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TRAVEL DIARIES | A Family Trip to England in the wake of the Queen's Funeral

28th November 2022


TRAVEL DIARIES | By Travellers, For Travellers

Welcome to our Travel Diaries series – a collective journal of all our favourite adventures around the world. Here, you’ll find first-hand accounts to fuel your travel inspo, with all the tips, tricks and advice you’d only get from someone who has lived the experience.

A Family Trip to England in the wake of the Queen's Funeral

St Paul's Cathedral, London, England. Photo by Lily Harris.

This year, one of our wonderful Travel Money Experts went on a trip to the UK!
It just happened to coincide with the Queen’s funeral.
This is what it was like…

Hey Lily! First off, could you please give us a little intro?


Hi, I’m Lily.

I’m one of your Travel Money experts and I’ve been in the industry for nearly nine years!
Aside from having the cutest pug in the world, I don’t really know how to introduce myself haha.

A few weeks ago, I travelled to London with my family, to visit our extended family!

The timing of our trip just happened to fall in the weeks after our beloved Queen’s passing, so it ended up being a historic holiday.

Tell us about your trip! Where did you stay?

St Paul’s Cathedral from Millennium Bridge, England. Photo by Lily Harris.

We started our holiday in London, and stayed across from St. Paul’s Cathedral.

This location was amazing – we were right between the cathedral and Millennium Bridge, which was perfect for people-watching.

Our hotel was on the quieter side of London, yet close to restaurants and takeaway locations, which we found to be pretty handy as we were travelling with a 9-year-old and wanted to be a little away from the general hustle and bustle of London.

You were in London in the lead up to the Queen’s funeral – what was it like?

Leicester Square, England. Photo by Lily Harris.

In the lead up to the Queen’s funeral, we spent a few days around Piccadilly and Leicester Square.

Although always busy, the areas were more packed than usual, and we were very aware of the heightened presence of police and security personnel – which made us feel safer than we normally do in London.

Each night we would walk over to the River Thames and watch the crowd from across the water. They would line up all the way from Westminster Hall – where QEII was lay in state – for about 1.6 miles (2.57km). They were close to their goal, considering the lineup went as far as 10 miles (16km) long!
Our view of the queue never lessened either. The crowd would be consistent until they closed Westminster Hall.

On Sunday, the day before the funeral, we ventured out with a goal of going to M&M World.

We made it to Leicester Square and lined up to get some M&M’s and merch! This was a huge hit for our daughter and possibly the highlight of her trip! 

Once we finished in Leicester Square, we walked down to Trafalgar Square and toward “The Mall” – the strip before Buckingham Palace.

Whilst we didn’t walk down to Buckingham Palace, we were able to see the motorcade of a few world leaders as they made their way to and from Westminster Hall & The Palace.

Overall, London during the mourning period of Queen Elizabeth II was busier than normal, the people were respectful of the Queen’s funeral rites, and we felt a somber presence in many places.

Did you go on any day trips from London?

Colourful houses at Mudeford, England. Royalty-free image.

Yes! After London, we visited Boscombe.

We were lucky enough to stay on the beach for a few nights. While walking along Boscombe Pier, we saw a huge (and I mean giant!) jellyfish. We also had the TASTIEST gelato at Reefside Ices!

The family also took a little trip down to Southbourne Beach, and from here we took the Mudeford Ferry to Mudeford Quay. It was the perfect place for a family picnic – we enjoyed a packed lunch and played on the playground (children only!). We also had a nosy squirrel try to join us for lunch, but it wasn’t keen on what we had on offer and ran away haha.

The walk to (and from) Mudeford was beautiful (1.8miles - 2.9km); we stopped by the Coast Guard tower and said “hi” to the amazing volunteers, stopped at Hengistbury Head to see the beaches below, and saw the many colourful beach bungalows.

Our next stop was Godalming.

We stayed with family here, and visited our favourite local restaurant: The Merry Harriers.

This is a must-stop for us each time we visit the area.

We went to the Winkworth Arboretum and saw the trees as their leaves started to turn for fall. This walk was long and pure bliss. There were so many birds in the trees and ducks in the ponds. Toward the end, we came across a huge, wooden playground and spent some time climbing, swinging, and sliding through the Natural Play Area.

To finish our holiday, we visited friends and family in Tring, Rugby, and Stansted. We took this time to shop and relax before we travelled home.

Now for the awards… What are your trip highlights?

Tower Bridge, England. Photo by Lily Harris.

Fav Places to Visit

• M&M World was a hit with our daughter.
• St Paul’s Cathedral. We saw it. A lot.
• London Bridge – a great view is from the boat to O2 (entertainment district).
• Tower Bridge – again, view it from the boat to O2.
• The O2 Arena is great for shopping/lunch.
• Emirates Cable Car from the River Thames to Docklands.
• Greenwich Park/Castle (named Queen's House).

Our Fav Food Places…

• 5 Guys (always wins – take away/fast food).
• Wood Grill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Stansted.
• The Dun Cow, Dunchurch, Rugby.
• The Merry Harriers, Godalming.
• The Harvester, Boscombe, Bournemouth.
Reefside Ices, Boscombe, Bournemouth.
• Tesco/Asda Meal Deals – Less than £4 GBP for a sandwich, snack (chips, fruit, choc bar) and a drink (water, juice, soft-drink, flavoured milk).

Onto the more practical stuff… for a family trip, how much does it cost to travel England?


The place is exxy.

The main costs were mostly food – for a family of three, and only lunch and dinner (breakfast was included in our hotel) – it was about £200 GBP. Or, in Aussie Dollars, nearly $400AUD.

Because (food and other) costs are basically the same in pounds as it would be here in $AUD, adding the conversion means it costs basically double for everything.

That’s just food – add to that the price of accommodation, shopping, and tourist activities. It stacks up!

Was it mostly cash or card when you were in the UK?


We split it between the Travel Money Oz Currency Pass as well as cash (new plastic notes of course!) throughout the trip. It’s always good to have a mix of both if you can!

We had absolutely no issues with using the Currency Pass over there, and it was definitely easier to use card over cash post-covid. But I also don't recall seeing any places that were card-only like we have here now.

At the end of the trip, we got all our leftover cash together and used it at Tesco to pay for UK food and souvenirs to bring back home! We just paid the difference with our Currency Pass by tapping that bad boy. This was really handy, because we didn’t have to swap any notes back once we were home, and could just continue using the leftover money on the Currency Pass for groceries etc in Australia.

What’s the best way to get around London town?

Using the Travel Money Oz Currency Pass for the London Tube, England. Photos by Lily Harris.

We took the DLR train from Docklands (Royal Victoria Station) to Tower Bridge, but aside from that mostly the tube!

You can actually use your Travel Money Oz Currency Pass to get on and off the Tube/DLR, as well as on the Cable Car – it’s basically tap and go anywhere in London!

We had no issues with tap and go for supermarkets, shops or restaurants, which made travelling with the Currency Pass a breeze.

Any final words of advice for travellers to the UK?

Historical buildings spotted in England. Photo by Lily Harris.

Hire a car. It's not the cheapest, but it makes life easier if you want to see more than just London. Don't be afraid to drive! The road users are friendly, and we drive on the same side of the road.

I also recommend immersing yourself in the historical buildings too! I loved finding random pubs and buildings that oozed history in little laneways - they were so beautiful!!


DISCLAIMER: Published November 2022, all costs referenced will be true as of that time period, but are subject to change. This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you. We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.