Guide to a weekend in London with children

Guide to a weekend in London with children

Planning a quick family getaway to London? Our tips for a weekend in London with children are here to help you put together an action-packed trip that will leave everyone satisfied, from toddlers and small children to teens and adults. With the wide variety of events and sights available in the capital, there’s no reason for anyone to feel out. Read on and let our guide to a weekend in London with kids help you organise the perfect visit to the Big Smoke!

In this guide
  1. Stay at a family-friendly hotel
    1. Kip – Nap at Kip
    2. The W14 Hotel – Sleep on your own schedule
    3. The Rubens at the Palace – Royal family treatment
  2. Enjoy a meal at a family-friendly restaurant
    1. Mamma Dough – Mini pizzas for kids
    2. Bustronome London – Two-for-one timesaver
    3. Kintan – Interactive DIY cooking
  3. See the major sights
    1. Buckingham Palace – The home of the Royal Family
    2. Tower of London – Landmark fortress
    3. London Eye – The capital's iconic wheel
  4. Do some fun learning
    1. Natural History Museum – Dinosaurs for days
    2. Science Museum – Hands-on science
    3. London Transport Museum – Uncovering the transport network's secrets
  5. Get in touch with nature
    1. Hackney City Farm – Farm animals up close
    2. Hampstead Heath – Romping around Narnia
    3. Crystal Palace Park & Crystal Palace Dinosaurs – A stroll in the park
  6. Do some shopping
    1. Hamleys – The largest and oldest toy store in the world
    2. Babatalco – Ethical clothes and toys
    3. Hoxton Street Monster Supplies – Unique gifts for the living, dead and undead
  7. Playtime!
    1. Monopoly Lifesized – Bringing a classic to life
    2. Immersive Gamebox – Gaming fun for the whole fam
    3. Flip Out – Release some energy
  8. Watch a spectacular show
    1. The Apollo Victoria Theatre – Get to know the witches of Oz
    2. Unicorn Theatre – Leading theatre for young people
    3. Shakespeare's Globe – Introduce younglings to the Bard
  9. Read a bedtime story
    1. Alice Through the Looking Glass – Everything Alice
    2. Gosh! Comics – Home of the Ninth Art

Stay at a family-friendly hotel

Kip

Nap at Kip

An affordable hotel in Hackney that’s especially convenient for visitors to East London, Kip offers a comfy, stylish setting with monochrome colour schemes and smart TVs. The special Family room is designed to make sharing a space with the kids a pleasure instead of a chore. It includes a king-size double bed and a bunk-bed annexe, with a baby cot available on demand as well.

The W14 Hotel – Weekend with kids
The W14 Hotel
The W14 Hotel – Weekend with kids
The W14 Hotel
The W14 Hotel – Weekend with kids
The W14 Hotel
The W14 Hotel – Weekend with kids
The W14 Hotel
The W14 Hotel – Weekend with kids
The W14 Hotel
The W14 Hotel – Weekend with kids
The W14 Hotel

The W14 Hotel

Sleep on your own schedule

Spread across four attractive white townhouses, The W14 in Kensington offers comfy contemporary accommodation and useful amenities. The family rooms at this stylish hotel will make parents feel pampered, yet still feel cosy to kids. You can even book a room here just for daytime use, perfect for a quick nap or an extra couple of hours of shut-eye for a sleep-deprived parent.

The Rubens at the Palace

Royal family treatment

A lavish hotel with views of Buckingham Palace, The Rubens at the Palace offers luxury amenities to all its guests, but pays special attention to small children. The hotel provides baby cots, night lights, bath toys and more for the littlest ones, while older children get their own check-in, cookie-and-milk turndown service, board games, books and more. Babysitting services are available as well, and the broad range of rooms and interconnecting options ensures the right fit for families of all sizes.

Enjoy a meal at a family-friendly restaurant

Mamma Dough Brixton Mamma Dough Ladywell Mamma Dough Peckham Mamma Dough South Norwood Mamma Dough Sydenham
Mamma Dough Brixton
mammadough.co.uk
Mamma Dough Ladywell
mammadough.co.uk
Mamma Dough Peckham
mammadough.co.uk
Mamma Dough South Norwood
mammadough.co.uk
Mamma Dough Sydenham
mammadough.co.uk
Mamma Dough Brixton Mamma Dough Ladywell Mamma Dough Peckham Mamma Dough South Norwood Mamma Dough Sydenham

Mini pizzas for kids

When it comes to feeding a hungry kid, it’s hard to go wrong with pizza. There are many pizza parlours you can pop into throughout the city, but the comfortingly named Mamma Dough deserves special mention for its dedicated children’s menu. Kids can choose their own toppings and get perfectly sized mini pizzas, while parents will enjoy the variety of the toppings and the laid-back vibe.

  • 354 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton 40 Ladywell Road, Lewisham 179 Queen's Road, Peckham 1-7 Station Road, Croydon 299 Kirkdale
    Mamma Dough Brixton
    354 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton
    Mamma Dough Ladywell
    40 Ladywell Road, Lewisham
    Mamma Dough Peckham
    179 Queen's Road, Peckham
    Mamma Dough South Norwood
    1-7 Station Road, Croydon
    Mamma Dough Sydenham
    299 Kirkdale
  • Mamma Dough Brixton
    mammadough.co.uk
    Mamma Dough Ladywell
    mammadough.co.uk
    Mamma Dough Peckham
    mammadough.co.uk
    Mamma Dough South Norwood
    mammadough.co.uk
    Mamma Dough Sydenham
    mammadough.co.uk
    Mamma Dough Brixton
    020-709 514 91
    Mamma Dough Ladywell
    020-869 075 50
    Mamma Dough Peckham
    020-763 534 70
    Mamma Dough South Norwood
    020-865 325 37
    Mamma Dough Sydenham
    020-877 812 34
  • Mamma Dough Brixton Mamma Dough Ladywell Mamma Dough Peckham Mamma Dough South Norwood Mamma Dough Sydenham

Bustronome London

Two-for-one timesaver

Bustronome combines gourmet cuisine with sightseeing, providing a great experience for the whole family and letting you squeeze a little more time out of your weekend. While driving around the capital on a double-decker bus and taking in all of London’s exciting sights, kids and parents alike can enjoy a refined three-course lunch or dinner. The bus has a unique glass roof, so bad weather won’t stand a chance of dampening the tour. You can even hire the entire bus for special occasions.

Kintan Japanese BBQ Holborn Kintan Japanese BBQ Oxford Circus
Kintan Japanese BBQ Holborn
kintan.uk
Kintan Japanese BBQ Oxford Circus
kintan.uk
Kintan Japanese BBQ Holborn Kintan Japanese BBQ Oxford Circus

Interactive DIY cooking

The charming Kintan restaurants lets both kids and adults get involved in the cooking and have fun preparing their food. You can choose individual items or platters for up to six at this Japanese restaurant, then grill the dishes on your own on the smokeless table-side roasters at the table.

  • Kintan Japanese BBQ, Holborn 21 Great Castle St, Marylebone
    Kintan Japanese BBQ Holborn
    Kintan Japanese BBQ, Holborn
    Kintan Japanese BBQ Oxford Circus
    21 Great Castle St, Marylebone
  • Kintan Japanese BBQ Holborn
    kintan.uk
    Kintan Japanese BBQ Oxford Circus
    kintan.uk
    Kintan Japanese BBQ Holborn
    020-724 280 76
    Kintan Japanese BBQ Oxford Circus
    020-389 012 12
  • Kintan Japanese BBQ Holborn Kintan Japanese BBQ Oxford Circus

See the major sights

Buckingham Palace

The home of the Royal Family

One of London’s must-see landmarks and the world’s most famous palace, Buckingham Palace fires up kids’ imaginations with visions of kings and queens. The world-famous changing of the guard is another highlight, and you can also pay a visit to the State Rooms and bask in the opulence. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a real-life prince or princess rolling up.

Tower of London

Landmark fortress

Learning about important historical events is sure to be more fun when it takes place in a grand medieval fortress, with guards traipsing around the castle grounds, impressive armour and weaponry on display and interactive exhibits ready to be activated. Not to mention the stunning Crown Jewels, of course. Different tours, events and immersive experiences are available as well.

London Eye

The capital's iconic wheel

Duck into one of the pods at this famous observation wheel for a peaceful break from the capital’s hubbub and a chance to see the city from a different angle. The London Eye draws millions of visitors each year, eager for a leisurely yet thrilling turn around the wheel. Even just walking by and taking in the signature riverside vista can be a cherished memory forever.

Do some fun learning

Natural History Museum – Weekend with kids
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum – Weekend with kids
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum – Weekend with kids
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum – Weekend with kids
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum – Weekend with kids
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum – Weekend with kids
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum – Weekend with kids
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum – Weekend with kids
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum – Weekend with kids
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum – Weekend with kids
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum – Weekend with kids
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum – Weekend with kids
Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Dinosaurs for days

With plenty of dinosaur bones on display, as well as animals of all sorts and sizes, fascinating plant exhibits and more, children of all ages are sure to lose track of time at this landmark museum. Special child-oriented events and tours are available as well. Best of all, the main exhibitions of the museum are completely free of charge.

Science Museum

Hands-on science

Another of London’s excellent free museums, the Science Museum is the most visited such establishment in Europe. It houses more than 15,000 unique objects from Earth and beyond. Its interactive galleries and award-winning exhibits will keep children and adults alike entertained for hours, with plenty of fascinating new facts learned in the process.

London Transport Museum

Uncovering the transport network's secrets

Sure to astound and delight any vehicle-minded kids, the London Transport Museum presents the past, present and future of the city’s lifeblood. The award-winning museum not only features an abundance of fascinating exhibits, it also hosts events for families throughout the year, including creative activities, singing and story sessions for under-fives and more.

Get in touch with nature

Hackney City Farm – Weekend with kids
Hackney City Farm
Hackney City Farm – Weekend with kids
Hackney City Farm
Hackney City Farm – Weekend with kids
Hackney City Farm
Hackney City Farm – Weekend with kids
Hackney City Farm
Hackney City Farm – Weekend with kids
Hackney City Farm
Hackney City Farm – Weekend with kids
Hackney City Farm
Hackney City Farm – Weekend with kids
Hackney City Farm
Hackney City Farm – Weekend with kids
Hackney City Farm

Hackney City Farm

Farm animals up close

At this working urban farm, children can get close to farm animals and learn some excellent lessons about the natural world. Bethnal Green’s Hackney City Farm also teaches about farm life and how to live life with a minimal environmental impact, useful skills in both the short and the long run. If snacks are needed, the farmyard shop is well-stocked with homemade goodies.

Hampstead Heath – Weekend with kids
Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath – Weekend with kids
Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath – Weekend with kids
Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath – Weekend with kids
Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath – Weekend with kids
Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath – Weekend with kids
Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath – Weekend with kids
Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath – Weekend with kids
Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath

Romping around Narnia

A wild oasis just a few stops from London’s busiest area, Hampstead Heath offers 800 acres of woodland, meadows, ponds and paths. It inspired The Chronicles of Narnia and has plenty of areas where kids can run wild while you enjoy a leisurely stroll or prepare a nice picnic lunch. The panoramic view from the top of Parliament Hill is splendid, and during summer you can even take a dip in the Hampstead Ponds.

Crystal Palace Park Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
Crystal Palace Park
crystalpalaceparktrust.org
Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
cpdinosaurs.org
Crystal Palace Park Crystal Palace Dinosaurs

A stroll in the park

There’s no shortage of parks in London, but we’re singling out Crystal Palace Park for its famous Victorian dinosaur sculptures. They might be scientifically inaccurate, but nestled in this popular green space, they still make for quite the sight. Strolling around the park, you might also come up on one of the largest hedge mazes in the UK.

  • Thicket Road, Bromley Crystal Palace Park, Thicket Road, Bromley
    Crystal Palace Park
    Thicket Road, Bromley
    Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
    Crystal Palace Park, Thicket Road, Bromley
  • Crystal Palace Park
    crystalpalaceparktrust.org
    Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
    cpdinosaurs.org
    020-323 600 78
  • Crystal Palace Park Crystal Palace Dinosaurs

Do some shopping

Hamleys Regent Street Hamleys London Bridge Hamleys St Pancras Hamleys Westfield
Hamleys Regent Street
hamleys.com
Hamleys London Bridge
hamleys.com
Hamleys St Pancras
hamleys.com
Hamleys Westfield
hamleys.com
Hamleys Regent Street Hamleys London Bridge Hamleys St Pancras Hamleys Westfield

The largest and oldest toy store in the world

A paradise for kids of all ages, this globally famous store is considered to be the oldest toy shop in the world. People travel from all over to visit the iconic flagship location on Regent Street, where you can explore seven floors of toys, books, dolls, puzzles, action games, crafts and more. A party room, cake and sweet shops, and various events are also part of the regular offer. Hamleys also has several other branches around the city.

  • 188-196 Regent Street, Soho Western Arcade, Southwark Unit 8A Euston Road, Camden Town/King's Cross 1104 Ariel Way, Hammersmith and Fulham
    Hamleys Regent Street
    188-196 Regent Street, Soho
    Hamleys London Bridge
    Western Arcade, Southwark
    Hamleys St Pancras
    Unit 8A Euston Road, Camden Town/King's Cross
    Hamleys Westfield
    1104 Ariel Way, Hammersmith and Fulham
  • Hamleys Regent Street
    hamleys.com
    Hamleys London Bridge
    hamleys.com
    Hamleys St Pancras
    hamleys.com
    Hamleys Westfield
    hamleys.com
    Hamleys Regent Street
    0371-704 19 77
    Hamleys London Bridge
    0371-704 19 77
    Hamleys St Pancras
    0371-704 19 77
    Hamleys Westfield
    0371-704 19 77
  • Hamleys Regent Street Hamleys London Bridge Hamleys St Pancras Hamleys Westfield

Babatalco

Ethical clothes and toys

An inclusive boutique that offers ethical, natural clothing and gifts for small children, you’re unlikely to find Babatalco’s carefully curated and delicately crafted items on the high street. Stocking quality unisex clothing, accessories and wooden toys, the shop works with small suppliers to source ethically manufactured products, made using natural materials.

Hoxton Street Monster Supplies – Weekend with kids
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies – Weekend with kids
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies – Weekend with kids
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies – Weekend with kids
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies – Weekend with kids
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies – Weekend with kids
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies – Weekend with kids
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies – Weekend with kids
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

Unique gifts for the living, dead and undead

Once you see the old-fashioned shelves stacked full of everything you never knew you needed, such as bottled London smog or a vague sense of unease in a tin, you’ll understand how this shop has been around since 1818. Pick up treats and gifts for adults and kids, from sweet marshmallow brain food and rocket-fuelled coffee beans to elegant quill pens and quirky travel guides. Staffed entirely by volunteers, the shop also helps young local people develop their confidence and imagination through writing.

Playtime!

Monopoly Lifesized

Bringing a classic to life

As family games go, Monopoly is a classic. Monopoly Lifesized takes the boardgame experience and supersizes it, letting players unleash their competitive side as they move around a life-sized game field. By completing challenges, they earn cash for their empire to grow. The experience is suitable for ages nine and over, and afterwards you can relax with a drink or a meal at the on-site bar and restaurant.

Immersive Gamebox South Bank Immersive Gamebox Wandsworth Immersive Gamebox Shoreditch
Immersive Gamebox South Bank
immersivegamebox.com
Immersive Gamebox Wandsworth
immersivegamebox.com
Immersive Gamebox Shoreditch
immersivegamebox.com/en-gb/venues/psl-london-shoreditch
Immersive Gamebox South Bank Immersive Gamebox Wandsworth Immersive Gamebox Shoreditch

Gaming fun for the whole fam

Those who enjoy the trappings of the digital age can lose themselves in the world of immersive gaming offered by Immersive Gamebox. Book a private box with motion tracking, projection mapping, touch screens and surround sound and press start. The games library at immersive Gamebox spans a range of titles suitable for all ages, starting with Junior games for ages five–10, with games designed especially for families available as well.

  • 83 Scoresby St, Southwark Gravity Wandsworth, Wandsworth 2a-2b Principal Place, Shoreditch/The City
    Immersive Gamebox South Bank
    83 Scoresby St, Southwark
    Immersive Gamebox Wandsworth
    Gravity Wandsworth, Wandsworth
    Immersive Gamebox Shoreditch
    2a-2b Principal Place, Shoreditch/The City
  • Immersive Gamebox South Bank
    immersivegamebox.com
    Immersive Gamebox Wandsworth
    immersivegamebox.com
    Immersive Gamebox Shoreditch
    immersivegamebox.com/en-gb/venues/psl-london-shoreditch
  • Immersive Gamebox South Bank Immersive Gamebox Wandsworth Immersive Gamebox Shoreditch
Flip Out Brent Cross – Weekend with kids
Flip Out Brent Cross
Flip Out Brent Cross – Weekend with kids
Flip Out Brent Cross
Flip Out Brent Cross – Weekend with kids
Flip Out Brent Cross
Flip Out Brent Cross – Weekend with kids
Flip Out Brent Cross
Flip Out Brent Cross – Weekend with kids
Flip Out Brent Cross
Flip Out Brent Cross – Weekend with kids
Flip Out Brent Cross
Flip Out Brent Cross – Weekend with kids
Flip Out Brent Cross
Flip Out Brent Cross – Weekend with kids
Flip Out Brent Cross
Flip Out Brent Cross – Weekend with kids
Flip Out Brent Cross
Flip Out Brent Cross – Weekend with kids
Flip Out Brent Cross
Flip Out Canary Wharf Flip Out London E6 Flip Out Croydon Flip Out Brent Cross
Flip Out Canary Wharf
flipout.co.uk/locations/canary-wharf
Flip Out London E6
flipout.co.uk/view/flip-out-londone6
Flip Out Croydon
flipout.co.uk/view/flip-out-croydon
Flip Out Brent Cross
flipout.co.uk/view/flip-out-brent-cross
Flip Out Canary Wharf Flip Out London E6 Flip Out Croydon Flip Out Brent Cross

Release some energy

Flip Out, a group of indoor trampoline and adventure playgrounds in London, offers a weather-proof, fun-filled family day out for all age groups. The arenas feature an array of attractions like a massive trampolining park, obstacle courses, soft play areas, and a laser maze, along with themed party rooms for birthday celebrations, offering packages that include arena access and food.

  • Cabot Square, Canary Wharf/Tower Hamlets 281 Barking Road, Newham Centrale Shopping Centre, Frith Road, Croydon Unit 7 Staples Corner Retail Park, Geron Way, Barnet
    Flip Out Canary Wharf
    Cabot Square, Canary Wharf/Tower Hamlets
    Flip Out London E6
    281 Barking Road, Newham
    Flip Out Croydon
    Centrale Shopping Centre, Frith Road, Croydon
    Flip Out Brent Cross
    Unit 7 Staples Corner Retail Park, Geron Way, Barnet
  • Flip Out Canary Wharf
    flipout.co.uk/locations/canary-wharf
    Flip Out London E6
    flipout.co.uk/view/flip-out-londone6
    Flip Out Croydon
    flipout.co.uk/view/flip-out-croydon
    Flip Out Brent Cross
    flipout.co.uk/view/flip-out-brent-cross
    Flip Out Canary Wharf
    020-858 894 91
    Flip Out London E6
    020-374 541 44
    Flip Out Croydon
    020-346 356 86
    Flip Out Brent Cross
    020-843 271 63
  • Flip Out Canary Wharf Flip Out London E6 Flip Out Croydon Flip Out Brent Cross

Watch a spectacular show

The Apollo Victoria Theatre – Weekend with kids
The Apollo Victoria Theatre
The Apollo Victoria Theatre – Weekend with kids
The Apollo Victoria Theatre
The Apollo Victoria Theatre – Weekend with kids
The Apollo Victoria Theatre
The Apollo Victoria Theatre – Weekend with kids
The Apollo Victoria Theatre
The Apollo Victoria Theatre – Weekend with kids
The Apollo Victoria Theatre
The Apollo Victoria Theatre – Weekend with kids
The Apollo Victoria Theatre
The Apollo Victoria Theatre – Weekend with kids
The Apollo Victoria Theatre
The Apollo Victoria Theatre – Weekend with kids
The Apollo Victoria Theatre

The Apollo Victoria Theatre

Get to know the witches of Oz

There are plenty of family-friendly musicals and shows to be found in London’s famed West End, but we’re giving the nod to Wicked, and not just so that parents don’t have to hear Let It Go off the Frozen soundtrack yet again. One of the most successful musicals in history, Wicked expands on beloved classic The Wizard of Oz and is a thrilling production that will suit all ages. Its permanent home is at the majestic Apollo Victoria Theatre, an Art Deco masterpiece.

Unicorn Theatre

Leading theatre for young people

Creating inventive and exciting productions and participatory experiences for kids of all ages, the Unicorn Theatre has established itself as the country’s leading theatre for young audiences. Committed to diversity, inclusivity and accessibility, the theatre welcomes all and often collaborates with schools and communities to educate and spread the love of performing arts.

Shakespeare's Globe

Introduce younglings to the Bard

A reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, where the most famous playwright in history staged his works, Shakespeare’s Globe offers a regular programme of the Bard’s works. While a no-holds-barred rendition of Hamlet might be a bit much for little ones, the theatre hosts shows, workshops and other activities designed especially for children. Relaxed shows are available as well, and all the public spaces are accessible by pram.

Read a bedtime story

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Everything Alice

Lewis Carroll’s Alice and her adventures have inspired countless generations. The Alice Through the Looking Glass bookshop sells iconography related to the author’s beloved world, as well as first editions and other rarities that can make for a treasured keepsake. There’s also a museum section with Alice-related cultural artefacts that you can view in person by appointment, and the store itself sits in one of the streets that inspired Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley.

Gosh! Comics

Home of the Ninth Art

Gosh! Comics’ window display is sure to catch the eye of adults and children alike as they’re making their way around Soho. This corner comic chop has been around for more than 35 years, its basement and walls stacked full of colourful graphic novels and assorted comic book paraphernalia. From limited editions to the latest releases, there’s something to be found here by readers of all ages and skill levels.

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Editors

At Thatsup, we have extensive experience of guiding our readers to a city’s hidden gems. Since 2008, our editors have been writing insightful guides covering restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, and hairdressers, among other things. Our guides consist of carefully selected tips based on our local knowledge and are regularly updated with the help of our focus group, where we collectively discuss selections and content. We are constantly working to inspire and provide you with the best possible experience, no matter where you are or what you are looking for.