Visiting London with children? There’s so much to do!
Published Date: January 5, 2023
London is packed with seemingly endless forms of entertainment for both adults and kids. Samuel Johnson once said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” — simply replace “man” with “person.” Admittedly, if you partake in all of our favourite activities, you might get a bit weary!
Go to the theatre
There are an endless variety of shows in the West End to keep little ones entranced and thrilled. Nowhere apart from Broadway comes close to the variety and level of live theatre – except that in London, it’s nowhere near as expensive. Some suggestions:The Lion King: The musical’s famous phrase “Hakuna matata” means “no worries” in Swahili, and you’ll have no worries about the whole family being entertained by this glorious and inspiring production. Wicked: Everyone hates wicked witches, right? You might want to rethink that after seeing this musical that tells the story of Oz from a different perspective.Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: The Boy Who Lived lives again in this masterpiece production of a play based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne.
See some critters
London can be a wild place — especially at the city’s remarkable aquarium and zoo.SEA LIFE London Aquarium: Experience the richness of the undersea world, with displays of 500 species in 14 themed zones, from polar adventures to a coral kingdom. Kids can even touch starfish and sea anemone in the rockpool. Families looking for savings can bundle a visit to the aquarium with a trip to another top London attraction. ZSL London Zoo: London is filled with exotic creatures, but the best selection of the non-human ones are gathered here, just by Regent’s Park. From fierce felines to scary spiders, gorgeous gorillas to mischievous meerkats, this conservation and biodiversity hotspot will thrill and enthrall.
Be a tourist
London has a never-ending selection of things to see and do. Even if you think you’ve seen it all, you might be surprised!London Eye: Since opening in 2000, the London Eye has been an iconic Thameside attraction. Hop in a pod and rise gently but swiftly upwards for a unique and unforgettable view of the thriving city below.London Duck Tours: This hop on/off bus tour will make you feel like the ultimate tourist — and there’s nothing wrong with that! These guys will show you the sights and fill you with facts that would astonish even a native Londoner.
This is Britain, so inevitably, it will rain at some point. Here are our suggestions to keep the kiddos entertained when outside is just not an option.Pottery Cafe: Fancy getting creative? At cafes in Battersea and Fulham, you can decorate pieces of handmade English pottery (Royal Stafford and Emma Bridgewater among them) with paints and sponges. You’ll create the perfect conversation piece and London souvenir.Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: Harry Potter stimulated the imaginations of young and old alike. This studio tour offers a glimpse behind the curtain to explore how the movie magic was created, with authentic costumes, props and sets. Expelliarmus! Madame Tussauds™ London: Get up close to some of the most important figures in history, entertainment, politics and culture — or at least wax versions of them. Take a selfie with the likenesses of Beyonce or Brad Pitt, and check out British icons like David Bowie and Queen Elizabeth II. The museum goes beyond wax, with an interactive Marvel 4D cinematic show and a Star Wars set. The London Dungeon: We’re a lot nicer to miscreants and wrongdoers these days than we were in the past. The London Dungeon delves into London’s gory and violent past. This one isn’t for the faint of heart — or young children.Natural History Museum: Ready for a comprehensive look at life on Earth since it arose hundreds of millions of years ago? From dinosaurs to megafauna, from hairy worms to ancient humans, this museum shows the complexity and wonder of living things. Science Museum: Fancy having your mind blown in an afternoon? Then this is the place. Kids will enjoy the Wonderlab, an interactive gallery with seven zones that let you see lightning strike and travel through space under a canopy of stars.
Spots for afternoon tea
Nothing is more quintessentially English than afternoon tea. And London provides a plethora of family-friendly options for this classic repast.Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea: The Sanderson London hotel retains the zany, eclectic style bestowed upon it by Philippe Stark, and this afternoon tea inspired by “Alice in Wonderland” is perfectly in keeping. The infusions and scones get curiouser and curiouser as the afternoon progresses…Charlie & The Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea: Inspired by the iconic Roald Dahl story, this afternoon tea at the One Aldwych hotel recreates some famous classics dreamed up by Mr Willy Wonka. Fear not, you will leave inspired and intact, unlike poor Violet Beauregarde, Mike TeeVee and Augustus Gloop.
Explore the parks
London is so tree-filled and verdant that it fits the UNESCO definition of a forest! (More than 20% woodland.) Take full advantage of these glorious spaces that can make you forget you’re in the centre of a metropolis.Hyde Park: This is London’s most iconic park. From Speaker’s Corner, where anyone can jump on a soapbox and speak their mind, to boating on The Serpentine, this space is quintessential London. And don’t miss the Diana Memorial Fountain, made of Cornish granite. St James's Park: Where else could you feed pelicans in a delightful green space sandwiched between the seat of government in Whitehall and the King’s London residence at Buckingham Palace? Pelicans have lived in St James’s Park for over 400 years, and were a gift to Charles II — and now their descendants can be seen by King Charles III.Battersea Park: Dating from the mid-1800s, this park has everything you’d want for a family wander: a boating lake, sports facilities, a mini zoo, a yummy cafe and river views. That’s the perfect family Sunday sorted.Diana Memorial Playground: A quirky, delightful and very fitting tribute to a princess who loved children, this playground has more than a million visitors every year. Don’t worry: There’s lots of seating for weary adults whilst the kids rush around exploring the pirate ship and other attractions!