Family day out on South Bank and Bankside

South Bank and Bankside have plenty to entertain all ages, from world-class attractions to fascinating history and fun activities for kids.

The south bank of the River Thames packs a lot into an easily walkable area, making it the ideal destination for a family day out.

What to do

Start your day with a trip to some of London's top attractions. Reach great heights on the London Eye, one of the world's highest observation wheels or see the wonders of the deep at the SEA LIFE London aquarium  go on a behind-the-scenes tour for fun insights into how the hundreds of species are cared for. 

Discover the dark side of London's history at the London Dungeon. Costumed actors, special shows and thrilling rides bring this gruesome experience to life and have the whole family screaming for more!

Where to eat lunch

The Southbank Centre is an excellent place to stop for lunch, as there are many family-friendly restaurants such as Wagamama or Giraffe. Kids love sampling the dim sum at Ping Pong; the tasty parcels are perfect for little fingers.

If the sun's shining, enjoy a picnic in nearby Bernie Spain Gardens or, if it's raining, packed lunches are allowed in Royal Festival Hall's picnic area on level three.

Alternatively, dine al fresco at Gabriel's Wharf, where you'll find a range of cafes and restaurants offering savoury delights and sweet treats.

Finally, try Borough Market, for the best street food from all over the world at reasonable prices.

Free attractions for kids

After lunch, head up the Thames towards Bankside. Kids and culture don't always go hand-in-hand, but at Tate Modern there's a range of free activities for families and children. Budding artists can learn all about modern art in the dedicated Family Zone.

Wander along the Thames and you'll come to the full-scale reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake's world-famous galleon, The Golden Hinde. Create your own swashbuckling adventures as you tread the boards on a self-guided tour of this magnificent ship. 

Sticking with the nautical theme, HMS Belfast is also well worth a visit. With free entry for under 5s, this WWII cruiser is a floating museum with nine decks to explore. Its busy events programme includes many family activities, so climb aboard to have some fun.

Where to eat dinner

It's time for tea, and there are plenty of family-friendly restaurants in the area.

For a meal with a view, Strada offers good value and a fantastic location overlooking Tower Bridge. Many of the pizzas and pastas are available in child-friendly portions, and there is plenty of outdoor seating if the sun's still shining.

Nearby in Hay's Galleria shopping centre, Café Rouge has a great menu for kids, with healthy main courses and delicious desserts. Kids also receive an activity kit packed with games and puzzles to help keep them entertained.

Head to Wahaca and sample a special kids’ menu offering smaller portions, toned-down spices and little extras to finish. Or try nearby Las Iguanas, equally kitted out with a full kids menu and free baby food for their youngest guests.