The decision has been made. You and your family are going to London England for your next family adventure. Now what? Use this helpful guide to keep your family entertained and your budget happy.
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Tip 1: Spend your Sundays in Church
As a state-run institution, most of the landmark churches in London are still active places of worship. Not only do you get to see the place for free, you also get to experience the cultural heritage of England. Most of these places have a paid choir that perform. Some even have accompaniment. So, free performance, a live religious cultural experience, and you don’t have to pay the admission fee. The extra bonus? Most of these places provide seats for these events so you aren’t spending two hours on your feet.
*Average savings per church: $50 for a family of 4!
Tip 2: Visit the Library
It’s not just about books. There are permanent collections and rotating collections of different book exhibits. Interested in how Beowulf survived to torture high school students? Ask a librarian to find out. Plus, it’s free. Getting lost in these books will cost you nothing but time. If you are anything like me you could spend your entire visit here.
*They also have rotating exhibits that are also free. Sometimes these exhibits have plays from classic literature. Check ahead for times so you don’t miss out.
Tip 3: Stay Standing
It pays to be a groundling. The cheapest and best seats at the Globe are still the yard, an area between the gallery seating and the stage. It might be more than a pence for this standing room only, but if you can handle being upright through an entire Shakespeare play the view can’t be beat. The roof of the stage and all gallery seats are held up by pillars, making every view in the theatre obscured except from the yard. Get there early. More than thirty minutes early. These seats are first come first serve, so if you want to get within spitting distance of the stage you need to be at the front of the line.
*Cost for a family of four to do the yard making a fun family picnic event: $20. Cost of a family of four to have seats: $100. That’s a savings of eighty bucks! Plus, the yard puts you right in the middle of the action. It is an experience not to be missed!
**Don’t have time to see an actual play? They give tours. But if you think that you are saving all this money by going on the tour instead of seeing the play you’d be wrong. The tour is $60+ for a family of four. So, you could go and see three plays in the yard for the cost of one tour. Only take the tour if you don’t have time to catch a play. The Globe is one place you don’t want to miss. You don’t have to be a thespian to marvel at the grandeur and enjoy the history here. In fact, the Globe is well worth the money and time.
Tip 4: Go to the Museum
Most museums cost money to go to, but since 2001 the state-run England museums are free. The price of food and entertainment might be ridiculous, but history and education are something the British giveaway. Take advantage of it by planning full days in each of the many government-run museums.
*See a list of free English museums HERE.
Tip 5: Watch the Telly
Television in England is also state-run. If the place you’re staying has a TV they are paying a tax on it. Take advantage and spend the evening in front of the tube. It is quite good. Sunday nights are especially memorable. Sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy some shows you won’t get to see in America for quite some time, if ever.
*If you are a fan of British telly this is one event you won’t want to miss out on. Another option is getting discounted tickets to Piccadilly Circus (IE the “Broadway” of London). Show up at the box office 2 hours to showtime on matinees or nightly shows for 20-30 percent off what didn’t sell out. The tickets are still close to $50 per person, but you are more likely to get floor seats at the price you would have paid for blood nose ones. Personally, I’d stick with the free TV.
Can’t wait to get access to your favorite British TV shows? Amazon Prime has you covered! Check out their selection HERE.
If you use the tips above for your trip you can save hundreds on your next trip to England. Looking for more ways to save? Check out or English Trip Tips subsection on this blog!