I have yet to visit London but it’s on the list. So I was excited to have Laura Abrar offer to share her list of things to do in London with kids as a guest a post. Do let us know in the comments what other things to do in London with kids you suggest.
By Laura Abrar
London is one of the world’s most interesting, vibrant and exciting capital cities. Families looking to visit there might be worried that it might not hold enough attractions and fun for their little ones. They are in for a pleasant surprise. It is packed with activities and attractions geared towards families and kids – it’s just a case of knowing where to look in the vast melting pot.
With summer round the corner London has some real gems to consider. And if all else fails then there’s always a lovely bus tour of the city to take in the historic views, or just opt for an afternoon stroll in some of the city’s fine parks which are free.
The Science Museum
One of the most fun, fascinating and awe-inspiring museums in the capital – and, it’s free. There are five levels to explore plus numerous galleries, online exhibits and regular events on every topic relating to science tailored for children from five-years-old through to adult age. Kids and parents can do everything from: get lost in Planet Science, wander around the flight gallery, learn about 18th century steam and mill engines through onsite vintage examples, look at a meteor, hear about the legend of Appollo 14, discover who they are molecularly, attend an exhibition on electronic music, explore the wonder of flights, immerse themselves in the development of medicine, watch a Launchpad demonstration, and take in a 3D movie about Hubble, orphaned orangutans and deep sea life forms in the museum’s IMAX cinema. As if that isn’t enough this summer’s major exhibitions will examine the life and legacy of Enigma code breaker, Alan Turing, and showcase how science is shaping the future of pain relief in Pain Less. Don’t be surprised if wannabe inventors and pilots part with cash in the shop for some space food, a lab kit, a remote control robot or an astronaut suit!
London Musicals for Kids
If families enjoy entertaining kids films and books by great authors then London offers award-winning stage adaptations. These three will have parents and their children singing in the aisles, and booing at colourful villains.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Roald Dahl’s delightful story which features Charlie Bucket and confectioner Willy Wonka. The chocolate garden, the army of squirrels and the strange Oompa Loompas finally makes it onto stage this year. This production which open this summer is directed by the Hollywood director, Sam Mendes.
- Matilda: Another Roald Dalh favourite about the prodigiously talented little girl, Matilda, with her telekinetic powers, her unpleasant parents and her unique experiences at school. This London production is by the Royal Shakespeare Company with songs and lyrics by comedy genius, Tim Minchin. Wicked and glorious fun guaranteed.
- The Lion King: The musical dramatises the Disney film of the same name. It tells of the quest of young lion cub and future king of the animals, Simba, in the lands of Africa. It’s a tale of brotherly rivalry, friendship and betrayal, journeying, courage and truth. The cast includes lion cubs, elephant graveyards, spotted hyenas, a large herd of wildebeest, a friendly meerkat and a nursing warthog. The plains of Africa beat alive through this musical’s 14th year in the West End.
London Transport Museum
Most children jump at the chance to travel on the bus, train or anything with two wheels. Get off a modern London bus or Tube line and head here to discover how the bustle began in the capital. In this museum visitors find a number of old style open-window red London buses, large panes of Tube maps, examples of traditional rail tracks plus plenty of interesting transport artifacts and archive material. There is also a new graphic design exhibition which explores 150 years of London Transport Tube posters.
ZSL London Zoo
Walk through Regent’s Park and soon enough you’ll find ZSL London Zoo. With a new silverback gorilla, Kumbuka, in the compound it’s a great time to visit. There are enclosures devoted to rainforest life, African beasts, large and small fish, butterflies, primates, lions and tigers, camels, komodo dragons, beaked birds, the outback and penguins, sheep and their related brethren.
V&A Museum of Childhood
Young girls and boys grow and play in different ways. The Museum of Childhood is a space where children can find out what they used to play with, what they wore in decades gone by and how they played together. There are galleries full of interactive objects and touchscreens as well as daily activities around storytelling, crafts, tours and treasure hunts to bring alive the nature of play. The exhibitions and displays are free.
Imperial War Museum
Soldier, spy, engineer, pilot, general. For every boy and girl who wants to to attain in a role related to the army, air force or the marines then this is the place to go to learn about how war was strategized and won from the British and the Commonwealth experience.
Hackney City Farm
Families who are curious to see how a farm operates in the middle of a city can head to Hackney City Farm which has been going strong for 20 years. Down at the farm it’s an opportunity to pat goats, pigs, rabbits, chicken, guinea pigs, ducks, geese and sheep – though Larry the Donkey is the biggest attraction by far!
It’s life, but not as a modern family will know it. Say hello to the sharks, sting rays, lobster, jellyfish, piranahs, Gentoo penguins, sea horses, clownfish, corals, crocodiles and green sea turtles. The aquarium holds one of the world’s largest collections of Cow Nosed Rays which swim in perfect harmony. Families can go at feeding times when there’s a chance to get up close to the variety of sea life.
Just outside London this theme park and family attraction is dedicated to children aged three- to 12-years-old. Kids can get a ticket to have fun on any number of the 55 rides which include a Viking fleet, white water rafting, Pirate trails, a Knights Kingdom and the Kingdom of the Pharaohs.
Are there other things to do in London with kids you suggest?
Guest Blogger: Laura Abrar, regularly blogs on travel and has traveled through 15 countries and works alongside B&B Belgravia, a four star boutique accommodation in central London.