TOP TEN LONDON ATTRACTIONS FOR KIDS
London is the perfect destination for families. It offers an abundance of attractions, activities and places to see, which will keep the little ones entertained.
From parks to museums, you're sure to find enough variety to keep the little ones busy when visiting London, and, quite often, you don't even have to reach into your pockets, as many of these are free of charge.
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1. Natural History Museum
Located in the heart of Museumland in South Kensington, this historic building is the finest representation of Victorian terracotta architecture.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is incredibly popular with children, some of the most noteworthy exhibits including the skeleton of a blue whale in the Large Mammals Hall, the 8.2m giant squid in the Darwin Centre, roaring and moving dinosaurs in the blue zone, or fossils in the green zone to name a few.
The earthquake machine, the active volcano model and the 130,000 amazing wonders of the Earth in the Mineral Gallery are also major points of attraction for the little visitors. FREE of charge, except for the temporary exhibitions.
2. Science Museum
Located adjacent to the Natural History Museum, this is a magnificent tourist destination for children of all ages, and of course, everyone else.
Open every day of the week and free of charge for the permanent displays, the Science Museum impresses with its collection of 300,000+ items, including the oldest existing steam locomotive, Puffing Billy, James Watt beam engine, Helen Sharman's space suit, the Apollo 10 command module or Stephenson’s Rocket. You can also watch some of the best science documentaries in the IMAX 3D Cinema.
Wonderlab, with its mind-blowing exhibits, shows and demonstrations to enjoy, is another experience inside the Science Museum that fascinate the kids.
Spread over seven different zones, there are loads of opportunities to get hands-on with real scientific fun, from live experiments in the Chemistry Bar, to live lightning strikes or a journey through space under a canopy of stars.
3. London Aquarium
The London Sea-Life Aquarium is the perfect destination for an adventurous afternoon and it boasts over 500 species from across the globe in two million litres of water, while its learning centre offers a wide variety of educational programmes on aquatic plants and animals. Thousands of curious little minds attend these programmes each year, to gain knowledge of marine life conservation.
Walk through the glass tunnel and take a long look at some of the most majestic creatures in the ocean as they swim just inches beneath your feet or around you. Enjoy a glimpse of the exquisite coral reefs, Gentoo baby penguins, the largest collection of jellyfishes in the UK, and many other wonders.
You can even try snorkeling with the sharks if you feel really adventurous! At the Rainforest Adventure corner, watch out for poisonous dart frogs, West African Dwarf Crocodiles, Red-tailed catfish, blind cavefish, and black pacu.
4. The Shard- Tallest Glass Skyscraper in London
This 95-storey glass building offers a splendid view of London. If your children are not scared of heights, reach the top floor to get a fabulous experience of seeing London from above with a 360 degrees all around view.
The panoramic view stretches up to 40 miles across London and surroundings and includes the scenic Thames River, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, all the way to Wembley Stadium to the north West or Queen Elisabeth II Bridge on the Thames to the East. Have a go and see if you can spot them.
5. Legoland Windsor Resort
A theme park based on the Lego toy system, this place is specially designed for children and boasts about 55 points of attraction. Kids can indulge in various activities and workshops such as the Robolab and Mindstorms NXT at ‘The Imagination Centre’.
The Miniland is extremely popular with its renowned landmarks from around the world, vehicles, trains, boats, and others in miniature Lego brick structures. Thrilling rides include: The Egyptian tomb dark ride at the Kingdom of the Pharaohs, the Dragon roller coaster at the Knight’s Kingdom castle or the Atlantis Submarine Voyage at the Adventure Land.
6. V&A Museum of Childhood
This place is an absolute must for the children of all ages (as well as their parents). It’s an exploration into childhood through the centuries and you can find toys and objects dating as far back as the 16th Century. Explore the 61 colossal collections and over 26,000 items on display including some hand-made items by children.
There are 100+ dollhouses, games, puzzles, board-games, mechanical toys, schoolbooks, and so on. The SEN scheme is specially designed to offer learning programmes to kids in need of special education.
Watch out the Lego toys, oldest rocking horses in the country, arty sculptures of dollhouses, etc. A series of fun and recreational activities are available to keep the little ones engaged and include art and crafts, play and interactive sessions, storytelling, and many more.
7. Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds offers visitors the fantastic experience to be with the living legends, favourite actors, sportspeople and historical characters under one single roof and it sure is a major point of attraction for children of all ages.
Get your camera at the ready as you mingle with the likes of The Beatles, James Bond actors, Spiderman, Star Wars, and even Queen Elizabeth II and members of the Royal Family.
Watch out for the death masks of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the victims of the French Revolution created by Madame Tussauds herself. She also created her own statue that still stands in glory at the museum.
Madame du Barry sculpted as ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ with an artificial device to show her breathing naturally during sleep is one of the oldest existing attractions here.
8. London Zoo
The oldest scientific zoological garden in the world, Zoological Society of London (ZSL) was initially established in 1828 as a place dedicated to scientific studies. During 1831-32 the collection of wild animals that were being kept at the Tower of London were transferred to ZSL, which marked the start of a new era for the venue.
The Zoo has over 19,000 animals of more than 650 species including the Sumatran Tigers, Asiatic Lions, Western Lowland gorillas, etc.
There are about 99 bird species here including the Great white pelicans, black vultures, greater flamingos, and many others.
The Penguin Beach, Millennium Conservation Centre, and the Komodo Dragon House are some of the popular areas of this zoo.
Harry Potter fans will be glad to know that the famous scene featuring a Burmese python from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was shot here.
9. Princess Diana Memorial Playground and Kensington Gardens
Located nearby the Kensington Palace, this playground is an adventure heaven for children with its giant wooden pirate ship as the greatest attraction. This children's wonderland opened on the 30th June 2000, in memory of the late Princess.
It is one of London’s most popular outdoor play spaces, with over 1,000,000 visitors enjoying it each year. Kids love to play, explore, role play and let their imaginations soar in this magical space. There is a sensory trail, a beach around the pirate ship and various toys and play sculptures, all set against a lush backdrop of trees and plants with plenty of seating and a small café for the grownups to relax too.
Add a walking tour around the Kensington Gardens to your day and discover the underground river flowing underneath the Hyde Park as well as learn the stories and historical events associated with the place.
10. Hamleys Toy Store
Located on Regent Street, this is the world’s oldest and largest toy store where children are encouraged to try their hands on the gadgets, play with the toys, take part in demonstrations and try the toys or activities first hand. Every year, the store also organizes special surprise events for the children during the Christmas season.
There is a dolls’ floor, another one loaded with soft toys, another one packed with action figures, as well as arts and crafts, figurines and even a large collection of Harry Potter wands and broomsticks.