Top London Attractions for Families

 
 
 
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London Dungeon

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London Dungeon
The Golden Hinde
HMS Belfast
London Duck Tours
Cutty Sark
Horniman Museum
V & A Museum of Childhood
Museum of London
Museum of London Docklands
Natural History Museum
Science Museum
London Transport Museum
Madame Tussauds
Penguin Point at SEA LIFE London Aquarium
Discover Children's Story Centre
The Grade II listed Giraffe House at the ZSL London Zoo
The Postal Museum and Mail Rail
Legoland Windsor
Chessington World of Adventures
 

 

From Madame Tussauds to the London Dungeon, London has some great attractions for families. Find out where to take the kids on the weekends and when school's out.

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The Postal Museum and Mail Rail

Explore the history of the Royal Mail at The Postal Museum where you can go on an underground adventure through narrow tunnels not used since 2003.

Phoenix Place, Clerkenwell, London, WC1X 0DA

Tube: Chancery Lane Station

 
 

Explore the history of the Royal Mail at The Postal Museum where you can go on an underground adventure through narrow tunnels not used since 2003. Opened in 2017, the museum's Mail Rail takes you on a 15-minute journey through the original 100-year-old rail network which runs from Whitechapel in east London to Paddington in the west. On the way you'll discover, through a theatrical audiovisual show, how this hidden labyrinth was considered so clandestine that it was used to hide the Rosetta Stone during the First World War. In the main galleries the history of Royal Mail is revealed and shows how intrepid postal workers used to gallop 217 miles in a week on horseback to deliver the mail for Elizabeth I. For younger visitors, aged under 8, Sorted! is a great postal-themed play space where little ones can sort the mail and explore a mini city.

 
 
 

London Dungeon

An excellently spooky way of fostering your children's interest in history. Tremendously torturous.

Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, Bankside, London, SE1 7PB

Tube: Waterloo Station , Westminster Station

 
 

New for summer 2016, 'Escape the Great Fire' opens at the London Dungeon on 21st May 2016, marking the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London with special effects and recreating the panic of the city as the fire wreaks destruction over the city. Other attractions include an up close and personal encounter with Guy Fawkes and the murderous monarch, Henry VIII, played by a high-tech 3D version of the booming-voiced actor Brian Blessed. Sweeney Todd, Guy Fawkes and Jack the Ripper are just some of the other notorious characters from 1,000 years of London's history brought to life by a cast of 20 live actors. Book tickets to visit the London Dungeon at the South Bank and experience repulsive animatronics and waxworks, appropriately gruesome sound effects, and some (very much alive) costumed staff who stand in the displays and jump out at unsuspecting parties of tourists. In addition, there are theme park style rides so you won't be surprised to learn that kids absolutely love it.

 
 
 

Sea Life London Aquarium

London's largest aquarium holds over 300 different species of fish including sharks, seahorses, stingrays and starfish.

County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, South Bank, London, SE1 7PB

Tube: Waterloo Station , Westminster Station

 
 

The Sea Life London Aquarium features hundreds of varieties of fish and sea life from around the world. Here you'll come face-to-face with sharks and watch divers feeding gigantic conger eels and penguins. Seahorses, rays, starfish and piranhas are also on show and the interactive displays include a supervised touch pool, while petting the friendly rays is positively de rigeur. You can see the fish being fed during diving displays on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 12noon and 12.30pm in the main Atlantic Tank (check in advance as this is subject to change and during holiday periods dives may occur more frequently). The aquarium itself is situated in County Hall right on the Thames, with an interactive entertainment centre next door. It's a pretty tranquil spot (as long as you can avoid colliding with school groups) and a favourite form of escape for Londoners. It is also a cool place to go on a date - Patrick Marber made it the venue for a rendez-vous in his play 'Closer'.

 
 
 

Madame Tussauds

Rub shoulders with the waxwork celebrities.

Marylebone Road, Marylebone, London, NW1 5LR

Tube: Baker Street Station , Regent's Park Station

 
 

In 1835, Marie Tussaud - former sculptor to the court of Louis XVI - established a sideshow of waxworks of famous contemporary and historical figures (not to mention some gruesome relics of the French Revolution). Today, queues stretch hundreds of metres down Marylebone Road all summer long, as tourists and children rush to Madame Tussauds to rub shoulders with Kylie, Posh, Becks, and Brad Pitt. In addition to some astonishingly lifelike sculptures, there are also a number of interactive attractions: you can score a winning goal for England under the watchful eye of David Beckham, give a speech at the UN flanked by world leaders, or sing and dance on stage with Beyonce, Britney and Kylie. If that's not terrifying enough there's always the incredibly popular and gorgeously gory Chamber of Horrors . A visit is not complete without the Marvel 4D Experience. an exclusive 4D move where Marvel Super Heroes battle it out to save London.

 
 
 

London Transport Museum

The Museum charts London Transport's 200 years of history and has a tube simulator and play area.

Covent Garden Piazza, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7BB

Tube: Covent Garden Station

 
 

The London Transport Museum travels back through the 200-year history of public transport, arranged according to several themes: London Transport's famous design heritage, the poster collection, public transport during both World Wars and plans for the capital's development in the twenty-first century. The facilities include a stylish, two-storey shop and cafe overlooking the Piazza, and a 120-seat, state-of-the-art theatre for the What's On programme, school sessions and conferences. Learn about transport history in the capital since the 1920s and get to grips with the oldest public transport system in the world. Furnished with all sorts of memorabilia - from uniforms, posters and tickets to horse buses, electric trams and trolleybuses - the museum proves a fascinating way of looking at transport in the capital.

 
 

Events at London Transport Museum

Hidden London: The Exhibition Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

11th October 2019 to 1st January 2021 | Adult tickets from £16.50

 
Hidden London: The Exhibition London Transport Museum 2019-10-112021-01-01 Where:
London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza London, WC2E 7BB
Category: Museums
Future Engineers Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

19th October 2018 to 31st December 2020 | £17.50 (Adults), £15 (Concessions) allows unlimited entry for a year. Free (Children 17 & under)

 
Future Engineers London Transport Museum 2018-10-192020-12-31 Where:
London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza London, WC2E 7BB
Category: Museums
All events at London Transport Museum
 
 
 
 

Golden Hinde

A full-scale, historically accurate replica of Sir Francis Drake's 16th-century galleon.

St Mary Overie Dock, Cathedral Street, Bankside, London, SE1 9DE

Tube: London Bridge Station , Cannon Street Station

 
 

Sir Francis Drake completed the second-ever circumnavigation of the world between 1577-80 in a galleon ship called the Golden Hinde. The ship has been re-created and rebuilt as a museum, which is docked in Southwark near London Bridge. Guided tours are provided by staff dressed in period costume, and during term-time school groups can spend a day on board learning about life at sea in the 16th century. Visitors can also stay on the ship overnight to get a hands-on taste of what life as a crew member would be like. They will be able to help out on the boat, and learn about navigation and gunnery. At night after a feast of Tudor foods, visitors sleep between the cannons on the gundeck.

 
 
 

Cutty Sark

The Cutty Sark, the famous tea clipper ship docked in Greenwich.

King William Walk, West Greenwich, London, SE10 9HT

Tube: New Cross Station (East London line closed. Bus service operates)

 
 

The restoration of the Cutty Sark has seen 50 million spent on the famous tea clipper ship which was damaged by fire on 21st May 2007. But with much of the ship already removed from the site, most of the original has been restored. The boat's rich history begins back in 1869 when it was built for John 'Jock' Willis, a seasoned sailing ship master, and was designed for speed, racing to bring home tea from China. Capable of going over 17 knots, and with a large hold for carrying cargo, the Cutty Sark was 'the space shuttle of its time'. Preserved for the nation by Captain Wilfred Dowman in 1922, the old clipper has been at her current resting place in Greenwich since 1954 and was first opened to the public in 1957 by HM The Queen. Now raised three metres above her dry dock, visitors can see the lines of her hull - covered in sheets of metal giving it a golden sheen - which made her so swift and so successful.

 
 

Events at Cutty Sark

C-O-N-T-A-C-T
Now On

31st August to 10th October 2020 - Various Times | £22.50, adv booking required, adv tickets from uk.c-o-n-t-a-c-t.com

 
C-O-N-T-A-C-T Cutty Sark 2020-08-312020-10-10 Where:
Cutty Sark, King William Walk, West Greenwich London, SE10 9HT
Category: Boats and Bridges

Use your own smartphone and headphones for the UK premiere of Mathilde Moulin and WEF Productions' immersive theatre and sensorial experience, which begins with a young woman sitting alone on a park bench, lost in ...

All events at Cutty Sark
 
 
 

HMS Belfast

Explore nine fine nautical decks on board the floating museum and former World War Two cruiser.

Morgan's Lane, Tooley Street, Bankside, London, SE1 2JH

Tube: London Bridge Station

 
 

HMS Belfast, moored at Morgan's Lane off Tooley Street, is a World War Two cruiser with nine decks. As you explore this floating museum, pop into the Captain's Bridge and then head down to the massive Boiler and Engine Rooms, well below the ship's waterline. Launched on St Patrick's Day (17th March) 1938 the 187-metre long ship is a 6-inch cruiser (the inches denote the size of its guns), designed for the protection of trade, for offensive action, and to support military operations by aiding landings from the sea. One of her last jobs was to help evacuate emaciated survivors of Japanese prisoner of war and civilian internment camps from China. Up until the autumn of 1947 she was fully occupied with peace-keeping duties in the Far East. Following a stint in Korea she was retired in 1952 and long after was given to the public in 1971.

 
 
 

London Duck Tours

The amphibious Duck Tours take you on a tour of London by road and by river.

55 York Road, South Bank, London, SE1 7NJ

Tube: Waterloo Station

 
 

If you've spent a few days in London you've probably spotted the bright yellow London Duck Tours tanks driving around town - they're hard to miss! The amphibious Duck Tours vehicles date back to 1942 and were first used in World War II for the D-Day landings when more than 21,000 were built to take the troops and supplies from ship to shore. There are just five of the tanks, originally known as 'DUKWS', in the Duck fleet, taking visitors around town on the roads and on the river. Departing throughout the day from Chicheley St. Waterloo (behind the London Eye), they drive past famous London landmarks such as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square, giving a commentary on the history of the city as well as the vehicles. Finally, for the waterborne part of the 75 minute tour, the truck launches into the River Thames from a slipway at Vauxhall. It's great fun and an unusual way to see the sights. Please note: Pre-booking is is necessary for weekend and holiday periods at least 3-5 days in advance.

 
 
 

Horniman Museum

The Horniman specialises in anthropology, natural history and musical instruments.

100 Road, London, SE23 3PQ

Tube: Denmark Hill Station

 
 

Victorian tea trader Frederick John Horniman collected specimens and artefacts from his travels around the world in the 1860's. His personal collection became the foundation of the Horniman Museum, which is now housed in a Charles Harrison Townsend-designed building. Horniman's original collection included natural history specimens, cultural artefacts and musical instruments. Over the past 100 years, the collection has grown so much that Horniman's original collection comprises only 10 per cent of the current museum. The Horniman also houses an aquarium, and regularly hosts music concerts and special exhibits. Some of the museum's best known objects include a gigantic stuffed walrus, a model dodo and fossils. Also worth a look are the Horniman Gardens, which are set on 16 acres and have a mix of formal and natural landscaping.

 
 

Events at Horniman Museum

Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

15th February to 1st November 2020

 
Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs Horniman Museum 2020-02-152020-11-01 Where:
Horniman Museum, 100 London Road London, SE23 3PQ
Category: Attractions for Kids
All events at Horniman Museum
 
 
 
 

V & A Museum of Childhood

East London museum devoted to the theme of childhood, past and present.

Cambridge Heath Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E2 9PA

Tube: Bethnal Green Underground Station

 
 

The Museum of Childhood houses the UK's largest collection of toys including dolls, dolls' houses, puppets, games, and toys. Collections showcase all aspects of childhood, from games throughout the ages to a historical look at cots, prams and feeding bottles (including a 19th century ceramic bottle). The World in the East End exhibit tells stories of childhood from the East End through toys and stories, and there are plenty of hands-on exhibits including rocking horses, windup trains, and gravity powered cars. The Museum opened in 1872, when a prefabricated iron structure originally intended for South Kensington was moved to Bethnal Green. Originally, the museum housed collections from the Great Exhibition of 1851, and the art collection of Sir Richard Wallace (now The Wallace Collection).

 
 
 

Museum of London

The history of the city, from prehistoric times to the present day.

150 Wall, City, London, EC2Y 5HN

Tube: Barbican Station , St. Paul's Station

 
 

Experience the real flavour of London life from the prehistoric to present day when you visit the Museum of London, a modern museum boasting over 1.1 million objects. Following a 20 million redesign, the five lower Galleries of Modern London take you through the history of the city from the Great Fire of London in 1666 to the present day. Historic pieces on view include precious books, mock-up city streets and vintage cars - the grandest of which is the Lord Mayor's State Coach, still used in the annual Lord Mayor's Show. The galleries include displays as diverse as a reconstructed Georgian pleasure garden and a World City space, where museum items reveal London's post-1914 history through changing tastes in fashion, mobile phones and, moving into the twentieth century, the Art Deco lift from Selfridges department store.

 
 
 

Museum of London Docklands

The history of the East End, River Thames and the lives that have ebbed and flowed with it.

No 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, Tower Hamlets, London, E14 4AL

Tube: Canary Wharf Station

 
 

In keeping with its waterside location, the Museum of London Docklands focuses on the history of the East End with particular emphasis on the River Thames and the lives that have ebbed and flowed with it. The building in which the museum is housed is pertinent, too. As a warehouse and part of a significant port, the building was once used to store valuable shipments of sugar arriving from transatlantic crossings. Permanent educational displays include the Thames Highway - the trade which the river has enabled since the city began as a Roman settlement in AD43 makes for a fascinating tale. The display includes a spectacular large scale model of Old London Bridge, the first stone structure over the Thames with the bridge as it was in 1450 on one side, the bridge in all its Tudor glory on the other.

 
 

Events at Museum of London Docklands

Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery OngoingFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

3rd April to 25th October 2020 | Free

 
Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery Museum of London Docklands 2020-04-032020-10-25 Where:
Museum of London Docklands, No 1 Warehouse, West India Quay London, E14 4AL
Category: Museums
All events at Museum of London Docklands
 
 
 

National Army Museum

Over 23 million has been spent on the new look National Army Museum.

Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HT

Tube: Sloane Square Station

 
 

More than 23 million pounds has been spent on the re-development of the National Army Museum which reopened in 2017 to reveal a radical transformation. This summer family activities include Play Base which welcomes children aged 0 to 8 with fun and engaging activities in an immersive base camp. For over 8s Construction Challenge (22nd July to 3rd September 2017) enables children to discover engineering techniques and have a go at the construction challenge, exploring how the army adapts to its surroundings. Both children and adults alike can discover the teamwork of driving a tank, the rhythm required to drum a battle command and learn to 'fall IN' with the museum's own Drill Sergeant in the interactives area located in the five permanent galleries.

 
 
 

Natural History Museum

Home to 70 million specimens including dinosaurs, giant squids, a life sized blue whale and a sea cow.

Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 5BD

Tube: South Kensington Station , Gloucester Road Station

 
 

The Natural History Museum is sure to impress even the most jaded of children. This ornate museum is home to more than 70 million specimens from across the natural world, including insects, fossils and rocks. The Dinosaur gallery is one of the most popular exhibits in the museum, with a giant T. rex, the horned Triceratops and the fossilised skin of an Edmontosaurus. Kids can also try their hand at becoming a scientist through hands-on educational tools, gallery trails and art activities. And if the giant squid and blue whales still haven't awed your kids, take them inside a giant globe representative of the solar system, or bring them to 'The Power Within' where they can feel an earthquake simulation.

 
 

Events at Natural History Museum

Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

22nd May 2020 to 3rd January 2021 | £18 (Adults), £10.95 (Children 16 & under), £14.50 (Concessions), £31.50-£54.95 (Families)

 
Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature Natural History Museum 2020-05-222021-01-03 Where:
Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road London, SW7 5BD
Category: Museums
All events at Natural History Museum
 
 
 
 

Science Museum

Take a look at how science, technology and industry influence everyday life.

Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD

Tube: South Kensington Station

 
 

The Science Museum in South Kensington houses one of the most comprehensive collections looking at the development of science and industry, and it is all done in a fun and creative way. This museum is one of the most interactive in the city, with lots of hands-on exhibits. In the high-tech Wellcome Wing, visitors can digitally alter their faces to look older or younger, and manipulate their voices. Some of the highlights include the Launch Pad gallery, which explains basic scientific principles, Puffing Billy, the oldest steam locomotive in the world and the actual Apollo 10 capsule. The King George III Collection of scientific instruments highlights 18th century science, or if you're looking to rest your feet, there is also a 450-seat IMAX theater. Kids always love the Science Night Sleepovers, which are held throughout the year.

 
 

Events at Science Museum

Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries
OngoingFree Event

19th August 2020 to 31st May 2021 - 10am-6pm | Free, adv booking required

 
Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries Science Museum 2020-08-192021-05-31 Where:
Science Museum, Exhibition Road London, SW7 2DD
Category: Museums
Driverless: Who is in control? OngoingFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

12th June 2019 to 1st October 2020 | Free

 
Driverless: Who is in control? Science Museum 2019-06-122020-10-01 Where:
Science Museum, Exhibition Road London, SW7 2DD
Category: Museums
All events at Science Museum
 
 
 

Discover Children's Story Centre

Fantastic storytelling centre in Stratford East.

383-387 High Street, Stratford, Stratford, London, E15 4QZ

Tube: Stratford Station

 
 

Discover is a fantastic storytelling centre in Stratford East. Story Trails and Garden Trails run frequently and vary from carnival costumes to Capoeira moves, from wizards and witches to pirates or plants. Some of the most effective and most used exhibits here are the simplest, such as a dressing up chest, or a puppet theatre. Established in 1998, Discover provides creative, play and learning opportunities to enable children aged 0 to 11 and their carers to develop their potential. There is also a series of changing exhibitions to enjoy and events at the weekends and during school holidays. It particularly targets families in circumstances of social and economic disadvantage and ensures that children are listened to and can participate in decisions that affect their lives. They also have extensive community, education and training programmes.

 
 
 

ZSL London Zoo

The world's first scientific zoo is over 170 years old and contains 12 listed buildings, 12,000 animals and 650 species.

Regent's Park Outer Circle, Primrose Hill, London, NW1 4RY

Tube: Chalk Farm Station

 
 

London Zoo in Regent's Park is one of the world's most famous zoos and home to over 12,000 animals. 'Meet the Animals' shows are held daily, giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about the animals from their keepers. Rare and beautiful creatures can be seen in the Aquarium, Gorilla Kingdom, the Clore Rainforest Lookout, Penguin Pool, Butterfly Paradise and in the Blackburn Pavilion - home to more than fifty species of birds. The 'Animal Adventure' children's zoo gives kids the chance to experience the sights and smells of the animal kingdom up close. There are tree top and roots zones taking children from the red pandas among the leaves to the underground animals down below. You can even feed and touch the goats and sheep and meet the donkeys, llamas and pigs. City zoos are perhaps a little dated: they've had to take out the elephants, because there wasn't enough space for them, and you'll see happier animals in the safari parks at Windsor and Longleat. Nonetheless, if you don't have the time to travel that far, this zoo is still among the best in the world and a visit is well worthwhile. Every child in London should go at least once.

 
 
 

Legoland Windsor

Cities, people and rides built entirely of LEGO bricks.

Winkfield Road, Windsor, London, SL4 4AY

Tube: Heathrow Terminals 123 Station

 
 

LEGOLAND Windsor is a unique family theme park dedicated to the imagination and creativity of children of all ages. Learn to drive a Lego car, pan for pirate gold, ride the dragon in the Dragon Coaster, or brave the Pirate Falls. The Hall of Fame is a highlight for adults accompanying children, and the park keeps itself up-to-date with LEGO sculptures based around recent developments. Its 50 interactive rides, live shows, building workshops, driving schools and attractions are all set in 150 acres of beautiful parkland. It's a long-running and well-loved national treasure and everybody should go there at least once. The best time to visit is when your offspring are just discovering how much you can do with those little plastic LEGO bricks. Great fun.

 
 
 

Chessington World of Adventures

Fun-packed theme park with low-height restrictions, daredevil rides, a zoo and Go Ape.

Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey, London, KT9 2NE

Tube: Morden Station

 
 

In the beginning, Chessington World of Adventures was a nondescript zoo with a few fairground rides tacked on. Now it's a fully-fledged theme park which offers a packed day out for families. Enjoy over 40 rides and attractions in 10 themed lands, a zoo with over 1,000 animals, SEA LIFE centre, and Go Ape tree top climbing adventure with rope crossings and a four person zip-wire. Added in 2020 is Rainforest which you can explore at the wheel of jungle rangers or by river on a mini-log flume, river rafts or from the treetop canopy, all while spotting creatures including tortoises and capybaras. Despite the fact that most of the rides have the same low height limit of 3ft 9'', the park still boasts a couple of genuine white-knuckle rides. If you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground head for the zoo. One of the highlights here is the Trail of the Kings adventure which takes intrepid visitors on a quest through the jungle, meeting gorillas, Sumatran tigers, spotted Persian leopards and majestic Asian lions en route. The safari offers panoramic views over the park and a good angle on the some animal compounds - especially the penguins, otters and sea lions.

 
 
 
 
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