If you’re struggling to decide what to do in London, and looking for the best places to go with kids, this guide to London tourist attractions, museums, theme parks and other activities for kids and families available in the city will help you to plan a great family day out, or just to let your inner-child run free with some of the most fun things to do in London. If you are visiting London for the weekend, why not check out Wimdu’s family-friendly accommodation options so you can base yourself and the kids close to London’s attractions. In addition, if London lives up to its rainy reputation, have a look at our recent blog post that tells you all the activities you can do during a London downpour
Some kids might groan at the thought of being taken to a museum, but many of the top London Museums are packed with interactive exhibits designed to keep young minds occupied. Most of the city’s don’t charge for entrance, making them one of the best free things in London to do.
1. British Museum
The British Museum is one of the oldest in the world. Its permanent collection numbers more than 8 million pieces, spanning human history and culture from its ancient beginnings right up to modern times.
The Victoria and Albert Museum, commonly called the V&A, is a collection of decorative arts and ornate objects from around the world, housed within one of the city’s most beautiful buildings.
3. Museum of Childhood
Technically a part of the V&A, the Museum of Childhood has gained an excellent reputation as one of the best free things to do in London. With a collection of toys spanning centuries, the museum is the perfect day out for kids, while adults will also surely find something to wake their nostalgia.
4. Natural History Museum
This museum is always a hit with kids, with ‘Dippy’, a 32m long replica skeleton of a Diplodocus, having inspired awe in children since its unveiling in 1905. The museum’s collection of biological samples is a sure way to start fostering a love of the natural world in children.
5. Science Museum
The hands-on style of this London Museum brings science to life for everyone. Be sure to check the museum’s calendar for regular exciting events, including ‘Science Night’, where children get participate in a range of activities, and then spend a night sleeping amongst the exhibits.
6. Imperial War Museum
A sombre collection of military artefacts starting from World War 1, right upto a Snatch Land Rover and Harrier G9 used by British forces in modern day campaigns in the Middle East. The upper floors house an exhibit focusing on the Holocaust (not recommended for under 14s) and another on Crimes Against Humanity (for over 16s only).
The Barbican Centre is London’s prime venue for the arts – home to the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Shakespeare Company. The Barbican also hosts an Art Gallery with regularly updated exhibitions and a public library with a fantastic collection to browse.
9. Museum of London
The story of Britain’s capital city is told here, starting in prehistoric times right up to the 20th Century, the story is told through reconstructed street scenes, genuine artefacts and more. There are regular exhibitions focusing on particular aspects of London and a busy calendar of special events.
10. Horniman Museum
This eclectic collection of anthropological curios was put together by Frederick Horniman, the son of a successful businessman, who had plenty of money to play with. The museum hosts a fascinating natural history exhibit and a collection of musical instruments from around the world.
11. London Transport Museum
At first glance, a museum of buses, trains and other forms of public transport might not seem like the most gripping day out in London. The London Transport Museum, however, uses interactive exhibits and beautiful displays to tell the story of London’s evolution through one aspect that affected billions of its residents over the years.
Family-Friendly Parks & Theme Parks
London’s seemingly endless sprawl is punctuated by many beautiful parks which, on a sunny day, can make an excellent day out with the kids. Two of Great Britain’s best theme parks are also located easily within reach of the capital city.
12. Thorpe Park
Located between the towns of Staines and Chertsey, Thorpe Park has long been home to a world class collection of roller coasters, as well as other rides and attractions that provide fun for all the family.
13. Chessington World of Adventures
With rides and attractions aimed more at families than thrill-seekers, Chessington World of Adventures is a great for choice for anyone looking for activities for kids in London. The park also hosts a zoo with a range of safari park style attractions.
14. Harry Potter World
The Warner Brothers Studio in Leavesden has quickly grown into one of the top tourist attractions in London. Much of the smash hit film series was created here, and the studio’s now hold a treasure trove of memorabilia and even complete film sets used in the series, a must-see for fans!
15. London Zoo
London Zoo is one of the oldest in the world, and home to collection of more than 800 different species. The zoo is packed with fun & educational exhibits for kids, and offers a regular programme of exciting animal themed events.
16. Hyde Park
Originally created in 1536 as a private hunting ground for King Henry VIII, Hyde Park has been at the centre of many important historical events. Today, it’s a beautiful place for a day out, with a busy calendar of concerts and events, and something always going on at the famous Speakers Corner.
17. Battersea Park
Another beautiful park with plenty to see and do. Located in Wandsworth, on the South Bank of the River Thames. The park hosts a small zoo, a boating lake and the excellent Pump House Art Gallery.
Header image cropped and supplied by © Flickr Caleb Dorfman Photography