Monday 11 March 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting London with Kids!

 **Collaborative Post**

London, with its rich history, diverse culture, and iconic landmarks, is a fantastic destination for families. However, just like most trips, planning a trip to London with kids requires some extra considerations, having travelled there several times with my own children in tow (primary school and secondary school age) I am hoping that with this post I can help out others who are planning to visit London but may have some questions or worries.

So fear not – this ultimate guide will help you make the most of your family vacation in the bustling capital of the United Kingdom.

Family-Friendly Accommodation:

One of the first things to consider is where you are going to stay and whilst there is a plethora of options in London there are a few things to consider when choosing. One is that the accommodation is family is friendly and the second is the location of the accommodation. If you are planning on visiting a specific part of London then of course you will want to search for accommodation in that location. But if you plan on travelling around it can be useful to find accommodation that is within walking distance of transport such as an underground station as this will make travelling around so much easier (especially for little legs!).

Personally, we have always found Premier Inn to be a great option when visiting London. The prices are reasonable, beds comfortable and you can often pay a small extra charge to have an all-you-can-eat breakfast each morning (the perfect way to set you up for a day of exploring London!). We have stayed in both the London Westminster and London Paddington Premier Inn hotels and both have been fantastic, within easy walking distance of a main underground station and super comfy beds too.

Navigating Public Transportation:

London's public transportation system can seem confusing and daunting but honestly after using it a few times, I have to say it's probably one of the best transport systems I have used (as a tourist anyway, I can't vouch for those who use it to commute). Tapping in and out on both the busses and trains using either a bank card or a preloaded oyster means getting on and off is easy and there are rarely queues. Plus feel free to ask for help, the underground can seem confusing but there are lots of staff dotted around who in my experience have been more than happy to help us, point us in the right direction, or tell us what line/train we needed. Try to plan your trips in advance to avoid making any mistakes this also means you can plan the most time-efficient route too.

If you are looking for a different way to travel I can 100% recommend hopping onto the Uber Boat by Thames Clipper. You can purchase a "river roamer" family ticket for just over £40 which gives you hop on hop off unlimited access to the boat on your chosen day. Uber Boat by Thames Clippers stops at 24 piers along the Thames between Barking Riverside Pier in the East and Putney Pier in the West. Services run from early in the morning until late at night 7 days a week and is the perfect way to see London from the water away from all the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Must-Visit Family Attractions:

- Natural History Museum: Dinosaurs, animals, interactive displays, and more are inside the walls of this museum. There are some absolutely fascinating displays and you can get up close and personal with dinosaur fossils, extinct animals, and all manner of things interesting. This is one the whole family will enjoy. Whilst it is free to get in, it is worth booking your free tickets online to avoid queuing on the day, and also be mindful that it could easily take an entire day to look round properly!

Science Museum: Hands-on exhibits for curious young and old minds alike. My kids found lots of the displays fascinating whilst being educational at the same time but it is worth noting that quite a few areas you now need to pay to access. I would therefore advise looking online beforehand, deciding which bits you want to do, and pre-booking before so you don't end up with extra costs on the day.

Hyde Park: Definitely more one for those visiting during the summer months but if you are looking for somewhere to sit back and take London in whilst enjoying the sunshine then Hyde Park is perfect. Boating, playgrounds and the Princess Diana Memorial Playground can all be found here.

Camden Market: Whilst not strictly an "attraction" I would highly recommend a trip to Camden Market the food there is amazing and they have lots of other stalls too from sweets to clothing and souvenirs! We opted to visit at tea time (around 6pm) and enjoyed trying lots of new dishes for tea, they have little bubble pods you can sit in if you don't want to walk and eat and the kids found the whole process lots of fun.

Open Top Bus Tour: Again perhaps not an attraction but a fantastic way to sit back and see London from the top of a classic red double-decker bus! If you can find one with a tour guide on too these are fantastic for finding out lots of information and facts about the city making it both fun and educational too.

Don't forget the
Iconic Landmarks too. Perfect for All Ages:

- The Tower of London: Discover the history of this iconic fortress.
- Buckingham Palace: Witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
- London Eye: Enjoy breath-taking views of the city.
- Tower Bridge: Walk across the glass-floored walkways for a unique experience.

If you are planning on visiting lots of attractions during your visit you could use the London Pass to access over 80 London attractions digitally making it easier and faster to plan your trip and visit more attractions at a lower cost.

Kid-Friendly Dining Options:

London boasts a diverse culinary scene and many restaurants cater specifically to families. However, it is worth noting that for many places you will need to book ahead, especially on a weekend, many places in central London have rules whereby children under a certain age must leave by a set time (around 8/9pm) so worth keeping in mind to check for too. Look for places with children's menus, high chairs, and a welcoming atmosphere, and be sure to book in advance to ensure you are not turned away.

It is also worth noting that London has a vast offering of "street food" and markets that offer a delicious array of food and these are worth a visit too. Don't be put off by thinking they won't be suitable for kids, my super fussy 9-year-old daughter found loads to eat and the stalls were more than happy to cater to her wants such as no veg in her noodles!

We also found it helpful to carry a few "emergency snacks" around with us to avoid having to spend unnecessarily in the shops and to have something on hand all the time for when little legs got tired of their energy dipped a little.

Safety and Health Considerations:

There is no escaping that London is busy, especially on weekends and near holidays such as Christmas. Navigating this with children is daunting but is perfectly safe as long as you are prepared. Have a plan in case of emergency, each adult took charge of one child on the underground, that way if any of us got separated or didn't make it on the underground (there can be a lot of pushing and shoving at busy times), every child would always be with an adult. Ensure you all have mobile phones and that everyone has everybody else number saved. I took a power bank with me because you will likely be using your phone to navigate, check times, and of course take pictures, etc all of which can drain the battery. The power bank meant I knew my phone could be live at all times.

Carry a small first aid kit with you for bumps and scraps and don't forget water bottles, even in the cold weather all that walking can leave you feeling thirsty (especially using the underground!).

The Essentials:

Like any trip with kids there are always some essentials to bring to make life easier for everyone and a trip to London is no different. Here are our list of essentials to bring - 

- Backpack: don't bother with handbags or holdalls these are just annoying to carry around and you risk leaving them when you put them down on transport etc whereas a backpack can stay on your back and you are still hands-free. 

- Water Bottles: There are quite a few refil stations dotted around London including in many of the attractions and with lots of walking around you will find you do get thirsty and buying drinks can soon add up! 

- Blister Plasters/ First Aid kit: London is busy, its lots of walking and blisters happen so have these on hand to void sore feet after the first day. I would also suggest carrying a small first aid kit with things like plasters, Calpol, paracetamol and ibuprofen, etc in just to have on hand in case you need it. 

- Waterproof jacket: Unless you are visiting in the height of summer the weather can get chilly pretty quickly so having a small waterproof jacket that you can throw into your backpack so you are always covered in case the weather changes. The last thing you want to be doing is walking around London wet. 

- Mobile Phone & Power Bank: With most things being digital now everything we needed we could find with our phones. Google Maps helped us find the nearest underground or bus stop. Any tickets we had booked were digitally sent via the phone and of course, if anyone gets lost it is the best way to contact each other. You can pick up power banks for under £10 now and it was a real lifesaver to ensure I didn't have to choose between taking all the photos of the kids and having it for practical reasons too. 


London is a treasure trove of experiences for families, combining history, entertainment, and cultural enrichment. It really is a magical place to visit (especially at Christmas time) and you will be sure to come back full of memories you will treasure. With careful planning and this ultimate guide, your trip to London with kids is sure to be a memorable and enjoyable adventure. Safe travels!


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