A friend mentioned her family were going to London for a week and couldn’t decide on what do there. So, to help her out here are my top 10 things to do in London with kids in 7 days.
London, one of Europe’s cultural capitals, is the largest and most popular city for travelers in Europe. Home to famous monuments & landscapes, there is always something to do. From history, science, and art museums, to amusement parks, zoos, and other attractions there something for everyone.
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The city where Shakespeare changed the history of theater and performing arts, where Dickens wrote about the young Oliver Twist, where visitors can admire the Royal Palaces of the British monarchy and where there is always a park nearby to enjoy a peaceful stroll, London is worth your time. It is a leading global city in all fields and is well-known for monuments like the Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, the London-Eye and much more.
Traveling around in and around London can at times be stressful especially if you are a visitor and have young ones with you. I found the best way to see a city at your pace and avoid the hassles of taxis, metros, and walking is to use the open-topped double-decker buses. I recommend using either the London Pass or The Big Bus for this.
With the London Pass, you gain access to over 80 of London’s top attractions and queue-jumping privileges at selected attractions. This all-in-one sightseer credits package which offers access to top tourist attractions such as the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, The Shard, Windsor Castle, and even a Thames River Cruise. Each package comes with special offers, great deals, and discounts as well.
It’s simple and easy to use; just show the card at the attractions you wish to visit to redeem credits and head straight in. No need to worry about buying tickets or carrying lots of cash. For example, with a 1-day adult London Pass, you can enjoy as much as £175 worth of attraction credits, with a 6-day adult London Pass £605 worth of attraction credits.
The London Pass is valid for use on consecutive days and range from one up to ten days. It also includes London’s best spots at 60 stops on five separate bus routes. Along the way, you can listen to a live English guide or take advantage of the multilingual audio guides.
Children 4 and under, enter free and children aged 5 to 15 enjoy reduced rates. Pass holders may use Golden Tours or Big Bus as the one-day hop-on & hop-off tour (not both).
Alternatively, you can opt for the Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus. This comes with free walking tours and cruises. Similar to the London pass, there are 47 stops on a choice of four different routes located conveniently close to famous landmarks and attractions. Every bus has a live English-speaking guide on-board as well as entertaining audio-commentary in 12 different languages.
The ticket options include:
- Classic 1-day hop-on-hop-off, 3 different routes, River Cruise (one way)
- Premium 2-day hop-on-hop-off, 3 different routes, River Cruise (return)
- Deluxe 3-day hop-on-hop-off, 3 different routes, River Cruise (return)
- Children between 5 and 15 years enjoy reduced prices
All tickets include a free walking tour that lasts approximately 1.5 hours. You also get to a free river cruise on the Thames with every ticket.
When you manage to escape the dungeon head over to the swamp and join Shrek on his adventure in London.
You’ll travel to the kingdom of Far Far Away aboard a magical 4D Tour Bus, with Donkey as your tour guide! It’s sure to be a mad tour of calamity, chaos, and fun!
You’ll reach Shrek’s Swamp, where you’ll have a chance to look for him with the help of Cinderella. Live actors in each area will entertain you and guide you along on your fantastic journey. Other adventures include gazing into a crystal ball and visiting the dangerous Poison Apple Pub. Don’t worry! If you get into trouble, Puss in Boots will save you! The adventure includes a round of Wheel of Torture with Pinocchio and the Mirror Maze of Insanity with the Magic Mirror. You’ll even visit the Muffin Man’s House and cook up a spell with Gingy. At the end of the tour, you’ll have the chance to relax and chill with some of your favorite DreamWorks characters from Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon. It’s a fun experience for the whole family!
No children under the age of 14 will be admitted unless supervised by an adult aged 18 years or over and children between the ages of 3 and 15 enjoy reduced rates.
The Magic Bus Ride is a 4D cinema experience that includes sudden motion, water sprays, air blasts, fog, and aromas. You can skip this section of the tour if you suffer from any disorder or condition that may be affected by any of the above, or if you have an overly sensitive nose and don’t like the smell of swamps!
Now how can you visit London and not go to the London Eye? Along with Big Ben, it’s the most iconic attraction on the River Thames.
This London landmark gives a unique panoramic view of the capital. It takes 30 minutes to finish one rotation and the interior is climate controlled for maximum comfort. It also includes touch screens to learn more about the monuments below which include the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin and the Shard.
Every ticket includes admission to the London Eye 4D Cinema Experience. Feel the wind of London in your face and experience the ground shake, snow, and bubbles – all from the safety of the theater.
Children between the ages of 4 and 15 enjoy reduced prices.
From museums to dungeons, London definitely offers you variety.
Explore over a thousand years of London’s dark history at the London Dungeon. You’ll explore 18 interactive sets and two fantastic rides, each with live actors and amazing special effects. Everything is based on real historical events or scary stories all from London’s past, with a great deal of authenticity and theatrical storytelling. You’ll pass through the misty streets of Whitechapel. Was that Jack the Ripper lurking in the shadows? You’ll encounter plague-ravaged houses and a terrifying torture chamber. You’ll even escape (if you’re fast enough) the wrath of Henry VIII.
The London Dungeon has thrilled audiences for over 40 years with a highly entertaining tour through time (and sometimes even a bit scary). The dark humor will keep you laughing from start to finish. It’s the perfect choice for people who want something different from sightseeing and more exciting than a museum. Step in and join the fun…if you dare.
Children 2 and under are free while children up to the age of 15 can avail of reduced-price tickets. I have to mention that the recommended age for The London Dungeon is 8 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.
The London Dungeon is located between Big Ben and the London Eye – within the County Hall Building and right next to the London Sea Life Aquarium.
If buses and high places are not your thing, then explore some of the greenest and stylish spaces in London on this guided tour. You’ll step into Hyde Park and wander through Kensington Gardens. You’ll follow the Serpentine lake and explore part of South Kensington – an area full of Victorian and Neoclassical architecture. Finally, you’ll step into the Natural History Museum for a guided tour of the hands-on exhibits inside.
The walk covers two kilometers of gentle terrain and is appropriate for people of all ages. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, oh, and bring an umbrella – London weather is tricky
The Royal Observatory is home to the world-famous Meridian Line and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Established in the 17th century by Charles II, it is today a unique visitor attraction and a must-see for any visit to London.
Marvel at the Great Equatorial Telescope, the UK’s largest, a historic telescope which gave astronomers new views of the universe over 100 years ago. You’ll also enjoy one of the most-loved views of London across Greenwich Royal Park and the River Thames
Don’t forget to take a selfie on the iconic Meridian Line with one foot in the west and one foot in the east!
Children under the age of 4 enter free and if they are between 4 and 15 can buy tickets at a reduced price.
It opens daily at 10:00 am to 4:30 pm with the last admission at 4.30 pm.
Audio guides are included with the cost of admission and are available in multiple languages.
Another fun learning experience is the Science Museum – Wonderlab.
Unlock your inner Heisenberg and get hands-on with over 50 mind-blowing experiments of the purest mad science in a playground of colored flames, explosions, electric fields, and bubbling test tubes.
In the Matter Zone see oozing magnetic ferrofluid form amazing oily shapes as a magnet passes over it, while dry solids turn straight into gases in sublime misty clouds.
Experiment with the properties of light and explore how it can be reflected, bent, or split into an infinite spectrum of colors. See what our world looks like under different light conditions, and experience what it’s like to walk inside a light beam.
Watch forks of pure white lightning collide across the ceiling in the Tesla coil and Van de Graaff generator demonstrations. See how the shapes of sound waves change what we hear, and experiment with creating your own electronic music – for science!
See incredible live shows like Flash Bang Wallop, where you’ll learn what fire’s made of, how explosions help in everyday life, what makes things go bang – with the help of fire tornadoes and real explosions, all will be revealed!
I used to think that if you have seen to one Madame Tussauds, you’ve seen them all! Oh boy! Was I wrong! Madame Tussauds is one of my favorites places since I can spend a few hours with the world’s most iconic figures like Tom Hardy, Ed Sheeran, and Kim Kardashian.
Today, the attraction boasts 14 exciting, interactive zones, combining glitz and glamour with incredible history! This includes entry to the Star Wars™ Experience and Marvel Super Heroes 4D
Star Wars™ Experience at Madame Tussauds
This stunning exhibition, created in close collaboration with Disney and Lucas film, is the closest you will come to some of the most famous scenes from this legendary film series. See Princess Leia imprisoned by Jabba the Hut, Darth Vader facing Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca at the helm of the Millennium Falcon. BB-8 from The Force Awakens also makes a very special appearance.
Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience
Three floors of multisensory fun allow visitors to act like a superhero and see their favorite characters up close! Hang out with Spider-Man, avoid the Hulk’s angry glare and try to spot the Invisible Woman.
Whenever I travel with my girls, I always try to get a visit to a zoo on holiday. It gives them a chance to learn as well as provides us parents with a day to laze generally.
London Zoo is perhaps the most famous zoo in the whole world. Built by Victorian gentlemen with names like Sir Stamford Raffles and Decimus Burton, it’s been an important part of London life for almost 200 years. Today you’ll be able to take in over 750 species of animals while walking through its historic buildings and grounds.
ZSL London Zoo has undergone a transformation in the past few years. From its Victorian-era ‘animal park’ origins it’s now a conservation-minded institution that puts animals and education first.
Charismatic lowland gorillas, prehistoric Komodo dragons, and Galapagos turtles, mighty lions and tigers… all the big-ticket creatures are on display here. But that’s not all, Reptile House, Butterfly Paradise, the Aquarium, Penguin Beach and more will round out your day with plenty of animal sightings.
If the In With The Spiders exhibit creeps you out, visit the two Pygmy Hippos instead. Everyone agrees that Thug and Nicky are delightful.
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