Last year my (then) 9 year-old daughter and I went on a 10 day adventure to London and some surrounding areas. We had the time of our lives and wanted to share some of the things we loved in that wonderful city. This is not a complete list of everything for kids in London and it is in no particular order – there was no way we could pick a favorite!!
If you or your kids are into animals or science this is the place to be. There is something to discover around every corner. You could spend the whole day here and I am pretty sure we did. From dinosaurs to butterflies you will find it all. There is interactive exhibits for the littlest and lots to learn if you are so inclined.
While not exactly a cultural attraction, it sure is fun! This is an interactive adventure that your kids are sure to love. The recommended age group is 6-12 but I can see this being fun for those as young as 4 up to all of us kids at heart. It is conveniently located close to a lot of other attractions. The experience lasts 75 minutes so make sure you leave enough time to get through it!
Cost: £19/adults and £15.30/children purchased online
This is a modern reconstruction of the original open air theatre Shakespeare built in the 1500’s but it still has the age old feel you would expect. Not all kids will be into this but I think it is worth the effort. If nothing else, in a few years they can say they have been. To stand in the yard (on the ground in front of the stage) is super cheap so if your little ones don’t make it through the whole performance you won’t be out a lot of money. They almost always have a child friendly show running and the actors are superb. We saw Taming of the Shrew and even standing in the pouring rain my daughter thought it was an awesome experience.
Cost: Starting at £5
Since the early 1500’s Hyde Park has been an important part of London’s history. It is 350 acres of lush green, walking paths, ponds and parks. The Princess Diana Memorial playground is absolutely amazing. There is a giant life sized pirate ship, interactive play all around and a beach like sand area; it is like stepping into Never Never Land. There is also a memorial fountain in her name on the other side of the park that is a great way to cool off. Kensington Gardens are beautiful and there are places to grab a coffee or ice cream scattered around. The Italian Water Gardens were a huge hit for us.
Nothing is more magical than the adventure through Hyde Park to find Peter Pan. Take the time to locate it on the map and then manufacture a route to find the statue with the kids. On the way collect sticks, flowers, leaves and grasses to make gifts for Peter and the fairies. There is a pond and swans swimming nearby to make it even more idyllic. With the right attitude this adventure can be your new favorite family memory. I still get goosebumps when I think of that day.
Afternoon tea has a long history in England but what will get the kids excited is the tiny cakes. There is an option for every budget; some are very traditional and some very unique. We opted for a once in a lifetime experience at The Ritz which was worth every penny but you can get tea pretty much anywhere. Get dressed up a bit and treat your family to something special! A simple google search will bring hundreds of places around the city to suit anything you desire.
Cost: Varies wildly
Shopping might not be on the top of a child’s list of fun ways to spend they day but Harrods could be the exception. Founded in the 1800’s, Harrods is dripping with history and not to mention is so beautiful. It is a very different experience than what we are used to. There is a candy and chocolate shoppe that had my daughter interested, as well as a great toy section. They have a really cool wooden escalator in working order and all the sections are separated into rooms or hallways that make you feel like you are in a different world.
Cost: Free to visit and look around but….
The Tower of London will spark anyone’s imagination! Parts of it was built over 900 years ago and the history is unreal. You can learn the history while watching high energy reenactments which was one of our favourite parts. One of the biggest draws is the crown jewels on display. I am not big on crowds so I was a bit nervous but they have them displayed on either side of a moving sidewalk so you have plenty of time to take it in without being pushed around. We had a lot of fun learning about the Ravens and trying to spot them all! It is mostly stroller accessible but the White Tower is all stairs.
Cost: £59.00 for a family pass online (prices range but the family pass is the best deal)
The Making of Harry Potter isn’t actually in London but no visit to the area is complete without seeing this incredible place! Regular train transit gets your close (to Watford Junction) and from there you can take a shuttle bus for a fee. There are also ticket packages that pick you up in the city. I went the cheap way with regular transit but if you do the same be aware it takes forever and probably won’t too fun with really small kids.
If you are even the smallest fan of Harry Potter this could be the highlight of your trip. They do an amazing job of really showing you what it was like to make the movies and you get to see the real sets. The only regret I has was not having enough time to really take it all in. We choose a weekday late entry and there was practically no one there so we really go to get up close to everything. Don’t miss this attraction!
Cost: £29 for under 15 and £37 for adults or £118 for a family
The London Dungeon experience is an interactive theatrical performance that you walk through. It covers all kinds of shady London history (all the good stuff) and includes 2 rides. It can be a bit scary so it isn’t for the little ones but would be great if you have older kids to excite!
Cost: Starting at £21
I hope you and your family can enjoy London as much as we did! Tell me in the comments your favourite place to visit!