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London With Kids

 Of all the cities in the world, London is my top pick for children because of the wealth of things to do in the UK’s capital, many of them free. Of course London can be expensive too, be ready for that, but the devalued pound and good exchange rates could help foreign visitors a lot. Flights to London have also become more affordable lately. Some ideas, tips, reviews and guides on London with children, 2020 updated, some are my own childhood favourites, some are things and places my kids and our family loved in London. Visiting London with children by a Londoner, a local mum, a returned expat, and a full-time professional traveller.

London With Kids Child Playing Outdoors
London with kids, outdoor places, open spaces to play, child-friendly attractions, places to stay for families, and more. This is my son playing in London’s St James’s Park

We returned to live in London for 8 months as part of our full-time nomadic travel lifestyle and we spend most summers there. Our children lived there as babies, toddlers, teens, and tweens. We always love being back and London is a child’s paradise. It’s one of a handful of destinations that the kids always ask to return to. We know London like the back of our hands so if we don’t cover anything here please feel free to ask in the comments. Other travel blogs pull second-hand information from the internet, we don’t. We hope we can help.

A lot of the indoor places we mention below will be closed currently. We’re updating as often as we can and hopefully things will be back to normal soon. Where we can we’ve included links for you to check for opening.

Any post on this site may contain affiliate links. We earn commission on these should you make a purchase. All recommendations are genuine and we are not paid to include products, hotels, and so on.

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London With Kids, It’s a Dream Destination.

London England With Kids
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There is so much to do that is child-friendly, educational and fun in London. There are parks and free museums, historical landmarks and entertainment, enough to keep your family busy for months, maybe years!

I’ll stick to my family’s favourites, the things we always enjoyed when we lived in London and visited London.If you are visiting London with children I hope you will enjoy them, too.

I think the key to children getting the most out of travel is preparing them. Show them pictures, tell them stories, watch videos. When they get there they will be excited to see what London has to offer and know a bit about the landmarks.

London With Kids – A Short Video

Things To Do In London With Children

There are a so many things to do in London with kids that you could stay a month and not do them all. Many closed during lockdown. Today, July 2020 we’re adding information on what’s open, what’s closed. We’ll keep this post as fresh as we can but things change constantly. We start our list below with free things to do and move onto paid attractions and sight-seeing.

Free London Museums for Kids

Most museums in London are free, which is brilliant! More and more you will see suggested donations, but these are not compulsory. As we visit these museums often, I may give a donation sometimes, others not. It’s one of the main things I miss about living in London, particularly as we are home educators or homeschoolers. London has a huge home education community.

Expect queues and bag searches at most of the most popular museums. You may need to check if they are still free, the government were pushing for admission to become paid.

Our favorite London museums are below.

The Natural History Museum

London With Children Natural History Museum Whale Hall 2017
If you take your kids to the London Natural History Museum today you’re in for a surprise. Dippy the dinosaur has gone and in his place is this rather magnificent whale. Which do you prefer?

According to The National History Museum’s website, the NHM is temporarily closed. Check for reopening here.

You could spend a week here and still not see everything. It is one of the most incredible places on Earth. The building itself, with its magnificent Victorian architecture, is impressive and then you step through the main doors and come face to face with a whale.

Dippy, the iconic replica Diplodocus has gone on tour. To your left is the dinosaur exhibit, complete with an animatronic T Rex, huge skeletons and a number of interactive displays.

Tip: The museum can be busy in term time, when many school groups visit, it has sometimes been quieter for us in school holidays, avoid weekends and go early or late. School holidays also bring huge crowds of course.  You may have to queue outside.

The mammal hall is spectacular, the life sized blue whale suspended from the ceiling is a memory from my childhood that still impresses me forty years later.

There are cafes, excellent washrooms and cloakrooms. The food is extremely good quality, but more expensive than elsewhere.

If you visit London at Christmas time you should find an outdoor ice rink and carousel in front of the museum. These photos were taken in November, the weather was beautiful and we didn’t need warm coats at all. We were lucky, you have to prepare for anything weather-wise.

I must also mention the Rothschild Collection out in Tring, north of London. It is now owned by the Natural History Museum, and is free. It is a compact yet extensive collection put together by Walter Rothschild, a notable eccentric,  famous for having a stable of zebras to pull his carriage. They have the most enormous stuffed seal I have ever seen on the top floor, it’s well worth a visit.

There is also The Horniman Museum at Dullwich or Forest Hill officially, again, a collection of stuffed animals from a private collection along with a small aquarium and butterfly exhibit.

The 2010 BBC  TV  documentary series, The Museum of Life, is one of our family favourites. It’s a behind the scenes look at the work the NHM does, it would be great to watch before you go if you can.

The British Museum  

The Briritish Museum entrance hall with lion
London’s British Museum, a stunning collection in a stunning building. Travel through time and history with your kids.  

According to The British Museum website, the museum is temporarily closed due to lockdown. Virtual tours are available. Check latest news here.

At the British Museum the Egyptian artifacts are amazing, not as good as Cairo’s Egyptian Museum and, arguably, some of the exhibits should be sent back there, but if you are into Egyptology, mummies and hieroglyphs you will be in museum heaven. They have the Rosetta stone, how cool is that?

Just about every culture is represented, from Ancient Greece to Asian civilizations, Egypt is our family favorite. We’re always on the lookout for educational things to do in London and the British Museum’s kids audio guides are superb.

It’s an incredible building with good facilities, food is great, but pricey. Washrooms are good but they can get very busy. I really like the gift shop too, with products from the arty and unique to kids’ books and toys. Read our full post on the British Museum with children here.

 The Science Museum

London with children Science Museum Launch Pad Kids Hands on Science Area
Hands on kids’ science at the Launchpad Kids Area of London’s Science Museum. It’s free to enter but donations are appreciated.

London’s Science Museum is right next door to the Natural History Museum and is also free to enter (other than by donation). Sadly, it too is currently closed, check here for opening times.

There are two hands-on kids’ science areas, one for toddlers, preschoolers and young school-aged kids on the bottom floor and one for older kids ( shown above).

Launchpad is on the top floor and has plenty to keep kids busy including science shows and demonstrations throughout the day. Read more on London Science Museum with children here. They have a nice restaurant and gift shop too.

The Science Museum is often less crowded, so if you can’t face the Natural History Museum queues you can try here instead, or even the Victoria and Albert Museum which is just over the road.

The big three are in South Kensington, you need South Kensington Tube Station then take the underground walkway to the museums.

The V & A

The V& A, the Victorial and Albert Museum of art and design is my kids’ least favourite of the big 3 London Museums. I really like the display of theatrical and celebrity musicians’ costumes on the top floor. There is also an area to play dress up but the clothes tend towards adult size.  On a lower floor there are interesting exhibits on art and design around the world and religious art styles. There are audio guides available. The cafe in the V&A is pretty spectacular. In this area of London look out for WW2 damage to the stonework, it’s everywhere. If the Natural History and Science Museums are looking way too busy, the V & A is usually quieter.

 Tate Modern

The Tate Modern with children worked well for us. They offer kids audio guides as well as an impressive ” Wall of Art” computer feature. Our favourite artist is Salvadore Dali, we’ve seen several of his works here over the years along with Picasso. Check which pieces are currently on display. The Tate Modern is on the South Bank.

The National Gallery of Art.

London National Gallery with children was also good. Here we enjoyed a free tour, aimed at adults but good for my kids, along with audio guides. This museum hosts special kids events and classes in school holidays. This is where we got to see Van Gogh after a long-held interest thanks to Doctor Who. This museum is directly behind Trafalgar Square.

Unusual Museums for Children in London

We have a complete blog post on The Museum of Childhood which features the toys I used to play with as a kid and those your grandparents would have enjoyed. The Grant Zoology Museum is wonderful for budding scientists with plenty of bones and skeletons to interest small ones. It may be a little gruesome for some. If you’re on the South Bank the Clink Prison Museum is worth a look. It’s on the site of the original Clink Prison and gives you history, education and gory details. All of these 3 are small museums and won’t take much of your time.

The Changing of The Guard

There are 2 changing of the guard ceremonies that attract tourists, the bigger one at Buckingham Palace and the smaller at  Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall.

Both are, in theory, daily and at 11 am. The Buckingham Palace Ceremony starts at 10.30am when the new guard forms at Welligton Barracks ( opposite St James’s Park). They then march to Buckingham Palace and ” change” at 11 am. The old guard then marches back to barracks with accompanying band. They are back at barracks at 11.30am.

You need to check timetables as there are seasonal, weather and security variations. Try here. It is at Whitehall ( near Downing St.) that you can get a photo with a mounted guardsman and stroke a horse, if you’re lucky. The Queens Guard at Whitehall changes at 10 am on Sundays, but do check and double-check these times.

Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column

Trafalgar square commemorates the battle of Trafalgar from the Napoleonic wars and as such, holds a statue of Admiral Horatio Nelso who died in the conflict. It is in the heart of London and the entrance to The Mall, the road that leads to Buckingham Palace, is right opposite.

His statue is guarded by four noble bronze lions by Landseer. Famously their back halves were modelled on dogs, not felines. If you look, you can see this.

Trafalgar square is an open public space and great for a run around. I grew up feeding the pigeons here, but those days are gone. My kids were able to climb on Nelson’s plinth and have their photos taken sitting with the lions when we last visited.

Look out for contemporary art pieces on the back left plinth, outside the National Gallery. Charing Cross Station is nearby.

Hop On Hop Off Bus Tours With Kids

I’ve taken a hop on hop off bus tour with my kids and despite being Londoners, we loved it. Most of these buses have open tops, so plenty of fresh air up there to enjoy. Of course, this puts you at the mercy of the elements but despite popular belief, it actually doesn’t rain all that much in London.

You can normally book flexible tickets that will take you all over London. It’s the commentary that makes these tours and if you get a good host you should have a lot of fun with this type of London tours. Keeping small children happy could be challenging.

Combined London Attraction Tickets and Heritage Passes

Many variations on these tickets exist. They’re designed to save you money but, maybe, spend more money in total because with these tickets you will visit more attractions than you might otherwise. I’m going to list the ones currently available below, but unfortunately this industry is very confusing right now.

Explore Greenwich

Visiting London with Children Greenwich attractions
Beautiful, historic Greenwich. Run down the hill, or roll if you prefer. Stand on the meridian line ( it’s free) . Visit the Cutty Sark or the Maritime Museum. Greenwich is well worth your time.

Greenwich isn’t far away at all but because it’s a stand-alone area, reached by the Docklands Light Rail. we’ll keep it separate.

There is plenty to fill a day or two in Greenwich and it’s one of our favourite parts of London. We often stay on this side of town too.

Greenwich is dominated by the magnificent The Cutty Sark,  a paid attraction, but there are free museums, the Greenwich Meridian and wonderful markets, traditional pie mash and jellied eels and modern street food to explore. See our post on things to do in Greenwich with children.  This post includes information on how to get to Greenwich.

Shops and Markets for Kids in London

Harrods.

It’s worth a visit just for the food hall, an amazing array of the unusual and the expensive, plenty of eating opportunities here too, at a price. There is a dress code, they don’t admit scruffs.

Hamleys

Visiting London with Children Hamleys Star Wars
If you’re visiting London with children of any age ( even those in need of a hair cut!) you MUST visit Hamleys the Greatest Toy Store in the World. There’s something for everyone, entertainments and toys to try. They even have a rope-drop style event at opening time.

Maybe the greatest toy shop in the world. It’s on Regent St. just a short walk from Oxford Circus. There are five floors of awesomeness with lifts and escalators. A cafe, restrooms and baby changing facilities are on the top floor along with the Dr Who toys (wow!). Staff stationed all over the shop keep kids entertained with toy demonstrations. The window displays at Christmas make things extra magical.

Covent Garden Markets.

The Covent Garden tube station is strange, it’s the only station I remember where the access is via elevators. As you come out and walk right towards Covent Garden you are surrounded by buskers, mostly performance artists standing still pretending to be statues, waiting for you to throw them coins. They are extremely good, most kids love them.

In Covent Garden proper you will find more buskers, these are more likely to put on shows, gathering a crowd around them, again, they are excellent, magic, fire tricks, uni-cyclists,  jugglers or, my favourite the guy that puts on the Charlie Chaplin show. My son got involved with him last year, it was amazing. They usually pass a hat around for donations at the end.

In the central part of the market are the market stalls, surrounding this are regular high street shops housed in the old market buildings. I LOVE Covent Garden. Look out for the Christmas fairs and food fairs, there are often special events.

Borough Market

Borough market is another Harry Potter filming location ( The Leaky Cauldron is here) and is a foodie destination above all others. Beware, it can get very crowded on weekends and during holidays. Borough Market dates back to 1041 and is open Monday to Saturday although Monday and Tuesday are smaller market days, not all traders open then. It is likely to be closed on public ( bank) holidays. It is on the South Bank, beneath London Bridge, near The Shard and London Bridge Experience / London Tombs. Around Christmas Borough Market is also open on some Sundays.

Parks, Gardens and Playgrounds in London for Kids

London is absolutely crammed with parks, lakes and playgrounds, the wild squirrel population is a big hit with those that aren’t used to them. My husband and I used to laugh at tourists taking photos of the squirrels, now my children chase them around with cameras, too. You will find them wherever there is grass and trees.

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Gardens

Visiting London With Children Princess Diana Memorial Playground
This is a must do for anyone visiting London with children. The Princess Diana memorial playground in Kensington Gardens is a fantasy land, very much inspired by Peter Pan, for children up to about 12. It is a safe, fenched area for families only.

The Princess Diana playground is a magical place, a lovely reminder of a special lady. It is only open to children under 12, and features a huge central pirate ship. You can find it near her old home in Kensington Gardens. The Diana memorial fountain is in Hyde Park, the two parks are side by side. The fountain is another lovely spot, children and adults like to paddle on hot days.

The Regent’s Park

You can see some of the zoo animals for free from Regents park, certainly the camels in the old, listed, elephant building and the farmyard animals in the petting zoo. It’s an enormous area of grass and gardens, take the kids for a run around, to feed the ducks or for a rowing boat ride on the lake. It is beautiful in autumn when the leaves are turning. There are a number of cafes serving ice creams, cakes and hot snacks along with rest room facilities. At the Baker St end there is a really great kids’ playground.

St James’s Park

St James’s Park is the park you’ll walk through between Horse Guards’ Parade and Buckingham Palace. It has a lake, plenty of ducks and swans and a really nice kids’ playground just steps from Buckingham Palace. This would be a good place to take a kid friendly breather before or after the changing of the guard. There is a café near the lake.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park lies between Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Kennnsington and is contiguous with Kensington Park and Gardens, but is considered a separate park. Park Lane runs along its eastern side and Marble Arch is at its north east corner.

Hyde Park is home to Speaker’s Corner and The Serpentine. It is where London’s Christmas Winter Wonderland is usually held and of course, is great for kids.

We particularly like a couple of statues that are actually on Park Lane, adjacent to Hyde Park. They commemorate animals in war. Your kids might like to take a look.

London Zoo

londoin zoo the historic giraffe house

London Zoo is open after lockdown but it looks like you need to book a time to visit to comply with new social distancing regulations. Certain parts of the zoo remained closed longer, outdoor parts opened a while ago. Gradually the zoo is fully re-opening and they have baby otters. Check their site here for latest zoo news.

London Zoo is a big day out, a must-do if you are visiting London with children. I used to take my preschoolers almost every week on our local’s annual pass. Unfortunately, it is a little expensive for one-off visitors. You can see my post on London Zoo here, I’m a zoologist and passionate about animal welfare, the work they do is vital for conservation and London is a shining example of this.

Check out the old elephant house, a listed building, the elephants have now been relocated to Whipsnade Zoo and Safari Park, along with the other larger mammals.(Whipsnade is also excellent) The elephant house was housing camels and pygmy hippos last time I was there.

The cafe at London Zoo wasalways great and had a good selection of hot food and healthy snacks, they do great coffee and cake too. According to the zoo’s own website, only take away food and drinks can now be served.

The cafe used to get very busy, try to avoid peak times. Check out the area in front of the cafe for carousels, occasional face painting, and a lovely children’s playground.

The giraffe house is another favourite  I love the smell of giraffe and hay as you go into the enclosed area. We used to take a packed lunch and eat it in the giraffe house, sometimes.

I’ve been visiting London Zoo all my life, things have changed, there are new attractions, (such as the excellent indoor rain forest exhibit) but the old buildings and history remain.

The reptile house is another old building, if you know your Harry Potter films you’ll recognize the enclosure at the front, on the left, as the place where Harry first started talking to snakes.  

London Sea Life Aquarium  

London with Children London aquarium
The London Sea Life Centre on the South Bank is a place my kids have been visiting since they were toddlers. It’s a great aquarium with plenty of sharks, the kids ask to go again and again.

This is a great aquarium, the huge shark tank stretched over 2 or 3  stories and housed some unusual types of shark, not just the usual grey nurse sharks.  You can read our review of London Aquarium here. It’s just south of the river near the London Eye (one of the very best attractions in London), you could do both in one day and save money by buying a Combi Ticket. There is a great kids’ playground near The Eye on the South Bank too.

The Tower of London

Another big day out, highlights include King Henry VIII’s suit of amour and the crown jewels  When I was visiting last year they had a special exhibition, Royal Beasts, showcasing the tower’s history as a zoo, complete with wandering actors re-enacting the roles of the beast keepers. It’s still running. It was a big hit with the kids, as were the ghostly tales of the Beefeaters. These guys are all ex-army, are great with the kids, and tell fantastic tales.

If you can’t make it to the tower, check out this book The Tower Menagerie: The Amazing 600-Year History of the Royal Collection of Wild and Ferocious Beasts Kept at the Tower of London. You can read all about the first polar bear in London, he was kept chained on the banks of the Thames, or the elephant that didn’t last long on his diet of beer and bread. (My animal enthusiasm may give away my zoologist roots, sorry!)

The London Eye

This is one of my favourites and is where you see just how small London is, you can see everything from up there. I’ve not taken the children since they were babies, I have a feeling children may find it a little dull, this one is more for the grown-ups.

The Shard with Kids

The Shard is a building on London’s South Bank, not far from London Bridge. It has 95 floors and is 310 m tall. Visitors can go to the upper viewing decks to take in the incredible views as part of a ” View From the Shard” package.  I’ve been up there with my kids, they loved it. I’m scared of heights so I was fairly terrified but the view was immense. This would probably be a good alternative to The London Eye. We have our full post on going up The Shard here. Doctor Who fans might get a particular buzz out of this one as Matt Smith’s Doctor once went up the Shard on a motorbike.

Ripley’s Believe it or Not

The London Ripley’s Believe it or Not is (was) housed in a building overlooking Piccadilly Circus and yes, for a fun half-day, it was well worth going. My kids adored this place just as they loved the New York Ripley’s, the two are quite different. They particularly enjoyed the laser maze, which you could pay to enter in isolation. A full post on London Ripley’s Believe it or Not here. UPDATE – This Ripley’s I believe, has now gone, I’m trying to find out more.

Madame Tussauds and The Planetarium

I haven’t been to the London Tussauds since I was a child and have never taken my kids. But, and it’s a big but, I recently took my teenager to Tussauds in Bangkok and we absolutely loved it. So maybe Madame Tussauds is a great thing to do with teens.

My small children wouldn’t have known who most of the celebrities were as we were not TV watchers so I didn’t see the point. My brother and I loved it when we were kids, particularly the horrible Chamber of Horrors. Sorry, I don’t know what it’s like now. It’s next to Baker St Tube station which is where you’ll come for the Sherlock Holmes museum. Last time I was here the gift shop next door to the tube station had a full-sized TARDIS just inside, handy for photo ops!

The London Dungeon

This attraction is horrible and nasty in a good way. It has all the gruesome gory bits from London’s history. Small boys and my husband love this stuff.

I’m not such a fan, I really don’t need to hear about medieval torture methods, thanks very much. They did a great job of making me feel quite ill with stories of red-hot tongue clamps.

The actor-led tours are superb, some new rides have opened since my last visit and this is another place we will visit next time. You could call it educational, its history, Jack the Ripper, the plague and the great fire should be part of every child’s education. If your kids like their history horrible, they’ll love this. If you enjoy this sort of thing you could also check out the tour at The Clink prison.  One of the oldest prisons in London, it gave its name to all others. It’s on the South Bank. My husband and I found it interesting, but I think for the older children, the London Dungeon would be more fun.

The Tower Bridge Experience and London Tombs

Another scare-fest built beneath London Bridge. Partly educational, partly a straight-up scare attraction, it’s fun for kids. Maybe wait until they are 10-11 years old because it’s a little freaky. We enjoyed it but see the note above about ticket prices.

Theme Parks in or Near London for Kids

We have Chessington World of Adventure,  Legoland Windsor and Thorpe Park. I should also mention Go Ape, they have one of their zip line and ropes courses at Chessington.

Theatres and Shows in London with Children

I have taken the children to The London Palladium to see The Wizard of Oz and to the Lyceum to see The Lion King. After much online research, we found that the cheapest way to buy tickets was to actually go along to the theater’s box office and be very nice to the man behind the desk. We got tickets for that night at the Palladium and a free ticket for my youngest.  Their Granny got her ticket half price as an OAP. Both were evening shows, finishing late at night, we had no issues with tiredness and fidgeting because they were so mesmerized by the performances and the theatrical wizardry going on (indoor snow and a witch flying above the audience).

If you want to see the Harry Potter Show- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre in the West End- (it’s actually 2 shows), book well in advance, months, and it would be helpful to win the lottery. It’s insanely expensive. For the 4 of us we were looking at almost $1000 for both shows last summer. So we saw The Lion King instead. To find out what’s on in London Theatres for families, click here

Money-Saving Tip for London Attractions

Last week I took my son to the London Tombs and Tower Bridge Experience for his birthday. Before we went we found a price of around 15 pounds on a ticket and tour booking site. The cost of the same ticket on the attraction’s own website was 19 pounds something. We couldn’t believe that the tour website had a better price than the attraction itself so we turned up thinking we’d pay on the door. The price there was a huge 27 pounds! Almost double what we’d pay for our family using this tour booking company. Click through, check the prices. See if you can save yourself time and money by booking smart, in advance. They have tickets for just about every attraction in London as well as a whole bunch of tours and experiences.

Finding the Best Deals on Family Hotels, Hostels, B&Bs and More in London

Whichever way you look at it, London is going to cost you a fair bit for accommodation. A cheap stay would be something in the region of £50 -£100 per night and you’d have to be very smart and have small children to find anything at the £50 end. You will probably pay a lot more. We recommend you start your search with Hotels Combined , this online comparison site checks multiple online accommodation providers simultaneously to find the best deal for your dates. Agoda  are the Asia specialists, but we do sometimes use them successfully in Europe.  Booking.com is a typical booking agent for the UK and Europe, they’re excellent for fully refundable deals.

It’s also worth checking AirBnb for London, big European cities are one of the few places we have success with using this method of booking. If you sign up using our special button link above you will receive an AirBnB credit.

There are a few hotels in London that specialise in kids and families. Check out Brown’s in Mayfair. Here you can find interconnecting suites with adorable kid-friendly features. High budget guests may also like The Taj at Buckingham Gate. The [email protected] program offers special treats for kids. St James’s Hotel and Club is somewhat less expensive and has boasted its own kids’ concierge and afternoon teas. The Royal Garden Hotel Hyde Park is potentially the lowest cost option here and can offer scooters to bomb around Hyde Park and dedicated children’s entertainment. Please check which offers apply at the time of your booking.

Getting Around London With Children

London with children riding the tube
My kids, riding the tube at 6 and 4 years old in London

The tube system is fantastic, people love to hate it but it makes getting around so easy. Trains are regular, frequent and the city is well covered. Avoid peak hours, it can get very crowded and little people can get frightened in the crush. Take advantage of day passes which allow you to switch between buses and tube trains. A ride on the top of a London double-decker or a bendy bus is fun for the children. They may enjoy seeing the occasional mouse on the tube track, Oxford Circus and Leicester Square are good stations for spotting subterranean wildlife.

There is a children’s book about the mice  Underneath the Underground – by celebrity Anthea Turner and her sister, Wendy. It’s worth looking at here.

The city is actually pretty small, you are often better off walking than taking the tube. I used to walk for miles in London when my children were small enough to push or carry. It’s easier than taking the tube and if you are visiting London with children you may well get more out of wandering the streets than being crammed into a tube train. For example, Covent Garden, along Regent St to Oxford Circus, isn’t far at all.

If you are a single Mum or Dad with children in strollers or buggies, there are a couple of tube stations with steep stairs, no escalators or lifts.  Strangers will almost always help you carry your buggy, plus child, up the steps. Londoners may not smile or chat much, but they like to help.

London black taxis are everywhere, they aren’t cheap, just flag one down, they are metered.

Bicycle Rickshaws are a new phenomenon  I’ve taken one all the way from Covent Garden to the London Palladium. I didn’t realise it was so far, or that we’d be in heavy traffic on the Tottenham Court Rd. It was scary, but great fun. There were 2 adults and 2 children in our party and it cost about $20. I would stick to using them in areas with light traffic, they are popular around Soho. They have been criticised for being dangerous and uninsured. Maybe it’s a risk, but it was fun as a one-off.

Boris Bikes as they’re called by the locals, are an initiative to get Londoners cycling. You’ll see stands of chunky-looking silver and blue bikes all over the capital. Cycle helmets are not a legal requirement in the UK, but take on the London traffic at your risk. I wouldn’t do it. They can be great for exploring the parks, particularly Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, which interconnect.

For 10 pounds you can use the Boris Bikes as many times as you like for a week. ( half an hour each time). My 10 year old is big enough to ride them, my 8 year old isn’t.

Where and What to Eat in London While Visiting with Children

There is a full post here on eating in London on vacation and another on London Street Food in Greenwich. There are many and diverse places to eat in London but it really pays to have some insider knowledge and not fall for the over-priced, low quality tourist trap restaurants.

We highly recommend Borough Market for tasty treats, also the Christmas food fairs, Camden Market and South Bank food fair. There’s a link to our Christmas in London post further up the page.

Visiting London with Kids – Is it Safe?

I have always felt completely safe in the city. We’ve had a few unfortunate incidents lately but they were confined to gangs and fighting within those gangs, it seems. I am more cautious today about theft in the city and I wouldn’t wander around with my phone in my hand since scooter theft has become more and more common, but otherwise, yes, I feel very safe here and have no issues with taking my kids into London.

However, things are getting worse it seems, so take care. Take a look at our anti theft techniques, bags and devices here. There are pickpockets, but it’s never happened to us. I worked in the city every day for 5 years, I took my kids in every weekend, nothing bad ever happened.

New Attractions in London for Kids – Summer Ideas

Escape Rooms and VR – Virtual Reality Experiences continue to open in London and would be great fun with older kids, teens and young adults. Check out these, be sure to check age limits, many won’t allow younger kids, some are specifically for kids.

  • DNA VR Caledonian Rd.
  • Omescape Kings Cross and Alsgate
  • Space Descent VR at the Science Museum South Kensington
  • Hollywood Bowl VR Greenwich
  • Limitless VR East Croydon
  • Kidz Escape
  • HintHunt London

KidZania London

Kidzania fans will be glad to know that there is a branch of the kids indoor city, run by kids, in London, it’s at Westfield and is aimed at kids from 4 – 14. Check them out here.

Day Trips From London That Would Be Great For Kids

A reader asked for ideas, ideally lower-cost ideas, for tours you can take from London with kids. So I started looking.

The Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tours from London

The Harry Potter Studios are about 30 miles from central London. This is an absolute must-do for any Potter fan. I actually cried tears of motherly joy as my boys opened the doors to the Great Hall. They’re teens now and still ask to go back. We will, soon. You can self drive out to the Warner Bros Studios or book a tour that departs London here.

Stonehenge from London

Stonehenge is 87 miles, 140 Km southwest from London. At Stonehenge today you will find a modern visitor’s centre with exhibions, a shop, café, neolithic houses and the stones themselves nearby. I’ve never been to the new Stonehenge visitors’ centre. I’ve only ever seen Stonehenge from the road, but there are many and varied tours that will take you from London to Stonehenge and back in a day. They can also include other destinations such as Bath, Windsor and Oxford. Check these tours out here.

Oxford from London

Oxford is 83Km ( 52 miles ) from London and can be reached by train, bus, coach, road or tour. This historic city is a popular destination for lovers of history, architecture, Downton Abbey, and Harry Potter. If you don’t have your own vehicle consider booking a tour to Oxford from London. Investigate your options here.  These tours include Harry Potter tours. If you’re very short of time you can even see Oxford, The Cotswolds and Stratford – Upon – Avon ( Shakespeare’s Birthplace) in one day.

The Cotswolds from London

The Cotswolds are around 90 miles from London, beyond Oxford to the northwest. You can book tours from London to the picturesque Cotswold villages. Most tours will include London or Stratford. I don’t think this sort of sightseeing would be particularly great with kids. See tours here. But if you’re heading to the Cotswolds we can recommend a couple of places for them.

Enjoy your day, weekend or vacation in London with children

There are endless options when you are visiting London with children, just take a walk along the river, better still, take a cruise, get out of London, visit Richmond Park and see the herds of wild deer, or visit the Botanical Gardens at Kew. Their indoor soft-play area was always brilliant. If you are heading to London and need any help, drop me a comment, I’d be happy to help you out with anything child-related, both my children were born there, we had a lot of fun. Back to our main London Family Travel Blog page. or maybe back to our main UK Travel Blog page.

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Alyson is the creator of World Travel Family travel blog and is a full-time traveller, blogger and travel writer. A lifetime of wanderlust and now over 7 years on the road, 50+ countries allowed the creation of this website, for you. She has a BSc and worked in pathology before entering the travel arena and creating this website. World Travel Family Travel Blog has been helping you travel more, better and further since 2012, when Alyson and James first had this life changing idea. On this site you can find endless travel information, tips and guides plus how to travel, how to fund travel and how to start your own travel blog.

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Perdita

Wednesday 25th of December 2019

Hello, You have shared a lot of places and quite much of information. Yet I have to ask you to recommend what activities/ places would make a 5 day stay a beautiful memory for my 10 year old son. I would be living with a friend in Chelmsford. What would be a suitable transport ticket option (are there any 5 days travel passes for an adult and a 10 year old child). I hope to plan my visit for my 10 year old child to have a beautiful, funfilled experience. I live in Sweden and am a single parent.

Alyson for World Travel Family

Thursday 26th of December 2019

Well, no two children are the same. Even my two were very different at the same ages. What are his interests, what does he enjoy? Go with that. You should have a plan, just going into London and aimlessly wandering isn't going to work. Maybe let him chooses what he'd like to see and do?

Caroline Barbosa Lima

Thursday 28th of November 2019

Dear Alyson , thank you for sharing all this information about London with children. We are coming on Easter with a 7 yo girl. We are from Brazil and she attends the British School here, so she is veeeeryyy excited about this trip. I think it is going to be amazing for her! Do you have any information about Easter related events in town, like egg hunts etc? Or even where can I do some research about it? Congratulations for the website once again. Regards, Caroline

Alyson for World Travel Family

Friday 29th of November 2019

Hi Caroline. There's nothing on the website at the moment but I did start doing a post on London at Easter last year. I'll see how far I got and try to get it finished. There will be events but in my family Easter was always a bit of a non Event, the kids get chocolate eggs and that's it, no big celebration. I'll try to find out more.

Abigail Whittle

Wednesday 30th of October 2019

Love the blog! Tying to find the best area to stay in London. Traveling with 2 kids, 8 and 10 in April. Will spend probably 5 days there before heading out of London to country side. Is it best to stay near museums?

Alyson Long

Wednesday 30th of October 2019

It depends. Kensington has cheaper and more expensive areas. Like, very expensive, some of the most expensive in London, but go to West Kensington and prices are OK, but you won't get much for your money and it's quite a walk to the museums. It really depends how much you want to spend and how much you want to walk. Also what deals are available. April could well be Easter school holidays, not sure when Easter is next year. Prices are high when the kids are off school. I'd just trawl the internet and see what you can find at your price point which suits your budget. If you can find something in South Kensington you're very handy for museums, Kensington Park and Palace ( Where Willian and Kate live now) Albert Memorial, Diana Memorial Playground , Hyde Park, Harrods etc. ( I'm sitting in Bangkok and all this is from memory, admittedly, I know London very well, but my memory - not so great, just double check on the map! ) Have fun! Be on the tube line, if you stay somewhere on the tube line getting around should be easy, but expect crowds in school holidays, big ones. London is small and easy to get around on foot depending on your kids' willingness to walk.

Audrey

Sunday 13th of October 2019

Your page is so informative and great to read, I’m from Australia and my husband and I are bringing our boys over in January (so from our summer to their winter) any tips on what to pack. I have a 3 1/2 year old and a 5 year old :) thanks in advance.

Alyson Long

Wednesday 16th of October 2019

January is generally our coldest time in London, but it doesn't get massively cold. Just sturdy shoes, that will cope with a bit of rain, jeans or other trousers and either a warm coat or big fleece. You may want a hat, a coat with a hood and wooly gloves, mits or ski gloves if you have them. A scarf or buff could be useful. A ski jacket or similar would be good but be ready to take it off indoors. It depends how much you feel the cold and how much time you'll be spending hanging around outside really. We never use raincoats in our family because if it's raining, we're generally not outside, but if you have a fixed itinerary or limited time and need to carry on in all weathers, you might want one. That said, my Australian mother in law rugs up for the Arctic in London while I'm in jeans and a T shirt, so, personal need varies loads. Some people even wear thermals and such like as an extra layer under their clothes. Decathlon is good for picking up suitable stuff cheaply. They have that in some parts of Australia now. Snow could happen. It's rare in London, but with climate change who knows?

Jem

Saturday 10th of August 2019

Hi! I enjoyed reading this post! We are thinking of living in London for a couple months next summer. What do kids in London do in July/August? Are there summer camps or summer school like in the US? Appreciate some recommendations for well regarded programs in London. Thanks!

Alyson Long

Saturday 10th of August 2019

They probably do exist, lots of American things have crossed the pond, but it's not really widespread or normal. I've never come across anyone in the UK who sends their kids away over summer. I really don't know how parents manage where they both work, grandparents, friends, juggling leave. Remember we get a lot more annual leave in the UK than you do in the US. I don't know ! Is the short answer. We would be at home or on holiday or my mum would take us to the beach or to interesting places, we'd ride our bikes, have friends round. Great times! I quit work to be with my two so it's not something I've ever had to think about sorry.

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