Forget shopping! There are tons of things to do in London with kids, and you should take them to London. If you are planning a family trip to London with your kids, you might be worried about keeping them entertained.
It would be a shame to spend all the money on a trip abroad and then miss some of the amazing kid-friendly activities London has to offer.
This guide is designed to make sure your trip hits all of the highlights so that you and your family have no regrets when it is time to fly home.
Family-Friendly Activities in London
When planning out your trip and the things to do in London with kids, here are some of the sights and activities you will not want to skip…
The Making of Harry Potter – Warner Bros Studio Tour London
If your children are fans of the Harry Potter book or movie series, this is an amazing opportunity to visit the studios where most of the movies were filmed. You can tour the actual sets used as well as see many of the props.
Diagon Alley is one of the iconic areas your children can experience. The studios are actually located in Leavesden, which is roughly 20 miles north of London. There is a bus that leaves downtown London and takes you directly there. Ticket prices include entrance to the studios as well as round-trip transportation.
This activity has so much to offer that you may want to dedicate an entire day to it.
This giant Ferris wheel actually takes 30 minutes to go around. While on it, you and your family will be treated to breath-taking views of London. Passengers are in giant air-conditioned pods and move at a slow enough speed that everyone can enjoy it. Tickets can be purchased in advance at a discount.
Fun for children of all ages, this zoo features animals ranging from lions to lemurs. Smaller children will love the monkeys and penguins, while the older kids might get a kick out of the spider exhibit. The zoo is open year-round and tickets can be purchased in advance for a 10% discount.
Particularly exciting for older children, this branch of the famous wax museum has 15 areas where you can take pictures with your favorite famous people. You and your family will find figures of famous athletes, singers, as well as members of the royal family. The full tour takes an estimated two and a half hours.
This museum has been in business for over 200 years, making it a historical site as well. Tickets are pricey but can be bought cheaper online.
You can also get a discount when buying them in combination with tickets to other attractions, such as the London Eye.
Tower of London
By far one of the most famous places in London, this attraction can be kid-friendly if done right. This once medieval castle was converted to a prison and has a fairly gruesome history.
The White Tower, however, is designed to be family-friendly and has many interactive exhibits.
This is also the site where you can visit the Crown Jewels. Your family can take a tour to learn all sorts of interesting tidbits.
London Sea Life Aquarium
This amazing place has 17 different zones and can teach you and your children about sea life from both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It has an ocean tunnel that you can walk through while sharks and other creatures swim overhead.
There are even penguins! Be sure to time your visit for the feedings of the sting-rays or rain forest fish tanks. It is especially important to book online because it can save you 30%!
This is another ticket that you can bundle with the London Eye or Madam Tussauds for a better price.
This retired WWII ship has been converted into a museum. Your children can go almost anywhere, visiting the living quarters, Operations Rooms, and seeing the naval guns.
There are nine decks to explore, which can easily take two hours or more. This experience will teach your kids all about both normal life and battles at sea.
Boat Tour of the Thames River
One of the best ways to really see all of London is by boat. A standard ticket for this tour is one-way, so plan other transportation for your return or buy an all-day pass and see what you missed the first time on your way back.
The boats have enclosed seating, so this is a great thing to do on a rainy day. For younger children, there are slow-moving tours that will highlight things like the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and the London Eye.
If this isn’t exciting enough for bigger kids, there are speedboat tours of the Thames River as well.
London Transport Museum
Bring your children here to teach them all about cars, buses, trains, and subways. You and your kids can also learn all about the history of public transportation in London.
Featuring many interactive exhibits with video screens, maps, posters, and models, this museum is sure to capture your family’s attention.
For the very little ones, there is an area designed for children under five. With its awesome gift shop, this is a great place to pick up a few souvenirs. As a bonus, children 16 and under get in free!
Shrek’s Adventure! London
This incredibly unique experience is a walk through for you and your family to enjoy with some of Dreamwork’s most famous faces.
On top of meeting the most popular characters from Shrek, your kids will enjoy seeing some familiar faces from Kung-Fu Panda and Madagascar.
In addition to the walk through, your family can enjoy 12 different fairy-tale themed live shows. This location allows for amazing, one-of-a-kind photos of you and your family.
If you want amazing views, going to the 72nd floor of the tallest skyscraper in London cannot be beaten. If it is a clear day, you get 360° views and can see up to 40 miles in every direction.
There are telescopes to help you zoom in on London’s most famous attractions and an audio tour that tells you about some of the buildings.
Be aware that strollers are not allowed on the observation deck but they do provide a safe place to park them.
If your children are older, you may consider taking them to the London Dungeon, an interactive re-creation of some of the less attractive portions of London’s history.
This is not for the faint of heart, as actors in costumes pop out at people as they tour the facility. There are a variety of creepy props as well as sounds and lighting. If that isn’t thrilling enough, there is a “death-drop” ride as well.
Free Family Activities in London
Vacationing with the family can be very expensive. Luckily, there are quite a few things to do with your children that are free of charge while still fun.
This is widely considered one of the best museums, not just in London, but in the world. Here, your children can see Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone.
There is an audio tour designed specifically for kids, which is just one part of what makes this place so family friendly.
The British Museum is open daily, year-round. They offer free workshops that can be both traditional as well as digital. It is amazing all you can do here without spending a dime!
National Maritime Museum
Full of hands-on exhibits, this is a place where your whole family can immerse themselves in 500 years of maritime history. Check their daily schedule and be sure to time your visit around one of their free history talks.
There is the Ahoy! Gallery designed for children under seven as well as the All Hands Gallery for six to twelve years old, both completely free.
This space-age museum is sure to thrill your kids. There are seven floors of exhibits with things that are geared for all ages, even toddlers. Here you can learn about outer-space as well as the industrial revolution.
Their IMAX theater features shows about the stars as well as the seas. It is open daily and is a great activity to do in conjunction with the Natural History Museum.
Natural History Museum
There is so much to learn at this free museum. With exhibits about dinosaurs, bugs, volcanoes, earthquakes, crime scene investigation, and just about everything in between, there is bound to be something that excites your kids.
To really get the most out of your experience, you can reserve multimedia guides for your children in advance.
The immensely famous toy store has been serving London for 250 years. With six interactive floors to explore, this is an experience for kids they won’t soon forget.
While it is completely free to enter the store, with the hundreds of toys available here it may be hard to get out without spending some money!
National Portrait Museum
This is a great way to familiarize your family with all things British. Here, you can learn about famous English people, from the Royal family to pop stars and athletes.
There is a kid-friendly audio tour to take as well. This would make a great first stop in London.
Changing of the Guard
It is entirely possible that your kids will claim to be bored by this, but in the future, they will love being able to tell people they witnessed this time-honored tradition.
This can be seen at Buckingham Palace, but if you prefer smaller crowds it also happens at The Mall, which is near St. Jame’s Palace.
If you venture out to Windsor Palace, you can see an even more elaborate ceremony that often has smaller crowds.
V&A Museum of Childhood
Boasting one of the best collections of childhood related memorabilia in the world, this is a great place for the whole family to explore. It is a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
There are dolls, dollhouses, Legos, vintage board games, action figures, and teddy bears to see. The adults on the trip may just come across their favorite toys from childhood.
Parks to Visit in London
When the weather cooperates, there are plenty of outdoor locations in London that will allow your kids to stretch their legs and while learning about nature and using their imaginations.
This world-famous park is home to a variety of family-friendly activities. It is home to the Diana, Princess of Wales playground which has a pirate theme that every kid will enjoy.
Also in honor of Diana is a giant fountain that the little ones can run around in and cool down. The family can also rent a paddle or rowboat.
If you visit the London Zoo, you will already be at this park that has so much to offer. Why not stick around and see the gorgeous rose gardens featuring Japanese bridges? This is another location that offers boat rentals.
This outdoor wonderland is a great place to learn about science and nature. There is an indoor playroom for the kids on a rainy day. The treetop walkway offers breathtaking views for those who are not afraid of heights.
Even though this is known as a park, it is important to note that they do charge for admission. Like many places in London, tickets can be purchased at a discount in advance online.
Just a few miles south of Hyde Park, this is another spot with a lot to offer your kids. It features a Children’s Zoo that is specifically designed for your little zoologists.
On top of featuring several animals, there are a few play areas designed for different age groups. Small children can spend a few hours here learning and exploring without being overwhelmed. After the zoo, you can rent boats and check out the fire engine playground.
If you are looking for a good place to picnic with your family, look no further. This is one of the best places in London to see wildlife.
There is an athletic track, an education center, and three pools. Plus, this site is so beautiful that it is a popular place for weddings.
Things to do in London with kids: Theater and Musicals
There are several shows in London that have been playing for years and that are unlikely to go anywhere soon. While there, consider taking your family to one of these shows:
Wicked the Musical
This show is bound to delight both kids and adults. It is the previously untold story of the witches of Oz. The show is recommended for children seven and up, and no children three and under will be allowed in.
There are eight shows a week. Be sure to be on time, as latecomers will be forced to wait until about 25 minutes into the show before they are allowed in.
The Lion King
Running since 1999, this show features fantastic music and beautiful scenery. The show is best suited for slightly older children, and children under three are not allowed. Including a short intermission, this show is approximately two and a half hours long.
Shrek the Musical
This hilarious musical is based on the hit movie and will delight your little ones. Advertised as being a fun experience for all ages, the recommended age is five and up. Like the movie it is based on, this show has humor aimed at big and little kids alike.
If you are looking for shows that appeal to even the littlest of kids, check out the Unicorn Theater. With a variety of shows designed for different age groups, this theater prides itself on being interactive.
Your kids are encouraged to laugh, cheer, clap, and respond to the performer’s questions. There is a gift shop nearby to help complete your experience.
On Saturdays from noon to two, you can stop by for their free creative workshops as well.
Things to do in London with kids: Where to Eat
Seeing all of the sites on your vacation will inevitably work up everyone’s appetite. Here is a list of some of the restaurants with a family-friendly environment and menu:
Offering burgers, fries, and nachos for the picky little eaters and international tapas for the more adventurous ones, this restaurant has something to offer everyone. As a bonus, for every adult meal purchased, you can get a kid’s meal for free on the weekends. With its colorful décor, plus fun name, this is a great place for your family to get a meal.
Most kids love spaghetti and this restaurant will not disappoint anyone. All of the meals come in courses, which can be a fun new experience for the kids. There is a kid-specific menu with courses designed for little mouths.
You can’t find a more fun environment to dine in. Serving primarily noodles, this restaurant has kid-friendly options like mini grilled chicken or mini grilled fish. There are also dessert items specially designed for kids, like their fruit and berry ice pop.
With a giant menu full of American and international cuisine, everyone is sure to find something they like here. You can actually take an educational tour here and learn all about the rain forest before sitting down to lunch. Before you leave, be sure to check out the large gift shop.
Are you kids craving a hamburger? This is the restaurant for you! There are pages of burgers to choose from, as well as chicken and even vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. If you are looking for a proper burger while in London, be sure to check this place out.
Things to do in London with kids:
Family Activities in Windsor
If you have the time on your trip, you may want to consider taking your kids to Windsor, located approximately 22 miles outside of London.
Suitable for all ages and a great place to go on a rainy day, Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. Located on 13 acres and showcasing 900 years of British history, this is not a place to miss.
Windsor Duck Tours
If you want to see the gorgeous sights in Windsor plus experience an amphibious vehicle with your children, don’t miss the duck tours. Starting in the heart of Windsor before working its way out to the surrounding area, you end the tour by splashing down on the Thames River and making your way back to the beginning.
This resort has 55 different rides and attractions and is suitable for kids of all ages. It is primarily outdoors so it is best suited for a sunny day. With all sorts of fun characters walking around, you are sure to see some smiles from your children. With a restaurant on site, this is a place you can easily spend most of your afternoon.
Do you have kids with a lot of energy to burn? This trampoline park is a great way to spend a few active hours. Suitable for ages four and up, this is a great place to spend time as a family.
Offering more than just traditional jumping, there are bungee trampolines as well as “zorb” balls for kids to run into each other and the walls in! The adults are more than welcome to get up and jump, too!
Hands-on Art Adventures
Another good attraction for a rainy day, this place allows your children to explore their creativity. Kids of all ages will enjoy the classes taught by an experienced art teacher.
You don’t have to worry about bringing anything because all tools and materials are provided to you. This is a great place to slow things down and spend some quality time with your children.
Conclusion for the things to do in London with kids
As you can see, London has a lot to offer families with children of all ages. With a little planning, it is possible to see it all and have a vacation no one will ever forget.
When planning your trip, be sure to consider the weather. July is the warmest month, while January is the coldest.
October is the wettest month.
February is the driest, but still pretty cold.
The best time of year for your family to travel to London depends on the activities you are most interested in.
Here are some fantastic guide books for your things to do in London with kids itinerary. If you plan for a spending 3 days in London alone or with your spouse, read this post too.