In a city of nine million people, you can guarantee that you’ll find something for everyone to enjoy. That certainly goes for kids. In fact there are so many things to do in London with kids that it was hard to whittle this list down. From exploring the underwater world at the London Aquarium to delving into the macabre history of the Tower of London, here’s the Secret London lowdown on what to do in London with kids.
1. Spot sharks, stingrays and more at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium
Home to over 500 different species in 14 different themed zones, a visit to the SEA LIFE London Aquarium is a must if you’re looking for things to do in London with kids. There’s everything from gentoo penguins to red-bellied piranhas here, and it’s a great spot to teach your little ones about the underwater world and the marine creatures which reside within it.
Come face to face with the ocean’s most feared (and misunderstood) predators at the jaw-dropping ‘Shark Walk’, catch some rays – well, not literally – at the ‘Ray Lagoon’, tickle a sea anemone in the ‘Rock Pool’ and dodge the jellyfish at the aquarium’s stunning ‘Ocean Invaders’ exhibit. Snap up your tickets to the SEALIFE London Aquarium here.
Nearest station is Waterloo. The aquarium is open from 10am-4pm during the weekdays and 10am-5pm on weekends.
2. See the return of ‘Dippy’ the dinosaur at the Natural History Museum
After four years of doing a grand tour around the country, ‘Dippy’, the nation’s favourite dinosaur, has made a return to his original home at the iconic Natural History Museum. On top of seeing the 26-metre-long diplodocus replica, a visit here will also give you the chance to view ‘Hope’ the blue whale and exhibits on venomous insects, earthquakes, tornadoes and other bad-ass features of the natural world. They even have a family tour here too – grab your tickets here.
Nearest station is South Kensington. The museum is open from 10am-5.50pm.
3. Journey into the world of miniature creations at the ‘Small Is Beautiful’ exhibition
Escape from the ordinary and give the kids something to be captivated by with a trip to the Small Is Beautiful exhibition in South Kensington. At this fascinating exhibition, you’ll get to see over 140 works of miniature art from 34 talented artists from around the globe.
This includes incredible crochet elephants that can happily perch on the pointed tip of a pencil, adorable little penguins standing on iceberg marshmallows and entire pocket-sized city streets which would serve as a perfect getaway for the Lilliputian people of Gulliver’s Travels. They also do creative workshops especially for the little’uns, where they can colour, draw and even glue together their own miniature piece of art. Sounds pretty magical if you ask us! Grab your tickets here.
Nearest station is South Kensington. The museum is open from 10am-6pm during weekdays and 10am-7pm at weekends.
4. Enjoy thrills and spills with all the family at the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort
Ok, so this one technically isn’t in London, but it’s a theme park dedicated to the ‘World’s favourite toy’, so we couldn’t not include it! Specifically designed for younger thrillseekers and operated by Merlin entertainments, the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort has 12 different areas and offers a thrilling mixture of Lego-themed rides, models, and building workshops.
More than 55 million Lego bricks have been used to create the park, and some of the signature rides include ‘The Dragon’ – a rollercoaster that weaves its way around a Lego castle at speeds of up to 30mph – and the DUPLO® Dino Coaster – the world’s first DUPLO themed ride. New for 2022 is the ‘Magical Forest’ – a walkthrough attraction that has a myriad of enchanting Lego creatures.
Nearest station is Windsor & Eton and trains run regularly from Paddington. You can find out the park opening hours here.
5. Take a deep dive into the magical world of Harry Potter
London for kids I hear you ask… Our beloved capital is pretty much the epicentre for all things Harry Potter, so if your young’uns are fans of the franchise then they’ll be happier than a pig in muck here! After all, where can you pose for a photo at the Platform 9¾, go on a walking tour of filming locations – including The Leaky Cauldron and the Ministry of Magic – and watch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – all in one day?!
As if that wasn’t enough, you can also stay at a distinctly Hogwartsian hotel room at Georgian House in Pimlico. Expect stained glass windows, stone walls, archways, trunks, cauldrons, and four-poster beds hung with velvet curtains, all hidden behind a secret bookcase door. Book yourself onto the walking tour here.
6. Meet all the farmyard friends at the Hackney City Farm
When you hear the word ‘London’, we’re sure the first thing that springs to mind isn’t ‘farmyard’, but London Town always has a way of throwing up surprises. Perfect for kids, Hackney City Farm is one of the best spots in the city if you’re looking to make some friends of the animal variety.
It’s free, is situated smack-bang in the middle of Hoxton and Cambridge Heath, and has pigs, ducks, geese, goats, sheep and a resident celebrity donkey called Clover, who does parades all over London when the time permits. If you’d rather stay south of the river, Vauxhall City Farm is another great family activity in London will give you the chance to meet a pair of alpacas who starred in none other than ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ – get your photo requests ready.
Nearest station is Hoxton. The farm is open every day except Mondays from 10am-4.30pm.
7. Step inside an interactive Shrek-themed adventure
Keeping with the theme of donkeys, the next addition on this roundup of the best things to do in London with kids will give you the opportunity to meet another famous mule – this time of the animated kind.
‘Shrek’s Adventure’ will let you jump into an action-packed fairytale world and escape to the land of Far Far Away with an 70-minute immersive adventure, featuring 12 captivating live shows. Along with Donkey, you’ll also meet other famous characters – including Princess Fiona, Puss in Boots, Gingerbread Man and Shrek himself – and will even get to have photos with some of them. Sign us up! You can get your tickets for the tour here.
Nearest station is Waterloo. The attraction is open from 10am-3pm on Mondays and 10am-4pm on every other day.
8. Delve into English history with a visit to the infamous Tower of London
“This way to Traitor’s Gate!” Ok, so thankfully this is no longer a thing, but pay a visit to the Tower of London and you’ll have some inkling of what Anne Boleyn and other famous prisoners may have experienced on the way to the chopping block.
Founded in 1066, this infamous UNESCO-listed building has been used as a historic palace, a fortress and a prison. Get up close to the Crown Jewels, meet the legendary Yeoman Warders and be regaled with tales from the Tudors and beyond as you explore this magnificent place.
Nearest station is Tower Hill. The tower is open from 10am-5.30pm on Sundays and Mondays and 9am-5.30pm on every other day.
9. Go down the Thames aboard a boat and soak up the views
London is famous for its waterways, and some of the best views in town come from the network of canals, reservoirs and bloomin’ huge river that criss-crosses it.
From exhilarating speedboat rides out to the Thames Barrier to Uber Boats which make the journey from Putney all the way east to Woolwich, there are plenty of ways in which to explore the mighty River Thames. For something a bit different and a great day out with the kids, why not charter your own boat and give the little ones the chance to be captain hey?!
10. Sing along to some showtunes at a West End musical
Who doesn’t love a musical hey? We’re lucky here in London with a musical theatre scene that’s the envy of the world. Mormons, witches, lions, genies – you name it, there’s a musical with basically everything here.
Kid-friendly options in town include the Tim Minchin-helmed ‘Matilda’ and ‘Disney’s The Lion King’ – an award-winning show which follows Simba on his journey from wide-eyed cub to his destined role as King of the Pridelands. You can get your tickets here. Hakuna Matata!
11. Discover some of London’s green spaces and get back to nature
When it comes to the best things to do in London with kids, you can’t not mention the plethora of green spaces and flower-filled gardens which are dotted about the city. From scenic views to Instagrammable-wonders, we’re pretty lucky here it has to be said.
In fact, we’ve actually got over a hundred to choose from, so you have your pick! So what are you waiting for? Slap on the suncream, grab an ice cream and hot foot to it!
12. Explore all the capital’s sights aboard a hop-on hop-off bus
The English capital is chock-a-block full of iconic landmarks, and what better way to see them than by joining a hop-on and hop-off bus tour? With the ‘Tootbus London Discovery Bus Tour’, you’ll make your way around the heart of the city and see London’s best landmarks from the comfort of your very own open-top bus.
Points of interest will include the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and many more. You can grab your tickets here.
13. Come face to face with lions, penguins and more at the ZSL London Zoo
Another animal-themed adventure here and a great family day out in London, this time involving the legendary ZSL London Zoo. Founded in 1828, it’s the world’s oldest scientific zoo, and houses almost 20,000 different animals, making it one of the largest collections in the entire United Kingdom.
There’s everything here from African hunting dogs to pygmy hippos and Komodo dragons, and numerous different habitats to boot too. Add on a whole host of different experiences your wee’uns can get involved with – including being a junior keeper for the day – and you’ve got yourself a brilliant day out on the cards!
Nearest station is Mornington Crescent. The zoo is open daily from 10am-6pm.
14. Join Eleven, Dustin and more and fight aliens at ‘Stranger Things: The Experience’
So this one may only be suitable for slightly older kids and teenagers, but it’s literally guaranteed to transport you into a different dimension, so we figured that kids would love it! Stranger Things: The Experience will rip a rift into the fabric of reality this summer, opening a gate into 1985 Hawkins and the Upside Down at a secret location in London.
Put yourself in the shoes of Eleven and the gang as you explore iconic sets, uncover supernatural secrets, live out fan-favourite moments and enjoy themed food and drinks – and plenty of catchy 80’s jams too! Escape into the Upside Down here.
15. Hop, skip and jump your way into an adventure with Peter Rabbit™
Rounding off this list of the best things to do in London with kids is another immersive adventure featuring some of literature’s most beloved characters. While not actually in London – yes we’re cheating here – the Peter Rabbit™ Garden Adventure at Blenheim Palace will give you and your kids the chance to lose yourself in a world of imagination for just under an hour, as a magical mix of storytelling, live performances and puppetry bring Beatrix Potter’s words to life.
The stakes are high: a young Beatrix will enlist your help in finding Peter, guiding you through greenhouses, vegetable gardens and potting sheds, where you’ll encounter a few of your favourite characters – such as Jemima Puddle-Duck and Benjamin Bunny. What’s not to love?! Book onto the tour here.