London’s 10 Best Family Attractions
Did you know London was named TripAdvisor’s #1 top destination for 2019? There are many reasons the capital of the United Kingdom is the world’s favorite city to visit. And it’s a great place to take your whole family for an amazing vacation.
There’s so much for families to do in London that it’s impossible to list everything here. Here are 10 of the best family attractions.
The Science Museum
Attraction Name: The Science Museum
Location: Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD
Opening Hours: 10 am – 6 pm every day
Public transport: South Kensington Underground Station
Pricing: Free entry (though some special temporary exhibitions require tickets)
Bookings: Not needed for general entry. For special exhibitions, visit their website for instructions.
Kids activities: Many, including the Wonderlab experience which costs £8 and requires booking in advance.
Why I like it: When I was a kid, this was always the first museum I headed to. And the last time I took my kids, it was also where they aimed for. The museum now has a wonderful Information Age Gallery that shows how communication changed from the opening of the Royal Mail, through the telegraph and telephone services, to modern Wi-Fi.
The Making of Harry Potter
Attraction Name: The Warner Brothers Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter
Location: Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR
Opening Hours: You book specific tour times for a certain day
Public transport: Train from Euston Station to Watford Junction then bus to the studio tour
Pricing: Adults £47, Children (5 – 15) £38, Toddlers (0 – 4) Free, and Family Ticket £150
Bookings: You must book beforehand onThe Warner Brothers Studio Tour Website
Kids activities: Lots of interactive displays and exhibits specifically aimed at kids
Why I like it: This is an essential tour for anyone who loves the Harry Potter books or films. My niece is a huge fan, and she begs to go every time she goes to London. However, it’s always booked up ahead of time, so book as early as possible.
King’s Cross Railway Station, Platform 9¾
Attraction Name: King’s Cross Railway Station, Platform 9¾
Location: King’s Cross, Camden, N1C 4AX
Opening Hours: Open 24-hours every day
Public transport: It’s next door to St Pancreas Station and connected by both tube and railway to other stations
Bookings: There’s often a queue during the day but booking isn’t required. I’ve passed it at night when most kids are in bed, and then there’s nobody there. So, go late to queue less, if you can.
Kids activities: Take a selfie while pretending you’re traveling to Hogwarts
Why I like it: After the Harry Potter books and films became so popular, the railway station managers re-created that scene from the first film where the luggage disappears into the wall between platforms 9 and 10. It’s a quick, fun activity to take a photo that makes it look like you’re pushing a luggage trolley through the wall. Note that for outside shots in the films, the facade of neighboring St Pancreas Station (shown above) was used.
Attraction Name: Madame Tussauds
Location: Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LR
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm & Weekends 9 am – 4 pm
Public transport: Baker Street Underground Station or Marylebone Railway Station
Pricing: Adult online price £29
Bookings: It’s a lot cheaper to buy tickets in advance online.
Kids activities: They can come face-to-face with their idols—pop singers, movie stars, and sports personalities
Why I like it: Where else can you go and have your photograph taken next to Donald Trump, the Queen, and Taylor Swift all within an hour? The wax figures here are so realistic that in your photos you’ll look like you really met your favorite celebrity in London.
The London Dungeon
Attraction Name: The London Dungeon
Location: Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB
Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday 10 am – 4 pm, Thursday 11 am – 4 pm, Friday 10 am – 4 pm, Saturday 10 am – 6 pm, & Sunday 10 am – 5 pm
Public transport: Waterloo Train & Underground Station
Pricing: Online adult price £24
Bookings: It’s much cheaper to buy tickets online
Kids activities: Older kids will love the interactive shows, but it’s too scary for young kids.
Why I like it: This is a very alternative look at the nasty side of history. Discover how traitors were tried and executed and learn about infamous criminals from London’s past, both real and fictional.
Route 15 Heritage Double Deck Bus Service
Attraction Name: Route 15 London Heritage Bus Service
Location: Scenic bus route along the historic north bank of the Thames from Trafalgar Square to Tower Hill
Opening Hours: 9.35 am until approximately 10.00 pm every day, with buses running every 20 minutes
Public transport: There are tube stations nearby along the route, including Embankment, Temple, Mansion House, Cannon Street, and Monument
Pricing: The ride costs £1.45 no matter how long you travel for. If you want to hop on and off, buy a one-day bus ticket. However, note that you can’t use cash or contactless cards.
Kids activities: Your kids will get to travel on a vintage bus like the one used in the Harry Potter films and see famous sights, like the Tower of London and Trafalgar Square.
Why I like it: This special service uses the old-style red London double-decker buses that have gone out of service elsewhere. Between 1956 and 2005, the Routemaster was London Transport’s workhorse. Now there are only 5 left in service. Route 15 is for nostalgic people like me.
West End Theater District
Attraction Name: West End Theater District
Location: The West End. Central London north of the river and west of the City of London
Opening Hours: Different for each show — usually evenings
Public transport: There are 18 Underground stations in the West End from Baker Street to Tottenham Court Roat
Pricing: Varies by show
Bookings: Contact each theatre individually
Kids activities: Around the holiday season, Pantomimes are fantastic for younger kids. And musicals like The Lion King are good at any time of the year.
Why I like it: Whether you want to watch new shows like The Book of Mormon or old classics like The Phantom of the Opera, you’ll find the best musical performers in the world in the West End of London. Everyone should watch a high-quality, live musical performance at least once in their life.
The London Eye
Attraction Name: The London Eye
Location: Lambeth, London SE1 7PB
Opening Hours: 11 am – 6 pm
Public transport: Closest to Waterloo Underground Station, but also close to Embankment, Charing Cross, and Westminster
Pricing: £27 online price
Bookings: Book online
Kids activities: Your kids will be excited about rising so high into the sky
Why I like it: The London Eye provides you and your family with the very best panoramic views of the London skyline. London has changed much since my childhood. 16 of the 20 tallest buildings in London were constructed after 2000, and London now boasts more skyscrapers than any other city in the European Union.
The Tower of London
Attraction Name: The Tower of London
Location: St Katherine’s & Wapping, EC3 4AB
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9 am – 4:30 pm, Sunday – Monday 10 am – 4:30 pm
Public transport: Tower Hill Underground Station
Pricing: £24.70 adult ticket, £19.30 seniors & students, and £11.70 children 5 – 15
Bookings: Cheaper online
Why I like it: Not only is this the oldest castle in London but it’s also where you can see the armor King Henry VIII wore to joust and all the Queen’s most important jewels, including her crowns and other symbols of the state. You will never see such a historic, valuable, and dazzling collection of “bling” anywhere else in the world.
Changing of the Guards
Attraction Name: Changing of the Guards
Location: Buckingham Palace, Westminster, SW1A 1AA
Time: 11 am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday
Public transport: Victoria, Green Park, and Hyde Park Corner Underground Stations
Bookings: No booking necessary, but always check on the Army website before going in case of cancelation
Kids activities: Kids love watching the soldiers marching accompanied by a marching band
Why I like it: Over the years, much of the pomp and ceremony attached to the monarchy has been toned down. But the changing of the guards is a popular event that has remained untouched by the passage of time. And when you see the soldiers marching in their bearskin hats and red coats, it’s a reminder of a long-lost time when Great Britain really was great.
Map of London’s 10 Best Family Attractions
Below is a map showing the location of London’s 10 Best Family Attractions. Click on each marker to see the name of the attraction, a link to each attractions website and a link for directions to the attraction.
Robert loves nature and history. As a child, he drove his parents crazy on vacation begging to visit museums and castles instead of beaches and theme parks. Now his children send him insane by demanding to visit beaches and theme parks.
He became interested in travel while studying archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge University. He volunteered on archaeological excavations all around the British Isles then enjoyed a year exploring and learning about China.
Today, he loves writing about the places he’s visited and still spends time exploring museums and castles.