Teenagers in London – 60 Things To Do
Updated July 2020 to note (hopefully temporary) closures and other need-to-knows in this crazy new normal.
BY FIONA TAPP
Teenagers can be notoriously hard to please so we’ve put together a guide to 60 things to do in London for teenagers.
London is arguably one of the most exciting cities in the world.
Home to world-class tourist attractions, music, theatre, food and shopping.
But to your average tween/teenager? Not so much.
It can seem like things they enjoyed just a short time ago are suddenly worthy of a seriously harsh eye roll.
So if you’re looking for things to do in London with your teenage daughter or son, consider making them the expert and ask them “what’s cool?”
If they’re reluctant to share, take a look over our list of things to do in London with teenagers and be prepared to elicit that most rare sighting, a smile!
Wondering what to do with teenagers in London? Wonder no more!
60 Things To Do With Teenagers In London
1.GO TO A CANDY MAKING CLASS
Currently closed. If you’re looking for thinking about time in London with tweens, try a Spun Candy confectionery class and learn the science and craft involved in bringing hard rock sweets – an iconic British candy – to life.
Classes last from 60 – 90 minutes and you can choose to make your own lollipops, flowers, sticks of rock or even your own face out of candy.
Everything you make is vegetarian, GM, gluten and gelatine free. We took tweens and teens to a class and they (and we) had a fabulous time.
2. SHOP ‘TIL THEY DROP
Most teens are happy to spend their parent’s money as long as you can find a store to match their personal style.
Teenagers can spend hours in Oxford Street’s Topman or Topshop where over multiple floors they can have their hair and/or nails done and find a huge variety of concession, vintage and high street fashions.
For the alternative crowd, hit up outdoor markets like Camden, Covent Garden and Spitalfields.
3. VISIT A GRUESOME MUSEUM
When it comes to London activities for teens, anything strange, gross or gruesome holds particular appeal.
Or for some really unusual exhibits, visit the Grant Museum of Zoology (currently closed) home to a huge variety of animal specimens including a jar of moles and a Quagga skeleton (a rare type of Zebra extinct since 1883.)
4. SPY ON A REAL TRIAL
Teenagers 14 years old and over can make a trip to the Old Bailey and listen in to a real-life court drama.
It’s one of the more unusual teenage attractions but young people interested in a career in law may find this day trip educational.
Be advised – you cannot enter the court with a camera phone.
5. LOOK OVER LONDON
For an impressive view over London check out the Sky Garden 525 feet up.
As the highest public garden, it boasts panoramic views of the capital and is a great free place to see just how spectacular the city looks from above.
If you’re looking for the best things to do in London with your teenager for free, visit Sky Garden. Although entry is free you do need to reserve a ticket.
6. START A BUSINESS TOGETHER
We are huge believers in entrepreneurship; the job your teenager ends up doing might not even exist yet.
The creativity and business ideas they come up with might surprise you.
Give them a head start with our free e-book on 25 business ideas for teens.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for free courses for your teenager, sign up for your free three-day video course.
7. UP, UP AND AWAY
For the adventurous among us looking for things for teens to do in London, book a 90-minute walk over the top of The O2 building.
Dressed in fetching boiler suits or body warmers in summer, you and your teen, after watching a safety video, will be clipped into a wire and follow a guide to the very top of the structure for breathtaking views and a real sense of achievement.
8. GO FOR A SLIDE
If you’re wondering what to do in London with teenagers that like an adrenaline rush, visit Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and let the bravest among you take a slide down the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide where you might just reach speeds of up to 15 miles an hour!
THE ARCELORMITTAL ORBIT SLIDE (currently closed) AT QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK
The ArcelorMittal Orbit is 250 feet high and features 12 thrilling twists and turns.
9. TOUR A STADIUM
Footie fans will be beside themselves at the opportunity to check out the players dressing room and walk the tunnel onto the pitch just like their favourite players on the Wembley Stadium Tour (currently closed).
10. SK8ER TEENS
If you’re looking for things to do in London with teens that like sports, go and learn to do tricks on their board at BaySixty6 (currently closed) covered skate and BMX park in Ladbroke Grove.
Your teenage daughter might particularly appreciate the “girls only” skate times where she can practice without the boys stealing the limelight.
11. HAVE A TECHY DINNER
When your kids are older you can finally enjoy a meal in a nice restaurant again without worrying about them having a tantrum or flinging their food around.
A trip to London with teens can end at Inamo restaurant and its innovative and unique way to order. We think it’s a great restaurant in London for teenage birthday celebrations.
Choose from the Soho, Camden or Covent Garden branches and see how quickly your teens can master the interactive projections on the table that allow you to change the mood, order your meal and even play games.
12. GO FOR A DRIVE
If your teen is under 17 and desperate to get on the road, take them to Young Driver lessons.
They’ll be able to develop their skills on a simulated road with a two-way traffic system and roundabouts.
Somerset House (re-opens July 16 2020) has a two-pronged approach to introducing young people to a creative career.
Creative Careers Academy supports young under-represented people (18-25) interested in the creative industries with paid work placements (London Living Wage salaries) across different organisations based at Somerset House.
Their Creative Job Studio helps young people understand exactly what creative roles are through face to face networking sessions with industry professionals, curated artistic events, talks, screenings and podcasts.
14. GET A MAKEOVER
Take your teenager for a total makeover to try out some new colours and products by visiting a range of different beauty counters across the city.
Most major department stores offer free makeovers or makeunders depending on tastes.
Encourage your kids to volunteer for a range of causes that will make them feel all warm and gooey inside and also look good on their developing CV.
Try to choose options that are aligned with your teenage son or daughter’s interests or future career aspirations.
If they are inspired to enter broadcasting, for instance, consider signing them up to volunteer at a radio station; Reprezent Radio accepts younger people.
16. WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM
Kids of all ages love ice cream, but skip the cornet and flake for a futuristic ice cream made with liquid nitrogen at Chin Chin Ice Cream in Camden, Soho or Street Feast.
The ice cream sandwiches are amazing!
17. BUNKER 51
Head to the Docklands where an old nuclear shelter has been turned into a laser tag and paintball emporium.
Those over 12 will graduate from the junior paintball lower impact equipment to something a little more serious, parents beware.
18. HIGH ROPES COURSE
Get above the treetops at Go Ape (various sites around London).
The course takes 2-3 hours including a zig-zag bridge, stepping stones and a 50m zip line to really up the adrenaline factor.
19. JUMP ABOUT
Head to Croydon where you’ll find Oxygen Freejumping trampoline park (currently closed) where your teen can bounce around on over 100 trampolines.
They can also explore 14 different zones and play games like Dodgeball and Aeroball, they can even have their birthday party here!
Wherever you are in London, there’s a trampoline park near you.
20. CHECK OUT THE WAXWORKS AT MADAME TUSSAUDS
Selfie obsessed teens will be excited about getting their picture taken with their favourite celebrities even if they’re not real.
Be sure to get the bonus ticket to see the Alien experience and expect to hear a few screams!
21. BECOME A SNOOKER LEGEND
Sign your teen daughter or son up for a lesson with a master player; John Woods is a qualified World Snooker Grade A coach who has competed in EASB and World Snooker events.
On Saturdays from 10 am-1 pm, he holds a junior coaching workshop in Kings Cross, where kids can learn the basics.
22. VISIT AN ART INSTALLATION
London is home to some of the best art in the world and there’s something for everyone’s tastes, from the weird to the wonderful.
Try street art at God’s Own Junkyard or the Leake Street graffiti tunnel under Waterloo Station (the largest legal street art area and home to original Banksy works).
Check out our other art-centric places to visit here.
23. LEARN TO DRAW AT THE ROYAL DRAWING SCHOOL
Kids aged 15 to 18 can join the Royal Drawing School’s Young Associates programme, while younger kids between 10 to 14 who love to draw can join weekend or after-school drawing clubs.
If you’re looking for things to do in London with teenagers over the school holidays, the Royal Drawing School also offers one-week holiday courses (currently online only) in the Easter and Summer school holidays for young artists aged 11–15 years.
Every first Thursday of the month, during term time and the holidays, there is a free life drawing session, in collaboration with Time Out and the Whitechapel Gallery between 6.30-9pm.
24. VISIT A MUSEUM
Head to South West London and visit one of the capital’s many museums or galleries.
Once kids leave primary school, their visits to a museum become few and far between so feed their culture and their soul at a museum.
We like the Red Arrows in the Fly 360° interactive 3D flight simulators at the Science Museum.
25. HAVE AN ALL DAY BREAKFAST – (closed until 2021 at the earliest)
Most kids love cereal so indulge their sweet tooth (leave your healthy eating habits at the door) at Cereal Killer Café in Camden or Brick Lane.
If they’re on social media, prepare to be ignored as the café is pretty much made for Instagram.
The food isn’t bad either.
26. VISIT A ROYAL PARK
Choose from one of London’s six Royal Parks – each special in their own way:
- Bushy Park
- The Green Park
- Greenwich Park
- Hyde Park
- Kensington Gardens
- The Regent’s Park + Primrose Hill
- Richmond Park
- St James’s Park
These parks are great for a general walk around, a picnic (there are supermarkets, cafes, coffee shops and takeaway spots available close by) and some offer rowing on their lakes, which is harder work than it sounds!
27. GO TO THE MARKET
Chose a market, take some cash and see what you can find.
Our favourites are:
- Brick Lane
- Portobello Road
- Greenwich Market
- Borough Market
- Spitalfields Market
- Camden Lock Market
- Broadway Market
- Covent Garden Market
28. VISIT BOXPARK
With Boxpark pop-up malls in Croydon, Shoreditch and Wembley, there’s a park not too far from you and with independent stores, good food and seasonal events, the parks are a retail destination in their own right.
The park in Shoreditch feels particularly teen-friendly.
29. VISIT A FARM OR ZOO
There are almost 20 farms and zoos in the capital, some of which offer work experience and volunteering opportunities.
30. GO FOR AN OUTDOOR SWIM
This only works if the weather is on your side (or you’re feeling very brave) but there are over 20 different outdoor pools, lidos, fountains and paddle/splash areas to visit when everyone needs a bit of a cool down.
31. GO SKATING
Another semi-weather specific activity (some rinks are only open over December/January), ice skating (most are currently closed) is a lot of fun and they can reward themselves with a hot chocolate when they’ve had enough on the ice.
32. GO TO THE THEATRE (all closed)
When your kids were young you probably went to the theatre more regularly than you do now.
But there’s more to theatre than Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and Panto.
There are plenty of shows suitable for older teens; try Thriller, Wicked, or Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap.
STILL LOOKING FOR THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH A TEENAGER?
33. ROUNDHOUSE (currnently closed)
Choose from workshops and courses for participants aged 11 to 25 years old covering music, creative media and performing arts, music production, filming and editing, journalism, drama and circus skills.
Teens can also audition for the Roundhouse Choir or Music Collective or develop their radio, circus and DJ skills.
34. SOUTH LONDON GALLERY (currently closed)
Try Art Assassins – a peer-led group of 13 to 19 year olds that meet every Thursday and show the inner workings of a contemporary art gallery.
35. BATTERSEA ARTS CENTRE (currently closed)
Join BAC Homegrown – a creative programme for London tweens from age 12 up to young adults 25 years old, held on Thursday evenings.
Join drop-in workshops led by professional theatre-makers and musicians who help attendees develop and talk about what’s in like (and possible routes into) working in the theatre.
36. OLD VIC NEW VOICES (currently closed)
The New Voices Club gives young writers, producers, actors and directors the chance to fellow theatre lovers through social events, masterclasses and workshops run year-round by industry professionals.
37. DRUMMING AT BEAT ORBIT (currently closed)
Take part in a first of its kind experience at BeatOrbit, an immersive drumming experience that pits you against friends, family or colleagues to release your fire and beat them to the top spot.
Designed to draw on our ancient human instincts, BeatOrbit will help you to release stress and endorphins in a playful environment.
Drumming has both physical and mental health benefits with people connecting to the rhythm of their body to release positive energy – whilst potentially offering a workout, depending on how energetic you are!
BeatOrbit makes for a great fun family experience for children aged 7+ (although, if you can hold a drumstick you can join in!) as well as the added endorphin-releasing benefits.
38. NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY YOUNG PEOPLE’S PROGRAMME (currently closed)
Art, music, photography, poetry and dance workshops, led by well-known artists, which explore different aspects of portraiture; all inspired by the gallery’s collection and exhibitions.
Sunday Sessions are held on the first Sunday of the month or try a holiday workshop which usually culminates in a performance or private view.
39. NATIONAL THEATRE ENTRY PASS (currently closed)
Take advantage of the Entry Pass – a membership scheme for 16-year-olds and young adults (up to 25 years old) that offers £7.50 tickets to NT shows, free pre- and post-show talks and backstage tours, and exclusive access to a range of theatre-related workshops.
40. LOUD LATE AT TATE GALLERIES (reopens July 27)
Discuss, make, critique and explore art curated exclusively for 18 to 25 year olds.
Working collaboratively with artists, teens can discuss art platforms and new media in response to exhibitions at Tate Britain and Tate Modern.
41. WIGMORE HALL YOUNG PRODUCERS (reopend July 31)
Young people 15 to 18 years old can present their own concert at Wigmore Hall.
Facilitated by a mentor, the young people lead the project themselves, taking responsibility for selecting the repertoire and the theme of the concert, as well as the budget, devising and implementing their own marketing plan, liaising with the artists and coordinating logistics.
42. SEE LONDON FROM ON HIGH AT TOWER BRIDGE AND THE MONUMENT
Get a whole new perspective on London at these two (Instagram friendly) attractions. They’re both fab London attractions for teenage tourists.
Start at The Monument and climb the 311 steps – wear comfy shoes – to the top of Sir Christopher Wren’s design which commemorates the Great Fire of London that devastated the City of London in 1666.
At 202 feet high, The Monument is the tallest isolated stone column in the world and although the climb isn’t easy, it’s worth it for the amazing 360 degree views of London.
Plus, you get a certificate after your descent (expect wobbly legs) which deserves pride of place on your mantle.
Or the kids’ social media accounts.
From there it’s a 15 minute walk to Tower Bridge.
Thankfully there are no steps involved; a short elevator ride takes you 42 metres above the River Thames where you can – but don’t have to – walk over the famous glass walkway for a bird’s eye view of London.
Try and plan a visit for when the bridge will be raised.
Alternatively, download the Augmented Reality ‘Raise Tower Bridge’ app for a full 360-degree panoramic video of the Bridge being raised from inside the Exhibition.
Budding engineers will love the Engine Rooms where explains the original workings of the Bridge and houses the coal boilers and steam engines that kept the bridge functioning.
Tickets to The Monument and Tower Bridge start at £8.70 for an adult and £3.70 for a child.
Save by booking in advance rather than on the door.
43. CHISLEHURST CAVES (currently closed)
Technically not in London but close enough, these caves can’t be navigated solo; you must go with a tour guide. The caves are a labyrinth of 22 miles of dark mysterious passageways which you would be unlikely to find your way through unaided.
No torches allowed, the guided tours last around 50 minutes and cover many aspects of the Curriculum, from simple Light & Dark, Rocks & Soils, Stone Age, Roman, Saxon right up to the Second World War, when the caves became one of the largest air raid shelters in the country.
44. VISIT THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM (currently closed)
They probably loved coming here as a child but now they’re older, is there anything for them to do?
If they’re over dinosaurs, try earthquakes and volcanoes. There’s dramatic film footage, exhibits, interactive games and a famous earthquake simulator where they’ll get to explore how the powers within shape the world in which we live in the Volcanoes and Earthquakes gallery.
There’s an education element too with fossils from a time when all Earth’s continents were joined. They’ll get to see lava bombs, volcanic glass hair and crystals created under intense pressure beneath Earth’s surface.
Artist Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon is a must-see. There’s also a free interactive dance piece by theatre-makers Coney called Companion which is pretty cool and takes place under the Moon.
Try a Nature Live talk hosted by some of the 350 scientists where people of all ages can come together and learn about niche fascinating subjects – from learning what life is like working at a Mexican volcano observatory to discovering more about dinosaurs with our palaeontologists, there’s plenty to learn about. The talks are free and are half an hour long.
One of the highlights is the Spirit Collection Tour. Teenagers 16 years old and over don’t need to be accompanied by an adult), visitors can go behind the scenes with our knowledgeable science educators for a look at the Museum’s fascinating zoology collection preserved in spirit – really cool.
Try London’s biggest indoor inflatable aquatic experience (currently closed) the sports facilities, the park and waterways or try a shoot down the Arcelor Mittal Slide (currently closed).
Throughout the year there are live music events, theatre, arts in the Park, food and local events around and in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and East London.
46. COVENT GARDEN
Covent Garden is a destination in itself with plenty to do and see (it’s a great place for people-watching), cafés and restaurants of pretty much every type with high street and boutique shops.
You can have a coffee in Timberyard while they are let loose in the neighbourhood.
47. STREET ART
Looking for arty things to do with teens in London?
Make a trip to the Leake Street graffiti tunnel under Waterloo Station – the largest legal street art area and home to original Banksy works.
There are plans to regenerate the area and the arches in the tunnel are set to house pop-ups, a sensory space and bars and cafes, but until then, it’s a great place to admire art before tucking into one of the nearby street food stalls.
48. THE MAKING OF HARRY POTTER TOUR (currently closed)
Explore the sets used in the Harry Potter films and find out what wizarding magic went into making this film series the most successful of all time. See a massive variety of genuine props, models and artwork.
Highlights include behind The Scenes Walking Tour, seeing the actual props and costumes from The Harry Potter Film Series and buy a cup of frothy Butterbeer. Tickets include return Transportation From Central London.
49. SCIENCE MUSEUM (currently closed)
Engineer Your Future is an interactive exhibition for teens thinking about their futures, where challenges, games and films will help them understand what engineers do—and find out whether this could be a job they’d like to do.
They’ll get to explore a city of the not-too-distant future and meet the women and men who engineer in places they didn’t expect—from hospitals to Hollywood.
50. LONDON EYE (currently closed)
Enjoy excellent views of London 365 days of the year or check out The London Eye‘s seasonal events including yoga and photography sessions.
51. SHERLOCK HOLMES
52. LEICESTER SQUARE + TRAFALGAR SQUARE
It takes less than five minutes to walk between the two and there are lots of people watching, street performers, galleries and museums to visit en-route. Step at Pret on the corner if you get peckish.
53. CRYSTAL MAZE LIVE
The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience is open to kids aged 13+ and offers 75 minutes of fun, challenges and laughter.
Teams are led around the attraction by a charismatic and eccentric Maze Master, who will guide you through the maze’s four themed zones: Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and Futuristic, with the ultimate goal of winning a crystal.
Each crystal won means more time in the iconic dome, where the aim is to catch enough golden tickets to bag yourself a spot on the coveted leader board!
Once you complete the maze, celebrate your successes and laugh at your failures whilst enjoying a drink and burger at The Wildcat Bar inside the West End maze which overlooks Shaftesbury Avenue.
54. YOUNG BARBICAN (reopens July 13)
The Barbican Centre has a scheme perfect for teenagers in London. Young Barbican gives 14 to 25 year olds discounted access to unmissable art and entertainment as well as exclusive events and creative opportunities.
Young Barbican members have access to over 50,000 tickets across art, film, music, theatre and dance for only £5, £10 or £15 with new film releases just £5.
Their Creative Learning programmes give you the chance to expand your talents and passions whatever you’re into, whether it’s electronic artists pushing musical boundaries, to the best in international theatre and major fashion, design and photography exhibitions.
And to make sure your friends don’t miss out either, you can even bring a mate who’s 14–25 for the same price.
The scheme is free to join and you pay no booking fees.
55. LEE VALLEY (partially open)
Lee Valley has a variety of things for young people to enjoy including:
- Hockey and Tennis Centre
- Boat Centre
- White Water Centre
- Ice Skating
- Athletics Centre
- Riding Centre
Tweens and teens up to 16 years old can join Lee Valley VeloPark school holiday sessions and after school clubs where they can learn basic skills like how to ride a bike, while more experienced riders can develop their skills with experienced coaches.
56. SEE A FILM AT THE BFI IMAX (currently closed)
For an alternative to your local cinema, try the UK’S biggest cinema screen.
There’s plenty of choice for everyone, from offbeat indie films to the latest blockbusters.
57. EAT AT ONE OF LONDON’S MOST AESTHETICALLY PLEASING RESTAURANTS
If you’re celebrating a special occasion with your teen in London, sketch is one of the best places to treat them to a meal.
Famous for its pastel pink booths and egg-shaped toilet pods, there’s plenty of content for their Instagram and Snapchat accounts.
The breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea menus are perfect for snap-happy teens.
sketch | 9 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG (partially reopens July 17)
58. ESCAPE TO A VIRTUAL WORLD (currently closed)
VR arcades are on the rise in London, with the chance to immerse yourself in everything from video games to outer space.
Here are our top picks for teens:
- Cluequest | 169-171 Caledonian Road | London, N1 0SL
- The O2 | Peninsula Square | Greenwich Peninsula | SE10 0DX
- DNA VR | Units 1&2, York House, Basement | 400-404 York Way | London N7 9LR
- Electronic Theatre | Arch 3, 83 Scoresby St | London SE1 0XN
59. SING YOUR HEART OUT AT KARAOKE
Belt out your favourites tunes in a karaoke booth, with a choice of over 35,000 English songs plus plenty of international hits.
Under 18s must leave the venue before 9 pm.
Karaoke Box | 18 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4RQ
60. PLAY LASER TAG
Laser tag arenas are a great way for the teens to actively show their competitive side (without the risk of injury).
Star Command is an excellent venue where art laser tag games take place inside a themed spaceship.
You now have over 50 ways to answer your question – what is there to do with a teenager in London?
What are your favourite things to do in London for teens?