Things to do in London with kids

Popular attractions and things to do in London for families

Kids looking over Thames
We explain how to get the best deals in London for families

What are the best places to take kids in London?

Attractions in London for kids are plentiful. Ever popular choices include the Tower of London, Madame Tussauds and the London Zoo. We explain how to get the best value from these attractions by combining tickets using a pass like the London Pass, Merlin Passes, or Discount London.

If you are looking a budget friendly day out with your kids we also discuss the many Royal Parks where you can take part in such activities as cycling, skating, boating or even watching pelicans being fed! Alternatively, if the weather's not on your side, the London Museums offer good value entertainment for many hours, are free to enter, or you can offer a small donation. The Changing of the Guard is another low cost option to keep your kids entertained - we discuss your best options.

paddington bear experience


paddington bear experience

The Paddington Bear Experience

• Entrance to The Paddington Bear Experience

Harry Potter for kids in London

For Harry Potter crazy kids there's the perennial favourite Harry Potter Studio Tour London (an hour outside London in Watford) or within London itself you can check 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.


River Cruises and hop on bus tours for families in London

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 a Toot Bus Must See London ticket, you can get this sightseeing cruise for free. Alternatively you can choose to opt for a cheaper tour, the Toot Bus Kids Tour, with a live guide who tailors it just for families!


Big ticket days out and fabulous and free stuff to do for families in London

This page aims to cover many different options for entertaining the kids in London from big ticket days out (with discount ticket bundling options) to the fabulous and free.

We also have a blog you can check out: 10 best family attractions in London.

Low cost or free activities in London for children

Not all things to do in London need to have a big price tag attached. One of the wonderful thing about London is that if you seek them out, there are plenty of places to take the children which are either free or very low cost.

Below we look at some of the best, including the Royal Parks, Changing of the Guard and London museums.

Royal Parks

Hyde Park Serpentine
You are free to bathe in the calming waters of the Serpentine

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. For children there are a few parks that offer something just that bit different:

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

(With Princess Diana's Memorial Playground and Fountain and the Serpentine for swimming and boating)

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

In addition to this you can hire bikes and cycle round the park from several different cycle stations within the park. In-line 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.

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.

St James's Park - watch the pelicans being fed

In the heart of London St James' Park offers ceremonial parades (Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards) and a lake with a lot of bird life where there are plenty of water birds. Great views of Buckingham Palace too.

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.

Regents Park - more boating, birds and theatre performances

Like St James's Park and Hyde Park there are many birds; Regent's Park is the centre for waterfowl breeding for The Royal Parks. Like Hyde Park, you can hire boats on the boating lake.

At the southern end of the park you will find Queen Mary's Gardens where in the summer months you can enjoy Open Air Theatre performances, established nearly 100 years ago in the 1930s.

Throughout Regent's Park at regular intervals are café’s for you to partake in a refreshment while you stroll. On the northern border of Regent's Park is the London Zoo, another great kid's attraction.

The Changing of the Guard

Horseguards Changing of the Guard, London
Get a closer look at Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards

Enjoy the splendour of the troops in their military red at the Changing of Guard outside Buckingham Palace or Horse Guards.

Buckingham Palace

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.

Horse Guards

The Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards 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 Museums for children

London Natural History Museum
Spend hours at London's Natural History Museum

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 backpacks 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.

london transport museum


london transport museum

London Transport Museum entry tickets

• Entry to London Transport Museum galleries and temporary exhibitions • Timed and dated ticket

Other low cost activities for children in London

Tower Bridge, London
See the raising of Tower Bridge

- 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

- Get organised and check out scheduled bridge lift times to see the raising of Tower Bridge - or buy tickets to go inside!

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

- 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!

- Enjoy a British Fish & Chip shop takeaway!

- Ride a London red bus

London hop-on hop-off buses for children

Toot Bus/Original Tour bus in London
A special Kids Tour will please everyone

Kids Tour - from Tootbus

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

Tootbus (formerly Original Tour London) offer a specific tour aimed at families with children, called the Kids Tour. This specially designed route offers a bespoke live guide who will enthrall kids and adults alike with their tales of London past and present.

This tour aims to be reasonably priced, fun and educational.

There are even special deals to be had during seasonal events such as Christmas.

More about Tootbus London

London public transport for children

London red buses
Kids really enjoy riding a London red bus

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.

These are the big ticket days out in London you will have all heard of. Many of these can be purchased in a combined ticket to save you more money in the long run. Some tickets are designed to be used within a short period of time (such as the London Pass), while others, like the Go City London Explorer Pass, allow you 60 days, or in the case of the Merlin Annual Pass, a whole year to see the big attractions.

Popular attractions in and around London

Below we show you some of the best family friendly attractions in London, covered by the Merlin passes and the London Passes.

For Harry Potter fans, there's a low-down on the best way to get your Harry Potter fix, whether that's the Harry Potter Studio itself or a film location walk.

Read on kids (and big kids)...

Harry Potter themed days out in London

Harry Potter Studio, Watford
The Warner Bros. Studio is in Watford, an hour from London

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.

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.

More about Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Harry Potter self guided or professionally guided walks in 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.

More about Harry Potter in London

Award winning Muggles Walking Tour of London

Things to do for Paddington lovers in London

paddington bear experience, london
A Sticky Experience awaits for you and your family

Paddington has definitely come to London this past year.

Two big Paddington experiences for you and your children include The Paddington Bear Experience and a fabulous Paddington Bear walking tour through London.

The Paddington Bear Experience is an interactive story-based experience located in London's County Hall on the Southbank. On this adventure you'll help Paddington and the Brown Family prepare for a special occasion; the Marmalade Day Festival.

On the Paddington Bear Walking Tour you'll naturally start at Paddington station and admire the beautiful Paddington statue, you’ll also get to stop at the famous antiques shop, Mr Gruber’s, go to the hustle and bustle of Portobello Market and visit the Paddington Shop, plus many more exciting Paddington locations.

These two experiences are sure to fully immerse you and your family in all-things Paddington in London.

Discover Paddington in London - BOOK NOW

Kew Gardens

kew gardens
Discover a whole tropical world at Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens in Richmond, southwest London is a very kid-friendly day out.

There is plenty to do at Kew Gardens to keep everyone entertained, including families with children.

Discover the Rock Garden, a dramatic valley carved through the landscape filled with waterfalls and plants from Himalayan mountain streams; a stunning woodland garden; Arboretum; Bamboo Garden and much, much more.

There are children-specific activities including The Hive, Kew from the Trees, the Children's Garden, family nature activities and activities for families with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Included in your ticket are Kew Palace and the Royal Kitchens when they are open (from Easter to the last weekend in September annually).

Explore Kew Gardens - BOOK NOW

Top 5 Merlin attractions in London - great for families

Buy a Big City Saver Pass by Merlin to save money on top London attractions

Merlin owned top London attractions include: London EyeMadame TussaudsLondon DungeonSEA LIFE London Aquarium and Shrek's Adventure! London)

If you are going to visit all five we would strongly recommend purchasing a Big City Saver Pass (previously Merlin's Magical London pass) to save yourself heaps on the entry price.

For theme parks just outside London see Merlin Theme Parks.

London Eye with Merlin Pass

A flight on the London Eye is a terrific family experience.

Find out more

London Dungeon with Merlin Pass

The London Dungeon is a grisly experience - great for kids over 12.

Find out more

Madame Tussauds

See your favourite celebrities in incredible waxwork detail.

Find out more

Shrek's Adventure! London

A family adventure to go and find Shrek, beginning with a 4D flying bus experience.

Find out more

SEALIFE London Aquarium

Get up close to sharks, penguins, piranhas, and a whole world of fascinating marine nature.

Find out more

Big City Saver Merlin Pass


5-in-1 Merlin's Magical London Pass

HUGE SAVINGS: Buy a 2, 3 or 5 attraction pass for top London attractions

Off-peak prices available


• London Eye • Madame Tussauds London • London Dungeon • Shrek's Adventure! London • SEA LIFE London Aquarium •Tower of London • Big Bus Tour

Adult from £50 for 2 attractions Child (age 2-15) from £45

Adult from £70 for 3 attractions Child (age 2-15) from £63

Adult from £100 for all 5 attractions Child (age 2-15) from £90

5-in-1 Merlin 5 Attraction London Pass


5-in-1 Merlin Attraction London Pass

HUGE SAVINGS: Buy a 2, 3 or 5 attraction pass
for top 5 London attractions

• London Eye • Madame Tussauds London • London Dungeon • Shrek's Adventure! London • SEA LIFE London Aquarium

Adult from £60 for 2 attractions,
Child (age 5-15) from

Adult from £80.00 for 3 attractions,
Child (age 5-15) from

Adult from £100 £80.00 for all 5 attractions,
Child (age 5-15) from £90

Merlin Annual Pass for theme parks near London

Beyond central London, the Merlin Annual Pass covers the main London attractions plus all the big theme parks in the UK - and this is where the real money saving begins if you are a regular theme park goer.

All the below theme parks are also resorts so if you want you can choose to extend your stay and make a two-day adventure of it. Sometimes the parks offer discounts such as offering the second day of theme park entry for free if you book a stay, so it is worth looking out for these seasonal offers.

For example, with this pass you would get free entry into LEGOLAND Windsor, Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park.

chessington world of adventures

Chessington World of Adventures Resort

Just outside central London, Chessington is a fabulous family-friendly theme park, Zoo and SEA LIFE all in one, with Resort hotels on-site too.

Find out more

thorpe park coaster

Thorpe Park Resort

Thorpe Park is in Chertsey, just 20 miles from London. It is also a great theme park with rides to suits all ages, a full day out for families, and with on-site resort hotels to extend your stay.

Find out more

legoland resort windsor

Legoland Resort Windsor

Legoland theme park is out in Windsor with over 55 amazing interactive rides, including Ferrari Build & Race, attractions and live shows for the whole family, set in 150 acres of parkland.

Find out more

Top kid friendly attractions included with London Pass

London Pass saves you money on entry tickets to over 80 popular attractions in London

The London Pass gives you free entry (after purchasing) to over 80 different attractions in and around London.

Popular attractions for all the family included with the pass are: the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Big Bus, London Eye, Chessington World of Adventures, Madame Tussauds, Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace, View from the Shard, and London Zoo. For older kids there's also the terrifically chilling London Bridge Experience.

The London Pass offers you great savings on purchasing individual tickets. If you intend on visiting a lot of attractions in London this will be your cheapest way to do it.

Chessington World of Adventures

Chessington World of Adventures

Top family-friendly theme park & zoo.

Find out more

london zoo

London Zoo

Get up close to the meerkats, tigers, apes, exotic fish...

Find out more

tower of london

Tower of London

The famous fortress with the White Tower holds the Crown Jewels.

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london eye

The London Eye

Witness 360 views of the spectacular London skyline.

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Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds

Get closer to the stars in London at this hugely popular attraction.

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Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

Visit the State Apartments at the home of the Royals.

Find out more

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Visit Henry VIII's place with famous Maze.

Find out more

London Bridge Experience

London Bridge Experience

For older kids, a grisly experience in London.

Find out more

The London Pass


The Londpon Pass

The more you visit, the more you save

• Access 90+ London attractions including Tower of London, London Eye, Madame Tussauds, London Zoo, Chessington World of Adventures, London Bridge Experience, Thames River Cruise, Tower Bridge, St. Paul's, Westminster Abbey, The View from Shard, Windsor Castle, Big Bus, and many more...
• 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10 day passes available.

Save Money! - Combine big London attractions together to save £££'s with Discount London

Combine your own mix of attractions into a money saving package. Discount London are one of the leading providers of discounted tours which provide excellent value for money by bundling tours into packages of two or more. Generally the more tours you buy in one package, the more you save per attraction.

Well known and popular attractions are all on offer - from Madame Tussauds, to Tower of London and Tower Bridge Exhibition to the London Eye, London Zoo, Westminster Abbey and a whole lot more!

Discount London - sightseeing and attraction tickets


Discount London - sightseeing and attraction tickets

Book discounted London sightseeing and attraction tickets

• Hop-on hop-off buses • Madame Tussauds • London Eye • London Dungeon • Tower of London • Tower Bridge • The Shard • Westminster Abbey • Historic Royal Palaces and more...

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.

More about London shopping



London Eye Amazing panoramic flight on the world's highest observation wheel. » Fast track tickets available.
The Shard Tallest building in Western Europe with viewing of London from the top. » Fast track tickets available.
St Paul's Cathedral Cathedral of the Diocese of London, venue for royal weddings. » Pre-book to guarantee entry.
Westminster Abbey Along with St Paul's, England's main religious building.» Pre-book to guarantee entry.
Tower of London Home of the Crown Jewels and a rich thousand year history. » Fast track tickets available.
Madame Tussauds See wax statues of the most famous people in the world. » Fast track tickets available.
London Dungeon The creepiest attraction in town, the London Dungeon. » Fast track tickets available.
Hampton Court Palace Henry VIII Medieval Palace set in vast grounds. » Pre-book to save money.
The London Zoo World class zoo in the centre of London. » Flexi tickets available.

Every effort is made to keep all our information correct and the advertised prices up to date. We endeavour to be as accurate a source of information as possible but Travellers Toolkits cannot be held responsible for any price differential between our stated prices and those of the companies supplying the product or accuracy of information provided on our sites.