London with kids, tips and things to do

Have you thought about what to do in London with the kids during your holidays? Don't miss out on these ideas and tips to make your trip go smoothly!

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

13 min read

London with kids, tips and things to do

Children having fun in London | ©Robert Tudor

If you are planning to travel to London with your family soon, you will surely want to plan some activities during your stay so that the children can also have fun and make the most of this experience.

There is a wide range of leisure activities in the British capital and there are many things to see and do there. To help you choose, in this post you'll find several suggestions and tips on how to enjoy London with the kids to the fullest, and we're sure you'll have lots of fantastic stories and memories to tell when you get home!

1. Experience the magic of Harry Potter at Warner Bros

Walking down Driagon Alley with the kids| ©Bill Bartlett
Walking down Driagon Alley with the kids| ©Bill Bartlett

While on holiday in London, the kids will be thrilled to visit the Harry Potter Studios Park, where all the Potter films were filmed - it's a magical place!

They'll have a great time touring the original film sets, learning about how the films were made and the special effects that were used to recreate this fantasy world. For a moment you will feel part of history as if you were a student at the famous school of wizardry.

Book tickets for Harry Potter Park

2. Don't miss the West End musicals

Part of The Lion King Musical in London| ©tuveuxmaphoto
Part of The Lion King Musical in London| ©tuveuxmaphoto

Attending one of the West End musicals is a must-do in London with kids one afternoon during a holiday in the city. After spending the whole day among museums, monuments and shops, the little ones also need a bit of time to have fun during the trip.

The best way to end a day of sightseeing with parents is to immerse yourself for a few hours in the fantasy worlds of West End musicals and be transported by their fabulous stories, staging and musical numbers full of lights, magic and colour. Plus, they're some of the best in the world (with Broadway's permission!).

  • Recommendation: many people want to attend so my advice is to get your tickets in advance to secure your seats for a particular show on the date you want.
  • How to buy tickets: the best way tobuy tickets is online, as it allows you to book them from home before you travel. This way you can avoid queuing for ages with the kids at the theatre box office and spend time making other plans with them around London.
  • Can we go without knowing English: of course! Many of the musicals on the bill have a film version (Mary Poppins, The Lion King, Cinderella, The Prince of Egypt, etc.) so even if you don't speak the language you can easily follow the plot.

Buy tickets for London musicals

3. Be amazed by Madame Tussauds and other museums

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson.| ©Abi Skipp
The King of Pop, Michael Jackson.| ©Abi Skipp

If you think museums in London aren't for kids, you're wrong! There are several options that they might really enjoy. Here is my personal selection of those that they can enjoy in style:

  • Madame Tussauds Wax Museum: the wax museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. All visitors can interact with the figures and meet their favourite artists and fictional characters such as Taylor Swift, Little Mix, One Direction, Spiderman, Captain America or the Hulk, among many others, with whom they can take all the pictures they want.
  • National Gallery: if you had completely ruled out the National Gallery on your visit to London with children, you may have been too hasty. The museum organises guided tours with children and for the whole family, led by an expert who will bring culture to the little ones in a masterful way.
  • Science Museum: in this fun museum they will have the time of their lives, as many of the areas have interactive or virtual reality activities in which the little ones will have fun at their own pace.
  • Postal Museum: in this museum children can become postmen for a day and discover postal history in a fun way.

Book tickets for Madame Tussauds

4. Visit the stadiums

london, chelsea|©nathan17
london, chelsea|©nathan17

Are the little ones on your trip football fans? Then you can't miss out on a guided tour of two of the city's most famous stadiums of two of England's most famous clubs:

  • Chelsea Stadium Tour: Chelsea is the most successful English club of the 21st century and on this 90-minute guided tour you will be taken around the stadium and its museum by a professional guide. You will also visit areas such as the changing rooms and the tunnel.
  • Arsenal FC Stadium Tour: in this case you will tour the Emirates Stadium for an hour and a half but with an audio guide. If the kids are older, they will like this one, but if they are still too young, the audio guide might bore them a bit.

Book a Chelsea Stadium Tour

5. Have a great time at the most curious themed attractions

Kids at play|©Arun Joseph
Kids at play|©Arun Joseph

A trip to London with kids should not be complete without a visit to some of the most fun themed attractions in the city. You can also visit amusement parks, but in case the little ones are scared of heights, here are some great alternatives for them to have just as much fun, but without having to get their feet off the ground:

  • Life-size Monopoly, children love this famous board game and in this attraction you can all enjoy a life-size Monopoly together while you play a game. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?
  • Shrek's Adventure: What kid doesn't love Shrek? The cartoon character has his own attraction in London where the whole family can visit the most iconic locations from the film, meet the characters and enjoy a total of 10 rides.

Book tickets to Shrek's Adventure:

6. Let them discover animals at the zoo

London Zoo|©M Liao
London Zoo|©M Liao

There isn't a child who doesn't enjoy animals, and by getting a ticket to London Zoo they can do so in style. Of course, it's also something that adults enjoy a lot too, sometimes even more. So it's a perfect activity for the whole family.

Gorillas, lemurs, tigers, giraffes, reptiles, lions, penguins? There is even a butterfly area! This zoo is home to more than 17,000 different species. But most interesting of all, did you know that London Zoo is the oldest zoo in the world? Really, don't miss it because you'll have an amazing day out.

Book tickets to London Zoo

7. Hop on the sightseeing bus to explore London

red bus tour|©Dany Tolenga
red bus tour|©Dany Tolenga

London is one of the largest cities in Europe and there is often a long distance between the different tourist attractions. Wandering up and down the city sightseeing to get to each of them can be a very appealing plan for adults with an explorer's soul, but for children it can be tremendously tiring. Especially for the little ones.

So that they can also enjoy the most touristy side of London without tiring quickly and can save their energy for visits to the different museums and monuments in the city, I recommend you get tickets for the London sightseeing bus.

  • Route: main places of interest of the British capital, it has a total of 45 stops.
  • How it works: you can get on and off at the stop of your choice to explore a certain area.
  • To find out more... Read the post The best tourist buses where you will find all the details about this activity.

Book your place on the London sightseeing bus

8. Take them to watch the Changing of the Guard

Foot Guards Battalions|©SchnauzerDebs
Foot Guards Battalions|©SchnauzerDebs

I'm sure your children have seen a picture in a book or leaflet about the Foot Guards and have asked you who they are in their red coats and big black furry hats. If these soldiers catch their attention, take them to meet them at Buckingham Palace during the famous Changing of the Guard. They will be amazed!

Also, for the children, this will be a very original and enjoyable way to get to know British culture. They are sure to love the experience.

What is the experience like?

It is a very colourful military parade of about 45 minutes that takes place at the main entrance of Buckingham Palace to relieve the Queen's Guards who are in charge of the security of the King's residence.

During the ceremony you will see regiments of guards on horseback and on foot who are accompanied by a military orchestra playing some of the funniest music (The Lion King, The Beatles, Star Wars, etc). It's great fun!

Book a London cruise with changing of the guard included!

9. Visit Hamleys, London's oldest toy shop

Hamleys, London's most famous toy store| ©Sheep purple
Hamleys, London's most famous toy store| ©Sheep purple

I'm sure the kids will be thrilled if you buy them a souvenir of your trip to London, but where can you find the ideal souvenir for the kids? If you want to get the gift right, I suggest you go to Hamleys, one of the oldest toy shops in London, over 250 years old. That's nothing!

It is a shop with several floors divided by areas: outdoor toys, teddy bears, video games, board games, sweets and much more. The curious thing about Hamleys is that as well as being able to admire thousands of toys on the shelves, the shop's employees also give live demonstrations and even organise games with the children.

  • Location: 188-196 Regent Street, one of the busiest shopping streets in central London.

10. Take the kids on a cruise


There are :::link|text=daytime Thames river cruises|element=pa-2233:::, where there are special prices or rates for children's tickets and the duration is shorter than night-time cruises.

In this way, children can experience the thrill of riding a boat and navigating the river while having fun seeing the monuments posted on the banks and imagining they are intrepid explorers.

Book a Thames cruise

11. Walk among the sharks at the Sea Life Aquarium

Children Visiting the Sea Life Aquarium| ©Gary Bembridge
Children Visiting the Sea Life Aquarium| ©Gary Bembridge

Visiting the Sea Life Aquarium is like visiting the largest aquarium in England. And, as I said before, children love animals. So if they have had a great time at the zoo, don't hesitate to make this visit.

There live more than 500 different species of animals, including sharks, seahorses, octopuses, penguins and manta rays, etc. They are divided into themed areas where you can learn a lot of interesting facts about their habitat and way of life, although it is an amazing experience!

  • Location: in the heart of the city.
  • What you can't miss: in my opinion, the most impressive part of the visit is the glass tunnel, a corridor submerged in the water through which you can walk while being accompanied by ferocious sharks and other aquatic creatures.
  • To find out more... Read the post about the Sea Life Aquarium

Book tickets for Sea Life Aquarium

11. Go play at London's playgrounds

Child playing in the playground| ©Maria Lindsey
Child playing in the playground| ©Maria Lindsey

In the midst of so much activity, it's always nice to take a break and find a moment to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of tourism. Some places I love to enjoy a quiet atmosphere are London's parks. If it's a sunny day and the temperatures are warm enough, a fun plan for the whole family is to have a picnic in one of them.

The kids will love having a bit of free time between sightseeing to jump, run and play to their heart's content. Here are some of the coolest playgrounds you can take the kids to:

12. Step inside the HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast| ©Alvesgaspar
HMS Belfast| ©Alvesgaspar

If you decide to :::link|text=take a cruise on the Thames|element=pa-2233::: with the kids, part of the way along the river you'll see HMS Belfast, a huge destroyer ship that was involved in many naval operations during World War II and the Korean War, anchored on one of the banks. If the kids like boats, this is a visit they'll really enjoy, so don't hesitate to add it to your agenda

The outside of the ship is imposing and the inside is really cool! The HMS Belfast is now a museum ship of the British Royal Navy which opens its doors to show what life on the high seas was like on a ship of this type in the past.

Take advantage of reduced prices for children on tours and tickets

Sarah in Coram's Fields children's park, London|©Lawrence Sinclair
Sarah in Coram's Fields children's park, London|©Lawrence Sinclair

London is not exactly a cheap city. So if you're travelling there as a family, you'll want to know how you can save a bit of money on your holiday.

One good way is to take advantage of the reduced rates on children's tickets to the various tourist attractions. Babies up to the age of 3 are usually free, but it depends on the activity and the age range. In any case you can find very interesting prices for children. Here are some examples:

  • London Eye: from 35 € (3 to 15 years)
  • Sea Life Aquarium: from 28 € (between 3 and 15 years)
  • Madame Tussauds Museum: from €32 (3-15 years)
  • Harry Potter Studios Park: from £46 (5-15 years)
  • HMS Belfast: from €14 (5-15 years)

How to get these prices

For example, when you book your tickets online in advance on websites such as Hellotickets, you can select the age group of the children, so that the reduced rate you will have to pay for each of them is calculated instantly.

As for babies, although they can access a multitude of activities for free, it is advisable to also select their free admission, as this will avoid confusion when it comes to accessing monuments, museums and other places of interest.

Get London sightseeing passes to get the most out of your trip

London Pass| ©ba7raini
London Pass| ©ba7raini

If you're planning to visit a lot of places on your holiday to the British capital, London tourist passes can help you stick to your plans without going broke trying.

They will give you access to a multitude of attractions while saving you money by not having to pay for each attraction separately and by offering a reduced price for children's passes. It's also a great option to consider when travelling with children because they have special offers at many theatres, restaurants, shops and other entertainment venues.

  • London Pass: from €57 for a child's pass.
  • London Explorer Pass: from €46 for children's pass.
  • Merlin's Magical London Pass: from €47 for the children's pass.

If you want to know in detail about these tourist passes, don't miss the post The best London tourist card where all of them are analysed in depth.

Book a London Sightseeing Pass

Schedule your children's visits in the morning and give them time to play

Getting Ready to Go Sightseeing| ©Katie E
Getting Ready to Go Sightseeing| ©Katie E

When it comes to sightseeing as a family, the best time of day to schedule an outing is early in the morning, as children tend to be early risers and wake up with lots of energy. This way they will be more awake and active for excursions and cultural visits.

Also, early in the morning, London's tourist attractions tend to have fewer visitors and larger groups, so you will avoid the crowds that can test your children's patience when it comes to queuing.

Finally, I suggest that in the afternoons, when they are more tired, you plan an activity where the children can have fun before going back to the hotel to rest and recover their strength for the next day. For example, go for a trip to the toy shops in London, Madame Tussauds Museum or the Sea Life Aquarium.

Plan your meals in plenty of time

Eating a Dessert| ©Patrick Fore
Eating a Dessert| ©Patrick Fore

This is not a trivial matter, because although the city has a great gastronomic offer, it is also a very touristy place and in the central hours of the day (especially on holidays or in high season) it is not an easy task to find a free table in certain areas if you do not have a reservation.

This could be a problem if you don't know much about London and at the end of an activity you have to walk around the centre looking for an available place because everything is full. The children could end up losing patience and have a tantrum if they are very hungry! That's why it's always a good idea to carry some snacks in your bag and, of course, to know beforehand some good restaurants where you can eat near some tourist attractions such as: