London has it! The busses, the taxis, the guards, the phone boots and Royal Mail boxes, it still is an emblematic and picturesque location. London is a magical place to visit with kids of all ages, and even more so if they are Harry Potter fans! Check out all our recommended places to visit in London with kids!
What to do in London with kids
London is a big city, and there is loads of things to do. The things we preferred to do with our kids during our visits there, were:
The Tower of London
The Tower of London was one of the highlights of our visits to London with our kids. It is actually a better place to see the changing of the guards than at Buckingham Palace. At Buckingham, you can find yourself packed with loads of tourists in front of the gate, and sometimes you will have to go there quite in advance to get a spot in front so your children will be able to see something. At the Tower of London can also see the guards and for the kids, it is way easier to see it from close by.
Our children loved the traditional clothes of the Beafeaters at the Tower of London, and to see the Crown Jewels. You can take a guided tour or just walk around the beautiful historic site by yourself.
After visiting the Tower, and just across the Tower Bridge is a nice quiet place in this bustling city, Katherine’s Docks. I love the peace and quiet that reigns here and it gives the children the chance to calm down after all the city impressions. In Katherine’s Docks is an 18th century pub called Dickens Inn. It has a lot of flowers on the outside and a big terrace. We had our lunch here, and the children had their first Fish & Chips. Their website: https://www.dickensinn.co.uk/
The London Transport Museum at Covent Garden is of course a ‘must do’ with children, especially with little ones, since they can touch, get on the vehicles and play. Children under 18 go in for free!
Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History in London is located in a beautiful old building. Entering the Main Hall is already magical, but the kids will definitely prefer the Dinosaur Gallery with its moving T-Rex at the end. Even though access to the Museum is for free, sometimes you can book time slots to certain galleries or exhibitions in advance which will avoid you tu queue once you are there, so always check out their website in advance.
Big Bus Tours
There are several bus tour companies in London. We chose to go with Big Bus Tours and it included a small boat tour on the river Thames. We got on the boat in front of the Tower of London and went for the short trip to Big Ben. Bus Tours in London can be expensive for a family, however, children will already walk a lot during a city trip so it is actually worth it to see a lot and walk around at all the different sites and hop back on the bus.
Ride on the Tube
Always interesting for children, a ride on the tube. Some in London are quite deep under ground and so you take an impressive escalator going deep down.
Walk on the Southbank
If you are in London on a sunny day, take a walk on the South Bank. There are nice terraces, ice cream stands, street artists, all while enjoying the view of London by the river side.
Hyde Park, Princess Diana Memorial Playground
In Hyde Park, there is a Peter Pan themed playground. It has a good security because you have to access through a gate. Adults without children do not get in, and children without an adult do not get out. This makes it an easy spot of giving your children some liberty to play while in a foreign city.
Hamley’s toy store
Hamley’s…. to recommend or not? Depending on your chidren I would say. It is one of the biggest toy stores and my children had never seen anything like it before. They both got to choose something (that would fit in their suitcase). One of our children found this easy, but the other one was overwhelmed by so many toys that he couldn’t choose. In the end we have spent too much time here trying to help him choose. It was much easier to go to the souvenir shop outside of the Tower of London and have them choose a Beafeater souvenir than it was to go to Hamleys. But, this said, it is still an impressive store and until then my children didn’t even know stores like this existed.
On our second trip to London we visited Legoland in Windsor. We took the train from London to Windsor and Windsor itself is a cute historical town. We took a taxi to Legoland, which is a theme park with normal attractions just like other theme parks but of course there are also large spaces made of Lego bricks to visit. 55 million Lego bricks in total! Our children preferred the Star Wars Mini Land Experience.
We love food markets and halls and wherever there is one in the city we visit, we go! During our last visit to London we picked a hotel located at walking distance from Borough Market, so that we could roam around and get smoothies, fruit and other snacks whenever we were around. We loved it! We had an English breakfast in the Café located right inside of the market called Maria’s Market Café. It is not fancy, but a real cultural place as the café has been run by the same family for decades. Best bacon and eggs we had!
Harry Potters London
If your kids are Harry Potter fans, then make sure to check out our article on a Harry Potter themed trip to London!
Street Art on Brick Lane with kids
We love chasing Street Art! We already did so in New York, and London is also a very good place to see some of the best murals. London is the place where you can see real Banksy’s, or Banksy inspired walls, but you will have to put on your walking shoes. Since travelling with kids sometimes means you will have to choose, we chose to go to Brick Lane on a Sunday, since the Shoreditch area of London is where the most Street Art murals can be found. What we love about Street Art is that with slightly older kids it can spark conversations as the art often represents what’s happening in a city, or in society. We were not dissappointed by the treasures we found on Brick Lane!
Since we often check this out when on a city trip, our kids start to recognize artists. We saw a mural of an artist called ROA near Brick Lane, of which we had also seen work in New York and in Turin.
Tate Modern Museum with Kids
Our hotel was located at walking distance from the Tate Modern Museum last time we went, and that was a good occasion to visit this museum which is located in the former Bankside Power Station. Modern art museums are quite easy to visit with kids and Tate Modern often has cool temporary exhibitions. When we were there we were able to see a special exhibition of artist Olafur Eliasson.
High Tea Bus Tour
This looked like fun! We haven’t done it this time, but it could be a good excuse for a next trip to London! We saw the cutest classic London bus, which was actually a London High Tea Tour. Looks fantastic!
Where to stay in London with kids
A good family friendly hotel is key when you visit London with kids! You would want to be fairly centrally located so that little legs can rest, and for a reasonable price! Try to get the room which has a view on the Tower of London in this hotel:
Or try out this hotel which is close to Borough Market, centrally located in Bankside, but still away from too busy streets. My son loved this hotel, because it has a disco shower where you can control the light and mood of the room on an Ipad. It also has a really good restaurant just around the corner called Caravan London. To see te hotel:
If you would like to stay updated on our family travels as we go, then make sure to check out our Instagram page.