Non Touristy Things To Do In London With Kids
There are so many things to do in London for kids with plenty of attractions for all ages. But if you are reading this you’ll find some hidden gems and unusual things to do in London that you may not have heard of before.
From parks to underground secret tunnels, to historic ships and free art experiences, there are plenty of non touristy things to do in London with kids.
If you are looking for free things to do for kids in London, take a look at this stunning jewel of a park. Kyoto Garden – is a beautiful Japanese garden tucked away in the Holland Park, Kensington.
Holland Park is a 22-hectare park in west London, which is situated around the ruins of Holland House.
A tranquil setting with a koi pond, winding walkways, roaming peacocks, tiered waterfalls and perfectly manicured vegetation makes this a very inviting space to relax and reflect. Best of all, it’s free to visit.
Holland Park is open daily from 7:30 am. It closes 30 minutes before dusk. The closest Tube station to the Kyoto Garden is Holland Park, which is on the Central line.
Royal Observatory, Greenwich
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich is where Greenwich Mean Time originates from. Overlooking the River Thames, the observatory was built by Sir Christopher Wren and is also home to London’s only planetarium.
Stand on the historic Prime Meridian of the World at the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and explore the Big Bang theory in the interactive galleries!
Visit an Underground Postal Museum
Fancy riding on a post train, designing your own stamp or sorting parcels on a ‘moving train’? If you are visiting London with toddlers or primary school age kids, the Postal Museum may appeal!
The Postal Museum is one of London’s newest museums giving visitors an insight into the fascinating way that post used to be moved around the capital.
Due to road congestion, the Post Office built a small driverless railway under the streets of London to deliver post to sorting offices between Paddington and Whitechapel.
The railway was 6.5 miles long with 8 stations, and was in operation between 1927 and 2003. Read more of Kiddie Holiday’s Review here.. I have no doubt that will soon be scoring highly as one of the best children’s attractions in London.
An immersive 18th Century House
One of the most unique things to do in London is an immersive visit to Dennis Severs’ House – a home frozen in time, styled in the manner of the early 18th century.
It is stripped of anything modern: lit by candlelight with sights, sounds and smells from the era. Think of it more as an art exhibit oozing history, encouraging a different story per room and provoking questions.
Be warned, the visit is totally conducted in silence, so not for little ones! Expect to be in there for 20-45 minutes. The house is in Spitalfields, on Folgate Street.
Visit a Clipper Ship Built in 1869
If you are looking for things to do in London with young children, the Cutty Sark offers an immersive experience where even 3 year olds can join in.
Colourful characters join in and tell their stories about the fastest ship of her day. You can explore the ship and take the helm for the ship’s wheel, walk beneath the original hull and enjoy spectacular views across London, or even enjoy afternoon tea under the hull!
(On Wednesday’s during term time there are also songs, stories and playtime for those 4 and under. Timings for this are 10-11.30 and 1.20-2.50. Under 4 are free and adults entry fee is £5) Here is a lovely review with more details and another one too!
Cathy from Mummy Travels explains, “You can pick up activity trails (do ask) and there are plenty of hands-on activities too, including a model ship and wheels to steer, then a carved monkey on deck – you can even spot pigs if you keep your eyes peeled. There’s a taste of life on board as well, from the food the crew ate to the cabins they slept in, to help imagine the eight-month journey across the world, plus plenty of fascinating facts to discover from the knowledgeable staff as well.”
The Grant Museum of Zoology
Cathy Winston from Mummy Travels says,” If your kids have ever wondered just how sharp a shark’s tooth is or how strong you need to be to pick up an elephant’s tusk, the Grant Museum of Zoology is the perfect place – and much quieter than some of the big name museums.
Best known for its oddities including a jar of moles, there are also Explore Zoology sessions on selected Saturdays to get hands-on, plus family art days where you can drop in and invent your own animal, as well as child-friendly trails during holidays.
Britain’s oldest natural history museum has a whopping 67,000 different speciments in total to explore – with so much that’s weird and wonderful, from the African rock python skeleton to a brain collection, it’s best for older kids than more squeamish little ones though.”
Private hire a boat along the canals of Camden and East London
The Bow Boat Company’s beautiful narrow boat can be hired for up to 12 passengers – perfect for a family outing. Daisy from Dais Like These says, “Based mainly around the waterways of East London, but can go further north to Kings Cross or Camden market. Bring your own picnic, plug in some music and the skipper and crew will take care of the driving. It’s the perfect way to see some of London’s hidden gems as well as some more well known sights from a different perspective.”
The Museum of Childhood
There are a wealth of museums for kids in London, but this one is a little bit different. The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, is owned by the V&A and full of toys from throughout the ages.
They run lots of kids workshops during the school holidays too. Definitely one of the fun things to do with kids in London.
Churchill War Rooms, Westminster
This is one on my wish list, which I think will appeal to teens. In the War Rooms, discover the secrets hidden beneath the streets of Westminster in the underground nerve centre where Winston Churchill and his inner circle directed the Second World War.
Visit the bunker and walk the labyrinth of rooms and corridors that stretch below Westminster that sheltered workers from the German bombing raids.
Step back in time in the Map Room, which has remained exactly as it was left on the day the lights were switched off in 1945!
The Geffrye Museum
The Geffrye Museum (The Museum of the Home in Hoxton) shows different homes throughout history and it is very interesting to see how people lived. It’s also much calmer compared to South Ken museums, so ideal for those who need a quieter environment.
Palaces in the UK are often one of the most family friendly things to do in London. Kensington Palace is no exception. It is one of the royal residences, but more famously it is where Princess Diana lived and where Prince William resides now.
There are various exhibitions which change, so it’s worth checking what appeals as you may want to plan a second visit! For younger ones, there is something for everyone on a Storytastic Sunday.
If you are searching for things to do in London with preschoolers – you can explore the palace with activity bags, join in with Story Time or get creative in Make History workshops. For older kids go on an interactive adventure at Kensington Palace.
Meet a character from history, explore all around you, do challenges and win badges! This palace is located in Hyde Park and is one of just 15 palaces in London! Palaces in the UK are often one of the most family friendly things to do in London.
Go Back Stage At the Royal Opera House
Enjoy a family day at the Royal Opera House, where few days each month you can go back stage and look at everything from the sets to the costumes etc. It does get booked up, so plan in advance! Tours are not suitable for children under 8 years old.
There are so many exhibitions with free art experiences and workshops for all ages. Clare from Suitcases and Sandcastles, has rounded up 10 of the art experiences London has to offer here.
Katy from Untold Morsels recommends taking a tour of Shoreditch and discover London’s thriving street art scene. Join a local artist and explore the colourful murals and art works of the East End and learned about their creators.
It’s much more than spray paint – there are some incredible tiny pieces painted on old chewing gum! This activity is best for kids over 10 and especially teenagers interested in art.
If you are only visiting for a few days, add one of these to your London itinerary with kids so you have something that little bit different to remember from your trip.
A Unique Family Hotel?
Looking for a family friendly hotel? Why not try the Georgian House Hotel, in an ideal location, with it’s Harry Potter- esque wizarding room chambers and child friendly amenities!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Encore Tickets
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