London is a great city to explore with the family. There are so many things to do and see, and the great thing is that you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune to do so.
In fact, many of our favourite kid-friendly attractions in London won’t cost you a penny to enjoy. So, if you plan ahead and pack a picnic, it’s truly possible to have a wonderful day out without it costing a crazy amount of money.
Whether you’re looking to keep the children entertained for a few days or a longer period of time, London really is the place that’ll leave them with some amazing memories.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the things that we consider to be the best London experiences for kids (and for the adults as well, naturally…)
- Go see the dinosaurs
There’s no getting away from it – kids and dinosaurs go hand in hand! (Well, not literally – but you get our meaning…)
There are not many children who wouldn’t be super excited at going to visit the amazing exhibitions hosted by the Natural History Museum. Here you can marvel at the skeleton of the enormous T-Rex, amongst others, discover all about mammoths, and see life-size replicas of many other types of dinos…
And for an extra special treat, you can even stay overnight in the museum with the sleepover event, Dino Snores – a unique event especially designed for the kids.
- Visit the best toyshop in the world
Hamleys is perhaps one of the most famous names around the globe when it comes to awesome toy shops. With a history dating back to 1760, this emporium of amazing playthings was even given a Royal Warrant by Queen Mary back in 1938!
Today the shop is as great as it’s ever been, and can be found at its famous location on Regent Street, where its 7 floors are stocked with over 50,000 toys
- Go to Hogwarts
The Harry Potter Experience has to be at the top of many kids’ lists when visiting the UK capital city. Visit Diagon Alley, step inside the Great Hall, fly a broom, drink some butter beer… the list is endless.
Located in Leavesden, just outside of London, it’s an easy train ride to Watford (20 minutes from Euston), and then take the shuttle bus (at a cost of £2 return) direct from the station to the studio.
- Eat at the Rainforest Café
Imagine having dinner in a tropical rainforest, complete with thunderstorms, elephants, gorillas, lions, and all the other beasts of the jungle.
Located in Piccadilly Circus, The Rainforest Café in London is the largest in the world. In addition to serving reasonably priced and tasty food, it has a wonderful aquarium, “flutterby room,” starscape area, and a shop with a bizarre range of gifts and souvenirs.
- Drive a tube train
Well, a simulator, to be exact. The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden allows you to take over the controls of the simulator and drive a tube train through the dark tunnels that criss cross beneath London.
The museum is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00, and once you’ve bought a ticket, you can visit again as many times as you like in the following 12 months for free.
- Go deer spotting in Richmond Park
The largest of all the Royal Parks, Richmond Park is home to herds of Fallow and Red Deer, and is an awesome place to wander and have a picnic.
Despite the park being a favourite haunt of many Londoners, it’s so huge that it’s always possible to find a quiet spot to get away from it all – not to mention a great opportunity to get some wonderful photos of the herds of shy deer.
- Get close to the animals at ZSL London Zoo
ZSL London Zoo offers a superb day out with gorillas, lemurs, lions, tigers, bats, monkeys, hippos…. The list is endless. And you get the chance to visit Europe’s only “spider walkthrough” at the In with the Spiders experience.
- Meet Shrek and Donkey
The Shrek Adventure is a superb walk and ride adventure that brings you face to face with the heroes of the films. Board the Magic Bus and head to Shrek’s Swamp, Rumplestiltskin’s Carriage, and the Poison Apple Pub, amongst other places.
- Climb the O2
Yes, it really is possible to walk right across the top of the dome of the O2 building, at the Up at The O2 experience. Anyone age 10 or over can get strapped into a climb suit, boots, and harness and then step out (with a guide) to clamber up and over the whole building.
Your guide will also point out all the sights as you do so, and you can even do the climb at night!
- Visit Europe’s highest viewing platform
Whilst we’re on the subject of getting up high above the city, be sure not to miss the awesome View From The Shard. This now iconic building gives visitors the opportunity to board the high-speed lifts up to the very top, where you can marvel at the unrivalled 360-degree views of the city sprawling below.
You’re so far up you can even feel the building gently shifting in the breeze!
For the best experience, head up shortly before sunset, so you get to experience the scenery below during daylight hours, and then watch as darkness slowly falls and the lights below turn the city into a magical, twinkling fairyland…
There are so many different things to do with kids in London, and these are just some of our favourites. Of course, many attractions get crowded, so a top tip is to visit either outside of the school holidays (if possible), avoid weekends, or try and time your visit to be either straight after opening time or not too long before closing.