London, undoubtedly, has so much variety when it comes to must-dos and must-sees for groups of adults and couples. Personally, when I visit London from the north of England to see friends, my days are always packed full of activities that I must check off, but it’s nothing compared to the offering for people who have got children! London has to offer for families. Of course, there are the typical London attractions you can go to, which are good fun, but sometimes, you probably want to break out of the norm. Here are the top 10 unique things to do in London with your children and if you have the London Pass, you will be sure to save some money while having fun!
1. Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum in the city center is famous with tourists and locals alike; I have been a couple of times, and it’s one of my favorite things to do in London! The museum’s large scale exhibition displays a vast range of specimens throughout history and is constantly being updated with new showcases. It always takes me a good few hours to cover all aspects of the museum, but it’s a day out that’s not to be missed! If that huge dinosaur skeleton in the entrance of the museum doesn’t impress you, then I don’t know what will!
2. Princess Diana Memorial Playground
Another thing you can do when you visit London is pay tribute Princess Diana of Wales, and you can do this by taking your kids to her memorial playground in Kensington Gardens. Not only do the Gardens contain beautiful stretches of greenery, but the playground itself provides perfect entertainment for the children for at least an afternoon! Complete with a huge wooden pirate ship, various toys and sculptures, and tepees, this playground claims to inspire creative play and takes children on an adventure that they will never forget.
3. Peter Harrison Planetarium
This 120-seat digital laser planetarium is situated in Greenwich Park as part of the National Maritime Museum, and it looks seriously cool! The various shows on display take you and the kids to a faraway galaxy. With expert commentary from real astronomers, you’ll take a journey through space and time to explore different wonders of the night sky, as well as distant galaxies – you could even land on Mars! Believe me when I say that it won’t just be the kids that love it. Adults will, too.
4. Discover Children’s Story Centre
Discover Children’s Story Centre may be a little bit outside of London in Stratford, but it’s worth taking the train to visit this interactive story trail. Your Day Pass to Discover will buy you entry into the indoor Story World as well as the outdoor Story Garden, which includes a rather awe-inspiring spacecraft! If you’re visiting soon. you may see the current family exhibition, “The Fantastic World of Dr. Seuss,” which offers free storytelling.
5. HMS Belfast
Do your children like the water, or boats, in particular? Then it’s worth taking a trip aboard the HMS Belfast. This is a museum ship that is currently anchored on the River Thames indefinitely. It belongs to the Imperial War Museum, was originally built for the Royal Navy, and allows the public to explore what life was like for the crew at war and sea from World War II to 1963. Kids can climb up and down the ship’s nine decks, take the helm in the Captain’s chair, or even keep a lookout on the flag deck. You can get amazing 360-degree views of London from this vantage point.
6. Hounslow Urban Farm
Have you heard of Hounslow Urban Farm? Most people haven’t, but if you want a fun family day out that’s both enjoyable and educational, you should head to Hounslow Urban Farm. This animal sanctuary at Syon Park is not too far from London’s city center, and offers a number of different activities for you and your kids to get sucked into. Not only can you meet the animals, but you can interact with reptiles and participate in a pony ride, which even adults will love. This indoor zoo also features several traditional farmyard animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, and ducks, as well as unusual ones like barn owls, boa constrictors, and Thai water dragons.
7. Go Ape at Battersea
Go Ape is a popular activity throughout the UK for both kids and adults. It’s adventure-based and involves exploring a forest canopy in groups by participating in a treetop rope course – pretty much living like an ape for day! The Go Ape at Battersea is situated on the south bank of the River Thames, opposite Chelsea, in the heart of the city. If you fancy escaping the industrial look and feel of London, then Go Ape at Battersea provides the perfect opportunity. This urban jungle has a variety of different activities, including Tree Top Junior for kids, Zip Trekking Adventure, and Forest Segway Experiences. Whatever you decide to do, the family is sure to have a unique experience.
8. Climb the O2 Arena
The O2, in South East London, is a state-of-the-art arena, usually home to popular concerts and exhibitions. It also includes a bowling alley, clubs, bars, and a cinema. Not only does it provide fun activities on its inside, but it also allows you to climb its exterior, which has become a popular thing to do in London. The large, dome-shaped building is 52m at its highest point, but provides exceptional views at the top. You can participate in the Original Expedition during the day and see landmarks up to 15 miles away when it’s clear, or do the Sunset Expedition, or the Twilight Expedition at night. Whichever one you decide to do, be prepared for a fun hike.
9. The National Gallery
Do you and your children love art? One of the best days out in the center of London is wandering around The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. I’ve been to Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster a number of times, and it is worth a visit itself. It’s one of London’s top attractions, as it’s full of history. The National Gallery is one of the greatest art collections in the world. It was founded in 1824 and houses over 2,300 unique paintings. Families could spend hours exploring the artwork, and it’s one of the London historic sites that are free to enter.
10. ZSL London Zoo
London Zoo, situated in Regent’s Park, claims to be the world’s oldest scientific zoo. It’s a much more traditional outdoor zoo environment compared to Hounslow Urban Farm and certainly has a greater variety of animals to see and interact. The zoo was only originally intended to be used as a collection for scientific study, but later opened its doors to the public. It’s a popular London attraction for locals and tourists. Children can listen to daily animal talks, become an animal keeper for a day, take part in a photography workshop, and even have a VIP animal encounter. Regardless of the activity, I think that the zoo never gets old, and you might even love the London Zoo just as much – if not more – than your children!
With an abundance of activities on offer, you’re sure to struggle in your decision of what to do and where to go when you visit London with your family. If you don’t fit in all ten activities on my list of the top things to do and places to go in London, then you’ll just have to do the ones you missed out on next time. Hey, it’s a great excuse to come back to London!
This article is part of our popular series, Place To Go With Kids!