Are you looking for the perfect 3 day London itinerary with kids? Then you have come to the right place. While 3 days in London is only every going to scratch the surface of all the amazing things to do in London with kids, however this London 3 day family itinerary will cover the main London tourist attractions and sites to do with kids.
3 day London itinerary with kids
As we said, 3 days will only touch the surface of the main London attractions, however this itinerary covers most of the main sights, tells you how to get around London with kids and of course tips for enjoying them.
ITINERARY AT A GLANCE
Day One – Central London with Kids (Buckingham Palace, Changing go the Guard, St James palace, Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, London Eye and Covent Garden)
Day Two – South Kensington with Kids (Includes Diana Memorial Playground, Hyde Park) South Kensington Museums)
Day Three – covers Tower of London, London Bridget and Borough Market
Day One of this 3 day London itinerary for families
Note: while we have split this itinerary into each day, they can be done in any order. The reason however that we have put this as Day 1 is that one of the activities on this day, the Changing of the Guard, is not on every day. It is therefore important to check the Horse Guard website for your dates of travel to know which day you should do this.
Day One of this 3 day London itinerary for families concentrates on Central London and royal attractions but includes:
- Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard
- St James Park
- Downing Street, Big Big, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey
- London Eye
- Covent Garden
Changing of the Guard
So after a leisurely breakfast we recommend heading to St James Park and Buckingham Palace. We recommend getting to the area well before the 10:45 when the ceremony begins. This way you will be guaranteed to get a good spot to view the Changing of the Guard.
Once you have watched the Changing of the Guard we recommend spending some time taking some cute family photographs in front of Buckingham Palace before moving on to your next destination.
St James Park
You can also spend some time after the ceremony in St James Park itself. This is a small but beautiful park in Central London that kids will love. My kids love to watch the pelicans who live in the park. There is also a small but good playground for children and toddlers. There is also a nice cafe in the park where you can pick up coffees and ice cream. We recommend having a refuel stop here so you can take a later lunch.
This walk through the park will then take you onto your next destination.
Downing Street, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Downing Street, the home of the British Prime Minster is at the other end of the St James Park and is very easy to walk to even with children or using a stroller.
This is just a quick photo stop opportunity before moving on to see Bg Ben and the Houses of Parliament which are literally just down the road from Downing Street.
In this area you can see Big Ben, whose refurbishment is newly finished and finally out from under scaffolding, the British Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
Depending on the age of your children will depend on whether you want to use this a photo opportunity point or whether you want to go into Westminster Abbey itself.
Once complete we recommend crossing over Westminster Bridge to get onto the South side of the River Thames, which is where you will spend your afternoon. But first Lunch!
There are lots of places that are good for lunches on this part of the South side of the river so it really depends on what sort of cuisine you fancy as you will find most things on offer on the Southbank.
Some of our favorite places to eat near the London Eye on the Southbank are:
- Giraffe – a world cuisine family eatery that has a healthy and varied children’s menu
- Ping Pong – a dim sum restaurant and
- Wahaca – a Mexican street food chain.
We enjoy these restaurants as none of them require reservations which is handy when you have a jammed packed itinerary.
Once you have had lunch we recommend jumping on board the London Eye to get some of the best views of London. We always recommend buying your tickets for the London eye in advance as the queues for this London attraction get very long no matter the time of year you are visiting.
Usually the London Eye takes around 30 minutes to complete one full revolution.
If you are traveling to London with toddlers or young children, now is a good time to let the little ones blow off some steam at another of London’s best playgrounds. Jubilee Gardens is the public park closest to the London eye and has an amazing playground.
And there are lots of food trucks in this area where parents can grab a quick coffee while they let their little ones play. Once you have finished here we recommend waking further down the South Bank towards the Waterloo Bridge where you will cross back onto the North Side of the River for your final destination of the day.
If you wanted to make a substitution you could do one of the following nearby attractions instead of on top of the London Eye:
- Shreks Adventure or
- London Aquarium.
Covent Garden is one of my favorite areas of London, and is a great one to visit with kids. It is a great place to go shopping for some London souvenirs, watch the street performers in the piazza and a great place to have a pre-theatre dinner.
Some people worry about what there is to do at London at night with families but do not worry there are loads of amazing things to do in London with kids in the evening.
Covent Garden is heart of the theatre district in London and there are lots great theatre shows for kids in this area. Depending on your children’s ages and interest theatres and shows in this area include:
- Matilda – the musical show the Netflix film is based off, playing at the Cambridge Theatre near Seven Dials.
- Disney’s Frozen – playing at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in Covent Garden.
- Disney’s The Lion King – playing at the Lyceum in Covent Garden.
- Mamma Mia – at the Novello Theatre and
- The Mousetrap – for those traveling with teenagers, seeing this longest running theatre show can be very special.
This is just a highlight selection of some of the family friendly shows currently playing in theatres near Covent Garden. We have made other suggestions for other nights in this itinerary, however feel free to substitute in more theatre shows if this is something your family is interested in doing.
Day 2 of 3 in this London with Kids itinerary
Day 2 is dedicated to another of my favorite areas in London – South Kensington. South Kensington is home to some amazing kid friendly attractions including:
- Diana Memorial Playground
- Hyde Park
- Kensington Gardens and
- the South Kensington Museums such as the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum.
We try and get a good majority of these done on this second day of our itinerary.
Diana Memorial Playground
If you are traveling to London with children aged 12 or under then the Diana Memorial Playground is an absolute must. In my opinion it is the best playground in London and is somewhere my kids always ask to visit no matter whether we have one day in London or 7 days in London.
There are many different sections of this playground, that are aimed at different ages. But in the centre is a giant pirate ship play structure that kids adore.
We can easily spend around 2 hours at the playground with our little ones, before having to drag them away but you can allocate as much or as little time to this as you like.
It is worth noting that the playground has toilet facilities, baby changing and a cafe where you can buy teas, coffees, hot dogs and ice creams.
We recommend doing this first thing in the morning, it usually opens at 10am, as the playground gets very busy around lunchtime and in the afternoon especially. However if you can only get tickets to museums and other activities in the morning you can feel free to move this to the afternoon.
South Kensington is another place that has lots of restaurants and good options for families. Some of our favorite places to eat with kids in South Kensington include:
- Honest Burgers – a local burger chain,
- Comptoir Libanese – a local Middle Eastern chain,
- Carluccio’s – an Italian chain and
- T Rex Grill – a cafe within the Natural History Museum that is great for kids.
However if you want to allocate a bit more time to your lunch and to do something a bit more uniquely British we recommend either having
- a pub lunch at my favorite pub in South Kensington, The Queens Arms or
- Afternoon tea at the Ampersand – it offers one of the best child friendly afternoon teas in London with a Science theme.
Once lunch is over we recommend heading to one of the London museums in South Kensington. Now I know a lot of other itineraries try to cram as many museums into their South Kensington itinerary as possible. However this can be a lot for children. Therefore I recommend choosing one that you most want to visit and doing this well, and then if you have time or energy adding another into the itinerary only if you feel like it.
The museums in South Kensington are:
- the natural history museum – great for those traveling with dinosaur lovers and one of the best museums in London for toddlers.
- the science museum – we recommend booking tickets for the paid for exhibit Wonderlab as well. This is an interactive hands on science exhibit that kids from 5-12 will enjoy especially, and
- the Victoria and Albert Museum – a decorative arts museum which is better for those traveling with teenagers as opposed to toddlers.
Please remember, if you are heading to the Science Museum or the Natural history museum you will need to book timed entrance tickets, otherwise you will end up queuing outside for entry. And unless you are heading for a ticketed event like Wonderlab, the museums in London are free to enter so they are a great thing to do if you are on a budget in London.
For your night we recommend either going for a nice dinner, or trying to snag tickets for either the Ceremony of keys at the Tower of London or join one of London’s many walking tours.
Last day of your London 3 day itinerary
Today is the last day of your London itinerary and we are making the assumption that you will be leaving London in the late afternoon or early evening.
But that still leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy the city. For this reason we have managed to fit the below into this final day of your family itinerary:
- Tower of London
- Tower Bridge
- Borough Market
We recommend starting the day with a special breakfast at one of London’s most iconic restaurants – Duck and Waffle. This restaurant is renowned for, you guessed it, it’s duck and waffle breakfasts but also it boasts some of the best views of London.
Tower of London
Once you have finished breakfast, you need to take a sort 20 minute stroll to your next itinerary stop – The Tower of London.
Again, the queues at the Tower of London get very long, so we recommend buying your tickets in advance to maximise your time in the city.
Once inside the Tower we recommend you heading straight to see the most popular exhibit at the Tower – the Crown Jewels Display. The queues for this exhibit get longer and longer as the day goes on so we recommend doing this as soon as you arrive.
Once you have seen the Crown Jewels we recommend joining a tour with a Beefeater. The tour is included in your admission ticket and is a great way to find out about the history of the tower before going to explore on your own.
Once you have finished at the Tower we recommend walking across London’s most iconic bridge, Tower Bridge. If you have more time left to explore London then you can actually enter the Bridge and go to the top where you can walk across the iconic glass walkway which has amazing views of the city.
But if you are pushed on time, it is still worth crossing to get to the final destination on our itinerary.
Borough Market is the best foodie market in London and is a great place to stop for lunch on your final day. You can spend hours at Borough Market trying the free samples at the stores, but depending on how much time you have left on your final day will depend on how long you spend here.
If you have more time, you could also join one of the many food tours that tour the market.
If you have any extra time in your itinerary you may also want to check out the nearby attractions of:
- Tate Modern
- St Pauls Cathedral
- The Globe Theatre or
- The Golden Hind.
And there you have it our favorite 3 day London itinerary with kids. However if you want to make your itinerary more seasonal or add in some day trips you may want to check out some of our other London posts:
- London Christmas itinerary for families
- London itinerary with toddlers
- 7 day London itinerary
- Best day trips from London with kids
- Best Winter day trips from London
- Best day trips from London with toddlers
What is the best way to get around on this London itinerary?
Obviously where you are staying affects what method of transport is closest to your accommodation. However we recommend getting to the starting point of your day on either tube or bus. For more intuition on how to use the London Underground with kids and toddlers check out this post.
However for the rest of this itinerary, you can mostly walk between the main sights.