London is a fun day out for the entire family, and with so many family hotels, attractions, landmarks, and parks to explore, there really is something for everyone.
If you’re planning your next trip to London with a toddler in tow, you’ve come to the right place. This article has a list of my favourite things to do in London with a toddler, as well as some tips and tricks that every parent must know when visiting the UK’s busiest city.
So, whether you’re after attractions that are completely free, or if you’re looking to treat your tot to an experience that is guaranteed to put a smile on their face, keep on reading!
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Natural History Museum
One of my favourite things to do in London with little ones is visit the city’s museums. The museums, like the Natural History Museum, are all completely free, and because they’re inside attractions, they’re a great place to visit, both rain and shine.
The Natural History Museum has a huge range of exhibits, from space and dinosaurs to oceans and human evolution. Your little ones will love running around the museum taking in the real-life dinosaur skeletons, gazing at the stars and planets, and maybe even learning a thing or two about the history and the world as a whole.
Location: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD
Closest tube station: South Kensington Station
The Science Museum is another fantastic museum just a short walk away from the Natural History Museum, meaning you can conquer both in one day if you so wanted.
Like the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum has a range of exhibits, interactive galleries and even an IMAX cinema, so you could leisurely spend your afternoon strolling around learning about science.
Location: Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD
Closest tube station: South Kensington Station
The British Museum
The final museum to make the list is the British Museum, where you can learn about people of the past, worldwide cultures and see important historical artefacts like the Rosetta Stone, The Parthenon Sculptures and the Bust of Ramesses the Great.
With the British Museum being the world’s oldest national museum (it is even older than the United States as it opened 17 years before the founding father’s signed the Declaration of Independence), it is definitely worth a visit when visiting London with a toddler.
Location: Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG
Closest tube station: Tottenham Court Road
Zoos and Aquariums
You just can’t visit London with a toddler and not head over to London Zoo, especially if you’re a Harry Potter fan. Now, I don’t think you’ll be charming any snakes out of their enclosures, but the range of animal species is definitely worth your while, and if you have the budget, I know your tots will love it.
Something my family particularly love about London Zoo is the talks they put on where you can learn about lions, meerkats, penguins, Galapagos turtles, and Komodo dragons. These talks are really insightful and interesting, and if you’re visiting while they’re on, I highly suggest checking them out.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite walking around the animal enclosures, you can visit one of the zoo’s five food locations, with the biggest one being the Terrace Restaurant, which serves up everything from pizza to fish and chips.
As London Zoo is in the city, it only stretches over 36 acres. This means that for the bigger animals, like hippos, rhinos, and elephants, you’ll need to go to London Zoo’s larger sister park, Whipsnade Zoo, which is roughly a 50-minute drive out of London.
Location: Outer Circle, London NW1 4RY, UK
Price: Adults – £33, Child – £21.45, and kids under 3 are free
Closest tube station: Camden Town Station
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
If London Zoo is a little too crowded for you, then Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is a great alternative. This zoo was designed specifically with little ones in mind, with a smaller selection of animals and playgrounds dotted around so they can burn off some steam.
You’ll only find smaller animals at Battersea as opposed to elephants and giraffes.
Similar to London Zoo, however, Battersea Park Zoo puts on talks during the animal’s feeding times so your little ones can learn about some of the animal residents that call the zoo their home.
And don’t worry, once you’ve finished watching the animals have their spot of lunch, you can visit the Lemon Tree Cafe for sandwiches, salads, and sweet treats.
Location: Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ
Price: Adults – £10.95, Child – £8.95, and kids under 2 are free
Closest tube station: Fulham Broadway Station
If you’re unlucky enough to visit London in the rain, then the London Aquarium is a great place to seek shelter.
The London Aquarium has three different aquarium zones, the Ocean Invaders, the Rainforest Adventure, and the Coral Kingdom, each with its own huge selection of underwater animal species, from big scary sharks to seahorses and little nemos.
My kid’s favourite part of the London Aquarium is the Shark Walk, a giant walkway with a glass bottom that puts you on top of the sharks down below. And if your toddlers are brave enough, they can even stroke a starfish or tickle a sea anemone, which is definitely something they don’t get to do every day.
Location: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7PB
Price: Adults – £32, Child – £29, and kids under 3 are free
Closest tube station: Westminster Station
Hackney City Farm
There aren’t many opportunities where you can visit a farm not far from an extremely populous city like London. But if you need a break from the hustle and bustle, then Hackney City Farm, just 28 minutes outside of the city centre, makes that possible.
Hackney City Farm is home to all your typical farm yard animals, like pigs, goats, sheep, and ducks. And not only can you just see the animals in the farm, but you can also touch and feed them.
Location: 1a Goldsmiths Row, London E2 8QA
Closest tube station: Bethnal Green Tube Station
Parks and Playgrounds
Holland Park Adventure Playground
Some other free attractions for toddlers throughout London are the city’s parks which not only get your little ones outside in the fresh air but they also help them blow off some steam, which is definitely needed at times.
One of the most popular parks in London is the Holland Park Adventure Playground, and although the majority of the park was specifically designed with kids 5+ in mind, your toddlers can still have a blast with some adult supervision, especially in the dedicated toddler’s area.
Location: 55 Abbotsbury Rd, London W14 8EL
Closest tube station: Kensington Station
Diana Memorial Playground
The Diana Memorial Playground is another amazing playground in London, and if you have any pirate fans in the family, they’re sure to love it.
The park is essentially a giant pirate ship with climbing frames, rope bridges, and teepees dotted around it. The makers of the park had a vision of less able-bodied children having just as much fun as able-bodied children, so they designed the park to be accessible by all.
Location: Kensington Gardens, Broad Walk, London W2 4RU
Closest tube station: Queensway Tube Station
Coram’s Fields is a park and playground only for children under the age of 16, meaning no adult can enter without accompanying a child.
With huge expanses of fields, and playgrounds suitable for all ages, you can spend the entire afternoon at Coram’s Fields, just be sure to take a picnic or some snacks with you!
Location: 93 Guilford St, London WC1N 1DN
Closest tube station: Russell Square
If the weather is good, splash about at one of the many splash parks in London.
Other London Attractions for Toddlers
If you really want to treat your little one, then you can’t go wrong with The Lion King West End Musical.
The musical is full of all the well-known sing-along Lion King songs, and the costumes, dancing, and acrobats are truly mesmerising. With little ones, I suggest booking tickets for a matinee show, as it begins at 2:30 pm and lasts for around 2.5 hours.
One thing I will note, however, is the show only allows children 3 and up, so if your tot is younger than 3, you’ll have to postpone the experience.
Location: 21 Wellington St, London WC2E 7RQ
Price: Matinee tickets £41 +
Closest tube station: Covent Garden
The Southbank Centre has a plethora of activities for little ones, and it’s best to check their website to see what’s on during the days you’re visiting London.
As the Southbank Centre is indoors, it’s another great option for those rainy days, especially as there is a vast selection of restaurants and cafes throughout.
Location: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
Closest tube station: Waterloo Station
Peppa Pig Bus Tour
Calling all Peppa Pig fans to one of the most unique experiences in London, the Peppa Pig Bus Tour. Climb aboard the elaborately themed Peppa Pig bus and make your way around London sipping on tea (or hot chocolate) and enjoying finger sandwiches and homemade cakes.
Throughout the tour, you’ll drive past all of London’s most famous landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, learning about the sites through a built-in interactive tablet at each and every table.
Location: Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
Price: Adults – £45, Child – £35
Closest tube station: Temple Station
Tips For Visiting London With A Toddler
I’ve done my fair share of London trips with toddlers, so it’s safe to say I’ve learnt a few tips and tricks here and there. Some of my most useful tips for visiting London with a toddler include the following:
- Pack rain gear – It’s no secret that England as a whole can have blue skies in the morning and rain come the afternoon. If you don’t want to be soggy throughout your entire day, pack some rain gear. Or at least a spare change of clothes.
- Make use of public transport – Thankfully, London has a wide range of public transport options, and children can typically use most of them for free. The tube system is one of the most popular ways to get around London, however, the open-top buses are also a great option.
- Book tickets in advance – If you’re certain on the activities you wish to do while visiting London, then book your tickets in advance. Tickets online are far cheaper than purchasing on the day, and you’ll get to skip unnecessary queues, which is a lifesaver with a restless little one.
- Stay close to the attractions – If you can, stay as close to the attractions as possible, as having to make long journeys with a toddler may not be ideal.
- Make use of free attractions – A lot of attractions in London are free, meaning you don’t need to fork out an arm and a leg for your kids to enjoy their time in the big city. Make use of all the free attractions like the parks and museums, I’m sure your toddlers will have a whale of a time.
When Is The Best Time To Visit London With Kids?
The best time to visit London with kids does vary on many factors.
Some people will argue that summer is the best because of the warm temperatures and the fact that you can actually go inside Buckingham Palace. But, on the other hand, others will claim that winter is the superior time to visit London because of Winter Wonderland and all the beautiful Christmas markets.
Before you plan your trip to London, you really need to think about the things your family will enjoy and the temperatures that they can endure. For example, some kids love wrapping up warm in winter, whereas others hate the cold.
Are you mostly planning indoor attractions in London, or travelling around London to see the main bucket list sites, quirky attractions or a specialist trip seeing all the Harry Potter attractions? Will you mostly be walking or catching the tube and taxis?
If you’re still unsure after considering your family in particular, then your safest bet is to visit London during spring or autumn when the temperatures are mild, and the crowds are at their lowest.
For slightly warmer temperatures, aim for April, May, or September, and if you don’t mind it being a little bit colder, then February, March, and October are also great months.
Getting Around London with Toddlers
Children under five can travel free at any time on the Tube, buses, trams, Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and London Overground, as long as they are accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket.
On Uber Boat by Thames Clippers river bus services, kids aged four and under travel free. Children under five also travel free on the IFS Cloud Cable Car (formerly Emirates Air Line Cable Car) when accompanied by a fare-paying adult.
To travel around London, Oyster cards are great. You can use a debit card, or buy an oyster card for a £5 refundable deposit.
Where to Stay in London with Toddlers
Best 3* Family Hotels In London
There are plenty of 3* family hotels to choose from in London. All offer the usual facilities. These ones have great designs that will appeal to kids, more space than average and/or are in the perfect location for all the fun family activities you’ll be doing together as you explore London.
The California, Kings Cross, London
family room (double bed plus 2 singles, cot available on request). Funky design. Buffet breakfast (hot and cold) included, TV, toiletries, en suite bathroom. Family Rooms sleep 4 people and include:
- Double bed and two single beds
- Travel cot available on request
The Holiday Inn Express Earl’s Court is less than a 5 minute walk to West Kensington Station and across the road are several options to grab water and snacks.
Nearest Tube: West Kensington
Location: 46 Blackfriars Road, Southwark, London, SE1 8NZ
We found our stay here very convenient with restaurants close by and public transport a breeze. Novotel London Blackfriars Hotel is located near Waterloo Station and Southwark Underground and has a hotel pool.
The hotel has a great restaurant inside with a sumptuous breakfast buffet available. Family rooms are available which come equipped with wifi, tea and coffee making facilities.
Our room was a premium queen room with two single sofa beds (pictured above) but a queen and double sofa bed are available as well as connecting rooms. TV’s have children’s channels available
Nearby Family Attractions: The London Eye, London Aquarium and Tate Modern and London Film Museum are less than a mile from the hotel. Westminster Bridge is a further 20-minute walk away.
Nearest Tube: Southwark Underground.
The Park Plaza is a short walk from Westminster Bridge, South bank and opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. There are lots of options for families including family suites with double bed plus sofa bed, and a 2 bedroom suite with double bed plus 2 single beds. The 2 bed suite accommodates up to 5 adults or 4 adults and 2 children aged 12 or under. Children under the age of 12 stay free of charge.
Onsite is an indoor swimming pool.
At check in, kids receive a goody bag which includes a colouring in book, colouring pencils and kids’ vouchers to spend on food and drink at the hotel.
To kick start each morning, when accompanying parents breakfast, a complimentary breakfast for under 12’s is available throughout your stay.
Nearby Attractions: Close to London Dungeons, London Eye, Sealife centre, Houses of Parliament, Shreks Adventure, South Bank
St Ermin’s Hotel, London
An historic hotel with a history steeped with espionage during World War 2 and a fun bee themed afternoon tea for little ones.
This hotel oozes glamour and charm with a wow staircase as you enter, but kids are warmly welcomed. Kids receive a Secret Agent package upon check-in and can solve a fun mission during their stay.
Rooms can sleep a family of five easily with two queen beds and a day bed suitable for a small child and two bathrooms, whereas family suites can fit 6 people. Family suites are ideal for a young family of two adults and up to four children. These have 2 queen beds and a double sofa bed with two bathrooms! A teepee can also be added to the room for those little ones that prefer their own personal space to chill out. Expect tea and coffee facilities in all rooms.
Visit the 3rd floor wildflower terrace to see the bees at work and their very own ‘bee hotel’ – where they collect pollen and nectar from the nearby London parks and green spaces. It is easy to see why the hotels mantra has always been; “A home to you, but a hotel to us” They really do mean this -whether adult, child or insect!
Attractions Nearby: Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, The Southbank, London Eye, Trafalgar Square are all within walking distance.
Nearest Tube: St James’s Park tube
Location: Park Plaza County Hall, 1 Addington St, London, SE1 7RY
This is another hotel in the Westminster area which offers plenty for families. From an onsite swimming pool to suites equipped with a microwave, sink and kettle, plus close proximity to many London attractions for families, including the London Eye, Aquarium, Shrek’s Adventure, London Dungeons and Westminster Abbey, House of Parliament.
The onsite swimming pool is located on the lower level. Breakfast is a sumptuous affair with a full English breakfast, fresh juices and pastries and many dietary options available too. Plastic cutlery is provided for younger children and the milkshakes are sure to be a hit.
Nearby Attractions: London Eye, Aquarium, Shrek’s Adventure, London Dungeons and Westminster Abbey, House of Parliament.
Location: London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, London, SE1 7PB
You know a hotel is family friendly when they occasionally offer Very Important Kids Packages. Packages are inclusive of kids’ pampering amenities and toiletries, a County Hall Teddy Bear, free Wi-Fi and a yummy family breakfast.
Location wise, you are in prime position to explore London with kids. The hotel is within easy walking distance to Big Ben, the London Dungeon, the London Eye and the Sea Life London Aquarium. It’s a also a good base to explore the lesser touristy places too, like the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Larger rooms can sleep up to four Deluxe Rooms at the hotel provide accommodations for up to four guests.
There are plenty of options for families; connecting rooms, rooms with two double beds and sofa, and two bedroom suites sleeping 5. Fridges are provided in all rooms too and of course, the indoor swimming pool is available for guests.
Indoor Pool Details:
This London hotel indoor pool is located inside the Fitness Center of the hotel and is bathed in natural daylight and offers a great place to swim quietly in warm water.
Key family-friendly features:
- Babysitting service
- In-room Crib/Play Yard
- Family Swimming Times
- Complimentary Wifi in guest rooms, lobby and public areas
- Fitness centre on-site
Nearby Attractions: London Eye, Aquarium, Shrek’s Adventure, London Dungeons and Westminster Abbey, House of Parliament. Southbank
Best 5* Family Hotels In London
5* Luxury Family Hotel in Marylebone, London
London, Marylebone from £296 per night Guests seeking some of the biggest entry-level rooms in London need look no further. The cheapest sleeping quarters are a whopping 592 sq ft.
Family rooms sleep two adults and two children; extra beds can be put in for £60. Expect an in-room children’s pack that features bathrobes and slippers for young ones, and bottle warmers, baby bath tubs and highchairs as required.
Children will also love the Winter Garden restaurant’s chocolate afternoon tea, which includes coconut and chocolate macaroons and banana, pecan nut and milk chocolate cake. The hotel’s ‘Family Escape’ packages also include an indoor tent and headlamp so that children can play at camping.
Nearby Attractions: Regents Park, London Zoo, Sherlock Holmes Museum, Madam Tussaurds, Sea Life London Aquarium, London Eye, London Transport Museum, Hamleys, Cutty Sark, London Dungeon, Science Museum.
5* Luxury Family Hotel in Mayfair, London
Situated in luxury Mayfair from £475 per night The grand interconnecting suites are ideal for families looking for luxury; rooms are vast and service — especially for children — is charmingly personalised. and is one of the top London hotels with family rooms for 4 people +
Expect sheets embroidered with princesses or pirates, and a play tent, toys and biscuits bearing the name of your child waiting in the room on arrival.
All Rocco Forte hotels feature high-quality picture books, specially commissioned for each property, based on fictional characters who live in the hotel — Brown’s has Albemarle, the monkey (a shout-out to Rudyard Kipling, who wrote The Jungle Book in the hotel). The concierges across the group have been briefed to focus on a repertoire of child-friendly activities.
Nearby Attractions: London Zoo, Kidzania, Hyde Park
5* Luxury Family Hotel in Pimlico, London
The Georgian House Hotel – Pimlico area
We loved The Georgian House Hotel, – 5* boutique hotel with kids’ toiletries, games, ‘wizard chambers’ for those who love magic and Harry Potter. Afternoon teas and a great location for a sightseeing base.
It is always useful to know of central London hotels with family rooms – a question that I often get asked about and this hotel is a great central base. The Georgian House is situated in the Pimlico area of London.
It’s central location and proximity to Victoria Station means that it is a good base for families to explore the local area, and one of the best areas to stay in London with family.
Buckingham Palace is about a 20 minute walk away too. This family friendly London hotel has been awarded 5* status and encompasses 63 bedrooms and apartments.
The rooms are modern and light yet are full of character, charm and original fixtures. Guests have the option of singles, twins, and doubles to apartments and suites for up to six guests. Perfect if you are looking for family hotels in London which sleep 5 or more.
Perhaps most exciting of all: Harry Potter or wizard fans will love the concealed ‘Wizard Chamber’ room and the ‘Enchanted Chambers’
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