London is one of those cities that is on almost everyone’s bucket list. We’ve partnered with family travel blogger Meagan Shamy of Mommy Travels to share her favorite things to do with kids in London.
Of all the places I have traveled with my children, London has to be one of the top. To say there is a lot to do there would be an understatement. You could spend a week here doing multiple things a day and never run out of activities.
Tower of London
The Tower of London is a must. It is captivating how much history can be found in one place. The cost of your ticket includes a tour given by a Beefeater, a ceremonial guardian. Our tour was highly informative and entertaining. It included a lot of death talk. If you do not want your kids hearing about people having their heads cut off, you may want to skip the tour. The world-famous Crown Jewels are kept here, and visitors are allowed to walk through and see them. I recommend taking a boat up the river from the London Eye to the Tower of London. The views of the Tower Bridge from the boat are unbeatable.
The London Eye
The London Eye is the massive wheel that takes you into the air. In fact, it is the fourth tallest observation wheel in the world. For 30 minutes, you can enjoy spectacular views of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, the Thames River, and Westminster Palace. Depending on the time of year you visit, the line can be atrocious. If you pass by here and there is little to no line, go immediately.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
London’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is phenomenal. It was hands down the best theater production I’ve seen. It can be difficult for younger children to sit all the way through a musical, but this one will better hold their attention. There are many discount ticket places near Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden. Remember not to take your kids to see a show on the same day you arrive: The jet lag will quickly catch up with them in a dark theater and they will end up sleeping through the show.
Since it is near the theater, the day you go to the show, plan to stroll around Covent Garden, a neat area full of little shops, restaurants, and street performers. This is a good spot for kids to find a souvenir. I recommend eating at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Union Jacks for dinner. They have reasonably priced kid meals and excellent sticky toffee pudding.
The British Museum is another must while visiting London, and it’s free. There is no better way to understand the depths of the pillaging and plundering the British did than to see all the “stolen” goods on display there. The Egyptian display is fascinating for kids; plus, the Rosetta Stone is there. To add more fun, print out one of their activity-trail PDFs for kids to do, or pick up an activity backpack when you arrive. Both are a great way to make the museum visit more fun for kids.
Diana Memorial Playground
We do not visit any city without finding a fun playground. Our favorite in London is the Princess Diana Memorial playground near Kensington Palace. This elaborate play spot was inspired by Peter Pan. Kids can roam all around a pirate ship, swing, slide, dig in the sand, and more. There are bathrooms at the playground and a snack bar right outside.
The perfect place to enjoy the flavors of London all at once is the thousand-year-old Borough Market. Here you can try an assortment of cheese, meats, wine, sweets, and more. Street food options include Indian, Ethiopian, Egyptian, French, and more. And of course there is plenty of traditional British food as well, like hand pies and fish and chips. Keep in mind when planning that the Market is closed on Sundays—and if you have younger children, it may be too overwhelming.
When you leave the market, I recommend going to the Millennium Bridge and walking over the Thames River on it. The view of St. Paul’s Cathedral as you cross over is stunning.
London Sightseeing Bus Tours
I have mixed feelings about the double-decker bus tours. Everyone says it is a must, but I disagree. Although my daughter and I enjoyed it, my two sons hated it. You know your children best, so make a decision based on their personalities. Also keep in mind that the traffic in London can be a nightmare. There will be times when it will be faster to walk. The tour buses include the boat down the river that I mentioned before.
With all the parks, playgrounds, museums, markets, and sites found around London, this list could easily keep going, but I wanted to highlight the activities we most enjoyed. I hope you and your children enjoy your time in London as much as we did.
Meagan Shamy is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads, visit TravelocityGnomads.com.
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