An Insider's Guide to Visiting London with Kids (2022)

Kid-friendly tea times, Harry Potter experiences, and free museum visits await

London is one of the most visited cities in the world for a good reason. This vibrant city is full of history, culture, and endless unique neighborhoods ready to explore. It’s also very family-friendly and easy to get around.

This guide has all the London info you’ll need including money-saving tips, the best ways to experience British traditions like high tea in a way kids will love, and where to stay to access all the city has to offer. From wow-worthy playgrounds to where to get the most unique ice cream in London, we have tips and trips and tricks to make your London visit the best one ever.

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An Insider's Guide to Visiting London with Kids (1)

How to Get Around London with Kids

No trip to London is complete without a ride on a double-decker bus and hopping on the Tube to hear the iconic “Mind the Gap” announcement. Since public transit in London is so easy to use, rides aren’t just for the novelty. We took the tube and bus everywhere around London using the TfL Go app to plan our journey. The easiest way to pay is by using tap technology. Riders just need to tap a credit card or app like ApplePay to get in and out of the Tube.

The best news for families is that riding the Tube is very affordable. Kids under eleven ride free and kids 11 and up can get their own Oyster card with Young Visitors Discount that allows them to travel on the Tube for half price and on busses for free. The Citymapper app can also help you navigate the city on foot if you prefer.

The Best Things to Do in London with Kids

An Insider's Guide to Visiting London with Kids (2)
(Video) An Insiders Guide to London Attractions for the Whole Family

Free Museums in London

When planning a trip to London with kids, you’ll definitely want to hit up some of the amazing museums like the Natural History Museum for dinosaurs, the British Museum to see antiquities from Egypt, and the hands-on Science Museum. Other favorites include the Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Modern, and the National Portrait Gallery. The best news is that many of these museums are free to visit.

Many museums have kid-friendly self-guided tours available so be sure to ask for guides at the information desk. Checking out these free world-class museums can free up hundreds of pounds in your budget for other activities. London has over 170 museums so everyone should be able to find one (or 10) that interests them.

Some museums, such as the London Transportation Museum, charge admission for adults but are worth a visit. Most free museums allow visitors to book times to visit in advance so that you can ensure they have availability during your visit.

Tips for Visiting the Tower of London & The Crown Jewels with Kids

The Tower of London has a dark past as the site of numerous beheadings and a prison. However, today it’s a must-see attraction to learn about Royal history, knights, and life in Tower going back to the 11th Century. The Tower is the most complete example of an old fortress still standing in Europe. Kings and Queens lived at the Tower for hundreds of years and it was last used as a prison in the 1950s.

Despite its checkered history, the Tower of London is very family-friendly with several interactive exhibits, including knight’s helmets that children can try on and a great exhibit about the many animals who lived at the Tower over the centuries. A recent highlight was a very funny tour given by a Beefeater, which is included with admission. The Tower is also a great place to catch a smaller changing of the guard ceremony for those who can’t make it to Buckingham Palace. Insider tip: The Tower also houses the Crown Jewels and you’ll want to head to see the jewels right away because the line tends to get longer as the day goes on.

How to See Shows in London at a Discount

London’s very own Broadway has an almost endless number of shows to see. Check what’s playing at London’s theatres and pick a show or two. Then, get the best deals on same-day tickets from TKTS London. Tickets are released at 12:01 a.m. London time every day. If you are flexible about where you are willing to sit, this is a great way to get tickets to amazing shows for less. On a recent visit, we were able to get three Hamilton tickets for about the same price as one ticket in the United States. However, tickets aren’t guaranteed so it’s good to have a backup plan in case you can’t get into your first choice show.

Also look for other specials such as Kids Week, Theatre Week, and occasional discounts on children’s tickets during UK school breaks. As a special treat, many West End theaters serve ice cream during intermission which kids love. TKTS also has a booth in Leicester Square staffed by West End experts. It’s a great place to go for discounted tickets and expert advice about which shows your kids will love. Most theaters have two shows a day, at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. making it possible to see a production and still get your kids to bed at a decent time.

An Insider's Guide to Visiting London with Kids (3)

Tips for Visiting Buckingham Palace with Kids

Most visitors to London stop by Buckingham Palace to take in its grandeur and imagine what it would be like to be Queen or King for a day. It’s also possible to go inside— if you time your visit correctly. The palace is open to visitors in the summer, only when the Queen (or King) is not in residence. You may be able to tour the state rooms where the royal family receives official visitors, entertains, and dines. Along the way, visitors see an astounding collection of art that rivals world-class art museums.

Other kid favorites of a Buckingham Palace visit are seeing some of the Queen’s jewels, including her many tiaras. We definitely recommend the kid-friendly audio to supplement your visit. Even if you can’t tour the palace, catch the changing of the guard outside every day at 11 am. This is a free event that is very popular so be sure to arrive early for a good viewing spot.

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(Video) Tips for Visiting London with Young Kids | London Travel Guide | Love and London

Princess Diana Memorial Playground and Fountain

Princess Diana loved children and there is now a huge playground near Kensington Palace where she lived with Prince Charles. The Diana Memorial Playground has several big attractions, including an enormous pirate ship and teepees. There is a concession stand at the edge of the playground that serves kid-friendly food like pizza and ice cream so it’s a good spot to grab lunch.

(Video) 5 Great Places to Visit in London With Children

The Diana Memorial Fountain is about a 20-minute walk away and it’s a great place to cool down on a hot London day. You are welcome to splash around in the fountain in your street clothes or come in swimming attire if you prefer.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is where Royals have held coronations and been married for centuries. It’s also the final resting place for notables through English history from Kings to playwrights. A fantastic audio tour with a family-friendly option, led by a Royal lion, is included with admission. Kids will love going through the tour and completing seek-and-finds throughout the magnificent cathedral. Westminster Abbey is across the street from Parliament and Big Ben so be sure to combine seeing all three during the same outing to save time.

The Best Things to Do in London for Harry Potter Fans

Fans of Harry Potter flock to London to see where the young wizard lived.

  • If you have the time, you can get tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play in two parts. The play gets rave reviews but be aware that seeing both parts is an all-day affair taking over five hours.
  • Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition in Covent Garden features not just iconic photos from films but also larger-than-life props perfect for selfies. This is also the only spot in London that has its own Butterbeer bar.
  • The Warner Brothers Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter is the place to experience Harry Potter. The studio is a short drive from London and includes sets, props, costumes, and more from the making of the films. Look for special events, such as Dark Arts demonstrations around Halloween and Hogwarts in the Snow around the winter holidays.

Related: If Your Kids Love ‘Harry Potter,’ Read These Books Next

Best Ice Cream in London

Milk Train, in the heart of Covent Garden, has the best ice cream in London. They have a huge sundae selection, or you can make your own creation. Be sure to ask for the candy floss with your order. That’s the British of ensuring a huge, floating cloud of cotton candy is served with your cone or shake.

Must Visit: Wagamama

This iconic London restaurant has locations all over London. A trip to Wagamama, inspired by Japanese ramen bars, is a must-do. It’s a casual restaurant with a great kids’ menu making it a perfect choice for families.

Kid-Friendly Teas in London

It wouldn’t be a visit to London without teatime! If your kids won’t sit through a stuffy, formal tea don’t worry as London has plenty of kid-friend tea times. Check out the Science Afternoon Tea, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea, or the Peppa Pig Afternoon Tea Bus Tour.

An Insider's Guide to Visiting London with Kids (4)

Where to Stay in London with Kids

London is huge and it’s key to stay in a great location near a Tube station otherwise you risk spending hours of valuable vacation time getting where you want to go. Canopy by Hilton London City is a great choice with a vibrant East London vibe. It’s is ideally situated within walking distance of must-see sites including the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. It’s also directly across the street from a Tube station with two major lines. It has two restaurants, both of which are family-friendly. Breakfast is expansive with everything from a full English breakfast to American staples like cereal and toast—and unlimited lattes for tired parents. Canopy has a variety of room options, including a family suite. The hotel also has some great perks including the use of complimentary bikes to explore and a rooftop lounge with fantastic views of the city.

Eurostar to Europe

A trip to London is a fantastic vacation on its own. Thanks to the Eurostar, it’s also the perfect jumping-off point to explore the rest of Europe. A trip on the Eurostar to Paris will take you just over two hours. The high-speed train also goes to other destinations in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Tickets start at around €39 and go up in price as more tickets are sold. For the best deals book as soon as you know you want to travel because ticket prices rise quickly. Eurostar also offers some great deals on package train and hotel reservations. Sometimes the cost of adding a hotel to your ticket is minimal so it’s worth exploring this option.

Related:

(Video) London with Kids // Full episode // Travel with Kids London

FAQs

Is London a family friendly city? ›

As one of the largest cities in all of Europe, London is, without doubt, one of the most popular destinations for families to live in the UK and on the entire continent.

Is Ireland Family friendly? ›

Ireland is very kid-friendly and many of the places you are likely to have on your Irland bucket list are easy to visit even with kids in tow.

Is Tower of London good for children? ›

The Tower of London with kids is especially good fun. It's great for children who relish the more horrible parts of history as it's packed with stories of torture, deaths, imprisonments, hauntings and murder. You'll find everything from suits of armour to some of the most famous jewels in the world.

How can I spend my kids day in London? ›

If time is short or you're searching for what to do for a day in London with kids, add the following places to your must-visit list: Science Museum. Natural History Museum.
...
Our favourites are:
  1. Bushy Park.
  2. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
  3. Victoria Park.
  4. The Green Park.
  5. Clissold Park.
  6. Greenwich Park.
  7. Hyde Park.
  8. Hampstead Heath.
4 Jul 2022

Is 2 weeks in London too long? ›

London is a great city with a ton to offer – you can experience so much here you won't need to feel like you need another vacation after spending two weeks in London. Also, unlike folks who take their sparse PTO and break it up into many trips, you'll get to enjoy more of your time off by reducing travel time overall.

How long should you spend in London? ›

For first time visitors, we recommend spending at least four or five days in London, which will give you enough time to get a feel for the city and see many of its main sites. With so much to do and see in London, we've come up with some bucket-list suggestions on how you can make the most of your time in London!

Where do middle-class families live in London? ›

Fulham and Putney

With its picturesque Victorian houses and proximity to the King's Road and Chelsea, Fulham is a desirable suburb popular with middle-class families as well as young professionals. Putney is just south of Fulham, over the river, and is popular with Australians, New Zealanders and South African expats.

Where in Ireland is good with kids? ›

  • Connemara National Park & Visitor Centre. 3,864. National Parks. ...
  • EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. 8,312. Speciality Museums • History Museums. ...
  • Spike Island. 3,000. Islands. ...
  • Killarney National Park. 7,283. National Parks. ...
  • King John's Castle. 2,614. Castles. ...
  • Wild Atlantic Way. 2,771. ...
  • Kilkenny Castle. 6,482. ...
  • Waterford Greenway. 693.

Is Dublin a good place to visit with kids? ›

There are a tonne of things to do in Dublin with kids! My little ones love visiting their grandparents in Dublin and enjoy our days out seeing the city and beyond. Something I love most about home is we can be in the city, or the mountains, within a short period of time.

How do you tip in Ireland? ›

It's normal to leave between 10-15% of your bill as a tip after dining in Irish restaurants, bistros, cafés or pubs. Leaving a tip higher than 15% of your bill after dining in Ireland is really only given for outstanding service.

Is the Tower Bridge Experience worth it? ›

The Tower Bridge guided tours are definitely worth exploring. You not only get to stand on one of the world's most stunning bridges but also learn about its history as you take a stroll across its glass floor and peak into its engine rooms.

Can you take your own food into the Tower of London? ›

To help protect our palace, food and drink is not allowed within the confines of any of the buildings except in designated areas.

How long will I spend at the Tower of London? ›

Most people who choose to visit the Tower of London will spend at least 15-30 minutes in line waiting to see the Crown Jewels. Plan on setting aside at least 45-60 minutes for the entire experience. Many visitors recommend setting aside at least 3 hours to see the entirety of the Tower of London.

Is London Dungeon suitable for a 6 year old? ›

The recommended age for The London Dungeon is 12 years and above, however it is up to the discretion of the accompanying adult. Many children enter The London Dungeon and enjoy the experience, but please be aware it does get very dark inside the building and there are lots of loud noises.

What do you do with a 5 year old? ›

101 awesome activities for kids ages 5 to 8
  • Make a batch of homemade play dough.
  • Go on a nature walk and collect leaves or rocks.
  • Move the furniture around so your little gymnast can practice their tumbles.
  • Play “Go Fish.”
  • Make a fort out of blankets and pillows.
  • Plant flowers in the garden.
  • Camp out in the backyard.
9 Jun 2022

How long does the London Eye take? ›

One rotation on the London Eye will take around 30 minutes.

Is London Dungeon suitable for a 6 year old? ›

The recommended age for The London Dungeon is 12 years and above, however it is up to the discretion of the accompanying adult. Many children enter The London Dungeon and enjoy the experience, but please be aware it does get very dark inside the building and there are lots of loud noises.

How long is the London Eye ride? ›

Standard Ticket

30 minutes up high in one of our 32 pods. 360° moving views from the heart of the city. Get up close to London's iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. You can even see as far as Windsor Castle on a clear day!

What is the KidZania? ›

KidZania (/kɪdˈzeɪniə/) is a privately held international chain of indoor family entertainment centers currently operating in 30 locations worldwide, allowing children to role play adult jobs and earn currency. It receives around 9 million visitors per year. KidZania. Type. Family Entertainment Center.

How long does the London Eye take? ›

One rotation on the London Eye will take around 30 minutes.

Are London Dungeons OK for kids? ›

Children are welcome to visit The London Dungeon, however the recommended age to visit The London Dungeon is 12 years and older. Many children do visit us and enjoy the experience, however as areas of the attraction are particularly dark with loud noises some may not enjoy the experience.

Can kids go in London Dungeons? ›

The recommended minimum age to visit The London Dungeon is 12 years old. However, children over the age of 5 are allowed into the attraction at the adults discretion. Please note, children under 5 are not permitted into The London Dungeon.

How long do I need for The London Dungeon? ›

We recommend allowing 60-75 minutes for your experience. Save up to 30% when you book online with our Online Saver ticket!

Do kids go free on London Eye? ›

Please note that children aged 15 years or younger must be accompanied onto the London Eye by an adult aged 18 years or older. Children aged 2 and under can board the London Eye free of charge, however must have a ticket for entry, which can be collected from the Ticket Office located opposite the London Eye.

What is the best time to go on the London Eye? ›

Best Time to Visit the London Eye

The early London Eye opening times from 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM has a lot of crowds, so it's best recommended to go right when the London Eye opens or just before it closes.

Which is better the Shard or London Eye? ›

Overall the Shard offers the superior views compared to the London Eye. Not only is The Shard over 100m taller than the Eye, allowing you to see much further than any other viewing point in the city.

Why is KidZania closing down? ›

KidZania explained that the ban on mass gathering and stay-at-home rule for children gave them no choice but to “close the play city's doors permanently.” The center assured that they will provide their employees with severance pay as mandated by law as well as job placement programs.

How much time is enough for KidZania? ›

Each ticket gives the visitor access to the play city for one shift which lasts about 5 hours. Most activities inside KidZania Delhi NCR last from 15-25 minutes and kids can complete about 7-8 activities per visit.

What do parents do at KidZania? ›

Adults and parents are welcome to observe the activities their children are taking part in, or they can spend their time in the Grown-Ups Garden Shed. In certain establishments parents play a big role; they can be passengers on the plane or be part of the audience at the theatre. Find out more.

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