Irish family travel blogger Corrina Stone tells us that London is a city she returns to time and time again as there is no shortage of things to keep children entertained, especially if you are on a budget like her family usually is, as they has five little ones! Here are Corrina’s top things to do in London with children.
There are lots of parks with perks such as Victoria Park with its giant slides, or St James’s Park where every day at 2.30pm you can see the pelicans being fed fresh fish. Want to go to the zoo? You can go for free at Golders Hill Park Zoo. Not forgetting a visit to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace or a free visit to the iconic landmarks. All this, coupled with the fact that children under 11 years old travel free on London’s public transport, means it is one of the most pocket-friendly cities to visit with children.
If you like museums London is the place for you as many museums offer free admission or recommend a nominal donation. We’ve spent hours enjoying the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Imperial War Museum with its many aircraft and military vehicles on display. There’s a whole host of other museums such as the National Maritime Museum and the Ragged School Museum where you can learn what it was like to attend school during the Victorian times.
No other city in the world can claim to have as many football stadiums as London; it’s the perfect city to visit for any avid football fan. My daughter absolutely loves Chelsea FC so we simply had to visit Stamford Bridge. The whole family had a brilliant day touring the stadium, dressing rooms and museum, stopping off in the cafe for a bite to eat before shopping till we dropped for branded merchandise in the onsite shop.
If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey a visit to Highclere Castle is a must, located on a 5,000-acre estate in Berkshire, just over an hour and a half drive from London city centre. Even though my children hadn’t seen Downton Abbey they loved it as much as I did, as the lower level houses an extensive Egyptian exhibit. George Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, was an amateur Egyptologist and the chief financial backer of Howard Carter’s search for Tutankhamun’s Tomb. Many of these treasures and replicas are on permanent exhibition in the basement of Highclere Castle. We loved it so much that I had to return in December with my sister to visit their famous Christmas Fair; we also took a tour of the Bombay Sapphire Distillery nearby.
Whether it is high octane thrill rides or more sedate children’s fun days out you are after, London has it all. Legoland Windsor Resort, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures Resort and Warner Bros. Studios Tour London, home of Harry Potter movie sets, are all within a short journey time of central London. Slightly further afield is one of our all-time favourite theme parks in the UK: Diggerland Kent is about a one-hour drive outside London.
You can even get a bird’s eye view of the London skyline by booking online for a free visit to Sky Garden. It’s fabulous to relax over a cool drink while taking in the scenic views. Our favourite time to visit is in the late evening when you get to see the sunset over London, then the twinkling lights of the city, 35 floors below. Darwin Brasserie on the 37th floor offers uncomplicated seasonal dishes in a relaxed setting with stunning views.
Tower of London
No trip to London with children is complete without a visit to the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels and meet the Beefeaters. I would highly recommend that you take a guided tour as you’ll learn a lot more than on a self-guided tour. Did you know the oldest military ceremony on the world is held every evening at the Tower of London? The Ceremony of the Keys has taken place every evening for the past 700 years. The Yeomen Warders perform the gate closing ritual at 9.30pm sharp. The public are invited to witness the ceremony, but tickets must be pre-booked online. You need to be well prepared though as they sell out over 12 months in advance!