I don’t want to brag too much, but this exact 2 day London itinerary with kids that I did recently really was perfect! We fitted a lot in with just a weekend in London with children including child activities in London, lots of general London sightseeing activities and different modes of transport to save their little legs, and reduce the moaning!
A few weeks ago, along with my husband, I took my stepsons down South from Manchester to London for a weekend in London! I lived in London for 2.5 years back in 2016-2018 but this was my first time travelling to London with kids, and, it was the boy’s first time in London.
So, keep reading to see how this past Londoner used all her knowledge of activities in London and London transport to have the perfect trip to London with children! And the lessons we learnt to help you visit London with kids!
London With Kids
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Is London good for families?
London is a big and busy city and I understand that some people may wonder if London is good for families? And should you visit London with kids?
But, London is a great city for families and children! Yes, it’s a big city to get around and the public transport may seem intimidating at first but with a bit of planning you can work out the public transport and there are so many activities for children in London and lots of fun things for kids in London.
If you have a baby or young children in a pushchair, most of the Tubes, Trains & Buses in London are pushchair friendly with lifts and ramps. You can check this in advance here on Transport for London and plan travelling to London with kids around this.
Is London safe for children to visit?
In some areas like around the London Eye and Notting Hill Market on a Saturday it might get too busy and crowded for children but there are very rarely huge and dangerous crowds in London and busy places can easily be avoided.
Plus, there are so many parks and green open spaces in London for children to run around freely and safely.
Like any city, you have to be careful of yourself, your possessions and your children but overall, London is a very safe city which makes it comfortable to visit with children and you have to think just how many children and families live in London and enjoy living there!
Planning a trip to London with kids
When it came to planning our trip to London with children, I knew I wanted us to see all of the top places to see in London like Tower Bridge, Big Ben, London Eye and Buckingham Palace.
I also knew these Dinosaur loving boys would love the Natural History Museum, and my husband wisely pointed out that we needed an activity within our trip that meant we could sit down for a while and take a break, but a break where the boys don’t get bored!
There are SO many things to do with kids in London and London is SO big that no matter what trip you are on but especially a trip with children who have a limited capacity to be on their feet all day and limited interests in all things, you have to prioritise and accept there’s no way you’ll see all of London and do everything!
Things to do in London with kids
Is your priority Dinosaurs in London like it was for us? All of the museums? Being on a budget and visiting the free places in London? Going iconic sightseeing with children in London? Visiting as many Harry Potter locations as you can? Etc
Getting around London with kids
Although I can walk all day around London, I knew their little legs would ache after a while so we made sure to use public transport as much as we could and to make the transport fun!
We did a great job of that using different tube lines where the trains and experience differ (the District Overground Line is very different from the Piccadilly Underground Line for example) and using the Uber boats along the Thames which was a much cheaper way of seeing the Thames from a boat than paying for a guided tour!
Use TFL’s website for journey planning!
Do you pay for a child on the tube?
Beacuse this was my first time in London with children, I had no idea whether you had to pay for children on the tube, however a bonus is that children up to 11 years old travel for free on the Underground Tube, Overground Lines and DLR with a paying adult.
So, we only had to pay for the younger kids when we went on the Uber Boat on this London itinerary with kids and we paid at the machines at the dock so we didn’t need to pre-plan anything here.
Accommodation for families in London
We did find it hard to find decent accommodation in London for all 5 of us that wasn’t crazy expensive.
We booked this 2 bedroom apartment in Fulham which was described as ‘lux’ but wasn’t luxury really, it was a bit tired and expensive for the quality but that’s just London unfortunately and we didn’t spend long there anyway so it was ok!
I would recommend looking on Airbnb or Booking.com for apartments rather than hotels as if you need more than 1 hotel room, the cost will add up!
I also suggest staying outside of the centre because prices are lower outside of central London, but also, families in London live a bit further out too.
Fulham Broadway was a great place to be, it’s just on the end of zone 2 and is easy to get the tube into the centre without being right in the centre like in Soho or Covent Garden for example.
Some apartments for families in London you could look at are:
For more of my London posts to help you plan your trip see:
2 Day London Itinerary with Kids
Here is our 2 day London itinerary with kids. We drove down to London on Friday night so we didn’t see anything and started our 2 days in London with children fresh on Saturday morning! If you have 3 days in London with kids, I’ll give you some extra recommendations of what you can do to fill 3 days at the end.
Day 1 in London with Kids
Here is a quick overview of our first day in London which was our real London sightseeing with children day.
We definitely saw a lot of the top places in London to see and covered a lot of ground. We were tired at the end but not too bad! (Bear in mind my stepsons are 6, 9 and 15 years old so not super young!)
- Start – Tower Hill Tube Station
- Walk Back and Forth over Tower Bridge
- Get Thames Clipper / Uber Thames from Tower Hill Pier to Greenwich Pier
- Walk up to Greenwich Park Viewpoint
- Go to Greenwich Planetarium (or another museum of your choice in Greenwich)
- Lunch in Greenwich
- Get Thames Clipper / Uber Thames from Greenwich Pier to Westminster Pier
- See the London Eye, Westminster and Big Ben from Westminister Bridge
- Walk to and through St James Park
- Visit Buckingham Palace
- Tube from Green Park to Leicester Square
- Walk around Chinatown and Leicester Square
- Dinner in Leicester Square / Soho area
Start – Tower Hill Tube Station
Walk Back and Forth over Tower Bridge
I wanted to start the trip on a wow factor so I thought, let’s start at Tower Bridge so we can take in the bridge, the Thames, Tower of London, and the Shard all in one go!
Tower Hill tube station is well connected to the rest of London so I recommend starting your day here too, or if it’s easier, you could go to London Bridge station and walk to Tower Bridge from here.
ALTERNATIVE IDEA: We did go to Greenwich next as we had something booked but had we not, and getting tickets for the Tower of London for a visit would have been a great idea!
Get Thames Clipper / Uber Thames from Tower Hill Pier to Greenwich Pier
A Thames boat ride was on my list of things to do in London with kids because I thought it’s a great way to see a lot of the iconic sights without walking.
I think, if you are from overseas, a guided Thames boat tour with audio like this might be a nice idea, or if its pouring with rain and you’re looking for things to do in London in the rain, then a guided tour will pass more time,
But a great money saver is to take the Uber Boats, also known as the Thames Clippers as they are cheaper per person than a full guided Thames boat trip and the boats are still really nice inside and you can sit inside, outside, get refreshments and walk around.
Greenwich & Greenwich Planetarium
We went to Greenwich on the Thames Clipper because we had tickets booked for the Greenwich Planetarium which these space loving boys really enjoyed, but Greenwich is a great place to visit even if you aren’t going here or don’t have anything booked.
Greenwich Park is huge and offers great views of London. It’s definitely one of the best parks in London for kids.
There are a few museums in Greenwich to visit, great are especially great if your kids are into boats and ships! The Royal Observatory is a great place if your children are learning about time and space, and there are lots of places to eat in Greenwich too!
ALTERNATIVE IDEA: Get tickets for Cutty Sark Museum which is the boat right next to Greenwich Pier, go inside the National Maritime Museum, or have a picnic in Greenwich Park if the weather is good!
I have to fully recommend the Peter Harrison Planetarium in Greenwich though and seeing a Planetarium show there!
We went to see a show about Mars although they have a few different shows which you can view here and not only was the show really educational and interesting but the theatre you watch it in is really unique because the seats tip back and the show projected into the dome above you.
This was our activity in London for kids where they could sit down around lunchtime, since a lot of Londons attractions involve being on your feet but it was also interactive and education for them.
Get Thames Clipper / Uber Thames from Greenwich Pier to Westminster Pier
We got some lunch from Greenwich Market and then queued up to get back on the Thames Clipper boat from Greenwich Pier to Westminster Pier. This was another great way to see the Thames, rest our legs, and arrive at THE most iconic place in London!
See the London Eye, Westminster and Big Ben from Westminister Bridge
The area around London Eye, Westminster, Big Ben and Westminister Bridge is very busy even for adults sightseeing and it seems to be always busy, therefore it can be a bit much for children.
We didn’t spend long here, we just got a few quick snaps of the London Eye from across the water and Big Ben as we walked by and we headed to St James Park past Westminster Abbey.
And if that wasn’t enough iconic sights in London within just a few minutes, on the way we passed a whole row of Red London Telephone Boxes which turned out to be a highlight as this was the first time the boys had seen one in London!
St James Park to Buckingham Palace
St James Park is one of the smaller parks in London but it is a nice one and it’s well located close to Westminster, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square so its a good place to pop in or walk through when you want some nature and quiet time.
For us, it was a great way to walk towards Buckingham Palace and it was pretty interesting for the kids too.
I have been to Buckingham Palace a few times on my own tourist days in London but this was the first time I sat near the memorial for awhile and I was so surprised by how many children were climbing over the memorial and seemingly allowed to do so.
However, it actually proved to be a great way to let the kids climb and play and interact with a few other kids whose families were also sitting down relaxing.
Tube from Green Park to Leicester Square
Our final stop of the way day was Leicester Square as the boys wanted dumplings from China Town so we walked through Green Park from Buckingham Palace to Green Park Tube Station which isn’t very far and got on the Piccadilly Line a few stops to Leicester Square.
The Piccadilly line is a good tube line for kids as it’s not the hottest (the central line is so hot!) but it is fully underground (unlike the District line we took earlier in the day) so that proved to be a lot of fun.
Chinatown & Leicester Square
We exited Leicester Square and headed around the corner to Chinatown and then to Leicester Square.
Because it was Saturday evening it was very busy. We did get dumplings which were enjoyed, but we then went to Shake Shack which was awful, it was so busy and dirty so I wish we had decided to go elsewhere for dinner and not right in the middle of Leicester Square which is busy and very hyped up!
If you are staying in a hotel or Airbnb slightly out of the centre of London or central London, there are always places to eat around tube stops and in other neighbourhoods and this would have been better for us to do really.
Then, it was home to bed with tired little legs in tow.
Day 2 in London with Kids
We checked the weather in advance and it said it was going to rain on Sunday and our second day in London with kids so we decided to use this as our museum day.
The National History Museum was high on our list of things to do in London with kids, my husband had suggested planning it into day 1 of our London itinerary to get the boys excited for London but with rain forecasted, we left it until day 2 which was a great idea, and actually, it would have really eaten into our sightseeing day the day before had we tried to fit it in!
Our 2nd day in London with kids looked like this:
- Start – South Kensington Tube Station
- Breakfast in South Kensington
- Natural History Museum when it opened at 10:00am
- Science Museum
- Walk up to Harrods in Knightsbridge
Breakfast in South Kensington
I used to work at the Science Museum in London so I am very much used to South Kensington and I think South Kensington is a great area of London to see, especially with kids, not just because of the museums but there are many cafes and restaurants to visit for refreshments, the streets are wide, the houses look like typical ‘London Houses’ and it’s close to places like Hyde Park and Harrods.
We got breakfast in South Kensington when we arrived at Rosie and Brown, it wasn’t exactly child friendly but we sat downstairs out of the way and they had pancakes on the menu so everyone was happy and full.
Natural History Museum
If you’re spending a weekend in London with children, be aware that the museums (especially the Natural History Museum & Science Museum) get really busy all day both Saturday and Sunday (and all school holidays!) so there will likely to queues to enter, even as it opens at 10:00 am which was the case with us.
The museums are also very busy inside, especially in the entrance areas and hallways, and if you have a buggy, so you have to keep an eye on children, luckily around the exhibitions it gets less busy as people are spread out.
One of the great things about many of the London museums though is that they are free and count as great free things to do with children in London!
We went to the Natural History Museum first and spent way longer in here than I expected – about 3 hours, the boys were really interested in everything and with it being busy it took longer to get between exhibitions.
We went to the Science Museum next, having used to work here I should have known, but a few of the exhibitions and attractions in the Science Museum do require tickets which sell out on weekends, especially for Wonderlab, so check out tickets in advance here.
ALTERNATIVE IDEAS: If you have older children, they may be more interested by the art in V&A museum just opposite the Science Museum and NHM.
Things to do in London with Kids
Of course, there are far more things to do with kids in London than we managed to cover in one weekend.
There are many posts on things to do in London with kids but I did find some of them aimed at younger kids and toddlers more than my stepsons who are 6, 9 and 15 so do be mindful of that if you have older children.
Here are more child-friendly activities in London that I saw and have on my list for next time:
- See a Westend Show
- River Thames Speed Boat Experience
- Go on the London Eye
- London Transport Museum
- London Children Museum
- Twist Museum of Illusions
- London Zoo
- Regents Canal Boat Ride
- Diana Memorial Playground
- Shrek’s Adventure
- London Dungeons
- Kew Gardens
- Visit a Football Stadium
- Madame Tussaud’s
And here are some places to visit near London with kids:
- Harry Potter Studio Tour (Watford)
- Legoland (Windsor)
Recommended family-friendly tours and activities in London to pre-book ready for your trip!
- For more of my London posts to help you plan your trip see:
- 3 Day London Itinerary – How To See All Of London in 3 Days!
- 4 Day London Itinerary – How To See So Much Of London in 4 Days!
- Things To Do in London When it Rains, That Are Inside!
- How To Walk from Tower Bridge to the London Eye Along The River Thames!
- Your Complete Guide To Camden Town in London!
- How To Visit Shoreditch on Sunday & All The Shoreditch Sunday Markets!