Your Go-To Guide To Planning A Family Summer Vacation To The U.K.

The United Kingdom has consistently ranked among the top tourist destinations worldwide. In fact, tourism is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.K., with millions of people visiting the island every year.

Your Go-To Guide To Planning A Family Summer Vacation To The U.K.
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This is not surprising as this tiny little island has something to offer to every kind of traveler. From history buffs to adventurers to beach lovers, it has got it all. So if you are planning on vacationing this summer, the U.K. might just be your ideal family vacation spot. 

So if you are about to begin planning for your family vacation to spend the glorious summer days in one of the most diverse and multicultural countries in the world, you are in the right place. We have compiled a comprehensive guide that contains all the information you need as you plan your summer vacation.

Assemble All The Documents Beforehand  

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While this may seem an obvious start, many people delay submitting the relevant documentation because of work or other commitments. We recommend that you start this process at least a month prior to your departure date so that you don’t lose out due to visa processing time. Generally, you can apply 3 months before your travel date. 

As a traveler, you will need the standard visitor visa, which will allow you and your family to stay in the U.K. for up to 6 months. You will also be required to pay a visa processing fee and after completing the online application, you will need to book an appointment at your nearest visa application center where you will be asked to present all the relevant documentation. 

A pro tip is to ensure that you get a certified translation of all the documents you intend on submitting if they are not in English. This will help avoid any potential delays in the visa processing time.

Getting Around The U.K. 

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After sorting out the visa logistics, it is time to explore options for the most suitable and economical way to travel in the U.K. If you are in London, you have several ways to get around using the London public transport system which is called Transport for London (TfL). These include the bus, Tube, tram, Docklands Light Railways (DLR), London Overground, and the TfL Rail. 

The best way for visitors to pay is by getting a Visitor Oyster card prior to arriving in the U.K., which is a smartcard that lets you pay when you travel around London. You can add credit to your card, and don’t worry, it never expires. The best part is that children below the age of 11 can travel for free while those between 11-15 will be expected to pay half the adult fare. 

A well-kept secret for those traveling the London tube is to stand on the right side of the escalator and walk on the left side. This is because as a busy city and a global hub for numerous industries, London tends to be fast-paced, quite literally. 

If you are traveling across the U.K., we suggest either renting a car to really take in the lush green and quaint countryside or if you are not used to driving on the left, you and your family may want to opt for the National Rail. With 28 major train operators in the U.K., make sure that you book tickets beforehand to find the cheapest deals.

Sorting Living Arrangements 

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The best way to cut costs is by opting for cheap accommodations. If you are in London, we suggest avoiding accommodations in Zone 1 and 2, which are essentially central locations that may cost you an arm and leg. It is best to find a place in Zones 3 to 5, which are not only friendly on the pocket but also convenient locations for visitors to stay. 

Whether you are in London or any other city in the U.K., we recommend exploring all available options such as hotels, Airbnb, countryside hotels, local bed and breakfasts, or even pubs and inns. Just make sure that whatever accommodation you choose is not more than a 20 minute walk from public transport. 

Also, just in case you need something from a local supermarket, some options include Tesco, Asda, Co-op, Sainsbury's, Marks and Spencer, and Waitrose.

Plan Your Itinerary 

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Perhaps the toughest part of holiday planning is deciding on the ideal itinerary that is feasible and includes something for everyone. While it may be tempting to just opt for the first few hits for the best itinerary on search engines, this is not the smartest move simply because you and your family have different and individual preferences. 

This is why we have outlined some tips and tricks to best plan your U.K. trip in a way that your entire family is happy and satisfied. 

Start by deciding the duration of the holiday. For example, if you plan on spending two weeks, you need to keep in mind that it is practically impossible to see and travel the entire U.K. in that time period, especially if you have small kids. So you will have to target specific places within the U.K., which consists of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. 

Second, don’t count the days on which you will be arriving and leaving the country only because you want to give yourself a break and just relax and roam around, take those last-minute pictures, and perhaps get a few postcards or souvenirs for your home.

It is best to always include a little something for everyone during each day. This has two benefits, firstly, it will allow your entire family to look forward to something in the day. It will also allow each member of the family to rest and take a break during these periods. For example, if one of your children is interested in seeing the famous Harry Potter platform 9 ¾ at the King’s Cross Station in London, while the other is looking forward to seeing one of the largest collections of Egyptian objects in the British Museum in London, you can plan both activities on the same day. And of course, add something for yourself and your partner as well.

No matter if you’re a history or geography nerd, an artsy soul or an urban dweller, there is a little bit of everything to see while you’re in the U.K. We wish you a happy vacation and hope that you will fall in love with what is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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