London with kids, tips and things to do

Have you thought about what to do in London with the kids during your vacation? Don't miss all 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.

The leisure offer in the British capital is huge and there are many things to see and do there. To help you choose, in this post you will find several suggestions and tips to enjoy London with the kids to the fullest. We are sure that when you return home you will have lots of fantastic anecdotes and memories to tell!

1. Experience the magic of Harry Potter at Warner Bros

Touring Driagon Alley with the kids| ©Bill Bartlett
Touring Driagon Alley with the kids| ©Bill Bartlett

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

They will have a great time touring the original sets of the films, learning how the movies 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 your tickets for the 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 to do in London with children one afternoon during a vacation in the city. After spending the whole day among museums, monuments and stores, the kids also need some time to have fun during the trip.

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

  • Recommendation: many people want to attend so my advice is to get tickets in advance to ensure your seats in a particular play on the date you want.
  • How to buy tickets: the best way is online, as it will allow you to book them from home before traveling. This way you will avoid standing in line with the kids at the theater 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 billboard have their film version (Mary Poppins, The Lion King, Cinderella, The Prince of Egypt, etc.) so that even if you do not 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 that museums in London are not for kids, you're wrong! There are several options that they might really like. Here is my personal selection of those that they can enjoy in a big way:

  • 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 find their favorite artists and fictional characters such as Taylor Swift, Little Mix, One Direction, Spiderman, Captain America or 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 in your visit to London with children, perhaps you have rushed. The fact is that the museum organizes guided tours with children and for the whole family with 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 activities or virtual reality in which the little ones will have fun at their own pace.
  • Postal Museum: in this museum children can become letter carriers for a day and discover postal history in a fun way.

Book tickets to Madame Tussauds

4. Visit the stadiums

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

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

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

Book a tour of Chelsea Stadium

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 children should not miss 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, I leave you some very good alternatives for them to have fun, but without having to lift their feet off the ground:

  • Life-size Monopoly, children love this famous board game and in this attraction you can all together enjoy a life-size Monopoly 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 movie, 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 something that adults also enjoy a lot, 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 will have an amazing day.

Book tickets to London Zoo

7. Ride 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 between its different tourist attractions there is usually a long distance. Walking up and down the city sightseeing to get to each of them can be a very appetizing plan for adults with an explorer soul but for children it can be tremendously exhausting. Especially for the little ones.

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

  • Route: main sites 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 you want to tour a certain area.
  • To know 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

Surely at some point, the kids have seen a picture in a book or brochure about the "Foot Guards" and have asked you who are those people wearing red coats and a huge black fur hat. 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 learn about British culture. They are sure to love the experience.

What is the experience like?

It is a very colorful 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 that plays the most curious music to liven up the display (The Lion King, The Beatles, Star Wars, etc). It's super fun!

Book a London cruise with changing of the guard included

9. Visit Hamleys, the oldest toy shop in London

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

Surely the kids will be very excited if you buy them a souvenir of your trip to London, but where to find the ideal souvenir for children? If you want to get the gift right, I advise you to go to Hamleys, one of the oldest toy stores in London with more than 250 years old. That's nothing!

It is a store with several floors divided by areas: outdoor toys, teddy bears, video games, board games, candy and much more. The curious thing about Hamleys is that in addition to being able to admire thousands of toys on their shelves, the store employees also perform live demonstrations and even organize games with the children.

  • Location: at 188-196 Regent Street, one of the most commercial 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 on children's tickets and the duration is shorter than the night cruises.

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

Book a cruise on the Thames

11. Walk among the sharks at Sea Life Aquarium

Kids Visiting the Sea Life Aquarium| ©Gary Bembridge
Kids 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 really enjoy animals. So if they have had a great time at the zoo, do not hesitate to make this visit.

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

  • Location: in the heart of the city.
  • What not to 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 accompanied by fierce sharks and other aquatic creatures.
  • To learn more... Read the post about the Sea Life Aquarium

Book tickets for Sea Life Aquarium

11. Go and play at London's playgrounds

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

In the midst of so many activities, it's always nice to take a break and find a moment to disconnect from all the tourist hustle and bustle. A few places that I love to enjoy a quiet atmosphere are the parks in London. If it's a sunny day and the temperatures are nice, a very fun plan to do with the family is to go on a picnic in one of them.

The kids will love to have some free time between sightseeing to jump, run and play at their leisure. 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 will see the HMS Belfast, a huge destroyer ship that during World War II and the Korean War took part in numerous naval operations, anchored on one of the banks. If the kids like ships, this will be a visit they will really enjoy so don't hesitate to add it to your agenda

The outside of the ship is impressive and the inside is really cool! The HMS Belfast is currently a ship-museum of the British Royal Navy that opens its doors to show what life on the high seas was like on a ship of this kind 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 traveling there as a family, you probably want to know how you can save a little money during your vacation.

A good way is to take advantage of the reduced rates on children's tickets to the different tourist attractions. Normally babies up to 3 years old get free admission but it depends on the activity and age range. In any case you can find very interesting prices for children. Here are some examples:

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

How to get these prices

For example, when you book your tickets online in advance on sites like Hellotickets, you have the possibility to select the age range 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 that you also select their free admission, as this will avoid confusion in access to monuments, museums or other sites of interest.

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

London Pass| ©ba7raini
London Pass| ©ba7raini

If during your vacation in the British capital you plan to visit a lot of places, the London tourist passes can help you to fulfill your plans without going broke trying.

They will give you access to a multitude of attractions while allowing you to save money by not having to pay for each ticket separately and by having a reduced price for children's passes. It is also a fantastic option to consider when traveling with children because they have special offers in many theaters, restaurants, stores and other entertainment venues.

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

If you want to know in detail about these tourist passes do not miss the post The best London tourist card where all of them are analyzed in depth.

Book a London tourist pass

Schedule the visits better 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 family sightseeing, the best time of day to schedule your 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 to go on excursions or cultural visits.

In addition, first thing in the morning there are usually not so many visitors or large groups at the tourist attractions in London so you will avoid the crowds that can test the patience of the kids when they have to wait in line.

Finally, I suggest that in the afternoons, when they are more tired, plan some activity where the children can have fun before you go to the hotel to rest to regain 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 don't 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 center looking for an available place because everything is full. The kids could end up losing patience and have a tantrum if they are very hungry! That is why it is always a good idea to carry several snacks in your bag and, of course, to know beforehand some good restaurants where to go to eat near some tourist attractions such as: