Things to do in Central London with kids

(20 Posts)
pancakesfortea Sat 16-Nov-13 19:52:21

Museums are great and if you arrive when they open at ten you won't have to queue, particularly on a weekday. Science museum is (imho) much better than NHM unless your kids are serious dinosaur obsessives. Ask the explainers (staff in orange shirts) to direct you straight to the kids stuff. They are very helpul and friendly.

Other cheap stuff - you can ride both a new and an old routemaster through town past all the big sights, for the cost of an adult bus ticket. Kids are free.

Also, just walking along the south bank is fun. In my experience visiting kids love seeing the sights - big Ben, the eye etc. There's also a Christmas fair on the south bank from mid November.

If your six year old likes horrible histories then the Imperial War Museum is great and has a new HH spies exhibition. It will also be very quiet compared to other big attractions.

Museum of London is also good, and free. Also another very calm quiet option if you need a break from crowds. Good if they have done the great fire of London at school. You can then walk down to st Paula cathedral and on to the monument, which you can climb for about three quid.

Cable car is great and cheap but a bit far from other attractions (although a trip on the DLR to get there is fun in itself and again free). Also it gets closed at short notice in high winds so check weather before heading east.

Basically there is so much great cheap or free stuff you don't have to pay for big attractions.

Would your kids do ice skating? They have a lovely rink beneath the Tower of London, another really pretty one at Somerset House, at the Natural History Museum...

See what's on South Bank, there might be a christmas market or something on for kids at the theatres

The Thames boats are really fun, and Greenwich is lovely

heidihole Sat 16-Nov-13 19:39:42

London aquarium is very child friendly. They have sharks, crocodile, turtles, fish, "nemo fish" and crabs etc.

What about a show? Matilda or Charlie and choc factory?

Scarlettsstars Sat 16-Nov-13 19:30:39

Save yourself!!!avoid Hamleys!!!! In the run up to Christmas it's hell on earth and you may not make it out in one piece (ok you'll be fine but you'll have that far away look people get when talking about the war or natural disasters) . I've heard selfridges toy dept is good but it's a long haul out that way with tiny ones.

CelticPromise Mon 11-Nov-13 09:03:38

The Transport Museum is also great for kids. It's not cheap but if you are planning a return trip you can use your tickets for a year.

CelticPromise Mon 11-Nov-13 08:58:43

Boat trip on the Thames? If you book online you van get cheap tickets and you can eat a picnic on the boat.

HMS Belfast is the one of the best place to visit for kids , There are lost of things to know and do for kids.
www.londonthisweekend.co.uk/18/post/2013/01/hms-belfast-fun-things-to-do-in-london-with-kids-for-free.html

grew Sat 09-Nov-13 15:02:26

My son loved the natural history museum ( 4 yrs), if you arrive at the natural history and science museums at opening time queue shouldn't be long. You can also book a ticket for dinosaur viewing in advance on their website. It's free it just books your spot. Also check the schedule for Times of shows at the science museum, we went to the bubble show. Have a lovely time.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 09-Nov-13 14:59:02

Queues for the museums are only big during school holidays and, to a lesser extent, the weekends.

Mid-week term-time you can pretty much walk straight in.

Winter Wonderland is nice, but very expensive.

The Diana Playground is wonderful, but obviously depends on the weather.

The NHM has ice skating around Christmas time, which is lovely.

The Science Museum has some really good shows in the theatre area, worth having a look on their website.

How about a show?

VashtaNerada Sat 09-Nov-13 14:49:51

And we arrived at 11:00. Earlier might be better.

VashtaNerada Sat 09-Nov-13 14:49:15

Went to Natural History Museum last week. 45 min queue to get in plus 1hr queue to see dinosaurs. But if you're visiting outside UK school holidays you might be fine.

LonelyLinda Sat 09-Nov-13 13:57:16

Great, yes it is midweek so hopefully there won't be too long queues if any.

If your trip is midweek or during term time the queues won't be huge at the museums. I have never had a problem with them anyway.

Last time we went to the museums it was a Saturday in July. Not the greatest weather either so there might be an expectation that people might do museums. There were no queues at all. I think you have to take each day as it comes and stay flexible and have a plan B.

LonelyLinda Sat 09-Nov-13 13:26:07

We're trying to do quite a lot in two days and would probably rather do something other than queue for a long time iykwim. I didn't even think about queues to be honest. I'd imagine the winter wonderland would take up quite a lot of time.

VashtaNerada Sat 09-Nov-13 13:18:25

Queues are huge at the big museums (although kids didn't seem too bothered!). The Museum of London or Museum of Childhood might be better considering their ages. Winter Wonderland's great for their age group - Father Christmas, kiddie rides, stalls selling cookies, sweets etc.
The cable car across the river's good fun too.

LonelyLinda Sat 09-Nov-13 13:17:12

Oh thank you, the museums are a great idea! As is the bus tour, i'll have a look online for one of those. One that takes in Buckingham Palace and Big Ben would be great.

I agree go to the natural history museum and science museum.

Natural History and Science musuem are great for children and free. You won't be able to see everything though. They are probably a days visit each. Good too if the wweather isn't great.

A bus tour might be good especially if you do it later in the day and the Christmas lights are on. We did a trip on one of the boats from the Tower of London to Westminister Bridge. That was good and you get to see things from a completely different angle plus there is the excitement of going on a boat.

Watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham palace. You'd have to look up the times.

LonelyLinda Sat 09-Nov-13 13:04:40

I'm planning two days in central London at the end of November, the children are 4 and 6.

Could anybody recommend nice things to do as a family please or nice family friendly restaurants.

So far I've got the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, has anybody been? What exactly is there?

Also thought we'd visit Hamleys.

Any other ideas would be great, thank you.

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