10 of the best things to do in London with kids
1/10 London Eye
Take in views of London
One of London’s most iconic modern landmarks and the world’s highest observation wheel (135 metres), the London Eye offers far-reaching aerial views of the city and beyond – as far as Windsor castle on a clear day – and is a must-do attraction in fine weather.
The slowly rotating pods have a maximum capacity of 25, ensuring great views for every passenger on the half hour flight.
Tickets from £19.20 for adults and £12.30 for children.
Nearest tube station: Westminster
After visiting the London Eye, why not take the kids on a private walking tour of the sights? From the London Eye to Big Ben this Withlocals tour will be filled with games and quizzes created by a local Londoner.
Find out more at Withlocals.com
London’s premier toy shop
The finest, biggest and most famous toy shop in the world – Hamleys needs little introduction. Seven floors of enthusiastic and child-friendly staff test drive all the latest games, gizmo’s and gadgets: not to mention demonstration areas allowing kids to play with it, build it, draw it, design it and fly whatever they like.
To call it shopping is underselling it – this is a fabulously over-the-top junior retail experience.
Nearest tube station: Oxford Circus
3/10 London Zoo
Visit the city’s iconic zoo
London Zoo is home to all the usual suspects. But it’s more than just a showcase for some of the world’s wildest animals: its primary role is that of conservation.
Its location means it’s been unable to expand over the years but it has seen massive improvements in the animals’ living conditions. Harry Potter fans will recognise the reptile house from The Philosopher’s Stone.
Tickets from £17.
Nearest tube station: Regent’s Park
4/10 London Dungeons
Visit London of the past
Not for the faint-hearted (or those under eight), the London Dungeons takes visitors through a 90-minute potted history of London’s murky past, using spine-chilling storytelling, horrific re-enactments and a series of rides and shows.
It’s tongue-in-cheek scary – using actors, severed limbs and special effects. Meet some of the cities most notorious residents, including Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd as you journey through 1,000 years of history.
Tickets from £14 if you buy in advance online.
Nearest tube station: London Waterloo
5/10 Somerset House
Find cultural fun
Somerset House is a major arts and cultural centre in the heart of London and offers regular, weekend family workshops exploring everything from painting and model-making to fashion design and animation.
Famous for its sensational winter ice-rink, it is equally worth a visit in summer months when over 50 mini fountains dance around the courtyard providing a wonderful water playground for over-heated children. And there’s plenty of places to eat.
Admission from £5 each.
Nearest tube stations: Temple and Embankment
6/10 Science Museum
Join the Red Arrows on one of their aerobatic displays, step inside a human bubble, see what you look like through the lens of a thermal imaging camera, manipulate light using mirrors, lenses and filters to create your own rainbow, and launch your own rocket.
With over 800 hands-on interactive displays, the Science Museum encourages children to experiment, examine and explore to their hearts content. Boring old museum this is not!
Admission to the museum is free.
Nearest tube station: South Kensington
7/10 Covent Garden
Home to the Royal Opera House, the London Transport Museum, a mass of different eateries, boutiques, market stalls and the best street theatre in the capital, it’s hard not to fall in love with the charm of Covent Garden, whatever your age.
Offering some of the best people-watching alfresco dining opportunities in London, the kids will be entertained by everything from fire eaters to mime acts, musicians to magicians.
Visit CoventGardenLondonUK.com for more information.
Nearest tube station: Covent Garden
8/10 Thames Tour
Take a boat on the Thames
For a view of London’s historical landmarks, take a cruise on the capital’s oldest thoroughfare, the River Thames. Thames River Cruises offer a circular hop-on, hop-off tour, enabling you to stop and visit different sites.
Pass under Tower Bridge and marvel at one of the world’s most famous fortresses, The Tower of London, then explore The Docklands, Canary Wharf, The Thames Barrier and Greenwich.
Tickets for a Thames River Cruise start at £4.75.
Location: You can catch a Thames River Cruise at Greenwich (SE10 9HT), St Katharine’s Pier (E1W 1LD), and Westminster Pier (SW1A 2JH)
9/10 Hyde Park
Picnic in the park
An oasis of green, Hyde Park is central London’s largest park: the perfect spot for a picnic or for little ones to run around in. Hire a boat on the Serpentine – the lake that dominates the park – or, for a couple of months a year, you can even don your swimmers and take to the Lido, the oldest swimming club in Britain.
For those wanting to keep their feet dry, bike hire and horse riding opportunities offer alternative ways of whiling away a day.
Nearest tube stations: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch
To fully understand the history of the various royal monuments dotted around the park, why not take a private walking tour guided by an expert and local Londoner?
Find out more at Withlocals.com.
10/10 Natural History Museum
See the natural world
Watch thousands of live leafcutter ants at work, come face-to-face with the animatronic T-Rex with his 15cm long teeth, check out the size of the massive blue whale and feel the earth move under your feet in the earthquake room.
Explorer backpacks (complete with safari hat, binoculars and activity kit) are available for under-sevens and Discovery Guides for kids aged 4-16 relate museum exhibits to the national curriculum.
Visit NHM.ac.uk for more information about current exhibitions. Entry is free.
Nearest tube station: South Kensington