Best Places to Visit in London with Kids

Few cities boast as many exciting attractions for children like London. If London is where Harry Potter took his first steps to Hogwarts, or where Paddington Bear found a new home, then the same city is guaranteed to offer a day of a lifetime for your children. So, to make the most of this city, look no further than HeyTripster’s locally written trip plans by experienced travellers.

Loaded with cultural charms, history, heritage, endless parks and adrenaline-filled adventures, London is the city to take on if you want to give your kids an adventure. In simpler words – London is exploding with fun places to take your kids. Intense, thrill-seeking, swashbuckling and enlightening, the selection is far too wide to list in a single article or visit in a weekend. Whether it’s branded toy stores, theme parks or cultural attractions, London is a playground from another universe. As a result, finding the best places to take your kids can be a daunting challenge! But worry not, keep reading, and the process for finding fun things for kids in London will take a turn for the “easy”!

Because, below, in the remainder of this article, we shall reveal the must-see places for taking your kids, and place them under a set of categories or “destination types” to help guide you further. Whether it’s a weekend trip, a week-long city break or a quick day trip, HeyTripster has you covered. So, without further ado, let’s explore the most unbeatable things to do in London with kids.

 

Parks & Zoos

1. London Zoo

London Zoo is one of the world’s oldest zoos. It started life in 1828, originally for the purposes of scientific study. Lo and behold, it turned out that it didn’t take a scientist to want to see animals. As a result, it later became a Zoo for the public to visit and explore.

Today, it is home to a whole host of species from every corner of the world. Wild, daring, furry, exotic or cute, London Zoo has the whole collection. Come eye to eye with gorillas, lions, zebras, hippos, to name but a few. Find animals you’ll never see on your morning walk, like Tortoises from the Galapagos, Tigers from Sumatra, or Alpacas from South America, and many more.

Visit the Penguin Beach to see Penguins up-close in a very Antarctic looking habitat. And, don’t miss the gorgeous pink Flamingos along the “Orange Route”. Speaking of which, the Zoo is divided into three different colour-coded routes – The Blue Route, the Orange Route, and the Pink Route. Each Route has its own unique set of animals, and none are worth skipping!

Tickets must be pre-booked prior to arrival. Prepare to spend around half a day at the zoo. Opening times vary based on season, so please check opening times here. Ticket prices vary based on age and seasons; latest prices can be seen here. London Zoo family tickets are available too. Bear in mind – Last entry is allowed one hour before the closing time.

(Disclaimer: To expose a wild animal, keeping it closed in a cage and displaying it to people is a controversial practice. Viewer discretion advised).

More Information

Open Hours: 10:00 – 17:00
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Website: Visit
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2. SEALife London

The UK’s all-time favourite aquarium, SEALife London is a hugely popular destination for ocean lovers. Pre-pandemic visits averaged about 1 million per year.

And for good reason. Because, at SEALife, you’ll come face to face with a vast array of stunning sea creatures. From magnificent sharks to cute penguins and glowing jellyfish, SEALife is truly bursting with aquatic wonders. Explore the coral kingdom and its many inhabitants, wild and wacky rainforest species, and many more ocean emperors like sharks, whales, rays, you name it.

What’s more, you can attend daily talks on animal conservation to give your kids a deeper look into the challenges many of the species face. By seeing the species up close, the little-ones will discover worlds beyond their wildest imaginations. Educational, enlightening and entertaining all at the same time, SEALife promises your kids a memorable adventure.

Find out more on opening times and ticket prices here.

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Open Hours: 10:00 – 17:00
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3. Jubilee Gardens

Looking for outdoor activities for kids in London? If so, then they’ll love this hidden gem.

Jubilee Gardens was built in 1977 to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, marking thirty years of her reign. Situated in South Bank, (right next to the London Eye), the Jubilee Gardens is a nice, relaxing and tranquil park for children and adults alike.

But here’s what the kids will love – the adventure playground. Packed with climbing frames, slides and swings, it promises a fun-filled afternoon for the children. It’s like climbing a tree, balancing on planks, or jumping ropes, but without the risk of any injury! Plus, if the weather is nice, you can top off the kids adventure with a nice picnic along the rivers and underneath the many landscaped trees. A refreshing breather from the usual hum-drum of London.

And yes, although it is restricted to children under the age of 11, it isn’t policed strictly. In other words, as long as the kids aren’t senior high-schoolers with bushy beards, they should be fine!

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The Movies (in Real-Life)

4. The Harry Potter Tour

Part One – Kings Cross Station

If you’re looking for an adventure that can only be done in London, look no further than the Harry Potter tour. Largely based in London’s Kings Cross Station, this mini tour will take you across some of the most memorable sites from the actual films. Sites that remain unchanged from when the films were recorded. Here, you or your kids can relive their Harry Potter fantasies like nothing else.

Remember the eerie and infamous “Platform 9 ¾” that baffled the young Harry Potter? Well, on this tour, it’ll all finally “make sense”. For your kids at least. Because, the platform happens to be located at the well-known Kings Cross Station. Or, sort of. See, in the real station between platforms 9 and 10 is only a railway track. But, not too far in the concourse, you’ll see a small sign hanging on the wall saying “9 ¾”. There, in a small and innocuous little platform sign, you’ll see where Harry Potter’s swashbuckling journey first began.

Then, next to the shops and coffee stands, you’ll find the “brick-wall” in which Harry and his team mysteriously walked right into. In fact, built into the wall is a half-submerged trolley of luggage that seems to have gotten stuck inside the wall as it tried to ram straight through! Grab onto the handles, and have your cameras ready for a legendary photo. A professional photographer is always standing nearby between 9am – 9pm every day, in case your kids aren’t happy enough with your photography skills! Beyond that, though, it is free to take photos with the trolley. Just make sure your phones are charged, and beware the queues on peak times!

Once you’ve taken your kids photos, head into the Harry Potter store next to the wall. It’s unmissable and your kids will probably leave you with no choice! Step inside and buy a thematic souvenir, memoir or keepsake to take home with you.

Part Two – The Studio

The Harry Potter Studio in London is where it gets real. The studio where every Harry Potter film to date came into existence. If you want to feel the “magic wand” in your hands, then this is the place to be.

Here, you can explore the filming sets, the real props, costumes, each and every figment that formed the journey of Harry Potter’s production. What’s more, your kids will also discover the art of filmography. Like how magical animals were brought to life, or how cars could take to the skies and get stuck in moving trees. Interactive, immersive and eye-opening, no Harry Potter tour is complete without visiting the Studio where it all happened.

All in all, The Harry Potter tour is a great thing to do in London with family.

More Information

Open Hours: 08:30 – 22:00
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5. Shrek’s Adventure

Yes, you guessed it, this place is named after our childhood favourite. Let’s admit it, Shrek is one hell of a quirky and amusing personality, so this place definitely deserves a mention.

At this wild and wacky place, the kids can “meet” the adorable bunch for themselves, including the annoying donkey and gorgeous Princess Fiona. Walk through the tunnels, enjoy the stunning cinematography, and sit on the 4D bus that takes you for a virtual ride in the stars! A deep and immersive experience, the journey will resurrect the magic and mystique uniquely packaged in the Shrek series. Let me tell you, the kids will love this place, no questions asked. Once you’re there, you will have to make no effort in entertaining your kids. Shrek will do it for you. Beyond that, it can only be truly experienced at the place itself, so do your kids a favour and include this in your city tour!

As for the practicalities (sorry, adults!), please check the website for its opening times. Like many destinations mentioned above, opening times vary based on seasons and the latest situation with Covid-19. As for the latest ticket prices, they can be found here.

But, for some good news, Shrek’s Adventure is located right next to the River Thames and Westminster, not far from the Houses of Parliament. And, if you’re visiting SEALife, the London Eye and The London Dungeon, you’re practically already there!

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Open Hours: 10:00 – 15:00
Location: View on Google Maps
Website: Visit
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6. Madame Tussauds

Ahh yes, the place you meet all those movie stars. (Or pretend to meet them!). Dotted all over the world, Madame Tussauds is famed for its unique and once-in-a-lifetime star-filled experience. And, to be honest, the Madame Tussauds in London is definitely its best one.

With over 150 different celebrities and stars, you are bound to bump into your favorite one. So, get your cameras out, stand next to them, and get the photos coming in! What’s more, they now have their very own 4D experience, bringing you ever closer to the celebrities! It is quite the thrilling and amusing experience, and incredibly amongst the locals. In other words, Madame Tussauds is a fail-safe place to take your kids, where you couldn’t possibly go wrong.

Book your tickets early to save money, as prices are expensive on the day! To make the most of your money, you can also purchase a family ticket, or a “London Combination” ticket if you wish to see other prime destinations like the London Eye, SEALife, Shrek’s Adventure or The London Dungeons.

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Open Hours: 10:00 – 16:00
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Famous Landmarks

7. London Eye

The London Eye is an iconic, breathtaking and huge ferris wheel which takes you high rough to see the entirety of London. Composed of a chain of large pods with panoramic views, the wheel slowly moves each pod from the bottom of the wheel to the top, and then back to the bottom again. Half an hour later, your pod completes its 360-degrees journey around the ferris wheel, and you return to ground level for disembarkation.

In a journey which sounds long but actually passes very quickly, you’ll explore London’s vast cityscape, spanning its skyline, maze-like roads, large residential neighbourhoods, cathedrals and other historical sites, and so much more. Once you approach the highest point, the view will drop your jaws to the floor and send your eyes spinning in a flurry of amazement. The London Eye offers an unbeatable view of London, and is a must-see for any visitor and resident alike.

London Eye for kids… quite the smart idea. Plus, children get cheaper tickets, making it a no-brainer for families! Speaking of family tours, why not take a look at our tailor made day travel itinerary for families in London? As always, it’s written by those that call London their home, and know what they’re talking about!

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Open Hours: 11:00 – 18:00
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8. Tower of London

Iconic, legendary and marvellous, nothing embodies London’s vibe much better than the Tower of London. First built over 1000 years ago, today the Tower acts as a seat for the Queen as a Royal Palace, and as a wondrous tourist attraction at the same time. You’ll see footprints of Britain’s royal history etched all over it, inside and out. From its glittering crown jewels to its armories and battlements, the tower is brimming with relics from a bygone era. It is hard to find a site brimming with so much history, heritage and Royal legends than the city’s great tower.

Honestly speaking, even the kids will be impressed by its grandeur and glory. In fact, they may leave the tower as passionate history nerds. Who knows. All in all, it’s a great choice for a family activity in London that pleases everybody. And, if your kids do indeed come out as die-hard history nerds, then HeyTripster has something for you – Check out HeyTripster’s locally written trip plan on London’s history and heritage!

Situated in a Central location of London, this UNESCO World Heritage Site sits close to several railway and tube stations. If you’re travelling on the train, then London Bridge or Liverpool Street are the stations for you. If you’re traversing the tube, then disembark at Tower Hill and it is only a 5-minutes walk after that! Tours can be done flexibly and there is no time-limit, as long as you visit within the official opening hours. Since they vary due to the pandemic, please consult the website for the latest info.

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Open Hours: 09:00 – 17:30
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Toy Stores

9. Hamleys London Toy Store

Looking to treat your kids with a snappy toy? Then look no further than the “tornado of toys” at the Hamleys Toy Store. Now, you may already be familiar with this place, as it has Toy Stores all over the country. However, the one in London, or Regent Street to be specific, is by far the best amongst the world.

Spanning over three floors, this giant toy store is packed with toys of every size, colour and brand. Whether it’s an extra-large cuddly giraffe, a thematic LEGO set, a toy from your kid’s favourite film, or board games of every genre and none, this place will leave them spoilt for choice. Do check out the cute and furry Hamleys Bear whilst you’re at it! And, before you get nervous, the prices aren’t extortionately expensive! In fact, the place is better for window shopping than it is for packing the bags! The sheer variety on offer is mesmerising enough, even for the kids. Perhaps they’ll discover the joys of window shopping for the first time, or find their favourite toy to show their little friends.

Either way, if you’re ever looking for a nice Toy Store to end the day, or happen to be walking along Oxford Street, then do pop by at Hamleys Toys. It is only 2 minutes walk away from Oxford Street tube station, right in the centre of London’s shopping district. Speaking of shopping, if that’s something you fancy, check out HeyTripster’s locally-written and tested shopping trip plan for London!

Other than that, check out the opening times here. At the time of writing, masks are compulsory in all branches of Hamleys Toy Store.

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Open Hours: 09:00 – 20:00
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10. Pollocks Toy Museum

Looking for a place to find some toys without breaking the bank? Then check out this quirky museum for kids in Fitzrovia. Comprising two conjoined buildings in Scala Street, this place is like a walk in the past, and exhibits toys from different eras. And, it has quite the history itself too. It was opened by two toy enthusiasts, Kenneth and Marguerite Pollock, as a family archive of toys. Today, it is still in the hands of the family and run by their grandson.

In a nutshell, this museum is a collection of toys young and old. Ranging from creepy creaking toys to cuddly bears from the 1950s, you’ll find out what kids from an older generation (maybe even your own!) enjoyed before iPhones and iPads came to ruin the fun! What’s more, depending on when you visit, your kids may be able to join one of the many free workshops they hold during the day! In sum, this is one of the best museums for kids in London.

To get there, the nearest tube station is Goodge Street on the Northern Line. Explore their website to learn more, including opening times and ticket prices.

Hey, if you’re a stickler for museums, why not check HeyTripster’s trip plan for museums? It’s written by locals so it is tried and tested! And yes, museums galore.

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Open Hours: 10:00 – 16:30
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11. The LEGO Store Leicester Square

 

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Admittedly, Leicester Square has no shortage of fun places to take your kids. Theatres, cinemas, restaurants, this place has more entertainment than the rest of Europe combined. And, part of the reason for that is unequivocally the LEGO Store. One of the best ones in the continent, if not the world, London’s LEGO Store is one enormous and vast universe made of the all-too familiar toy bricks! If your kids love playing with bricks and making wacky structures, then this place is a no-brainer.

Once you step in, you’ll be welcomed by numerous lego figurines, standing tall and made entirely of lego bricks! It’ll be like a mini Legoland in four walls, if you’ve ever been to LEGO’s theme park in Windsor or Billund. This is yet another photo-bombing opportunity, so have your phones charged and cameras ready! And, of course, the variety of lego kits on offer is truly mind-boggling, so don’t be surprised if the kids have a hard time choosing what to buy! Nonetheless, it’s quite the spectacular toy store, so definitely worth a visit.

The LEGO Store is only a few minutes walk away from Leicester Square tube station, since it is right on the square itself, next to McDonald’s and opposite the M&M Store.

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Open Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
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12. M&M Store

As hinted above, the legendary M&M store is also situated in the bustling Leicester Square! In fact, it is right opposite the LEGO Store on the same street… so doesn’t get much easier than this! As a result, the two can very easily be combined in a single visit.

But, much like the LEGO Store above, the M&M Store is yet another place to find TONNES of a much-loved treat, alongside the many funny-looking figurines and statues! You can also grab an M&M branded T-Shirt if your kids don’t fancy the chocolates as much! And, simply put, it is just huge. So many levels, staircases and floors, it is a bonanza of chocolates. Your kids will have quite the adventure.

Also, with prices that are on par with market prices, a visit to this store will certainly leave enough pennies in the pocket! Perfect deal if you wish to dole out cash for the other pricier destinations.

As for directions, just follow the directions to the LEGO store and you can’t miss it! Or, just make sure you’re at Leicester Square and you won’t miss both. Check their website for opening times.

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Open Hours: 10:00 – 21:00
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The “Scary Stuff”

13. The London Dungeons

Okay, let’s depart from the pink and fluffy toy stores a little. Because, if your kids are up for a thrill, a little scare on top of some fun, then the London Dungeons is the place to find that.

In a nutshell, this is where London’s dark and demonic past comes back to life. Here, the kids will come face to face with the villains and monsters that haunted Londoners back in the day! From Henry the Eighth to Jack the Ripper, the dungeons will take you on a journey across some of the most monstrous figures from London’s history. A history riven with executions, beheadings, filthy smells, dirty food, ghastly prisons, and… now all jumbled up in a fancy tourist attraction!

So, to mark a contrast to the clean and innocent destinations above, give this place a go! Booking is essential before you can visit, so fetch your pre-booked tickets from their website. Check out the opening times here.

Situated next to other must-sees on the South Bank like the London Eye and SEALife, it is hard to skip this one. All the mentioned destinations in the South Bank can be seen on a combined ticket to save money and maximise the thrills.

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Open Hours: 10:00 – 16:00
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Bonus “had-to-mention” Places

14. Kidzania

I can’t help but mention this final place, since it is yet another hidden gem in London’s vortex of kid-friendly destinations! And this one is like none-other mentioned in this list.

See, kids have quite the colourful sense of imagination. And Kidzania knows this. So, very fittingly, they created a “mini city” just for children to run! This “replica” of a city is big enough for kids to pretend they’re in a real one. A city with markets, fire stations, airports, offices, and plenty of “jobs” that need eager kids to role play! Whether your child wants to be a future pilot, firefighter or TV presenter, this is where it can happen. Here, your kids will get a taste of what the real world is like, (without its pains).

If you’re looking for the best indoor activities for kids in London, then look no further. Quite a unique take on an indoor theme park, it must be said. It’s open for children aged 4-14, and is supervised by adult staff known as “Zoopervisors”. Children above the age of 8 can be left to explore on their own, too. Since it’s located in Westfield (a large shopping mall), it’s the perfect place to leave your children whilst the adults go shopping!

To get to Westfield (Shepherds Bush), you can either take the Central Line and disembark at White City, or you can take the Hammersmith & City Line and get off at Wood Lane. The mall is large and is impossible to miss. KidZania is located on the First Floor, next to M&S and Gap. Find out more on opening times and entry requirements here.

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Open Hours: 10:00 – 19:00
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Website: Visit
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So, there we have it, the best London attractions for kids in a single article. A trip to London with the kids doesn’t have to be boring or overwhelming. With HeyTripster’s list of recommendations at your fingertips, London will leave you and your kids with memories of a lifetime. It always does, truth be told…

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