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Things for children to do in London

Some ideas to keep your children occupied in London

London Double Deck Buses

Great for kids: riding on top deck of a London bus

OK, everyone's kids are different. What we are trying here to do is give some ideas of things to do in London with kids in mind.

A lot of families are attracted to London by its history and pageantry. Children's boredom thresholds can soon be challenged by being trailed around museums and shown architecture and history all day.

London public transport

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.

London hop-on hop-off buses

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' 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 experiences for kids

In this increasingly global world, destinations are becoming more and more similar. Here are some ideas which your kids may actually remember in 10 years' time and associate with London.

Tower of London

Tower of London

  • Look up scheduled opening times of Tower Bridge and be one of the few visitors who actually see Tower Bridge opening.

  • Take your kids to a genuine specialist Fish & Chip shop and try take away Cod and Chips eaten with your fingers. Note if you get Fish & Chips at a restaurant or pub it will be no different to what you get at home.

  • See a genuine criminal trial taking place at the Old Bailey, the UK's main criminal court. It is free to enter the visitors' gallery, Mondays to Fridays when the courts are in session. Barristers and judges still wear the wigs and dress of a bygone age.

  • Take a trip upstream along the River Thames to Greenwich and stand with one leg either side of the meridian line (there's lot else to do in Greenwich as well).

  • London has several premier league soccer clubs with regular fixtures between August and May at weekends and evenings. The best known clubs you will need to purchase tickets in advance from their web sites

Family attractions with a bias towards entertaining kids

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.

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

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

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

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

London Museums for children

Most children will have limited patience when it comes to art galleries and museums. The good news is that most of London's museums are free, so you can afford to make several short visits.


Number one attraction for kids should be the Science Museum. The focus of the Science Museum is high tech, hands-on, interactive and up-to-date. The basement area is focused on kids with different areas focused on different age groups. The museum also puts on workshops for the kids too.

London's major sightseeing attractions

Harry Norman (Driver/Guide For Car Tours)and Friend At Horseguards London

For children, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge will leave long term impressions. 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.

Clearly Cathedrals, Abbeys and Art Galleries are not the greatest fit for young children.

If you are thinking of attending the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace it can be a nightmare witch 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.

Much better for kids is the Changing of the Guard at Horseguards. Crowds are less, you get a good view and you can get a picture to remember like the one above.

Nature, parks and the 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 has several large royal parks. St-James, Regents 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 offers boating. All the parks have plenty of room to romp. St James Park has a lot of bird life around the lake and all the main parks have lakes where you can indulge in innocent pleasures like feeding the ducks.

Toy shops and theme parks

Harrods in Knightsbridge is unique, its toy area is no different. If you need an excuse to go shopping why not treat the kids to the toy floor at Harrods? Toys R Us it is not.

The most renowned toy shop is in Regent Street and called Hamleys. Regent Street is in the main shopping area of London leading up to Oxford Street.

You may be relieved to learn that there are no theme parks in the modern sense in central London.

On the periphery of London there are three, all of which close during the winter months.

LegoLand is out in Windsor near the castle, Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park are ride based venues to the south-west of London. All can be reached by train from London's Waterloo station.

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