Best of Kid-Friendly London

Activities

Ride the London Eye. Europe's largest observation wheel looks like a giant fairground ride, and you can see across what seems like half of London from the top.

Pose with a Queen’s Horse Guard. There’s always the Queen's mounted guards in uniform by the entrance to Horse Guards on the Trafalgar Square end of Whitehall. They don’t mind posing for pictures, but they’re not allowed to smile.

Ice-skating at Somerset House. Send your kids whizzing, arms whirling, across ice mid-November–January at this spotlighted open-air ice rink in a former Renaissance royal palace.

Pedalo on the Serpentine. Pack a picnic and take a blue pedalo out into the middle of Hyde Park's famed Serpentine lake; settle back and tuck in to lunch.

Lose the kids at Hampton Court Maze. The topiary might be more than 300 years old, but the quest to reach the middle of Hampton Court’s world-famous trapezoid-shape yew hedge maze remains as challenging as ever.

West End musicals. Foot-stompingly good West End musicals and shows like Les Misérables, Billy Elliot, Matilda, Mamma Mia!, The Lion King, Oliver!, Grease, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will captivate the over-seven crowd.

Education Without Yawns

Kew Gardens. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew is great for young ones, and the huge Children's Garden features a 60-foot high treetop Sky Walk, trampolines, scramble slides, and children's trails; it's free for kids under four.

The London Dungeon. It's guts and gore galore at this top South Bank attraction that plunges you into the blood-soaked depths of London history, with tales from a gruesome Jack the Ripper pub, Sweeney Todd barbers, and Mrs. Lovett's infamous pie shop.

London Zoo. Disappear into the animal kingdom among the enclosures, complete with sessions for kids about all kinds of bugs and spiders in this popular animal retreat in Regent's Park.

Natural History Museum. It doesn't get more awe-inspiring than bloodsucking bats, a cabinet of hummingbirds, simulated Kobe earthquakes, and a life-size blue whale. Just make sure you know your dodo from your daspletosaurus.

Science Museum. Special effects, virtual space voyages, 800 interactive exhibits, puzzles, and mysteries from the world of science can keep kids effortlessly engaged all day.

Tower of London. Perfect for playing prince and princess in front of the Crown Jewels, but not so perfect for imagining what becomes of the fairy tale—watch your royal necks.

Performances

Covent Garden street performers. You can't beat the open-air gaggle of jugglers, fire-eaters, unicyclists, mime artists, and human statues tantalizing crowds at Covent Garden piazza.

Regent's Park Open-Air Theatre. Welcome to the land of fairy dust and magic. Don't miss an evening performance under the stars of A Midsummer Night's Dream in high summer.

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