From free museums and family-friendly restaurants to fun kids activities and top West End shows, there are plenty of things to do in London with kids.
London attractions, theatres and other venues are temporarily closed due to coronavirus, but there are still lots of fun things to do with kids from home. Check out the Virtually London guide for family activities, exciting workshops and learning experiences, and shows.
Top play fountains
- Make a splash in the 1,080 fountains in Granary Square, an attractive courtyard in King’s Cross.
- Go for a refreshing dip in the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Kensington Gardens.
- Enjoy a paddle in the More London Riverside fountains next to The Scoop, while soaking up the view of Tower Bridge.
- Cool off in the fountains at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, near the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
- Try to predict the next move of Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms Fountain at Southbank Centre, outside Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Best museums for kids
- Touch a four-and-a-half-billion-year-old meteorite in the Peter Harrison Planetarium at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
- Experience the ground-shaking sensation of an earthquake at the Natural History Museum.
- Visit the Science Museum to ogle the Command Module of Apollo 10, a spacecraft that went around the moon in 1969.
- Learn how people lived in olden times by peering into the miniature world of historic dolls’ houses at the V&A Museum of Childhood.
- See Egyptian mummies at the British Museum or walk in the footsteps of ancient Londinium as you explore London's Roman Amphitheatre.
- Gen up on modern art at Tate Modern’s dedicated Family Zone.
- Let your imagination run wild at the Discover Children’s Story Centre.
Free things to do for children
- Be wowed by the street entertainers in Covent Garden.
- Assemble an assault rifle and play soldiers at the National Army Museum.
- Go on a journey through London’s past at the Museum of London.
- Watch the Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
- Learn about the history of the river Thames at the Museum of London Docklands.
- Stoke the boiler of a steamship at AHOY! Children’s Gallery at the National Maritime Museum.
- Sit in a reconstructed Victorian classroom at the Ragged School Museum.
- See Tower Bridge open from the bank of the river Thames.
Travelling in London with kids
- Soar above the river Thames in the Emirates Air Line cable car and enjoy great views of London.
- Sit at the front of a driverless Docklands Light Railway train to pretend you’re driving it!
- Climb aboard a classic Concorde and enjoy a virtual "flight" at the Brooklands Museum.
- Rest your feet while getting an eyeful of the city’s top attractions onboard a hop-on hop-off bus tour.
- Sail along the river Thames on a City Cruises boat.
Transport attractions for kids
- Take a ride through underground tunnels on the Mail Rail train at the Postal Museum.
- Step aboard Europe's largest preserved WWII warship, HMS Belfast.
- Discover what life was like onboard the legendary sailing ship, Cutty Sark.
- Hop on a miniature railway in Brockwell Park (every Sunday from March until October).
- Sit in the driver’s seat of a red bus at the London Transport Museum.
- Explore The Golden Hinde, a full-scale reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s famous sailing galleon.
- See cars from the James Bond films at the London Film Museum.
Blow your mind
Family friendly restaurants
- Tumble down the rabbit hole by tucking into the Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at Sanderson.
- Discover London’s wildest family dining adventure at the Rainforest Cafe.
- Stuff yourself with cupcakes, brownies and macaroons at one of these cake shops or feast on ice cream, gelato or sorbet at top ice-cream parlours.
- Indulge your sweet tooth at the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych.
- Tuck into tasty dishes in movie memorabilia-filled surroundings at Planet Hollywood.
- On a budget? Have a picnic in one of London’s Royal Parks or at these mouthwatering picnic spots.
Activities for teenagers
- Scare yourself silly by delving into the capital’s dark and bloody history at the London Dungeon.
- Head down into the underground headquarters that sheltered Churchill and his wartime government during the Blitz at Churchill War Rooms.
- Explore the history of surgery at the Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret.
- Have a thrill-a-minute water adventure at Lee Valley White Water Centre (for over 14s).
- Enjoy an exhilarating ride down the river Thames on a speedboat tour.
- See Napoleon’s toothbrush and Darwin’s walking stick at the Wellcome Collection.
- Take a trip into the haunted tunnels of London’s famous bridge at the terrifying London Bridge Experience.
- Hear the stories of people whose lives have been impacted by war at the Imperial War Museum London.
Outdoor kids activities
Action-packed things to do
- Stroll along a soaring treetop walkway at Kew Gardens.
- Hire a pedalo or a rowing boat at the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park.
- Race to the top of Primrose Hill, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of London.
- Climb and play at one of London’s fun-filled adventure playgrounds.
- Swim in the wake of champions at the Aquatics Centre, which hosted swimming and diving events during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- Over-10s can enjoy an exhilarating expedition over the roof of The O2 with Up at The O2, then go to town on football challenges at KickTown at The O2.
- Enjoy a refreshing dip in one of London’s gorgeous lidos.
- Over-14s can climb up a Vertical Chill Ice Wall in Covent Garden while little ones can take on a skyscraper at Chelsea’s Clip n’ Climb (over fours).
- Jump for joy at the Oxygen Freejumping at The O2.
- Have hours of fun at Coram’s Fields, a seven-acre park and playground in Holborn.
Film locations and movie experiences
- Visit the locations from the Harry Potter films and books while exploring Harry Potter’s London or more of the capital’s top film locations.
- Shoot selfies with the kids' favourite movie characters at the Scenes in the Square statue trail.
- Check out Shrek’s Adventure London!, an indoor walk-and-ride attraction inspired by the hit film.
- Enjoy the world’s most immersive movie experience at the Science Museum’s IMAX 3D cinema.
Big-hitter family attractions
London farms and zoos
- Get up close to lions, tigers and penguins at ZSL London Zoo.
- Spot birds, otters and other wildlife at the WWT London Wetland Centre.
- Pet and feed farmyard animals at one of London’s city farms.
- See sharks, green sea turtles, penguins and more in the SEA LIFE London aquarium.
- Meet monkeys, meerkats and more at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo.
- Watch the pelicans being fed in St James’s Park.
- Go deer-spotting in Richmond Park.
Theatre for kids
- See a puppet show in a watery setting at the magical Puppet Theatre Barge.
- Be wowed by one of these top London shows for kids.
- Enjoy a show in one of the city’s family-friendly children’s theatres.
- See one of Roald Dahl's most celebrated stories brought to life at Matilda The Musical.
- Learn all about the Bard on a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
- Get your skates on at one of these pop-up Christmas ice skating rinks.
- See polar bears made of ice at the Magical Ice Kingdom at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland.
- Munch on gingerbread at Southbank Centre’s Winter Market.
- Shout “he’s behind you” at one of London’s hilarious pantomimes.
- Soak up the festive atmosphere as you admire the dazzling Christmas lights across the city.
Shops for kids
Quirky things to do in London with kids
- See an over-stuffed walrus and a merman at the Horniman Museum or marvel at a jar crammed full of moles at the Grant Museum of Zoology.
- Roam among the world's oldest life-size dinosaur sculptures at Crystal Palace Park.
- Step inside the London home of one of the world’s most famous detectives at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
- Go mudlarking outside Gabriel’s Wharf, where you can dig around for ancient clay pipes and bits of pottery.
- Take a ride in the singing elevator (JCB glass lift) in the Royal Festival Hall.
- Lose yourself among the quirky old toys at Stephen Wright's House of Dreams (or nightmares!) and the tiny Pollock's Toy Museum.
- Flex your mini golf skills at the tech-packed Puttshack or take it outside at the Crazy Putt Adventure Golf.
Thrilling London attractions
- Whizz down the UK’s tallest public artwork with a 40-second ride on the tallest and longest tunnel slide in the world at ArcelorMittal Orbit.
- Enjoy a zip wire treetop adventure at Go Ape Battersea.
- Take a trip to one of London’s theme parks for an adrenaline-packed day out.
Visiting London with the kids during the school holidays? Find things to do during the Easter holidays, the half-term holiday and the school summer holidays. And if you're in London this weekend, check out the epic events awaiting you in the city.