Things to do in London with kids

Popular attractions and things to do in London for families


Beefeaters: Tower of London

Beefeaters: Tower of London

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Attractions in London for kids are plentiful. Ever popular choices include Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter, Tower of London, Madame Tussauds and the London Museums.

 

If you are looking a budget friendly day out with your kids we also detail the many Royal Parks where you can take part in such activities as cycling, skating, boating or even watching pelicans being fed! Other outdoor options include the London Wetland Centre and Legoland, outside London in Windsor.

 

For Harry Potter crazy kids you might consider checking out some of the well known London Harry Potter film locations. There are also professionally guided Harry Potter walking tours that are not too expensive.

 

For an alternative view of London, why not try it from the river? City Cruises are London's leading river cruise operator and are experts in showing you London's most renowned buildings from the unique perspective of the River Thames. The 45-minute circular cruise is a popular choice with many families. With an Original Sightseeing Bus Tour ticket, you can get this sightseeing cruise for free.

 

This page aims to cover many different options for entertaining the kids in London including discounted ticket bundles for attractions to help you save money.

 

Low cost or free activities in London for children

  • Paddle in Princess Diana's Memorial Fountain or play pirates in the Peter Pan playground - Hyde Park

  • Watch the pelican feeding at St. James's Park in the afternoons

  • Enjoy a British Fish & Chip shop takeaway!

  • Ride a London red bus

  • Take your pick from dozens of London Museums with loads of exhibitions and activities for children

  • See London from the magical side - lose yourself in Harry Potter film locations in London including Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station

  • Get down to one of London's many free popular City Farms: Hackney, Mudchute Farm and Park and Vauxhall City Farm

  • Enjoy the splendour of the troops in their military red at the Changing of Guard outside Buckingham Palace or Horseguards

  • Get organised and check out scheduled bridge lift times to see the raising of Tower Bridge

  • Take a trip to Covent Garden to marvel at this day's street entertainers in the Western Piazza

  • Lose yourselves in Hampton Court Palace and maze - free entry with London Pass. Also free access to East and South Front Gardens from 9am to 10am all year round.

  • Take a dip in Hampton heated open air pool. There is plenty for kids with regular teaching and inflatable sessions. Two pools in a sunny woodland area on the outskirts of Bushy Park with a grassed area to relax in. Moonlight swims!

     

Tower of London

Tower of London: a day of London's history

Popular family attractions in central London and London area

It is hard to define this sector in words, broadly they are some of the most highly promoted attractions targeted at families with children in London.

 

They are aimed to entertain and thrill with a bias towards keeping kids happy. From a parent's perspective there is little effort involved apart from parting with quite a lot of hard earned cash.

 

Tower of London and Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is of course one of London's best known landmarks. Seeing Tower Bridge lift up to allow boats underneath is a memory you and the children will not forget. It's free to walk across the bridge or if you wish there are scheduled opening times 'bridge lift times' you can look up on the official Tower bridge website.

 

There is also the Exhibition which you need to buy tickets for. This includes the bridge's twin towers, high level walkways and Victorian engine rooms.

 

The Tower keeps everyone happy, the kids have a fun day out the parents feel the visit has educational worth and exposure to history.

 

Get on a frequent tour with the Yeoman Warders within the Tower who make a special effort to keep kids amused with their banter.

Tower of London - more details

 

Hampton Court Palace and Maze

Hampton Court Palace is on the edge of London in East Molesey, near Kingston-upon-Thames. For kids the big attraction might be the famous maze; there is also 'Tudor dress up.' The Great Hall and Tudor Kitchens are enjoyed by all.

Hampton Court Palace London - more details

 

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter

Fast becoming one of the most popular attractions in the London area today, The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London offers something for everyone - even non-Harry Potter fans will enjoy the behind the scenes experience of the best selling film series.

Warner Bros Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter exterior

Warner Bros Studio Tour London: one hour from London in Watford

 

Featuring a huge array of sets and props the breathtaking detail of the intricate artwork is highly comprehensive and film lovers everywhere will learn plenty from the experience.

 

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is an hour's journey from central London in Watford. Tours operate from London or it is reasonably straight forward to travel independently. Details of independent public transport to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London and a selection of approved tours can be found by following the link below.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - more details

 

Harry Potter film locations London

For a lower budget experience, Harry Potter fans can also visit numerous film sites located in London, including the ever popular Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station. This can be done independently for free or by a reasonably priced (from around £15 per adult) walking tour. Details can be found on the link below.

Harry Potter's Platform 9 3/4 At Kings Cross Station London

Harry Potter's platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross station

Harry Potter in London - more details


Madame Tussauds - Baker Street

At Madame Tussauds, London you will come face-to-face with some of the world’s most famous faces. Madame Tussauds is the only wax attraction to get full celebrity endorsement, with involvement in the sitting, through the sculpting process and side-by-side unveils! The incredibly lifelike figures created by our world-renowned sculptors, use the same techniques as Madame Tussaud herself did 200 years ago.

 

You can hug, touch, kiss - get up close and personal with our celebrities, take photos with your favourites. No red ropes anymore!

 

Filled with 14 exciting, interactive zones and the Marvel Super Heroes 4D movie experience, Madame Tussauds London combines glitz and glamour with incredible history with over 300 wax figures.

Madame Tussauds - more details

 

The London Eye

The London Eye can be found by Westminster Bridge on the other side of the river to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. It is the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel at 135 metres and offers 360-degree views of the capital and its famous landmarks, taking around 30 minutes to complete one rotation.

 

You start your London Eye event with the London Eye 4D Experience - a four minute multi-sensory special effects show, including wind, bubbles and scent, included in the ticket price.

London Eye - more details


London Dungeon for kids

Medieval London: London Dungeon

London Dungeon - London Bridge

The London Dungeon is a more gruesome version of Madame Tussauds. The attraction consists of a series of set scenes reproducing chilling aspects of medieval London. Expect lots of darkness, dripping water, skeletons, caged rats, tolling bells etc. to add to the atmosphere.

 

Naturally there are scenes of torture in all its variations.

All are brought to life with special effects very well done, originally conceived for film and TV. Actors add life to the displays and among other things may sentence you personally to death.

London Dungeon - more details

 

Shrek's Adventure! London

On London's South Bank this London attraction aimed at families features 10 4D animated themed shows in the Kingdom of Far Far Away, including Shrek's Swamp and a mirror maze. This attraction is aimed at families with children aged from six to 12 years old.

Shrek's Adventure London official website

 

KidZania

Located in the Westfield London shopping centre, Shepherd's Bush, KidZania is a children's only arena where kids get to role-play more than 60 real life adult jobs, complete with their own currency to spend or bank. Adults have their own space through one-way glass where they can watch their children and also be entertained by films to while away the time while their kids play.

KidZania London official website

 

Sealife Centre London

Located by Westminster Bridge, the Sealife Centre London is an aquarium with 14 themed zones, thousands of sea creatures, and of course, the ever-popular shark reef. Here in the Shark Walk you walk across glass with seven species of shark in the Shark Reef Encounter display below you. The emphasis is on conservation and marine management - here you and your children will learn about preserving our rare and special species for their generation.

Sealife Centre London official website

 

Legoland Windsor

Legoland Windsor: about an hour from Waterloo

Legoland

Legoland theme park is out in Windsor near the castle and can be reached by train from London's Waterloo station. Legoland is a full day out with over 55 amazing interactive rides, attractions and live shows for the whole family. Set in 150 acres of parkland, it is a fun day for children aged 3-12 and their families.

Legoland - more details


London Museums for children

London museums have in recent times extended many of their exhibitions to include activities and hands on exhibits for kids. Examples of this are the British Museum with its digital Discovery Centre, free activity backbacks and free regular events. The Natural History Museum has its own Investigate science lab and Darwin Centre especially for kids.

 

Most London museums are free (donation optional); some, such as the London Transport Museum charge only adult entry while kids go free. The London Transport Museum has many exhibits for children to play on, as well as more the 80 vehicles including the iconic London red bus.

 

The Science Museum is one of the most kid-friendly of all the London museums and is a must see. The focus of the Science Museum is high tech, hands-on, interactive and up-to-date. The basement area is focused on children with different areas focused on different age groups. The museum also puts on workshops for the kids too.

 

The Museum of London Docklands has its own 'interactive space' for kids where they are free to try hands-on activities such as role-play or building. To enter this area for free you need to apply for a ticket in advance through their website or on arrival.

 

The Crystal is a relatively new (2012) exhibition that showcases futuristic designs for city living. It is located just near the London ExCel Centre and Royal Victoria station. There is plenty for kids to do with interactive touch screens and even 'immersive experience' - children can learn about sustainable living and energy production. There is a charge for adults but under 18s go free.

London's museums - more details

 

Original London Tour Bus London

Original London Tour Bus: with children's activity packs

London hop-on hop-off buses for children

The hop-on hop-off double deck bus tours are enjoyed by a sizeable proportion of all visitors to London.

 

The Original London Tour hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus has a Kids Club with a unique commentary designed for children and free activity packs.

 

The hop-on hop-off buses cover all the main sights of Central London and come at very high frequencies. As well as two main bus routes there is a free river cruise so you can see London from a different perspective.

 

Childrens' hop-on, hop-off bus activity packs

The Original London Tour offers commentaries specially designed for children. History made fun - for kids, by kids... plus the voice of the ghost of London! Every child also gets a 'passport' to London and a fantastic free fun pack with activity/quiz book.

The Original London Tour - more details

 

London public transport for children

Surveys and anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that a lasting memory for many visitors to London is the public transport system.

 

Make sure you take your kids on the London Underground at least once, also the top deck of a London red bus. Make it into a game, get a bus and underground map and get your kids to plan your route around central London.


Remember, children under 11 travel free on London's buses and Underground so it's a cost effective as well as entertaining way of getting the most out of London.

 

Outdoor activities for kids in London

Horseguards Parade London

Horseguards: Changing of the Guard more accessible for children than Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guard in London

Buckingham Palace is immediately adjacent to St James's Park and The Green Park. If you are thinking of attending the Changing of the Guard here it can be a nightmare with children. Unless your children get there really early and be against the palace railings they won't see much of what is going on and most kids who do see what is going on are under whelmed.

 

The Changing of the Guard at Horseguards can be better for children than at Buckingham Palace. Crowds are less, you get a good view and you can get a picture to remember.

 

The Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards Arch takes place daily at 11am (10am on Sundays) and lasts about 30 minutes. It is held on Horse Guards Parade by Whitehall, which is located east of St James's Park.

 

London Zoo

London's main zoo is just north of the central area at the top of Regents Park. The London Zoo is a substantial, modern zoo. All the animals are there that you would expect and of course children are particularly catered for.

London Zoo - more details

 

WWT London Wetland Centre

A break from the busy streets of London, the London Wetland Centre is located south of the river in Barnes, just 10 minutes from Hammersmith Tube station. A 105-acre wildlife haven with many lakes and pools it is home to rare birds from around the globe and even a family of otters. There are numerous bird hides plus a heated observatory. In the spring you will see lots of baby birds.

 

The centre offers free daily walks led by expert guides. As well as the nature interest for children there are adventure areas, both indoor and out. All this is London Wetland Centre brings the countryside to London!

 

A family ticket is currently under £35 for a full day out.

London Wetland Centre official website

 

Royal Parks

London has several large royal parks. St James, Regent's Park and Hyde Park are extensive parks. Dotted all around London are squares and smaller parks where you can get away for a few moments from the noise and traffic.

 

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Hyde Park has a great pond - the Serpentine - where you can hire boats and in the summer months, even swim in the natural, unchlorinated lido.

 

In addition to this you can hire bikes and cycle round the park from several different cycle stations within the park. Inline skating is highly established on the Serpentine Road - you can hire skates from the Club Blue Room at Marble Arch.

 

Hyde Park also hosts a tennis centre, lawn bowls, putting green and cafe.

 

Princess Diana's Memorial Playground and Fountain

In the North west corner of Kensington Gardens you will find a very popular Peter Pan themed play-area complete with wooden pirate ship at its heart! This playground in memory of the late Diana Princess of Wales offers much for all children up to the age of 12, including wheelchair users.

 

Southwest of the Serpentine Lake and into Hyde Park you can find the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial - a large oval fountain where anyone is free to wander; it is popular with children in the summer months.

Buckingham Palace from St James's Park

St James's Park: views of Buckingham Palace

 

St James's Park

In the heart of London St James' Park offers ceremonial parades (Changing of the Guard at Horseguards) and a lake with a lot of bird life where there are plenty of water birds.

 

The famous pelicans are fed every day at 2.30pm, and there's a children’s playground, with deckchairs from April to September, as well as cafe serving food from breakfast to dinner.

Royal Parks - more details

 

Toy Shops in London

In Regent Street you will find the flagship Hamleys, established in 1760; the oldest and one of the largest toys shops in the world. Hamleys is set over seven floors and has over 50,000 lines of toys! Hamleys puts on regular events and even birthday parties. Regent Street is in the main shopping area of London leading up to Oxford Street.

 

Harrods is a unique department store in Knightsbridge and features its own 'Toy Kingdom', established 2012. Harrods Toy Kingdom features six different "worlds" including jugglers, acrobats and magicians demonstrating the latest hands-on toys.

London shopping- more details

 

Save Money! - Combine London Eye with other major London attractions

Combine your own mix of attractions into a money saving package:


London Eye Combination Tickets
London Attractions 4 in 1 Pass

 

Popular London Attraction Fast Track Tickets

Skip The Lines Tickets At ...

London Eye - Amazing panoramic flight on the world's highest observation wheel

The Shard - Tallest building in Western Europe with viewing of London from the top.

St Paul's Cathedral - Cathedral of the Diocese of London famous dome & venue for royal weddings

Westminster Abbey - Along with St Paul's England's main religious building

Tower of London - Booking your ticket ahead of time you'll jump the queue at no extra cost.

Madame Tussauds - See wax statues of the most famous people in the world

London Dungeon - the creepiest attraction in town, the London Dungeon.

Hampton Court Palace - Henry VIII Medieval Palace set in vast grounds

The London Zoo - World class zoo in the centre of London



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