Every London trip is memorable to me – I can tell you each trip I’ve taken, and almost all of the main attractions and areas I’ve visited on any given visit. But I had the pleasure of taking a particularly special trip recently that will stick with me for years: it was my first London trip with my little girl – due February 2024!
I visited London in August 2023, after finding out I was pregnant in June 2023; I was early in my second trimester and my doctor agreed that it was still safe for me to travel. I then spent five jam-packed days in London sightseeing my butt off – and definitely getting my 30+ minutes per day of exercise as recommended.
If you’re considering a London trip and are simultaneously preparing for a new member of your family, it is absolutely possible to visit London while pregnant. Below you’ll find some non-medical advice from one pregnant person to another. Hopefully, this will help you plan a safe and memorable trip that you can look back on as one of the first international journeys of many you took with your new little one.
Note: I am not a doctor or medical professional, and none of these tips should be taken as medical advice. If you have any questions about visiting London while pregnant, I strongly recommend discussing them with your doctor before your trip.
Flying to/from London While Pregnant
Before booking any airplane travel – to London or elsewhere –, I recommend connecting with your doctor. Discuss your plans and how far along you are in your pregnancy to determine if it’s a good idea in the first place; depending on the unique circumstances of your pregnancy, your doctor may advise you not to travel either in the third trimester at all, or not after the 8th month.
In any case, if you are given the green light to travel, you may have special considerations. In particular, my doctor advised me to purchase thigh-high compression socks to wear on the long flight across the pond and/or to get up and walk at least every two hours on the plane whenever possible. These two things help reduce the risk of blood clots that are dangerous to you and your baby. Again though – take your doctor’s advice!
Transit in London While Pregnant
As you may already know from planning the rest of your trip, public transportation in London is fabulous: the Tube and buses make it easy to get around, and there’s always a black cab handy if you have the budget and need to get somewhere quickly.
My best advice for making public transit in London even better while pregnant and visiting is to apply for the Baby on Board badge from Transport for London. Once you have arranged your London hotel, reach out and ask if they can receive a parcel on your behalf. You can then have the badge shipped to them and waiting when you arrive. Wear this while riding the Tube and buses and people will be more likely to offer you the designated seats – even if you’re not showing much during your visit.
(Be sure to apply at least 10 days before your trip, as it takes a while to ship! I didn’t receive mine during my trip, sadly.)
It’s worth noting that London does have a cycle-sharing program – Santander Cycles. I don’t recommend using these while pregnant for a few reasons; cycling in London is already complicated and has added danger due to different road rules than you might be used to, and if your body isn’t used to riding, it can be quite strenuous. This is definitely one I’d run by your doctor before doing, even if you do cycle regularly.
Other Travel Tips for Pregnant People
Based on my experience visiting London during the beginning of my second trimester, here are some other tips I hope will help you have a more enjoyable experience of visiting London while pregnant too.
Wear Smart Shoes
While I generally pack to look fashionable in London (despite those who say London has no fashion sense anymore, I still believe it’s best to look nice!), I scrapped my cutest shoes for my trip to London while pregnant in 2023. Instead, I packed incredibly practical shoes: flat slip-on sneakers with lots of support.
London is a city where you’ll walk a lot – I walked 85,000 steps in five days! Add on waiting in various queues, strolling leisurely through parks and museums, and standing on public transit when you can’t get a seat (or when nobody is kind enough to give you a seat, which they should!), and you really just need to care for your body and your baby.
Your feet, your back, and you will thank me later for this one!
Keep Your Days Manageable
If I’m known for one thing in London, it’s packing a lot in. After all, when I’m visiting London, I’m there for work!
But take my advice: if you pack too much in, you’ll pay for it for the rest of your trip. In my case, I spent my first day visiting (and climbing) St. Paul’s Cathedral and The Monument, followed by a visit to the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey before afternoon tea with a friend and dinner and drinks with friends (for them – I had water, more on that later!). I paid for it the entire rest of my trip by just being worn out.
Instead, plan your itinerary each day, then cut it in half – give yourself twice the time and if you still have energy you can always add more in later. Like with good shoes, it’s better to be conservative than push yourself and your body too hard right now.
Look for Seated/Low-Impact Tours
Similarly, it’s smart to look for tours and excursions that won’t have you on your feet all day – and certainly not doing anything too outrageous like climbing to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral domes (528 steps!) or walking the Dare Skywalk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Here are some ideas for less impactful tours and excursions that are great for first-time London visitors:
- Hop-on/Hop-off bus tours
- Thames River Cruises
- Canal Rides on Regents Canal – or renting your own canal boat from GoBoat
In general, the best advice is to listen to your body (and consult with your doctor if you’re uncertain). Keep your walking tours and extended museum visits limited to 1-2 per day as you’ll still be doing a lot more walking than at home.
Stay Hydrated & Well Fed
As I’m sure you’ve learned already, it’s important to stay hydrated and keep your blood sugar up even when you’re not traveling. That gets a little trickier in London, where you don’t have easy access to the fridge and your favorite drink options at home.
I strongly recommend bringing a reusable water bottle with you – and keep it full throughout the day. It’s better to be looking for public toilets (of which London has many) than dehydrating yourself. Similarly, you may want to bring snacks (or pop into a Tesco Express after you arrive in London) to ensure your blood sugar doesn’t dip too much between planned meals.
Or you could be like me and just eat 4-5 meals per day because there are so many good London foods to enjoy!
One last point: be sure to check foods as you order to understand whether they are recommended during pregnancy. Food processing and sales rules in the U.K. and Europe are quite different than in North America, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and order something that isn’t good for you or baby.
Enjoy Pub Culture – without the Hangover!
Speaking of drinking, one of my favorite parts of visiting London is pub culture – and I’ll admit that it was quite an adjustment to be visiting London while pregnant and not just pop in for a pint whenever I wanted. (This is not to say that I drink a lot, but rather that I just really enjoy this part of visiting London.)
In any case, bartenders never had a problem with me ordering water when spending time in any pub; I was usually there with friends or my husband and they were having a drink too. That allowed me to still spend time soaking up the atmosphere in one of my favorite aspects of London life, without feeling like I was missing out.
(I also really enjoyed waking up properly hydrated and with no fear of hangover – that was very pleasant after the many times I’ve partaken too much in the past!)
Memorialize the Occasion
You already know you’ll be taking lots of photos during your London trip – why not also memorialize your time in London with your bump so you can remember that for years to come?
Flytographer is a great service that allows you to book a photographer anywhere in the world – and there are some great photographers in London. My husband and I planned ahead with nice outfits and booked a 60-minute shoot with Gráinne; I love how she captured our excitement for our little one along with the beautiful backgrounds of London’s iconic spots: Tower Bridge, Borough Market, and the Shard.
Click here and use code VALERIEVALISE before you book to save $25 on your first Flytographer shoot.
Have any other questions about visiting London while pregnant? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll help if I can!