London itinerary with kids 1

The Only Itinerary You Need For A Visit To London With Kids

If you’re thinking about a family vacation in London, it can feel a little overwhelming which is why we’ve put together a London itinerary for a visit with kids.

London is brilliant and yes, we’re biased. Most of THE LONDON MOTHER staff were born and raised here and we wouldn’t want to do what we do or raise our families anywhere else.

Consider us your friendly virtual tour guides and just the right people to show you around.

We’ll show you the best things to do in London with kids (of all ages) and what to do if you’re only in town for three or five days.

Where to stay in London with kids

Where to stay really comes down to personal choice and budget. Staying in Zone 1 is the most expensive but means you’re close to all the tourist attractions and travel back to your hotel will be easy.

St James Hotel and Club family hotel London

The further away from Zone 1 you go, the cheaper things will be. Our favourite family hotels in London include:

  • Park Plaza County Hall
  • Europa House
  • The Arch London
  • Premier Inn Leicester Square
  • The Zetter Hotel

Check out our full guide to the best family hotels and another article on the best family apartments in London.

TownhouseResidenceTheAthenaeumFamilyapartmentlondon

Things To Do In London With Toddlers

If you’re visiting the city with little people, we suggest the following:

  • Visit the London Transport Museum
  • Take them to play at the Princess Diana Memorial Playground
  • Explore The Barbican Centre
  • Let your tot interact and experiment at The Science Museum
  • Go to The Unicorn Theatre and watch their baby and toddler-friendly shows
thingstodoinLondonwithatoddler

Get more inspiration via this article for 11 things to do with toddlers (all under £10).

London Itinerary with Tweens and Teens

Tweens and teens need activities specially designed to appeal to their likes (and social media feeds). Why not try:

  • Shopping on Oxford Street
  • A thrilling climb across The 02
  • Singing, acting, producing or writing at The Roundhouse’s workshops and courses for young people
  • Visiting the amazing street art that London has to offer
  • An all-day breakfast at Cereal Killer Cafe
cereal killer cafe London brick lane
  • Taking part in an immersive drumming experience at BeatOrbit
  • Climbing The Monument
  • Seeing one of London’s top theatre shows
  • Going for a wander around Covent Garden
  • Grabbing lunch or dinner at sketch
  • Playing laser tag

Read this article for more things to do with tweens and teenagers?

things to do teenagers London

Top 10 London Attractions for Kids

If time is short or you’re searching for what to do for a day in London with kids, add the following places to your must-visit list:

  • Science Museum
  • Natural History Museum
  • Hamley’s Toy Store
  • Coca-Cola London Eye
  • Tower Bridge
  • Tower of London
  • Buckingham Palace
  • SEA LIFE Centre London Aquarium
  • Covent Garden
  • Princess Diana Memorial Playground

3 Day London Itinerary With Kids

If you’ve only got three days in London with kids, we suggest:

Day 1

Buckingham Palace

The Changing of the Guards takes place from 10.45 am daily, which you can view from outside the Palace forecourt.

BuckinghamPalace

There is a playground on the south-west corner of St James Park that you can take the kids to whilst you’re waiting for the Changing of The Guard.

Big Ben

Arguably the most iconic symbol of London, it’s currently undergoing structural repairs, but you’ll still be pleased to say that you’ve seen (some of) it in person. 

Big-ben-Clock-London

The London Eye

A must-do whilst you’re in London, a ride on this giant Ferris wheel offers unrestricted views across London and beyond.

London Eye

Every ticket comes with The London Eye 4D Experience, a multi-sensory show that captures the history of The London Eye through to incredible special effects.

Queues can be long, so make sure you purchase fast-track tickets or try going towards the end of the day.

SEA Life Centre Aquarium

SEA Life has 350 species of sharks, octopus, piranhas and more for the family to discover.

sealife-london-aquarium

For an extra special visit, book one of their VIP experiences, which can include a behind-the-scenes tour with the experts or even a chance to feed the penguins.

Day 2

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is an excellent place for everyone to learn and discover –  whatever the weather.

Investigate for families at the natural history museum

Free family activities include the famous Dinosaurs gallery, an investigation centre where kids and adults can hold fossils, talk with scientists and more.

There is an outdoor gallery is open all year round, with more than 3,000 species of creatures and plants to explore throughout the seasons. 

Science Museum

The Science Museum always offers interactive and educational activities for families. ‘The Garden’ is an excellent multi-sensory play space for kids to discover all things scientific.

Science Museum Chemistry Bar
© Plastiques Photography

Princess Diana Memorial Playground

Constructed in memory of the late Princess Diana, the playground has a huge wooden pirate ship that kids will love climbing, as well as different sculptures and a water play area.

Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Garden, London

Hyde Park

As London’s largest Royal Park, it covers more than 350 acres and its fine scenery will be a welcome change to the hustle and bustle of the city.

Day 3

Tower of London

The Tower is a renowned historical castle and fortress famous for being home to the Crown Jewels.

Another legendary part of visiting the Tower of London is the Beefeaters, so make sure you book the Yeoman Warder tour, where the Beefeaters will enlighten you on the history of the Tower.

They also they have plenty of anecdotes to keep the kids entertained.

Tower Bridge

Another iconic symbol of London that has much to offer families. The bridge has a dedicated rota for young visitors full of fun activities, and their interactive Family Trail app and booklet will keep them entertained as they learn.

London bus crosses river thames over tower bridge

See if the kids (or the adults) have the nerves of steel needed to walk across the glass floor!

Borough Market

One of London’s most popular food markets, you can try pretty much any food from around the world. Perfect for both foodies and fussy kids.

 Borough Market

5 Day London Itinerary With Kids

Days 1 – 3 as above

Day 4

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is one of London’s most popular tourist spots, and for good reason.

Covent Garden

You can watch the street performers, browse the interesting shops and markets or dine at one of the restaurants (Cafe Murano is great for kids).

The London Transport Museum is a great place for families to visit, full of interesting exhibitions and displays, and it has a play zone for kids aged 7 and under.

Have Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea has become a vital part of a visit to London. When you’ve got kids in tow, you don’t need to miss out on this regal tradition.

The Original Sweetshop Afternoon Tea - The Chesterfield Mayfair

Many of London’s top hotels and restaurants offer afternoon tea for children, with fun themes like ‘Mad Hatters’ and ‘The Tiger Who Came to Afternoon Tea’.

We’ve got a guide to the best afternoon teas for children here. 

Catch a show in London’s West End

Seeing a show is one of the most exciting ways to spend time together as a family while you’re in the city. Classics like The Lion King will please kids and adults alike.

Mary Poppins London theatre

Or why not try newer productions like School of Rock the Musical? Try and book in advance so you can get your theatre tickets at a cheaper price.

Whatever your personal taste, London offers many family-friendly stage productions. 

Day 5

Hamley’s Toy Store

Hamley’s at Regent Street is the world’s largest toy store, with seven sprawling floors of toys to explore.

hamleys-london

There are many activities for kids to do here, including joining Hamley’s and Hattie (the shop’s famous bears) to help them open the shop, and then take a selfie with them afterwards.

Madame Tussauds

We know that many capital cities now have one, but the very first Madame Tussauds opened in London over 180 years ago, and since then it’s charmed many with its realistic collection of waxwork A-List celebs, superheroes, sports stars and more.

Kids (and adults!) will love posing next to their favourite film characters like Beyonce, Yoda and Spiderman. Kitschy but worth the trip.

Battersea Children’s Zoo

It’s hard to find a more family-friendly attraction in London than Battersea Zoo as it was created with younger ones in mind, aiming to offer a more personal experience at the zoo for families.

Check their website for animal feeding times, as kids can experience feeding otters, meerkats or even monkeys!

londons best farms and zoos for kids

We recommend taking the River Bus to Battersea Park to visit the Children’s Zoo, as it’s a great way to see some of the sites on an alternative mode of transport.

If the weather is against you (always carry an umbrella; London’s reputation for rain, rain and more rain is deserved!) try one of London’s indoor playgrounds.

London’s Best Parks

If the weather is on your side, London has some fabulous, free parks with lots of family friendly activities on offer.

Our favourites are:

  • Bushy Park
  • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
  • Victoria Park
  • The Green Park
  • Clissold Park
  • Greenwich Park
  • Hyde Park
  • Hampstead Heath
  • Kensington Gardens
  • The Regent’s Park + Primrose Hill
  • Richmond Park
  • St James’s Park
Regents Park
The Regent’s Park

These parks are great for a general walk around, a picnic (food is important to Londoners so there are supermarkets, cafes, coffee shops and takeaway spots on most streets) and some offer rowing on their lakes, which is harder work than it sounds!

If you’re visiting in summer, pack some swimwear as London is home to some great outdoor swimming and water play areas.

Southbank fountains
London’s Best Markets

If you want to pick up something a little different, try one of London’s many markets:

Brick Lane – East London

You never know quite what you’re going to find here but that’s part of its charm. We love the saris and genuine Indian food.

Portobello Road, Notting Hill – West London

Nothing like the film (sorry) but great for vintage finds, music, vintage, art and fruit and vegetables.

Greenwich Market – South East London

Small business owners selling a curated selection of food, clothing, beauty, art and homewares.

greenwich-market

The market owners are very fussy about who they allow to sell here so you can buy with confidence knowing you aren’t being ripped off or buying rubbish (South East London). You’re also close to the delights of Greenwich.

Spitalfields Market – East London

A short walk from Shoreditch station, you can find everything here – food, fashion, art, vintage, beauty – it’s not the cheapest market but it’s possibly the most unique.

Camden Market – North London

Always overflowing with tourists and locals, it’s an odd mixture of everything and not the best advert for London but worth a visit nonetheless.

Broadway Market – East London

Fabulous food, fashion and furniture. Expect the weird and wonderful.

Would you like a free e-book all about how to best navigate your trip to London with kids? Where to go, where to stay, where not to go?!

We hope our London itinerary for a visit with kids comes in handy during your vacation in London.

If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch via the comments below.  

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