family vacation in london

35+ Best Things to Do in London with Kids [Updated 2022]

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If you’re looking for things to do in London with kids, look no further! This city is packed full of activities that will keep the whole family entertained. From free attractions to kid-friendly activities, there is something for everyone. Discover the best places to visit in London with your kids and get ready to explore the city like never before!

family vacation in london

Visiting London With Kids

Unless you’ve got plenty of time to spend in London, there’s a good chance you won’t get to fit in everything on this list! After all, there are so many great things to do with kids in London.

But if you’re looking for a starting point, this guide has some of the coolest attractions for families in the United Kingdom, making it easy to plan some fun for your visit!

If you’re in a hurry, here are our top picks:

Check out our Europe winter packing guide so you don’t forget any of the essentials!

The London Pass – Save On London Attractions

If you are planning to visit many of the family activities and attractions in London during your family vacation, a London Pass can be a great way to save money!

The London Pass is an all-inclusive sightseeing card that gives you free entry to over 90 attractions, museums and tours in London.

With a London Pass, you can avoid long ticket queues at many of the popular tourist attractions, plus get discounts on restaurants, shops and more.

The London Pass includes entry to many of the top kid-friendly attractions in London, such as The Tower Bridge, Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey, Royal Mews, Cutty Sark, London Transport Museum and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, just to name a few.

You can choose from a 1 to 10-day London Pass. You can also add an Oyster Card to your pass to give you access to London Underground, buses, DLR etc as well.

We had a 2-day London Pass and visited a lot of places we might not have otherwise visited, which was great fun!

Planning Your Visit To London

When travelling with kids, it’s important to plan your trip in advance. This will help you make the most of your time in London and ensure that everyone enjoys themselves.

London is a big city and it can be overwhelming if it is your first time visiting!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your visit:

  • Choose attractions that are suitable for all ages. There are plenty of great things to do in London that the whole family can enjoy.
  • Consider the weather. London can be quite rainy, so it’s important to pack appropriate clothing. Umbrellas are a must!
  • Check opening times. Some of London’s attractions have limited opening hours, so you’ll need to plan your visit around this.
  • Book tickets in advance. This will help you avoid long waits in queues and save time.
  • Be aware of your budget. London can be an expensive city, but there are plenty of free things to do as well.

How To Get To London

There are plenty of ways to get to London, whether you’re travelling by air, train, or bus. The best option for you will depend on your budget and where you’re coming from.

If you’re flying into London, the two main airports are Heathrow and Gatwick. Both airports have excellent public transport links that can take you into the city centre.

If you’re travelling by train, the Eurostar is a popular option for visitors from Paris and Brussels. London also has numerous national rail links that can take you to other parts of the UK.

You can find bus, train, ferry and flights to London via Omio.

How To Get Around In London With Kids

Once you’re in London, the best way to get around is by using public transport. The Tube is London’s underground rail network and is the quickest way to get around the city.

If you’re planning on using public transport regularly, it’s worth investing in an Oyster card. This will give you discounts on fares and make travelling around London much easier.

You can also hire a car which is a great option if you are looking to explore beyond the city into other parts of England and the United Kingdom.

Best Time To Visit London

The best time to visit London with kids is during the summer months. This is when the weather is at its best and there are plenty of events and activities taking place across the city. But this will also be the busiest time to visit.

The shoulder seasons during spring and autumn can be a great alternative with fewer crowds.

Now that you’ve got a few tips for planning your trip, let’s take a look at some of the best things to do in London with kids.

Free Things To Do In London With Kids

While London has some incredible family attractions, let’s first look at some of the great things you can do with kids for free in London!

Natural History Museum

One of the most popular tourist attractions in London, the Natural History Museum in South Kensington is a great place for kids to learn about all things earth, nature and science!

With plenty of interactive exhibits and a Dinosaur Gallery, this museum will keep the kids entertained for hours.

The museum has free entry although you are best booking your admission time online to avoid missing out.

Opening times are between 10 AM and 5:50 PM Monday to Sunday.

Visit Hyde Park

One of the most popular parks in London, Hyde Park is a great place to take the kids for a run around outdoors. With plenty of open space and plenty of things to see and do, there is plenty to discover in Hyde Park.

Located from the entrance of Kensington Palace to the entrance of Buckingham Palace, this is a great chance to show the kids the famous British royal palace before enjoying the largest of the Royal Parks.

Playgrounds and Parks

princess diana playground in kensington gardens

While we are enjoying the great outdoors, there are some fantastic playgrounds and park areas throughout London that the kids will love!

One of the most popular is Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, located within Kensington Gardens, near Kensington Palace.

This playground is supervised during opening times to manage visitor capacity as it is very popular. You will find a pirate ship and inclusive playground inspired by Peter Pan.

There is also Jubilee Gardens Playground next to the London Eye, Highgate Woods Playground (Highgate), Battersea Park, Coram’s Fields (central London), Children’s Garden at Kew and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, just to name a few.

Take A Stroll Through The City

You can admire some of the most iconic attractions in London on foot.

One of the best walks to do with kids is from Tower Bridge along South Bank where you will see icons such as the London Eye and Big Ben or from South Bank to Convert Garden.

During the warmer months, you will see a lot of street performers and other interesting things happening along the way making it loads of fun for kids.

Science Museum

science museum london

The Science Museum in London can be found right near the Natural History Museum in Kensington. This museum is full of interactive exhibits and it’s perfect for kids who love to learn!

There are plenty of things to see and do, such as exploring the human body in the Wonderlab, learning about space exploration or checking out some old-fashioned transportation.

This is a great activity for a rainy day and one that will keep your kids entertained. They also have an IMAX cinema with newly released blockbuster films, documentaries and 3D film screenings.

The museum has free admission although tickets to the IMAX theatre do have an extra cost. You can find ticket information here.

The museum is open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM.

The British Museum

inside the british museum

The British Museum is one of the best museums for families as it’s free to enter and there are plenty of kid-friendly activities on offer.

On the weekends, families visiting the museum can grab an activity backpack or a Museum Explorer Trail from the Families Desk to take you on a fun tour around the galleries in a way that engages young kids with learning.

They also host a regular school holidays program and have the Museum’s Little Feet program for kids under 5.

The museum is free to enter and open from 10 AM to 5 PM daily and until 8:30 PM on Friday.

The museum building itself is one of London’s most popular attractions and a perfect place to enjoy some fun when the weather is poor outdoors.

Other Free Museums To Visit In London

There are plenty of other art galleries and museums in London that offer free entry for families. Some of these include:

  • National Gallery
  • National Maritime Museum
  • The Tate Galleries (Tate Britain and Tate Modern)
  • National Army Museum
  • Victoria and Albert Museum 
  • Serpentine Galleries
  • Museum of London Docklands

You can find a full list of free London museums here.

Plan a family road trip around Europe with one of these family-friendly European road trip itineraries.

Best Attractions In London For Kids And Families

Now that we have looked at some of the great free things to do in London with kids, let’s take a look at some of the best attractions that are worth paying for! Check out the best things to do in London with kids:

Tower Bridge

the tower bridge in London

One of the most iconic landmarks in London, Tower Bridge is a must-see on any trip to the city. And, it’s not just for looks! The bridge (often called the London Bridge) has an interesting history and you can even go on a guided tour to learn more about how it was built.

There is also a high-level glass walkway that gives a unique view of the city skyline and of the traffic below. They sit at 42 metres high! Not for anyone who doesn’t fancy heights though!

There is also a children’s exhibit at the bridge, ‘This Is London’, an exhibit bringing a classic children’s book to life with large scale displays kids will love.

If you get lucky, you might visit in time to see the bridge lifting. We’ve only watched this from the ground level but it’s still really cool to see and one that leaves kids quite in awe!

Opening times are between 09:30 AM and 05:30 PM during October and March and 10 AM to 6 PM between April and September.

Harry Potter Studio Tour

daigon alley at harry potter studio tour

Located in Leavesden, just outside of London, the Warner Bros Studios Harry Potter tour is a must for any Harry Potter fan!

The behind-the-scenes tour gives you the opportunity to see some of the original sets and props used in all of the films. It’s incredible to see how they brought the wizarding world to life on the big screen.

There is also the Hogwarts Express, and Diagon Alley and you can even step inside the Weasley House! It’s an impressive studio tour that both kids and adults will enjoy.

The studio tour isn’t cheap but it is worth every penny, especially if your older children are big Harry Potter fans.

Tickets need to be booked in advance and it’s best to do this online to avoid disappointment.

Tower Of London

tower of london

Another one of London’s must-see attractions, the Tower of London is a historic castle that has served as a royal palace, a prison, and even an execution site!

Today, the Tower of London is open to the public and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Here you have the chance to see the Crown Jewels and other royal artifacts that may not appeal so much to young children.

The Tower of London visit allows you to explore deep within one of the world’s most well-known fortresses.

There are many interactive experiences throughout the Tower of London aimed at children, including children’s trails to discover fun and exciting areas, while learning along the way.

Although younger children might not appreciate this tour as much as older kids, it is still worth considering. You may also need to skip a few of the exhibits that highlight the Tower Of London’s darker history, such as The Blood Tower and Torture At The Tower.

You can book skip-the-line tickets for Tower Of London.

The London Eye

london eye

The London Eye is another of the most popular tourist attractions in London and it’s easy to see why. The views from the top are incredible!

It is easily one of the most famous observational wheels in the world, standing at 135 metres high.

If you visit on a clear day, you can see for miles. It’s a great way to get your bearings of the city and to spot some of the other landmarks.

This was one of the first things we did and it did help us know our way around a little better after seeing London from above.

Make sure you do a bathroom stop and have something to eat and drink before you board your capsule to avoid the urges for kids to eat or pee when you’re partway around the wheel. Not great timing!

The London Eye is open every day from 11:00 AM until 6:00 PM. Each ride goes for around 30 minutes with the option to get fast-track tickets to save wait times.

COMBINE YOUR VISIT WITH A BIG CITY SAVER – If you have plans to visit multiple attractions in London, you can get a combination ticket with London Eye, Madame Tussauds & SEA Life or combine your London Eye day with a Big Bus tour and Thames River Cruise. Check out the Big City Saver Pass options here.

SEA Life London

Just a short walk from London Eye and you will find SEA Life London. This is one of the largest aquariums in Europe and it’s home to over 7000 marine animals!

Some of the highlights include a walk-through underwater glass tunnels, an interactive rock pool experience, and the UK’s largest living coral reef.

This is definitely a fun attraction for kids of all ages and one that will keep them entertained for hours.

SEA Life London is open every day from 10 AM to 4 PM most days of the week, opening an hour later on Thursdays and staying open until 5 PM on Saturdays.

London Dungeon

Also not far from the London Eye you will find the London Dungeon. This is a scary attraction that’s not for the faint-hearted! Your older kids and teens might love it though!

The London Dungeon is an interactive experience that brings history to life. It’s perfect for anyone who loves all things spooky and creepy!

There are plenty of jump scares but it’s all in good fun. There are different shows focused on parts of Britain’s grim history, such as Sweeney Todd, Jack the Ripper and the Great Fire of London.

We saw the last one on our visit. Each has different levels of scare so you might be able to choose one a little gentler if visiting with big kids.

There are also rides at the London Dungeon and overall the tour experience takes around 2 hours, depending on how long the queues are. Make sure to book ahead so you don’t miss out.

Head To The Theatre

London is famous for its West End theatre district and there are plenty of shows on that will be perfect for your kids.

We saw The Lion King during our visit and it was incredible! It’s one of the most popular shows and it was such a great experience!

There are many other great shows featuring long-term or for a limited time, well worth seeing, so consider introducing them to a classic story, or find something full of laughs that will surely be a memorable experience for them.

Check out what is showing on the website.

ZSL London Zoo

Located in Regent’s Park, London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and home to over 650 different animal species! The zoo offers plenty of fun activities for kids, such as animal encounters, feedings, keeper talks and more.

There are also several play areas located throughout the zoo, so there’s plenty to keep them entertained. They also have regular special events during the summer holidays.

The zoo opens from 10 AM daily and stays open until 4 PM during winter and slightly later during the warmer seasons. Book your zoo entry tickets online.

Cruise The River Thames

cruise along the thames river

A great way to see some of London’s most famous landmarks is by taking a river cruise on the Thames River. You’ll get some great views of attractions such as Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and more!

There are several different companies that offer cruises and they vary in length from around 30 minutes to a few hours.

This lunch cruise is a great way to enjoy the scenery with a delicious 2-course meal on board.

Hop On Hop Off Bus

One of the coolest ways to get around London has to be riding the iconic double-decker red bus! And what’s even better is that you can do a hop-on hop-off bus tour, so you can easily get around to all the different attractions.

There are several different companies offering these tours but we recommend using Big Bus Tours or The Original Bus Tour. They have heaps of stops, so you can easily visit all the major attractions.

Plus, they offer an audio guide in multiple languages so you can learn all about the city as you go.

The Original Bus Tour and TootBus both have a kid’s commentary to make the experience even more fun for families.

The buses run every 15-30 minutes, depending on the route, and they operate all day.

Madame Tussauds

star wars exhibit at wax museum london

One of the most popular things to do in London is visiting Madame Tussauds, the world-famous wax museum.

At Madame Tussauds, you’ll get to see incredibly realistic wax figures of some of the most famous people in the world, including celebrities, athletes, politicians and more.

There are also interactive experiences where you can get up close and personal with some of the figures.

Younger kids might not recognise a lot of the ‘famous’ faces but older kids will delight in seeing some they know, plus there are Marvel Superhero and Star Wars exhibits too.

Madame Tussauds is open from morning until late, so you can easily fit it into your schedule. It is extremely popular so make sure you book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment!

Shreks Adventure London

We have not had the chance to visit Shrek’s Adventure as yet but it’s a great option for things to do with younger kids when you visit London.

DreamWorks Shrek’s Adventure tour is an interactive, live-action attraction based on the popular Shrek movies. The adventure takes you through Far Far Away where you’ll meet all your favourite characters from the films.

Your kids will love getting to explore and experience this world in real life as they ride the magical 4D bus over the hour-long journey through 12 themed live shows.

Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour

Another for the Harry Potter fans, this walking tour takes you around places that inspired the Harry Potter books in London over a 2.5-hour tour.

You’ll get to see places such as Diagon Alley, Gringotts Bank and Knockturn Alley, plus many of London’s most iconic sites – Borough Market, Winchester Palace, Shakespeare’s Globe, Sherlock Holmes’ Pub, Trafalgar Square and the Palace Theatre.

The tour includes either a Thames boat ride or London Underground so you don’t have to walk the entire distance. The total walking distance covered is around 3.2km.

This is a fun alternative to a traditional London walking tour! Book your Harry Potter walking tour online.

Kew Gardens

kew gardens glasshouse

Kew Gardens is a stunning place to visit at any time of year but it’s especially lovely in spring when the flowers are blooming.

The gardens span 326 acres and there’s so much to see and explore, including the iconic glasshouses, the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse and the enormous collection of living plants and beautiful flower displays.

This is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site

There are also plenty of things for kids to do, including a treetop walkway, an adventure playground, giant trolls, the Hive and the Children’s Garden.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew is open daily from 10 AM until 7 Pm weekdays or 8 PM on weekends. You can easily spend a few hours here exploring all the different gardens and exhibits.

During summer, there are loads of events and special exhibitions in the gardens, including movies in the park, concerts, food tours, yoga and much more.

KidZania London

KidZania is an indoor city run by kids, for kids!

At KidZania, your kids can take part in a range of ‘adult’ activities such as being a firefighter, police officer, doctor or journalist. They’ll get to experience what it’s like to work in these professions through fun and interactive role-playing activities.

This 4-hour experience is suited to kids aged 4 to 14, making it a great place to visit with young kids if you’re looking for indoor activities in London.

Kids are given 50 kidzos each which can be used to pay for certain activities or open up a bank account – a fun way to give them grown-up experiences as they explore the different zones.

There is also an early years area for toddlers and a parents’ room for mum and dad to relax if your child is happy to explore on their own. KidZania is located inside Westfield London.

Take A Day Trip To A Theme Park

miniland at legoland windsor

When it comes to theme parks, London doesn’t have a lot to offer in terms of big rollercoasters and the like. However, there are some great options for day trips if you’re willing to travel a little further out.

Chessington World of Adventures is a firm favourite with families, just over half an hour from London.

The park has over 40 rides as well as a zoo with over 1000 animals and a SEA Life Centre. There is also accommodation within Chessington Resort from glamping to partner hotels.

If you’re willing to travel a bit further, LEGOLAND Windsor is just over an hour from London and features over 55 rides, shows and attractions set across 150 acres of parkland.

There is also a LEGO Land Discovery Centre located in central Milton Keynes if you don’t want to venture too far out of London.

Thorpe Park is another great option for thrill-seekers, with over 30 rides to choose from including the UK’s fastest rollercoaster, Stealth.

Thorpe Park is located in Surrey, just over half an hour from London and is easily reachable by public transport. If you’re looking for things to do with older kids, this is a great option!

Travel Insurance: Make sure you don’t leave home without travel insurance. Trust us, it’s one of those things you don’t want to skip, especially when travelling with kids. We recommend World Nomads.

Day Trips From London With Kids

There are so many great things to do with kids in London, you could easily spend a week here and not run out of things to see and do! If you’re looking for something different to do, why not take a day trip out of the city?

There are plenty of options depending on what your interests are with some day trips being perfect for all ages and others perhaps a little more suited to older kids and parents who want to see beyond London.

There are some incredible UK family attractions but also some unique history to explore too. Here are some great options for day trips from London:

Bath

Just over an hour and a half from London by train, Bath is the perfect day trip for families who want to explore beyond the city.

This historic town is home to some of the best-preserved Roman baths in Europe as well as a number of museums, art galleries and more.

There are plenty of things to keep kids entertained, from taking a canal boat up the river or heading to the swimming pool in the centre of town for some water play.

It is also a beautiful place for a picnic outdoors in one of the many gardens if the weather is nice.

Oxford

Just an hour from London by train, Oxford is a great day trip for families who want to explore a little of the UK’s history.

This historic university town is home to some of the most famous colleges in the world as well as a number of museums that are perfect for kids.

There are also plenty of green spaces to explore, from parks to gardens, making it a great place to spend a day outdoors. You can book a chauffeured boat to go punting along the river or get even more of your Harry Potter fill on a filming locations tour of Oxford.

Windsor

Windsor is a great day trip from London for families who want to explore a little of the UK’s history and royalty.

Home to Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the British Royal Family, as well as a number of parks and gardens, this town is perfect for a day trip.

Kids will love exploring the castle grounds, especially if they’re fans of the British Royal Family, and there are plenty of photo opportunities too. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, head to one of the many parks in Windsor for a picnic or to let the kids run around.

Plus there is also LEGOLAND Windsor Resort !

We combined our Windsor day trip with a visit to Stonehenge and Bath making it a huge day but a great chance to see some of the biggest tourist attractions outside of London in one day.

Brighton

brighton beach in summer

Just over an hour from London by train, Brighton is a popular day-trip destination for families. This seaside town is home to a number of attractions, including the SEA LIFE Brighton Centre, the Royal Pavilion and more.

Brighton Pier is also a great place to take the kids with plenty of rides and games to keep them entertained.

This is a very popular day trip during summer if you dare to dip your toes in the water or go for a swim.

If it’s not so warm, the British Airways i360 Sky Tower is still a great attraction, with a glass viewing pod that sits 450 feet in the sky for some epic views along the English coast!

Paris is also a possible day trip from London although it’s a really big day and perhaps better as an overnight or longer stay from London when visiting with kids! Use our Paris attractions guide to help you plan your stay!

  • Flights – We use Skyscanner or WayAway to research, set price alerts and book flights.
  • Car hire – compare the best car rental prices.
  • Trains & Buses – We book with Omio
  • Accommodation – We use Booking.com or Agoda to book most of our hotel accommodation when we travel.
  • Travel insurance – Protect yourself and your belongings with World Nomads Travel Insurance.
  • Tours & attractions – Our preferred attraction and tour booking sites are Get Your Guide and Viator. Booking ahead will mean you don’t miss out on popular tours!

As you can see, there is an incredible amount of things to do in London with kids! No matter what your interests are, you are sure to find something that everyone in the family will enjoy. And thankfully, there are a lot of great free things to do in London too that are perfect for rainy days or simply keeping your entertainment costs down!

things to do in london with kids