London is a world-class city with endless things to see and do, yet keeping kids entertained can present some challenges.
We’ve pulled together more than 60 parent-recommended activities and attractions, ones that are sure to prove entertaining to kids of all ages.
We've also suggested an itinerary that covers up to 5 days of activities that will keep your kids interested.
If you're wondering how much time to set aside for a family vacation in London, skip ahead to our section covering how many days you might need to experience as much of the city as possible.
Most of the major museums in London are free, and many have great activities for kids. We’ve listed some of the most kid-friendly museums in the city below.
And In some cases, we’ve included links to tours in case you want a guide through some of the exhibits.
There’s plenty for kids to get their hands on here, including an interactive Wonderlab where kids can do things like send lightning bolts across the room, and use a thermal imaging camera.
They have a Fly-Kids flight simulator for younger kids and an immersive 3D film, RAF Red Arrows, that makes kids feel like they’re flying in formation with other planes for older kids.
Kids under age 6 can get explore light, water, and sound in The Garden.
And Pattern Pod has touch screens, robot trails, and interactive exhibits that allow kids to see patterns and predict how they will move.
London Transport Museum
The museum has a playzone for kids up to age 7 with vehicles kids can drive and repair, and jobs they can do dressed in uniform.
Older kids would enjoy being able to jump on moving pictures. Kids can build a tunnel in the Digging Deeper gallery. In the Future Engineers gallery kids can try “driving” a modern tube train.
There are models of full-size horses that pull trains, and mannequins dressed up in old-timey outfits. And there’s a Smooth Operations game where kids can play with the computer that runs the trains.
The Horniman Museum and Gardens
This museum has a Natural History Gallery with animals first put on display in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, including a massive Walrus.
There’s a Music Gallery with over 1,000 musical instruments on display, and a World Gallery, with items that show how people live around the world.
Kids will also enjoy the Butterly House, the small Aquarium, an outdoor Sound Garden where kids can play instruments, and a short Animal Walk.
Peter Harrison Planetarium
This museum located in Greenwich park is perfect for the kid who loves space.
It’s a digital laser planetarium that has activities such as a Sky Tonight show featuring constellations and meteor showers, a One Day on Mars show that lets kids see what it would be like to stand on Mars, and a Starstruck show that explores the lives of stars.
And there’s Lunar Encounter where kids can learn everything about the moon. Kids 3-7 would enjoy ted’s Space Adventure, where the solar system is explored with a bear named Ted.
- National Gallery | art museum with 3 different audio tours for kids
- Grant Museum | zoological museum with fascinating animal specimens and art materials for use
- Museum of Home | has kids explorer bags, trails to follow, galleries just for kids, interactive galleries, and gardens
- Maritime Museum | has a Children’s Gallery for kids under age 7 and activities for other kids at All Hands
- Cartoon Museum | comics on display with Upstairs at the Museum providing a place to draw their own comics
- British Museum | There’s a children’s trail that kids can follow to find these like an Aztec serpent, a mummy, the rosetta stone, or Samurai armour
- Natural History | there are lots of fossils here, including a T.rex, a blue whale, and a stegosaurus. There’s a section on volcanoes and earthquakes, a gallery of gems, and specific kids-focused events.
There are plenty of tours in London that work to keep kids interested knowing that the usual 3+ hour adult tours would likely make them grumpy.
Below we’ve listed a few that are sure to keep them entertained.
Harry Potter Tours
Get a look behind the scenes of the Harry Potter movie with bus transport and access to the Warner Brothers Studio where much of the movie was filmed. There are sets, props, and costumes for kids to interact with.
And if you’d like a tour that involves something a bit more hands-on, with a guide who will meet you at Euston train station, take you to the studio, and give you all of the behind-the-scenes info on the making of Harry Potter, you might enjoy this a fully-guided Harry Potter tour.
Tootbus Kids Tour
Your kids are sure to want to ride on a double-decker bus while in London, and you’re likely to want to see some of London’s best-known landmarks.
Why not combine these two with a Tootbus Kids Bus Tour? The tour is only 45 minutes long and is narrated in a kid-friendly way.
Tootbus Night Tour
After a long day walking around the city, kids might enjoy sitting back and seeing the sites from the comfort of a bus.
London looks amazing all lit up at night, and this 1.5-hour tour, with kid-friendly commentary, will take you past some of the city's top attractions.
Paddington Bear Walking Tour
This tour takes the whole family on a walking tour around London neighborhoods and past filming locations from the Paddington Bear movies.
Tower of London Family Tour
Families with children who are not so little might enjoy the Tower of London Family Tour.
This three-hour private tour introduces kids to the castle, the crown jewels, Beefeaters, the ravens, and so much more, all told in a kid-friendly way.
A Family Bike Tour
A bike tour is a perfect way for kids to run off some energy while the whole family gets to see some of London’s sites.
Bicycles are offered in various sizes and for smaller children, there are child seats. There’s no hurry to get to the next stop, and kids will have the chance to participate in a little street art.
If your kids love animals, there are plenty of great zoos and an aquarium you might want to visit. This section will cover some of the best places to see and pet a variety of wildlife.
ZSL London Zoo
There is plenty to keep kids entertained at the London Zoo in Regent’s Park. They have everything from African bullfrogs to mighty lions, with over 16,000 animals for kids to see.
There’s also underwater penguin viewing on Penguin Beach, an Animal Adventure Zone mini-zoo where kids can get up close to animals, loads of play equipment, a Splash Zone with shooting fountains, and an open-air amphitheater where zoo keepers will share fascinating facts about animals.
SEA LIFE Aquarium
If your kids like sharks, amphibians, jellyfish, and other sea creatures, they will enjoy the SEA LIFE Aquarium located on the South Bank of the Thames.
One of the most popular things to do is walk through the Ocean Tunnel, which gives you a view of sea life up close.
There are also some hands-on tanks where kids can touch the sea creatures within, a coral reef with Clown Fish and even a four-eyed fish, a rainforest adventure, and options for VR tours and a behind-the-scenes tour.
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
This zoo, just south of Chelsea Bridge, is less expensive than the London Zoo, and you’ll find fewer animals, but it still provides enough to keep kids busy. You can watch otter, lemur, and capuchin monkey feedings.
There’s also an adventure playground that has toy cars, climbing equipment, places for kids to draw, a sandpit with diggers, a life-size helicopter, and a cafe with kid-friendly foods.
There’s also a large lake with pedaloes for rent, a pagoda in an ornamental garden, and loads of activities around sports.
Visit the zoo website for information on opening times and animal feedings.
City Farms and Petting Zoo
There are a number of places in and around London you can take the kids where they can feed and/or pet animals, and learn more about them. Some have animal rides.
Kids can get up close to piglets, lambs, chickens, goats, ponies, and more. Some of the farms have playgrounds, cafes, pumpkin patches, and other activities. And some are even free to visit!
- Belmont Farm
- Hounslow Urban Farm
- Lee Valley Animal Adventure Park
- Surrey Docks City Farm
- Brooks Farm
- Freightliners Farm
- Spitalfields City Farm
If you're looking for a good place to let the kids run around and play, there are several excellent parks in London with playgrounds that you might want to consider visiting.
The Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground
This popular playground near the edge of Kensington Park is perfect for kids. The design of the park was inspired by Peter Pan so you’ll find a huge pirate ship, loads of sand, and play sculptures.
Check the website for opening times throughout the year.
This park near Kew has a playground, Petersham Gate Park, perfect for kids up to age 12. It has climbing equipment, a sandpit, water features, an elephant piano, and hammocks.
There are also herds of wild deer in the park that you can see from a distance. Bikes can be rented, there’s horseback riding, and the opportunity to go power kiting.
Visit their website for even more information about activities in the park.
The Children’s Garden is a magical place for children.
A 60-minute play session can be booked ahead of time (it’s a busy place!) that allows kids to explore the earth, air, sun, and water gardens - with climbing equipment, small trampolines, and more.
There are trails through the park that take kids past tree trunks carved into the shape of animals. There’s also a Treetop Walk that takes you up into the canopy of the tree.
A giant Pagoda can be climbed (for an extra cost). And there are loads of places to find plants, indoors and out.
Tickets can be purchased here, but are also included on some discount passes.
If you're interested in spending some time by the water, there are several excellent activities and attractions for kids. This section will cover some of the best things to do with kids on or near the water.
Kids above the age of 5 are sure to enjoy a visit to the HMS Belfast which is moored on the Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.
Children are given a bag of props and activities they need to use as they walk around the ship.
They’re introduced to secret messages, sailor speak, and stories as they climb down into the engine rooms or cross the deck. Kids can even sit in the Captain’s chair.
Every weekend they have a Find Your Sea Legs event for kids, which involves them science, puzzles, and lessons on what life was like on the ship. (Age 7+)
There’s also a family day from time to time where veterans come in and tell stories about life at sea.
Hyde Park Pedal Boat
You can rent (hire) a pedal boat and glide upon the Serpentine in Hyde park. There is both child and family pricing, and children must be accompanied by an adult.
This ship, which looks like pirates would live on board, is a replica of the one Sir Francis Drake used to circumnavigate the globe. It’s moored on the Thames near Southwark Cathedral.
The ship really caters to children and there are five decks of history to explore. Kids can load a cannon, raise an anchor, walk the plank, visit the poop and gun decks, and so much more.
On weekends there are actors who bring history to life in 15-minute sessions.
There’s even an escape room on board where you can solve problems to try to escape.
For UK students and their teachers, they also have an overnight program that allows kids to dress in Elizabethan costumes, learn ship-related skills, and sleep overnight onboard.
If you’re interested in taking one of our self-guided walking tours along the Thames, it passes the Golden Hinde.
The Cutty Sark, the only British clipper ship that still exists and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is moored on Greenwich Pier. There are loads for kids to do here.
They’re given an audio guide that tells them stories about the ship and its history. There’s an explorer trail for them to follow, with interactive activities, and kids 10+ can climb the rigging.
An exhibit of ship figureheads is on display, crew members dress up and tell stories, and various parts of the ship from the sleeping quarters to the wheelhouse.
They have family fun weekends and half-term activities involving workshops, singing, art activities, and character encounters.
Open-air swimming pools, or lidos, are a popular way to have fun and cool off during warm months. For some, it’s recommended you book a spot ahead of time.
- Brockwell Lido in Herne Hill | a large pool, exercise options, cafe, activities for small children, and family-friendly
- Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park | a large pool, paddling pool, sun loungers, kids play area, safe
- London Fields Lido in Bethnal Green | an Olympic-sized heated pool, a sundeck, and a cafe
- Hampton Pool in Hampton Hill | a big heated pool, paddling pool with waterslides, cafe, and grassy area for play. Family-friendly.
- Parliament Hill Lido in Highgate | an Olympic-sized pool (with a shiny bottom), a paddling pool, a sauna, and great views of the city, open all year
- Tooting Bec Lido in Streatham Hill | a massive freshwater pool, a paddling pool, diving boards, changing huts, grassy areas,
STORY-TELLING, SHOWS, CINEMA
It probably won't come as a surprise that there are a lot of great theatres in London, but not all of them are intended for kids.
This section includes details about some of the best places to catch a musical, play, or other theatrical show for children.
Located not far from Tower Bridge, this is the Uk’s leading theatre for young audiences. Shows are noted as appropriate for age groups.
Little Angel Theatre
This theatre, located in Islington, uses puppetry to tell stories. There are also family workshops where kids can make their own puppets. Shows are noted as appropriate for certain age groups.
Polka Children’s Theatre
Found in Wimbledon, this theatre has shows for kids, a garden, a creative learning studio, indoor and outdoor play areas, and a cafe. Shows are noted as appropriate for certain age groups.
Discover Children’s Story Centre
This East London centre’s goal is to spark kids' imaginations through story-telling and arts & crafts.
Throughout the year you’ll find poets, musicians, storytellers, and more who share their gifts with kids. There’s a bookshop, a cafe, an outdoor play area, and all sorts of interactive events.
This movie theatre, near London Waterloo, shows 3D films on the UK’s biggest movie screen. It has laser projection, surround sound, and comfy seats.
During the summer, some outdoor cinemas pop up around the city. For some, you’ll want to bring your own blanket or chair or even picnic, and for others it’s provided.
- Luna Kids Cinema | Westminster Abbey and 7 other parks in London
- Pop Up Screens | locations are in parks or open spaces throughout London
- Adventure Cinema | on the grounds of 7 different gorgeous homes in and around London
- Screen on the Canal | King’s Cross. This is a free film festival next to the water with bean bags and loungers and food that can be ordered
West End Plays
Seeing a big production in the West End can be one of those special memory-making events in a child’s life. Luckily, there are plenty of plays that are sure to keep their attention.
A few of them are:
- Harry Potter the Cursed Child - Parts I & II
- Matilda the Musical
- The Lion King
- Frozen the Musical
- Back to the Future
- Newsies the Musical
- Mamma Mia
London is expensive, but there are ways to keep kids entertained for little or no money.
A few activities they might enjoy are covered in this section.
Appearing Room Fountains
At the Southbank Centre during the summer is a special interactive aquatic sculpture. Kids can play on it as jets of water shoot into the air. Best of all, it’s free!
Sitting down in a restaurant for an extended period of time is sometimes not of interest to kids. But street food might be, and it’s often less expensive.
Food trucks and food tents can find them near most markets, and one of the most popular can be found at the Southbank Centre Food Market.
Platform 9 3/4
If your child is a Harry Potter fan, they might like to visit Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station. This is where Harry and the other students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry board the train to school.
Kids can pretend they are going through the wall as you snap their picture. For a cost, there are people who will provide props and take professional photos.
Street Performers Covent Garden
Since the 1660s there have been street performers in Covent Garden. You might find everything from folks doing magic tricks, dancers, clowns, and so much more.
Click here for a list of official Covent Garden street performers.
There are some activities that little kids might not enjoy so much. Here are a few that older kids might find fascinating.
A Record-Breaking Slide
The ArcelorMittal Orbit can be found at St. Elizabeth’s Olympic Park. It has both the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide.
There’s also an 80m abseiling drop-off and a platform for viewing some of London’s top landmarks.
Platform passes can be purchased here and the slide added. The slide is also included with the London Pass.
This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, with over 150 lifelike celebrity figures on display.
It can be found near Regent’s Park, just a few blocks from Baker Street, where you’ll find The Sherlock Holmes museum.
A Football Match
The days of hooliganism seem to have passed, and a live football match can now be enjoyed with the family. You’ll find games from August through May.
The English Premier League has five teams in London:
- Arsenal | Emirates Stadium
- Chelsea | Stamford Bridge
- Crystal Palace | Selhurst Park
- Tottenham Hotspur | Tppten Hostpur New Stadium
- West Ham | London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Park
The O2 is an entertainment venue in London that pulls some of the biggest names in comedy, music, sport, and entertainment.
Its white-domed top with massive support beams sticking out of it has made it one of London’s most recognizable landmarks.
And now the adventurous (above age 8) can climb the roof and catch some amazing views of London.
There is a lot to keep younger kids busy in London as well.
Legoland Windsor Resort
This is a park built for kids, with rides and attractions, a magical forest, a driving school, a place to create your own creatures out of legos, trains, boats, hot air balloons, a splash park, and much, much more.
The park is not in London itself, but it’s less than an hour's drive to the west and is just minutes from Windsor Castle.
Hamley’s Toy Shop
Visit the world’s oldest toy store on Regent Street. This is also the largest toy store in London with hundreds of thousands of toys covering 7 floors!
The store also throws events, such as World Book Day and a Treasure Island Parade. There are also sing-alongs, science experiments, a Harry Potter hat-sorting ceremony, and storytimes.
For a list of events click here, or just drop in a for a visit.
KidZania London Experience
KidZania in Shephard’s Bush is made up as a real-life city for kids.
Children can explore grown-up jobs (like an airline pilot, doctor, musician, news writer), earn a KidZania currency, open a bank account, and experience over 100 hands-on activities such as wall climbing, chocolate-making, face painting, and more.
There are also restaurants with foods that appeal to a kid's palate.
Below are some activities that the whole family is sure to enjoy together.
Big Fish Little Fish
This award-winning family event takes place in various locations throughout the city.
You’ll find DJs, bubble machines, balloons, glitter, a craft area, face painting, glowsticks, inflatables, and so much more to keep kids busy.
View from the Shard
The pyramid-shaped skyscraper in London known as the Shard has an amazing observation deck that gives visitors 360-degree views of the city.
A few different lifts (elevators) need to be taken to the 69h floor, and there’s an option to go even higher to the Skydeck where you’ll find an outdoor desk with “grass”.
Visitors looking for more can also take a private guided tour, enjoy a silent disco or take advantage of a virtual reality experience. Professional photos are also available for those who want to commemorate their trip.
Hop on the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, the London Eye. Families can ride together in large pods that hold 28 people.
They stay still as the wheel slowly turns, giving you plenty of time to look out over some of London’s best-known landmarks such as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and Tower Bridge.
Cloud Cable Car
The Cloud Cable Car, also known as the Dangleway, runs from next to the Greenwich Peninsula near O2 arena across the Thames to the Royal Docks. The trips take around ten minutes each way.
Tickets can be purchased for a one-way or return trip, and are very reasonable (kids under age 5 are free with a fare-paying adult).
Fares can be paid online, using a contactless card, and Oyster card, or by cash/credit card at the ticket office.
For more information, visit their website.
If you're wondering how much time you should plan on spending with your family in London, you're not alone. A lot of people ask this question, and it's not necessarily the easiest to answer.
While some travelers will be able to fit most of the activities they want to enjoy in 5 days, families are probably going to need more time, and it makes a lot more sense to consider 7 days or more.
When planning out an itinerary, you should start from the assumption that most of the attractions you want to visit will take at least 1-2 hours to enjoy, if not more.
It's also important to set aside time for bathroom breaks, meals, snacks, and other scenarios that may pop up as you travel with children. With that in mind, it's probably reasonable to expect you could visit 3-4 locations each day.
To help out, we've suggested up to 5 days of activities. For the most part, we've stuck to the same area of the city so transportation times are kept short, and it would make removing one of the attractions easy if kids (and parents) are fatigued.
Day 1 London Itinerary
- Changing of the Guards
- Tootbus Kids Tour
- Princess Diana Memorial Playground
- Natural History Museum
Day 2 London Itinerary
- London Bridge
- SeaLife London Aquariam
- London Eye
- Southbank Center Food Trucks
Day 3 London Itinerary
- Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4s
- Harry Potter Tour
- Outdoor Cinema
Day 4 London Itinerary
- Tower of London Family Tour
- Golden Hinde or HMS Belfast
- The Shard
- West End Play
Day 5 London Itinerary
- Hamley's Toy Shop or Madame Tussauds
- London Zoo
- London Transport Museum or National Gallery
- Covent Garden Food and Street Performers