often need a vacation from our vacation.  We want to see everything a city has to offer and ‘go,go,go.’  On this trip, we knew we’d have to adapt our normal schedule for a toddler.  Taking a break in a park to see the ducks, running around historic gardens, and stopping for a snack were not part of our old sightseeing days. However, we enjoyed the city just as much if not more.  

We spent 6 hours at the Tower of London. My son loved chasing the ravens and playing with the visiting school children. We took breaks from his playing to see the different parts of the Tower complex.

Lastly, we didn’t expect to go out to fancy dinners as restaurants in London are not as child friendly as Los Angeles. It’s important to do research to give you the knowledge to be prepared.   

Getting Around London

We stayed in the Picadilly Circus area, which is very centrally.  I read a blog post before our trip about a mother complaining how difficult it was using public transportation around the city.

Her son was in a stroller and they were carrying the stroller up and down flights of stairs since most metro stops do not have elevators. Knowing this ahead of time, we were able to manage our expectations and knew that elevators would be a luxury. 

By the end, we’d just give each other a nod, grab one end of the stroller and start carrying it up the stairs. It was worth it for being able to see different parts of the city.

My son loves buses. He had so much fun riding around the city on the bus.

Snacks, snacks, snacks

When packing up the diaper bag, bring lots of snacks. It gave us additional time in museums as our son was happy eating.  I made sure to have snacks for ourselves as well.  There’s lots of great markets for quick food pick-up that we’d run into during the day to grab fruit or sandwiches.

One of these shops was Pret-a-Manger. The stores were located throughout the city. Their mission is to, “to create, handmade, natural food, avoiding the obscure chemicals, additives and preservatives common to so much of the ‘prepared’ and ‘fast’ food on the market today.” We’d get food, drinks, and use the bathroom.

Plans can change

Touring the Winston Churchill War Rooms was fascinating and one of my favorite things we did. However, being in an underground bunker was not very toddler-friendly.  We gave him a snack to keep him entertained while we walked around. Although I could have spent a lot more time there, we made it work and left before a meltdown happened.

As soon as we left, we went to the park across the street so he could run around chasing the ducks and birds.

Use Toddler Naptime Wisely

When it’s time for your toddler to take a nap, I definitely recommend trying to get them to nap in the stroller. This way, you can still continue on with the day and not have to worry about going back to the hotel.  In addition, plan something you would like to do or see during this time. For instance, my son took a two hour nap while we walked around the British Museum one day. Another day, we sat down and had a long lunch. It felt like we were on a date even though he was sleeping in the stroller next to us.

Free London Attractions & London Eye Review

There are many free attractions to visit in London. Check them out here.

Thinking about taking a ride on the London Eye with your toddler?  Read my review here.

Words to know when visiting London with children

There are a few different words used for common baby needs, these will help you as you navigate around with your toddler.

diaper = nappy

stroller = buggy, pram, baby carriage

high chair = baby chair

crib = cot

pacifier = dummy

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  • Response
    The wonderful experience of visiting London, the way you have elaborated your tour is very interesting, I really enjoyed it. The tips and suggestion you have given are also very useful and impressive.
  • Response

Reader Comments (3)

I've been overwhelmed with our family's upcoming trip to London This really helped give me some confidence and get excited.

October 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Did you buy or bring diapers with you?

October 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

We brought diapers with us. They are expensive to buy there. The extra spot in the luggage on the way back helped make room for souvenirs.

January 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterFreshCruiser

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