How to do London on a budget with kids

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Living in London with children can be expensive. We are one of the most expensive cities in the entire world to live in, so before we even look at extracurricular activities, our mortgages and the everyday cost of living can leave many of us with tears in our eyes.

As much as our kids would probably be happy going to football, ballet, ice hockey, gymnastics and karate classes every day after school and during the weekend, this probably isn’t the best use of our money or time. You’d probably need to take out a re-mortgage on your home just to pay for the activities too! Luckily for you, as much as this may be a city of expenses, it is also one filled with thrifty ways to entertain; if you know where to look.

Park Life

Did you know that Epping Forest is over two thousand hectares? Victoria Park is 86 hectares and Clapham Common is 89. Wherever you are based in London, you are never more than a bus or tube ride away from great expanses of open space. Living in London shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the great outdoors. Grab the scooters, footballs or a bag of bread to feed the ducks. A trip to the park is a lot more than pushing the kids on the swings for 15 minutes and heading back home. There are many ways to make it into an adventure that will last a good chunk of the day without costing you much.

Tourist Attractions

I remember going on an open top bus with my mum and brother when I was about 7 years old. It was a magical experience and very educational learning the history behind areas such as Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, though I remember being highly disappointed by the lack of clowns and popcorn. As Londoners we do not always appreciate the wealth of amazing gems on our doorsteps. A trip into Central London with a packed lunch and a camera can be a great way to explore the sites and keep the kids entertained without even forking out on a tour bus, though if you can afford it, do use them! You can buy a pass for the day and jump on and off them at various points throughout London.

Museums are also a safe bet for a fun day out without spending too much money (as long as you avoid the gift shop). The Museum of Moving Image, The Transport Museum, The Science Museum and the Natural History Museum are brilliant for children and many have interactive areas, specially designed for them.

Your Home

You don’t have to go out every weekend, no matter how much your kids may insist otherwise. Invest in some great, inexpensive crafting staples and let their imaginations do the work. Not all crafting is messy, you can introduce them to needle craft (there are special, plastic large needles for kids!), bead making, etc.

Whatever you do, make the most of it as they grow up in the blink of an eye but will grow up to have the memories of an elephant. The special time you spend with them won’t be forgotten or over looked, even if they feign amnesia during their teens.

Tin x