Hands up if you’re planning for a vacation with your kids and don’t know where is a kid-friendly city. Look no more, fam, because London is a top family holiday destination! Little ones would be familiar with the sights of London thanks to Paddington Bear, while London’s Harry Potter connections might appeal to your teens.
Packed with fascinating historic sights, world-class museums, parks and open spaces with fantastic playgrounds, you’ll never run out of things to do in London! We know how hard it is to plan a holiday with little kiddos, so we’ve put together tried and tested tips for you to enjoy London, stress-free!
1. Where to stay?
Deciding where to stay in London with kids is probably the hardest decision you’ll have to make when planning your family trip. We’re not going to lie, the cost of accommodation in London is exorbitant, especially if you’re planning to stay in Zone 1. Sure, it’ll be convenient as you’ll stay near the tourist attractions, but most of the hotel rooms in this zone are the size of a broom closet. We highly recommend staying in Zone 2, where you’d still be staying close to the action and have more space for the whole family. Some of the areas include Fulham, Wapping and Hammersmith. These areas are family-friendly and you can easily reach central London with a quick ride on the Tube.
2. Getting around London with kids
No doubt about it, London has an excellent public transport system. But, getting around the busy city required a bit of patience, planning and budgeting. For starters, we highly recommend you to get an Oyster card so it’s easy for you to use the Tube and buses. The best way to get around London is to use the Tube, it has extensive lines that can take you anywhere in the city.
However, do be warned that not all Tube stations are equipped with stroller access, so bring your lightest stroller if you plan on taking the Tube! Make sure to check which are the step-free stations here. The buses are likely to be better options for getting around central London and kids would have a lot of fun going up the double-decker bus!
Children under 11 travel for free with a fare-paying adult (ask about free and discounted Visitor Oyster cards for children aged up to 16!). Children aged 16 and over pay the adult rates.
3. Don’t have your day rained off
It does not matter what time of year you visit, London’s famous fog or rainy day will welcome you. Be sure to pack rain gear for everyone and make sure to keep it with you, so you can carry on enjoying yourself and not have your day rained off.
4. The best things to do in London with kids
Planning is key when vacationing with kids. Long gone are the days of spontaneity, but you also have to keep an open mind for last-minute changes! We recommend choosing one big destination per day and schedule in one adult attraction during their nap time. Here are some of the best kid attractions that you can visit in London:
- The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is one of the best museums in London for kids. The massive awe-inspiring whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling would surely make your kid’s jaw drop. The Dinosaur Gallery is packed with info and skeletons of many different dinosaurs and it’s a big hit with families. The absolute highlight here is the animatronic T-rex that swings its colossal tail and flexes its jaws while roaring at the gathered crowd (beware: it can be genuinely frightening for little people). The museum is very interactive, so it’s a great place for kids who enjoy hands-on learning!
- Enjoy London’s stunning parks and gardens
London is a very green city with lots of parks and green areas kids and adults can enjoy. Not to be missed on a first visit are Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, as well as Hampstead Heath. Families with toddlers will also love the Diana Memorial Playground, which is lovely for little ones and has an impressive pirate ship! If you have time, the large open space of Richmond Park is also not to be missed, and if you prefer botanical gardens, Kew Gardens are out-of-this-world beautiful.
- Visit the London Zoo
No question about it, the London Zoo is one of the best zoos in Europe. Located inside Regent’s Park, it is home to the oldest zoo in the world, dating from 1828. It is one of the ethical zoos in the world, putting emphasis on conservation, breeding and education, with fewer animals and bigger enclosures. Highlights include Land of the Lions, Gorilla Kingdom, Night Life, Penguin Beach and the walk-through In with the Lemurs. Be sure to check out the schedule for feeding sessions and talks!
- Immerse yourself in Harry Potters’s World
If you or your kids are Harry Potter fans, then London is a little slice of heaven! You can keep it simple by going to King’s Cross Station and pose at the 3 and 3/4 platform or go all out at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. Not just for the young fans, you can experience the magic of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, explore iconic sets and discover what it took to bring the Harry Potter films to life. It’s surely a magical experience!
- Chase the pigeons in Trafalgar Square
No idea what else to do in London? Then, let your kids run around like crazy under Nelson’s Columns in Trafalgar Square to terrorise the pigeons! It’s classic London family fun for toddlers. Bonus: it’s absolutely free!
We hope you enjoyed this quick guide to visiting London with children and it helped you plan your trip. Safe travel planning!
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