I’ve lived in London all my life and only just moved to Nottingham. A little scary after 30 odd years! But with two children under two, I feel like I still want them to visit the places that I knew and loved growing up. Here they are – my top 5 family-friendly places to visit in London.
The London Aquarium
We recently took Cameo to the London Aquarium and I’m not sure who enjoyed it more. Him or us! It’s a great place for little ones to explore with lots to look at. I’d say the walk through the Aquarium takes about 2 hours, maybe more if you don’t have an inpatient little bean like us.
There’s lots of space for pushchairs and the odd place to sit down and catch a few (sting) rays. See what I did there! It’s a fab learning experience too. Lots of animals to read and learn about. There’s only one section where you need to queue up with lots to keep you entertained nearby. Of course, I’d love to hire a private jet from London to the Maldives and scuba dive with the animals. But this is the next best thing and it’s only a train journey away.
One word of warning, it gets VERY warm in there. So limit what you take and carry around with you and there’s no parking but lot’s of public transport.
My personal favourite was the colourful jellyfish, they’re definitely one for Instagram!
Horniman Museum and Gardens
I grew up visiting the Horniman museum and gardens on a regular basis. There’s so much to do for free, it can be a whole day out! There’s a gorgeous park with lots of stunning flowers and secret spots to run around in. At the back of the park is a bandstand where people perform in the summer months and a little section with animals. On my last visit, there were Turkeys, Alpacas and Goats just to name a few. The museum itself is free with paid for special events at certain times.
It’s a great space to make a day of it. Take a picnic and a camera and have a cheap family day out.
Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
South London bound, this is a secret little hideaway that not many people know about. In Crystal Palace Park there are over 30 giant statues of dinosaurs. Some are child-friendly and can be climbed over. Others are just for looking at. But hidden within the huge park it really is a secret gem. The park itself has lots to offer too, from lakes to play areas. But the Dinosaurs are what makes it super special. Did I mention it’s free? Even better right?!
The River Thames is a weekend trip in itself. You can marvel at the bridges (Tower Bridge is phenomenal), take a look at the amazing buildings and pieces of history near by or grab a cheap boat trip. It’s somewhere to make your little one’s imagination run wild. Imagine their pirates taking over the bridge, wave to the boats passing by as if you’re famous.
When I was little we used to make a packed lunch and take it to the green next to the river. (The area is right next to City Hall and is a great place to take a picnic). We used to make home made boats out of sticks and leaves and drop it in the river. We had a pretend race and would see whose ‘boat’ could get past the bridge first. Obviously, only use natural materials! But all those little things are great memory makers!
If your little ones are into drawing, make sure you take some art materials with you. There’s so much to draw while you’re there it will keep them busy for ages.
Natural History Museum
A classic. One of the biggest and most famous museums in London or probably the world! It’s a must visit at some point in your little one’s childhood and a must visit if you’re heading to London.
Once again, the majority of the museum is free, with selected exhibitions being paid for. With almost every animal and insect on show dating back thousands of years, it’s a pretty unique place. Full of wonder it really is a learning curve. There really is nowhere quite like this.
Before you head here it’s definitely worth checking out the website for updates. It’s super busy and they have lots on. Sometimes they close sections of the museum for upkeep so better to check than be disappointed.
Do you have a favourite place for you and your little ones to visit in London? Let me know in the comments below!