101 best things to do with kids in London

If you're visiting London with kids in tow, don't miss our 101 family-friendly activities for children when exploring the capital.

From free museums to singing elevators, treetop adventures to puppet shows on barges, we've got loads of brilliant ideas to help you keep the children happy. 

Top play fountains

1) Make a splash in the 1,080 fountains in Granary Square, an attractive courtyard in King’s Cross.
2) Go for a refreshing dip in the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Kensington Gardens.
3) Enjoy a paddle in the More London Riverside fountains next to The Scoop, while soaking up the view of Tower Bridge.
4) Cool off in the fountains at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, near the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
5) Try to predict the next move of Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms Fountain at Southbank Centre, outside Queen Elizabeth Hall.  

Best museums for kids

6) Touch a four-and-a-half-billion-year-old meteorite in the Planetarium & Astronomy Centre at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
7) Experience the ground-shaking sensation of an earthquake at the Natural History Museum.
8) Visit the Science Museum to ogle the Command Module of Apollo 10, a spacecraft that went around the moon in 1969.
9) Learn how people lived in olden times by peering into the miniature world of historic dolls’ houses at the V&A Museum of Childhood.  
10) See Egyptian mummies at the British Museum.  
11) Gen up on modern art at Tate Modern’s dedicated Family Zone.

12) Let your imagination run wild at the Discover Children’s Story Centre.

Free things to do for children

13) Be wowed by the street entertainers in Covent Garden.
14) Assemble an assault rifle and play at soldiers at the National Army Museum.
15) Go on a journey through London’s past at the Museum of London.
16) Watch the Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
17) Learn about the history of the river Thames at the Museum of London Docklands.
18) Stoke the boiler of a steamship at AHOY! Children’s Gallery at the National Maritime Museum.
19) Sit in a reconstructed Victorian classroom at the Ragged School Museum.

20) See Tower Bridge open from the bank of the river Thames.

Travelling with children in London

21) Soar above the river Thames in the Emirates Air Line cable car and enjoy great views of London.
22) Sit at the front of a driverless Docklands Light Railway train to pretend you’re driving it!
23) Climb aboard a classic Concorde and enjoy a virtual "flight" at the Brooklands Museum.  
24) Rest your feet while getting an eyeful of the city’s top attractions aboard a hop on hop off bus tour.

25) Cruise along the river Thames on a City Cruises boat.

Transport attractions for kids

26) Take a ride through underground tunnels on the Mail Rail train at the Postal Museum.
27) Step aboard Europe's largest preserved WW2 warship, HMS Belfast.
28) Discover what life was like on board the legendary sailing ship Cutty Sark.
29) Hop aboard a miniature railway in Brockwell Park (every Sunday from March until October).
30) Sit in the driver’s seat of a red bus at the London Transport Museum.
31) Explore The Golden Hinde, a full-scale reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s famous sailing galleon.
32) See cars from the James Bond films at the London Film Museum.

Blow your mind

33) Stand astride two hemispheres on the Prime Meridian Line at Royal Observatory Greenwich.
34) Feast on a delicious ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen at Chin Chin Labs.

Family-friendly restaurants

Scones, cakes and sandwiches in the Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at Sanderson. Image courtesy of Sanderson

35) Feast on a scrumptious ice cream, gelato or sorbet at one of London’s top ice cream parlours.
36) Tumble down the rabbit hole by tucking into the Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at Sanderson.
37) Discover London’s wildest family dining adventure at the Rainforest Cafe.
38) Stuff yourself with cupcakes, brownies and macaroons at one of these cake shops.
39) Indulge your sweet tooth at the Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych.
40) Tuck into a Little Prince & Princess Tea with finger sandwiches, scones and pastries, at the Milestone Hotel.
41) On a budget? Have a picnic in one of London’s Royal Parks.

Activities for teenagers

42) Scare yourself silly by delving into the capital’s dark and bloody history at the London Dungeon.
43) Head down into the underground headquarters that sheltered Churchill and his wartime government during the Blitz at Churchill War Rooms.
44) Explore the history of surgery at the Old Operating Theatre.
45) Have a thrill-a-minute water adventure at Lee Valley White Water Centre (for over 14s).
46) Enjoy an exhilarating ride down the river Thames on a speedboat tour.
47) See Napoleon’s toothbrush and Darwin’s walking stick at the Wellcome Collection.

48) Take a trip into the haunted tunnels of London’s famous bridge at the terrifying London Bridge Experience.
49) Hear the stories of people whose lives have been impacted by war at the Imperial War Museum London.

Outdoor attractions

50) Explore ancient woodland in Epping Forest.
51) Go bug hunting and pond dipping at Camley Street Natural Park in King’s Cross.

52) Get lost in Hampton Court Palace’s legendary maze.

Action-packed things to do

53) Stroll along a soaring treetop walkway at Kew Gardens.
54) Go rollerblading in Hyde Park.
55) Race to the top of Primrose Hill where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of London.
56) Climb and play at one of London’s fun-filled adventure playgrounds.
57) Swim in the wake of champions at the Aquatics Centre, which hosted swimming and diving events during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
58) Over-10s can enjoy an exhilarating expedition over the roof of The O2 with Up at The O2.
59) Enjoy a refreshing dip in one of London’s gorgeous lidos.
60) Climb a skyscraper at Chelsea’s Clip n’ Climb (for over-4s).
61) Hire a pedalo or a rowing boat on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park.

62) Have hours of fun at Coram’s Fields, a seven-acre park and playground in Holborn.

Film locations and movie experiences

63) Visit the locations from the Harry Potter films and books with our guide to Harry Potter’s London.
64) Explore a few of the capital’s top film locations.
65) Check out Shrek’s Adventure London!, an indoor walk-and-ride attraction inspired by the hit film.
66) Enjoy the world’s most immersive movie experience at the Science Museum’s IMAX 3D cinema.

Big-hitter family attractions

67) Rub shoulders with the rich and famous at wax figure museum Madame Tussauds.
68) Go behind-the-scenes of the Harry Potter film series at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.
69) Try out more than 60 professions through role-play adventures at KidZania.

70) Get a taste for the high life on the Coca-Cola London Eye.

London farms and zoos

71) Get up close to lions, tigers and penguins at ZSL London Zoo.
72) Spot birds, otters and other wildlife at the WWT London Wetland Centre.
73) Pet and feed farmyard animals at one of London’s city farms.
74) See sharks, green sea turtles, penguins and more in the SEA LIFE London aquarium.
75) Meet monkeys, meerkats and more at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo.
76) Watch the pelicans being fed in St James’s Park.

77) Go deer-spotting in Richmond Park.

Theatre for kids

78) See a puppet show in a watery setting at the magical Puppet Theatre Barge
79) Be wowed by one of these top London shows for kids.
80) Enjoy a show in one of the city’s family-friendly children’s theatres.
81) See one of Roald Dahl's most celebrated stories brought to life at Matilda The Musical.

82) Learn all about the Bard on a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Festive fun

83) Get your skates on at one of these pop-up Christmas ice skating rinks.
84) See polar bears made of ice at the Magical Ice Kingdom at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland.
85) Munch on gingerbread at Southbank Centre’s Winter Market.
86) Shout “he’s behind you” at one of London’s hilarious pantomimes.

87) Soak up the festive atmosphere in Covent Garden.

Shops for kids

88) Find toys galore in London’s most famous toyshop, Hamleys.

89) Visit the world's largest sweet shop at M&M’s World in Leicester Square.
90) Shop at the world's largest LEGO Store.
91) Little vampires and werewolves can stock up on quality goods at Hoxton Street Monster Supplies.

Quirky things to do

92) See an over-stuffed walrus and a merman at the Horniman Museum.
93) Roam among the world's oldest life-size dinosaur sculptures at Crystal Palace Park.
94) Step inside the London home of one of the world’s most famous detectives at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
95) Go mudlarking outside Gabriel’s Wharf, where you can dig around for ancient clay pipes and bits of pottery.
96) Take a ride in the singing elevator (JCB glass lift) in the Royal Festival Hall.
97) Meet the world's oldest teddy bear at the tiny Pollock's Toy Museum

98) Marvel at a jar crammed full of moles at the Grant Museum of Zoology.

London's most thrilling attractions

99) 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.
100) Enjoy a zip wire treetop adventure at Go Ape Battersea.
101) Take a trip to one of London’s theme parks for an adrenalin-packed day out.  

Discover more family activities in London and find family-friendly restaurants.

Visiting London with kids in tow during the school holidays? Find things to do during the Easter holidays, the half-term holiday, and the school summer holidays.