There is so much to see and do in London, UK for the entire family! Passes and bundled discount packages are offered for many of the attractions. Here is a list of 25 must-sees when in London — with many more are available.
Ø The 2.5-hour Muggle’s Guide to London is excellent! See the places in London made famous by the Harry Potter novels.
Ø Warner Bros. Studios–The Making of Harry Potter – Located in Leavesden, 20 miles north of London, you can visit the studios where most of the Harry Potter movies were filmed. Visitors can explore the different sets (4 Privet Drive, Hogwarts dining room, Dumbledore’s office), practice wand magic in Dark Arts, explore the Forbidden Forest, and check out thousands of props and costumes. Extras include riding a broomstick using green screen technology, climbing aboard a mockup carriage of the Hogwarts Express and drinking Butterbeer. Since it takes at least an hour each way, you’ll need a whole day to make the most of your visit.
Ø London Dungeon — The London Dungeon is an interactive recreation of the gruesome parts of London’s 1000 year-old history. Costumed actors lead you through expertly created sets; you come face to face with King Henry VIII ordering the execution of his wife, Guy Fawkes of the Gunpowder Plot, a medieval plague doctor and the murderous barber of Fleet Street, and others. Creepy props, sound and light effects, plenty of audience participation, actors jumping out at you from dark corners and a ‘death drop’ ride make it suitable for older children only.
Ø KidZania – Kids absolutely love this place-they get involved in real-life role-playing in construction, theatre, engineering, dentistry, medicine, banking, fire and rescue, aviation, bus driving, and about 24 other occupations.
Ø Chocolate Ecstasy Walking Tour – Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! So much chocolate, so little time!!
Ø Cutty Sark — Raised off the ground and surrounded by glass on the Thames riverbank in Greenwich, the Cutty Sark is the world’s last surviving tea clipper. This 19th-century boat used to sail to China and back, bringing back a cargo of tea in exchange for other goods. Today, you can climb aboard and explore the sleeping quarters of the captain and officers, mess about with the interactive maps, play hide and seek behind boxes of cargo and take the helm at the ship’s wheel. There are backpacks full of toys for families to borrow and a free family trail leading through the ship’s interior.
Ø London Zoo – sits in the northern part of Regent’s Park and is extremely popular with families. Wildlife habitats include Tiger Territory, Gorilla Kingdom, Land of the Lions, Penguin Beach and Reptile House (where part of a Harry Potter film was shot). Meet the Monkeys is a big hit with younger kids and you can visit creepie crawlies in the spider walkthrough. Kids (11-15-year-olds) also have the option of playing junior zookeeper for a day (book in advance) and the zoo organizes Bed Bugs sleepovers in the Bug House.
Ø LEGOLAND Windsor – Tickets and transportation from London. Legoland Windsor is all about the bricks. It’s divided into several different ‘worlds’, from the Kingdom of the Pharaohs and Land of the Vikings to Ninjago World and Mini-land – where you get to see London’s famous buildings recreated in miniature using Lego bricks. There’s a good mixture of rides for toddlers, pre-school and primary school kids, as well as fantastic Lego creations, 4D movies, live shows and adventure playgrounds. Some of the rides mean getting wet, which is particularly fun in hot weather. Download the Legoland app to find your way around the park.
Ø Shrek’s Adventure – Good fun in central London. Best for 5 to 13-year-old kids – adults love it too!
Ø The Original London Sightseeing Bus Tour – Hop-on hop-off 3 different bus routes around the city.
Ø Free river cruise from Westminster to the Tower of London is included in the ticket of the Original London Sightseeing tour.
Ø There’s also the London Duck Tours where the bus/boat enters the Thames.
Ø The London By Night Bus Tour.
Ø London Eye – This giant Ferris wheel offers fantastic views of greater London. It takes 30 minutes to go around and the wheel moves at such a calm speed it’s not scary for any ages. Passengers are completely enclosed in air-conditioned and heated glass pods that fit 25 people.
Ø Tower of London – This well-preserved medieval castle is one of London’s premier attractions for families – adults and children love it. Arrive as close to opening time as possible and head straight to the White Tower which is loaded with interesting and kid-friendly exhibits.
Ø Next visit the Crown Jewels… See the crown jewels the monarchs wore at their coronations and weddings. From Crowns to Scepters… you will be dazzled by the magnificent gems.
Ø Madame Tussauds Wax Museum Come face to face with Kong, have your picture taken with members of the royal family, or talk with BB8 from Star Wars!
Ø Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard — Some kids find this a little dull, others love the pomp and tradition. The best place to see the guards is on The Mall, near St. James’s Palace. If your kids are small they won’t see much squashed in with the crowds at Buckingham Palace. There is also a Changing of the Guard at Windsor Palace (35 minutes outside of London by train) that sees far smaller crowds but offers more pageantry.
With over 700 exhibits waiting to be discovered, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London is the ultimate home of the unbelievable, ideal for family days out with the kids. With everything you can imagine all under one roof (and plenty more you can’t!) From the Harry Potter Hungarian Horntail made from recycled bike parts, Tower Bridge made up of matchsticks and a transformer, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London is a day out of the ordinary for the whole family.
Ø Stonehenge Day Trip The perfect day out of London that includes entrance to Windsor Castle, the Royal residence of the Queen and prehistoric Stonehenge. Entrance to the Roman Baths in Bath is also included.
Ø Tower Bridg — London’s #1 icon. Tower Bridge was built over 120 years ago to ease road traffic while maintaining river access to the busy Pool of London docks. Built with giant moveable roadways that are raised for passing ships, it is to this day considered an engineering marvel and beyond being one of London’s favorite icons, it is arguably one of the most famous and instantly recognizable structures in the entire world. The bridge opens and closes almost 1,000 times a year. You can also get a look at the steam-driven machinery that raised the bridge for the first hundred years of its existence.
Ø British Museum — One of the world’s best museums; has a kid-friendly attitude and fun children’s audio tours. The Rosetta Stone, the Elgin (Parthenon) Marbles, and the Egyptian mummies are some of the awesome exhibits. as you enter the museum.
Ø Science Museum — A futuristic museum that is spread across seven floors of interactive and entertaining exhibits and explores everything from space travel to the Industrial Revolution. There’s something here for kids of all ages, including toddlers. Highlights include the giant telescope in the Exploring Space section, flying machines in the Flight Gallery – from hot air balloons to vintage planes, and the IMAX cinema shows on deep space and the underwater world. Visits to the Science Museum can easily be combined with visits to the Natural History Museum.
Ø Hyde Park – The Diana, Princess of Wales pirate-themed playground is very popular with kids (tube: Queensway). You can also rent paddle boats and row boats or cool off in the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain (tube: Knightsbridge or Hyde Park Corner).
Ø St James’s Park (tube: St James’s Park) – A beautiful park with one of the best playgrounds in the city.