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

Children-Friendly Museums

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.

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The British Museum © Flickr WWarby

2. V&A

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.

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The Victoria & Albert Flickr © Tony Hisgett

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.

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Museum of Childhood © Flickr Andrea Vail

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.

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Natural History Museum © Flickr Franco Folini

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.

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The Science Museum © Flickr DncnH

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).

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The Imperial War Museum © Flickr alh1

7. Barbican

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.

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The Barbican Centre © Flickr damo1977

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. 

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Museum of London © Flickr Herry Lawford

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.

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Horniman Museum © Flickr Neil Turner

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.

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London Tranport Museum © Flickr Pete Edgeler

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.

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Thorpe Park © Flickr Jeremy Thompson

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.

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Chessington World of Adventures © Flickr Smgpics

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!

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Harry Potter World © Flickr Karen Roe

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.

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London Zoo © Flickr Dale Harvey

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.

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Hyde Park © Flickr David Corcoran

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.

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Battersea Park © Flickr Herry Lawford

 Header image cropped and supplied by © Flickr Caleb Dorfman Photography