101 best things to do with kids in London

If you're visiting London with children in tow, don't miss these 101 family-friendly activities for kids when exploring the capital.

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From free museums and family-friendly restaurants to fun kids activities, there are plenty of things to do in London with kids

Many of London's shops, outdoor attractions and outside hospitality venues have reopened; while indoor London attractions, hospitality and leisure venues are due to reopen from 17 May, following the easing of coronavirus restrictions. Be aware that some venues listed may still be closed after this date, and you may also need to book in advance.

If you're not yet able to visit London, there are still lots of fun things to do with kids from home. Check out the Virtually London guide for family activities, exciting workshops, learning experiences and shows.

Big-hitter family attractions

  1. Plan a fun-filled day out or longer with London's top attractions for kids.
  2. Take in sky-high views across London at The View from The Shard
  3. Rub shoulders with the rich and famous at wax figure museum Madame Tussauds.
  4. Go behind the scenes of the Harry Potter film series at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London.
  5. Try out a fun lineup of professions through role-play adventures at KidZania.
  6. Get a taste for the high life on the London Eye.

Best museums for kids

A blue whale skeleton hangs in the middle of the gothic-style Hintze Hall, as people walk beneath it.
Hintze Hall at Natural History Museum © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid
  1. See a four-and-a-half-billion-year-old meteorite in the Peter Harrison Planetarium at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
  2. Experience the ground-shaking sensation of an earthquake at the Natural History Museum.
  3. Visit the Science Museum to ogle the Command Module of Apollo 10, a spacecraft that went around the moon in 1969.
  4. Learn how people have lived through the ages at the soon-to-reopen Museum of the Home.
  5. See Egyptian mummies during a visit to the British Museum
  6. Walk in the footsteps of ancient Londinium as you explore London's Roman Amphitheatre.
  7. Brush up on your knowledge of modern art at Tate Modern
  8. Let your imagination run wild at the Discover Children’s Story Centre.

Top attractions

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Film locations and movie experiences

The Dumbledore office set, including stairs, pictures on the wall and Dumbledore costume, at Warner Bros. Studio Tour - London
Dumbledore's office TM & © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter.
  1. Visit the locations from the Harry Potter films and books while exploring Harry Potter’s London.
  2. Check out Shrek’s Adventure London!, an indoor walk-and-ride attraction inspired by the hit film.
  3. Hum to the beat of iconic theatre tunes as they're performed live aboard an open-top bus tour with live entertainment.
  4. Follow in the footsteps of movie stars with a visit to the capital’s top film locations.
  5. Shoot selfies with the kids' favourite movie characters at the Scenes in the Square statue trail.
  6. Enjoy a film on the UK's biggest cinema screen at the BFI IMAX on the South Bank. 

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Explore the Harry Potter film studios.

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Free things to do for children

  1. Be wowed by the street entertainers in Covent Garden.
  2. Play soldiers during a visit to the National Army Museum.
  3. Go on a journey through London’s past at the Museum of London.
  4. Learn about the history of the river Thames at the Museum of London Docklands.
  5. Take a fascinating voyage into maritime history at the National Maritime Museum.
  6. Step into a reconstructed Victorian classroom at the Ragged School Museum.
  7. See Tower Bridge open from the bank of the river Thames.

Transport attractions for kids

Looking up from beneath the hull of Cutty Sark - with the crisscross pattern of the glass ceiling above and the stern of the black and gold ship beyond
Cutty Sark, Royal Museums Greenwich. Image courtesy of Royal Museums Greenwich.
  1. Take a ride through underground tunnels on the Mail Rail train at the Postal Museum.
  2. Discover what life was like onboard the legendary sailing ship, Cutty Sark.
  3. Hop on a miniature railway in Brockwell Park (every Sunday from March until October).
  4. Learn all about the capital's classic red bus at the London Transport Museum.
  5. Explore The Golden Hinde, a full-scale reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s famous sailing galleon.
  6. See cars from the James Bond films at the London Film Museum.

London Transport Museum

Spot London transport icons and posters.

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Blow your mind

  1. Stand astride two hemispheres on the Prime Meridian Line at Royal Observatory Greenwich.
  2. Feast on a delicious ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen at Chin Chin Labs.
  3. Step into a world like no other at the graffiti wonderland, Leake Street Tunnel.

Family-friendly restaurants

  1. Tumble down the rabbit hole by tucking into the Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at Sanderson.
  2. Discover London’s wildest family dining adventure at the Rainforest Cafe.
  3. Tuck into tasty dishes in movie memorabilia-filled surroundings at Planet Hollywood
  4. Stuff yourself with cupcakes, brownies and macaroons at one of these cake shops.
  5. Feast on ice cream, gelato or sorbet at top ice-cream parlours.
  6. Indulge your sweet tooth at the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych and other themed afternoon teas.
  7. Head to the Hard Rock Cafe for a family friendly meal with a side of music treasures. 
  8. On a budget? Have a picnic in one of London’s Royal Parks or at these mouthwatering picnic spots.

Outdoor kids activities

A row of trees and a neatly kept lawn in the foreground leads towards the red brick facade of Hampton Court Palace in the background.
Hampton Court Palace and gardens © Shutterstock/St. Nick. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  1. Explore ancient woodland in Epping Forest.
  2. Go bug hunting and pond dipping at Camley Street Natural Park in King’s Cross.
  3. Get lost in Hampton Court Palace’s incredible gardens and parkland. 
  4. Hop on two wheels and discover a different side of the city with these fun cycling routes
  5. Catch a film under the stars at one of London's best outdoor cinemas
  6. Spot the capital's bridges shining bright after dark with Illuminated River.
  7. Let the little ones run wild in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Best adventure playgrounds for kids

  1. Let the little ones become pirates for the day on Captain Hook's huge wooden pirate ship at the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground.
  2. Have hours of fun at Coram’s Fields, a seven-acre (three-hectare) park and playground in Holborn.
  3. Spend a fun day out exploring Timber Lodge and Tumbling Bay Playground at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, featuring rock pools, treehouses, slides, swings and plenty of space to run about.

Activities for teenagers

  1. Learn all about the Bard on a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
  2. Over 10s can sharpen up their detective skills during Sherlock: The Official Live Game.
  3. Scare yourself silly by delving into the capital’s dark and bloody history at the London Dungeon.
  4. Head down into the underground headquarters that sheltered Churchill and his wartime government during the Blitz at Churchill War Rooms.
  5. Explore the history of surgery at the Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret.
  6. Have a thrill-a-minute water adventure at Lee Valley White Water Centre.
  7. Enjoy an exhilarating ride down the river Thames on a speedboat tour.
  8. See Napoleon’s toothbrush and Darwin’s walking stick at the Wellcome Collection.
  9. Take a trip into the haunted tunnels of London’s famous bridge at the terrifying London Bridge Experience.
  10. Hear the stories of people whose lives have been impacted by war at the Imperial War Museum London.

Travelling in London with kids

One of the cabins on the Emirates Air Line cable car moves in the air, with The O2 and river Thames in the background, on a slightly cloudy day.
Emirates Air Line cable car © John Sturrock/Transport for London. Image courtesy of Transport for London.
  1. Soar above the river Thames in the Emirates Air Line cable car and enjoy great views of London.
  2. Sit at the front of a driverless Docklands Light Railway train to pretend you’re driving it!
  3. Climb aboard a classic Concorde and enjoy a virtual "flight" at the Brooklands Museum
  4. Rest your feet while getting an eyeful of the city’s top attractions onboard a hop-on hop-off bus tour.
  5. Sail along the river Thames on a City Cruises boat.

Action-packed things to do

  1. Explore the gorgeous grounds of Kew Gardens.
  2. Hire a pedalo or a rowing boat at the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park.
  3. Race to the top of Primrose Hill, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of London.
  4. Swim in the wake of champions at the Aquatics Centre, which hosted swimming and diving events during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  5. Over-10s can enjoy an exhilarating expedition over the roof of The O2 with Up at The O2.
  6. Enjoy a refreshing dip in one of London’s gorgeous lidos.
  7. Little ones can take on a skyscraper at Chelsea’s Clip n’ Climb (over fours).
  8. Jump for joy at the Oxygen Freejumping at The O2. 

London farms and zoos

A deer with a fine set of antlers calls on a misty morning, with the mist and mature trees in the background.
Spot deer in Richmond Park © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid.
  1. Get up close to lions, tigers and penguins at ZSL London Zoo.
  2. Spot birds, otters and other wildlife at the WWT London Wetland Centre.
  3. Pet and feed farmyard animals at one of London’s city farms.
  4. See sharks, green sea turtles, penguins and more in the SEA LIFE London aquarium.
  5. Meet monkeys, meerkats and more at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo.
  6. Watch the pelicans being fed in St James’s Park.
  7. Go deer-spotting in Richmond Park.

Shops for kids

  1. Find toys galore in London’s most famous toyshop, Hamleys.
  2. Visit the world's largest sweet shop at M&M’s World in Leicester Square.
  3. Shop at the world's largest LEGO Store.
  4. Little vampires and werewolves can stock up on quality goods at Hoxton Street Monster Supplies.

Quirky things to do in London with kids

A man and lady stand to the left of the doorway, dressed in period clothing, while a man walks out of the museum. The front of the museum shows black railings and a green sign above with the wording "The Sherlock Holmes Museum" in yellow.
The iconic entrance to 221B Baker Street © Sherlock Holmes Museum. Image courtesy of Sherlock Holmes Museum.
  1. See an over-stuffed walrus and a merman at the Horniman Museum.
  2. Marvel at a jar crammed full of moles at the Grant Museum of Zoology.
  3. Roam among the world's oldest life-size dinosaur sculptures at Crystal Palace Park.
  4. Step inside the London home of one of the world’s most famous detectives at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
  5. Go mudlarking outside Gabriel’s Wharf, where you can dig around for ancient clay pipes and bits of pottery.
  6. Lose yourself among the quirky old toys at Stephen Wright's House of Dreams (or nightmares!) in East Dulwich and the tiny Pollock's Toy Museum.
  7. Flex your mini golf skills at the tech-packed Puttshack.
  8. Or take it outside at the Crazy Putt Adventure Golf at Greenwich Peninsula.
  9. Get ready for the ultimate team challenge at the The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience London.

Thrilling London attractions

  1. 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.
  2. Enjoy a zip wire treetop adventure at Go Ape Battersea.
  3. Brave The Dare Skywalk and scale 46.8m (153ft) above Tottenham Hotspur Stadium's pitch. 
  4. Take a trip to one of London’s theme parks for an adrenaline-packed day out.

Discover more family activities in London and find family-friendly restaurants.

Visiting London with the kids during the school holidays? Find things to do during the Easter holidays, the half-term holiday and the school summer holidays. And if you're in London this weekend, check out the epic events awaiting you in the city.