One fun way to get kids excited about travel is through books. This is true no matter where you are travelling to; a book is the perfect introduction to a new destination. Books, along with movies, are also a great way to travel without ever leaving home.
If you are planning to visit London and want to get your children excited about the trip (and get them involved in planning the best things to do!) then you’ll be pleased to hear that there are lots of London books for kids.
The following are some of our favourite London books for children of all ages. They’re perfect for planning your next family trip together or your next weekend exploring your hometown. Some are set in London, others are travel guides highlighting the city’s best sights.
There are guidebooks that dive into London’s fascinating history and picture books with illustrations so beautiful that you will want to display them on your own bookshelf, let alone the kids’. Don’t miss our favourite London bookshops for kids while you’re here!
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The best children’s books about London for young children (ages 2+)
Maisy Goes to London, by Lucy Cousins
The adventures of Maisy the Mouse and her buddies are always great fun and their trip to London is no exception. This is a good book for toddlers; the simple text, bright colours, and fun stories are guaranteed to entertain. Plus, this book is a brilliant introduction to the capital for younger kids.
You can buy Maisy Goes to London here.
A Walk in London, by Salvatore Rubbino
This is another great book for exploring London with young kids. The book shares a mother-daughter day trip as they explore the city including the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, Saint Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London.
You can buy A Walk in London here.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been? I’ve been to London to visit the Queen, by Russell Punter & Dan Taylor
This version of the classic nursery rhyme is the best way to introduce young children to the sights of London. Pussy cat visits all of the city’s most famous landmarks including The Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Nelson’s Column. He also enjoys the view from the top of the Shard and the London Eye.
You can buy Pussy cat, Pussy cat here.
The best children’s books about London for children (ages 5+)
The Royal Rabbits of London, by Santa and Simon Sebag Montefiore
Shylo Tawny-Tail is a quiet country rabbit who stumbles across a band of ratzis and their diabolical plan to take a photo of the Queen in her nightie. Shylo travels to London to find the Royal Rabbits – who live in warren beneath Buckingham Palace – and convince them that the Queen is in danger.
There are a further three royal rabbit adventures in the chapter books series.
You can buy The Royal Rabbits of London here.
Madeline in London, by Ludwig Bemelmans
Published in 1961, Madeline in London is the last of the six ‘Madeline’ tales written by Bemelmans. When Madeline’s old neighbour Pepito moves to London, Miss Clavel takes the class of little girls to visit him as a special surprise.
You can buy Madeline in London here.
The Queen’s Hat, by Steve Antony
A sudden gust of wind sets of a wonderful adventure through London for the Queen, the Queen’s men and one very special hat. This delightful children’s book sees the daredevil Queen travel to London Zoo, over Tower Bridge and up Big Ben.
You can buy The Queen’s Hat here.
Luke Goes to London: The Hyde Park Squirrels, by Nick Croydon
There are four adventures in the Hyde Park Squirrels series and Luke Goes to London is the first book. After Lucas Bushytail discovers he has a sister he sets off to London to find her.
His adventure gets off to an inauspicious start however, when he’s robbed of his possessions not long after arriving. Luke perseveres and meets some kind hearted new friends who help him find his Great Uncle George, and his long-lost sister Holly.
The series is set in Victorian times and is a fun adventure for young children.
You can buy Luke Goes to London here.
Welcome to London, by Marcos Farina
This is a beautifully illustrated book that showcases the sights of London for young kids. It’s a great way to prompt kids about what to look for during your trip to the city (will you see Sherlock Holmes riding on a bus?!) as well as lots of fun activities to keep kids entertained.
You can buy Welcome to London here.
Winnie-the-Pooh Goes to London
“London is a very fine place” according to Winnie-the-Pooh and we couldn’t agree with him more. This charming tale follows the Bear “of very little brain” as he encounters a blustery London bus, a wobbly bridge and The Queen herself.
You can buy Winnie-the-Pooh Goes to London here.
The Queen and Mr Brown: Meet the Rats, by James Francis Wilkins
This is one in a series of books about The Queen and her inimitable sidekick Mr Brown the corgi. The tales being in Buckingham Palace and move on to London’s Natural History Museum where they join their animal friends to travel on a space transporter to different destinations in the animal world. The tales are great fun for kids and adults!
You can buy The Queen and Mr Brown: Meet the Rats here.
Paddington’s Guide to London, by Michael Bond
No trip to London with kids would be complete without some time with the capital’s most famous bear so what better way to wander the city streets than with Paddington’s Guide to London?
What’s really lovely about this book is that in addition to working as a travel guide to London, it also teaches you more about some of the destinations that Paddington Bear explores in his adventures. Not surprisingly, you’ll find the best places to get marmalade too.
Don’t miss the Paddington movies either!
You can buy Paddington’s Guide to London here.
The best children’s books about London for children (ages 8+)
This Is…London, by Miroslav Sasek
This is London was first published in 1959 and is still one of the best children’s books set in London. The book highlights London’s main monuments including Big Ben and Trafalgar Square, as well as the capital’s parks, buildings and more. The charming illustrations are all accompanied by Sasek’s trademark lively text.
You can buy This is London here.
The Queen’s Wardrobe, by Kate Hindley and Julia Golding
The Queen is celebrating her Platinum Jubilee and this delightful book is the perfect souvenir! This wonderful book tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II through her clothes and jewellery from gowns and tiaras to wellies and headscarves. And, of course, the Crown Jewels!
You can buy The Queen’s Wardrobe here.
Horrible Histories Gruesome Guide: London, by Terry Deary and Martin Brown
The Horrible Histories series are superb at bringing history to life and in this guide to London they share the most gory stories about the capital. Learn what caused the Great Stink of 1858, who were the flying dustmen (and why were they feared) and all about London’s largest toilet!
You can buy Horrible Histories Gruesome Guide: London here.
My name is Victoria, by Lucy Worsley
The author of this wonderful royal adventure is also the chief curator at the Historic Royal Palaces and tells the tale of Queen Victoria’s childhood. A young girl, Miss Vi Conroy, is taken to Kensington Palace to be a playmate for 11-year-old Princess Victoria. She soon discovers, however, that she’s really been sent to spy on the future Queen by her father.
You can buy My name is Victoria here.
London for Children, by Matteo Pericoli
Surely one of the prettiest books about London for children is this wonderfully illustrated hardback book. London for Children follows a continuous 20-mile journey along the north and south banks of the Thames, a task that took the author two years to complete.
Not only is the design beautiful, the book is filled with fun snippets guaranteed to hold all kids’ attention – such as the story of the polar bear that used to fish near the Tower of London!
You can buy London for Children here.
The best children’s books about London for children (ages 12+)
The Buildings That Made London, by David Long & Josie Shenoy
For an introduction to the buildings old and new that make London the city that it is, grab a copy of this beautiful book. From the Palm House at Kew Gardens and Hampton Court Palace (where Henry VIII is playing tennis on the lawn) to Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street, this is a unique introduction to the city of London through drawings and architectural plans from The National Archives.
You can buy The Buildings That Made London here.
The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman
A great option for teens is this gripping mystery by master storyteller Philip Pullman. When Sally Lockhart’s father dies suddenly she’s sent to live in London with an obnoxious cousin. There, she receives an anonymous letter and is determined to discover what really happened to her father. This Victorian whodunnit is set in the heart of London’s shadowy underworld and will keep young readers gripped from start to finish.
You can buy The Ruby in the Smoke here.
The London Eye Mystery, by Siobhan Dowd
This thrilling mystery is good for older kids. Salim boards the London Eye but never gets off again so it’s up to his cousins Ted and Kat to find him as they follow a trail of clues across London. Definitely one to get kids excited about a trip to London.
You can buy The London Eye Mystery here.
Goodnight Mister Tom, by Michelle Magorian
This story about life in London during WWII tells the tale of Willie, a young, illiterate evacuee from London who goes to live with a curmudgeonly widower living in a small village. It’s a wonderful and, at times heartbreaking, tale of their relationship.
You can buy Goodnight Mister Tom here.
Tower of the Five Orders, by Deron R Hicks & Mark Edward Geyer
The second in the Shakespeares Mysteries series sees Colophon Letterford’s life change overnight when she uncovered Shakespeare’s lost manuscripts. But when the authenticity of those manuscripts comes into question, Colophon has to travel to the depths of London’s sewers in search of the truth.
You can buy Tower of the Five Orders here.
The best family guidebooks for London
Family Guide London, by DK Travel
A London family guidebook is written with kids firmly front and centre this is a great option for families visiting London. The guide is helpfully organised around major sights for you to plan your day and includes family-friendly restaurants, age-suitability, maps, activities for rainy days and more.
There are also games and quizzes every chapter to keep the kids busy on tube and bus journeys.
You can buy the DK Family Guide London here.
City Trails – London, by Lonely Planet Kids, by Moira Butterfield (Author), Dynamo Ltd (Illustrator)
I love these City Trails books by Lonely Planet. Not only do these travel guides tell you about the main sights and attractions, they share some off-the-beaten-path, lesser known destinations. Filled with fun, quirky and unusual facts, they’re a great way to keep kids engaged while touring the city.
You can buy City Trails – London here.
Travel Journal: Love London
A fun way for kids to document their trip to London is with this travel journal and scrapbook. With plenty of space to write and draw as well space to stick in photos, tickets and souvenirs, it will make a wonderful souvenir of your trip!
You can buy Travel Journal: Love London here.