London is a first-class destination for families throughout the year, whatever the weather.
There is plenty for kids (young and old!) to get out and explore. This itinerary provides a taste of the family-friendly sights and activities on offer around the city.
Enjoy a family day on London’s Southbank and Bankside.
10.00: Visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre is a faithful reconstruction of the open-air playhouse, first built in 1599, where Shakespeare worked and for which he wrote many of his greatest plays. Take a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe for an insight into Shakespeare’s London. Kids will love listening to the storyteller guides and watching exciting sword-fighting demonstrations.
21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London, SE1 9DT (London Bridge underground)
12.00: See the sights from the Coca-Cola London Eye
The world’s largest observation wheel offers a spectacular way to take in over 55 of London’s most famous landmarks in just 30 minutes. Visitors can combine a flight on the Eye with a 40-minute circular cruise on the Thames. Departing from the London Eye pier, the journey with commentary takes you from the Houses of Parliament to the Tower of London and back to the London Eye.
Riverside Building County Hall, London SE1 7PB (Waterloo/Embankment underground)
13.00: Lunch at Wahaca Southbank
Wahaca brings the spirit of Mexican market eating to London: respect for quality ingredients, passion for vibrant, fresh and honest food and the pleasure of sharing with others – and they have a terrific kids menu! This particular Wahaca is built from 8 recycled shipping containers arranged on 2 overhanging levels.
The Wahaca Southbank Experiment, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
Contact number: 020 7928 1876 / firstname.lastname@example.org
14.00: Visit SEA LIFE London Aquarium
The SEA LIFE London Aquarium is home to nearly 400 species of aquatic life, from sharks and piranhas to Nemo-style clownfish. Don’t miss the daily feeds and talks, where you see sharks and species usually found in coral reefs and rainforests enjoying their lunch.
Riverside Building County Hall, London SE1 7PB (Waterloo/Westminster underground)
16.00: Visit the London Dungeon
As of March 2013, the London Dungeon will re-invent itself when it opens a new bigger, bolder and better attraction in the vast underground vaults of County Hall on the South Bank, next to the EDF Energy London Eye. The all new multi-million pound attraction will bring 1,000 years of authentic London history to life with a unique mix of talented live actors performing in scarily funny shows, stunning special effects, edge-of-your seat surprises and two exiting thrill rides. Guests will embark on a journey through a dramatic London landscape going back ten centuries. There are new shows and rides that are more dramatic and surprising than ever, new funnier scripts, more theatrical costumes and styling and more talented actors to play even more colourful villains and blaggards.
SE1 7PB (Waterloo/Westminster underground)
For ideas on the best places to eat in this area, go to www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/activities/food-and-drink
Enjoy a family day out in Greenwich.
Greenwich is a great area for a day out. It is a world heritage site and there are many attractions for kids there, including the Observatory, which is mentioned below. Under-5s get free entry to Cutty Sark, Flamsteed House and the Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory, and to special exhibitions at the National Maritime Museum.
9.00: Take a journey on a Thames Clipper from Embankment Pier to Greenwich Pier
Greenwich is easy to get to by Tube or DLR but a more leisurely way to get there is by boat. Thames Clippers is the leading scheduled service on the river Thames, operating a fleet of high-speed luxury catamarans. Travel with Thames Clippers through the heart of London and enjoy some of the city’s most stunning views. Please check timetable at https://www.thamesclippers.com/route-time-table/book-now
10.00: Visit the Old Royal Naval College
Whether you are looking to experience the best of Britain’s royal and maritime heritage, discover film locations or simply have a great family day out, the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich fits the bill. One of London’s most popular heritage sites, Christopher Wren’s twin-domed riverside masterpiece sits at the heart of Maritime Greenwich. The Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre explores over 500 years of royal and maritime history using state-of-the-art interpretation techniques, historic objects, rare artefacts, film footage and models. In January 2013 the ORNC began a major conservation programme in the Painted Hall with associated public events including the rare opportunity for visitors to see conservators at work from a specially constructed scaffolding tower and guided behind-the-scenes tours.
Greenwich, London, SE10 9NN
11.30: Step aboard the Cutty Sark
Venture both underneath and aboard one of the world’s most famous ships and the last surviving tea clipper. You can walk the decks in the footsteps of merchant seamen who sailed her over a century ago, explore her rich history and the cargoes she transported across the world, then marvel as you stand directly beneath the ship to view the elegant lines of the awe-inspiring hull that made Cutty Sark the fastest and greatest of her time.
King William Walk, Greenwich, London, SE10 9HT
13.00: Lunch at Pizza Express
PizzaExpress offers dishes made from the finest fresh ingredients in beautifully designed surroundings with friendly and efficient service. The menu offers mouth-watering pizzas, pastas, salads and delicious Italian desserts. Every PizzaExpress restaurant also features their signature ‘open kitchen’, so customers can enjoy the theatre of watching their food being freshly prepared.
4 Church Street, Greenwich, London, SE10 9BG
Contact number: 020 8853 2770
14.30: Visit the National Maritime Museum
After a spectacular entrance through the sound of breaking waves you arrive in one of the greatest maritime museums of the world, The National Maritime Museum, containing models, displays, paintings and trophies from every continent of the world. Children find plenty to engage them in the All Hands gallery while young people can try their hand on the professional ship simulator on the Bridge or study the impact of careless behaviour on the ocean environment.
Romney Road, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NF (Cutty Sark DLR)
15.45: Visit the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Peter Harrison Planetarium
The Royal Observatory offers a beautiful view of historic Greenwich, Greenwich Park and the City. You can also visit London’s only Planetarium for an amazing tour of the sky at night. Clad in bronze, the planetarium has a state-of-the-art design and is tilted at 51.5º, the latitude of Greenwich, so that it points to the North Star. As part of the Royal Observatory’s Time and Space Project, the planetarium is set to become an important tool for educating and exciting future generations about the universe and beyond. Please check the website for the Planetarium show times.
Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, Greater London SE10 (Cutty Sark/Greenwich DLR)
18.20: Up at the O2
This unforgettable 90-minute experience takes you on an uplifting guided expedition across the roof of The O2 via a tensile fabric walkway suspended 53m above ground level. An observation platform at the summit enables climbers to take in spectacular 360° views of the London before descending back to base.
Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0DX
20.00: Dinner at Hollywood Bowl
This 800-capacity concert venue features 12 lanes of bowling -three of which are VIP lanes. Enjoy freshly-made American classics, including gourmet burgers, hot dogs and shakes in the Hollywood Diner. Choose from a range of drinks in the bar or challenge friends and family to a game of pool or try out amusements that are guaranteed to keep everyone entertained.
The O2, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0DX
22.00: Board the Emirates Air Line
Ride London’s cable car, across the Thames. Enjoy great views of London as you travel between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks. You can use Oyster pay as you go or buy Emirates Air Line tickets at the terminals at either end. Adult cash fares are £4.50 one way. Using your Oyster is 25% cheaper than paying cash.
You can book a 360 degree tour – a non-stop return journey – by buying a 360° tour Boarding Pass at the ticket office for £10.70 per adult. Show your Oyster card to pay the discounted rate of £8.40. You can also book a multi-journey boarding pass for 10 single trips on the Emirates Air Line for £17. And a private cabin can be hired (subject to availability) for a 360° round-trip with up to 10 passengers.
Emirates Air Line is accessible to wheelchair users and cyclists and is open seven days per week.
Emirates Greenwich Peninsula, Greenwich, London, SE10 0FJ
A family day out in Camden and Regent’s Park.
Camden Town offers a mind-bending plethora of eclectic, intriguing and unique experiences. Visitors and locals gather to hunt for treasures in Camden’s markets, to stroll by Regent’s Canal, gaze at the beautiful buildings, sample cuisine from around the world, listen to live music and soak up the vibrant and diverse atmosphere.
9.30: Explore Camden Lock
Camden Lock is one of London’s most vibrant shopping and entertainment areas. And with live music and comedy venues, cafés and bars it’s a brilliant place to meet up with some of the city’s most creative people. The Lock is the original Camden Market, opened in 1973 as a collection of artisan workshops. Clustered in and around the award-winning Market Hall you’ll find small shops and market stalls selling everything from vintage fashion, handmade jewellery to beautiful homewares sourced from around the globe.
Camden Lock Place, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AF (Camden Town underground)
11.45: Take the water bus along Regents Canal to London Zoo
A short journey away from Camden Underground station, the famous ZSL London Zoo has over 12,000 amazing animals to discover. Visitors come face to face with some of the hairiest, scariest, tallest and smallest creatures on the planet right in the heart of the capital. With incredible animal displays and fascinating trails to follow, London Zoo is the perfect family day out.
13.15: Take lunch at the Animal Adventure Café (at London Zoo)
Open all year round from 10am until the zoo closes, serving a selection of delicious sandwiches, salads, organic products, fruit, hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice creams.
14.15: Visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum
Welcome to 221B Baker Street, the London home of Sherlock Holmes. In this Grade II listed building you can see Holmes apartment, an exhibition featuring life size waxworks from Sherlock Holmes most famous adventures and pick up some souvenirs and antiques in the shop.
221B Baker Street, London, NW1 6XE
16.45: Visit Madame Tussauds
Filled with 14 exciting interactive zones, Madame Tussauds London combines glitz and glamour with incredible history and over 300 wax figures. Walk down the red carpet and strike a pose with the Beckhams before stepping into the interactive movie and sports zones. Start your royal experience with a once-in-a-lifetime audience with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Her Majesty The Queen, then brave the serial killers in SCREAM! Relax in a taxi and relive London’s rich history before entering the spectacular and exclusive Marvel Super Heroes 4D movie experience.
Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LR (Baker Street underground)
For ideas on the best places to eat in this area, go to www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/activities/food-and-drink.
Home to the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, Exhibition Road in South Kensington is the perfect place for families. What’s more, entry to all is free!
10.00: Visit the Science Museum
From the dizzy future of space travel to asking that difficult question “Who am I?”, the Science Museum does a great job of making your brain perform Olympic-standard mental gymnastics. Where else can you find life-changing objects from Stephenson’s Rocket to the Apollo 10 command module, catch an immersive 3D movie, enjoy the thrills of a special effects simulator, introduce children to science with fun, hands-on interactives and encounter the past, present and future of technology in seven floors of galleries.
Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD (South Kensington underground)
12.30: Visit the V&A
The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s greatest museum of art and design, representing over 3,000 years of human creativity, with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. In recent years the V&A has undergone a dramatic programme of renewal and restoration. Highlights include the Medieval Renaissance galleries containing some of the greatest surviving treasures from the period, the breath-taking William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery and the stunning British Galleries, illustrating the history of Britain through the nation’s art and design.
Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL (South Kensington underground)
14.30: Late lunch at the V&A Café
The V&A Café offers hot dishes, salads, sandwiches, pastries and cakes, as well as hot and cold drinks, wine and beer. All food is prepared and cooked on the premises using fresh food, bought daily. The Café is located in the V&A’s original refreshment rooms, the stunning Morris, Gamble and Poynter Rooms.
16.00: Visit the Natural History Museum
Why did the dinosaurs really become extinct? How big are hippopotamus’s teeth? Do unicorns exist? What does an earthquake feel like? A visit to the fascinating Natural History Museum in London answers all of these questions and more. Just be nice to the 26-metre-long diplodocus in the Central Hall! Hundreds of exciting, interactive exhibits await you. Highlights include Sensational Butterflies, the ultimate butterfly exhibition and Life in the Dark, the exhibition following the world of nocturnal animals.
Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD (South Kensington underground)
20.00: Dinner at Natural Kitchen
The Natural Kitchen uses ingredients that are seasonal, free-range, locally sourced and, wherever possible, organic. The Food to Go counters offer salads, quiches, soups, pies and sandwiches as well as a dish of the day. Everything is available to eat in or take away.
55 Baker Street, W1U 8EW
10.00: Visit Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London provides an amazing new opportunity to explore the magic of the Harry Potter™ films – the most successful film series of all time. This unique walking tour takes you behind-the-scenes and showcases a huge array of beautiful sets, costumes and props. It also reveals some closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects and animatronics that made these films so hugely popular all over the world.
Leavesden, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD25 7GS (Watford Junction station via London Euston)
13.00: Explore and have lunch in Covent Garden
Whether you’re looking to shop, dine, stroll, be entertained or experience some unique heritage, there are plenty of great things to do in Covent Garden. At the heart of Covent Garden is the market with its quirky craft stalls, boutiques and restaurants. The central piazza has a thriving café culture and is buzzing with outlandish street entertainers and fun events all day, every day.
16.00: Visit the London Transport Museum
Lively exhibitions explore the powerful link between transport and the growth of modern London, its culture and society since 1800. Full of light, colour and movement, the Museum explores how transport has given the City its unique cultural identity. The collection contains a wealth of heritage vehicles, posters, artworks, photographs, film and video footage, engineering drawings, uniforms, station signs and tickets. Highlights include the iconic red London Routemaster bus, the world’s first Underground steam train and the “padded cell” – one of the first electric locomotive Underground trains, dating back to 1890. The galleries are full of interactive exhibits for young people and adults alike, including real buses and trains to play on, and drama characters bring stories alive in an entertaining and informative way.
39 Wellington Street, London, WC2E 7BB (Covent Garden underground)
18.15: Early dinner at Byron
Byron are a restaurant chain that specialise in hamburgers. They source their beef from fully traceable, grass fed Aberdeen Angus herds, exclusively from Scotland, with soft buns baked daily by a 4th generation family baker in the East End.
33 – 35 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BN
19.30: See a performance of School of Rock at Gillian Lynne Theatre
See the new musical version of the hit movie, School Of Rock, live in London’s West End.
Follow Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn an extra bit of cash by posing as a supply teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight – A pupils into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping mind-blowing rock band. Sing along as they try their hand at Battle of the Bands.
166 Drury Lane, WC2B 5PW