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Family Days out in London
- Friday May 5th 2023
Family fun is the best kind of fun! Discover a range of different ways to spend a day in London with the family including Shrek's Adventure! London and lots of other fun activities guaranteed to keep the whole family entertained. Read on to find your next day out!
Plan a Family Day Out in London everyone will love
1. See London’s Must See Landmarks
Buckingham Palace is the King's official residence and a working royal palace. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a real life prince or princess, the Buckingham Palace Guided Tour is a great place to start. With glittering chandeliers and an expert guide, is it an experience like no other. Enjoy amazing rooms when the palace is not usually open to the public. The experience lasts roughly 90 minutes.
Don't miss the wonderful pageantry of the changing of the guard ceremony, enjoy this treasured tradition with the whole family. This colourful experience started in 1660 and is highly considered one of the top free things to do in London.
Find out more here.
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Just along the river, opposite the Southbank from Shrek's Adventure! London is the beautiful Big Ben and Houses of Parliament. If your family are interested in seeing London's must see Landmarks then Big Ben is a site that cannot be missed, as it is probably the world's most famous clock and makes for a great Instagram photo.
If your family also love tours then the guided tours of the Palace of Westminster inside the Houses of Parliament is a must see - discover the history of the UK parliament with an engaging and educational tour with an expert tour guide.
Visit their website for more.
Trafalgar Square & Leicester Square
Looking for a family day out with lots of variety? Trafalgar square has lots to offer. Attend one of their family-friendly events. These events include religious celebrations and multicultural festivities - best of all, they're free! From celebrating the Chinese New Year to carol singing at Christmas time, there is lots to offer for the whole family.
Find out more here.
Filled with majestic sculptures, the Trafalgar square lions are no exception. Want to see a real life lion? Well legend has it that if Big Ben chimes 13 times - these lions will come to life! Cast in Bronze these lions are among the world's most famous sculptures.
Trafalgar square is also home to some pretty cool fountains, enhance your family day out in London by gathering around at night time, you will see these two amazing fountains illuminated with LED lights showcasing the beautiful centrepieces which show mermaids and dolphins!
Looking for fantastic food for the whole family? Head on down to Leicester Square, not only is it surrounded by famous statues in Leicester Square Gardens and home to London's West end, hosting red-carpet film premieres. There are also great spots to eat, ranging from tantalising tacos to delicious steaks.
Explore more here.
St Paul's Cathedral & the City of London
Spice up your unique experience in London by visiting one of London skyline's most iconic features - St Paul's Cathedral. It is a vibrant church located in the heart of central London. Here you can experience breath-taking sights and popular artwork before journeying down to explore some of the tombs and memorials of various different national heroes.
Tickets can be booked in advance here.
Treat the whole family to amazing panoramic views from the high-level walkways of Tower Bridge. When planning a trip to London we recommend not missing this historical landmark. Not only can you experience beautiful views of The Shard from inside the bridge, but you will also experience the London Skyline from a distinctive point of view above the River Thames.
With a spectacular viewpoint 42 metres above the river, you can see London life through the glass floor, including beautiful views of the famous London buses to majestic views of cruise ships.
They also have a range of family-friendly activities that the kids will love - explore more here.
2. The Southbank: Plenty of choice in one small area
Take a trip beneath the waves at the Sea-Life Centre
Discover the wonder under London and dive into the beauty of SEA LIFE London Aquarium. Here you can enjoy majestic animals ranging from tremendous turtles to loveable penguins perfect perfect for a fun day out with the whole family. This May Half-Term kick off your journey in the Atlantic ocean zones, before exploring great wow facts with regular keeper talks in the penguin, rainforest, ocean and shark zones across the day.
Discover turtles and terrapins this summer! SEA LIFE London Aquarium are committed to the ocean - this summer you and the kids can join the turtle rescue mission with their turtle and terrapins rescue team.
Meet Donkey, Shrek, Fiona and more in the immersive Shrek's Adventure
Treat the kids to a brilliantly bonkers, interactive and immersive walkthrough experience, where the whole family can experience the magic and journey through Far Far away. The shrek-ccellent tour includes 12 magical live shows featuring classic sets from Shrek. Meet the Muffin Man, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and many more! Before returning home safely to meet Shrek himself.
Join the magic here.
Learn more about London's Dark History at London Dungeon
Scream and laugh your way through an immersive journey exploring London's gruesome histories. From Jack the Ripper to The Curse of the witch - we guarantee you will be in for the thrill of a life time. The London Dungeon features live actor-led shows and 2 exciting rides - making for a unique experience in London.
Those with younger children may want to give this activity a miss so that the kids can still sleep at bed time! The recommended age for the London Dungeon is 12 years and above due to the very dark building and loud noises, although it is up to the accompanying adult to exercise discretion.
Visit their website here.
See more of London than you thought you could in one day from the London Eye
Discover one of London's best attractions, the London Eye - where you can see amazing views of the whole city. On a clear day you can see as far as 20 miles away - showcasing beautiful views including Windsor Castle. Book in advance as a family & save! Your family tickets allow you entry to the London Eye at your selected timeslot on your selected day - you also have the flexibility of rescheduling your tickets if there are any changes.
Find out more here.
Finish the day with the biggest movie you've seen at BFI's Imax
This is the perfect experience for people who love 3D films on a giant screen and other amazing blockbusters. When planning a day out for families the BFI IMAX offers a completely immersive film experience that should not be missed.
Begin your cinematic experience here.
3. Take in a live show in the West End
Musicals for Everyone
Good music is a universal experience that the whole family will enjoy. London has a lot of musicals to choose from including Matilda the Musical detailing Tim Minchin's amazingly fascinating story about a child genius.
Looking for something to keep your teenagers occupied? 'Six the Musical' is a brilliantly hilarious pop musical about Henry VIII's wives. Previous viewers have described the musical as "phenomenal", boasting that it brings the royal families personality and story to life.
Find out more about some of the best musicals in London here, including the award-winning adaptation of Disney's The Lion King.
Marvellous Murder Mysteries for Teens and Young Adults
London's West End also offers a series of heart-stopping plays, perfect for teens and adults and guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.
From chillingly brilliant ghost stories to detective plays and nail biting horrors and ghost stories there are a large variety of different live shows in London to choose from.
Interactive Kid's Theatre
With May half-term and the summer holidays soon approaching, we know it can be difficult to keep the little ones entertained. The Unicorn theatre offers amazing innovative productions which enable children to tap into their inner adventurers and explore the world.
Theatre experiences are offered for children up to the age of 13 and their productions include world class, thought provoking shows.
Find out more.
4. See the Thames and its bridges up close on a River Boat Trip
London Eye River Cruise
All aboard! Set sail on the River Thames and enjoy the London Eye River Cruise with the whole family. Experience a fun day out for families and cruise along the river catching glimpses of a lot of London's beautiful architecture including Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral.
Enjoy the commentary on this 40 minute cruise delivered by professional guides. This is a circular tour so it does not stop at other piers during your time aboard. Many visitors enjoy combining their trip with a visit to the London Eye.
Book your excursion today.
For a wider look at the differing River Boat trips London has to offer, please visit here.
Interested in discovering a completely new way to experience story telling? Consider taking the family down to enjoy one of London's many escape rooms. Here you will experience an "escape game" with puzzles, clues and lots of mystery - players must work together to solve the puzzles and complete tasks in order to escape.
Family friendly Escape Rooms
If you are interested in promoting communication and teamwork among the whole family, family friendly escape rooms offer an incredible experience whilst also creating life-long memories. Enigma Quests in Shoreditch offers a variety of 3 different escape rooms ideal for a day out for families. Here, the family can enjoy a variety of immersive experiences including magical worlds, bank vaults and picturesque submarines. These escape rooms have earned thousands of positive reviews on TripAdvisor, prompting many guests to return to explore the other rooms.
The London Dungeon Escape room
For older children or adults who may fancy a bit of a scare, there are several spooktacular escape rooms on offer throughout London. Escape room by the London Dungeon presents a Guy Fawkes's themed experience. After being found guilty of conspiring against the King, you must now escape your capture or risk a gruesome fate.
Ideal for people for thrill lovers who are looking for a heart stopping challenge.
Escape the hangman here.
Maths, Sci-fi, Mayan history, the variety that Escape Rooms have to offer is endless. If you are interested in reading about why London is the Escape room capital of Europe, and finding different escape rooms to do in London with the family, read through this amazing blog for a list of brilliant ideas.
6. Enjoy a Museum with plenty of Interactive Exhibits
Imperial War Museum
For you budding historians who enjoy understanding the history of modern war and are looking for a 'wartime experience' the Imperial War Museum should be top of your list. There is a wonderful array of diverse collection objects including evasion items, battlefield souvenirs, vehicles and aircraft.
There are also a variety of different exhibitions, tours and events to cater to the whole family. Including war games exhibitions, showcasing virtual worlds. Their 'Story seekers' event is, perfect for the family, learn about the global impact of World War 2 on the world today. Your family can also discover real objects and delve into real stories from people who have helped build machines of conflict and other exciting adventures including facing shark infested waters.
Find out more here.
The British Museum
Showcasing a vast selection of guided and interactive tours for children of all ages, the British Museum is the ideal place to learn and have fun at the same time when looking for things to do in London with family. Based in Bloomsbury, you and the family can discover the rise of the ancient Greek empire, the tombs of the famed Egyptian mummies and many other exciting stories. Entry is free, and who doesn't like a free day out with the family?
They also have several cool and exciting exhibitions and events including 'China's hidden century' and 'Luxury and power - Persia to Greece'.
Families with children of all ages can enjoy a variety of fun free gallery activities. If you are considering visiting during May Half-Term, Summer or other school holidays, there are a range of fun playful workshops the kids will love, which help bring the stories of the museum to life.
Plan your fun here.
The Science Museum
Why not take a trip to the incredible Science Museum near Gloucester Road station and explore the fun of science. Discover award-winning exhibitions and iconic scientific achievement. Experiment and be amazed in the Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery, where you will be immersed in puzzles, and even an IMAX movie in the Ronson Theatre. For a younger, more active experience, visit the Wonderlab+, filled with games and interactive displays that will get them loving science and technology.
Pre-book your free tickets here.
7. Our top Family Trip Planning Tips
Make the most of morning, afternoon and the evening
We know that planning the day out for families can be stressful, this is why it is important to make the most of your morning, afternoon and evening! So we have put together some useful tips.
1. When travelling with babies and toddlers, make sure you bring plenty of nappies and all other essentials.
2. The weather in London can be unpredictable, protect your tots by making sure you prepare for the weather - check the weather in advance before you begin your day.
3. Save on attractions on your family trip to London - many attractions offer multi-attraction savings tickets including SEA LIFE London Aquarium, the London Eye and Madame Tussauds. You can also take advantage of all the beautiful free museums the city has to offer.
4. Getting around London with kids - London has extensive public transport options ranging from the tube, to buses to trams. Children under the age of 11 travel free on London's buses and trams with or without an adult, 24 hours in the day. They also do not need a ticket. When using London tubes, DLR and London over-ground services, up to four children under 11 can travel free with a fare-paying adult. Find out more information here.
Choose an area that has a lot to see and do in a small area
London is beautiful with lots to do, therefore it is no surprise that the city can get a little crowded from time to time, especially between the hours of 7am-9am and 4pm-7pm.
When planning a family day out in this exciting city, we recommend choosing an area that has lots to see and do in a small area. Southbank is a perfect example, with loads of exciting and fun attractions to provide endless amounts of fun. Here you can enjoy different activities including the London Eye, Shrek's Adventure! London and SEA LIFE London Aquarium to name a few.
For a full list of activities, click here.
There is also a huge variety of different places to eat when you start to feel peckish. Craving some Asian food? Head over to Wagamama, or for burgers and fries, head on over the Honest Burger.
For a full list of food options, click here.
8. FAQs about Family activities in London
Is London easy to get around with children?
Depending on the area and the time of day, the easiest way to get around London with children would be public transport, taxis/uber or walking. As detailed above, children under 11 travel free on many of London's public transport systems.
For a full detailed account on how to get around London with children, please visit this page.
What fun indoor activities are there for families?
1. London SEA LIFE Aquarium - this aquarium is home to 500 different ocean creatures, including loveable Gentoo penguins and cool octopus. There are also regular keeper talks and a variety of different events to enjoy over summer including their Turtles and Terrapins event this summer. Perfect for the family.
2. Shrek's Adventure! London - step into the magical world of Far Far Away and embark on your journey to meet Shrek. With 12 brilliantly bookers interactive and immersive live shows and captivating story telling.
3. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London -enjoy behind the scenes tours of the Harry Potter films in this magical day of fun and wizardry
4. Madame Tussauds London - take a selfie with more than 250 celebrity wax figures including the British Royal Family, the Kardashians and music legends like Adele.
5. KidZania London - located in Shepherd's bush - children have the opportunity to explore different careers and life skills in an indoor city that includes immersive play.
6. Discover - a children's story-making centre in Stratford. You can dress up, explore secret caves and other fun activities.
Unlock more excitement here.
Is London a good educational trip for children?
London has lots of fun and exciting educational activities for children, including a range of museums and fun, cultural, experiences.
Above we have detailed examples of brilliant museums suitable for the whole family.
You could also check out - Tate Modern and unlock your child's inner artist, allowing them to experience many temporary and permanent exhibitions detailing wonderful contemporary art.
For more information on a wider range of educational activities for children in London, visit here.