This is a guest post by Gregory Golinski
Visiting London with your kids is a great idea! In the British capital, everything is designed to have a great time with your children: public transport is free for under 10 years olds, there are many free museums and a huge amount of parks and toy stores.
What to do in London with Kids
Where to stay?
London is very expensive. I suggest an Airbnb apartment, where you’ll be able to cook, which is really an advantage in London with children. You can enjoy a quiet breakfast, prepare a picnic for lunch and have dinner at the apartment in the evening. You’ll avoid the extra cost of restaurants.
Choose a neighbourhood a little out of the way but on a main line of the tube. Clapham, Tooting or Battersea are good choices. The prices are less excessive and you will be in the centre of London in 15 minutes by tube.
How to move around?
Red double decker buses are a great experience for kids, and the underground is really safe: generally, people let you sit if you have kids and everyone is very nice. Everything is well indicated, and the staff is really helpful.
You can purchase Oyster Cards, a kind of rechargeable card that you can buy when you arrive at the airport or train station, and that you can easily top up.
If you’re going to be driving to London from Paris or other parts of the UK, or want to rent a car to drive around the British capital, you can book cheap London parking on a daily, weekly or monthly basis with services such as YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
Where to eat in London with children?
Avoid super expensive restaurants, your kids will get bored to tears, and your wallet will suffer. London is full of take-away chains that offer reasonably priced healthy dishes and child-sized sandwiches. You can also shop in British supermarkets, they offer a lot of nice things to munch on. The best idea is to prepare a picnic lunch and to have a more elaborate dinner later.
What to visit in London with children?
Westminster / Buckingham Palace Area
The famous change of the guard: Every day between 11:30am and 11:45am, you’ll be able to admire the change of the guard in front of Buckingham Palace. Children love it! Position yourselves along The Mall (near St. James Park) as the horses leave after the change. You’ll get to see them up close!
The National Gallery: This huge museum is very nice, and there are many attractions in front of the museum for kids. Inside, they can go to children workshops which are organised, kids can draw and do other fun things!
Houses of Parliament / Big Ben and Westminster Abbey: These iconic buildings are really magnificent. Please note that the price of entry is quite steep: around £60 for a family. I guess you can just walk around the buildings if you have really small children, as I’m not sure they’d be interested in what’s inside.
Covent Garden and Soho
The British Museum: beautiful and free, this museum deserves a visit. Obviously, it’s packed with tourists, but the museum is large enough that it is not too suffocating. I prefer a visit in the morning as it’s less busy. You can see mummies, Greek sculptures and the Rosetta stone of course! Kids really love this place.
London Transport Museum: You should definitely go there with your little ones. The museum is beautiful, and you can easily spend several hours there. A circuit has been designed for children. They can ride in a diligence, an old tram, a double-decker bus or the underground. The museum is large, pleasant and a playground will allow parents to drink a small coffee while their children can play and pretend to be a salesman, taxi driver or policeman. A really great place for kids.
Covent Garden: A beautiful area to have lunch with your children. You can eat while watching fun street performers. Great fun for your kids too.
Piccadilly Circus: London’s Times Square! You can go at night to see the pretty lights or up Regent Street during the day to the famous Hamley’s toy store.
Hamley’s: Seven storeys of toys. A real kids’ paradise. There are toilets and lots of toys on display. The prices are steep but children could spend their whole life there!
City and St Paul’s Cathedral
Museum of London: a museum that tells the story of London. It’s a beautiful place, with stagings that appeal to older children (not very young ones).
Saint Paul’s Cathedral: A gorgeous cathedral. Don’t forget to take a selfie in front of the steps!
King’s Cross and Camden
Camden Town: clearly a crazy, colourful neighbourhood that will appeal to children. There are flea markets, shops everywhere, music, and a great atmosphere. A very quirky place that you and your kids will never forget! The sights, the sounds, the smells are very unique.
South Kensington / Kensington & Notting Hill
Natural History Museum: the superb Museum of Natural History can be visited early in the morning or right before closing time if you want to avoid the crowds. You can see dinosaurs, but also many other exciting things: the inside of a volcano, the reconstruction of an earthquake in Japan, etc. A beautiful place and the building is also gorgeous.
Science Museum: The Science Museum is also a must for children. In the basement, you’ll find an area with free access to water games, mirrors, noise machines etc. ideal for children from 18 months. The other floors are nice too, with many activities on offer.
Kensington Garden / Diana Memorial Playground: After visiting these museums, you should go for a picnic at the Kensington Garden and especially at the Diana Memorial which is a playground for children. There’s a huge pirate ship, sand, water, toboggan, swing and so on. Your children will love it!
Notting Hill: Have a quick stroll there so that your kids can marvel at the cute, colourful houses.
South Bank / Waterloo
Sea Life London Aquarium: an aquarium that’s fun but quite expensive. Only go if you have money left to spare.
London Eye: a big wheel with absolutely fabulous views of London. Very expensive, but you should do it at least once to snap amazing pictures.
Southwark / Tower Bridge
Tate Modern: this museum of contemporary art is very much appreciated by children. You will find playgrounds for kids there and a very cute shop!
Sky Garden: a garden set on three floors and located at the top of a 38-storey building. The garden is open every day, from 10 am to 6 pm during the week and from 11 am to 9 pm on weekends. It is accessible for free but you will need to book at least two to three days beforehand. You’ll get to enjoy great views of London. Reservations can be made online at the Sky Garden website.
Tower of London: the tower costs around £50 for a family, but it’s great to go and see the Crown Jewels. Full of old armours, prison cells and huge ravens that will fascinate your little ones!
I hope you enjoy London with your kids. I’m sure you will!
DISCLOSURE: All images courtesy of Pixabay