Things to Do in London with Kids
Travel Mom Michelle (a fellow author and a children’s school librarian) joins us to share her fun things to do in London with kids from her family’s adventure in the city! It was also her, her husband, and their two sons’ (2nd-grader and 5th-grader) first-time change and European trip.
How long was your trip?
We went to London in June for 4 days. From there, we went to Leipzig, Germany and Bologna, Italy.
What made you pick London?
We knew the kids would love London, and it would be a good jumping-off point for our trip. The kids could quickly get their feet wet with the time change and language. The boys were also very excited about the history London has to offer, including war and royals.
How did you find information for your trip?
Before we left, being a librarian, we checked out a bunch of books about London. I gave the boys sticky notes and had them do some research. Everyone got to pick one thing they really wanted to do in London.
What was the BEST part of the trip for you?
My pick was High Tea, which I highly recommend. It was fancy and such a unique experience.
(note from Shannon…I love tea at The Orangery at Kensington Palace. When we were there, there were lots of families. And you can make a reservation on Open Table.)
What was the BEST part of the trip for the family?
The Churchill War Rooms. While it was my husband and older son’s pick, we all enjoyed it. This is where Churchill ran the Second World War. It’s a vast series of bunkers and is very well preserved. There’s a huge map room where they tracked the ships. The boys have read about WWII and were fascinated by the history. It’s also very interactive and self-directed. It’s a very well-done museum. Definitely get tickets in advance.
The Tower of London was also fun for everyone…giant jewels and gemstones and all sorts of cool torture stuff (super fun for 2nd and 5th-grade boys). It had an excellent audio tour led by the Ravens for the kids.
Both sites had great audio tours that could be differentiated based on age. It puts someone else in charge of the pacing. We could be together and get what we each wanted out of the tour.
We also made time to visit playgrounds and run around outside. The balance in London was perfect.
What was the BEST part of the trip for your kids?
My 5th-grader picked The British Museum. We got a map of the museum the night before and let him map our route for the day. He had just finished studying Egypt and was so excited to see the Rosetta Stone and so many of the artifacts he had studied.
My 2nd grader picked The London Eye. We were fortunate as we didn’t book in advance, as everyone suggests. We went to the Tower of London one morning when it was cloudy, then it cleared up in the afternoon, and we walked over to the London Eye and got right on. My son loved it! Everyone thought it was cool to see the views of where we’d been in the city over the last few days.
(note from Shannon…we booked the Eye Lounge and Champagne Experience in advance, which was fun. You can find tickets under Upgrades on the London Eye website.)
We stayed in an adorable neighborhood near King’s Cross. There were so many wonderful restaurants we could just walk to and only had to make reservations one night. We had excellent food…a pub, high-end Middle Eastern, pizza. Everywhere had food the kids could eat.
Top Tips and Advice
- We approach this trip and every trip as we will come back one day, so we don’t need to see everything.
- You can’t go deep on everything. For example, we stopped one night to see Buckingham Palace then know we can go deeper on the next trip.
- Definitely get tickets in advance for ticketed attractions.
- Traveling with kids is this unique balance of planning ahead and leaving a lot of relaxing time in the schedule. Being flexible within a schedule is really helpful.
- Audio tours are fantastic as they can allow everyone to engage in the sites the way they want.
Why do you travel with your kids?
There are so many benefits for kids. Flexibility is a big one. The ability to adapt more quickly to new situations, to appreciate how people do things differently and see different ways of doing things.
Next trip you’re planning or dreaming about?