London guide - For children
London is the most accommodating cities on earth for young visitors. Not only are most of London’s major museums and galleries free, but also they offer a huge range of interactive and attention-grabbing facilities for families and fun-hungry kids.
London has an enourmous selection of attractions for children of all ages.
There are two brilliant web sites by the London Tourist Board: www.londontown.com that provides a kids' eye view of London and its attractions and www.kidslovelondon.com, dedicated Kids’site with links to top attractions, listings of upcoming events and on-line games. Also check: www.whatson4kids.com.
Museums & Attractions
- Science Museum
This museum understands that children like to be involved with the exibitis: they like to touch, feel, push and offers in its huge Wellcome Wing state of the art exhibits and lots of hands-on fun. Exhibition Road SW7 2DD (0207 942 4454 www.sciencemuseum.org.uk)
- Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum, for its animatronic dinosaur plus sheer number of beasts and animals. Cromwell Road SW7 5BD, (0207 942 5752/ www.nhm.ac.uk)
- Transport Museum
Great child-friendly museum which combines education with activity. For more freestyle fun, the buskers in front of St. Paul’s Covent Garden are often very good. Tthe Piazza WC2E 7BB (0207 379 6344/ www.ltmuseum.co.uk)
- Royal Observatory
Royal Observatory (with a spectacular new Planetarium), there is also a children’s science section to try some astronomical experiments.Greenwich Park SE10 9NF, (0208 312 6565/ www.rog.nmm.ac.uk)
- National Maritime Museum
One of the nation’s favourite family museums full of sea worthy adventures. Romney Road SE10 9NF, (0208 312 6565/ www.nmm.ac.uk)
- National Army Museum
Interesting for adult and kids with a well equipped indoor playground. They will like for sure the recreation of the Battle of Waterloo using some 75,000 toy soldiers.Royal Hospital Road SW3 4HT (0207 730 0717, www.National-army-museum.ac.uk)
- London Eye
London Eye, Riverside Building.A “flight” takes half an hour to admire the Queen’s back garden and follow the snakes of the river Thames.Westminster Bridge Road SE1 7PB, (0870 500 0600/ www.londoneye.com)
- London Aquarium
One of Europe’s largest with its impressive sharks and a a touching pool with giant rays. County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road SE1 7PB, (0207967 8007/ www.londonaquarium.co.uk)
- London Zoo
London Zoo, It is still one of the best place for the little ones to come and learn about animals and play with its marvellous attractions. Regent’s Park NW1 4RY, (0207722 3333/ www.zsl.org/london-zoo)
- Livesey Museum for Children
Interactive kids’ museum with temporry shows and a courtyard to play. 682 Old Kent Road SE15 1JF (0207 635 5829, www.liveseymuseum.org.uk)
There is plenty of outdoor fun to be had in London. The city’s parks all offer exciting Playground between their manicured greenery or unspoilt wilderness: Battersea Park, Coram Fields, Holland Park, Hyde Park (don’t miss Princess of Wales Memorial Payground), Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Park, St.James Park and Primrose Hill are the ones with the best facilities.
If children won’t go to the countryside, then the countryside must come to them. Here’s a selection of some of the best.
Coram’s Fields. 93 Guilford Street WC1, 0207 837 6138.
Kentish Town City Farm, 1 Cressfield Close NW5, 0207 916 5451/ www.aapi.co.uk/cityfarm/home.htm )
Mudchute Park & Farm, Pier Street, Isle of Dogs E14, 0207 515 5901
Top Heaven. Hamleys is one of the largest and certainly the most famous shop in the world and the kids will remember it for sure. Hamleys, 188-196 Regent Street W1, 0870 333 2450/ www.hamleys.com.
3-D spectaculars at the UK’s biggest cinema screen.BFI London IMAX, 1 Charlie Chaplin Walk, SE1 8XR (0870 787 2525/ www.bfi.org.uk/incinemas/imax )
- Pirate’s Castle
Activity centre for young people close to the canal. Pirate’s Castle, Oval road NW1 7EA, (0207 267 6605, www.thepiratecastle.org.)
- Brass rubbing
The kids can make their souvenir by rubbing a waxy colour stick over the beautiful brasses with medieval motifs like knights, dragons, etc.Brass rubbing at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square WC2N 4JJ, (0207 766 1100/ www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org)
Legoland, Winkfield Road, Windsor, (08705 040404/ www.legoland.co.uk )
Restaurant & Café
- Rainforest Café
All in a jungle-esque setting with rumbling volcano that erupts intermittently and moving animals. Rainforest Café’, 20 Shaftsbury Avenue WC2 (0207 434 3111/ www.therainforestcafe.co.uk)
- Smollensky’s on the Strand
Children’s entertainment (clows, face-painters and so on) and fun packs at the week-ends. Smollensky’s on the Strand, 105 Strand WC2R 0AA, (0207 497 2101/ www.smollenskys.co.uk)
- The Blue Kangaroo
Arguably London’s best family restaurant in a sort combining dining room and play area. The Blue Kangaroo, 555 King’s road SW6, (0207 371 7672/ www.thebluekangaroo.co.uk )
- Food for Thought
Cheap and friendly café’ for veggie delights in Covent Garden. Food for Thought, 31 Neal Street WC2, (0207 836 0239)
- Planet Harrods
An American-style restaurant where cartoons play constantly on big screens. Planet Harrods, fourth floor, Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road SW1, (0207 730 1234)