The Best 13 Things to Do in London with Kids

There are so many incredible family-friendly things to see and to in England's bustling capital city. Here are 13 great things to do in London with kids. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

London is an amazing city. It’s big, busy, and so packed full of culture, fun, food, and wonderful things to see and do, it’s almost overwhelming. We certainly had a tough time organizing ourselves during a whirlwind long weekend visit in London-town, but it IS possible to get a real taste of the city, even if you only have limited time. Here are our best bets for thirteen great, family-friendly things to do in London with kids.

13 Things to Do in London with Kids

Getting Around London

Take the Tube. It’s so convenient, and between the Tube and walking, you can get just about anywhere in the city. Car and bus traffic can be a nightmare in summer, but a ride on a traditional red double-decker bus or London cab is certainly fun! If you’re planning a visit for a week or more, an Oyster or London Travelcard will save you money as you hop the many subway lines. Individual daycards work well for shorter visits.

There are so many incredible family-friendly things to see and to in England's bustling capital city. Here are 13 great things to do in London with kids. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

Going Underground with the Tube in London

Sight-seeing by Thames river cruise is also a good option. While it’s not the fastest way to get around the city, you can see a good chunk of central London via the river’s vantage point. Take advantage of hop-on-hop-off stops along the way. If you have more time to linger in London town, here’s a fantastic four day itinerary guide to assist your trip planning.

And if you need guidance on where to stay with the family, this post has tips on the best family hotels in London.

Must Do London

There are so many incredible family-friendly things to see and to in England's bustling capital city. Here are 13 great things to do in London with kids. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

Centuries of history at the incredible Tower of London

1. The Tower of London showcases over 900 years of incredible English history. It’s been a royal palace, fortress, prison, garrison and execution site. The current Tower houses the Crown Jewels for public display, the White Tower armory, and Torture Dungeon. Do take a free tour of the Tower with a Yeoman Warder guide, who will get into all of the glorious and gory details of its history and make the Tower come alive. You can also watch the Beefeater Guards march the grounds throughout the day.

TTM Tip: Purchase attractions, tour and transportation tickets ahead of time and print them out before you arrive. We did this through Visit Britain with good success. You will save time, money and bypass long lines with priority entry to many of the most popular sites, including the Tower and Madame Tussauds.

There are so many incredible family-friendly things to see and to in England's bustling capital city. Here are 13 great things to do in London with kids. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

Cross the historic 19th century Tower Bridge

2. In walking distance to and from the Tower is the Tower Bridge. It’s a great vantage point to take great photos of the Thames and the city, and historians and bridge enthusiasts will enjoy the Inside the Tower Bridge Exhibition that provide the history and mechanics of the bridge operation. This post has more suggestions on free things to do in London.

There are so many incredible family-friendly things to see and to in England's bustling capital city. Here are 13 great things to do in London with kids. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

The royal celebrations of the birth of Prince George at Buckingham Palace

Royal Fun in London

3. Get your Royal fix at Buckingham Palace. Take a tour of the State Rooms inside the famous Royal residence, or witness the pomp and ceremony of the Changing of the Guard at 11:30 AM in summer (every other day during the rest of the year). Arrive early to get a good spot before the crowds.

4. Visit historic St. Paul’s Cathedral. There is a small entrance fee, which includes an excellent audio tour. Climb up the 500+ steps to the Whispering and Golden Galleries, for incredible views of the city that rival the London Eye. In the Crypt, you’ll find the tombs of important English heroes, including Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington.

5. Ride the London Eye for incredible views of the city. The Eye has become London’s top (paid) visitor attraction, and yes, it looks like a giant ferris wheel. Pre-purchase tickets before arrival, and consider the fast pass option during summer high season travel.

There are so many incredible family-friendly things to see and to in England's bustling capital city. Here are 13 great things to do in London with kids. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

The magical toy department at Harrods Department Store

6. Visit one of London’s iconic department stores. Whether it’s Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nicks et al, there is so much history and beauty on display at these incredible shops, you don’t even have to buy anything to feel pampered. If you do choose to stop for lunch or ice cream, just read the price list ahead of time to make sure you haven’t just paid 70 pounds for four sundaes (true story).

Maybe Do London

7. Whether the queues and chaos of Madame Tussauds are worth the visit is open to interpretation, but many kids will love ‘meeting’ their favorite movie stars and action heroes in waxy, lifelike form at Tussauds. Ticket pre-purchase is a must, unless you love wasting hours waiting in line-ups, and prepare yourself for the crowds. {They may still be worse than you can imagine.}

There are so many incredible family-friendly things to see and to in England's bustling capital city. Here are 13 great things to do in London with kids. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

We’re jammin’ with Bob Marley at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

8. We didn’t make it to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on this visit, but for fans of the Bard, this would be a must see. The open-air Globe has been recreated based on the original theatre, built in 1599. Theatre lovers will also enjoy checking out London’s West End theatre scene to see the best variety of plays and musicals outside Broadway.

9. A day spent among the animals would be a highlight for many travelling families. The ZSL London Zoo in beautiful, royal Regent’s Park, displays over 760 animal species, including three new tiger cubs in Tiger Territory. The Zoo’s App and interactive map will help you navigate your way through the large facility.

There are so many incredible family-friendly things to see and to in England's bustling capital city. Here are 13 great things to do in London with kids. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

Centuries of human history on display at the free British Museum

10. Visit a free museum or art gallery. London’s cultural scene is second to none; don’t miss a chance to glimpse into England’s (and the world’s) history and cultural heritage. Choose a museum that interests you and your family the most. Top choices could include; the Victoria and Albert Museum (and related Museum of Childhood), British Museum, Imperial War Museum, National Gallery, and Tate Modern.

Outside the city

There are so many incredible family-friendly things to see and to in England's bustling capital city. Here are 13 great things to do in London with kids. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

Wandering through Diagon Alley, Harry Potter at Warner Studios

11. A day trip to the Warner Bros – Harry Potter Studio Tour will be at the top of my list on our next London visit. I’m really inspired after reading my friend Lisa’s review of her family’s Warner Brothers Studio Tour! Located 20 miles northwest of the city (and best accessed via rail or road), it’s become the most popular attraction outside of London. Any HP fan would love to stroll down Diagon Alley, walk in the Great Hall of Hogwarts Castle, and live some of that story and movie magic. NoteTickets must be purchased in advance – none are sold at the Studio Tour itself.

12. If time allows, travel by boat up to the World Heritage Site of Greenwich, and relive Britain’s glorious maritime history. It’s only a 5-mile boat ride on the Thames from central London, and you will enjoy lovely gardens and park space, the Royal Naval College, the National Maritime Museum, and can tour the historic Cutty Sark sailing ship.

Talk to the locals to discover charming secrets

There are so many incredible family-friendly things to see and to in England's bustling capital city. Here are 13 great things to do in London with kids. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

Charming St. Christopher’s Place, Oxford Street

I mentioned at the beginning that London can be overwhelming. It’s a big city, and in summer’s peak travel season, it can be hot (temperature wise), and even hotter with hordes of tourists. Plan your family’s ‘top list’ carefully to ensure everyone gets their number one item (as best possible), and don’t try to do and see everything.

And keep your ears open to local wisdom! Our most delightful London discovery came from a clerk at Selfridges department store. Her restaurant advice led us to the narrow lane of St. Christopher’s Place, which was packed with wonderful boutiques and restaurants. For dinner, we picked Caluccio’s, a great, family-friendly Italian spot with reasonably priced pasta and Italian food.

We never would have found the entrance to St. Christopher’s Place (it’s about two feet wide) without her help, and it made our London holiday so much more special, memorable and truly charming.

Photo Credits: C. Laroye

Have you been to London? How did you plan your visit and what did you enjoy seeing most? Share your comments below.

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3 Comments

  • Phil Bratley says:

    I would certainly recommend a visit to The Shard for the Viewing Platform on the 68 and 69 floor giving a very good view across London.Book it before you go and it is located beside London Bridge station

    Take a day trip too historic Canterbury (about an hour’s travel by train) in Kent and enjoy the sites of the Cathedral,the town with its quaint little streets,pubs,restaurants and shops

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