7 Exciting Things To Do in London With Kids

Rebecca Evans

The city I’ve known all my life transformed into a completely different place after I had babies. I thought I’d know plenty of things to do in London with kids, but suddenly I had to find new places to hang out, with lifts (for the buggy) or all-day dining (for toddler lunchtime at 11:45am). 

As anyone with children will tell you, EVERYTHING  is different once you have little ones in tow. However the great thing about family life is you get to experience a whole new bunch of activities with a child-like wonder and a fresh new perspective.

Sometimes the best things to do in London with kids are the simplest and most affordable. Try a mix of these tried-and-tested trips, as well as the big tourist attractions, for your next family vacation in London.

7 Best Things To Do in London With Kids 

1. Saatchi Gallery

Entrance to The Saatchi Gallery.

Discover this alternative gem in the heart of Chelsea’s Sloane Square. The Saatchi Gallery is known for its cool and contemporary exhibitions that rate highly with older kids and teenagers. Toddlers will also love the outdoor pedestrianized space at the entrance in Duke of York’s Square, which is lined with cafes and becomes a popular hangout spot at weekends. 

  • Activity type: Gallery and exhibition center 
  • Ages: Toddlers to teens
  • Cost: From £10; family tickets are available

2. The Tower of London

Riverside view of the Tower of London.

Kids will be impressed with the macabre tours here, filled with gory details about the tower’s history, including the discovery of 2 skeletons in the White Tower, thought to be that of Princes Edward and Richard who went missing in 1483. Visit during the cooler months for twilight tours, Halloween specials or the Gunpowder Plot experience, where you can learn about the origins of the UK’s Fireworks Night which takes place every year on 5th November. 

  • Activity type: Historic place
  • Ages: Best for school age and up 
  • Cost: Under 5’s free, children aged 5-15 from £16; adults from £33

3. Ride on the River Thames Clipper Boat

The Thames Clipper Uber boat sails down the River Thames.

A slower-paced public transport option for many London locals, the river boat is also a unique experience for younger kids. The boats are big enough to ensure there’s little chance of seasickness and it’s an easy way to get across the city if you’re traveling east or west. You’ll also see the city from the beautiful viewpoint of the water (rather than the darkness of the underground), and it’ll give little legs a rest from long days of walking.

  • Activity type: Public transport
  • Ages: All ages
  • Cost: Under 5’s free; children aged 5-15 from £2, adults from £3.95

4. Tate Modern

Entrance hall at the Tate Modern in London.

One of the most famous London landmarks, and for good reason. The building itself is a marvel of architecture, with vast enclaves of space inside that are perfect for children to explore safely. It’s easy to get around with a buggy and older kids can ponder over the big ideas of modern art. The best bit is the location; set on the South Bank with plenty of pedestrianised spaces, street entertainers and outdoor play areas for families.

  • Activity type: Gallery
  • Ages: All ages
  • Cost: Free; some exhibitions require tickets

5. Princess Diana Memorial Playground at Hyde Park

The Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Hyde Park.

One of the city’s best-loved playgrounds, frequented by locals and tourists alike. Find it in the west side of Hyde Park next to Kensington Palace – this adventure playground boasts a pirate ship, sensory trail and play sculptures, inspired by the stories of Peter Pan. 

  • Activity type: Park and playground
  • Ages: Toddlers up to kids under 12
  • Cost: Free

6. Take a trip on a double decker bus

A double decker London Routemaster bus driving over a London bridge.

The best things in life are free. Children under 10 travel free on London’s buses, and there’s no better way to get around the city than jumping on a traditional double decker London routemaster. Climb up to the top deck front seats for the best views as you drive around central streets, many of which are not accessible to cars.

  • Activity type: Public transport
  • Ages: All ages
  • Cost: Under 10’s free; fares from £1.75 

7. The Southbank Centre

The National Theatre exterior, part of the Southbank Centre.

More than just an exhibition site, the Southbank Centre incorporates a variety of different venues, event spaces and seasonal festivals. You’ll find a whole host of activities on offer for children during every single school break of the year, from first orchestra experiences and summer dance festivals to poetry sessions for under 5’s and author talks.

  • Activity type: Festivals, events and exhibitions
  • Ages: All ages
  • Cost: Some events are free; others are ticketed

More Things To Do in London With Kids

Camden market, cafes and bars on the canal

If you have more time to fill on your visit, check out some of these other family-friendly things to do in London.

Columbia Road Flower Market: an assault on the senses, this must-visit Sunday market is busy, crowded but oh-so colorful. Better for walking age up to teens (a buggy might be tricky on the crowded streets), it’s impossible to resist buying a bunch or stopping off at one of the many independent boutiques along the street.

Horniman Museum: nestled in leafy south London, this historic museum is tailor-made for children, with beautiful gardens and family-friendly exhibits focused on natural history and the animal world. 

Battersea Park: one of London’s best parks for children. Spend a morning here and discover a boating lake, adventure playground, petting zoo, Go Ape treetop trail and beautiful walking paths along the River Thames opposite Chelsea.

Science Museum: a free experience for families, incorporating sound, vision, gaming, film and all manner of science and engineering topics, as well as heaps of interactive exhibits for kids to get involved. 

Warner Bros Harry Potter Tour: around half an hour out of north west London, the Warner Bros studios is the ultimate day trip for Harry Potter fans.

Camden Market: older kids and teenagers will love hanging out at this lively spot, where you can shop for punk memorabilia, watch colorful local characters or stroll along the picturesque canals.

5 Day Family-Friendly London Itinerary

The interior of the Young V&A museum.

Travelling around the city can be time-consuming and tiring, so if you’re planning a vacation in London with kids, stick to one area each day. Pick your favourite option in each of the districts:

Day 1 – Central

Day 2 – West London

Day 3 – South London

Day 4 – City and East London

  • Hackney City Farm – foodie hotspot and animal encounters
  • Brick Lane – the city’s best bagels, street food and curry houses
  • Young V&A – the interactive children’s museum in Bethnal Green

Day 5 – North London

Tips For Planning Your London Family Stay

A boy looks at the exhibits in the Natural History Museum.

London is such a fun destination all year round and is fully geared up to host international tourists, but there a few things to remember if you’re visiting London with kids:

  1. Find the green spaces. London has over 3000 parks, most of which have playgrounds and cafes, so kids can run off some steam away from the crowds.
  2. Use public transport. Londoners will rarely drive in the city center. Black taxis are plentiful but the quickest and cheapest way to travel is by tube, bus or river boat.
  3. Time your trips. Travelling with a buggy is tricky if it’s rush hour. Avoid the crowds between 8-9:30am and 5-6:30pm.
  4. Choose your airport. All the airports are located outside the city center, between 30-60 minutes away depending on where you stay. Heathrow is best for west/central areas; Gatwick is ideal for south/central and Stanstead is closer to east/central destinations.
  5. Prepare for all weathers. Yes, it rains. All the time. It’s also hard to find air conditioning, even in summer. Expect the unexpected and embrace the need for umbrellas, wellies and layers.

Book a London Vacation Your Kids Will Always Remember

Kids will always remember the little things, like a fun colouring page on a restaurant menu or the coolest bunk beds, so think about the things they may want from a holiday.

Our guest reviews always praise the houses which make holidays easier for families, like toys or children’s books, open plan kitchens, fun interiors, space for grandparents or easy access to public transport. 

Once you’ve chosen your dates and have an idea of where you want to visit, choose a family-friendly place to stay by searching for your favourite London neighborhood.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is London a good place to visit with kids?

Always! Like many European cities, restaurants are mostly relaxed about accommodating kids, there are plenty of parks and almost all of the museums and galleries have something for children.

How many days is enough in London?

London is huge. You could just spend a long weekend visiting the most famous spots but you can easily spend 2 weeks here discovering all the different areas.

Which part of London is best for families?

International tourists tend to head for neighbourhoods in north and west London, such as Primrose Hill, Notting Hill, Kensington, Chelsea or Shepherds Bush. This part of London is well-connected and filled with family-friendly activities.

If you’re looking for more space and more parks, south London is a good place to start – anywhere from Wandsworth and Battersea to Dulwich. 

For a slightly edgier urban scene, visit east and north London areas like Shoreditch, Hackney, Stoke Newington or Islington – all of which have family-friendly spots and great parks.

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Rebecca Evans

Content & Property Director @ Kid & Coe

    Stay in the worlds most

    Kid-friendly Homes

    View our top destinations and book your perfect family vacation today.