Family-friendly activities in London

Explore London with the family

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Gillian Crawshaw

Gillian Crawshaw
HomeAway travel expert


Family-friendly activities in LondonLondon is a fantastic city for children, with so many things to see and do. And even if, as an adult, you think you’ve seen it all before, it’s great to experience it all over again through the eyes of a child. With museums, parks, landmarks and famous, instantly recognisable buildings, the city is jam-packed things to do that are suitable for all ages, from the very small to the young at heart. It needn't cost a fortune either, as many of the things you can do don’t cost a thing.

The city can often seem like a film set come to life, with red double-decker busses, black taxis, old buildings, tall landmarks and pigeon-filled squares. It is recognisable from many children’s films, from Mary Poppins through to Peter Pan and 101 Dalmatians. There are so many things to see and do, even if you’ve lived here for years. Here are our suggestions for five things to guarantee a fun-filled and action-packed day out.

 

Our guide to the best activities for kids


   

Park Life Park life

There are over 5,000 acres of green space in central London. Regent’s Park, one of the eight royal parks in the city, spans nearly 100 acres, and in our opinion? It's one of the prettiest and the most fun for young people. As well as landscaped gardens and children’s playgrounds, the park also houses an open air theatre, London Zoo, the country's largest waterfowl collection and over 100 species of wild bird. If you’re visiting in the summer, you can even hire a boat or a pedalo on the lake; why not take a picnic to make a day of it? There’s still a lot to do in the winter months, but make sure you all wrap up warm.

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London Zoo London Zoo

Once you’ve seen enough of Regent’s Park, why not try to talk to the animals? Head on over to the north of the park, to visit London Zoo. It is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and currently home to over 750 different species, including penguins, gorillas, tigers, komodo dragons, giraffes, reptiles and meerkats. For the grown-up architecture fan, the zoo also houses eight grade 2 listed buildings, including an Art Deco penguin enclosure. Did you know: the zoo appears in the film version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone?

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Science Museum Science Museum

Fancy a trip to space? For the closest thing to an outer-planet experience, pay a visit to the Science Museum. One of three of the city’s big museums on Exhibition road, the Science Museum attracts over 2.7 visitors each year. As well as an IMAX cinema, it is home to the famous Stephenson's Rocket, the first jet engine, Puffing Billy (the world’s oldest surviving steam locomotive), and a reconstruction of the first model of DNA. There are also hundreds of interactive exhibits for all levels of junior scientists, as well as the play pod play area, suitable from the ages of two and up.

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Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace

They’re changing guards at Buckingham Palace…No trip to London is complete without a visit to see the Queen’s house. And if you time it right, you’ll get to see the world-famous changing of the guard ceremony, and watch the guards in their distinctive red jackets and tall black hats. You can also see the balcony where Prince William and Kate Middleton made an appearance on the day of their wedding. If the flag is flying, it means the Queen is in.

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London Eye London Eye

And finally, check out the view from above the London Eye. Even the most hardened adult can’t fail to be impressed with the aerial view over the city, witnessed from 135 metres up in the air. Play I-Spy with famous landmarks; you can even see the famous Crystal Palace mast in the distance, to the south of London. Our top tip? Keep the children up a bit later and go up at dusk as all the lights come on. It makes the city look nothing short of magical.

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