If you’re planning a trip to London, you might be wondering about top things to do in London with kids. London, undoubtedly, has so much variety when it comes to must-dos and must-sees for families with kids. 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 20 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
When we think about what to do in London with kids, we think of The Natural History Museum! The Natural History Museum in the city center is famous with tourists and locals alike, and it’s one of our 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. We dare say this is one of the best things to do in London with kids.
It will take 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 we don’t know what will! Add this on your list of things to do on your next family trip to London.
2. Changing of the Guard
Some children may find this ceremony a little dull, but your kids may love to see the pomp and tradition of “Changing of the Guard”. The best place to watch this is on the Mall, which is beside St James’ Palace. Additionally, there is another ceremony which takes place at Windsor, but it does require a little time to get out of the city to see. While Windsor’s ceremony does offer smaller crowds, it had more pageantry. So if you are looking for kids’ activities for London vacation or “things to do in London near me” if you’re in London, this would be something to do!
3. The Royal Mews
When visiting London, of course you will want to educate your kids about the history, culture and heritage of the royal family. Unfortunately, Buckingham Palace will be closed for visits most of the year, and Windsor Castle, the alternative, will require an entire day trip from the city.
Therefore, the Royal Mews make for a great opportunity to educate your kids about the Royal side of England. Admittedly, you won’t spend all of your day here, which makes it a great option for coming with younger kids who tend to get tired easily. You’ll get the chance to see some horses, the stables, and more impressively, the Royal carriages that have been used for centuries. If you’re wondering what is good for kids to do in London, The Royal Mews will suffice.
4. 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. It doesn’t get better than this when you’re looking for kids’ activities in London.
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 us when we say that it won’t just be the kids that love it. Adults will, too.
5. Princess Diana Memorial Playground
Getting ready for a family trip to London? 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.
6. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
There are truly so many things to do at the stunning Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. If your kids are active and interested in sports, then this may be the best London day out you could possibly choose. You could climb to the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, and maybe even let your kids slide down to the bottom if they are old enough. This is one of the best places to visit in London.
If that’s not enough fun, you could check out how far you can all jump compared to a golf-medal Olympian, or take part in some swimming sessions at the aquatic center. Or if that’s not enough, you could always watch some gymnastics from the Copper Box Arena. This is one of the most fun things to do in London.
7. 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. Taking the train alone is already one of the coolest things to do in London – just ask your little one!
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 family exhibitions that offers free storytelling.
8. 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. If you are wondering what to do in London with kids, head out over here and you’ll soon discover that this is on the best places to visit in London.
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.
9. London Transport Museum
Need to add more to your list of what to see while in London with kids? London is widely remarked to be the most advanced European city when it comes to transport. There is a huge collection of buses, trains, subways cars and other trams to see at this wonderful museum. At most exhibits, kids have the benefit of entering completely free. It’s a museum that is very interactive and hands-on.
Your children can stay entertained for hours with the posters, video screens, maps, subway signs and illuminated boards. Additionally, if you are bringing very young children, there is a play area for those under the age of 5, and a fun museum shop to pick up some souvenirs. If you’re in planning London with kids, this is a place to add on your list of London kids activities, and free things to do in London.
10. London Duck Tours
Now this is perhaps the most unique way to see this beautiful capital city. You will step onboard a large, yellow WW2 vehicle, and set out on a fabulous adventure through London’s streets. You can opt for a tour around all of London’s main landmarks, and doing so is coupled with a live commentary feed. This is one of the coolest things to do in London with kids.
You might be a little bit worried that perhaps this isn’t the kind of thing to enjoy with kids, but we dare to suggest otherwise! And what makes it even more fun is that you have to quack loudly every time you see another yellow vehicle like yours! Fun!
11. 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 do for your family vacation to London.
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.
12. 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, your family is sure to have a unique experience in London.
13. Toy Stores
Toy stores, of course, the toy stores. London’s has so many of them that they will stand out as attractions in themselves. Some of the most popular ones will include the LEGO Store, and of course the delicious M&M store. Also, you don’t want to miss the toy department of Harrods, yes, there is more to see there than just luxury elevators! This is one of our top things to include when planning a “London for children” itinerary.
And of course, there is the 6-story high Hamleys. It is known as the largest and the highest toy store in the entire world. Just a quick visit around some of these shops can really make for a great day around the city. When visiting London, you certainly shouldn’t miss them, but you may just want to agree on a budget beforehand!
14. 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.
15. Harry Potter Filming Locations
If you are visiting London with kids who are perhaps slightly older, then you shouldn’t miss out on this wonderful adventure. If your kids are interested in Harry Potter, don’t be surprised if this ends up as the highlight of their trip. So, we think this would be something great to do in London with teens.
Of course, you can opt to take a bus tour around the city, which would stop off at each of the filming locations, as well as other tours that will cover most of the main sights, but if you have some hardcore Harry Potter fans amongst your group, then the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour Near London maybe the best place to head to. The studios themselves are situated just outside of the city, but tours should include bus transfers.
16. The Royal Air Force Museum
If you like planes, you will love this museum regardless of how old you are. In the Royal Air Force Museum, there are hundreds of different types of aircraft available, many of which demonstrate the rich history of British aviation. Visitors will often particularly recommend visiting the battle or Britain exhibition, where perhaps some of the most famous British wartime aircrafts are available to see. It is situated in Colondale which is less than half an hour away on the tube. This is one of our favorite London with kids activities.
17. The National Gallery
Do you and your children love art? Then you don’t have to worry much about what to do in London with kids. One of the best days out in the center of London is wandering around The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. A trip to Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster worth a visit itself. It’s one of London’s top attractions and is full of history.
The National Gallery is also 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. So, if you are looking for free things to do in London, a visit to the National Gallery should meet your needs.
18. Sea Life
When you are looking for a child-friendly aquatic experience in London, we don’t think there is anything that could provide a better experience than Sea World. It is situated in the County Hall building. Right beside it, you’ll find The London Dungeon and Shrek’s adventure which you can add on to your visit, or visit instead.
Your kids will love the huge aquariums, including the ones with sharks, not to mention the fascinating exhibitions and the available interactive games. It shouldn’t take more than an hour or two to see most things so you can see other nearby London attractions.
19. 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, we think that the zoo never gets old, and you might even love the London Zoo just as much – if not more – than your children.
Kidzania is an indoor city, which is run entirely by kids. Your kids can try out any number of careers, such as being a vet, or flying a plane right the way through to delivering mails or working in a hotel. If you are really looking for a sample of English culture, you can try out the Middlesex cricket activity center. You can totally relax while you’re here and your kids are playing, and if you’re with another adult, you may even take a break to the nearby Westfield shopping centre for London “me” time.