London Drum

Top 10 Best Places To Visit With Kids In London

Here are the ten best London attractions we recommend for families and kids. You can also look for kid’s events today, kid’s events tomorrow, kid’s events this weekend, kid’s events this week, kid’s events in June and kid’s events in July

1 Chessington World of Adventures

Chessington World of AdventuresPhoto: Craig Cross
Opening times?
Peak period: 10 AM to 6 PM (Mon-Sun, mid Mar-Oct plus school holidays); Off-peak period: 10 AM to 5 PM (Mon-Sun, Nov-mid Mar except school holidays); Note: During the peak period everything is open, but during the off-peak period the zoo exhibits remain open but the rides are closed
Adults £57.00; Children £53.00 (3-11); Infants free (under-3)
Time required?
A typical visit takes 6-8 hours (including travel time to/from London)

Chessington World of Adventures is a theme park with rollercoaster rides and a zoo. It’s a bit like Alton Towers, but close enough to London to do the entire day in around 6-8 hours.

The theme park has ten themed areas including the Mystic East, Forbidden Kingdom, Pirates’ Cove and Land of the Dragons, and popular rides include the Scorpion Express (runaway mine train), Dragon’s Fury (log flume that will get you soaked) and The Vampire (hanging rollercoaster that whips around the trees).

They’ve also got a zoo with over 1,000 animals including monkeys, gorillas, tigers and lions. A gentle monorial will take you over most of them, but the best rides is called the Zufari where you ride around in a safari-style jeep close to the rhinos and giraffes.

2 London Eye

London EyePhoto: Craig Cross
Opening times?
11 AM to 6 PM (Mon-Sun)
Adults £36.00; Children £32.50 (3-15); Infants free (under-3)
Time required?
A typical visit takes 30-50 mins for the queue, plus 30 mins for the ride

When parents take their kids to London the first thing they want to do is show them all the sights. They want to show them where the Queen lives and where the Prime Minister works, so they end up sitting on a sightseeing bus for two hours or rushing from place to place in a mad dash, and having no fun whatsoever. But we think there’s a much better way to show them the sights… a ride on the London Eye.

One of the best things about the London Eye is that it only takes 30 mins (plus 30 mins in the queue), so you’ll still have time to do other things afterwards.

If you take our advice then you’ll book your tickets online in advance so you can skip the worst of the queue, and you’ll book it for your very first morning in London. The reason we say that is because a) it’s quite an exciting thing to do, and you want your children’s first day to be memorable, and b) you can see some interesting landmarks and get yourself excited for what’s to come later.

3 Cable car across the Thames

Cable carPhoto: Craig Cross

This won’t be everybody’s idea of a fun day out, but if your child can handle the height then a ride on the cable car is a great way to keep them entertained. And the really great thing about the cable car is that it’s extremely cheap. Let’s be honest: family attractions in London can be incredibly expensive, but for the price of a single train ticket you can take your kids up here.

Now… we have to be honest and say that for a lot of people it will be genuinely nerve-wracking. If you have a fear of heights then you’re basically dangling from a wire, which means it tends to shake about a bit. You don’t want to take your kid up there and have them freak out, so check out our photographs first.

If you’re going to try it then we recommend catching the Docklands Light Railway from Bank to Royal Victoria first. These driverless trains have no cabin at the front, which means you can sit your kid directly behind the front window as it hurtles along the track. The cable car will then take you across the river to the O2 Arena, and you can catch a Thames Clipper boat back to Westminster pier.

4 London Zoo

London ZooPhoto: Craig Cross
Opening times?
10 AM to 5 PM (Mon-Sun, mid Feb-Mar); 10 AM to 6 PM (Mon-Sun, Apr-1st week of Sep); 10 AM to 4 PM (Mon-Sun, Nov-mid Feb); Last entry 1 hour before closing
Adults £35.50; Children £23.10 (3-15); Infants free (under-3)
Time required?
A typical visit takes 4-5 hours

Taking your kids to London Zoo is another popular day out. And whilst it’s not the cheapest attraction in town, you can easily fill up three or four hours in here.

London Zoo is a proper zoo – there are no rides or rollercoasters. You’re literally here to see the animals and that’s it. But they’ve got a great collection including lions, tigers, monkeys, gorillas, hippos and giraffes. The only animal that’s missing is an elephant.

They also have a couple of walk-in exhibits where you can get closer to the creatures. Rainforest Life is our favourite because you walk into a steamy room full of tropical plants and vines and all the monkeys are leaping around on the branches above your head.

They’ve also got an aquarium and a reptile house, and put on a few animal shows. If you visit the Snowdon Aviary and Blackburn Pavilion then you’ll be surrounded by thousands of birds.

5 London Dungeon

London DungeonPhoto: Craig Cross
Opening times?
10 AM to 4 PM (Mon-Wed, Fri, Sun); 11 AM to 4 PM (Thu); 10 AM to 5 PM (Sat); Last entry 1½ hours before closing
Adults £31.00; Children £25.00 (3-15)
Time required?
A typical visit takes 15-45 mins for the queue, and 1½ hours once inside

The London Dungeon is definitely one for the kids (I have yet to meet a single adult who enjoyed it!). The problem for adults is that the cast members are always grabbing people out of the audience to take part in the scripted scenes, which means you might end up having to do a bit of acting yourself.

Your kids will probably love seeing you up there pretending to scream whilst fake flames curl around your feet, but you’ll no doubt be very glad when it’s all over.

They lead your group from scene to scene and tell you the gory story of London’s grisly history. They’ve also got a couple of very short rides inside – one of them is a time-travelling taxi cab that’s a lot of fun.

6 Warner Bros. Studios (Harry Potter Tour)

Warner Bros. StudiosPhoto: Craig Cross
Opening times?
During school term (Mon-Fri): 9.30 AM to 8 PM; During school holidays and weekends: 8.30 AM to 10 PM; Closed (2nd week of Nov); Last entry 3-3½ hours before closing; Note: These times are a rough guide as they vary from week to week - check their website first
Adults £49.95; Children £39.95 (5-15); Infants free (under-5); Family ticket £159.00
Time required?
A typical visit takes 5-6 hours (including travel time to/from London)

If your child loves the Harry Potter movies then how about a day-trip to the Warner Bros. Studios to see all the costumes and film sets? Don’t bother if they didn’t enjoy the films, though, because that’s literally all there is. It’s just film sets, props and costumes. There are no rides or anything like that.

These are the genuine sets that they used in the movies. You can see Platform 9¾, walk through the Great Hall at Hogwart’s, the Gryffindor common room, and into Hagrid’s forest hut. You can even walk up Diagon Alley and see Gringott’s Bank, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and Ollivander’s Wand Shop.

Note: The gift shop is great if you want to buy some Harry Potter presents. If you don’t fancy the day-trip then there’s a little Harry Potter shop next to next to Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross station – seriously!

7 Shrek’s Adventure

Shrek’s Adventure
Opening times?
10 AM to 4 PM (Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun, Aug); 11 AM to 4 PM (Thu, Aug); 10 AM to 3 PM (Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun, Sep-Oct); 11 AM to 3 PM (Thu, Sep-Oct)
Adults £30.00; Children £24.00 (3-15); Infants free (under-3)

If your kid doesn’t like Harry Potter then how about Shrek? Shrek’s Adventure will take them into the magical kingdom of Far Far Away aboard a DreamWorks tour bus. Unfortunately the guide is the cheeky donkey – bad news if you’ve seen the movie!

You’ve probably got to love the movie to come here because your kid needs to know the characters to get the most out of it.

If you want to give it a go then we recommend buying a joint ticket with some of the other attractions by County Hall. There are four attractions next-door to each other so it makes sense to do them all on the same day because you’ll get cheaper tickets. The ones you can combine are: Shrek’s Adventure, London Eye, London Aquarium and London Dungeon (you can also combine Madame Tussauds, but that’s a tube ride away).

8 SEA LIFE London Aquarium

SEA LIFE London AquariumPhoto: Craig Cross
Opening times?
10 AM to 5 PM (Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun); 11 AM to 5 PM (Thu); Last entry 1 hour before closing
Adults £31.00; Children £28.00 (3-15); Infants free (under-3)
Time required?
A typical visit takes 2 hours

The SEA LIFE Aquarium begins with a walk across the shark tank’s glass floor, and then you ride a lift down into the bowels of the building where you’ll find all the dark fish tanks.

They have some really big tanks in here – the shark tank is three stories tall. You start at the bottom and as you wind your way up through the building you can view it from different levels. Another tank is filled with a the skeleton bones of a big Plesiosaur, and when you walk though the underwater tunnel you can see all the flatfish gliding over your head.

9 Natural History Museum

Natural History MuseumPhoto: Craig Cross
Opening times?
10 AM to 5.50 PM (Mon-Sun); Last entry 20 mins before closing
Time required?
A typical visit takes 3 hours

The Natural History Museum is another educational day out. It’s probably best if your kid is into dinosaurs (if they prefer space then try the Science Museum instead).

They used to have a big dinosaur skeleton in the entrance hall but that’s gone now – you have to head into the Dinosaur Hall where you’ll find a Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Pterodactyl. They’ve also got a robot T Rex swinging his big head around a misty swamp.

The museum doubles up as a zoo – a dead zoo. They probably got as many animals as London Zoo, but they’re all stuffed. You can see lions, tigers, elephants, a giraffe, a hippo, rhino, polar bear… plus a case full of birds, insects, creepy crawlies… everything!

10 Science Museum

Science MuseumPhoto: Craig Cross
Opening times?
10 AM to 6 PM (Wed-Sun until 3 Jul, then Mon-Sun from 4 Jul); Last entry 45 mins before closing
Time required?
A typical visit takes 2½ hours, plus another hour if you watch an IMAX movie

Our final spot goes to the Science Museum. This is just around the corner from the Natural History Museum so you might want to do them both on the same day.

This museum is a good choice if your child is interested in space. They’ve got lots of space rockets and a full-size replica of the Beagle 2 Mars lander. Best of the bunch is the full-sized replica of the Eagle lander that took man to the moon.

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