A Visit to London to with Family and Friends Railcard

The Monument

I love it when the topics the kids are learning about in school really capture their imagination and this half term we have been doing a project on the Great Fire of London with Eliza.

She has been busy researching all the facts about the fire, including places, names and dates so I decided to book a trip to London so she could see where it happened.

We are fairly frequent visitors to London and I normally drive, but we have recently renewed our Family and Friends Railcard so I thought it would be a treat to go by train.


Did you know that for just £30 a year, the Family and Friends Railcard saves you 1/3 on adult & 60% on kids’ rail fares throughout Great Britain for a whole year?


The trick to getting cheaper rail tickets is to book early, if you can, but even on same day travel you can save a lot of money. Tickets to London Waterloo from Bournemouth would have cost us £172.20 but with the Family and Friends Railcard they cost £97.60, a significant saving of £74.60.


The kids love travelling by train as they can get up and wander around, sit and play games with each other, or just watch the world go by out of the window.


When arrived at Waterloo, the kids were in for a second surprise. We normally catch the tube to where we are going, but I had arranged to take a Big Bus London Sightseeing Tour and we had the top deck of the bus almost to ourselves.

Big Bus Tour

The sightseeing tours allow you to soak up the city’s history and atmosphere with ease as you can hop off the bus to explore as often as you wish, and rejoin the tour once you’re ready.

Big Bus Tour

We all loved sitting on top of the open top bus as we got to see London like we had never seen it before.

Big Bus Tour

From this vantage point you could see just how beautiful some of the buildings are and things you walk past without noticing if you are on foot.

Big Bus Tour

Our first stop was St Paul’s Cathedral as it was seriously damaged by the Great Fire of London and mentioned in Samuel Pepys infamous diary.

St Paul's Cathedral

From St Paul’s Cathedral it is a five-minute walk to the Monument, a Doric column near the northern end of London Bridge, which commemorates the Great Fire of London.

The Monument

The column contains a cantilevered stone staircase of 311 steps which lead up to a viewing platform.

The Monument

Eliza and Isaac shot up the stairs with ease, but Sebastian did struggle a little – the view was worth it though!

The Monument

The Monument, as it came to be called, is 61 metres high (202 feet) – the exact distance between it and the site in Pudding Lane where the fire began.

The Monument

The column is topped by a drum and a copper urn from which flames emerged, symbolizing the Great Fire.

The Monument

Upon your exit from the Monument you receive a certificate to prove that you made the climb up and back down again.

Pudding Lane

Just opposite the Monument is Pudding Lane, where the Great Fire of London started. It is not the most impressive building there now, but we had to stop for a photo with the road sign.

Pudding Lane

From here we walked to Tower Bridge as we had bought joint tickets for the Tower Bridge Exhibition and The Monument to save some money.

Tower Bridge

We have never been on Tower Bridge on foot before and it really is a stunning piece of architecture.

Tower Bridge

The kids favourite part of visiting Tower Bridge was viewing the what was happening below through a glass floor, 42 metres above the River Thames.

Tower Bridge

All along the walkways are interesting facts, videos and information about how Tower Bridge was built, along with some images of other famous bridges around the world.

Tower Bridge

There are two glass floors to walk across and it is then downstairs to the Victorian engine rooms that once powered the raising of Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge

We then headed back outside to re-join the Big Bus Tour.

The Big Bus Tour

We had wanted to take Sebby to see the Star Wars exhibition at Madame Tussauds but sadly a couple of road closures and the sheer weight of London traffic put pay to that idea, so we enjoyed the final part of the tour instead before heading back home.

The Big Bus Tour

A great benefit is that by travelling by train is that customers can get 2FOR1 entry to many attractions in the UK, such as London Eye, Tower of London and ZSL London Zoo and as you can travel with up to four adults and four children using a railcard, that is quite a saving.


You could win the ultimate train adventure with 4 Return train tickets to London AND a family ticket for both SEALIFE and Shrek’s Adventure plus a one year Family & Friends Railcard, worth £30!

Tower Bridge

Entering couldn’t be easier… go to The Family Loop Facebook post, watch the video, like the post and tell them your top tip for travelling on the train with kids.

Do you enjoy travelling by train?





20 thoughts on “A Visit to London to with Family and Friends Railcard

  1. Emma says:

    I love visiting London but it I haven’t really taken the boys. I’d really like to do a weekend with them there, such a brilliant city.

  2. Emma says:

    Wow, great tips for a day in London. I used to work opposite Monument and never went up it!

  3. Jenny says:

    That sounds like a great (and very busy!) day out with the kids!

  4. Sonia says:

    Looks like a lovely day out in the big smoke! I didn’t realise you could save so much with a railcard! My kids love going on the train, I really must take them on a day trip soon x

  5. Michelle Murray says:

    We love London and try and visit as often as we can. It’s only just over 2 hours by train for us.

  6. Anosa says:

    I remember learning about the great fire of London and it was interesting, I try to take tour buses whenever I am exploring London but want to walk some places too. Seems like you guys had a lovely time

  7. I wish we lived nearer a train station as that is a total bargain and so much less hassle than driving! What a lovely way to learn a bit more about what they’ve been studying in school.

  8. You fitted lots in to one day. Mine love to travel on the train to London as well and then a bus ride is a big treat as we rarely do it. Mich x

  9. Erica Price says:

    I much prefer the train to the car when we can and I find with our rail card we can save a lot of money.

  10. Liz says:

    Great post! My daughter was really enthusiastic learning about this topic too.

    Really must get a Family Railcard now we’ve moved. I used to use a Network card but we’ve moved out of the area now.

  11. I can see you all had a great time. Lovely photos.

  12. Katy Stevens says:

    Looks like a fantastic day out, I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to enjoy London!

  13. Helen says:

    I think this is one of the best ways to show children the sights of a city. It’s so hard for them to appreciate tourist spots, but if it’s linked to a story they know something about, they can take on so much more. Love going by train too – you’re so right about being able to get up and move around. Far less stressful than driving, once you’re on board.

  14. Hannah says:

    Glad you had a good time. I love London every now and then but it can be such a busy city!

  15. I love that it is only £30 a year and helps you save money on travel! London is a lot of fun to visit too! x

  16. Mary Abbott says:

    Looks like such a great day out -my kids love London too!

  17. Leona says:

    30GBP a year seems like a bargain for the savings you can make. Looks like you had a great trip

  18. Would love to visit London often too. But sadly, we usually only visit once or twice a year (tops). Really missing the capital. As always, the kids looked like they’ve had so much fun on this trip 🙂

  19. Talya says:

    Ahhh it always makes me smile when I see posts like this I am a Londoner so it’s always lovely to see people exploring this wonderful city it looks like you managed to take in so much!

  20. L dove says:

    Wow that’s a huge saving! I would love to take mine to London on the train, looks like fun!

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