London is one of the greatest cities in the world to visit if you are traveling with kids in tow. I am a firm believer that cities can be a good holiday with children, if you plan for it correctly. As a London mum of a toddler I am lucky to have explored this city extensively and know the best things to do with kids in tow, while also understanding the need for good pacing when tackling a city the size of London. This 5 or 7 day London itinerary with kids shows the best that each area of London has to offer as well as offering insights into London hidden gems that should be on your bucket list and best places to stay.
Note: This itinerary is designed to be done in any order. The days are merely an indicator so feel free to mix this up as suits you best. This itinerary also does not allow for travel from Heathrow airport to London. This London itinerary with family covers
- Best things to do in Central London (Covent Garden, Southbank etc)
- Best London Museums for Kids and exploring South Kensington
- Best London Boroughs to visit with families (i.e. Greenwich, Richmond etc)\
- Best London Attractions With kids to visit (London Eye, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace etc)
- Best Day Trips from London with kids to take and
- Best way to travel around London with kids.
Day one of your 7 day London itinerary with kids (or without)
Note: I have put this as Day One as the Changing of the Guard is not on every day. As a must on any London bucket list, you will not want to miss this. So if you only can do London in a day with kids I would pick this one but dependent on your interests all of these could work.
Start your day with a leisurely breakfast at your hotel or try one of our favorite places for Breakfast in the city including:
Changing of the Guard
Today’s first stop is The Changing of the Guard. This ceremonial parade is a must do for any London visitor.
You can read more about the changing of the guard with kids here – and this will give you all the best information about best places to watch the parade, arrival times and all other essential information.
Once the Changing of the Guard has finished, you may want to consider letting your littles go run off some steam at the Playground opposite Wellington Barracks (the starting point of the parade) There is also a cafe here should your little ones need a snack and is also a good place for a caffeine stop.
Now Buckingham Palace is on everyone’s list for London. You can get some good pictures from the outside but depending on your interest and the time of year you are visiting you may want to book to look inside. The Palace Staterooms are open over the summer (July-September) and then in December (occasional) – if you want a Winter itinerary for London check out this post.
The tour is definitely worthwhile doing especially for fans of royal history! And for those traveling with small children, you don’t need to worry that this isn’t family friendly. The tour ends in the Garden and there is a lovely soft play area to let your smalls loose in.
As this is only open for such a limited time it is absolutely essential to book your tickets in advance – YOU CAN BOOK YOUR TICKETS ONLINE HERE
If time allows, we also recommend visiting the Royal Mews where you can visit the State Carriages and also meet the Queen’s Horses, a sure fire hit with kids. There are also some great hands on activities for children here which including a dressing up box and a craft table.
St James Park
Once you have finished at the Palace it is worth heading back through St James Park to head towards Westminster which is where you will be spending your afternoon. In the park, you will definitely want to stop and see the pelicans who are residents in the park.
For the budget conscious, you could consider having a picnic lunch in the park otherwise you can head towards Trafalgar Square for a quick cafe lunch.
Also, if time permits, you will want to make a quick stop at Horse Guards.
Churchill War Rooms
This afternoon we recommend making your first stop the Churchill War Rooms (this is more suitable for older children and adults than those traveling with small children). This is really the best place in the country to learn about Britain during WW2. The Churchill War Rooms are right opposite St James Park and in there you will learn about Winston Churchill and the operational work that happened in this bunker.
Parliament Square and the Houses of Parliament
Parliament Square and the Houses of Parliament is just a short walk from the Churchill War Rooms. It isn’t looking its best at the moment as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are currently being renovated. Be warned the renovations on Big Ben mean that barring New Year’s Eve you will not hear the bells chime until 2021. However it is still worth a visit on your trip.
Tours are available and are definitely worthwhile for adults visiting. There is a family friendly audio guide but this is aimed at minimum age 7, so if you are traveling with smaller children, I would recommend just admiring from outside.
Across the road is the beautiful
Opening times for the Abbey vary so you will want to check opening times and tweak this order to make sure you allocate enough time. The queues can get long here so get your tickets in advance HERE!
After all that exploring head to your final area of the day: Trafalgar Square.
The fourth plinth means that there is always something new to see in the square and if time allows you could nip inside the National Gallery.
Enjoy a dinner in the area and if you are inclined to see a show, then you are in the right area for the theatres. Our favorite theatre shows for traveling with small children are Matilda, Aladdin and the Lion King.
For those traveling with older kids or without children we recommend visiting the longest running play, The Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie, a gripping whodunnit which is typically British.
Day 2 of your London with kids itinerary – East London
For Day 2 of your London with kids itinerary we are celebrating all things East London. If you fancy a posh breakfast, a great place in the vicinity of today’s attraction is the lovely Duck and Waffle restaurant with it’s signature dish – Duck and Waffle.
After Breakfast you will head to your first stop of the day:
Tower of London
The Tower of London has so much on offer and it is hard to put a time on how long you will spend there. It is the place to learn about London’s more grizzly history including the beheading of two of Henry VIII’s wives (Anne Boleyn and Katherine of Howard) and about the mysterious disappearance and murder of the Princes in the Tower to name but a few.
It is definitely worth taking the tour (included in the ticket price), with one of the Yeoman Warder who can reveal fascinating insights on the Tower and its history. These tours last an hour and leave every 30 minutes. Be warned however that these can get busy so we recommend doing this as soon as you arrive to avoid the crowds.
Other worthwhile stops on your tour of the Tower of London include the armory, the chapel and of course visiting the Crown Jewels Exhibition.
Advance booking is essential. You can buy your tickets in advance, including Crown Jewel exhibition here.
After a quick lunch we recommend heading over to
This iconic bridge is an engineering triumph and has a fascinating exhibition at the top. If you are lucky you may get to see the bridge open while you are there.
Advance booking is essential. You can buy your tickets online HERE
After your trip to Tower Bridge your next stop is the beautiful
This is a free attraction 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.
If you have time a bonus stop today is
The Monument was resurrected in memory of the Great Fire of London of 1666. The walk to the top of the Monument is not for the faint hearted as it is 311 steps to the top. Suitable only for adults and older children, this also offers great views of the city without the Shard price tag.
For dinner tonight, we recommend heading to Brick Lane for a curry. Our personal favorite on Brick Lane is Aladdin’s but there is plenty of choice and you can’t leave the UK without trying a curry.
For adventurous eaters head to brick lane for a curry
Day 3 of your London family vacation itinerary (or without) – Day Trip Day
Today in your London family vacations itinerary is allocated as your day trip day. While there is loads to see in London, so much that even me as long time resident still haven’t seen everything, I still think it is worthwhile to head outside the city for at least a day.
If you a traveling with a Harry Potter fan then the Harry Potter Studio Tour is really the only day trip you should be considering doing. This books up months in advance. It is imperative to book these tickets in advance with plenty of notice!
If you don’t manage to book these tickets in advance then I recommend consoling your Harry Potter fan with a day trip to Oxford. You can visit the Oxford Colleges which is very interesting in itself but Harry Potter fans will recognize it as Hogwarts filming locations.
Either way you should start your day at Kings Cross to take the iconic platform 9 and 3/4 photograph. The queue for this can get crazy busy so you will want to be there early.
Our other favourite day trips from London with or without kids are:
- Hampton Court Palace – the royal residence of Henry VII which is overflowing with fun attractions for all the family – read our full review here.
- Windsor – another must for royal fans! You can read our Windsor Essential Guide here.
- Harry Potter Studio Tour
or if you are looking for beach access then
- Brighton is the day trip for you.
Other day trip options from London include Bath and Stonehenge and the Cotswolds.
If you want to know which day trips are best in Winter click here.
Day 4 itinerary for London with kids – The Southbank
Day 4 of your itinerary for London with kids is all about Central London in particular the Southbank area. One of my favourite areas in the city.
Note: The walk along the Southbank takes in many attractions so depending on what interests you will depend on how many stops you take.
If you are traveling with small children, I definitely recommend taking your stroller today.
Start by having breakfast at Borough Market. This is a London foodie gem. Film buffs will recognize this as the location of Bridget Jone’s flat. Borough Market has existed in some form or another since the 13th Century and even the fussiest eater will find something they love with over 100 stalls setting up shop there. Going early is essential as the crowds, especially at lunchtime can get big.
After you have fueled up, head out of the market and walk West. The walk along the Thames is beautiful and you can stop at:
The Golden Hinde Replica
This is a reconstruction of the ship that belonged to Sir Francis Drake. It is great that you can climb aboard and for London it isn’t too busy an attraction.
Nearby is also the famous Clink Prison. You can’t fail to notice the Clink as outside there is a large skeleton hanging in a cage. Not a museum in the most traditional sense and a bit gruesome (so not one for those traveling with small children). The museum offers a gruesome insight into some of the prisoners who had been held there.
The next impressive stop on your walk is Shakespeare’s Globe. The Globe is a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s open air theatre and offers daily performances of Shakespeare. I recommend coming back here tonight with older children to see a show as you really get a feel for what Tudor theatre was like as you stand to watch the show. If you don’t want to watch a full play however you can always take one of the guided tours instead. In school holidays you will find there are dedicated family tours so it is worth checking availability in advance.
The next big icon on your walk will be the Tate Modern. This industrial building is hard to miss on the London skyline.
The infamous Millennium Bridge is just outside the Tate and is worth a quick walk. The view from either side of the Bridge is breathtaking and I recommend making time in your Day to do it. If you want to dart across to St Paul’s if time allows this is the time to do so.
The Tate Museum has free entry so if you have enough time and inclination then it is worth jumping into the museum. The museum is the modern art museum of London and has some of the world’s best known modern artists on display and the Turbine Hall has a temporary exhibition space which has some of the most interesting and sometimes controversial exhibits. There are family trails and at weekends and school holidays plenty of family friendly activities.
Even if art isn’t your thing it is worth heading to the Chimney Viewing Deck. This offers great views of the City of London including St Paul’s Cathedral and best of all it is free.
The next stop is the Southbank Centre. You can’t miss it because it is hideous. A brutalist building which however is home to a stretch of family friendly restaurants. This is a great place to come for lunch or dinner. Our favourites include Giraffe and Wahaca
From there you head to the busiest stretch of the South Bank. The busiest place on this section is of course
The London Eye
Originally only a temporary structure made for the Millennium, the structure proved so popular that is still stands today. Not the highest view in London but the eye offers great views across the city including some of the best views of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. For small children, the 45 minute revolution might be a little boring but older children will enjoy picking out the landmarks and it is a must for any adult visitor to the city.
For those traveling with children, there is a lovely playground which is a great place to blow off steam.
Also of interest for those traveling with children will be the stretch of Merlin attractions along the Southbank:
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 it will save you a TON of money to buy the group ticket – you can buy the Merlin Magical London ticket here!
Depending on your children and your tastes I would recommend finishing your day by doing one of the above.
5 days in London with kids – Museums Galore
If you are planning to do a London 5 day itinerary family will enjoy then you can pick any of the days it notes have to be day one to day 5.
Note: Today is the celebration of all things cultural as you head to South Kensington as no 5 days in London with kids would be completed without hitting one of the capital’s famous museums. The below are the best picks for those traveling with children but if you aren’t traveling with children or with older kids I would recommend spending the morning or afternoon at British Museum, Sir John Soanes Museum which are in different locations or adding the V&A to the below list.
This day is also perfect if you are due to have a rainy day in London!
If you are traveling with small children the two museums in South Kensington I recommend are the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. Both of them have brilliant hands on areas and depending on your interests depends how long you will spend in each.
Note: if you are in London in December then the natural history museum ice rink has to make it into your Christmas itinerary.
the museums are also excellent for the older traveller especially the dinosaur and geology exhibits as the Natural History Museum and the Making Modern World galleries at the Science Museum.
Looking for books for children visiting the London museums? Check our this post!
For lunch I recommend heading to the Lebanese restaurant, Comptoir Lebanese near the Tube Station or heading into the Mews House Streets and to the beautiful pub the Queens Arms – my favorite pub in London.
After lunch, head to Kensington Palace. Adults will love viewing the exhibits on show at the Palace, the current home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. For those traveling with younger children, the Diana Memorial Playground is an absolute must and you will struggle to drag them away.
For tonight’s dinner we recommend heading to Covent Garden where there are plenty of child friendly restaurants and kids will love watching the street performers in the piazza.
Day 6 of 7 days in London family itinerary (or without) – West London
Today on your London Family Itinerary you are heading out west on the District Line, to my end of London and my favorite place
This beautiful botanic garden offers acres of floral splendor. A favorite is a walk in the iconic glass houses including the tropical Palm House while children will love taking the train round the grounds and walking the Treetop Walkway.
In holidays and weekends there are plenty of family friendly activities. A recent favorite of ours has been watching aromatic performances in the glass house.
For those that want to spend the day in the garden, you can also go into Kew Palace, a royal historic palace in the grounds of the gardens.
For a complete guide on things to do in Kew Gardens with kids check out this guide!
You can have a picnic in the garden on a nice day or head to one of the eateries inside the ground otherwise you can head into the nearby Richmond (walk or bus) where there are lots of restaurants.
You can spend the rest of the day walking around this historic town and why not hire a boat and have a jaunt on the river.
Day 7 of your 7 day London itinerary with kids (or without) – Maritime Greenwich
The last day of your 7 day London itinerary. Today we are heading to Maritime Greenwich in East London.
The best way to get to Greenwich is to hop on one of the boats and head down the river. Otherwise you can hop on the tube.
Start your day exploring the restored Cutty Sark. This historic tea clipper is a must for any Greenwich visit. Being able to climb aboard and see under this ship is a visit not to be missed.
For lunch head to the covered markets of Greenwich. And do a final bit of souvenir shopping.
After lunch head to the National Maritime Museum. Kids will love the giant map in the foyer while adults will enjoy learning about Britain’s maritime history.
Another must while you are in Greenwich is to head to and then jump the Greenwich Meridian line. Striding the Greenwich Meridian line means that you can be in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres at the same time. A really unique thing to end your trip to London on
Where to Stay in for this London itinerary for families
If you are looking for the best places to stay to complete this London itinerary for families then we have put some suggestions in each price bracket to help you make your choice.
Our favorite luxury hotels that are both couple and family friendly are:
My favorite hotel breakfast in the world. It is a great location and very family friendly
I love this hotel especially its pool with the underwater music. It also has a great Charlie and the chocolate factory themed afternoon tea.
Shangri La at the Shard
If you want to stay in a bucket list worthy hotel in London then this is the one for you.
Mid-Range Hotel Options
This chain hotel offers comfortable rooms in an ideal setting for exploration. For more information on the best premier inn to stay in London check out this post.
MidRange: Hilton London Tower Bridge
This mid range hotel is situated perfectly to explore some of London’s greatest icons.
Kensington is a great pace for those traveling with children.
For a more complete guide to the best London neighbourhoods and hotels to stay in click here.
How to get around London with kids or without
The Underground is one of the busiest underground systems in the world and dates back over 150 years. As such not all of the stations and lines are accessible and can be difficult to navigate with a stroller.We recommend picking up a London Underground map and looking for the disability symbol at the station as this shows which stations are accessible with strollers. Also be sure to check the TFL website before traveling to look for any train closures or delays. No visit to London is complete without riding the underground. To pay on the Underground you can use contactless card or pick up an Oyster card.
If you want more information about London with a baby then check out this post!
DO YOU NEED A CAR SEAT IN A UK TAXI?
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. If you know that you can store a car seat at your destination or perhaps have a convertible car seat stroller then this may be something you decide to do.
You could try booking a car in advance however with a company that provides car seats but this will obviously mean you have to keep to a tighter schedule.
Depending on the age of the bus will depend how accessible they are with a stroller. Modern buses have stroller parking but if busy you will have to fold it. London buses are a great way to get around the city while still seeing the sights.
Ferries can be used with your Oyster card and are a great way to see many of the London sights in relative comfort.
LONDON HOP ON HOP OFF BUSES
We have always loved a Hop On Hop Off bus. They are a great way to see the main sights of a city but can be difficult to use especially in the summer. Be sure to have a compact stroller or a carrier if you are planning on using.
Looking for things to make baby travel easier? Then check out this post!
TAXIS AND UBER
Taxis in London can be expensive especially the Black cabs and in London traffic. London Black Cabs are exempt from car seat laws and are the only taxis in London that can be hailed.
Uber is currently still available in London but doesn’t’ provide car seats. If you want some recommendations for car seats for toddlers when travelling check out this post.
FAQs about this London with kids itinerary
Does this work as a London itinerary with toddler?
This itinerary will absolutely work as a London itinerary with toddler in tow. In fact we lived in London with a toddler and did all of these things. However if you want some more information about visiting London with babies or toddlers check out this post for some specifically designed toddler activities.
Tell us have you spent 7 days in London? What was your family trip to london itinerary? What were your highlights?
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