London is great for kids and has lots of family-friendly attractions, events and activities. Whether you're looking for child-friendly restaurants, free attractions for kids, or ideas for your day out in London, you'll find it here!
Family Day Out in South Kensington
Take the kids to South Kensington and you'll find everything you need for a fantastic family day out. With some of London's most famous museums plus huge open spaces, there is plenty for children of all ages to enjoy.
Best of all, most of these attractions are free!
Morning: London's Magnificent Museums
There are three fabulous museums in South Kensington, and each one could easily fill a whole morning. Take your pick!
The Science Museum is packed with interactive exhibits that are both fun and educational. Learn all about the major scientific achievements of the last 300 years and take a peek into life in the future. You can also catch a film in the museum's IMAX 3D Cinema.
Dinosaurs, creepy crawlies and a huge blue whale are just a few of the amazing exhibits waiting for you at the Natural History Museum. Kids can handle treasures in the museum's hands-on science centre and examine geological specimens in the Earth Lab. Free Explorer backpacks are available for under sevens, filled with activities to keep them amused and help get the most out of the museum. Don't forget to pay a visit to the new Darwin Centre, too.
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is London's leading museum of art and design. The V&A is home to 3,000 years' worth of amazing artefacts from around the world. Every weekend the museum holds free special events for families, including Drop-in-Design, where you can create your own crazy designs inspired by the collections.
Lunch in South Kensington
You'll find excellent family-friendly dining in each of the museums, as well as picnic areas if you've brought your own food.The Deep Blue café at the Science Museum is an award-winning family restaurant, offering activity boxes to keep younger children entertained.
Alternatively, try the delicious burgers at the South Kensington branch of Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK). With more than 28 varieties of burger on the menu, smaller burgers for kids, a vegetarian selection and an organic range, there's something for everyone.
Afternoon: London's Royal Parks
After lunch, it's time to explore Kensington Gardens. Look out for the statue of Peter Pan and the Elfin Oak, a gnarled, partially hollow tree stump carved with figures of fairies, elves and woodland animals.
Children love racing around the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens. Inspired by the stories of Peter Pan, this magical playground has a huge wooden pirate ship as its centrepiece. There is also plenty of seating so you can relax while the kids embark on an exciting adventure!
After conquering the imaginary high seas, why not hire a boat and set sail for real? You can sail model boats on Round Pond in Kensington Gardens or hire a rowing boat or pedalo on The Serpentine lake in nearby Hyde Park.
Evening Meal in South Kensington
End your day with a meal at Sticky Fingers. Founded by Bill Wyman, bass player with the Rolling Stones, this Kensington restaurant caters for all tastes, with burgers, steaks, fajitas, salads and more. A kids' menu is available with mains, dessert and soft drinks for £7.95 per child. And make sure you check out the cool band memorabilia decor.
You could also try Dinos. This family-friendly Italian restaurant has been serving hungry Londoners and tourists for more than 50 years.
For more ideas for things to do, visit the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's official website www.rbkc.gov.uk/visit
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter
About Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London provides an amazing new opportunity to explore the magic of the Harry Potter™ films – the most successful film series of all time. This unique walking tour takes you behind-the-scenes and showcases a huge array of beautiful sets, costumes and props. It also reveals some closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects and animatronics that made these films so hugely popular all over the world.
Some of the things you can expect to see and do:
•Step inside and discover the actual Great Hall.
•Explore Dumbledore’s office and discover never-before-seen treasures.
•Step onto the famous cobbles of Diagon Alley, featuring the shop fronts of Ollivanders wand shop, Flourish and Blotts, the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Eeylops Owl Emporium.
•See iconic props from the films, including Harry’s Nimbus 2000 and Hagrid’s motorcycle.
•Learn how creatures were brought to life with green screen effects, animatronics and life-sized models.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter Address
Sleuth your way around London with our Sherlock Holmes itinerary.
Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary novels featured many London locations.
And with the BBC's recent Sherlock Holmes series and the 2009 and 2011 movies starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, there's never been a better time to investigate the world of Sherlock Holmes.
So grab your hat and magnifying glass, and get ready to explore Sherlock Holmes' London.
About Sherlock Holmes
Created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887, Sherlock Holmes has featured in more films than any other literary character.
Doyle's famous detective has been played by 75 actors in more than 200 films, as well as appearing in four novels and 46 short stories.
Baker Street – The Home of Sherlock Holmes
Any Sherlock Holmes pilgrimage should start with a visit to Baker Street. Take the Marylebone exit to come face-to-face with a nine-foot bronze statue of the great detective. Keep an eye open for Sherlock Holmes look-a-likes near the station too!
Madame Tussauds is home to a realistic wax figure of Robert Downey Jr as Sherlock Holmes. As well as seeing the replica Robert Downey Jr in full Sherlock Holmes costume, you can play with the interactive exhibits in his study.
It might take a bit of detective work to find the famous 221b Baker Street address where Sherlock Holmes lived and worked: It's actually located between 237 and 241 Baker Street!
Here, you'll find The Sherlock Holmes Museum, which has recreated his famous study as described in the books. You can also take a peek into Dr Watson's bedroom and look at his belongings and handwritten notes from the great detective.
Make sure you visit the shop, where you can stock up on Sherlock Holmes books, toys and novelties.
While you're in the area, take a look at 2 Devonshire Place, where Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's medical practice was located.
Lunch at The Sherlock Holmes Pub
Hop back on the Tube to Charing Cross, and take a short walk toThe Sherlock Holmes pub. This is the place where Holmes tracked down Francis Hay Moulton in The Noble Bachelors. Here, you'll find another replica of Holmes'' study, as well as a huge amount of memorabilia, including Dr Watson's old service revolver and a collection of television and film stills.
Tuck into a delicious detective-themed lunch in the restaurant at The Sherlock Holmes. How about A Case of Identity (chicken liver pate) followed by Dr Watson's favourite, Cumberland sausages?
London Locations Featured in Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson travelled all over London as they pursued clues and criminals, and many of the capital's famous locations feature in the novels.
Wander up The Strand to see the The Lyceum Theatre, where meetings took place in The Sign of Four, and take a look at the beautiful Royal Opera House, a favourite haunt of Sherlock Holmes.
Not far from the Royal Opera House, is the Freemasons Hall, a Grade II listed building which is used in the new Sherlock Holmes film. Freemasons Hall is the home of Freemasonry, one of the world's oldest secular fraternal societies.
You could also continue to Bloomsbury to see the spectacularBritish Museum, often visited by Holmes for his research - and an unmissable London icon.
From here, hop onto the Tube again, and head to St Paul's Cathedral, where key scenes were shot for the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie.
Dinner at Simpsons-in-the-Strand
Stroll back to The Strand for dinner at Sherlock Holmes' favourite restaurant, Simpson's-in-the-Strand. The restaurant serves traditional English food, including beef carved at your table, and you can really get a feel for Holmes' London here.
Drinks at The Punch Bowl
If you fancy a drink or two, try The Punch Bowl in Mayfair. Although not a Sherlock Holmes haunt, the cast of the Sherlock Holmes movie frequented this pub after filming, along with director Guy Ritchie (who also owns the pub). A great place for celebrity spotting!
More About Sherlock Holmes
Family Day Out For £40
A day out in London with the kids doesn't have to break the bank.
Follow our itinerary and enjoy a fabulous family day out for less than £40.
The Garden, aimed at three to six year olds, is a multi-sensory area where children can explore floating and sinking, shadows and reflections, sound and giant building blocks.
The Launchpad gallery is great for older kids, with more than 50 interactive exhibits, plus electrifying shows and demos, all based on the wonderful world of physics.
Natural History Museum
Next door at the Natural History Museum, get up close to a terrifying T-Rex and find out how baby dinosaurs were born.
Visit Investigate, the hands-on science centre for seven to 14 year olds, and get your hands on geological specimens in the Earth Lab.
Under-sevens will love the free Explorer Backpacks, which contain an explorer hat, binoculars and drawing materials.
Evening: Covent Garden
Catch the Tube to Covent Garden to watch the colourful street performers.
Mime artists, acrobats and bicycle stunt performers are among the regular acts that appear in the Covent Garden piazza.
Dinner in Covent Garden
There are loads of fantastic places to eat in Covent Garden, from small cafes to classy restaurants.
Try Crème de la Crepe, a reasonably-priced pancake restaurant. Choose from savoury crepes with fillings like cheese, ham and vegetables, or sweet treats with fruit, cream and chocolate. Prices start at £3.45.
Alternatively, check out Wahaca, where you can sample Mexican street food in a lively atmosphere. Street food dishes start at £3.50, with main dishes from £5.95.
Or enjoy real Indian food in Masala Zone. The restaurant has more than 200 brightly coloured puppets hanging from the ceiling, depicting an Indian wedding scene. It also offers a kids menu for under sevens costing £4.65 per child.
Family Travel Tips
Children can enjoy free or discounted travel on London's transport system. Older children may need an Oyster photocard.
When it's wet and windy in London, the last thing you want to do is go on an open top London bus tour or have a picnic in one of London's Royal Parks!
Luckily, London has plenty of exciting and fun activities for the whole family that are completely weather-proof.
Whether it's dressing up at London's Discover centre or watching a 3D film at an IMAX cinema, there's so much to do if the weather turns bad, you may not want to save all these ideas for a rainy day!
SEA LIFE London Aquarium
The SEA LIFE London Aquarium is home to one of Europe’s largest collections of global marine life and the jewel in the crown of the 28 SEA LIFE attractions in the UK and Europe. Situated in the heart of London, the experience takes visitors on an immersive and interactive journey along the Great Oceanic Conveyor.
Along the journey, a stunning glass tunnel walkway offers guests an unforgettable experience by strolling underneath a Tropical Ocean. There is plenty of interaction along the way, from feeding the stingrays and watching diving displays to touch pools and discovery zones. Other stars of the show include seahorses, octopus, zebra sharks and the ever popular clown fish.
As well as allowing millions of people to discover the marvels of the marine world, the SEA LIFE network has an important role to play in helping safeguard our seas and their inhabitants for the future. The SEA LIFE London Aquarium provides the UK with a leading centre of excellence on marine management, conservation, preservation and education in the heart of the capital.
For more information and fast track entry, please visit our website at www.sealifelondon.co.uk.
Why not visit the Science Museum’s IMAX 3D cinema? With a screen taller than four double-decker buses this is the world’s most powerful and immersive movie experience. Be transported deep into the action by diving in the ocean, taking a journey into space to the Hubble or flying in legendary aircraft.
Entry to the Science Museum is FREE but charges apply to the IMAX 3D Cinema, simulators and some exhibitions.