London still has it! The busses, the taxi’s, the guards, the phone boots and Royal Mail boxes, it still is an emblematic and picturesque location and children will be happy to recognize spots they have seen in a movie 😊.
What we preferred
London is a big city, and there is loads of things to do. The things we preferred to do with our children during our visits there were:
Tower of London
The Tower of London is actually a better place to see the changing of the guards than at Buckingham. At Buckingham Palace 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 you will also see the guards and for the children it is way easier to see it from close by.
Our Children loved the traditional clothes of the Beafeaters at the Tower, 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.
Where to stay:
You can find your best family friendly hotels in London HERE
Cool maps and books:
London kids map. Pocket size and comes with fun stickers to mark the places visited!
Customizable pocket map of London:
For bigger kids or even adults 🙂
City guide with cool facts for kids:
same guide but in French: