Many visitors to the British capital only associate London with an amazing nightlife and lots of opportunities for adults to have a great time, be it in restaurants, pubs or bars. While all that may be valid, it is also true that London is extremely family-friendly and provides lots of opportunities to have fun with children. Indeed, it is one of the safest cities to visit in the world, with extensive Health and Safety regulations making sure that your small ones always stay on the right side of danger. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some unique ideas for activities to enjoy with your kids and their friends in London.
Located in ultra-trendy Bethnal Green, the V&A Museum of Childhood provides an excellent day out for kids and grown-ups alike. Detailing toys and other childhood-related goods from the past 400 years, the museum attracts literally busloads of children daily – up to 400,000 visitors a year. Here you can explore the extensive collection of dolls and doll houses, or reminisce about your own childhood memories by travelling back in time and looking at childhood toys from yesteryears. The museum also features temporary displays, museum loans as well as an outreach programme that cooperates with local hospitals and schools. All things considered, it is the perfect location to let your inner child out – with or without kids in tow.
ZSL LONDON ZOO
Every child loves to spend a day out at the zoo. But with over 800 animals to see and learn about, the ZSL London Zoo may just have the competitive edge over other animal attractions in Britain and elsewhere. Nestled in stunning Regent’s Park, a Victorian gem in its own right, the century-old zoo features several interactive areas, where you will make new animal friends and explore what a furry life must be like. Visit the Gorilla Kingdom, where you will connect with our distant cousins or take a look at Penguin Beach, which houses a colourful array of penguins from all over the planet. Some recent favourites at the zoo are the meerkats and sloths, who have both risen to fame following popular TV shows. A great day out for the entire family with lots to learn and lots to laugh at!
The HMS Belfast, docked in the shadow of Tower Bridge, brings stories of soldiers from World War II to life, while providing a decisive education about the history of the 20th century. While fuelling young boys’ dreams of adventure and exploration, the warship also teaches an invaluable lesson about the realities of war and the related sacrifices made in the past. All nine decks of the HMS Belfast are open to visitors, and the best part is that children under 15 can enter free of charge. It is truly a humbling and inspiring experience you will remember for years to come. If you and your family love the HMS Belfast, you might also want to see the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth.
HORNIMAN MUSEUM AND GARDENS
The south London neighbourhood of Forest Hill hosts the beautiful Horniman Museum and Gardens, where you and your family can explore the social science of anthropology from various angles. From an extensive collection of musical instruments to natural history artefacts, there’s something for everyone. The giant stuffed walrus is an all-time favourite for many visitors. The incredible gardens featuring a well-stocked café and overlooking central London are among the best vista points in the entire city and boast an incredible array of flora, which is also an ideal sport for an impromptu picnic. Children enter for free.
CHESSINGTON WORLD OF ADVENTURES
Chessington is London’s very own Theme Park and has been a family attraction for decades now. Indeed, you might be lucky enough to remember it from your own childhood days if you’ve visited here before. From ferris wheels to roller coasters, from carousels to wild water rides you can explore all the adrenaline fun you can have while sharing precious moments with your children. Recent additions to the theme park include the Scorpion Express and Amazu, where you will get to play with real monkeys and engage in some serious monkey business. Over 40 attractions, several hotels, a water park and a small zoo as well as sea life centre await you with open arms. You can spend an entire long weekend here or keep coming back. Smiles all around included. What more could you ask for?