The 2023 guide to the best of London with kids (+map)

London is an amazing city for families. From world-famous museums with hands-on interactive exhibits (many of them free) and beautiful parks and playgrounds to fantastic food markets, amazing toy stores, brilliant book shops and so much more.

But where should you start?

Putting together a list of the best things to do in London for kids is nigh on impossible given just how many sights, activities and attractions there are to enjoy – you could spend a lifetime in London and still never see all that there is to see. But whether it’s your first London vacation or you live here and are looking for inspiration then this guide should help you make the most of the city.

Things to do in London with kids
London is an amazing city to discover with kids

This list of activities in London shows the many things that I’ve enjoyed with my three children (aged 14, 12 and 7) as well as recommendations from other family travel experts, and includes things to do for kids of all ages (from toddlers to teens!).

I’ve divided this list into thing that you really can’t miss in London with additional suggestions for if you have enough time. If you’re wondering how to organise your days then make sure to look at our itinerary suggestions.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I have been or could be if you click on a link in this post compensated via a cash payment, gift or something else of value for writing this post. See our full disclosure policy for more details.

Where to find the best things to do in London with kids

Key to using the map:

  • Orange: The best museums for kids
  • Purple: Can’t miss London sights
  • Green: Fun London parks for kids
  • Burgundy: London theatres and shows for the family
  • Yellow: Fun London shops for kids
  • Turquoise: Food markets in London for kids
  • Brown: Other things to do in London with kids

Don’t miss these London museums for kids

London is home to some of the oldest – and best – museums in the world. Many of them are free and all of them are a great option on a rainy day. The following are some of our favourites.

Best things to do in London with kids
The London Transport Museum

The London Transport Museum

The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden, central London, is one of my favourite museums in the world for kids.

As you enter you take an elevator ride back in time to the beginnings of public transport in London. From there you can learn about the hackney carriages, the makings of the tube and bus systems. Kids will love all the buses and trains you can sit on and there is even a great hands on area for little explorers.

This is a particularly fun museum for young kids with lots of activities to do. The London by Design gallery has moving pictures on the floor that kids are encouraged to jump on, there is the All Aboard play zone for children aged 0 to 7 years, kids can drive a bus…and more! 

Adults will love learning more about design classics and wider effects that London transport has had in the world. An added bonus is that twice a year the London Transport Museum holds an open day at their storage facility in Acton where you can see some of the gems of the collection that aren’t on display.

Cost: Adults £21, tickets valid for a year.

Closest Tube: Covent Garden and Leicester Square

London Transport Museum website

The British Museum

The British Museum is a treasure trove of artifacts from around the world. Among its treasures, you’ve got bits of the Greek Acropolis, the Rosetta Stone, a burial helmet from Sutton Hoo and an Easter Island statute.

There is so much to see among the permanent collections but there are also excellent temporary exhibits. Thanks to its free admission you won’t feel the need to insist on an extended visit if your children get exhausted with such an enormous museum.

The British Museum is easy to visit – open every day and late on Friday evenings. Unlike other celebrated museums, there is no long line to get into the museum. As such, it is an easy museum to dip in and out of, taking in a small part of it at a time. My daughter even had a sleepover at the British Museum with her friends as a 10th birthday party.

Shoba, Just Go Places

Cost: Free. Exhibitions require an additional ticket (charged). 

Closest Tube: Tottenham Court Road

The British Museum website

The Science Museum 

The Science Museum is filled with fascinating scientific discoveries from across the ages, all presented in a way that’s accessible to all ages. Most of the museum is free to enter but you may want to consider paying the entrance fee for Wonderlab. Here, kids can get hands on with science experiments and watch interactive presentations. These lively demonstrations teach visitors about fire, electricity, rockets and more.

All in all it is a great way to spend a day (or night if you take part in one of their sleepovers!) in London with kids.

Chris, More Life in Your Days

Cost: Free, Wonderlab requires an additional ticket (charged)

Closest tube: South Kensington

The Science Museum website

The V&A Museum

The Victoria & Albert museum is home to fantastic exhibitions throughout the year and many of them are brilliant for kids (we loved their Alice in Wonderland exhibition as well as their Frida Kahlo exhibit).

The museum offers visiting children a free backpack to carry as they explore the museum; themes change regularly and are an excellent way for children aged 5-12 to explore the V&A. For under 5s, there are Agent Animal bags that take them on a mission to find animals.

The V&A also runs creative workshops for children during the school holidays that are usually free.

Cost: Free. Exhibitions require an additional ticket (charged). 

Closest Tube: South Kensington

V&A Museum website

The Natural History Museum

London’s Natural History Museum is hands down one of the best London attractions for kids (and not just because it was a significant setting in the first Paddington movie!).

The Dinosaur Gallery is perennially popular, home to an enormous animatronic Tyrannosaurs Rex. Other highlights include Andy’s clock from the CBeebies shows Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures, the earthquake simulator, Hope the blue whale (you’ll find her hanging in the Hintze Hall) and the most intact Stegosaurus fossil ever found. 

The Dinosnores sleepover is a other popular event, make sure to book well in advance. There are four restaurants and cafes at the museum and lots of good places to eat nearby.

Recommended by Catherine D’Cruz, We Go With Kids

Cost: Free. Some exhibitions require an additional ticket (charged). 

Closest Tube: South Kensington

Natural History Museum website

The Postal Museum

A tunnel system exists in London that few people know about, the Mail Rail. The Postal Museum in London highlights the mail transport system that was used to transport mail from different stations across the city for nearly seventy five years.

Learn what it was like to work in the tunnels, see the equipment used by the driver-less trains and then take a ride on the original mail rail tracks. As letters were replaced by phone calls then texts then video and now emoji’s, the need for and the efficiency of the mail rail diminished.

There’s also Sorted! a fun indoor play space for young children to play at working in the postal system.

Suzanne, Phila Travel Girl

Cost: Adults £16 (online), Young person (16 – 24) £11, Children £9. These prices are if tickets are booked online

Closest Tube: Farringdon, Russell Square, King’s Cross St Pancras

The Postal Museum website

Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds is always popular with kids. Founded by sculptor Marie Tussaud in 1835, the museum is filled with celebrities from around the world who are all made out of wax. The wax sculptures are incredibly realistic, which is perhaps not surprising when you learn that tit takes over 800 hours to mould, measure, paint and sculpture just one waxwork figure. 

Madame Tussauds London is home to more than 400 waxwork celebrities separated into different categories. You can meet the Royal Family, have your photo snapped next to James Bond, catch a glimpse of Guy Fawkes and even spot The Beatles. 

It’s a hugely popular London attraction with over 2.5 million visitors every year – make sure to book in advance. If you plan to see other London tourist attractions such as the London Eye and SEA LIFE London, then it’s worth buying a combined ticket, which will save you money. 

Cost: Book online and save 10%. Tickets from £33.50 per adult if booked online.

Closest Tube: Baker Street

Madame Tussauds website

Things to do in London with kids
The British Museum is a brilliant museum with kids

Other London museums we love with kids

The following museums might not be as well known as those listed above but they are all well worth visiting:

Things to do in London with kids
The Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace

The can’t miss London sights with kids

The following are some of our favourite London sights and attractions that are fun for the whole family.

Buckingham Palace

Without doubt one of London’s most popular and iconic sights is Buckingham Palace, which has served as the official London residence of the UK’s sovereigns since 1837. Although it’s closed to visitors for much of the year, if you time your family vacation for the summer months you can take a tour of the State Rooms.

These audio guided tours are a wonderful way to get a sneak peek of life behind the wrought iron gates surrounding the royal palace. These opulent rooms are all impressive but it’s the White Drawing Room that steals the show.

Also part of the tour are the Ballroom and Throne Room, all filled with glittering objects and artworks. After your visit you can explore the gardens on your way out. Stop off in the kids’ pavilion to let the children play before you leave.

If you can’t visit the Palace for the summer opening then you can still visit the Royal Mews, which is where the Queen’s carriages and horses are kept. This is a hands-on, kid friendly experience with dressing up and crafts along the way. Next door, the Queen’s Gallery is suitable for kids too, as they supply an activity backpack to hold the kids’ interest while you admire the treasures on display.

The State Rooms open for 10 weeks during the summer. Tickets must be pre booked online. The Royal Mews is closed during December and January – check their website for details.

Cost: The State Rooms tickets from £30 per adult and £16.50 per child

Closest Tube: Green Park Station

Buckingham Palace Website

Horse Guards Parade

Lots of visitors to London go to see the Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace but there are often large crowds. One alternative, particularly for children who love horses, is to head for Horse Guards Parade where the Queen’s Life Guard change at 11am Monday – Saturday and 10am on a Sunday.

There are smaller crowds and no railings between visitors and the guards taking place, and the whole event takes about 30 minutes.

Combine this with a visit to the Household Cavalry Museum where you can see the horses being looked after in their stables through a glass partition.

Jo, Kiddie Holidays

Cost: It’s free to watch the changing of the Queen’s Life Guard, but there is an entry cost for the Household Cavalry Museum (Adults £9.50, children £7.50, Under 5s free).

Closest Tube: Westminster, Charing Cross and Embankment

Household Cavalry Museum website

St. Paul’s Cathedral

There are so many wonderful things to do in London with kids but one of our absolute favourites is visiting St. Pauls Cathedral and climbing up the dome.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is an iconic feature of the London skyline, with its world famous dome that was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1708. The first 259 steps take you to the Whispering Gallery, which runs around the interior of the dome.

Continuing upward you reach the Golden Gallery, from which there are fantastic views across London. In total 528 steps climbed. Aside from climbing the dome, St. Pauls has an excellent family multimedia guide which takes you around the cathedral, with quizzes, activities and interactive games.

Nicky, Go Live Young

Cost: Free to attend the Cathedral for services. To visit the dome you will need a sightseeing ticket. Tickets are priced from £18 per adult and £7.70 per child.

Closest Tube: St. Paul’s

St. Paul’s Cathedral website

The Tower of London

The Tower of London is such a great place to visit with kids if they’re into learning about the history of London, castles and stories of kings and queens – including a bit of blood and gore!

Kids will be enthralled by the stories of the famous tower ravens, Henry the VIII and his many wives, the Guy Fawkes plot, the yeoman warders and Beefeaters with their pomp and ceremony.

Save the best until last, the spectacular Crown Jewels including dazzling crowns and jewellery that are still in use today. Our kids were in awe of the huge Cullinan I diamond, the largest white cut diamond in the world.

There’s a lot to cover so it’s a good idea to pay a little extra for the audio tour that includes a family-friendly guided tour and commentary around the tower, pointing out the highlights that will capture your children’s imaginations.

Kylie, Our Overseas Adventures

Cost: Adult £29.90, child £14.90

Closest Tube: Tower Hill, Monument and London Bridge

Tower of London website


The London Eye

Ok, so the London Eye is not cheap but it really does offer visitors some of the best views of the city. The giant ferris wheel, the tallest in Europe, sits on the banks of the River Thames and the pods – or capsules – move leisurely around. Each rotation takes about 30 minutes. 

A 4D movie is included with tickets and is usually a big hit with kids.

The London Eye (official called London Eye) is always popular so make sure to book tickets in advance. If visiting during school holidays then I would recommend splashing out on the fast track tickets, which will save you having to queue. 

A good way to save money is to opt for a London attraction pass from Merlin’s Entertainment. You can choose from 2, 3, 4 or 5 attractions and save up to £84 (the pass is valid for 90 days). The pass can include the London Eye, Madame Tussauds London, SEA LIFE London Aquarium, the London Dungeon and Shrek’s Adventure! London

Cost: From £32.50

Closest tube: Waterloo

London Eye website

Greenwich and the Cutty Sark 

Built in 1869 for the Jock Willis Shipping Line, Cutty Sark is the iconic British clipper ship turned museum in Greenwich, London. It was one of the last tea clippers to be built and one of the fastest, before sailing ships gave way to steamships domination. It’s a great family day out, with lively characters and crew members telling the many stories of the ship from the past.

If you have time, book afternoon tea beneath Cutty Sark’s original copper-plated hull. The Cutty Sark now also welcomes visitors to climb the rigging with its Rig Climb experience.

While you’re in Greenwich it’s well worth seeing what else the neighbourhood has to offer. Greenwich Market is a good place to pick up goodies for a picnic before finding a spot close to the Trinity Laban Conservatoire for a free lunch concert.

Afterwards visit the National Maritime Museum which has lots of fun displays and things to see and do for kids. Or, hike up to the Royal Observatory to see the Meridian Line (Greenwich Mean Time).

Lotte, Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog 

Cost: £16 per adult, £8 per child

Getting there: Getting to Cutty Sark is easy with the Cutty Sark station on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) a short walk away. Alternatively you can arrive by boat at Greenwich Pier next to the ship.

Cutty Sark website

London Zoo

Located in Regent’s Park is ZSL London Zoo, the world’s oldest scientific zoo. It opened in 1828, the brainchild of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, who was also the founder of Singapore.

It’s one of the most popular things to do with kids in London, home to plenty of cool creatures. It’s big so you’d be well placed to organise your day well, particularly if you’re visiting with little kids. Some of our favourites include the sunbathing lemurs, the bug house filled with all manner of creepy crawlies, the magnificent Asiatic lions and the cute penguins. We’re also very fond of the otters.

London Zoo is also home to some historically significant buildings including a Grade I listed traditional telephone box at Penguin Beach. There’s also the giraffe house, which is the oldest zoo building in the world still used for its original purpose.

London with kids
The incredible copper hull of the Cutty Sark

Other popular London sights and attractions:

London with Kids
Enjoying Hyde Park in London during the summer

Fun London Parks for kids

For such a big city London is incredibly green filled with parks and playgrounds. The most well known are the Royal Parks including Hyde Park, Richmond Park and Regents Park but there are many more to discover.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

London is filled with amazing parks, but one of the best for all ages is the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This park was created during the revitalization of this area for the 2012 Olympics and is full of water play areas and challenging climbing walls as well as a treehouse fort. Everyone will find a unique area to explore.

Our favorite area is the Tumbling Bay Play area that has rock pools, sand pits, elaborate pulley systems, tall tree houses connected by wobbly bridges, as well as slides, swings and plenty of space to run around in the bushes. There is also a cute cafe here.

Continuing on through the park is the Pleasure Gardens area that features a massive climbing wall left from the building of the Olympic areas as well as swings and a massive sand pit.

The park is also home to the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the UK’s tallest sculpture (it’s 114.5-metres high) and the world’s longest tunnel slide. This epic slide is made up of 12 twists and turns including the ‘bettfeder’, a tight corkscrew that translates as the ‘bedspring’. This is a great thing to do with older kids and teens.

Karilyn, No Back Home

Cost: The park is free. ArcelorMittal Orbit slide Adults from £16.75, children from £10.75

Nearest Tube: Stratford station and Stratford International station

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park website

Primrose Hill 

One of the best things to do in London for kids is to take a stroll around Primrose Hill. Located north of the city centre, Primrose Hill is easy to reach by Tube and a nice and relaxed alternative to the typical tourist hotspots in London.

The park is perfect for an afternoon stroll and from the top of the hill you have a great views of the London skyline. The best part about it? Compared to some other viewpoints, this one is completely for free!

The neighbourhood around Primrose Hill is filled with nice cafés and restaurants. I’d also recommend combining your visit at Primrose Hill with Camden, which is known for its alternative markets and great food stalls.

Recommended by Patrick, German Backpacker

Cost: Free

Closest tube: Camden Town and Chalk Farm

The Princess Diana Memorial Playground

When in London, the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground is easily one of the best things to do in London with kids.

Located next to Kensington Palace, the playground is in a central location and is easy to get to by the Tube. Peter Pan was the inspiration for the design and a large wooden pirate ship sits centre stage.

There’s also a sensory trail, play sculptures and teepees. The playground is set among beautiful trees with seating and grassy areas for adults to relax while their kids play. There is a café on site that sells hot food and healthy and vegetarian options and has kids food too.

Get to the park early, especially during the summer when there can be long queues. The park opens at 10am each day (closed on Christmas Day). The park is supervised and adults can only enter if with a child.

Cost: Free

Closest tube: Lancaster Gate

Diana Memorial Playground website

Kew Gardens

Amazing Kew Gardens in the southwest neighbourhood of Kew is one of London’s most picturesque parks; 132 hectares of gardens and botanical glasshouses that that house the world’s most diverse collection of living plants.

Kew Gardens was founded in 1840 and is today London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with beautiful glasshouses, including the iconic Palm House and its exotic rainforest. There’s a magical children’s garden, the fantastic Treetop Walkway that soars into the tree canopy at a height of 18 metres, and Kew Palace, the former summer residence of King George III.

One of our favourite things to do at Kew Gardens, however, is to visit The Hive. an incredible multi-sensory experience designed to highlight the extraordinary life of bees.

Cost: From £11 per adult (off peak, booked in advance) and £4 per child.

Closest tube: Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens website

The Sky Garden

High above the River Thames floats the magical Sky Garden. A lush oasis from the chaotic pace of London, it will captivate children and adults alike. Spectacular 360-degree views, exotic plants and an array of dining choices await you, and admission is free!

Your visit begins with an online ticket reservation. , to be sure of obtaining your place. Another way is to reserve a table at one of the Garden’s restaurants. Some tickets may also be available on the day.

It’s best to arrive at the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ building (40 Fenchurch Street) at least 30 minutes before your scheduled time, to clear the airport-style security. You’ll then queue for a speedy elevator ride to the 35th floor, where you enter a vast lobby with breathtaking views. The area has a calm vibe as you explore the stepped Garden levels and stunning outdoor terrace overlooking the Thames. Reasonably-priced snacks and drinks are available, as well as restrooms with baby-care facilities.

Kathleen, Fast Net Travel

Cost: Free, be sure to book at least three weeks in advance

Closest tube: Monument

Sky Garden website

Things to do in London with kids
The Globe Theatre

London theatre shows for the family

London is well known for its theatre and there lots of very good plays and musicals for families to enjoy.

The Globe Theatre

There’s no better place to begin your child’s theatre education, than with a visit to Shakespeare’s Globe in London. Originally constructed as an open air theatre in the late 16th century, the theatre was destroyed by a fire in 1613. It was rebuilt and in 1614 and then demolished in 1644. The modern Globe Theatre opened in 1997 and is based on the original 1599 and 1614 buildings.

If this story alone doesn’t entice your kids, they will definitely enjoy the guided tours that retell the rich history of the building and its famous characters. The company does a wonderful job of introducing theater to children of all ages. Their workshops bring Shakespeare to life for a younger generation by creating stories in terms they can understand like good versus evil.

Children ages 5 to 12 can try acting sessions where each child is given a role and learns about theatre terminology. Older children may be interested in one of the Shakespeare performances. Whatever you choose, know that the Shakespeare’s Globe is one of the best places in London to introduce children to Shakespeare and the theatre.

Kirsten Maxwell, Kids Are A Trip

Cost: Check website for performance and workshop costs

Closest Tube: London Bridge, Blackfriars, Mansion House, Southwark and St. Paul’s

Shakespeare’s Globe website

See a West End Show

London is my favourite city in the world. One thing I do on every visit to London is see a show (or two or three!) in the West End. Live theatre is amazing for all ages, but is especially fun thing to do in London with kids.

London’s West End is famous for its variety of live theatre plays and musicals. For kids, I would definitely recommend an eye-catching and engaging musical. There are many kid-friendly shows, such as Matilda, Wicked or The Lion King, that cater to young audiences. Your kids may already be familiar with the characters or songs and will love seeing them come to life on stage.

Luckily, live theatre in London is also affordable. You can visit any of the discount ticket booths around Leicester Square for cheap theatre tickets. Show up on the same day as you’d like to see the show, and you’ll be able to get decent seats starting from £20 per ticket. Which explains why I often fit more than one show into my London itineraries!

Riana, Teaspoon of Adventure

London with kids
London’s West End is home to world-famous theatres

Some of the best West End shows to see with kids in London:

The following are some of the most popular West End shows to enjoy on a family trip to London:

London with kids
Oxford Street is the busiest shopping street in Europe

Fun shops in London for kids

If you are visiting London with teens and really want to go shopping then take a look at these recommendations. For young children, the following are good options.

Hamleys Toy Store

Hamleys, one of the most famous toy stores in the world, has enthralled kids since 1760 and it is easy to see why even before entering. We spent most of the day in the store with our kids when visiting London and it is one of the best experiences they had.

The opening each morning is a spectacle in itself when the mascot bears, Hamley and Hattie, count down to opening time. From the moment we stepped inside the entertainment did not cease. Shop staff were ‘playing’ all the time… flying mini-drones, blowing giant bubbles and enticing kids to join in (and parents to buy).

We did get lured into buying a few items that we really did not need, but they made excellent gifts for friends as we travelled around the UK and Europe.

Recommended by: Jane, Fun Things to do in Melbourne

Closest Tube: Oxford Circus

Hamleys website

Visit Harrods

One could say that Harrods is merely a department store, but that would be a horrible disservice to a legendary retail establishment that has both history and beauty on its side.

Yes, the toy department is greatly altered from just a few years ago and is no longer a fairyland of books and toys. However, the entire store is actually like an enormous toy jewel box, with treasures to be found on every floor.

The escalators (fun fact: Harrods had the world’s first escalator, installed in 1898) move past intricately carved stonework with Egyptian motifs and beautiful displays of housewares, fashion and souvenirs of the shop and London. There are interesting things to admire everywhere you look.

If it’s a fine weather day, shop the Fresh Market Hall on the ground floor for some delicious picnic supplies, and head to nearby Hyde Park for a memorable al fresco lunch.

Recommended by Claudia, Claudia’s Travels

Closest Tube: Knightsbridge

Harrods website

Other fun shops to visit in London with kids:

Best things to do in London with kids
London’s Southbank Centre Food Market

Southbank Centre Food Market

London’s South Bank has seen an explosion of development in the past decade that goes well beyond the London Eye. While the Eye is still the biggest attraction drawing families across the Thames, restaurants and a vibrant waterfront are keeping them there all afternoon.

Even better, the Southbank Centre Food Market, located behind Southbank Centre, is introducing local and visiting families to cuisines from across the globe. Bites on display include Duck Fat fries, a variety of curries, Ethiopian dishes, Greek salads and Gyros, as well as traditional English fair. Picnic tables are set up throughout the market.

Recommend by Keryn, Twist Travel Mag

Closest Tube: Waterloo and Embankment

Borough Market

Borough Market is the oldest food market in the capital with a history dating back some 1,000 years. Located at London Bridge, today the market is foodie heaven welcoming some 4.5 million visitors every year.

There are over 100 different stalls selling everything from oysters and sausage sandwiches to Thai street food and giant, steaming vats of paella. It’s a great place to come for fruit and veggies as well as freshly caught seafood, cheeses, breads and more.

Borough Market is also a reliable option for otherwise hard-to-come-by ingredients. It still operates as a wholesale market, opening at 2am to trade, and welcomes the public from 10am. Note that it gets very busy at weekends.

Closest Tube: London Bridge

London with kids
Covent Garden Market

Other things to do in London with kids

If you have more time in London then the following are some of our favourite things to do.

Explore Covent Garden

Covent Garden is the perfect place to visit in London with children. The list of things to do is endless from street performers and toy shops to interesting child-friendly museums.

The best free things to do is watch the street entertainers that can be found performing outside of St Paul’s Church, inside the Apple Tree Market and along James street. There are many kid-friendly shops to visit including Benjamin Pollocks Toyshop, the Tin Tin shop, the Moomin shop and Pylones, which is filled with crazy objects and gifts.

You could also visit the London Transport Museum for a fabulous insight in to the world of London’s transport. Covent Garden is also the heart of theatre land with plenty of family-friendly performances.

Recommended by Donna, Like Love Do

The Hop On Hop Off Bus

There is so much to see and do in London, which can mean a lot of walking for little legs. On our first day in London we did a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city, which was the perfect way to tick off a lot of the popular sights without tiring the kids out.

There are numerous bus companies to choose from, all running similar routes and itineraries. Options include Big Bus Tours, City Sightseeing, Golden Tours and Tootbus. Our favourite were the tour buses with guides providing live commentary. Best of all, we could hop-off whenever something caught our eye that we wanted to explore deeper.

Our bus tour also included a river cruise on the Thames, which was a great bonus activity.

Recommended by Dawn, 5 Lost Together

B Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

What kid doesn’t want to ride a bus and experience an afternoon tea when in London? Tackle two items on your list with this 90-minute afternoon tea bus tour that brings you by some of London’s most famous sights including Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park and Buckingham Palace.

You’ll munch on tiny sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries, all while you see the most iconic sights ion a double-decker bus. This is a great place to meet other traveling families, and introduce your kids to the fine art of drinking tea.

B Afternoon Tea Bus Tour website

Enjoy Afternoon Tea

There are few things more British than afternoon tea and fortunately London has a lot of great places where you can eat your fill of cakes. Even better, there are lots of venues that offer child-friendly afternoon tea experiences.

These magical experiences include the Charlie & The Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych, inspired by the stories of Roald Dahl and a Jungle Book-themed tea at Brown’s Hotel to a tea inspired by Alice in Wonderland at the Taj 51 and a fashion-forward Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley.

Take a Harry Potter Tour 

If one of your little ones is a fan of Harry Potter, you need to take them to some of the Harry Potter related sites in London.

Start out at King’s Cross Station where you can take a photo at Platform 9 ¾. In the Leicester Square area, you will find the inspirations for Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley. The kids will love the Harry Potter inspired treats at Hardy’s Candy Shop. You can also visit the shop of MinaLima who did all the graphic design work for the films.

Close to Covent Garden, you will find Gringotts Wizarding Bank, known as Australia House to muggles. In Westminster, you can visit spots where they filmed outside the Ministry of Magic. These are only a few of the Harry Potter sites in London.

Don’t miss a trip to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour just outside of London to see the Making of Harry Potter.

Recommended by Anisa, Two Traveling Texans

Mudchute Farm

You hear London and you think think: Museums, Hyde Park, the Queen and crazy shopping. London has everything. And as we learned recently, it has everything include several farms, yes farms! We visited one of them – the Mudchute Farm on the Isle of Dogs within walking distance of Greenwich and Canary Wharf.

Mudchute Farm has horses, cows, sheep, pigs, hens, geese and all the animals you would expect to see on a farm. You can touch most of them and feed some, either with grass or seeds which are on sale at the entrance.

We spent around two hours there, walking around, petting animals and feeding them. If you love nature and are looking for some alternative way to spend family time in London I think Mudchute is great option. Mudchute is open everyday from 9am to 5pm and entry is free.

Recommended by Ania, The Travelling Twins 

Closest DLR Stations: Mudchute, Crossharbour & Island Gardens.

Mudchute Farm website

Climb the O2

Fancy conquering one of London’s icons? Climbing the O2 is an easy, fun outdoor challenge without the need for ice axe or crampons.

The action takes place on a bouncy walkway at the 02 dome in Greenwich. You clip and unclip yourself all the way up so there’s lots to keep the children entertained. After a short video giving you the safety stuff, you venture up in small groups with your own climbing guide but you can take things at your own pace. (If you don’t mind holding up the person behind you.)

It will be a bit of a challenge if you’ve never done anything like it but afterwards you will boast of being a mountaineer. And as you go upwards to 52m above ground level you’ll get the best views of London.

Book ahead for your chosen slot, especially at busy times. I recommend a dusk adventure, where the changing light is most atmospheric. Or book an after dark tour to see the skyscrapers twinkle.

You can also book an experience where you enjoy a glass of champagne at the top. And look out for offers where you can bag a free hot chocolate. In winter you will need it – it’s chilly up there!

Recommended by Kirstie, The Family Adventure Project

Closest Tube: North Greenwich

O2 Website

The London Emirates Cable Car

Our two nieces, 7 and 9, absolutely loved their surprise highlight to our London day out, a ‘flight’ on the Emirates Air Line cable car. As the MBNA Thames Clipper rounded the river bend the suspense was lifted as the tall towers and suspended cable car ‘cabins’ popped into view.

With an Emirates Air Line cabin all to ourselves the girls shrieked with excitement as we ‘took off’ climbing steeply upwards from the ground station near the O2 Arena. The ‘flight’ lasted 10 minutes, one way, giving us fantastic 360 degree views from 90m above the docks.

After delicious ice-cream cones at the far end, we caught the return flight back to the Greenwich Peninsula. Next, we visited the Emirates Aviation Experience, a state-of-the-art exhibition room that included an Airbus A380-800 cockpit mock-up and an interactive cargo-loading challenge that had the girls hooked. It was a great-value, day out.

Recommended by: Darrin, What The Saints Did Next

Closest Tube: North Greenwich

Emirates Air Line cable car website

Take a Thames River Cruise

The perfect way to get amazing views of London is on board a Thames River cruise. There are plenty of different operators along the river and different stops you can make along the way. Most typically run from the big tourist highlights of Embankment and Westminster, past the London Eye, Tate Modern, HMS Belfast and the Tower of London then under Tower Bridge (if you are lucky you may see the draw bridge in action!).

Next, cruise around to the more modern parts of East London to Canary Wharf and terminate your cruise at Greenwich, taking in a wonderful walk to the Royal Observatory.

Alternatively, opt for a longer cruise past the O2 Arena and as far as Woolwich to see the famous Thames Barriers, London’s flood defence system – a beautiful, fascinating and little known-gem of London.

Recommended by Keri, Little City Trips

Meet Shrek

Take a journey to Far Away Land says the slogan for London ’s attraction based at Country Hall by the River Thames. Shrek’s Adventure London is a walk and ride experience for family travellers beginning with a 4D bus ride, followed by DreamWorks animation, story-telling and audience participation.

If you love the bright green ogre and all his friends, as well as other Dreamworks animations such as How To Train Your Dragon, then this is a brilliant experience right in the heart of London and close to plenty of other attractions.

All tickets are allocated a time slot which allows for small groups to enter the attraction at different intervals – which is a great way to avoid the crowds. Expect lots of noise, flashing lights and humour.

Recommended by: Ting, My Travel Monkey

Closest Tube: Waterloo

Shrek’s Adventure Website

About The Author

9 thoughts on “The 2023 guide to the best of London with kids (+map)”

  1. I am a big fan of London, and wow! I had no idea there were so many things (including off-the-beaten-path) to do in London with kids!

    1. Yes, there really is so much to do in London. You’ll have to try some of these suggestions out when you come back 🙂

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