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Our Texas to California Road Trip

Our Texas to California Road Trip

We were very excited to be doing a road trip in the USA, a Texas to California road trip – so no short trip for us!  It was about 1250 miles from Dallas TX to Needles CA according to Google, but I imagine we did slightly more with the few detours that we partook in.  I so wish we could have added the extra 250 or so miles to take us on to the end of Route 66 in Los Angeles but we had to be content with the trip that we did!  We actually ended up heading to Las Vegas which is where our flight was going back from.


Our Texas to California road trip – day by day

We did look into the best road trips from Dallas but really my heart was set on Route 66.  We’d wanted to do this trip for years and having two people in our family who were pretty crazy about old American cars and the other two who appreciate the retro feeling of the era it was a no brainer.  Route 66 here we come!


Day 1 – Dallas TX to Wichita Falls TX

Distance – 140 miles 

Our first leg of the road trip saw us driving through North Texas up to the part that is known as the pan handle.  It was really nice to start to see more of the state outside of the city of Dallas which had mostly been our experience on the trip so far.  We did love Dallas though – you can see our posts about this time here.

We broke our journey with an overnight stop in a town called Wichita Falls (we stayed at the Days Inn which was super cheap – check for latest prices) which was lovely to walk around and explore.  We had a really nice nature walk along to see the waterfalls.  It was so hot though!

Wichita Falls TX


For more info about our stay in Wichita Falls check out the post here.


Day 2 – Wichita Falls TX – Shamrock TX

Distance – 164 miles

We drove the following day along what seemed like endless small oil fields and spotted many of the ‘nodding donkeys’.  Although there were lots of them, they definitely weren’t as big as I was imagining.  Perhaps those were just smaller oil fields?

Finally we arrived at Route 66.  We drove a little back to the border with Oklahoma so we could say we’d been there too!  It was so close that we had to!

Our first day on Route 66 saw us drive only about 15 miles on the road as our planned stop was Shamrock TX.  We loved that tiny town and it was our first experience of seeing neon light up the road!

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express which was right next to the U Drop Inn garage which lights up so spectacularly at night.  check for latest prices


rusty car shamrock tx


You can read more about what we found in Shamrock here.


Day 3 – Shamrock TX to Tucumcari NM

Distance – 204 miles

Big Texan AmarilloOur third day of our road trip, driving from Texas to California, saw us leave the lovely state of Texas behind.  We really did love that state and the people and places we saw.

Before leaving we managed to catch quite a few of the Texas Route 66 attractions such as the Big Texan steakhouse, the giant cross at Groom and we failed miserably to find the Cadillac Ranch!  I don’t know how we missed it, but we did!  I was very sad about this!  We also explored a pretty cool service station on I-40 that was decorated in a nice Route 66 style and we came across our first mention of tornados as it had a tornado shelter!  Yikes, time to get on the road 😉

Texas – we will be back!

Tucumcari was just over the border in New Mexico and we celebrated this new state with tacos!  It was Tuesday after all 😉

We also were treated to way more neon than I could imagine as all the motels were lit up.  This felt like a real Route 66 town and listening to the crickets at night and being around a quiet road I could just imagine Fillmore and Sarge (from the Cars movie) watching the traffic lights there!   There are loads of murals in the town too, it’s like everyone wanted to paint a scene of times gone by.  You can read more about Tucumcari here.

We stayed in the lovely Motel Safari, which was cheaper than the iconic Blue Swallow motel but we really liked it.  It was basic but had that 50s motel feel with how it was decorated.  Fab.


Day 4 – Tucumcari NM to Gallup NM

Distance – 311 miles

We drove pretty much the entire state of New Mexico on this day.  I remember seeing lots and lots of signs for casinos on the road and lots of signs for shops with authentic Native American goods.  We did stop at one of the shops but weren’t really impressed by it all – seemed a little cheesy, but I guess lots of people like them.

On the west side of Albuquerque was the Petroglyph National Monument which sounded like a really interesting place to visit so we took our supermarket lunch there (one of our many tips on keeping the budget down on our road trip).  The weather was still quite warm, but it was nothing like the stifling heat we’d experienced in Dallas and the rest of Texas.  You can see more about the Petroglyphs and what we did in New Mexico here.

We stayed in Gallup which is another famous route 66 town (it’s even in the song) but we chose a motel on the outskirts which meant we didn’t get much time to explore there.  It was a cheap and clean motel though and can still recommend it for a budget night on the road.


Day 5 – Gallup NM – Holbrook AZ

Distance – 95 miles

This was a nice short driving day so we took it easy.  It saw us reach our 4th state – Arizona!  We’d stay in Arizona for a few nights as we had lots to see and do in the area.

In between the two stops was the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert national park which I’d seen beautiful pictures of and had to see.  Unfortunately it was a little overcast that day so it wasn’t as impressive as I imagine it would have been with some beautiful sunlight, but it was still impressive non the less and we had less worry about keeling over in the heat!

Read more about the Petrified forest here and how I became a junior ranger (and the kids did too!)

Our night time stop was the iconic wigwam motel!  We loved it there, and it was awesome walking round as the sun went down taking pictures of the old cars.  Inside it was a little dated, but for the price, which was one of the cheapest on our route, it was worth it.


Day 6 –  Holbrook AZ to Williams AZ

Distance – 125 miles

Leaving Holbrook we set off looking for the meteor crater which again felt like it was something we should do while in the area.  It was a nice attraction but for some reason didn’t quite hit the spot with me.

We drove to Williams where we spent the next two nights.  Something we’d needed as we’d been travelling non stop for the last wee.  We couldn’t believe the change in scenery as you approach.  I assumed that Arizona would be all desert but there were parts when I could have completely believed we were back in Scotland!  So lush and mountainous – I was very surprised!

Williams was a great town and we stayed in the Motel 6 there – nice, cheap, central and right across from a Dairy Queen.  Oh I miss Dairy Queens!  You can check prices for this motel here.


Day 7 – Side trip to the Grand Canyon

Distance – 60 miles each way

Grand Canyon viewWe knew we had to see the Grand Canyon but we also knew that paying extra for the privilege wasn’t our style, so we stayed two nights at the motel in Williams AZ and just did a day trip to the Grand Canyon.  It was just a 60 mile trip so easily doable in a day from there.  We even came across our first roundabout of the trip there!

You can read more about the Grand Canyon trip here – needless to say, it was awesome.


Day 8 – Williams AZ – Needles CA

Distance – 165 miles

Our last day of our trip – sadly, as I said not quite a Dallas to Los Angeles road trip, but fairly close.  I remember seeing signs for LA and thinking we should just go for it!!

The list day saw us go through lots of attractions though, the first being the town of Seligman, home of the barber Angel Degadillo.  We’d watched his story on the extras of the Cars dvd and so were really pleased to chat to him.  There are lot of shops in Seligman and I think it’s a stop for many coach trips too.

This stretch of the west end of Route 66 can be done a couple of ways.  You can follow I-40 all the way or you can come off and go up through the mountains via a town called Oatman.

We heard lots of stories about it being a very twisty road, but since we’re used to that in the UK we thought we’d be fine – it still had me gripping hold of my door handle!  Very twisty, very high roads, but a wonderful view.

You can read more about the towns in AZ and what we saw here.


Our final night of our road trip was spent at the Rio Del Sol Inn Motel in Needles and I was so excited to have finally made it to California – the place we see so much on TV!  I hope next time we can explore a bit more!

Needles CA


We had an amazing time on our Route 66 trip from Texas to California and encourage anyone thinking of doing a similar trip to go for it!  If you need some guide books to inspire you have a look here.



Best Route 66 travel guide – books and map reviews

Best Route 66 travel guide – books and map reviews

When planning a trip on the historic mother road you really want to have a Route 66 travel guide with you.  There is so much to see, so many little details to point out that unless you have a guide or some maps, you’ll just drive right on by.  They can really help bring to life all the history of this amazing stretch of road.


Route 66 Travel Guide

If you’re looking for a Route 66 book about what you’ll find there, the attraction and where they all are, here’s what I think are some of the best books about Route 66 on the market:

EZ 66 Guide for Travelers

For some this is considered the best Route 66 guide and for good reason.  It’s a completely user friendly book with easy to read maps and being spiral bound it makes it easy to use.  I love that it has all sorts of ideas for many age ranges in it, including scavenger hunts and ideas to make the car journey great for kids.  If anything I think the style of the book is a little hard to get used to, but it doesn’t detract from the excellent content.

>>> For more information on this book, including reviews and current price click to view on your local Amazon – and Amazon UK <<<


Route 66 – Dining and Lodging Guide

From the same publishers as the EZ 66 Guide comes a guidebook about the lodging and dining options available on Route 66.  With over 500 establishments reviewed this is really a great source while you’re on the road to discover the best of the road.  While I like to check things out online, this isn’t always an option while out and about so having this book to hand is great.  It’s especially good if you like to take your time and see where you end up in a day rather than planning too far in advance.

Always look for an up to date version of this book rather than going second hand – things change often on Route 66 so best to get up to date information!

>>> To see on and read more information about this book click here and also view on Amazon UK <<<


Route 66 Adventure Handbook

The Route 66 Adventure Handbook is a great read and is full of interesting bits of history about many of the areas along Route 66.  It’s not perfect if you’re travelling solo, because there is so much to read, but it’s good to have for passengers to read as you’re going along.  It’s a complete guide, with lodging and attraction info, plus maps – again be wary of things changing and go for the most up to date version.  Unlike the EZ66 book, this one is available on Kindle so perfect for packing light!

>>> Click here for more reviews of this route 66 guide book and if you’re in the UK view on Amazon UK <<<



Lonely Planet Route 66 Road Trips

This is more of a general guide for Route 66, but I think it would be excellent to read as part of your planning to get a good overview. Sometimes the more specific guidebooks have so much information that until you get there it’s a bit overkill.  This book is perfect to give you a taste, help you plan a great time, but not overwhelm.

>>> Find out more, including reviews here and if you’re in the UK View on Amazon UK <<<




Best Route 66 Maps

Here It Is! The Route 66 Map Series

If you’re looking for a separate map for route 66 rather than from guide books then these maps come highly recommended.  Again they are by the same publishers as the EZ66 guide book and actually it’s the same maps as the book.  It’s important to note that the maps are hand drawn and aren’t typical maps, but they are very useful.

>>> Find out more and read reviews of this item here and View on Amazon UK <<<


Route US 66 (Quick Access)

This is a nice laminated map of historic Route 66, it’s not as detailed as some of the others, but it’s still a good back up to the guide books.  I love that it’s more sturdy than the others and I think, even if it’s less detailed, that it would be a great map for kids to look at and see where they’re going.

>>> Find out more and read reviews of this item here

and view on Amazon UK <<<



To read more about our trip on Route 66 click here!

The 11 best London museums for kids – and they’re all free!

The 11 best London museums for kids – and they’re all free!

When thinking about what to do in London with kids, museums often top the bill.  These are my favourite and best London museums for kids and what makes them even more special is that they are all free admission!  I’ve also given you some picture book suggestions to make your trips even more special – hope you like them.

Free museums in London for kids are great if you’re travelling on a budget to the UK but also great if you’re not sure how your family will enjoy museums.  It makes for a much less stressed day knowing that if you’re not all enjoying it, or it’s just a bad travel day and you need to decamp to a park to let off steam and have an ice cream, you’ve not just wasted a whole heap of money in the process!

Some of the museums are scattered around London so you’ll have a bit of an adventure and get off the beaten track finding them.  Some are located in a cluster which can make life easier, especially if you’re staying in that part of London (for budget family accommodation ideas in London check out my post here)

Best museums in London for kids

Natural History Museum

One of the museums in South Kensington area, the Natural History Museum is always at the top of many people’s lists.  Housed in a wonderfully huge and grand building, you’ll be welcomed in the main hallway by the iconic skeleton of ‘Dippy’ the Diplodocus (although he’s going on tour at some point, maybe you’ll be greeted by a blue whale skeleton instead).  The Natural History museum is huge and each and every time we’ve been I’ve been surprised by how much visiting takes it out of me.  There’s sections on any type of animal you can think of with notable exhibitions on dinosaurs and the hall of mammals with a ginormous model of a blue whale which takes your breath away with the size!

If you have animal lovers you have to visit this museum!

A recommended picture book for preparing for a visit is Katie and the Dinosaurs (UK).  Click here for


Science Museum

Next door to the Natural History Museum is the Science Museum.  I’d say that the both make up the most visited museums for kids in London.  Although we’d visited the NHM many times we only just ever made it to the Science Museum last year.

It’s a brilliant hands on museum with exhibitions about space, about energy and much much more.


British Museum

british museum with kidsThe British Museum is full of artefacts from our historical civilisations past, from all around the world.  If you have an interest in the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks or any number of other cultures, you’ll find something here for you.

When we first visited we loved to find ‘Dum Dum’, one of the Easter Island heads that Alex had seen on the Night of the Museum film!  Next time we looked at the Ancient Greek section because she’d been reading Percy Jackson and had become a bit obsessed.  My tips for you is to go with your kids excitement in here – there’s so much to see.

The British Museum is also home to the Rosetta Stone and we enjoyed learning about it more with this book (UK).  Click here for this book


Imperial War Museum

With one of my children having a big interest in History and specifically World War 2, the Imperial War Museum has been visited many times.  Marcus loves to learn about tanks and military vehicles and they have them all over.  It’s a very child friendly museum, despite the content, but obviously use your discretion.  Possibly not one for children who might get upset easily over it.


Museum of London

The Museum of London concentrates on the history of the city, which I think is a great one if you’re coming from out of the country to enjoy it.  I always like to take time to discover information about the place we’re visiting.  It’s family friendly with loads of hands on exhibitions that little kids will enjoy too.  It goes through from before Roman times, through medieval all the way to present day.


National Gallery

Art galleries don’t often come up on lists of child friendly museums, but if you have kids who are interested in art, or history, or if you’re just trying to broaden their minds and introduce them to some of the great artists of the world then a trip to the National Gallery has to be on your radar.

The reason why I include it is because of what I said earlier on, it’s FREE!  That means you can spend as little or as long as you like discovering the paintings and seeing the big artists work up close.

Some picture books we’ve loved about artists have been Katie meets the Impressionists (UK) –  click here for US (this is one we had and loved but there are many more in that series) and also the Laurence Anholt series like The Magical Garden of Claude Monet (UK) – click for US – they’d be fantastic to read up before a trip to an art gallery.


Faraday Museum at the Royal Institue

Royal Institute museum with kidsThis is a small museum, but with a lot of fascinating history.  The Royal Institution was set up in 1799 as a place to teach new technologies and science to the public.  This still goes on to this day with lectures about science taking place for kids and the general public.

There is a museum there which talks about Michael Faraday and his contribution to science.  It’s small, but we loved visiting when we were there.  Science has always been something that interests my kids and I personally love the whole history of it all.  When we went we got audio guides which we all enjoyed.

If you fancy a visit here this picture book would complement your trip and introduce your kids to Michael Faraday – Burn – Michael Faraday’s Candle (UK) – click for US.  Alternatively, for older kids, we’ve loved this audio book about great scientists (US link).


Bank of England

This is a great museum that’s a little bit different – it talks about finance, money and how it shapes our world.  You can learn about the history of the bank and about our currency and even pick up a genuine gold bar!  Lots of hands on things to do with kids and worksheets to complete.


Horniman Museum and Gardens

The Horniman Museum is based on the collections of a victorian philanthropist Frederick John Horniman.  It has morphed in to a wonderful family friendly museum with all sorts of exhibitions from natural history to cultures around the world.  It’s a special place with a wonderful outside space too.


V&A museum of childhood

The V&A museum of childhood has lots of collections of toys from times gone by and it’s a lovely little place to pass an hour or so with some nice hands on kids activities as well as the collections.

They run many events as well so worth checking out if anything interesting is on while you’re there.


National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum is in Greenwich and is the world’s largest maritime museum!  I know it took us quite a few hours to get round it all when we went a few years ago.  Lots and lots to learn about from our maritime history with plenty of hands on activities too for the little ones.



Tips for visiting any of these museums:

Always see if the museums have any children’s activity packs or worksheets – it can really focus them, and us as parents, on certain parts of the museums and encourages them to seek out information rather than just blindly go round looking at items.  Most of the time you’ll find that these packs are free or have a very small charge, but we’ve always found them worthwhile.

I hope you enjoy your time in this great city and explore some of the amazing museums for children in London!


For more of my posts about London click here.


Things to do in London for Teens

Things to do in London for Teens

London is a great city for teenagers with lots to do and bucket loads of history.  These 12 cool things to do in London for teens will keep everyone happy without being too young, too boring, but still being loads of fun.


In this list of places to go in London with teenagers I’ve tried to include interesting things you can’t get anywhere else in the world.  Why go all the way to London to go and do what you do back home?  Of course you can still do ice skating, watch films and go to theme parks in London!


Things to do in London for Teens


Visit Churchills War Cabinet Rooms and HMS Belfast 

I have to include this because if you have teens like my son who are interested in World War 2 or perhaps are studying it, then these pieces of history are a must see.  Churchill’s cabinet war rooms are underneath the city, near the current Prime Minister’s residence  and the place where he orchestrated some of the major campaigns of the war.

Prices are £18 for 16+ and £9 for ages 4-15



hms belfast warship in london



Along the same theme of WW2 is the HMS Belfast which is permanently moored on the River Thames.  Go along and find out what life was like at sea when the war was on.


It’s £8 for children aged 4-15 and £16 for 16+


Check out the London skyline on the London Eye

A familiar addition to the London Skyline, the London Eye is a really fun thing to do for all ages.  You go inside a capsule and it will take you, slowly, all the way round so you can get a really great view of Big Ben, the houses of parliament, the river Thames and much more.


Included in the ticket is entry to a 4D show as well.


london eye on river thames with nice clouds



Tickets are from £21.60 for ages 16+ and £16.10 for ages 4-15 (children under 4 are free).



Watch Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre


shakespeare globe theatre in London


If your teen is studying shakespeare at school or has any interest in drama and plays at all then you’ll want to look out for plays being shown at the Globe Theatre.  It is an amazing place to visit – it’s a faithful reconstruction of the original building (and only about 200 metres from the original site) which was built in 1599.  Imagine getting to watch a Shakespeare play in the setting in which they were written for!


Not only can you watch plays in the Theatre, but you can also go for guided tours.



Shop for quirky items in Camden Market

Portobello Road MarketThere are many markets in London and many areas to go and shop, but if I ask any teenagers that I know where to go, they’ll answer Camden Market.


Camden market is easily reached by tube, being about 10 minutes away on the Northern line  and it has a real village vibe to the place.  The canal is great to walk around and it’s an amazing place to get street food.  If you have teenagers like me you’ll know to go where great food is!


Also check out Portobello Road Market (pictured), Covent Garden and Oxford Street for more shopping.



Hang out with the stars at a London Film Premiere

 Leicester Square in London is where many of the London film premieres happen.  If you’re in the city when one is taking place why not go down and see if you can meet the stars of the film and get an autograph?


Remember to take plenty of food and drink and also an umbrella!



Find Platform 9 3/4 at London’s Kings Cross station


Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross station with teens


If you have any Harry Potter fans travelling with you, no matter whether kids, tweens, teens or older, then you’ll love London.  There are lots and lots of places you can visit that scenes from the film are based on etc, but the iconic platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross station is a must visit.  Sound like something that doesn’t exist?  It certainly does!


I imagine due to popular demand, or just too many people wandering around trying to see if it was really there, Kings Cross Station created the gateway to the platform.  You can get your picture taken with the trolley as you head onto it as well!  Ok, it’s not quite real, but I think it’s a really awesome little free attraction in London.


There’s no charge to have a go at trying to get to the other side, but there is a professional photographer there.  No hard sell and you’re free to take your own pictures too and if you do buy the image, it’s not overly expensive either.  You pick it up from the Harry Potter shop next door – it’s only small but does have some nice bits in there.



Explore some of London’s horrid past at the London Dungeons

We all love learning about the past of the areas that we travel to and the London Dungeons is great for indulging in that!  You can learn about all sorts of things that happened in London, with a bit of a dark and creepy underside to it.  It’s an attraction that is suitable for ages 12+ so nothing too babyish here!


Prices are best if you book online and start from £20 for ages 16+ and £18.50 for 15 and under.


If you’re planning to do the London Eye as well, look for discount tickets for all the attractions as they are owned by the same group.



Enjoy a trip to the theatre in the West End

London’s theatre scene is buzzing and there’s some amazing shows going on at all times.  Right now I’ve heard amazing things about the adaptation of the Roald Dahl book Matilda and also Wicked, which I think would be great choices for teens but there are many different shows that could suit.

For discounted tickets and great deals check out Theatre Tickets Direct.



Travel across the Thames on the Emirates Air Line

A cable car ride that takes you from North Greenwich to the Royal Docks is a really fun addition to the day, especially if you’re visiting Greenwich (see below), to get a brilliant view of the city.  You’ll see the O2 arena, the business district of Canary Wharf and much more.


Tickets are reasonable at £3.50 for an adult and £1.70 for a child and you can use your Oyster card to pay for it too.



See where the day begins at Greenwich

Greenwich is a familiar name to many because of the phrase Greenwich Meant Time (GMT).  It’s the place where all time is measured from at 0 degrees longitude and the divide between the Eastern and Western hemisphere.


greenwich royal observatory in London


Greenwich is a lovely part of London, a little out of the centre but easy enough on the tube or DLR (docklands light railway).  If you take the DLR will also take you by Canary Wharf – the financial district of London.  Once there there’s a lovely park which is great for a picnic, the Royal Observatory, where you can see the ‘Prime Meridian Line’ up close and get your photo taken, and also the Maritime museum (free) to really make a long day of it.


It was also where the end scenes in the second Thor movie were filmed!



Take a walking tour


From Harry Potter walking tours, to film location tours there’s bound to be something to interest your teens.  Maybe a tour to see Baker Street and the history of Sherlock?  Or maybe they’re interested in the Royals of the UK?

Check out some of the different tours available here.



Explore some museums

Imperial War Museum in LondonFinally, London is teeming with museums and they are an excellent place to visit in London, especially if the weather isn’t looking too great.  If you are new to the UK then the Museum of London has got to be worth a visit to learn lots about this capital city.
Others worthy of mention are the Natural History Museum, the Imperial War Museum and the British Museum.  Amazing specimens in all of them.  Depending on what your teen is interested in there’s bound to be something they’ll enjoy to while away a rainy afternoon.
Did I mention that most museums in London are free?




Many of these London attractions for teens can be booked online and in advance through ticket specialists such as AttractionTix.  Check out what deals are available here.



If you’re looking for more information about a trip to London with kids check out the following posts:


Budget family accommodation in London – how to find the best deals!

Tips for a day trip to London

Kids books about London

Our visit to Ripley’s Believe it or Not

Budget family accommodation in London – how to find the best deals!

Budget family accommodation in London – how to find the best deals!

london eye on river thames with nice cloudsLondon can be an expensive city, even more so when visiting with kids.  Finding the best budget family accommodation in London requires a bit of research, but it can definitely be done!  Read on and find out some great budget hotel recommendations, where to search for apartments and other options.


Budget family accommodation in London

So what do we need to think about when looking for the best place to stay in London with kids?


Well location is important, as is the type of place you’ll want to stay too.  Will you eat out in London or self cater?  How often will you be travelling around and where to.


Best location in London to stay

London is a well connected city by public transport and it’s easy to get around on the tube or buses if you want to, therefore finding the perfect area to stay in isn’t so much of an issue.  However if you have an itinerary of places you want to see and things you want to do, then take a look at the maps and see if there is an area that would be a good base and mean you could walk to the sights.  As a family, transport can add up, so bear that in mind if you find a cheaper hotel a little way out of the centre of London.

Near the airport?  I’d say no, unless you’re flying from the City Airport, all of the airports are way out of the city and you’d spend a lot of your time getting to and from sights.  The airports are well connected, especially Heathrow as it’s on the tube line


Hotel or Apartment?

Whether you choose a hotel or apartment in London will depend on what you want from your holiday.  Do you want to be on the go, sightseeing and only just falling in to bed at night?  Or will you want a place you can hang out in the evenings if you travel a little slower?  The size of your family might also play a part here – getting family rooms often work out for groups of up to about 4 people, but larger than than and you might struggle.


Pin for later!

Budget family accommodation in london

Best kid friendly hotels in London

In order to find the best accommodation for you and your family take a look at a comparison site which will search many of the hotels in the areas that you want to be in and find you the best deals from all the booking websites out there.  I use Hotels Combined and really recommend it – you can search for London hotels here.


Although I recommend looking at Hotels Combined, I want to also tell you about a budget hotel chain that isn’t featured in it.  Travelodge has cheap, basic hotel rooms that can be great if all you want is a place to lay your head.  They have all been rejuvenated in recent years too and I think are excellent value for money.  Obviously prices change, but you’re looking at around £130 per night in Covent Garden, to less than £100 per night at Kings Cross station for a family room fitting 4 people.  Do check them out and see if there is a hotel that could work for you.

Another good chain is Premier Inn which is worth checking – I tend to find Travelodge cheaper though on the whole. Click here to see more.


Here’s a few more choices that might help you narrow down the search for family friendly hotels in London:


The Montana Hotel is a good choice if you want to be close to the Natural History museum and the Kensington area which is a popular choice for tourists, safe and well connected by tube.  It comes highly recommended and is good value for the area.

You can check the current prices for this hotel here.


On the other side of the river, but near the London Eye, houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the Imperial War museum is the Novotel London Waterloo.  It’s a good hotel and decent chain and not too expensive for the location.

Look here for prices for your dates.


If you’re dead set on being in the heart of the shops, theatre district and right next to Trafalgar square then consider the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire – it’s not really budget, but a good choice in this area.

You can see current prices here.



Apartment Options in London


If you’re not keen on hotels and are looking for other budget family accommodation in London then I highly recommend looking for an apartment to rent for your time there.

I’ve seen apartments for in the region of £150 per night in the centre of London that will fit four people on Airbnb which is my platform of choice for this kind of accommodation.  If you’re looking to save money on eating out then apartments can be a great idea, especially with fussy kids or if you’re like us and just prefer to spend our money on other things.

I’ve used Airbnb many times so can personally vouch for the site – if you’re thinking of booking for the first time, consider using my link to get a discount off your first booking.

You can get the discount and search for apartments here.


HomeAway is also great for apartment hunting and another one I have used personally.  You can check out listings here.


Other ideas for where to stay in London with kids

When we stayed in London we were really lucky and found a great housesit which meant that we had no accommodation costs at all.  If you think it’s something that you might like to try then I encourage you to look into opportunities.  It’s not an easy option mind you!  I’ve written more about housesitting here and if you’re curious about giving it a go there’s some useful links there.


Another option which might work if you’re just going to be in London for a night or two is Couchsurfing – you can request a bed in a local’s home for free!  We’ve never tried it ourselves, but for some it could work brilliantly and be an amazing opportunity!



If you’re considering a trip to London with kids then check out these other useful posts too:

Children’s Books About London

Tips for a day trip to London