Discover Children's Story Centre
Take a wander along the story trail at Discover in Stratford, where you and your little one can explore a secret cave, have a tea party, dress up in a crazy costume... and let your imaginations run wild! There's also a garden, café and studio featuring multi-sensory installations and exhibitions. And best of all, it's free for under twos!
National Maritime Museum
The fascinating National Maritime Museum in historic Greenwich has something for all ages. The Children's Gallery and Ship Simulator may be too old for your toddler, but they'll definitely enjoy scooting around the Great Map on a plastic boat and the many family events, such as Play Tuesdays – where under fives can explore the museum through crafts, music, dance and stories. The museum is free but the activities do have a small charge.
Tumbling Bay Playground
Within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park lies a fantastic kids playground, Tumbling Bay. There's plenty to explore here: rock pools, sandpits, slides, swings... plus an adjoining community centre and café, the Timber Lodge, for when you need to refuel or change nappies. Other great outdoor spots for toddlers in London include the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens (complete with pirate ship); London's many city farms; and Coram's Fields, a seven-acre playground close to the British Museum.
Alongside its programme for older children, the Unicorn Theatre in London Bridge puts on special productions for younger visitors.Other Children's Theatres in London include the Little Angel Puppet Theatre, Colour House Theatre in Merton Abbey Mills and Southbank Centre's Clore Ballroom.
London Transport Museum
Many toddlers have a fascination with public transport; indulge their obsession at the London Transport Museum. Particularly good for this age group is the All Aboard! area, with its pint-sized versions of a bus, train, Tube and taxi. There's also a play table with a miniature model of London and toy trains. Though chances are they'll want to 'have a go' on the full-size buses and Tube trains too.
Toddler Time at Picturehouse Cinemas
Many cinemas now have kids clubs or parent-and-baby screenings, Picturehouse goes one up with Toddler Time: 30-minute shows to introduce children to the big screen. Admission is £3 per child, free for under ones.
Plus: toddlers go free at:
- London Aquarium (free for under threes)
- EDF Energy London Eye (free for under fours)
- Madame Tussauds (free for under fours)
- London Zoo (free for under threes)
- Kew Gardens (free for under 17s accompanied by an adult)
- HMS Belfast (free for under 16s accompanied by an adult)
- V&A Museum of Childhood (free for all)
- Science Museum (free for all)
- Natural History Museum (free for all)