There are so many great things to do in London with kids whether you are travelling to the city with a teenager or a toddler! In this guide to the city we round up over 50 best things to do in London with kids from the best free things to do with kids in London to the best rainy day London activities – we have you covered to make sure your London with kids itinerary is jam packed with things the whole family is going to enjoy!
Note: Written by a London mum who has lived in the city for over a decade!
Best Things to Do in London with kids
It is so hard to narrow down what makes it onto a list for the best things to do in London with kids because there are just so many things in London for kids. In this guide we round up the best free things to do, best green spaces and much much more.
Best Free museums for kids
No visit to London, no matter how long you have, is complete without a visit to one of the capitals brilliant museums! This list of museums are among some of the top things to do in London with kids and the best thing about them? The are one of the best free things to do in London with kids!
Looking for a kid friendly itinerary in London – then why not check out our family friendly itinerary!
I think the Science Museum is perhaps the best museum in London for kids of any age. There aren’t many museums that I think are wholly kid friendly but the Science Museum is one of them.
There are a couple of main areas that you will want to visit with kids. First up is the interactive space called the Garden located on the basement level of the building. The Garden is aimed at the preschool and early primary school aged children and is filled with water play, sound and building experiments, and is perfect for toddlers visiting London. Although aprons are provided I would recommend taking a fresh set of clothes with you!
For older children there is the admission charged Wonderlab exhibition. Wonderlab is an interactive exhibition space that offers interactivity for older children that teaches them about Scientific concepts! This is a definitely one of the best things to do in London for kids. These are a great thing to do on a rainy day in London!
Please note: Most of the museum is free to enter but fees apply to enter Wonderlab.
How to Get There: Take the District, Piccadilly or Circle Line to South Kensington Station and then a short walk. If it is raining be sure to use the underground passage to the museums.
The V&A Museum of childhood is dedicated to growing up in Britain. This fabulous museum is a great place for a multigenerational museum visit as it will show you the evolution how children have been cared for, dressed and what they have played with over time.
On top of that there are some great hands on and interactive elements to this museum including Make Believe and Sensory Pod which even babies and toddlers will love.
Although part of the Victoria And Albert Museum the location and the collection of the V&A Museum of Childhood couldn’t be more different. This museum is located in Bethnal Green over South Kensington and the collection is all about childhood in Britain whereas the V&A museum collection covers all aspects of art and design!
How to Get There: Central Line to Bethnal Green Station
A fascinating museum that has collections of anthropology and musical instruments. This museum runs some of the best kid friendly activities in London at weekends and holidays! Be sure to check their website for current schedules!
The museum also has a small aquarium which has a series of tanks showcasing aquatic life from around the world which younger children in particular will adore.
The museum also has a lovely cafe and has some of the best views over London. There are also plenty of gardens and grounds for children that need to blow off some steam after there time in the museum.
How to Get There: Forest Hill Train Station is nearest stop
The National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark are a great day out in East London and one best things to do for kids in London.
Start your visit at the Maritime Museum where kids will love playing on the large interactive map in the atrium!
Afterwards head to the Cutty Sark. Newly restored after fire, the Cutty Sark will have children in awe. Being able to climb aboard and see under this ship is a visit not to be missed. The ship was originally built in 1869 and has been turned unto a museum ship! It is famous as it was one of the last tea clippers to be built before steam took over! There are great living history characters who your children will meet on board who will tell you the history of the ship through their characters stories! The combination is one of the best things for children to do in London who love maritime things!
Please note: while the Maritime Museum has free entrance the Cutty Sark charges admission! It is best to book your tickets in advance!
The Cutty Sark opens daily from 10am until 5pm, with tickets admission for adult at £12.15, while child over 4 (Age 4 -15 years) costs £6.30 and free for anyone under 4.
How to Get There: Greenwich Station or Greenwich Pier
5. Explore Roman Londonium at the Museum of London
If you are living in or visiting London you really should know its history and the Museum of London brings the city alive for any child. Its’ exhibits on Roman London are particularly worth visiting.
One of my favourite parts of the collections however is seeing the Golden Carriage that belongs to the Lord Mayor of London and is used annually at the Lord Mayors Show. Even kids will be impressed by this golden sight.
How to Get There: Closest Station Barbican
Let’s face it – what child doesn’t like dinosaurs and that’s why the natural history museum is one top things to do with kids in London.
The exhibits here lend themselves really well to a family audience. There is really nothing more to say other than your littles are going to love this place. Be warned however there is a moving animotonix dinosaur in the dinosaur gallery which is known to give some children a scare if they aren’t expecting it!
If you have a Cbeebies fan in your household be sure to hunt out the clock from Andy’s Dinosaurs Adventures.
How to Get There: Take the District, Piccadilly or Circle Line to South Kensington Station and then a short walk. If it is raining be sure to use the underground passage to the museums.
Looking for books to prepare your kids for or have as souvenirs of London? Check out this list I compiled.
The best London Museums for Kids (admission required)
The London Transport Museum isn’t free but it one of the best things for kids in London. It is a particular hit with toddlers and primary school aged children offering children a chance to get up and close to transport of yesteryear.
As you enter you take an elevator ride back in time to the beginnings of public transport in London! From there you can learn about the hackney carriages, the makings of the tube and bus systems! Kids will love all the buses and trains you can sit on and there is even a great hands on area for little explorers to get Hands on learning experience! This museum is definitely best suited to kids from toddler age up but it really is a museum that the whole family will love. While adults will love learning more about design classics and wider effects that London transport has had in the world! My personal favourite thing is watching the development of London through the tube map which is a fascinating insight into the growth of a city. This is a great place to take kids in London especially in the Rain!
An added bonus is that twice a year the London Transport Museum holds an open day at their storage facility in Acton where you can see some of the gems of the collection that aren’t on display.
It is best to book your tickets in advance here to beat the queue!
Bonus: The collection storage area of the London Transport Museum in Acton opens twice a year and offers behind the scenes access to the museum collection.
How to Get There: Take the Piccadilly Line to Covent Garden or if you don’t mind a walk head to Leicester Square. The Lifts at Covent Garden Station can get extremely busy so in peak season it is quicker to walk from Leicester Square.
The newly refurbished British Postal Museum is one of the best things to do with children in London, especially for those in a younger age bracket. With a mail train ride and plenty of interactives the British Postal Museum is a great place to take the kids! There is even a soft play area for the under 8s!
Best London Parks for Kids
Looking for things to do with kids in London then look no further than the city’s amazing park! London is a city full of amazing green spaces that are all really suitable for children. In this section we look at the best things for kids to do in London parks.
9. Visit the pelicans in Green Park
Green Park is an oasis in the centre of London. One of our favorite things to do there is to go and see the Pelicans especially at feeding time. It really is one of the best things for children in London to see!
We always visit Green Park after having watched the Changing the Guard as there is a playground and lots of open space.
How to Get There: Green Park Station
10. Visit the zoo in Regent’s Park
Wondering what to do in London with children then look no further than Regents Park – home to London Zoo. A sure fire hit with any child. If you have a Harry Potter fan then this is also needs to be on your list as the London Zoo was featured in the Philsophers Stone Movie when Harry made the glass to the snake cage disappear causing Dudley to fall in.
To save your children waiting in line be sure to grab your Skip the Line tickets in advance HERE
How to Get There: Camden Town or Regents Park Station are both within walking distance.
11. See deer in Richmond Park
Being West Londoners, Richmond Park is perhaps our favorite spot. It is worth coming out to the end of the District line to visit and see the deers in the park and also see one of London’s protected views direct to St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound.
How to Get There: Richmond Upon Thames Station is closest and then there will be a short walk or bus ride.
12. Diana Memorial Garden
Undoubtedly one of the best places for children in London the Diana Memorial Garden is located next to Kensington Palace and is a fab place for children. Complete with Wigwams, Pirate Ship and a sensory trail however be warned this place can get busy!
Please note: The park opens at 10am each day (closed on Christmas Day). The park is supervised however children must be accompanied by an adult.
How to Get There: High Street Kensington or Notting Hill Station
Further Reading: London Itinerary with Kids
Green Spaces in London for Kids
Other than parks there are lots of other types of green spaces that are brilliant things to do in London with the kids. Our favourites are:
13. Kew Gardens
Not a park, but the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew are well worth the admission. In my opinion it is one of the best botanical gardens in the world! It is a great place for children to run around at any time of year but there are plenty of family friendly activities throughout the year such as Peter Rabbit Trail at Easter and the Christmas at Kew events. If you are looking for what to do in London for kids then this should certainly be on your list!
How to Get There: Kew Gardens Station on the District Line and Overground and then a short walk.
14. Kings Cross St Pancras Fountains
Ok not so much green but in the middle of the concrete jungle of London but a great outdoor space. Children will love running through the fountains in the summer.
How to Get There: Kings Cross Station
15. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
The Olympic Park offers an array of attractions for children. The park was constructed during the 2012 Olympics and is part of the legacy of the games! The playground has lots to attract children from rock pools, sand pits, water play, treehouses and more! There are also some fun interpretative trails within the park for kids to follows!
On top of the park there are lots of other things to do in this area including going up the giant Anish Kapoor sculpture that was one of the icons of the games, have lunch in the on site cage and more! . This is one of the best places for kids in London!
16. Camley Street Natural Park
An urban nature reserve close to Kings Cross. Kids will love to escape the city in this beautiful nature park.
Please note: This is currently closed until early 2020 as a new visitor centre is being constructed.
17. Coram’s Field
A seven acre playground and park for children near Bloomsbury. The rule at Coram’s Field is ‘no adult can enter without a child’ meaning that you know children are at the forefront of everything here!
How to Get There: Russells Square Station is closest
18. London Wetland Centre
Located in Barnes, the London Wetland Centre is a great place for kids to get up close to British wildlife in London.
19. Visit the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
A historic collection of dinosaur statues. Children will love getting up and close to the dinosaurs! With 30 life-size 3D model dinosaurs, sculpted in 1854 and restored in 2003 this is. sure fire win with kids!
On top of that crystal Palace has lots of other activities to keep kids amused!
20. Alexandra Palace Boating Lake
A beautiful green space where the kids can enjoy spending time on the water.
Best things to do on the Thames
21. Thames Rib Boat Experience
The Thames Rib Boat experience is a definite must for older children and thrill seekers! A great chance to see London from a different perspective! A fast paced ride through all the sites along the Thames with amusing commentary to boot! A sure fire James Bond experience.
22. London Duck tour with kids
More suitable for younger children than the rib boat, the amphibious vehicle offers a great way to see London from land and water. The duck boat is a distinctive yellow amphibious WWII vehicle (made by GM Motors for D-day landing). On this your you get to see all of the classic London sites but in a really fun way! Kids always marvel at the amphibious nature of the vehicle and you will squeals of joy as the boat enters the water for the first time!
What to Do in London with kids in the air
23. Emirates Cable Car
The only cable car in London and a great fun way for children to see London from up high!
24. Sky Garden
The Sky Garden offers a beautiful perspective on London and even better its free to enter but advance booking of tickets is essential. The Sky Garden offers great views across London, and rivals the Shard for views and is even better being free.
25. Walk the O2
One for the brave. Walk over the top of the iconic O2 Centre. Please check for age and height restrictions.
Otherwise check the schedules for what is on at the o2 while you are in town as this is one of the best gig venues on the whole of London!
26. London Eye
A London icon on the beautiful south bank of the Thames this is an absolute must do in London with kids! Pre booking tickets is a must to try and avoid the queue! The queue has been know to last two or three hours if the tickets aren’t prebooked during the summer holidays!
The revolution of the London eye is 45 minutes long and may be a little long for smaller children dependent on their temperament. However older children and teenagers will absolutely love spotting some of London’s most famous landmarks.
Insider Tip: For those traveling with children, there is a lovely playground which is a great place to blow off steam either before or after your trip on the eye.
Top Tip: If you are planning to visit several London attractions from Merlin Entertainments group these include: Shrek’s Adventure! London, Madame Tussaud’s London, Sea life London Aquarium, The Coca-Cola London Eye and The London Dungeon (and they are all in close proximity along the Southbank) it will save you a TON of money to buy the group ticket – you can buy the Merlin Magical London ticket here!
27. The Shard
One of London’s newest icons. Children will love seeing the view from London’s tallest building!
Top Tip: This experience often sells out – especially on weekends so be sure to book your tickets in ADVANCE Here!
28. Tower Bridge
Many people know the iconic tower bridge but did you know that you can walk across and learn about the engineering feat that made it? Children will love walking across this icon!
You can buy your tickets online HERE
Best London Attractions for Kids
Looking for things to do in London for kids, this sections looks at the best London attractions for kids that are perfect for rainy days in London!
29. London Aquarium
A brilliant family friendly attraction! Could be coupled with a visit to the London eye!
You can book your tickets in advance here! And if you are going to several of the London Merlin attractions consider buying the combo ticket!
30. London Dungeons
Definitely one for older children and teenagers. Get a fright at London dungeons at any time of year!
31. Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of the best things to do in London with children of any age! From learning the towers gruesome history or simply admiring the crown jewels! There is something for every interest and age at the Tower of London!
You can buy your tickets in advance, including Crown Jewel exhibition here!
32. Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard
On this list of what to see in London with kids, my top choice would always be the iconic changing of the guard held at Buckingham Palace. Buckingham Palace is a must for any visitor to London but try and time your visit to see the spectacular changing of the guard! The traditional and showmanship on display is a sure fire hit with kids. However be warned if you are travelling during school holidays and other peak times this gets very busy! Click here to read about our favourite places to watch the changing guard with kids when its busy!
Please note: The Changing go the Guard is not on every day so be sure to check your dates and plan your London itinerary with kids around this.
33. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
While Big Ben may not be sounding at the moment, a visit to see the Houses of Parliament are a must!
Please note Big Ben is currently under scaffolding.
34. Westminster Abbey
Go and relive the royal wedding or just marvel at its beautiful architecture.
35. St. Paul’s cathedral
This place definitely has a wow factor that will even impress the kids. There are multimedia and family trails to make the visit fun for kids too!
But probably the thing older children will enjoy more is climbing the 528 steps to the top of the dome of St Pauls! The view from the top of the dome offers some of the best views of London.
I can’t wait until my little one reaches the minimum age so we can do this as a family!
For more information please check the St Pauls Cathedral Website!
36. Hampton Court Palace
Literally my favorite palace in the world. Hampton Court has something for everyone. From learning about the gruesome history of Henry VIII to the fun maze or admiring the lawn tennis court. Hampton Court Palace is a fabulous day out and can be coupled with a trip down the Thames too!
Hampton Court can get busy so we recommend buying your tickets in advance!
You can get your entrance tickets via Viator online HERE
37. Kensington Palace
William and Kate’s current abode. Kensington Palace is a fab place to visit especially for lovers of royal dress!
Can be coupled with a visit to the Diana Memorial Garden
Kensington Palace can get busy so we recommend getting the Skip the Line Ticket in advance!
Things to do in London for Harry Potter Obsessed Kids aka Harry Potter related things to do in London
Let’s face it for kids of a certain age the main reason they want to visit London is Harry Potter! If you are looking for the best things to do with kids in London connected with Harry Potter then this section is for you! From some of the most well known attractions to some more hidden gems!
38. Warner Bros Studio Tour
A short journey out to Watford and your Harry Potter obsessed kid (or self) will be in Hogwarts heaven reliving their favorite scenes from the movie.
It is imperative to book these tickets in advance with plenty of notice!
39. Harry Potter Walking Tour
And if a studio tour isn’t enough, why. not relive some of the real life places by going on a Harry Potter Walking Tour!
40. Platform 9 3/4
The photo opportunity for any Harry Potter fan. Kings Cross station platform 9 3/4 with the trolley going through the platform. Get there early otherwise you will have to queue to get your photo! So many of the Harry Potter experiences in London are expensive but this is a one of the best free things to do in London kids will love!
41. Cursed Child Theatre Show
For teenagers who love the books, the theatre show The Cursed Child is a must. Remember that in true J K Rowling style she needed two theatre shows to tell her story. Either take a weekend day or consecutive nights to see this show.
Random things to do in London with kids
Looking for where to take children in London when you want something a bit more quirky and off the wall? Then this list of attractions is for you!
42. London Lidos
Looking for what to visit in London for kids during summer? Then I recommend visiting one of the cities many lidos!
One of the most central is the Serpentine. Although open year round it is probably best to wait for a nice day to do this one especially with the little ones in tow!
43. West End show
For me London is the home of theatre. From musicals to Shakespeare, the London stage has something for everyone even the littlest theatre fans. Make sure you check what family friendly shows are on during your visit. At the minute I fancy Matilda and Aladdin.
44. Puppet Theatre Barge
The Puppet Theatre Barge is a London institution. A 50 seater theatre on a barge has great shows for all the family. Located in little Venice! This is certainly one of the quicker things for kids to see in London
45. Street Performers at Covent Garden
When I used to work in Covent Garden the street performers in Covent Garden irritated the hell out of me. Now I am a mum I know how much my little will enjoy the street performers and we will become one of those families that used to irritate me. From magicians to comedians, there are street performances for everyone!
46. BFI IMAX
The largest IMAX in the UK. On a rainy day this is literally the best place in the UK to watch a film!
Afternoon tea is a British institution and there are some great family friendly options out for ones that have a great child friendly spin. There are several Disney themed afternoon teas (including Mary Poppins at Aqua Shard and the Mad Hatters Tea Party at Sanderson Hotel), a Harry Potter Themed one in the Potion Room at Cutter and Squidge in Soho and a Charlie and the chocolate factory one at one of my favourite London hotels – One Aldwych. The themes of this afternoon teas really appeal to kids and a don’t have the formalities of some of the more traditional afternoon teas.
48. Madame Tussaud’s
The place for all celebrity loving teens. But there are even things for littles here with Shrek and ET tableaus! There is also a Marvel 4D movie for your superhero loving kids!
49. Crystal maze live
As a child of the 80s I was all about the crystal maze! The chance to live my favourite show is just too tempting! Older children will love this interactive challenge and is something I can’t wait to try
50. Do a Free Walking Tour
We love a Free Walking Tour and London has its own. I love these as you pay what you think it is worth and you can break away if you have littles needing attention.
51. Visit Hamley’s
Hamleys, is one of the most famous toy stores in the world and has been captivating children since 1760 and it is easy to see why. Shop staff are constantly playing and demonstrating the toys which kids will love and you are bound to get lured into buying a few new toys – whether you want to not! Bt let’s face it there is nothing like a bit of bribery to keep your kids energy levels up when traveling!
52. Crazy Golf
Who knew that London was a centre of crazy gold. We’ve heard that this one is the largest and best!
Best sightseeing in London for families
If you are looking for one of the best ways to go sightseeing in London for families then I recommend looking at going on the
53. Hop On Hop Off Bus
If you have a places to visit in London with kids then chances are the best way to see a lot of them very quickly is by doing the London Hop On Hop Off Bus! The bus route takes in some of London’s most famous attractions and is a great way to get your bearings in this city!
Visiting London with Kids – Top Things You Need to Know
As a London mum I can attest that London is a great city to visit with kids. However before we get onto what we think are the best thing to do in London with kids of any age here are some of our top tips for visiting London with kids to help make your family vacation to London easier.
Getting Around London with Kids
Getting to London from the Nearest Airports
There are several airports that serve London internationally. The two major ones are Heathrow and Gatwick and both have express train services that take you into London Paddington Station and Victoria Station respectively. These are my preferences for getting into the centre from the airports as they are definitely the speediest option.
You can also get the Piccadilly line from Heathrow and a more local service from Gatwick which although are cheaper do take more time and eat int your itinerary.
The one thing I never do is get a taxi from the airport to my hotel as this is very costly and depending on the time of day can actually take you much much longer than the public transport option!
At 150 years old the London Underground is one of the first underground systems in the world and it is also one of the busiest which makes it daunting when travelling in London with kids. Our tips for using the Underground with kids
- Make sure you always have a London Underground map with you whether in hard or digital form.
- If travelling with a stroller in London look for the wheelchair signs at stations in the map. This denotes accessibility otherwise you will be carrying strollers up and down the staircases. Alternatively you could use a carrier which is definitely easier if there is only one parent travelling and can be helpful during the business of rush hour.
- I would always avoid travelling on the tube at rush hour if at all possible.
- Always check for line closures or delays before you leave
- Payment can be made via oyster card, apple pay or contactless card or if you are only doing limited travel you can always just buy an old fashioned ticket!
- Children 10 years or younger are not required to pay for use on the underground, bus DLR, overground system etc.
London by Bus
This is an easy way to get around the city with kids and newer buses are stroller accessible. The benefit of buses over the Underground is that you can see the sites as you are travelling around. Please note that all buses are cashless so you will need an oyster card or contactless card to use the buses.
Taxis in London with kids
UK law states that when travelling in taxis children under three may travel without a car seat! However I never travel without a car seat so we never take a taxi with our little one. Ubers are not subject to the tase rule so you will need a car seat with you and car seats are currently not available in London Ubers.
The locals call them Boris Bikes because they were brought in when Boris Johnson was Mayor of London. These bikes are available for rent but are only really suitable for teenagers and I would;dnt use on the roads but they are great for exploring parks with kids.
This is my number one favourite way to explore London and in my favourite itineraries in London for kids I always recommend walking for the most part.
Where to Stay in London with Kids
When booking a trip to London finding the perfect place with kids can feel daunting. The size of London, vast array of public transport options and the expense of this city can make it hard to find the right place. To help make your decision easier we have broken down our favourite areas and hotels to help make it easier to find out where to stay in London.
When we are looking to do a more budget trip to London we always stay at Premier Inn. Premier Inn is a no frills chain in the UK that offer great sized family rooms at a great price point for families. They are also in some fabulous across London with great access to both sites and public transport. Our favourite locations of this chain in London are:
However the standard of these hotels is equal across branches so I think any branch would be fine for families. For more information on the best premier inn to stay in London check out this post.
But if you have more money to splash on your accommodation then London has some great accommodation in the luxury bracket that works well for families including
- Conrad St James – our absolute favourite luxury hotel brand
- Aldywch One – the pool in this hotel is amazing with underwater music.
What is the best time to visit London with kids?
In my opinion there is absolutely no bad time to visit London and every season has something unique to offer. And if you are (un)lucky you might actually experience all four seasons in one day of your trip to the city.
Summer is a great time to visit London as you have the best chance to have decent weather. There are lots of special acvities for the school holidays and so many outdoor events that you can partake. The only drawback is that the crowds are often at their worst during summer in London.
Autumn is a great time to visit London as the crowds of summer have dispersed and the full winter weather has yet to set in. The other shoulder season of Spring is also a lovely time to visit London especially for those that are floral fanatics when the city gets Wisteria Hysteria, the roses come out in full bloom and the crowds for summer have yet to arrive.
Where to Eat in London with Kids?
There are loads of family friendly eateries around the city. Some of our favourite areas to eat with kids include Covent Garden and the South Bank because they have lots of chain restaurants that offer both good food and good menus and amenities for children (ie. Giraffe, Wahace, Wagamama, Pizza Expressto name a few). But in truth in most places you go to in London there will be a children’s menu and children will be welcomed.
What do you think the best thing to do in London with kids is?
- 50 + things to do in London with kids
- 4 Day London Itinerary
- 5-7 Day London Itinerary with Kids
- London Bucket List
- UK Bucket List
- 50 Things to do on a Rainy Day in London
- Hampton Court Day Trip
- Guide to Visiting London with a Baby or Toddler
- Children’s Books set in London