Travelling with children to a new country can be stressful. Whether you are planning to visit the UK for a holiday, a prolonged trip to see family or are relocating to the UK, you’ll want to get an idea of the basics of life here with kids.

Parents no longer view having young children as a barrier to travel. More and more of us are taking the plunge and seeing the world with our kids in tow. Some of us are even bringing them along on business trips or uprooting our families to relocate completely.

No-one takes these decisions lightly and it makes sense to do some research into the practicalities of family life in the country you are visiting. We hope our guide below is a fantastic place to start if you are considering a visit to the UK with children.

Travelling around with them…

Brits with kids are avid users of the public transport system in the UK. It’s comprehensive, safe and affordable. Travelling on public transport with children in the UK is pretty straightforward and usually free or heavily discounted.

Let’s start with London. Transport for London (TfL) offers free travel on all London public transport for children under the age of 11 when travelling with an adult or alone and holding a 5-10 Zip Oyster card. It’s unlikely you’ll come up against any questions about your child’s age unless they look older than ten, in which case you may need to get them a photocard.

On the National Rail network, your child can travel free with a fare-paying adult if they are under five. Fives and above get a 50 percent discount on almost all tickets. It’s wise to carry proof of age if the child looks older than 15.

Buses around the UK are operated by a variety of different companies and they each have their own rules about children’s fares. However, children under five almost always travel for nothing and there are generous discounts for older children.

Using a buggy on trains and buses

On most trains and buses around the UK there are areas designated for wheelchair and buggy users. Wheelchairs take priority over buggies, but if there is an able-bodied person using the space, you are within your rights to ask for them to move. People are usually friendly and helpful to people with buggies.

If there’s no space for your buggy, you will be asked to fold it away and keep the child on your lap. There are often seats near the doors marked as ‘priority seating’ that are set aside for people with disabilities, pregnant women and parents with young children.

Keeping them safe…

Britain is a really safe place to visit when travelling with children. It has fantastic infrastructure, effective policing and great healthcare. Larger cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester might seem chaotic and extremely busy at times, but providing you keep your children close and are sensible around crowds and in high-traffic areas, you should enjoy your visit to the UK without any problems at all.


Accidents do sometimes happen and if you need to seek medical help for your child, there are plenty of convenient options. You are rarely far from a hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) unit and this should be your first port of call if you suspect a broken bone or other potential serious injury. You can call 999 and ask for an ambulance if your child is injured and the emergency services will be with you quickly.

For less serious injuries and illnesses, a minor injury unit, walk-in clinic or health centre is the right option. You can even visit a high street pharmacy for good advice from a qualified pharmacist.

Children’s medicines, such as mild pain relief (Calpol and Nurofen), cold and flu remedies and first aid are available from supermarkets, independent chemists and large national pharmacy chains, such as Boots and Superdrug. Many larger towns have a late-night pharmacy that stays open into the night.

Buying their essentials…

It’s easy to get your hands on everything you need to keep your baby or toddler happy when visiting the UK. There are smaller supermarket branches all over Britain’s towns and villages and they are well stocked with things like nappies, baby wipes and baby food.

Large branches of Mothercare, a store specialising in everything you need for small children and babies, are found in many city centres or out-of-town retail parks, while other high street chains such as Marks & Spencer, also offer plenty of children’s products.

Feeding them…

The British eat out with their children far more than they did a couple of decades ago. A large number of pubs, restaurants and cafes are extremely welcoming to younger diners and provide things like high chairs, colouring crayons and children’s menus to make families feel comfortable.

However, eating out with young children is still very much a daytime activity and most pubs and restaurants wouldn’t be so keen to see you turn up with your young family at 8pm to dine out. Unlike many of their European neighbours, Brits still view the evening as ‘adult time’ and young children are generally tucked up in bed around 7-8pm.



Keeping them entertained…

There are a huge amount of leisure activities aimed specifically at children in the UK. You’ll notice play parks in cities, towns and villages across the country and the UK is extremely well-off for urban green spaces, woodland and countryside to explore.

Young families visiting the UK might be interested to check out some historical sites, such as Windsor Castle, Warwick Castle or the Tower of London. In addition, the National Trust is an organisation that conserves and manages some of the UK’s most notable historic stately homes and gardens and visiting some of these sites is a must for those with curious little ones.

British theme parks attract thousands of visitors from all over the world each year. They range widely in terms of size, quality and accessibility so it pays to do some research. For young families visiting London or the South East of England, Legoland Windsor is extremely popular, while other large theme parks like Alton Towers and Thorpe Park offer more for teenagers and adults.

On rainy days, of which there are many, Brits with kids tend to head to shopping centres, cinemas, cafes or indoor play centres, also known as ‘soft play’. Bowling and swimming are also widely available at retail and leisure parks and centres across the country.


Britain is a welcoming place for families with young children and everything is set up to include and cater for young people. Although holidays with kids are rarely relaxing, you can expect a fun-filled and reasonably stress-free visit to the UK with children.