There is no shortage of things to do in London with kids, a city vibrant with indoor and outdoor activities and places to explore that will entertain all ages! The biggest challenge you’ll probably find is not having enough time to see all the attractions and wanting to book your next trip back to London before you’ve even left!
After a week of exploring London with the kids, I saught their expert adventurer advice and asked them to unveil their Top Ten Things To Do In London With Kids and here’s what they are raving about and recommending to the littlest travellers on your list.
Explore Hamley’s while Visiting London with Kids
A toy airplane whizzed over our heads and the entertainer yelled “watch out” as it flew by. It was sensory overload with toys, stuffed animals, games, and entertainers surrounding us, and we were only 2 feet in the front door. “Welcome to Hamley’s,” said the costumes staff member.
A 259-year-old store that first opened its doors in 1760, founder William Hamley had the dream of opening the best toy shop in the world, and he did just that. This store has grown and changed with the times and visiting their shop on Regent Street I could only imagine how the store used to function, with horse-drawn delivery trucks waiting outside to take the toys to children around London.
Interesting Fact: Hamley’s was bombed 5 times during World War 2 but still persevered.
An iconic London toy store that is suitable for the whole family to get lost for a couple of hours in! On our one week tour in London, we visited twice and once at the kiosk at the airport!
Take a Big Bus Tour while Visiting London with Kids
My husband and I have a tradition that we now share with our family. Whenever we get to a new city we hop on a Big Bus Tour and take the loops around town, allowing us to orient ourselves as well as get an overview of the attractions and local insight to the city. Our London Big Bus Tour took days to complete with multiple routes to choose from and places to navigate to. Click here to learn more.
Mom Tip: Take lots of snacks and use the time on the bus to refuel!
Visit the Princess Diana Memorial Playground While in London with Kids
Next to Princess Diana’s Kensington Palace home is The Princess Diana’s Memorial Playground. This a huge playground dedicated to children and welcomes over 1,000,000 children each year. Inspired by the stories of Peter Pan and dedicated in honour of Princess Diana, who loved the innocence of childhood, this place space was designed to encourage children to follow their imagination through creative, social, and educational play. Whether kids fancy being a captain sailing the Pirate ship, climb and clamber up the equipment, or swinging softly in the gardeners this royal playground has lots for children to explore.
Mom Tip: This playground can be very busy so try to visit during non peek times. During peak times there may be a queue for entrance.
The Tower of London
Another iconic must-see on your London Tour is the Tower of London, it’s where you’ll see the Crown Jewels, come face to face with a Beefeater, hang out with the ravens, and see what life at the tower has been like for the past 100 years. Every time I visit, the castle gets more and more interactive and more family-friendly, each is presenting information in a very different way. My son’s favourite was seeing all of the calvary and their weapons and imagining what life was like when the knights went out to battle. Perfect for all ages.
Mom Tip #1: Get there when it first opens and go straight to the Crown Jewels! This will save you lots of wait time.
Mom Tip #2: Be sure to head outside and snap some photos next to the iconic Tower Bridge!
Mom Tip #3: If you did the Big Bus Tour take the complimentary river cruise back up to the London Eye Stop! It’s a unique way to see the city and a faster route back to downtown.
The London Eye
One of London’s most popular attractions, this 30-minute ride gives you a fantastic 360 view 443 feet above the city. My daughter’s number one choice, and it didn’t disappoint, she wishes she could have gone back again to see it at night. (Okay, I’ll be honest, it’s already on our “next time we’re in London” list.)
Mom Tip: Do the free 5-minute 4D show that is next to the ticket booth before your ride. It’s educational, gets you pumped up for your ride, and all sorts for 4D fun.
Watch The Lion King While in London with Kids
A surprise for the kids, we headed down to the Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre for the 2:39 Show. In its 20th year, I had tears bubbling over at the opening scene when my daughter turned to me with pure joy and screamed: “Where are we and what is going on!!!”
Mom Tip: Shows can be expensive but they are 100% worth it. Perhaps give tickets as pre-trip gifts (such as birthday presents or Christmas) either from you or from doting grandparents.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
My daughter stole my camera after being inside for about 3 minutes so she could capture “the amazing ceilings”. While I doubt that they had truly comprehended the history of St.Paul’s and how iconic a structure it is in London (the adults did), the actual architecture, exploring the building and climbing to the top of the dome (and experiencing the whispering gallery) was enough to keep my curious children engaged and excited. Did you know that the cathedral has been destroyed by fires 4 times in its history? The current cathedral has lived through 3 centuries and its dome is the second-largest in the world!
Mom Tip: Take a hike! If open, I strongly encourage you to climb the 500+ steps up to the top of the dome. While you may end the hike a bit sweatier than you started, the view overlooking the city and the fact that you’re standing on top of the second largest dome in the world is worth it.
Take the Tube to Paddington Station While in London with Kids
A fuzzy little bear and a famous train station, what better story to share with your kids! The Paddington Bear character from A Bear Called Paddington, written by Michael Bond was named after the train station where he was found in the story. A sculpture of him can be found under the clock on platform one.
Mom Tip #1: Download “Tube App” to help you navigate your trip easier.
Mom Tip #2: Make sure you get on the right train… even if you’re at the right stop multiple trains come by so if you’re looking for the yellow line, make sure you don’t just hop on the first train that comes, make sure it’s the right train (save you the embarrassment and mistakes that I made).
Explore the Natural History Museum while in London with Kids
Founded in 1881 this museum is home to about 80 million items from 5 collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology, and zoology. Open every day from 10a – 4:50p (Closed Dec 24 & 25) with no entrance fee it attracts over 5.2 million visitors annually and employs about 850 staff members! Located right beside the Science Museum it’s in the perfect location to plan a fun-filled day of learning for you and your kids.
©VisitBritain / Britain on View
A free entrance and you’re inside one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. The museum was founded in 1857 and currently attracts over 3.3 million visitors per year. In the museum, you can expect to see over 300,000 items, including half of Charles Babbage’s brain! A famous English mathematician, philosopher, inventor, and mechanical engineer who was responsible for the first concept of the digital programmable computer.
So whether you have 3 days or 3 weeks there are lots of things to do in London with kids. I loved that there was a variety of price-points, allowing us to splurge on some activities while also experiencing others at a minimal cost.
See What Else You Can Explore in the United Kingdom: