With an array of transport choices in London, such as the underground, overground, buses, taxis and rickshaws, a fun way to see London with the family is to see the sights while travelling on all forms of London transport. This guide will help you make the most of your family day out seeing the famous London sights while experiencing several different modes of transport.
- Starting point: Trafalgar Square Via Tube
If you are staying in one of central London’s family hotels, then you won’t need to catch the tube as Trafalgar Square is accessible on foot, however, if you are outside of central London, travelling by tube is the most effective way to get there. The nearest station is Charing Cross which can be found on the Northern and Bakerloo lines or, if you prefer to do a little bit of walking to take a look at the scenery, then Embankment station, which is on the Bakerloo, Northern, Circle and District lines, allows you to do just that. Once you have enjoyed the delights of Trafalgar Square and popped into the National Gallery, head to the Strand and find bus stop F near Charing Cross station.
- Next Mode of Transport: Routemaster Bus
Even though bus routes have been upgraded in recent years, there are still heritage routes that still use the classic Routemaster buses that have become synonymous with the city. The number 15 runs every 15 minutes and allows you to take in some of the most famous sights in London and, as this stop is the first stop on the journey, the bus will be empty which allows you to pick the very best seats; these are upstairs and at the very front.
The Routemaster will take you along the Strand where you will see the beautiful Savoy hotel on the right. The Savoy has a rich history, beginning in the 13th century, and has seen a whole host of iconic figures grace its doorway, including Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Fred Astaire and Marilyn Monroe. From there the bus travels down Fleet Street, made famous by the infamous fictional barber Sweeney Todd, and into the City of London where you will see the glorious structure of St Paul’s Cathedral. There have been many cathedrals on the site and the one that can be seen today was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and has become iconic worldwide for hosting famous events such as the funeral of Wintson Churchill and the Duke of Wellington, who is buried in the cathedral vaults.
Around 30 minutes in the bus will reach its final destination, the Tower of London. You will have to alight here which is a good excuse to either take your children to the small adventure playground just past the old Roman wall, or to explore the wonders of the tower. The tower was infamous throughout Britain and struck fear into the hearts of citizens as it was well known for its torture chambers and execution site. Today, no one travels through traitors gate as the front gate is open for those who wish to explore the history of the tower as well as viewing the crown jewels which are on display in the Jewel House. See where Queen Anne Boleyn was executed and buried, where the two princes of the tower were found and the famous ravens where it is claimed if the ravens left the Tower of London it would fall.
- Next Mode of Transport: the DLR
The Docklands Light Railway allows you to travel around the Docklands in South East London. This rail service allows you to visit the other side of London where you have beautiful views of the Thames, the Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. From the Tower of London, take the Tower Gateway and head towards Beckton and get off at Royal Victoria Docks station; this will allow you to walk towards the Thames and visit The Crystal. The Crystal is the largest sustainable events venue in the world; it is free entry and has a great selection of interactive games for the children as well as a cafe for a lunchtime treat.
- Next Mode of Transport: The North Greenwich Thames Clipper
You can’t use multitudes of transport in London and not take a trip down the Thames. The North Greenwich Thames Clipper is just outside the O2 and can take you up to the London Eye; this is a fantastic route as it will also take you under London Bridge which is a truly spectacular sight. The clipper is a great way to travel as, not only do you get to see the amazing sights of London from a completely different perspective, but there is also Wifi and a cafe on board.
- Last Mode of Transport: The Tube
From the London Eye, Waterloo station is just a few minutes walk away and allows you to catch The Waterloo & City Line which can take you directly to Bank station. If you are visiting Monday to Friday, it is well worth a trip to the Bank of England Museum where you can delve into the origins of the Bank of England which began in the 17th century and follow its journey up to today. There is a chance to see its treasures, including a bar of gold which you attempt to pick up and to view its historic collections. There are many things to do in the area with the family and they are all free; you could take a look at the Museum of London or even head to the Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre, the choice really is yours.