From free museums and family-friendly restaurants to fun kids activities and top West End shows, there are plenty of things to do in London with kids.
Top play fountains
- Make a splash in the 1,080 fountains in Granary Square, an attractive courtyard in King’s Cross.
- Go for a refreshing dip in the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Kensington Gardens.
- Enjoy a paddle in the More London Riverside fountains next to The Scoop, while soaking up the view of Tower Bridge.
- Cool off in the fountains at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, near the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
- Try to predict the next move of Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms Fountain at Southbank Centre, outside Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Best museums for kids
- Touch a four-and-a-half-billion-year-old meteorite in the Planetarium & Astronomy Centre at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
- Experience the ground-shaking sensation of an earthquake at the Natural History Museum.
- Visit the Science Museum to ogle the Command Module of Apollo 10, a spacecraft that went around the moon in 1969.
- Learn how people lived in olden times by peering into the miniature world of historic dolls’ houses at the V&A Museum of Childhood.
- See Egyptian mummies at the British Museum.
- Gen up on modern art at Tate Modern’s dedicated Family Zone.
- Let your imagination run wild at the Discover Children’s Story Centre.
Free things to do for children
- Be wowed by the street entertainers in Covent Garden.
- Assemble an assault rifle and play at soldiers at the National Army Museum.
- Go on a journey through London’s past at the Museum of London.
- Watch the Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
- Learn about the history of the river Thames at the Museum of London Docklands.
- Stoke the boiler of a steamship at AHOY! Children’s Gallery at the National Maritime Museum.
- Sit in a reconstructed Victorian classroom at the Ragged School Museum.
- See Tower Bridge open from the bank of the river Thames.
Travelling in London with kids
- Soar above the river Thames in the Emirates Air Line cable car and enjoy great views of London.
- Sit at the front of a driverless Docklands Light Railway train to pretend you’re driving it!
- Climb aboard a classic Concorde and enjoy a virtual "flight" at the Brooklands Museum.
- Rest your feet while getting an eyeful of the city’s top attractions onboard a hop-on hop-off bus tour.
- Sail along the river Thames on a City Cruises boat.
Transport attractions for kids
- Take a ride through underground tunnels on the Mail Rail train at the Postal Museum.
- Step aboard Europe's largest preserved WWII warship, HMS Belfast.
- Discover what life was like onboard the legendary sailing ship, Cutty Sark.
- Hop on a miniature railway in Brockwell Park (every Sunday from March until October).
- Sit in the driver’s seat of a red bus at the London Transport Museum.
- Explore The Golden Hinde, a full-scale reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s famous sailing galleon.
- See cars from the James Bond films at the London Film Museum.
Blow your mind
- Stand astride two hemispheres on the Prime Meridian Line at Royal Observatory Greenwich.
- Feast on a delicious ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen at Chin Chin Labs.
- Feast on a scrumptious ice cream, gelato or sorbet at one of London’s top ice-cream parlours.
- Tumble down the rabbit hole by tucking into the Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at Sanderson.
- Discover London’s wildest family dining adventure at the Rainforest Cafe.
- Stuff yourself with cupcakes, brownies and macaroons at one of these cake shops.
- Indulge your sweet tooth at the Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych.
- Tuck into tasty dishes in movie memorabilia-filled surroundings at Planet Hollywood.
- On a budget? Have a picnic in one of London’s Royal Parks.
Activities for teenagers
- Scare yourself silly by delving into the capital’s dark and bloody history at the London Dungeon.
- Head down into the underground headquarters that sheltered Churchill and his wartime government during the Blitz at Churchill War Rooms.
- Explore the history of surgery at the Old Operating Theatre.
- Have a thrill-a-minute water adventure at Lee Valley White Water Centre (for over 14s).
- Enjoy an exhilarating ride down the river Thames on a speedboat tour.
- See Napoleon’s toothbrush and Darwin’s walking stick at the Wellcome Collection.
- Take a trip into the haunted tunnels of London’s famous bridge at the terrifying London Bridge Experience.
- Hear the stories of people whose lives have been impacted by war at the Imperial War Museum London.
Outdoor kids activities
- Explore ancient woodland in Epping Forest.
- Go bug hunting and pond dipping at Camley Street Natural Park in King’s Cross.
- Get lost in Hampton Court Palace’s legendary maze.
Action-packed things to do
- Stroll along a soaring treetop walkway at Kew Gardens.
- Go rollerblading in Hyde Park.
- Race to the top of Primrose Hill, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of London.
- Climb and play at one of London’s fun-filled adventure playgrounds.
- Swim in the wake of champions at the Aquatics Centre, which hosted swimming and diving events during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- Over-10s can enjoy an exhilarating expedition over the roof of The O2 with Up at The O2.
- Enjoy a refreshing dip in one of London’s gorgeous lidos.
- Climb a skyscraper at Chelsea’s Clip n’ Climb (for over fours).
- Hire a pedalo or a rowing boat on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park.
- Have hours of fun at Coram’s Fields, a seven-acre park and playground in Holborn.
Film locations and movie experiences
- Visit the locations from the Harry Potter films and books while exploring Harry Potter’s London.
- Explore a few of the capital’s top film locations.
- Check out Shrek’s Adventure London!, an indoor walk-and-ride attraction inspired by the hit film.
- Enjoy the world’s most immersive movie experience at the Science Museum’s IMAX 3D cinema.
Big-hitter family attractions
- Rub shoulders with the rich and famous at wax figure museum Madame Tussauds.
- Go behind the scenes of the Harry Potter film series at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London.
- Try out more than 60 professions through role-play adventures at KidZania.
- Get a taste for the high life on the London Eye.
London farms and zoos
- Get up close to lions, tigers and penguins at ZSL London Zoo.
- Spot birds, otters and other wildlife at the WWT London Wetland Centre.
- Pet and feed farmyard animals at one of London’s city farms.
- See sharks, green sea turtles, penguins and more in the SEA LIFE London aquarium.
- Meet monkeys, meerkats and more at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo.
- Watch the pelicans being fed in St James’s Park.
- Go deer-spotting in Richmond Park.
Theatre for kids
- See a puppet show in a watery setting at the magical Puppet Theatre Barge.
- Be wowed by one of these top London shows for kids.
- Enjoy a show in one of the city’s family-friendly children’s theatres.
- See one of Roald Dahl's most celebrated stories brought to life at Matilda The Musical.
- Learn all about the Bard on a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
- Get your skates on at one of these pop-up Christmas ice skating rinks.
- See polar bears made of ice at the Magical Ice Kingdom at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland.
- Munch on gingerbread at Southbank Centre’s Winter Market.
- Shout “he’s behind you” at one of London’s hilarious pantomimes.
- Soak up the festive atmosphere in Covent Garden.
Shops for kids
- Find toys galore in London’s most famous toyshop, Hamleys.
- Visit the world's largest sweet shop at M&M’s World in Leicester Square.
- Shop at the world's largest LEGO Store.
- Little vampires and werewolves can stock up on quality goods at Hoxton Street Monster Supplies.
Quirky things to do in London with kids
- See an over-stuffed walrus and a merman at the Horniman Museum.
- Roam among the world's oldest life-size dinosaur sculptures at Crystal Palace Park.
- Step inside the London home of one of the world’s most famous detectives at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
- Go mudlarking outside Gabriel’s Wharf, where you can dig around for ancient clay pipes and bits of pottery.
- Take a ride in the singing elevator (JCB glass lift) in the Royal Festival Hall.
- Meet the world's oldest teddy bear at the tiny Pollock's Toy Museum.
- Marvel at a jar crammed full of moles at the Grant Museum of Zoology.
Thrilling London attractions
- Whizz down the UK’s tallest public artwork with a 40-second ride on the tallest and longest tunnel slide in the world at ArcelorMittal Orbit.
- Enjoy a zip wire treetop adventure at Go Ape Battersea.
- Take a trip to one of London’s theme parks for an adrenaline-packed day out.