Of all the cities in the world, London with children is my first choice for children, as there are many child-friendly, fun, cultural, historical, educational and family-oriented activities in the British capital.
Luckily, a lot of things you can do with kids in London are free. Of course London can also be expensive, be prepared, but the devalued pound and the good exchange rates can help a lot for foreign visitors.
Flights to London have also recently become cheaper. Some ideas, tips, reviews and guides about London with children, updated in 2020, some are my own youth favorite, some are things and places my children and family loved in London.
A Londoner, a local mother, a returned expat and a full-time traveller visit London with children.
We returned to London 8 months ago as part of our whole day’s nomadic travel life and spent most of the summers there.
Our kids lived there like babies, toddlers, teenagers and tweens. We always like to be back and London is a children’s Paradise. It is one of the few destinations that children always want to return to.
We know London as our back pocket. If we do not deal with anything here, you can put it in the comments. Other Travel Blogs use information from the internet, we don’t. We’re hoping we can help.
Many of the interior spaces below are currently closed. We update as often as we can and hope that everything will return to normal soon. Where possible we have added links that you can use to search it once opened.
There’s so much to do in London that’s child-friendly, educational and fun. There are parks and free museums, historical sites and entertainment venues, enough to keep your family busy for months, maybe years!
I stay with my family’s favorites, the things we always liked when we lived and visited London. When you visit London with children, I hope you’ll enjoy it too.
I think the key to helping children make the most of travel is to prepare them. Show them pictures, tell them stories, watch videos. when you get there, you will be excited about what London has to offer and know about the sights.
Short Video on London with Kids
Things To Do In London With Children
There are so many things to do with children in London that you can stay a month and not do them all. Many closed during the lockdown. Today, July 2020, we add information on what is open and what is closed.
We keep this message as up-to-date as possible, but things change all the time. We start our list below with free activities and move on to paid attractions and landmarks.
Activities and Outings You Can Book Right Now
We know it’s hard to entertain children these days. Therefore, many places will function differently until the Covid crisis is over. We searched the internet for vacancies.
These trips should make you and your children happy during the Christmas holidays. In most places you have to book a lock in advance. London Zoo is open and you can book your visit here.
Free London Museums for Kids
Most museums in London are free, which is great! You will see more and more recommended donations, but these are not mandatory. Because we often visit these museums, I can make a donation sometimes, others can’t. It’s one of the most important things I miss about living in London, especially when we’re home-school teachers or home-school teachers. London has a huge domestic education community.
Expect queues and business research from most popular museums. You may need to check that they are still free. The government insisted that the permit be paid.
Our favorite museums in London can be found below.
The Natural History Museum
According to the website of the National History Museum, the NHM is open and takes bookings for the current special exhibition Fantastic Beasts.
You could spend time in this museum and not see everything. It’s one of the most incredible places on Earth. The building itself is impressive with its beautiful Victorian architecture. Then step through the main entrance and meet a whale or a dinosaur.
Dippy, the legendary replica of Diplodocus, sometimes goes on tour. On your left hand is the dinosaur exposition with an animatronic T Rex, giant skeletons and a series of interactive displays.
Tip: the museum can be full during the semester, when many school groups visit it, it was sometimes quieter for us during the school holidays, avoid weekends and go sooner or later. Of course, the school holidays also bring with them a great deal of fuss. Maybe you should stand outside in line.
The mammal is spectacular, the life-sized blue whale hanging from the ceiling is a reminder of my childhood that still impresses me 40 years later.
There are cafés, excellent laundry rooms and vestiaires. The food is of exceptionally good quality, but more expensive than anywhere else.
If you visit London for Christmas, make sure you find an ice rink and an outdoor carousel in front of the museum. These pictures were taken in november, it was beautiful weather and we did not need any warm coats. We were lucky, you have to be prepared for every weather.
I must also mention the Rothschild collection in ring north of London. It is now owned by the Natural History Museum and is free of charge. It is a compact but extensive collection composed by Walter Rothschild, a remarkable eccentric who is known for his stables with zebras to draw his car. They’ve got the biggest stuffed seal I’ve ever seen on the top floor. It’s worth a visit.
There is also the Horniman Museum in Dullwich of Forest Hill, which is officially back with a collection of stuffed animals, and from a private collection, as well as a small tank, and a vlindertentoonstelling.
The BBC TV documentary series The Museum of Life from 2010 is one of our family favorite. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the work of the NHM. It’d be great to see you before you go, if you can.
The British Museum
According to the website of the British Museum, the museum is temporarily closed due to the lockdown. Virtual tours are available. Check the latest news here.
In the British Museum, the Egyptian artifacts are amazing, not as good as the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and some of the exhibits should probably be sent there. However, if you like Egyptology, mummies and hieroglyphics, you’re in the museum Sky. You got the Rosetta Stone, how cool is that?
Almost every culture is represented, from ancient Greece to Asian civilizations. Egypt is our favorite family. We are always looking for educational activities in London and the audio guides for children of the British Museum are excellent.
It is a great building with good facilities, the food is fine but expensive. Sanitary facilities are good, but it can be very crowded. I also love the gift shop, with products made of art and unique for children’s books and toys.
The Science Museum
The London Science Museum is located right next to the Natural History Museum and is also freely accessible (except through donation).
On the ground floor there are two practical science rooms for children, one for toddlers, toddlers and young school children, and one for older children (see above).
The Launchpad is located on the top floor and has plenty to do for children, including science shows and demonstrations during the day. Read more about the London Science Museum with children here. They have a nice restaurant and a gift shop.
The Science Museum is often less busy. So if you can’t stand in line at the Natural History Museum, you can try here or even the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is across the street.
The big three are in South Kensington. You need the South Kensington subway station and then the underground passage to the museums.
The V & A
The V & A, the Victorial and Albert Museum of Art and Design are the least favorite of my children of the three Great London museums. I really like the display of costumes by theater and famous musicians on the top floor.
There is also a changing room, but clothes are usually grown-up. The lower floor has interesting exhibitions about art and design all over the world, as well as religious art styles. Audio guides are available.
The café at the V&A is quite spectacular. Beware of damage to masonry from the Second World War throughout this part of London. When the Natural History museums and science museums are far too full, the V&A is usually quieter.
The Tate Modern with children worked well for us. They offer audio guides for children and an impressive computer function “Wall of Art”.
Our favorite artist is Salvadore Dali. We’ve seen some of his work here with Picasso over the years.
See which parts are currently on display. The Tate Modern is located on the southern shore.
The National Gallery of Art.
De London National Gallery met kinderen was ook goed. Hier hebben we genoten van een gratis hulp op volwassenen, maar goed voor mijn kinderen, samen met audiogidsen.
In dit museum worden tijden de schoolvakanties speciale kleuterscholen en lessen georganiseerd. Hier Dagen We Van Gogh na vele jaren belangrijk dankzij Doctor Who. Dit museum ligt direct achter Trafalgar Square.
Unusual Museums for Children in London
We have a full blog post about the Museum of Childhood with the toys I used to play with as a child and the toys your grandparents would have liked.
The Grant Zoology Museum is great for early-stage scientists with lots of bones and skeletons to interest little ones. For some, it might be a little cruel.
If you’re on the South Bank, The Clink Prison Museum is worth a look. Located at the site of the original Clink prison, it offers you History, Education and bloody details. All these 3 are small museums and do not take up much time.
The Changing of The Guard
There are two shifts of watch ceremonies that attract tourists, the larger one at Buckingham Palace and the smaller one at Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall.
Both are theoretically daily and at 11 o’clock. The ceremony at Buckingham Palace begins at 10: 30 when the new guard arrives at the Welligton Barracks (opposite St. Louis). James’s Park). Then they march to Buckingham Palace and “switch” at 11: 00. The old guard then marches back to the barracks with an accompanying band. You’ll be back at the barracks by 11: 30.
You must check the timetables, as there are seasonal, weather and safety differences. Try it here. In Whitehall (at Downing Street) you can take a picture with a guard on horseback and, with any luck, pet a horse. The Queens Guard in Whitehall changes at 10: 00 on Sunday, but check and check these times again.
Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column
Trafalgar Square commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar from the Napoleonic wars, and as such, it is a statue of admiral Horatio Nelso, who was killed in the war. It is located in the heart of London and the entrance to The Mall, the street leading to Buckingham Palace, is across the street.
His statue is guarded by four noble bronze lions from Landseer. It is known that the halves of their backs were modeled after dogs, not cats. If you look, you can see this.
Trafalgar Square is an open public space and ideal for walking around. I grew up here and fed the pigeons, but those days are over. My children were able to climb on Nelson’s pedestal and take a picture during our last visit to the Lions.
Look for contemporary works of art on the left base at the back of the National Gallery. Charing Cross Station is nearby.
Hop On Hop Off Bus Tours With Kids
I took a hop on hop off bustour with my kids, and even though we’re Londoners, we loved it. Most of these buses have an open roof, so you can enjoy a lot of fresh air up there. Because of this, of course, you are exposed to the elements, but despite what many people think, it doesn’t rain much in London.
You can usually book flexible tickets that will take you all over London. It’s comments that make these tours and if you get a good host, you should have a lot of fun with this kind of London tours. Keeping young children happy can be a challenge.
Combined London Attraction Tickets and Heritage Passes
There are many variations on these tickets. They are meant to save you money, but perhaps more money because with these tickets you will visit more attractions than usual. I will make a list of those currently available, but unfortunately this industry is currently very confusing.
Greenwich is not far away at all, but because it is an isolated area accessible by the Docklands Light Rail. We’ll keep it separate.
There’s plenty to do in Greenwich for a day or two and it’s one of our favorite places in London. Also on this side of the city we often stay.
Greenwich is dominated by the Great Cutty Sark, a paid attraction, but there are free museums, the Greenwich Meridian and beautiful markets, traditional cakes and jelly and modern street food.
Read our message about things to do in Greenwich with children. This message contains information on how to get to Greenwich.
Shops and Markets for Kids in London
Definitely worth a visit only for the dining room, great selection of unusual and expensive, many restaurants, also here for a price. There’s a dress code, scratches are not allowed.
Maybe the biggest toy store in the world. It is located on Regent St. a short walk from Oxford Circus. There are five impressive floors with lifts and escalators.
On the top floor there is a café, toilets and facilities to change babies, along with the toys of Dr. Who (Wow!).
Staff stationed throughout the shop ensure that children are entertained with toy demonstrations. The windows at Christmas make it extra magical.
Covent Garden Markets
Covent Garden subway station is Strange. It’s the only station I remember with an elevator. When you come out and walk straight to Covent Garden, you’re surrounded by street musicians, mostly performers, who stand still and pretend to be statues, waiting for you to throw them coins. They’re exceptionally good, most kids love them.
Covent Garden has more street musicians who previously give shows and gather a crowd around. They’re excellent again, magical, fire tricks, college fans, jugglers or, my favorite, the guy who dresses up for the Charlie Chaplin Show. My son got engaged to him last year, it was great. They usually give off a hat for donations in the end.
The market stalls are located in the central part of the market. Around this there are regular shops in the Old Market buildings. I love Covent Garden. Pay close attention to the Christmas and dinner fairs, there are often special events.
Borough Market is another Harry Potter film location (The Leaky Cauldron is here), and especially a destination for gourmets. Be careful, it can get very busy on weekends and holidays.
The Borough Market dates from 1041 and is open from Monday to Saturday, although Monday and Tuesday are smaller market days and not all sellers are then open. It’s probably closed on holidays.
It is located on the South Bank under London Bridge, near the Shard and London Bridge Experience / London Tombs. Around Christmas, the Borough Market is also open on some Sundays.
London Zoo is open after the lockdown, but it looks like you’ll have to reserve a visiting time to comply with the new social distance rules. Some parts of the zoo were closed longer, while parts of the outside were open some time ago. Gradually, the zoo opens up completely and they have baby otters. Look here at their website for the latest zoos news.
London Zoo is a big day out, a must if you visit London with children. I took my toddlers almost every week on our local people’s annual card. Unfortunately, it’s a little expensive for one-time visitors. You can look at my post in London Zoo here. I’m a zoologist and I have a passion for animal welfare. The work they do is essential to nature conservation, and London is a shining example of that.
Look at the Old Elephant House, a monumental building. The elephants have now moved along with the other larger mammals to Whipsnade Zoo and Safari Park. (Whipsnade is also excellent) The Elephant House was the last residence of camels and dwarf hippopotamus.
The London Zoo café was always great with a good selection of hot dishes and healthy snacks. They also have great coffee and cake. According to the zoo’s own website, only take-out meals and drinks can now be served.
The café used to be very busy, try to avoid peak times. In front of the café you will find merry-go-round, occasional makeup and a nice children’s playground.
The giraffe house is another favorite. I love the smell of giraffes and hay when you walk into the enclosed space. Sometimes we would take a lunch package and sometimes we would eat it in the giraffe house.
I have been to London Zoo all my life, things have changed, there are new attractions (such as the excellent exhibition in the rainforest) but the old buildings and history have been preserved.
The reptile house is another old building. If you know your Harry Potter movies, you’ll recognize the space on the Left Front as the place where Harry first spoke to snakes.