Planning a family trip to the United Kingdom and needing an itinerary for the best things to do with kids in London? There are so many great activities for kids in London.
I am often asked, “How do I plan a trip to London with kids?” Well, London is a big city, though it is actually quote manageable. With a robust transportation system, and so many child-friendly activities, it is a great place to take kids.
If you are wondering how to plan a trip to London with kids, I have a great list of things to do in London. After living there twice, once when I had three kids under four years old, my five days in London itinerary is full of family-friendly activities your kids will love!
Why Visit London With Kids
London is one of my absolute favorite cities in the world, and it is very kid-friendly. You can also find some of the best family hotels in London to make your stay that much easier.
It is also fairly easy to navigate with its robust transportation system. So, when visiting London with kids, it is easy to get around using an Oyster card on the London tube or bus system.
One of the things that makes it great is that it is the type of city vacation you can do on school holidays. In fact, in addition to living in London with kids for a bit, we now visit it over long weekends or long school vacation weekends. It's that easy!
And, there are many FREE things to do in London with kids!
If you are visiting London with kids, you could certainly visit marquis attractions like Buckingham Palace or the London Eye, or spend days visiting one of the city's incredible free museums (like the British Museum, Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum ) if that is your cup of (British) tea.
Because of its history, you want to make sure your visit to London with children is educational as well as fun.
But, I actually have a few different ideas of London kids activities they will truly enjoy.
These are my suggestions for the best things to do with kids in London (as someone who lived there with kids and visted London many times after!) Your young globetrotters will LOVE this EPIC five days in London itinerary with some of our family's favorite kids activities.
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The Ultimate Five Days In London Itinerary With Kids
London with children is definitely one of the best cities in Europe for your travel bucket list. It is a big city, but it is easy to navigate and feels more mid-sized. It is also the perfect introduction if it is a first trip to a new country.
There are so many things to do with kids in London, it is hard to narrow it down to five days. But five days in London is long enough to see a lot in the city and get a very full family experience.
And, London with children is easy because lots of Londoners HAVE children and live in the city. It is full of awesome neighborhoods. Rest assured if you are looking for the best area to stay in London with kids, you will find many choices close to kid-friendly activities.
Now, I am a huge fan of experiential family travel, and so my itinerary has a bit more than the standard recommendations of the London Eye or the Science Museum. Sure, you can do those things and they are on my “additional ideas” list. But, I want you to have a bit more of an experience, and that's where this raved-about itinerary is one your will kids love!
Planning to spend three days in London or looking for an itinerary for four days in London? Or perhaps you plan to spend longer than five days in the majestic city?
You can use my five days in London itinerary to plan more or less depending on how much time you have.
Things To Do In London With Toddlers
Almost all of the items on my itinerary are definitely things to do in London with toddlers, though the Harry Potter Studio Tour might be a bit much.
If you want to swap something out in London for kids or if you have extra days in London with a tot under age five, there are plenty of great day trips from the city ideal for kids, especially if you are traveling to London with toddlers.
When we lived in London with children (our twin two-year-old toddlers and four-year-old son) our favorite day trips included Thomas Land at Drayton Manor, Legoland in Windsor, and the beloved Peppa Pig World in Paulton's Park. These are a great alternative to do if you are in London with toddlers because they can stretch their legs, have some toddler fun and meet some of their favorite cartoon friends. And the UK has some of the best theme parks in Europe.
But if you are planning to stay in central London, here is my tried and true favorite five days in London itinerary your kids will love!
Day 1 In London With Kids
- Arrival Into London
- Check Into Accommodations/Store Luggage
- Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
- Princess Diana Memorial Playground/ Kensington Gardens (if you are traveling with kids under five)
- London Transport Museum/Convent Garden
As many families fly into London on the first day, and you may have jetlag, the first day is usually light. If you are unable to check into your accommodations right away, you can ask the hotel to store your luggage until the room is ready, which is what we usually do.
I recommend that for the jetlagged and travel-weary travelers enjoy an open top Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour for the first thing on their first day in London. It is a great way to kick-off your five days in London itinerary, and it is one of my favorite things to do in London with kids.
It is also a great thing to do in London with children if it is your first time or the one time to visit the city. It is a good way to get acclimated to the city if it is the first thing you do.
On the tour, you can get great views of the city and see many of the major landmarks, such as the Tower of London, Picadilly Circus, Westminster Abby, Tower Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, the London Eye and more. Hop and hop off wherever you like or just enjoy the full ride.
You can book either a 24, 48, or 72-hour pass, so if you would like to spend more days than one touring around the city, you certainly can do so.
Did you know there are many completely FREE museums in London? While you are using your open top Hop On Hop Off Bus experience, you can get off at these museums rather than using the underground or public bus (especially if you already have a ticket!) which will help you save money. It's also a great way to get an overview of the city and see iconic London landmarks like Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and the London Eye.
If you are traveling with kids under the age of five, I highly recommend a visit to Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens, South Kensington. This is absolutely, hands down, one of the best things to do in London with toddlers and kids love it.
It is a GREAT kids' playground not to be missed.
Not only is it a great place for little ones to stretch their legs, but this wonderland themed after Peter Pan has plenty of climbing structures and interactive activities to keep the little ones busy.
From the large pirate ship in the center, mini log houses, teepees, a sensory trail, sand, slides, and musical instruments, it is a special place that honors the late Princess Diana while catering to younger children. It is one of the best FREE things to do in London with kids!
I also recommend on the first day a visit to the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. The best thing is that this wonderful gem is FREE for children under age 17, where kids can discover London's iconic transportation and its history. And, it is full of free activities kids love.
An interactive museum that includes a family play zone for kids aged seven and under, perfect if you are visiting London with toddlers. It also makes for great rainy day activities in London with kids.
Older kids will love the “stamper trail” which allows them to discover the history of London's transportation evolution and get a stamp in an activity book. They can even climb in the interactive exhibits and see what it is like to ride in or drive one of London's famous transports and pretend to stop at tube stations.
You will be centrally located in Convent Garden, so afterward you can grab a meal at one of the kid-friendly restaurants recommended below. And, don't forget to enjoy many of the street performers and shops in Covent Garden, one of the most iconic areas to visit in the city.
Day 2 In London With Kids
- Tower of London Family Tour
- Boat Ride on the River Thames
- Visit Picadilly Circus/Leicester Square
- Stop At Hamley's
Another one of my absolute favorite things to do with kids in London is to visit the Tower of London. There is so much to explore in this incredible UNESCO World Heritage site, kids will be mesmerized. And, it is one of the most famous attractions in London, so it is a must do!
While you can tour the Tower of London on your own, I highly recommend a Tower of London Family Tour experience. If you splurge on one thing on your trip to London with kids, THIS is it.
Not only do these guides have expertise in working with kids, but they will also tell them stories that will captivate them, educate them, and have them talking about the Tower of London long after your visit.
Why The Tower Of London Is The A Great Time For Kids
On our last trip to London during our school holidays, we did one of these family tours, and my kids STILL talk about the stories they heard from the guide. It was the best time for the entire family.
Our children learned how the Tower of London has served as both a castle and a prison. They heard about its fascinating history and the many stories (some gory) of its inhabitants and visitors.
And, with most tours, kids will see where in the Tower of London the Crown Jewels are kept, incredible weaponry and armor, and all of this in a way they will be captivated. They saw many attractions that really captured their attention and they were fully engaged.
Truth be told, I prefer visiting the Tower of London over the British Museum, Science Museum or even Buckingham Palace for kids. It is THAT interesting and one of the most fun things to do in London with kids!
The Tower of London is a must-see on your five-day trip to London and one of the best things to do in London with kids. Even just the colorful Yeoman Warders or “Beefeaters” guarding the castle in their iconic uniforms is a favorite of my kids. And of course, they love seeing the ravens who guard the tower!
There is a lovely cafe on site that is a nice place to have lunch. Check for opening times, and do plan to spend several hours at this attraction.
Afterward, you are perfectly positioned for a photo opp in front of Tower Bridge (many people mistakenly call it London Bridge,) a great location for a family photo. It is also one of the most instagrammable places in London!
After your Tower of London Family Tour, you are perfectly situated for a boat ride on the River Thames, and I highly recommend it as another way to experience the city. This is one of my favorite London attractions with kids.
It's is a unique way to view iconic London's South Bank attractions including Big Ben, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Houses of Parliament, and more. It's one of my favorite things to do when we visit London.
If you booked the open air Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour from the day before, you may have a River Thames boat ticket included in the ticket prices, or you can buy tickets right at the riverfront. Or, you can enjoy a River Thames Cruise With Afternoon Tea!
It's worth checking when you book these excursions if you can get a combo ticket as that is a great way to save money.
On the River Thames cruise, you will see some of London's top iconic attractions on the South Bank. Making sure you see the South Bank, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, is a must-do on your trip to London with kids.
Picadilly Circus and Visit Hamley's Toy Shop
From here, head on over to Picadilly Circus and enjoy the activities, lights, and shops this area has to offer. The huge M and M store is usually a kid favorite, but walk up Regent's Street to get the real prize – a stop at Hamley's Toy Shop. This is one of the best London attractions for kids.
This multilevel, child friendly toy extravaganza will mesmerize your kids, and you will see toy demonstrations you have never seen before. Hamley's is a great place to get a London souvenir. My kids always walk out with stuffed animals like Paddington Bear, a toy taxi or double-decker bus, or a toy version of the London tube.
It is well worth visiting, and is a short walk from the Oxford Circus tube station.
Dinner can be at one of the kid-friendly restaurants listed below.
Day 3 In London With Kids
- Harry Potter Studio Tour at Warner Bros. Studio (full day experience)
If you are an aspiring Hogwarts student and are headed to England, a London Harry Potter experience is an absolute must! Fans of Harry Potter films and books will love this incredible look into the studio that brought the magical Harry Potter to life in films.
You will get a behind the scenes look at the sets, props, and movie magic used to make the iconic films. It is full of interesting exhibits and interactive experiences. And, you can even be a part of the magic!
How many of us muggles wouldn't want to see Harry's world up close? Walk through the great hall, stand on Privet Drive, take a photo in Ron's blue car, window-shop down Diagon Alley, and taste delicious Butter Beer, among many other magical experiences.
The London Harry Potter Studio Tour is well worth the visit, and one of the best family activities to do near London. It is great fun for Harry Potter fans of all ages.
Afterward, your bus will bring you back to Victoria Station. You can enjoy a dinner at one of the kid-friendly restaurants listed below.
If you feel up to an evening activity, you can take a trip around Harrods (or save that for the next evening).
Check out my Travel From Home: The Best Harry Potter Virtual Tours And Experiences For Muggles Of All Ages to get an advanced view of what you might see!
Day 4 In London With Kids
One of my kids' favorite places to visit right outside of central London – and a must-do on your five days in London itinerary – is Hampton Court Palace.
Home to Henry VIII and other royalty, this interactive, fascinating location is not just any old castle. With period furniture and tapestries, well-stocked, interactive exhibits like the Tudor kitchen, and a thematic play area, there is so much for kids – and parents – to discover. There are many other attractions on this site that can make it a full day activty.
Kids will also find this site interesting and educational as they offer kid-version audio guides. It is a great way to follow along as you tour the castle and a great thing to when visiting London with kids!
Period characters come out in costume to interact with the crowd, and my kids always loved the challenge of the hedge maze.
For the youngest globe trotters, there are Tudor dress-up costumes, which can be found in the audio-guide rental room. Kids are even allowed to borrow them to wear while they tour the castle!
Hampton Court Palace is also a great thing to do if you are traveling to London with toddlers. The only thing to note, though, is that strollers (prams) are a bit hard to get into upstairs areas. But you can certainly bring them on the property.
An onsite cafe offers plenty of adult and kid-friendly bites, so you can enjoy lunch during this all-day adventure.
Hampton Court Palace also has 60 acres of world-famous gardens, and 750 acres of parklands to explore. It is definitely one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in the UK.
Alternate Royal Day Trip
An alternate day trip you could consider is an outing to Windsor, home to one of the Queen's palaces (and the locale of Harry and Meghan's nuptials!) Just a simple bus or tube ride from Central London, Windsor offers fantastic FREE things to do your kids will love!
Upon return to London, you could take an evening trip over to Harrods department store to see the iconic location and favorite shop of the late Princess Diana. The food hall alone is well worth the visit, and your kids will undoubtedly want to taste one of the special treats in the sweets shop.
Head up to the toy area for another exciting kid-friendly spot, and then on to the London souvenir shop if you care to take home a souvenir (a teapot is one of my favorite things to take home from London.)
Day 5 In London With Kids
- Magical Harry Potter Walking Tour
- West End Show Late Afternoon Matinee or Evening Show
- Dinner at or Heddon Street Kitchen or *Prezzo before or after show
I recommend starting your morning with a Magical Harry Potter Walking Tour that kids will love. Walking tours are a favorite of my kids because it is a wonderful way to see the city through storytelling. It is a perfect start to a fun filled day.
This two and half hour walking tour led by expert guides will show you spots in London that inspired the Harry Potter stories, and show you iconic sites in the city. It's something the whole family can enjoy.
I then recommend, after a quick lunch at one of the quick-service restaurants below, a West End late afternoon matinee show or evening theater show for one of the many kid-friendly shows, like The Lion King. The West End is London's Broadway, but as London is known for its incredible theater, you can't leave the city without seeing a performance. There are many kid-friendly shows your kids will love.
You CAN see a West End show if you are visiting London with toddlers (assuming they are a family-friendly theme), and we have done so with our three-year-old. The best part is they serve Cadbury candy and icecream during intermission!
More Things To Do In London With Kids
- Visit the many green parks and playgrounds London kids adore. They are wide open spaces, perfect for running and stretching legs. Our favorites:
- You can also try London street food at these playgrounds as many of them have well stocked concession stands with meals, coffee, ice creams and tasty treats!
- London Harry Potter Filming Locations Tour
- Visit the London Zoo
- Stadium Tour Of One of The Football (Soccer) Club Stadiums (our favorite is Chelsea Stadium) to see where some of the biggest sports personalities play
- Madame Tussauds Wax Museum (this museum is full of quirky things but check out the Star Wars Experience Exhibition which was a big hit for my kids)
- Buckingham Palace
- Changing Of The Guard (also called The Queen's Guard) at Buckingham Palace
- Become a detective at the Sherlock Holmes Museum
- Visit Notting Hill and the shops on Portobello Road
- London Eye (the London Eye is very popular with tourists to get a birds-eye view of the city)
- The Globe Theater (or a play by the Royal Shakespeare Company)
- Windsor Castle (outside the city, so it requires a bus ride)
- The Royal Mews
- Great Fire of London Monument
- One of the many child-friendly museums or science museums to discover the history and sea life (i.e. British Museum, Tate Modern, Natural History Museum, Science Museum [budding scientists will love to see the Blue Whale skeleton named “Hope,”] National Maritime Museum, and the Sea Life Aquarium)
- Shrek's Adventure
- Stop in Westminster Abbey (fun fact, my choir sang in here when I was in college! It is also where William and Kate held their nuptials.)
- Afternoon Tea (I love the Orangery at Kensington Palace in South Kensington or at one of the hotels like the Savoy as something the whole family can do to enjoy this British tradition)
- Walking Tour (if you are traveling older/no kids, the Jack The Ripper walking tour is fascinating for kids ages 14 years and up, but not a good topic for younger kids!)
- Paddington Bear Walking Tour
- Day trip to Hever Castle
- Legoland in Windsor
- Visit London Dungeon with older kids
Getting Around London With Kids
London is a great city for getting around London with kids because of its comprehensive public transport system of the Underground (the “tube,”) busses, and of course the iconic taxis.
If you are traveling with kids in strollers, I recommend exclusively using the bus. This is on of my favorite tips on traveling to London with kids.
Many of London's Underground stations do not have elevators, so you are looking at long escalators and stairs.
When we lived there with three kids under age four, we exclusively traveled by bus, which is easy to use and there are spots on busses for strollers (prams).
London's taxis are also easy to use and can fit strollers (you often don't have to even fold them). But they can be expensive.
Get an Oyster card when you arrive to the city and you can keep using it throughout the trip. (You can reload this travel card with more funds if it runs out.)
If you are visiting London with toddlers or kids who might have trouble walking throughout the city, you can rent foot scooters (like the local children) for the duration of your trip.
Five Days In London Itinerary: Where To Stay In London
If you are wondering on the best areas in London for where to stay, there are many great neighborhoods to check out. Much of it depends on where you want to be located.
Most importantly, there are some of the best hotels in London for families available right in some of the best neighborhoods (near parks and activities.
There are so many places to stay in London with kids that you won't be limited on choices. One of our favorite spots is the Marriott Marble Arch. The Marriott Marble Arch can accommodate families of four and it is very centrally located to access transportation. It is right next door from Hyde Park.
Another hotel we like is the DoubleTree by Hilton across from Kensington Garden. This is the neighborhood where we lived in London, so it is very comfortable for us. It is walking distance to Notting Hill, tube stops, and has bus access. It is also not far from Regent Street and Oxford Street.
Kensington High Street is also another neighborhood I love that has many hotels including a Marriott Residence Inn, and there are hotels near the Marylebone area. This neighborhood is also close to Regent's Park.
If you are looking for a luxury experience, The Connaught Hotel in Mayfair is an exquisite hotel where you will have a top of the line experience (butlers, chauffers, Michelein 3 star restaurants, etc.). It is one of the finest 6 star hotels in the world. And, it's KID-FRIENDLY. Kid's receive a welcome treat, activity packs, little robes and slippers, family time at the pool, children's menus, and baby/toddler ammenities, and more.
If you don't stay at The Connaught Hotel, you can visit it for afternoon tea, a great thing to do when visting London with kids!
Where To Eat With Kids In London
There are many kid-friendly restaurants in London. These are our favorite family friendly restaurants we regularly visited in London when we lived there.
Most places ARE chains but don't let that scare you. They are great. They just have several of these spots around the city :
- Gordon Ramsay's Heddon Street Kitchen (kids eat free!) or one of his other restaurants around the city
- Giraffe (flavors from around the world)
- Nando's (quick-service chicken dishes)
- Gourmet Burger Kitchen (quick service gourmet burgers)
- Zizzi (Italian)
- Wagamama (Japanese-inspired Asian)
- Sticky Fingers (American diner-style)
- Byron (gourmet burgers)
- Local pubs (many pubs offer sandwiches and options the kids will enjoy)
For something different, there are actually a couple of roof-top bars that are kid-friendly! One is even at another famed London department store, Selfridges. A great way to enjoy a kid-friendly meal with the backdrop of the London skyline!
Got More Days To Fill? How About A Day Trip To Paris!
Did you know you can take a day trip to Paris during your London vacation? Just an easy plane or train trip can get you there and back in one day. It's a great add-on to your family adventure if you need more ideas of what to do when visiting London with kids.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can 8 year olds do in London?
What CAN'T 8 year olds do in London is more like it. There are so many things for 8 year olds and kids of all ages can do in London. For kids under age 5, there are plenty of green spaces with epic playgrounds and wide open spaces perfect for younger kids. I especially recommend the Princess Diana Memorial Playground.
Kids of all ages will love Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, the London Eye, some of the fun and free musuems like the Natural History Museum and the London Transportation Musuem. There are also great walking tours, West End Shows, science museums, the London Zoo, and so much more.
If your 8 year old is a fan of Harry Potter movies or books, check out the Harry Potter Studios Tour and the Harry Potter Film Locations walking tour. Finally, be sure to visit Hamleys Toy Shop and Harrod's for fantastic London souvenir.
Is London Child Friendly?
Yes, London is VERY child friendly. Remember, London is a city full of families who live all over the city. There are plenty of family friendly restaurants, parks, special events and special exhibits, and attractions all over the city my kids loved. Even the busses have spaces for the prams (strollers) and kids on scooters are everywhere. London is a very child friendly city.
What can I do with my toddler in London? What Can A 3 Year Old Do In London?
Having lived in London with twin toddlers and a four year old, I can say there are PLENTY of things to do with a toddler in London. My favorites include:
- Princess Diana Memorial Playground
- London Transportation Museum
- Hampton Court Palace
- The London Zoo
- A day trip to Thomas Land, Legoland, or Peppa Pig World
- Regent's Park
- Kew Gardens
- Battersea Park Children's Zoo
- Crystal Palace Park Farm
- Vauxhall City Farm
What Age Is The London Dungeon Suitable For?
I think this attraction is most suitable for kids ages 12 and up. It may be a bit too dark and scary for little ones.
What Can Families Do At Night In London?
If you have some night owls, there are plenty of things families can do at night in London. Some ideas include:
- London Eye at night while it is lit up!
- Visit Harrod's at night for some evening shopping.
- An evening performance of a West End Show.
- Museum “Lates” such as the Science Musuem, Victoria & Albert's Museum, and Sir John Soane's Museum which hosts dramatic lighting events. Some of these are adult only so check in advance if they are suitable for families.
- Evening walking tours (the Jack The Ripper walking tour is the best one but only suitable for teens and up due to the content.)
- The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London (it is a free event but you have to book online advanced tickets.)
- An evening riverboat cruise on the Thames River. There are also dinner cruises.
- Visit the Hampstead Observatory for stargazing.
- If you are visiting at Christmas, be sure to visit Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and the Christmas Grottos to see Father Christmas
Final Thought On Five Days In London Itinerary With Kids
London is a majestic city that offers a variety of things to do in London with kids. Whether you do five days in London with kids or more, or even if you are looking for what to do in London with kids for one to four days, my five days in London itinerary offers you a variety of ideas from someone who has lived there. This is the ultimate London itinerary with kids they will love and a perfect destination for family travel!