London can be an expensive city, even more so when visiting with kids and adding up the cost of attractions! One way to save is to search out a family friendly place to stay in London that is also cheap! Sounds like it might be impossible but there are ways.
A safe place to lay our heads was the top requirement for us when staying overnight in London, but not far behind also came the requirement that it was budget. (And I mean budget!) I wanted to spend our money on experiences, not so much on that place we slept.
If that also sounds like you then you’ll want our tips on finding the best best budget family accommodation in London – it does 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 (including a cool free idea!)
A note from the writer: Hey! I’m Kirsty and I’m a London travel expert – after being so many times over the years I keep returning! Shout (or comment below) if you have any questions about your next trip and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
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Table of Contents
Top tips for finding budget family accommodation in London
- Check out hotel comparison sites
If getting the absolute best deal possible matters then check out hotel comparison sites. They’ll look for the best option from all the big booking sites and give you the cheapest options.
Check Hotels Combined if you want to give this a go!
- Check budget brands out directly
Some hotel brands aren’t on the booking engines so it’s worth checking them out separately. The two that I suggest you check are Travelodge and Premier Inn, both of whom have some central London locations.
- Be aware of the neighborhood – is it safe, is it near sights?
Where you stay can make or break your budget in London when traveling with kids. You can save a lot by staying out of the city centre but then your time and daily budget might be spent with getting to and from sights.
Staying safe is also paramount when in London. The more affluent neighborhoods like Kensington tend to be safer, but as a tourist you should always take precautions as no area in London is super safe.
- Think about your evening activities
Being with kids will mean you’re less likely to be going on a pub crawl on an evening, but you might still want to do something. Perhaps it’s a London Eye evening flight, an evening show in the West End or a trip to the cinema.
Being in an area where you’re close to evening activities is a good idea so you’re not spending too long getting back to your bed when it’s dark and less safe.
- Do you prefer hotels or apartments
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? 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 that and you might struggle.
Where to stay in London for families on a budget
Which Neighbourhood should you choose to stay?
The first thing to consider when looking for a budget place to stay with your family in London is *where* you’ll be.
You can find cheap family hotels in many areas that are technically in London, but that doesn’t mean that it’s near to any places you’ll want to spend your days.
While 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, if you’re traveling with kids you might want to consider how much you’ll want to do before you head off and do the fun stuff!
As a family, transport costs can add up, so bear that in mind if you find a cheaper hotel a little way out of the centre of London.
Should you stay near the airport? I’d definitely suggest 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.
So which areas should you consider staying in London with kids?
I always suggest looking around where you have activities planned. However if you need a helping hand to get started, here are a few places to consider looking:
- Around train stations – generally cheap and well connected with tubes and buses. Not normally as pleasant as other areas though.
- Covent Garden – in the action. You can still find cheap chains here
- Tower of London – again close to many sights.
- Southbank – near the London Eye
- Kensington – near to many of the free museums. This area is upmarket though and prices are generally higher.
I’ll suggest some specific cheap London family hotels in the next section.
5 of the best budget hotels in London for families
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start! I get you. Here are some hotels with family rooms that are a decent price in central London.
Location – near Westminster Bridge, next to the London Eye
A great option with a good budget room for families is the Park Plaza Westminster. While you can splurge and get some Big Ben Views, their basic rooms are plenty good enough if a budget choice is important for you.
It’s a good area, close to many sights and also if you fancy getting a Thames river cruise. Prices start at around £240 per night for a family room.
Location – Covent Garden
Covent Garden is a good central area with the theatre district on your doorstep, Chinatown and loads of fun places to visit with your kids. It’s also where you can spend a LOT on a hotel room.
The budget brand Travelodge does a hotel here and you can opt for family room (they’ll add in 2 other beds for you) which keeps you in the action. Prices start from around £150 for 2 adults and 2 children.
Location – Near St Paul’s and Tower of London
This hotel is in a good area, nice and central, but has some amenities that can be good for a family – yup this one has a pool!
It’s still good for those looking for a cheap London family hotel – rates for a double twin room start at around £250 per night and is good for 2 adults and 2 kids.
Another hotel option from the Leonardo chain is nearer to Tower Bridge, again a good place if you’re heading to see the Tower of London, Tower Bridge or maybe even the WW2 site HMS Belfast.
With rooms from around £200 this is a great option for those on a tight budget who still want the peace of mind of traveling with a brand.
Location – near King’s Cross
If budget is of real concern then you’ll need to be looking for small hotels in London. This one near King’s Cross is a good and cheap hotel but it does have some drawbacks.
The hotel is close by to many locations, you’ll save by being so walkable to many sights. Be aware that the rooms are a little tight and so you might not find it as comfortable as some hotels.
Self catering accommodation for families 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. This is great if you’re a larger family or visiting London with teenagers.
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. Check it has an adequate kitchen!
Here are some sites to use to find apartments in London.
Other ideas for staying in London with kids for cheap or free!
One time we stayed in London completely for free! Yup, even with our kids! Let me explain…
We were really lucky and found a great housesit in one of the outer areas of the city which meant that we had no accommodation costs at all. We did need to make sure we weren’t out for too many hours in the day, but since it was looking after cats we actually had quite a lot of freedom.
Housesitting can work really well, even if you’re a family, and it’s a great way of seeing some cities for free or on a budget, including London!
Trusted Housesitters is where we found our sits – it’s free to join, you only pay if you want to apply for a sit somewhere.
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!
Where is the best location for a family to stay in London on a budget?
The best location is near where you have activities planned! Kensington is upmarket and close to parks and museums for free things to do. Covent Garden is central for many sites so you can save on transport. Westminster is near the London Eye an the river for boat trips
What budget family hotel chains are in London?
Look for Travelodge, Premier Inn, Leonardo Hotels and also Ibis which all have family rooms in London.
Finding cheap family accommodation in London – conclusion:
It can feel like a fruitless search sometimes, but there are hidden gems in London for families. Getting this part right can be a really important part of the trip, meaning your free to spend time and money on the stuff that kids will actually remember!
Finding the perfect budget family accommodation in London is worth taking time over and I hope you’ve found these tips and starting points useful.
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🇬🇧💂♀️ London Travel FAQ 💂♀️🇬🇧
Do I need insurance for traveling to London?
YES! I always recommend people take travel insurance when exploring the world!
Check Travel Insurance Master for quote comparisons from different providers.
Do I need a car for visiting London?
NO – If you’re just visiting London then a car is not recommended and can be more of a hindrance than a help.
If you plan to explore more of the UK then I recommend DiscoverCars to compare car rental prices
How to book accommodation in London?
For hotels I recommend Booking.com
For apartments and cottages check out VRBO
Will my phone work in London?
Perhaps – it depends if you have roaming enabled and beware this can be an expensive way to use your phone.
If you need a SIM for use in the UK I recommend GiffGaff which you can get and set up before traveling.
What’s the best guidebook for London?
I really like the Lonely Planet Guidebooks
Where to get flights for London
Expedia is my first port of call for finding cheap flights to London.
Do I need a visa for London?
Many countries don’t need a visa for visiting England as tourists (USA, Canada, Aus, NZ and Europe) – it’s always best to check first though.