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Trip List by Perpetual-Motion1

London with Kids (aged about 5 to 10)

24 Mar 2012  Lived in England for a few years, and have travelled extensively with my own children.
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Beyond the obvious tourist sites, London contains a wealth of activities that will keep your kids entertained. Many of these ideas are also ones that will be of interest to you as a parent, or will be near to sites you may want to see (so, you can use the ol' "if you are good while Mommy looks around here, then I will take you there" line if needed).

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: London
  • Category: Best of
  • Traveler type: Sightseeing, Active/Outdoors, Repeat visitors
  • Appeals to: Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Students, Budget travellers , Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. London Transport Museum
    London Transport Museum, London, England

    Located in Covent Garden Market (which kids will like too because of all the buskers, toy shops, ice cream, etc), the Transport Museum is a very hands on making it ideal for kids. Parents will enjoy climbing aboard old trolleys and subway cars almost as much as there kids, and will certainly appreciate learning about the history of the various transport modes used in London. The museum even offers a 12-page activity book to help keep the kids interested. There are always special events or displays on. The site is accessible by wheelchair, and if offers tours for blind or partially sighted guests if booked in advance.

  • 2. HMS Belfast
    HMS Belfast, London, England

    Children love scrambling around this warship. Another site where adults can read all about the ship's history during the Second World War, the Korean War and other endeavours, while the kids take an active part in the various hands-on activities offered. Life on board is recreated, and there are lots of ladders to climb and decks to explore. Some parts of the ship are accessible by wheelchair. Children under 16 are FREE, adult tickets are £14...all entries include an audio tour.

  • 3. St. James's Park
    St. James's Park, London, England

    You want to see Buckingham Palace (and during the summer you can go inside for a visit) and now the kids are restless. Take them across the street to St. James Park. A great park in front of the Palace. Not only is there space to run around, ice cream stands, and shade (important on a hot summer day), but there is a lovely little playground where you can sit while they burn off some energy.

  • 4. Hamley's Toy Store
    http://www.hamleys.com/

    Yes, its a store and not a regular attraction, but trust me, it will keep your kids entertained! The store has lots of toys available for them to try out, and demonstrators that will keep them entertained with bubbles and art. A few words of warning: the store is on the very popular shopping street, Regent Street, near Oxford Circus, and the sidewalks can get very crowded. So, go early in the day to avoid the crowds (or at least when your tolerance for crowds is higher). Not the best choice to go to if you are one parent watching multiple children as they will inevitably wander off in different directions! Oh, and be prepared that they will pester you to buy them something and the toys here are not to be had for a bargain. One other note: Take the escalator all the way to the top, then work your way back down using the staircase, which always contains fun artifacts from movies (on my last visit, the stairs were devoted to all things Harry Potter).

  • 5. Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station
    http://kingscrossstation.com/?page_id=10

    If you are travelling elsewhere in the UK via Kings Cross, add a few extra minutes onto your journey to take the kids to Platform 9 3/4. Yes, the lovely people at Kings Cross have been kind enough to create a platform, complete with a trolley lodged half-way into the wall for the perfect photo op! However, the platform has a way of appearing in different parts of the station to accomodate construction (or is it magic), so watch for signs.

  • 6. British Film Institute (bfi) IMAX Cinema
    British Film Institute IMAX Cinema, London, England

    This IMAX cinema is located right near Waterloo Station, so is easily accessible by rail or underground. The movie cinema usually shows the latest films in IMAX format, plus special family-friendly movies created just for IMAX. Check out the website to buy your tickets in advance and to see what is playing.

  • 7. tkts Leicester Square

    There is always a choice of child-friendly theatre on in London, through which most kids can sit and be entertained. At intermission, they will offer ice cream (expensive ice cream, but almost always very good). Tkts is a booth in Leicester Square that offers tickets at reduced (sometimes half) price for same-day events. Sometimes you can luck out and get something for a matinee or evening performance. Its worth a look. The queue can be long here, so if you are travelling with more than one adult, have one keep the kids entertained elsewhere (there's always something happening in nearby Trafalgar Square, or take them for a bite nearby) while the other one gets tickets.

  • 8. South Bank
    South Bank, London, England

    A walk along the South Bank will keep you and the kids entertained. Boats will pass by along the Thames, and you can walk from the London Eye down to Blackfriars Bridge (and beyond if you keep following the river with a few back street sidetracks along the way). You will pass a host of sites that you may choose to enter or just have a look at. These include the London Aquarium, The London Eye, The Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, The Golden Hind, The Clink Museum....all the way to Tower Bridge if you are so inclined. But along South Bank you will find lots of buskers, restaurants and benches when your feet need a break.

  • 9. Kensington Gardens
    Kensington Gardens, London, England

    After a visit to Kensington Palace, take a break in Kensington Gardens. There are two children's playgrounds here, including Diana Memorial Playground (complete with pirate ship). There are child-friendly theatre productions (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was planned for the summer of 2012 - see The Royal Parks website for more info... www.royalparks.org.uk). Explore the park to find the statue to Peter Pan.

  • 10. Museums, Museums, Museums

    As difficult as it may be for North Americans to believe, most major museums in London are free, and yet they still put most of our museums to shame. You have a number of choices, all good for kids, including: The Science Museum, The Natural History Museum, The Imperial War Museum, The British Museum and the Museum of London. ALL FREE! And all with activities designed to keep your kids entertained for several hours.