There are plenty of family-friendly things to do in London that are big on fun for everyone and easy on the hip-pocket. Home to childhood classics like Mary Poppins, Oliver Twist and more recently Harry Potter, London has found its way into the imagination of kids around the globe and doesn’t disappoint with tonnes of top-quality attractions.
1. Double Decker Bus Tours
Seeing the city sights from the open top of a red double-decker bus is an essential London experience. The hop-on hop-off busses take you all over jolly old London town to landmarks like Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Big Ben with insightful commentary and a little history lesson along the way.
2. London Eye »
Get a bird’s eye view of England’s capital from the London Eye – the iconic Ferris wheel perched on the South Bank of the River Thames. Currently reigning supreme at the tallest Ferris Wheel in Europe and the United Kingdom, the London Eye offers an unbeatable panorama up to 40-kilometres away on a half-hour ride.
Address: Riverside Bldg, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7PB
3. London Zoo
The London Zoo has the honour of being the world’s oldest scientific zoo, opening its doors almost 190 years ago. Housing close to 17,000 individual critters, the London Zoo features a Gorilla Kingdom, Reptile House, Tiger Territory and Penguin Beach with VIP experiences available to give your animal encounter extra roar.
Address: Regent's Park, Outer Cir, London NW1 4RY
4. London Transport Museum
All aboard! The London Transport Museum is the ideal family-friendly attraction for car enthusiasts, train buffs and automotive aficionados of any age. Horse-drawn busses, trams and trolleys from a bygone era highlight London’s engaging past, with the option for kids to take the wheel of a tube. Mind the gap!
Address: Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB
5. Sea Life London Aquarium
Dive into the colourful underwater world of the Sea Life London Aquarium – home to Europe’s largest collection of marine life. Brave the Shark Walk as 16 toothy predators swim around you, catch the daily penguin and ray feeding shows and see if you can find Nemo hiding in the tropical coral reef.
Address: County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7PB
6. Horniman Museum
Inquisitive minds will love the Victorian-era Horniman Museum, filled with animal taxidermy, skeletons, fossils and thousands of relics from the natural world. The free museum is a favourite for families, with extensive anthropology and natural history collections, an acclaimed aquarium and interactive “hands-on” spaces for kids.
Address: 100 London Rd, London SE23 3PQ
7. The Golden Hinde
Avast ye scallywags! As if you needed an excuse to play pirate for the day, the Golden Hinde will show you what it was like to set sail in the 16th century. Equally educational and entertaining, the guided tour on the famous galleon reveals hidden treasures and tales of Tudor England without the need to walk the plank.
Address: 1, Pickfords Wharf, Clink St, London SE1 9DG
8. Warner Bros. Studio Tour
Harry, Ron and Hermione may have cast their last spells, but the legacy of “the boy who lived” continues. Fans of the school of witchcraft and wizardry can peek behind the curtain at sets, costumes and effects that went into creating the Harry Potter films on a Warner Bros. Studio Tour. Next stop: Hogwarts.
Address: Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, Aerodrome Way, Watford, Hertfordshire WD25
9. Hamleys Toy Shop
Hamleys is the oldest toy shop in the world, with seven floors of fun to delight children and provoke nostalgia. From the latest crazes to traditional teddy bears and collectibles, Hamleys “joy emporium” has been going strong since 1760 and is even earns the royal family’s seal of approval.
Address: 88-196 Regent St, London W1B 5BT
10. Madame Tussauds
Would the kids love to meet The Avengers? How about One Direction? At Madame Tussauds quirky wax figure museum you can satiate your celebrity curiosity and strike a pose next to your favourite stars, athletes, political leaders and historical icons. Cosying up to George Clooney has never been easier.
Address: Marylebone Rd, London NW1 5LR
Words by Ashton Rigg