Things to do in London with kids – A London Bucket List for Tourists.

The chances are if you are visiting the UK, you will want to tick things off your London bucket list. When it comes to kid friendly attractions, there are plenty of things to do in London with kids of all ages, including traditional favourites like Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, to comparatively more recent attractions such as the Harry Potter Tour at the Warner Brothers Studio.

Read on to find what the ‘must do’ things to do in London are, ideas of how to see most sights in a limited amount of time,  how to get the cheapest tickets and how to get there.

`For more non- touristy unusual things to see in London with kids, see here.

Buckingham Palace outside view
Buckingham Palace

1. Buckingham Palace

A visit to London with kids should include a visit to the Queen’s official London residence and a working royal palace. It opens in August and September (and on selected dates during winter and spring) when you can wander through state rooms, including the Throne Room and Ballroom and the palace garden.  Kid-friendly audio tours are available.

  • Suitable for: 6+
  • Nearest Tube: St. James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner
  • Open: 9:45 to 18:00 in August and September when the Queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland for her annual holiday and on selected dates during winter and spring.
  • Price: Family £64 Family (2 adults and 3 under 17s), adult £25 child £14, under fives are free.
  • Top Tip:  Enjoy free re-admission for a year by asking the Palace to treat your ticket purchase as a donation. At the end of your visit, ask a Warden to stamp your ticket to convert it into a 1- Year Pass.
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Serena Williams mannequin at Madame Tussaud's
Serena Williams mannequin at Madame Tussaud’s

2. Madame Tussaud’s

Most kids at some point in their lives visit a Madame Tussauds. The London branch is no different with lots of interactive areas. Pose with Harry and Meghan, movie stars or pop stars (Miley Cyrus, Will.I.Am, Rhianna, Ed Sheehan), sports stars like Serena Williams, world leaders, You Tubers and more.

Standard tickets bought at least the day before also give you:

  • Entry to the Star Wars Experience
  • Entry to the Marvel Super Heroes 4D Cinema

Star Wars at Madame Tussauds is a unique, immersive experience starring extraordinarily life-like wax figures of the favourite heroes and villains of Star Wars Episodes I-VI. Explore a galaxy of locations, including the swamps of Dagobah, Jabba’s Throne Room and the flight deck of the Millennium Falcon. A visit to Madame Tussauds should definitely be on your list of fun things to do with kids in London!

  • Suitable for: 4+
  • Nearest Tube: Baker Street
  • Open: Daily 09:00 to 18:00 in August; varied hours rest of year.
  • Price: Standard ticket is £35 for adults, £30 for kids 4 to 15. Priority entrance ticket £50 for all ages. Booking online saves up to 15% on all tickets. Discounts if you book tickets to Sea Life Aquarium, London Dungeon or the London Eye.
  • Top Tip: Book online at least a day before to grab a discount. Visit earlier in the day if possible.
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Harry Potter: Warner Brothers Studio Tour - the Great Hall at Christmas
Harry Potter: Warner Brothers Studio Tour – the Great Hall at Christmas

 3. Harry Potter: Warner Brothers Studio Tour (and Transfers) 

A must for any Harry Potter fan, the Warner Brother Studios are where a lot of the filming took place. 

Step into the Forbidden Forest, the Great Hall and Gringotts Wizarding Bank. Visitors can also explore 4 Privet Drive, Dumbledore’s office, climb aboard a mockup carriage of the Hogwarts Express and drink Butterbeer, plus practice wand magic in Dark Arts and broomstick skills. 

The Harry Potters studio tour has various different highlights throughout the year, including Mastering the Dark Arts from dates in September to November, and Hogwarts in the Snow in December and January.

See for yourself why this award winning tour is one of the best UK attractions for kids and adults alike.

Harry Potter: Warner Brothers Studio Tour - the entrance
  • Suitable for: 6+
  • Nearest Train Station: Watford Junction (direct from London Euston)
  • Open: 08:30 (first tour 9.00/ last tour 18:45) to 22:00 in the summer) 0930 (first tour 10:00/ last tour 16:30 closes 20.00 in winter
  • Price: Family £148 Family (2 adults and 2 under 16s), adult £45 child £37, under fours are free.
  • Top Tip: Book a tour as early as possible in the day to make the most fo your trip and pack a picnic to avoid hefty restaurant prices.
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Booking, tickets and how to get to Warner Bros Studios

The Warner Bros Studio is based in Leavesden, which is about 20 miles north of central London. The cheapest and easiest way to get tickets to the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour London, is to book directly in advance with the Studio.

Then book a train to Watford Junction. The quickest route is from London Euston with the fast train taking 20 minutes and then a shuttle bus (which runs every 15 minutes) to the studio. 

If you haven’t been able to book your Warner Bros Studio Harry Potter tour in advance directly with the studio (the cheapest option), then there are some alternatives to get last minute tickets via tour companies.

With the tour companies you cannot buy the Harry Potter Studio Tour on their own, but a package which covers your transport to and from the Studios. This is usually by bus or coach. However, the prices are more expensive than if you DIY’ed the trip,  as they often have late availability for the Studio Tour Tickets.

Harry Potter: Warner Brothers Studio Tour - Hogwarts
Harry Potter: Warner Brothers Studio Tour – Hogwarts

DIY Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour

For example for a family of 4 with 2 adults and 2 children (over 4)  it will cost you £148 for a family ticket for the studio tour directly with Warner Bros London, and then adding train tickets with one way peak rush hour would cost a total of around £55 for a family of 4 from London Euston to Watford Junction. (A shuttle bus runs every 15 minutes to the Studios from Watford Junction at a cost of £3 per return journey).

It is a really easy journey and simple to navigate even if you are not used to London.

(However, the Warner Bros Studio has partnered with Golden Tours for transport only option via coach from London Victoria Station  IF you have your studio tour tickets already. This currently costs £140 for a family of four.)

So a self organised trip DIY would cost you approximately £212 for a family of four for tour tickets and train tickets.  However, if you have left it too late to do this and no tickets are available for the time you need,  your next best bet is to try a ticket company like Get Your Guide, which is the next cheapest option.

Organised Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour Option

Current prices for a family of 4 with Get Your Guide are £334 which includes 2 adults and 2 child tickets to the Harry Potter Studios and a direct coach service from a designated pick up point in London to the Studio entrance.

You can also organise a tour with transport via Warner Bros Studios London preferred partner, BUT this is dependant on the Harry Potter tickets being available in the first place, so if you have left it too late, this may not be an option. It is currently approximately £360 for a family of 4 for 4 tickets to the Harry Potter tour and transport from various destinations in London.

Harry Potter themed accommodation

If you are wanting to make a real Harry Potter experience of it, consider staying at the Georgian House Hotel  which has Wizarding Rooms behind a secret staircase!

Clotted cream and jam with scones
Clotted cream and jam with scones – typically English

4. Afternoon Tea Cruise Boat Tour of the Thames 

Kill two birds with one stone and enjoy a quintessentially English afternoon tea with sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, strawberry jam whilst ticking off lots of popular places to visit in London with kids; including the Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Shard, the London Eye, and the Houses of Parliament. Perfect if you are in London for short space of time, or if it is a rainy day.

  • Suitable for: Any age
  • Nearest Tube: Tower Hill, Monument and Cannon Street
  • Open: Daily 15:30 to 17:00
  • Price: Adult £32, Child £22
  • Top Tip: Perfect activity to do if rain is expected. 
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Tower of London
Tower of London

5. Tower of London

Explore the famous medieval castle which was a palace and a prison. Visit the Crown Jewels and listen to the free yeoman guided tours that start every 30 minutes and last 45 minutes. Explore the stories of the Princes in the Tower and Sir Walter Raleigh in the infamous Bloody Tower. Don’t forget to download the free family activity trails too or to visit the ravens which guard the tower.

  • Suitable for: 5+
  • Nearest Tube: Tower Hill 
  • Open: March to October Sunday & Monday: 10:00 to 17:30, Tuesday–Saturday: 9:00 to 17:30; November to February Sunday & Monday: 10:00 to 16:30, Tuesday–Saturday: 9:00 to 16:30.
  • Price: Buy online direct Family £62, adult £24.70, child £11.70, kids under five years old go free. 
  • Alternatively, try the skip the line tour and enter the Tower of London before anyone else, and see the official opening ceremony on a 3-hour guided tour. Admire the Crown Jewels before the crowds arrive. Then, enjoy skip-the-queue access to the Tower Bridge Experience and engine rooms. (No strollers allowed on this particular Skip The Line tour)
  • Top Tip: Get the family activity trails for free and wear comfy shoes.
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Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

6. Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge, (not be confused with London Bridge, of which the original is now in Arizona!) is London’s number one icon. Check when the bridge opens and closes from this online schedule. From the high-level walkways take in stunning panoramic views and experience the thrill of seeing London life through the Glass Floor. Don’t forget to check out the Victorian Engine Rooms or download the family activity trails

  • Suitable for: All ages but ideally 6+
  • Nearest Tube: Tower Hill or London Bridge
  • Open: 0930-17:30 
  • Price: Family £22, adult £8.80, child £3.80, kids under five years are free.
  • Top Tip: Check when the bridge is next being raised
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London Eye
London Eye

7. London Eye

This giant ferris wheel offers fantastic views of London. It takes about 30 minutes to complete a full turn at a leisurely pace. Passengers are completely enclosed in air conditioned and heated glass pods that fit 25 people.

  • Suitable for: All ages
  • Nearest Tube: Westminster or Waterloo and then walk to Southbank.
  • Open: Daily 10:00 to 20:30 most of the year, 10:00 to 18:00 much of the winter (check website for specific dates). Closed for yearly maintenance in January.
  • Price: Standard ticket is £30.00 for adults, £24.00  Booking online saves 10% on all tickets. Children under 3 free. Strollers are allowed but must be folded. Get Your Guide offers standard tickets from £27 for adults.
  • Top Tip: Watch the 4D movie. This five-minute experience is available after you buy your tickets or reach the front of the queue.
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The Original Tour Hop on Hop Off Bus London
The Original Tour Hop on Hop Off Bus

8. Hop on – Hop Off  London Bus Tour

A great way to save your feet but still see the sights of London. Jump on an open top double decker bus on a one, day or three day pass.

This tour is brilliant if you are in London for short space of time, or if it is a rainy day. Best bit, you can hop on hop off at the London attractions which appeal to your family the most. Main bus stops include:

  • Piccadilly Circus
  • Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard
  • 10 Downing Street
  • Southwark Cathedral
  • Statue of Aeros
  • St. James’s Park
  • Horse Guards’ Parade
  • London Dungeon
  • The National Gallery
  • Westminster Abbey
  • St. Martin-in-the-Fields
  • HMS Belfast
  • Nelson’s Column
  • Big Ben and Parliament
  • Covent Garden
  • Tower Bridge
  • Trafalgar Square
  • Lambeth Palace
  • Fleet Street
  • St. James’s Palace
  • The London Eye
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Shakespeare’s Globe
  • Ritz Hotel
  • London Aquarium
  • Bank of England Museum
  • Tate Modern
  • Hyde Park
  • Westminster Pier
  • Monument
  • Speakers’ Corner
  • Wellington Museum 
  • London Bridge   
  • Suitable for: All ages
  • Nearest Tube: Varies 
  • Open: Timetable varies so check website
  • Price: Adults from £34, kids £16
  • Top Tip: Ask for the kids’ activity pack and let the kids listen to kids audio version.
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