Kid-friendly London Attractions
Travelling with kids? Check out these kid-friendly London attractions that'll have them enthralled, entertained and amused.
If you’re looking for child-friendly things to do in London, you’ve come to the right place. The city is packed full of entertainment for children of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. We've scoured the city to find the best kid-friendly spots around the capital.
Museums London’s museums are generally very child-friendly, offering activities and exhibitions aimed at a range of ages. Check out what free events are on before you go, like storytelling and workshops, or simply ask at the information desks. Natural History Museum Visiting the hugely popular dinosaurs is a rite of passage for kids in London. In fact you’ll be met by the skeleton of Dippy the Diplodocus at the museum entrance. The Natural History has a further 35 free galleries, including a full-size model of a blue whale, interactive exhibits and hands-on discovery areas. It also hosts temporary exhibitions, such as the annual butterfly house in the summer, and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, complete with junior prize categories. Children under 7 can borrow an explorer’s backpack from the information desk, that contains fun guides to specific galleries, as well as binoculars and drawing materials. Parents with children under three can leave items at the cloakroom for free, including folded pushchairs. Science Museum With permanent galleries on modern and historic scientific discoveries, including flight, space exploration, materials and information technology, you can easily spend a day (or two!) at the Science Museum. With or without your children. Don't forget to check out their selection of 3D IMAX science movie screenings for the ultimate cinema experience, from hidden universes to exploring the ice age, there's something to suit all interests! There are also interactive areas specifically for youngsters up to 8 years old, where they can explore independently and give you a well earned rest. Like many museums, the Science Museum also offers sleepovers aimed at a variety of ages. British Museum The permanent collections of the British Museum hold more than eight million artefacts, including the ever-popular Egyptian mummy exhibition and the Rosetta stone. Ask at the information desk for a free gallery guide, which contains a structured trail that helps primary school-age visitors make sense of all the exhibits - and stops them from getting bored. The beautiful Centre Court is a great place to take a break too. London Transport Museum Want to find out what a 19th-century train carriage smelt like? Or try your hand at being a tube driver, in an interactive simulator? The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden offers hands-on insight into all kinds of transport in London’s rich history.
Burning with Energy
Roughly 47% of Greater London is green space, which means there's plenty of room to burn off some energy! Hyde Park is within walking distance of the Natural History and Science Museums, whereas the British Museum is closer to Russell Square Gardens and Coram Fields adventure playground. The London Transport Museum isn't close to a park, but nearby Covent Garden Piazza has some space to run around in and plenty of street performers to watch. Other great parks for families include: The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground (also known as Peter Pan Park) in Kensington Gardens, which has a life-size pirate ship in the sandpit. Battersea Park, which offers bike hire, a small zoo, boating, a playground and the Go Ape treetop adventure experience. Hampstead Heath has 320 acres of green space where you can go for a walk, or take a dip and have a swim in one of its natural bathing ponds. Queen Elizabeth Park has been created around the former 2012 Olympic village and features loads of green space, great playgrounds and attractions such as the London Aquatics Centre, where you can swim in the pool where Olympic medals were won.
London Zoo (ZSL) is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and was opened in 1828. Home to 18,430 animals, including a large number of invertebrates, visitors can discover new species and animal favourites with live shows, immersive exhibits and amazing viewing platforms. There are several areas for rainforest animals, spider monkeys, butterflies and more where there is no glass or barrier between the animals and humans at all so you can truly get up close and personal with the inhabitants. The zoo also offers experiences such as becoming a keeper for the day, and other fun ways to take a peek behind the scenes. The London Aquarium can be found on the South Bank, close to the London Eye. It is housed in the converted County Hall building, with beautiful multi-storey tanks. Peek into a former conference hall and find sharks circling the ceiling or follow a buried tunnel to watch giant sea turtles floating above your head. There are also a number of city farms, where you can pop in to visit animals at your leisure, in Hackney, Mudchute, Vauxhall and Spitalfields.
Catch a Show
London’s West End is the theatre hub of London and features many shows, including musicals that will appeal to younger audiences like Matilda, The Lion King, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Stomp and Wicked. There are also smaller theatres with a more specific remit. For example, the Polka Dot theatre in Wimbledon specialises in theatre for the under-13s and the Young Vic in Waterloo is where younger directors, actors and writers present productions at the lowest possible seat prices. ‘Kids Week’, which actually lasts more than a month, is an initiative from West End theatres to encourage more families to visit. It offers free entry to children accompanied by a paying adult and takes place in August of every year. Start looking well in advance to secure your tickets! Most London cinemas offer heavily discounted tickets for children’s films on weekend mornings and during the school holidays - as little as 20% of the regular price. (Parents also pay the reduced rate.)
Thrills and Spills
Older children and teenagers will love a trip to one of London’s theme parks, such as Chessington World of Adventures, Legoland or Thorpe Park. As the parks are not in central London, you’d need to allow a whole day for the trip. There are many other ways to get your adrenaline fix, including speed boat trips on the Thames, climbing 95m up the outside of the O2 Arena or descending from the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture at the Olympic park via a 178m-long tunnel slide. Phew! With so many kid-friendly attractions scattered around the capital, there's plenty to do to keep the little ones occupied no matter their age and interests! Happy travels and have a great trip!