Looking for great places to visit in London with children? Try these great ideas for half terms and summer holidays…
1 Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
This zoo is designed specifically for children. It’s not too big and there is not too much walking. You will not find any of the big five here as Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is home to smaller animals, reptiles, and birds. Feed the farm animals and spot the otters. There are lots of different interactive play areas for different ages including a real tractor and fire engine.
Opening Hours: 10 am-5.30 summer / 10 am-dusk winter
Tickets: £ 19/95 / £ 8.95 adult / child, group tickets available
Address: The closest park entry gate to the zoo is Chelsea Gate, situated on Queenstown Road just south of Chelsea Bridge. Battersea Park, SW11 4N
2 Children’s Garden at Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens has a huge Children’s Garden, measuring 10,000 square meters – that’s about the size of 40 tennis courts. Here, kids can explore all the things plants need to grow – earth, air, sun and water – via trampolines, water pumps, a living bamboo tunnel, ‘worm-hole’ slides, windflowers, hammocks and periscopes, all leading to a 4m high tree-top walk wrapped around a 200-year-old oak.
Opening Hours: weekdays 10 am-6pm; weekend 10 am-7pm
Tickets: From £ 11 / £ 5 adult / child
Address: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond TW9 3AF
3 Diana Memorial Gardens, Kensington Gardens
The Diana Memorial Gardens in Kensington Gardens next to Kensington Palace have been designed for less able and able-bodied children to enjoy playing together. At the center of the play area is a huge pirate ship with a sand beach around it inspired by Peter Pan. It’s a fitting tribute to the late Princess. There is a sensory trail, teepees and sculptures among the trees and plants. Plenty of seating around. Expect it to be busy on sunny days.
Opening Hours: Summer hours 10 am-7.45pm
Tickets: Unticketed and free
Address: Closest Tubes are High Street Kensington and Queensway
4 Emirates Air Line Cable Car, Royal Docks
The Emirate Air Line is a cable car that links across the River Thames an easy way to get across from Greenwich to the Royal Docks. Amazing views of the O2 and the whole of London and the City. It takes up to 10 minutes each way but if you board after 7pm then you can enjoy an extended night flight with music and video in the cabin.
Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday 7 am-10pm; Friday 7 am-11pm; Saturday 8 am-11pm; 9 pm-10pm
Tickets: From £ 5 / £ 2.50
Address: 27 Western Gateway E16 1FA
5 Holland Park & Kyoto Garden
Right in the center of the 22 acres of London’s Holland Park is the Kyoto Garden. Home to the famous peacocks, a tiered rock waterfall, stone lanterns, Japanese maple trees and a pond full of koi carp that the kids will love spotting. A tranquil and peaceful Japanese garden for reflection and relaxation, the Kyoto Garden is perfect for a summer picnic. Check out more of west London’s most beautiful outdoor spaces here.
Opening Hours: 7.30am – dusk
Address: Holland Park, Ilchester Place W8 6LU
6 London Transport Museum, Covent Garden
Buses, trains, trams, tube carriages. Discover the history of London’s world-famous transport network at the London Transport Museum, which transports you through from the 1800s to present day. Enjoy bus and tube simulator rides and interactive games and activities for all ages, and check out the latest interactive kids workshops and activities on offer every school holiday.
Opening Hours: 10 am-6pm
Tickets: Annual pass from £ 18.50
Address: Covent Garden Piazza WC2E 7BB
7 Mudchute Park & Farm
Mudchute Farm is a large urban park and farm set in 32 acres of countryside just south of Canary Wharf in Cubitt Town on the Isle of Dogs with over 100 animals and fowl. It is one of the largest urban farms in Europe and is a community charity with a working farm, stables, a children’s nursery and a range of educational activities. You can picnic and take in the fantastic views of City of London among many feather friends.
Opening Hours: 9 am-5pm
Tickets: Free admission
Address: Pier Street, Isle of Dogs E14 3HP
8 National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Discover amazing stories of exploration and human endeavor that made our world today. There is lots of playful, immersive fun for families and the under 7s to have – dress as a pirate, explore the museum through song and dance for the tiny tots, and create your own royal style. Find out about the most notorious ship wrecks, and what life was like on the high seas for explorers and sea captains in days gone by, and the museum regularly hosts summer programming on its grounds.
Opening Hours: 10 am-5pm
Tickets: Free, but advanced booking recommended
Address: Romney Road, Greenwich SE10 9NF
9 Royal Observatory & Planetarium
Greenwich Park, with amazing views over London, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home of Greenwich Mean Time and a great family day out. As well as the National Maritime Museum (above), it’s home to the Royal Observatory and the Planetarium. Visit the Royal Observatory gardens for free. Set your watch by the Shepherd Gate clock. Journey through space and time and explore the universe and space in the Planetarium and its 360 degree cinema (book in advance). Brilliant for any budding astronomers, with special shows for the under 7s.
Opening Hours: 10 am-5pm
Tickets: £ 16 / £ 8 adult / child
Address: Blackheath Avenue SE10 8XJ
10 Sea Life London Aquarium
Sea Life London has over 500 species of marine life in 14 themed zones and houses a magnificent 2 million liters of water. Walk among seven species of shark in the shark walk and discover thousands of sea creatures. A great place to visit on a wet day as you are immersed in Europe’s largest collection of marine life.
Closest station is Waterloo Tube; ages 3 years onwards; currently operating at reduced capacity so booking is essential; tickets from £ 27 / £ 24.50 adult / child;
Opening Hours: Friday- Wednesday 10 am-5pm; Thursday 11 am-5pm
Tickets: From £ 28, concession and group tickets available
Address: County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB
11 Sky Garden, City
The Sky Garden, at the top of the Walkie Talkie building at 20 Fenchurch Street, is London’s highest public garden with an incredible viewing platform offering 360 degree views of London. On arrival, you go through airport security scanners before being whisked in the lift up to Level 35 where you can wander around observation decks of landscaped gardens and terraces. There are restaurants and bars here, as well as an open-air terrace.
Closest station is Monument Tube; suitable for any age; free entry;
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 10 am-6pm; Saturday & Sunday 11sam-9pm
Tickets: Ticketed, but free entry
Address: The Fenchurch Building, 20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 8AF
12 ZSL London Zoo, Regent’s Park
One of London’s oldest and best loved zoos, ZSL London Zoo has over 650 species of animals with trails and quizzes. Have a spider selfie in Europe’s only walk-through spider experience. Visit Penguin Beach, Gorilla Kingdom, Rainforest Life, Tiger Territory and Land of the Lions, where you can find yourself face to face with an Asian Lion, or say hello to relative newcomers to the zoo, three teenage giant Galapagos tortoises.
Opening Hours: 10 am-4pm/5pm/6pm depending on season
Tickets: From £ 26.50 / £ 17/25 adult / child
Address: Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY
13 The Kensington Museum Triple, South Kensington
It’s an obvious one but a goodie. The Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the V&A provide a triple whammy of fun for curious kids. The Natural History Museum (ages 5+) has dinosaurs and Hope, the huge blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling. The Science Museum (ages 5+) has lots of multi-sensory activities to help younger and older children explore the universe (there’s also an IMAX cinema that can be booked in advance). The V&A (ages 3+) runs lots of hands-on workshops, games and activities in art, design and performance, as well as trails around the museum.
Opening Hours: NHM Mon-Sun 10 am-5.50pm; Science Museum Wed-Sun 10 am-6pm; V&A Sat-Thurs 10 am-5.45pm Fri 10 am-10pm
Tickets: Free entry (booking recommended), exhibitions individually ticketed
Address: NHM & V&A Cromwell Road, South Kensington SW7 5BD; Science Museum Exhibition Road, South KensingtonSW7 2DD
Website: nhm.ac.uk; sciencemuseum.org.uk; vam.ac.uk
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