Kids in London

9 Things You Must Know About Living in London with Children

Moving anywhere when you have kids provides yet another aspect to an already daunting challenge.

Sure, if it’s just you (and perhaps your partner), there are whole loads of things that need to be taken into account. Add some little ones – and that list gets so long that it can at first appear to be overwhelming!

But never fear, because moving to London with children is an excellent choice. With a little foresight and understanding you can make the experience as smooth and pleasant as possible.

So with that in mind, these are the 9 ‘must know’ things about moving to and living in London with kids.

1. What are the best ‘child friendly’ places to live in London?

When you start looking at areas in which to live, the criteria to those with kids is somewhat different to those without.

You’re going to want some nice open areas where the children can play and explore. Of course they’ll need some excellent schools, and it goes without saying that you want to live in a low crime zone.

For the latter, the Metropolitan Police provide an excellent up to date crime map where you can easily check out the figures.

Schools in all areas of London can be found on the official government website – the London Schools Atlas. Green spaces can be discovered using the excellent City of London guide.

Richmond Upon Thames, West Hampstead, Barnet and Sutton are four such areas that hit all the right targets.

2. Kids travel free on London Transport

Children under the age of 11 travel free on London Transport with a fare-paying adult. This includes The Tube (London Underground trains), London Buses, Docklands Light Railway and London Overground Trains.

3. Make the most of London days out with discount vouchers

If you’re going to live in London, then you and the family will want to explore all it has to offer. That includes the many attractions in and around town.

However, paying full price for these can be pretty expensive, so be sure to take full advantage of the many discount vouchers that can be found. Using these can bring down the cost by an extraordinary amount!

Such discounts include those found on websites such as Little Bird, Money Saving Expert and Groupon.

4. Be equipped for the weather

This might sound a little strange, but if you hail from a warmer climate, then living in a city where you really can experience every type of weather in a single day can come as a bit of a shock.

London in the winter months can be very grey, rainy and – this is the hardest one for many – damp. Be sure to equip both yourself and the kids with the right type of garments to cope with this.

After all – as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.

Warm jackets and jumpers, waterproof and windproof outer layers, hats, gloves and scarves are essential.

There are numerous shops where you can purchase good quality items, but a couple of notable ones that also provide excellent value for money are Go Outdoors and Blacks.

5. School uniforms!

The bane of many parent’s lives… the dreaded school uniform. For those that send their children to private school (bizarrely referred to as a ‘public’ school in the UK), you may not have much choice about where you purchase uniforms and the amount you pay.

Luckily, for those who send their kids to a state school, the large supermarkets always do some stormingly good deals when it comes to school clothes.

Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda all vie with each other for your business – therefore the cost of kitting out the kids becomes extremely affordable.

Plus with prices low, it’s not such of an issue to purchase more uniforms as the kids constantly grow during the term.

6. Expect the kids to sound British

Depending on their age, you really can expect the kids to pick up a British accent. After all, they’re going to be spending a huge amount of their time at school and with other children, and the younger they are, the more likely they are to pick up an accent.

7. Understand the UK Child Benefit allowances

If you pay tax in the UK, then you’re going to be eligible for various tax breaks and payments from the UK Government.

There are different criteria depending on the country you come from and how your employment basis in the UK works, but in general, if you have a right to reside in the UK, then you can claim for Child Benefit.

The official Government website explains all about the different financial help on offer if you have children.

8. Save on essential items…

… Such as clothes! We all know that kids grow faster than seems possible when it comes to keeping up with their clothing needs. The savvy London parent knows exactly where to shop to keep them looking trendy, without breaking the bank in the process.

For new clothes, discount clothing store TKMaxx always has deals on designer clobber. Check out their clearance rails for even more bargains.

Don’t ever discount charity shops, because with a little bit of luck some incredible deals can be found here. Oxfam, the British Heart Foundation and Scope are just a few such examples that can be found on every high street.

A top tip is to visit the charity shops in the more ‘well to do’ areas of London, where people often donate some amazing designer clothes.

When you purchase from such an outlet, not only do you get a wonderful bargain, but you’re supporting an excellent cause as well. It really is a win-win situation all round…

9. The museums are free! 

Yep, it’s true – and offers some amazing days out for families. Some of our favourites are The Natural History Museum and The Science Museum – fabulous for both entertainment and education.

Other museums include The British Museum and the V&A Museum. A full list of all the London museums and galleries can be found on the London Galleries website.