Top Ideas For Family Days Out In London In 2024

We have tons of ideas for family days out in London if you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip.

London is hands down one of the best cities in the world to visit with kids as there is so much to do in London for families.

We are from London originally and have explored all of London’s top attractions with kids as well as some hidden gems.

But London being London, there are always new and interesting things popping up so we’re constantly updating this guide to give you the most up to date London days out for families.

Visiting London at Christmas? Check out our post on the best festive days out for families in London.

And don’t miss our post on the best places to have afternoon tea in London with kids or places with free kids’ meals in London.

And if you’re looking for something to do near London, check our post on things to do near London with kids.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and book or buy something, we may earn a small commission but this is at no extra cost to you.

Boy in a yellow tshirt looking out over Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

These are our favourite family days out in London…

For the best family days out in London, we recommend the following attractions for kids.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum should be high on your list of attractions to visit in London with kids. It offers a fun and educational day out for families and is great if you’re looking for wet weather activities in London for kids.

The iconic Romanesque building in South Kensington first opened its doors in 1881 and houses one of the largest natural history collections in the world.

With over 80 million items within five main collections (palaeontology, zoology, botany, entomology and mineralogy, palaeontology), there is something for everyone.

As well as these impressive collections, there are special events and exhibitions throughout the year.

Amazingly, the museum is free to visit although we always recommend leaving a donation if you can to help with the running costs. This is top of our list of free things to do in London with kids.

You can spend an entire day here (there is an onsite restaurant) and still not see everything. We have been many times and are still finding new and interesting exhibits as the kids’ interests change.

In the early years it was the impressive dinosaur collection that captivated them, including a huge, animatronic T-Rex. Now it is the staggering collection of gems and minerals and rocks of all sorts from around the world.

If you love dinosaurs, see here for other great dinosaur attractions in the UK.

For years now, it has been one of our favourite family places to visit in London for free.

Closest tube station: South Kensington.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: The Ampersand – with views of the Natural History Museum, you can’t get much closer. They also have a fabulous Jurassic and Science themed afternoon tea.

Two boys in red jackets looking at gems in the Natural History Museum in London - one of the best family days out in London.

The Science Museum

Sticking in South Kensington, The Science Museum is right next door to the Natural History Museum. So if you haven’t spent the whole day at the NHM, why not pop next door for some more free (and educational) fun?

There are lots of exhibits that you can visit free of charge showcasing incredible scientific achievements over the years (pre-booking is required). But our favourite section for kids is the Wonder Lab which is not free but well worth it in our opinion.

It is an incredible, immersive gallery where children can learn about Maths, Forces, Electricity, Light, Space, Matter and Sound.

There are also live demonstrations from the science Explainers.

Our kids loved the ‘friction slides’, creating the best paper flying design and creating actual waves with sound waves.

Closest tube station: South Kensington.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: The Ampersand (as above).

Kids enjoying the friction slides at the Wonder Lab in the Science Museum in London - one of the best days out for families in London.

The British Museum

The British Museum is one of our favourite museums in London for kids. No matter what they are learning about in school, it is bound to be covered here.

Galleries in the British Museum cover over 2 million years of history including the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans and much much more.

In the Great Court, you will find the family kiosk where you can pick up special museum guides for kids. See here for special family events that run through the year.

The British Museum is one of the most educational family things to do in London and great if you’re looking for cheap family days out in London.

Also nearby is the Postal Museum which is great for kids.

Closest tube station: Tottenham court Road, Holborn and Russell Square are all about a 6 minute walk.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: The Rosewood or Premier Inn London Holborn.

Other museums in London that are great for families are:

  • National Maritime MuseumThe National Maritime Museum is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich and tells the history of our explorations by sea. See what activities they have for kids here. See also the Royal Observatory while in Greenwich.
  • Young V&A (formerly V&A Museum of Childhood) – Young V&A is temporarily closed but re-opening in July 2023. They are creating a space dedicated to young people to imagine, create and design.
  • Tate Modern – walking around a huge art gallery with kids may not seem like an obvious choice but there’s always something going on at the Tate Modern for kids especially during the school holidays. Head up to the 7th floor of the Blavatnik Building for great views of the River Thames and the City of London.

Remember that whilst they are free, a small donation is always welcome to help keep them open. Check on their individual websites but you may still need to book tickets, even if they are free to visit.

Boy looking at Egyptian mummies in the British Museum in London.

Tower of London

The Tower of London is one of the most iconic landmarks in London as well as one of the most visited tourist attractions in London.

The one thing that you absolutely must do when visiting the Tower of London is to take a free Yeoman (Beefeater) tour. They start near the main entrance and take around one hour.

You will be thoroughly entertained with tales of grim and grizzly events that occurred in the Tower.

Our tip for visiting the Tower of London with kids would be to go early when it opens and head straight for the Crown Jewels. Then go and do your Yeoman tour and then you can wander around at your leisure.

Also nearby the Tower of London is The Monument which is a must for all children who have learned about or are learning about the Great Fire of London. There are also great views of London from the top.

We spent half a day at the Tower of London and didn’t manage to see everything so we would recommend setting aside nearly a full day.

Closest tube station: Tower Hill.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: The Tower Hotel.

Kids talking to a guide book seller at the Tower of London - one of the most visited attractions for families in London.

Tower Bridge

If you’re going to be visiting the Tower of London, you should squeeze in a visit to one of the most iconic bridges in the world, Tower Bridge.

You can climb the stairs of the towers and walk across the top of the bridge. Not only do you get fantastic views of the City of London skyline, you also get amazing views of the traffic below through the glass floor!

We found this to be quite reasonable compared to other attractions in London for kids at around £19.00 for a family.

If you time your visit right, you can also watch Tower Bridge opening to let tall boats through.

You can buy your Tower Bridge tickets here.

Closest tube station: Tower Hill.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: The Tower Hotel.

Two boys lying on the glass floor of Tower Bridge looking up at the ceiling.

Globe Theatre

I never really enjoyed Shakespeare when I was at school as I didn’t understand it. So when I found out that there were family-friendly events at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to make Shakespeare fun for kids, we had to visit.

They offer workshops, storytelling and family-friendly tours. They are even teaming up with CBeebies this summer on a live production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth night.

You can check here to see what is going on at the Globe Theatre for families.

Buy your tickets here.

Closest tube station: Blackfriars.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: Sea Containers or Hilton London Bankside.

Family on a tour of the Globe Theatre in London with two boys in yellow tshirts looking at the stage.

London Eye

The London Eye is another iconic sight in London and is well worth a visit in our opinion BUT only on a clear day.

We would normally recommend buying tickets in advance but there is a risk of bad weather in London which could seriously spoil the views.

If you are visiting London in the peak season (summer holidays), then you should probably still buy tickets in advance to avoid missing out.

You can find out more and buy London Eye tickets here.

But if you have some flexibility, you might want to wait until nearer the time and check the weather.

The London Eye experience will take around 30 minutes in which time you will make one complete rotation of the 135m tall wheel.

For the best views, we like to head to the far end of the pod looking out over the River Thames.

Right next to the London Eye is a great playground if you have younger kids.

London Eye tips – buy the fast pass if you are pressed for time because the queues can get big! You can get combo deals on the Merlin attractions if you are visiting more than one which will save you money.

The Waterloo and Southbank area is a great part of London for families. There are lots of things going here.

  • London Dungeon (Merlin attraction)
  • Shrek’s Adventure (Merlin attraction)
  • SeaLife (Merlin attraction)
  • Royal Festival Hall (with a splash pad next to it)
  • National Theatre
  • IMAX

Closest tube station: Waterloo.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: Park Plaza County Hall or Premier Inn County Hall.

Child looking at the views of London from the London Eye.

 Shrek’s Adventure

As mentioned above, Shrek’s Adventure is based right next to the London Eye in the County Hall building.

As the name suggests, Shrek’s adventure is all about Shrek but you don’t need to be a Shrek fan to appreciate it.

We visited not knowing what to expect and really enjoyed it. The actors were all fun and engaging and the immersive experience took us to Far Far Away on a mission to rescue Shrek.

It takes around 90 minutes to be guided through your shrek journey. You can find out more and buy Shrek’s Adventure tickets here.

Closest tube station: Waterloo.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: Park Plaza County Hall or Premier Inn County Hall.

People waiting at the start of the Shrek's Adventure tour in London.

London Dungeons

The London Dungeon is another attraction run by Merlin Entertainments and is conveniently located next to the London Eye and Shrek’s Adventure.

The Dungeons have come a long way over the years. I first visited 35 years ago when it was just figures in a static scene with sound effects.

Nowadays, you are guided on a journey through 1000 years of London history in a most immersive way.

There are live actors, special effects and underground rides making it one of the most scary experiences for families in London. There is also a ride that children under 1.2m cannot go on. For this reason, we recommend this family day out in London for kids age 8+.

You can find out more and buy London Dungeons tickets here.

Closest tube station: Waterloo.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: Park Plaza County Hall or Prmeier Inn County Hall.

Two excited boys at the entrance of the London Dungeon.

SEA LIFE

SEA LIFE is another Merlin attraction where you can see ocean creatures up close in three different aquarium zones: Ocean Invaders, Rainforest Adventure and Coral Kingdom.

For us, there is always the ethical question as to whether animals should be kept in captivity. But SEA LIFE does great things for shark conservation and it is a very educational experience.

For this reason, it makes it onto the list of best family days out in London.

Make sure to check out what’s going on around the time you want to visit as they may be running a special event.

You can find out more and buy SEA LIFE tickets here.

Closest tube station: Waterloo.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: Park Plaza County Hall or Prmeier Inn County Hall.

Two kids looking at large star fish in a tank at a sea life centre.

Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds first opened its doors in 1835 and has been a firm favourite among the family attractions in London for many years.

The wax figures are constantly changing to keep up with the times. If you haven’t been in a while (35 years in my case), it is well worth visiting again.

These days there are over 150 famous figures including the Royal Family, musical stars, sports stars, movie stars and fictional movie characters.

You can actually get right up to the waxworks for a Madame Tussauds selfie. Some of them are incredibly realistic.

They also offer immersive experiences like the Marvel Universe 4D experience and there is a fun taxi ride taking you on a whirlwind tour of hundreds of years of London history.

This is one of the best things to do in London with kids of all ages.

You can find out more and buy Madame Tussauds tickets here.

Also very close by is the Sherlock Holmes museum and London Zoo is just on the other side of the beautiful Regents Park.

Closest tube station: Baker Street.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: The Level at Melia White House or Holiday Inn Regents Park.

Boy sitting on a bike with ET in the basket with a full moon in the background at Madame Tussauds in London.

Sky Garden

The Sky Garden is a great option for getting the best views of London and, amazingly, it is free.

Although it is free, you still need to book a ticket and you should do this as far in advance as you can. You can spend as little or as much time here as you like once you are in. There is a café where you can grab a bite to eat.

If you miss out on the free tickets for the Sky Garden, another option would be the Garden at 120 which is also free to visit and just 1 minute away.

Failing that, you could look into tickets to visit The Shard. It has the highest viewing platform in Western Europe –  on the 72nd floor.

You can buy Shard entry tickets here.

While you are in the area of the Sky Garden, pop into St Dunstan in the East for a lovely, quiet, shady spot. These church ruins in the middle of the city are quite unique. You are also walking distance from the Tower of London and London Mithraeum (a Roman excavation in the heart of the City of London).

Top tip: Pop into One New Change shopping centre and head to the Roof Terrace for spectacular views of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Closest tube station: Monument.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: The Ned or Hilton Tower of London.

The Sky Garden in London.

Buckingham Palace

Can your trip to London with kids be complete without a visit to Buckingham Palace?

There are lots of things to do with kids when you visit Buckingham Palace. See here for their list of family events.

There are interactive family tours and a Little Trekkers activity trail for under 5s.

If you get a warden to stamp your ticket, it will turn into an annual pass and you can get free entry for the next 12 months.

Also, if you time your visit right, you might catch the Changing of the Guard which takes place daily at 11am and is free to watch.

You can buy Buckingham Palace tickets here or small group Changing of the Guards walking tour here.

Closest tube station: Green Park, Hyde Park Corner or Victoria.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: Rubens at the Palace.

View of Buckingham Palace from the London Eye.

ZSL London Zoo

Established in 1826, London Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world. It is also one of the most respected zoos in the world and is home to over 800 species.

London Zoo is about more than just the animals. During your visit you can learn about ZSL’s initiatives around the world, how to pursue a career in zoology, conservation tips, and much more. It is one of the most interesting London experiences for kids who love animals.

If you are visiting at Christmas, they have a lovely Santa’s Grotto.

You can buy your London Zoo tickets here or buy an annual membership if you think you will visit more than once.

Closest tube station: Camden Town.

Family-friendly hotel recommendation: The Level at Melia White House or Holiday Inn Regents Park.

Entrance to London Zoo - one of the biggest family attractions in London.

Other family days out in London

London parks and gardens

London is a concrete jungle but considering how many people live here and how crowded it may seem, there are also lots of beautiful green spaces.

Parks and gardens in London are perfect places for families to go in London to explore and unwind.

If you combine a park visit with a free museum, you can actually have very budget friendly days out for families in London.

Take a picnic if you want to save even more money. Our favourite parks in London are:

Hyde Park / Kensington Gardens – home to the fabulous Princess Diana Memorial Playground.

Battersea Park – adventure playground and Battersea Park children’s zoo.

Regents Park – home to London Zoo, beautiful flower gardens and open air theatre events in the summer.

Victoria Park – oldest public park in London and a lovely green space in the East End of London.

Coram’s Fieldsplay area and a large splash pool in the summer months.

Richmond Park – a huge 2500 acre expanse of open park land and a National Nature Reserve. A great place for exploring the great outdoors without leaving London.

If you’re visiting in the summer, why not pack some swimsuits and a towel and head to one of the many splash pads. Our favourite ones are:

  • Granary Square near Kings Cross
  • Somerset House near Covent Garden
  • City Hall near Tower Bridge

Also bear in mind that places like Chessington and Legoland are easily accessible for a day out from London.

The same goes for the WB Studios. Just a short ride from London Euston station is one of the best days out for Harry Potter fans!

Do you have any family days out in London that you love? Let us know!