When you're thinking of days out for children, you might think London is too loud, too busy and too stuffy for kids. But you couldn't be more wrong.
Our capital city is a wonderful destination for families, with absolutely loads of family friendly activities for children – that won't necessarily break the bank. Here are our top pick of things to do in London with little ones:
The South Bank is one of the finest free places to visit with children in summer. You can mud-lark on the riverbank, play on the man-made beach and watch the heavily painted street performers. Or how about visiting Beanotown in the Royal Festival Hall.
If it's pouring with rain, which is definitely a possibility, then make a dash for The London Aquarium. It's a wonderland for pre-schoolers with lots of space for them to dash around and get up close with all kinds of creatures.
London Zoo has been a favourite with children for over 150 years, yet it's being constantly updated and the displays are really imaginative.
When it's baking hot – or even when it's slightly warm – there's nothing kids like quite as much as getting in a pool of water. My personal favourite is the Serpentine, where you can swim with the ducks while looking at a stunning view of the London Eye, a truly surreal experience.
The Historic Royal Palaces are excellent. They're not cheap, but the season ticket is good value and you don't get much more 'London' than visiting a palace. Hampton Court is where to go if you like Henry VIII, even if their introduction was courtesy of Horrible Histories!
If we tried to list all the museums in London, we would be here all day, but do check out the Museum of London. It's a museum of London history and is thoughtfully laid out with child friendly activities in every area, such as the Roman Street with shops you can play in, and beautiful displays of London's most precious things.
I love the Baby Routes blog, which covers walks you can do with even the smallest children. The walk from Tower Bridge to the South Bank is a classic, passing many of the city's famous landmarks such as St. Pauls, Tate Modern, The Tower of London and Big Ben.
If you prefer to see your sights by train, then Hattie Garlick's post of things to see on the DLR should be right up your track, and bus fans should check out the Number 11 route, as recommended by Kelly of Domestic Goddesque, it's just as good as one of those fancy pants bus tours and kids go free!
Where to Stay in London
The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington makes a perfect starting point if you're heading to the Natural History and Science Museums, as well as being right next to Hyde Park, and the Serpentine.
We found the hotel absolutely lovely – unlike some five star hotels, the staff actively welcome children, with tailored activities throughout the summer, including excellent cooking classes with its team of top chefs, and family treasure hunts that will get you exploring the neighbouring park.
Rooms are well appointed and rather luxurious, with one third featuring floor to ceiling windows with views over Hyde Park and the London skyline. The hotel's Executive Rooms comfortably sleep 2 adults and 2 children and include WiFi, iPod docking station and great views.
The hotel is regularly used by visiting cricket and rugby teams, so young sports fans might enjoy a bit of celebrity spotting over dinner, where children are well catered for with their own menu that consists of more than the usual fare of nuggets/pizza. If you're a fan of Oriental cuisine, then don't miss the top-notch Min Jiang restaurant on the top floor, which has absolutely breath-taking views over London at lunchtime.
Also worth noting: this is where Justin Bieber stayed when he visited London.
Double rooms from: £170 a night
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