02/10/2014 17:06 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

London With Kids: Best Family Events And Attractions


Off to London with the family and looking for things to do? We've got a fabulous round-up of must-see events and activities in the capital to suit kids of all ages.

From old favourites like the Science Museum and the Tower of London to new attractions and 'blink and you'll miss it' one-off events, there's something for everyone here...

Horrible Histories: Spies at the Imperial War Museum


The newly revamped Imperial War Museum has joined forces with Terry Deary, author of the massively popular Horrible Histories childrens' books, to create a special Spies exhibition. Based on Deary's comedic history book of the same, the interactive gallery challenges young visitors to complete their own top secret mission while learning about the history of espionage, from invisible ink to exploding rats.

Cost: £6.20 adults, £3.30 children. See website for details. Runs until January 2015.


Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens

Slip your shoes off on the Barefoot Walk, climb the famous Pagoda and sip a summer bevvy in the Gin and Tonics Garden (well, maybe just mum and dad for that last one). Kew Gardens' 'Plantasia' season aims to showcase the power of plants - not just their healing qualities, but the sheer human pleasure of connecting with nature. To get you in the spirit, there are a huge range of activities suitable for all ages.

Cost: Adult £15.00, children (under 16) go free

Quentin Blake: Inside Stories


Quentin Blake's drawings are familiar to generations of children, as he has accompanied Roald Dahl's weird and wonderful stories with equally off-kilter illustrations since the 1970s.

The House of Illustrations is hosting an exhibition to celebrate Blake's work, both his own and his collaborations with authors. Selected pieces are on display along with explanations from Blake explaining how some of his most famous creations evolved.

Cost: Adult £7, Child £4

Runs until November 2. Closed Mondays.

Children's Night Safaris

London Wetlands Centre
London Wetlands Centre

The London Wetlands Centre is opening its doors after closing hours to children aged over seven, so they can see the centre's amazing array of wildlife after hours. Plunge an underwater camera below the water's surface to see the beasties below, before a nighttime bat-hunt, equipped with detectors to pick up their chattering.

If the whole thing is starting to give you the willies, don't worry - there's also some safe, cosy storytelling in the centre's own yurt.

Cost: £25 admits one child and an accompanying adult. Call 020 8409 4400 to book your place.

Natural History Museum

National History Museum
National History Museum

It's a classic for a reason! One of London's great Victorian museums (along with Science Museum - see below - and the V&A), the Natural History Museum houses an awe-inspiring collection of artefacts telling the story of Earth. Kids will gravitate towards the dinosaurs, but the museum hosts regular free activities like puppet shows and opportunities to handle specimens to introduce young visitors to wider world of natural history (ie. the parts without T-Rex).

Cost: blissfully free

Science Museum

Science Museum

If dinosaurs and flintstones aren't your bag, maybe the Science Museum is more up your street? Already host to an astonishing array of exhibits covering hundreds of years of human innovation, the museum's detailed summer programme boasts tons of hands-on events aimed at families with kids of all ages. A particular highlight is Punk Science, talks which combine scientific insights with comedy (yes, really!) and live experiments with plenty of audience participation.

Cost: free! (What are you going to spend all this extra dough on, eh?)

The Tower of London

Top Photo Corporation

Adults may thrill to tales of the princes in the tower and Anne Boleyn's sticky end, but for children the idea of touring a draughty old castle might seem less than exciting. Never fear, however - the Tower goes out of its way to make sure kids get the most out of their visit, from activity trails with games and quizzes to complete on the way round, to vivid tours led by the famous Beefeaters, guaranteed to bring the Tower's gory and glamorous history to life.

Until November 11, visitors can behold Paul Cummins stunning installation commemorating the First World War, with over 800,000 ceramic poppies filling the moat around the castle.

Cost: Adult £20, children £10 if purchased online.

London Zoo


An animal lovers paradise, London Zoo lets kids get up close and personal with birds, bugs and beasts from around the world in areas such as Gorilla Kingdom, Into Africa and the Reptile House. The zoo also runs regular events for young visitors, from art workshops to penguin feeding time. In the summertime queues can be punishing, however, so consider splashing out for fast-track tickets.

Cost: Adults £21.81, Children £15.91 when you book online



One of London's newer attractions, you may not have heard of clueQuest, so it may surprise you to know that the locked-room puzzle challenge is currently the capital's number one attraction on rating site TripAdvisor. Working as a team (children should ideally be aged nine or above to participate fully), you have 60 minutes to escape a locked room by completing tasks and solving puzzles. Can you beat the clock and deduce your way to freedom?

Cost: £17-£22 per player (see site for booking details).

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast

Nine decks of naval history to explore make this warship, which saw active service in WWII and the Korean War, an atmospheric family attraction. Kids will probably get the biggest kick out of the Gun Turret Experience, which places young visitors in the Ops Room for an intense simulation of the Battle of North Cape in 1943.

Cost: Adults £15.50, children under 16 go free

Horniman Museum

Johnny Green/PA WIRE

The Horniman Museum and Gardens in South London is an eclectic collection – it includes natural history, musical instruments, historical artifacts from around the world, and an aquarium. Especially great for kids, it prides itself on being family-friendly: visitors can touch, pick up and even try on some of the exhibits.

Cost: free

Discover Children's Story Centre


Although it's a bit out of the way, Newham's Discover centre is well worth seeing. A children's museum based around storytelling, the centre is split into themed areas with accompanying stories, songs and games - check out the seaside paradise, where kids will be transfixed by sea shanties and tales of the briny deep. For the whole of August, the Secret Agent Academy zone will teach young spies all the skills they need to protect the world from the villainous Dr Iscove.

Cost: £5 per person, £18 family ticket

Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds

Another London institution, Madame Tussauds lets your kids get up close and personal with their idols without risk of a restraining order. And it seems that lifelike models of celebrities are almost as exciting as the real thing for some youngsters - when the One Direction boys were unveiled, many adolescent superfans were photographed weeping copiously over a wax Harry Styles.

It can be pricey for a family, but keep an eye out for discount offers and vouchers which are often floating around - for instance, at the moment booking online can save you a whopping 50%.

Cost: A family ticket is £55.80 if you book online.

Hyde Park

Clara Molden/PA WIRE

Hyde Park may be famous for Speakers' Corner and the Diana Memorial Fountain, but there's plenty for kids to enjoy, too. Hire a boat and explore the Serpentine lake, rollerblade through 350 acres of parkland, or have a game of tennis on one of the park's courts. Plenty of cafes and food stalls scattered through the park mean it's easy to make a day of it.

Cost: entry free, some attractions charge

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