20 great places to visit in London with your kids

    Mother and daughter shopping
    Credit: iStock

    Spending the summer in the capital? Founder of Kensington Mums Dina Maktabi rounds-up the best days out in London for you and your little ones

    Battersea Park Children’s Zoo

    Tube: Sloane Square

    Age: 1+

    Cost: Adults, £9.50; children, £7.50; under-threes go free

    A zoo designed specifically for children. It’s not too big and there is not too much walking. You won’t find any of the big five here as Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is home to smaller animals, reptiles, and birds. Feed the farm animals and spot the otters. There are lots of different interactive play areas for different ages including a real tractor and fire engine. batterseaparkzoo.co.uk

    National History Museum

    Tube: South Kensington

    Age: 5+

    Cost: Free to enter

    If you are interested in natural history this is the best place in London and if you have children interested in Dinosaurs and giants of the deep like the Blue Whale, then it’s a must visit. There is so much to do here that you should plan your visit before. Lots of different exhibitions on throughout the year and interactive displays. Right next door to the science museum. nhm.ac.uk

    The British Museum

    The British Museum
    Credit: The British Museum

    Tube: Holborn

    Age: 3+

    Cost: Free to enter

    Two million years of human history and culture. The museum of the world in London. You might need to come back a few times as it is so vast!  Plan ahead and think of the top highlights you would like to see. There are plenty of interactive activities for children bringing the worlds history and culture to life and a family audio guide, too. britishmuseum.org

    Climbers and Creepers at Kew Gardens

    Tube: Kew Gardens

    Age: 3-9 years

    Cost: Adults, £16; children, £4; under-fours go free

    Within Kew Gardens they have designed an indoor play area called Climbers and Creepers, the first interactive botanical play zone designed to make plant life fun and interesting for children. Built in an old greenhouse within the grounds, children can experience becoming insects sliding in tunnels and climbing through plants. kew.org

    Diana Memorial Gardens, Kensington Gardens

    Tube: High Street Kensington, Notting Hill Gate

    Age: Under 13s

    Cost: Free to enter

    The Diana Memorial Gardens in Kensington Gardens next to Kensington Palace have been designed for less able and able-bodied children to enjoy playing together. At the centre of the play area is a huge pirate ship with a sand beach around it inspired by Peter Pan it’s a fitting tribute to the late Princess. There is a sensory trail, teepees and sculptures amongst the trees and plants. Plenty of seating around. Expect it to be busy on sunny days. royalparks.org.uk

    Emirates Air Line Cable Car

    Emirates Air Line
    Credit: Emirates Air Line

    Tube: North Greenwich, DLR to Royal Victoria

    Age: Open to all

    Cost: Adults, £6.80; children, £3.40 (return with an Oyster card)

    The Emirates Air Line is a cable car that links across the River Thames an easy way to get across from Greenwich to the Royal Docks. Amazing views of the O2 and the whole of London and the City. It takes up to 10 minutes each way but if you go on after 7pm then you can enjoy an extended night flight with music and video in the cabin. emiratesairline.co.uk

    Holland Park and the Kyoto Garden

    Tube: Holland Park

    Age: Open to all

    Cost: Free to enter

    Right in the centre of the 22 hectares of London’s Holland Park are the Kyoto Gardens. A tranquil peaceful Japanese garden for reflection and relaxation. Home to the famous peacocks, a tiered rock waterfall, and a pond full of koi carp. Perfect for a summer picnic. parkgrandkensington.co.uk

    Museum of Childhood

    Tube: Bethnal Green

    Age: 3+

    Cost: Free to enter

    A branch of the V&A group of museums, the Museum of Childhood will take you back through the years on a fascinating journey of toys. For adults, it’s great to see the toys of your childhood and for your children it’s fascinating for them to see the most popular toys from the 1600’s to present day. See the ‘Must have toys’ from the 20th century. Plus early years over the years exhibitions and interactive displays. vam.ac.uk

    London Transport Museum

    London Transport Museum
    Credit: London Transport Museum

    Tube: Covent Garden

    Age: 3+

    Cost: Adults, £17.50; children go free.

    Buses, trains, trams, tube carriages. The London Transport Museum will transport you through from the 1800’s to present day. Discover the history of London’s world-famous transport network. There are bus and tube simulator rides and interactive games and activities for all ages. ltmuseum.co.uk

    Royal Observatory and Planetarium

    Tube: DLR to Cutty Sark

    Age: 5+

    Cost: Adults, £9; children, £5.85

    Greenwich Park with amazing views over London is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in South-East London and home to the Royal Observatory the home of Greenwich Mean Time, The Planetarium and the National Maritime Museum. Many of the things to do here are free. Visit the Royal Observatory gardens for free. Set your watch by the Shepherd Gate clock. Journey through space and time and explore the universe and space in the Planetarium and their 360 degree cinema – but book in advance. Brilliant for any budding astronomers, special shows for the under sevens. rmg.co.uk

    Legoland Windsor

    Car/train: Take the train to Windsor or Eton, or drive and park onsite (£6).

    Age: 3+

    Cost: From £32 per person.

    Legoland is a theme park just outside London located in Windsor. Enter into the wonderful world of Lego with over 55 Lego themed rides and attractions for children set in 150 acres of parkland. Legoland is ideal for children aged three-to-12 years. Plenty of rides you can go on as a family even with younger children. If it’s a hot day take swimming costumes and towels for the splash park but beware of going in the school holidays when it gets very busy. legoland.co.uk

    London Eye

    London Eye
    Credit: London Eye

    Tube: Waterloo

    Age: 3+

    Cost: Adults, £26; children, £21; under-threes go free.

    The London Eye the tallest observation wheel in Europe is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of London with 360 views from the top looking out across London up to 40km on a clear day. See all the famous London sights and enjoy the skyline especially at dusk. Book a timed slot in advance. londoneye.com

    Mudchute Park and Farm

    Tube: DLR to Mudchute

    Age: Open to all

    Cost: Free to enter

    Mudchute Farm is a large urban park and farm set in 32 acres of countryside just south of Canary Wharf in Cubitt Town on the Isle of Dogs with over 100 animals and fowl. It is one of the largest urban farms in Europe and is a community charity with a working farm, stables, a children’s nursery and a range of educational activities. You can picnic and take in the fantastic views of City of London amongst many feather friends. mudchute.org

    National Gallery, Magic Carpet Storytelling

    Tube: Charing Cross

    Age: Under 5s

    Cost: Free to enter

    Fly away on the magic carpet this Summer as it comes to land in front of a different painting each day at the National Gallery. Story telling specifically designed for the Under 5’s. Free access to over 2,300 paintings from altarpieces to the Impressionists, there’s something for everyone at the National Gallery. nationalgallery.org.uk

    Science Museum

    Tube: South Kensington

    Age: 5+

    Cost: Free to enter

    The Science Museum has various exhibitions and displays on throughout the year so it is worth checking in advance what is on. Lots of multi-sensory activities for younger and older children to take part in and explore the universe and science through play. There is also an IMAX cinema which can be booked in advance. A great place for inspiring future engineers, pilots and scientists! sciencemuseum.org.uk

    Sea Life London Aquarium

    Tube: Waterloo

    Age: 3+

    Cost: Adults, £20.40; children, £17; under-threes go free.

    Sea Life London has over 500 species of marine life in 14 themed zones and houses a magnificent 2 million litres of water! Walk amongst seven species of shark in the shark walk and discover thousands of sea creatures. Walk along the Ocean Tunnel and the Shark Reef. A great place to visit on a wet day as you are immersed in Europe’s largest collection of marine life. visitsealife.com

    Sky Garden

    Sky Garden
    Credit: Sky Garden

    Tube: Monument

    Age: Open to all

    Cost: Free to enter

    The Sky Garden at the top of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building at 20 Fenchurch Street is London’s highest public garden an incredible viewing platform with 360 degree views across London.  On arrival, you go through airport security scanners before being whisked in the lift up to Level 35 where you can wander around observation decks of landscaped gardens and terraces. There are restaurants and bars here and outside there is an open-air terrace that you can walk out onto (with full height glass!). Sunsets are amazing and as dusk settles you get the most incredible view of London’s landmarks. Tickets are free but the majority have to be booked in advance so check in advance. skygarden.london

    V&A Museum workshops

    Tube: South Kensington

    Age: 3+

    Cost: Free to enter

    The V&A is the world’s leading museum of Art and Design and throughout the year they host a variety of workshops for families.  From games and activities to art and design to performance and digital. The V&A have an ever changing programme of activities and events which encourages learning and play through the vast collections at the museum and many varied exhibitions. They also offer trails around the museum and backpacks for children to borrow to make their visit to the V&A more interactive. vam.ac.uk

    National Maritime Museum

    Tube: DLR to Cutty Sark

    Age: 4+

    Cost: Free to enter

    Discover amazing stories of exploration and human endeavour that made our world today. There is lots for families and the under 5’s. Climb aboard a ship simulator, dress as a pirate. Submarines, current and wind. Find out about the most notorious ship wrecks. Lots of interactive games fire a cannon and load cargo onto a boat. Find out what life was like on the high seas for explorers and sea captains in days gone by….and look out for the giant ship in a bottle outside the museum! rmg.org.uk

    READ MORE: The best books for the summer holidays

    ZSL London Zoo

    London Zoo
    Credit: ZSL London Zoo

    Tube: Camden Town, Regent’s Park

    Age: 1+

    Cost: Adults, £24.30; children, £18; under-threes go free

    One of London’s oldest and best loved Zoos. Over 650 species of animals with trails and quizzes. Have a spider selfie in Europe’s only walk-through spider experience. Visit penguin beach, Gorilla Kingdom, Rainforest Life, Madagascan shrub forest, Tiger Territory and Land of the Lions where you can find yourself face to face with an Asiatic Lion. London Zoo has something for all ages. zsl.org


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