toddlers in london

The Coolest Things to do in London with Toddlers

by LondonDucklings
Published: Last Updated on

If you’re looking for things to do in London with toddlers, you’ve come to the right place. You will find a wide range of sights, attractions, and activities for the little ones in London. And the good news is that many things come entirely free of charge or at least at a low cost.

As a London family constantly trawling through the city looking for new things to do with kids in the city, we’ve rounded up some of the top activities for families with little ones in tow.

Indoor Playgrounds for toddlers in London
Enjoying the Postal Museum in North London

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1. Take a Ride on London’s Public Transport

So, where to start? How can you create an engaging visit to London without your toddler getting bored? The public transport system is one of the most extraordinary experiences a toddler can have in London.

Riding on the tube might not seem like the most exciting activity from an adult’s perspective, but from a child’s perspective, experiencing the sounds, smells, and movements sitting on the tube is just fascinating. We would only say to avoid the rush hour during weekdays from 7-9 AM and in the afternoon from 5-7 PM.

London bus with toddlers
Riding on top of a double-decker bus is a fun and cheap experience when visiting London with toddlers!

And don’t stop with the tube! Make sure to ride a classic red London double-decker in the front at the top. Pick a couple of the routes going through the centre of London, and you’ll enjoy a fantastic view of the sights on your way through the city. We also recommend checking out the Docklands Ligh Railway (DLR), winding its way through the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf with great views of one of the most modern parts of London. 

The best bus routes for sightseeing in London with toddlers:

  • Route 9: Aldwych to Hammersmith: Check out Royal Albert Hall, Knightsbridge and Harrods
  • Route 11 – Fulham to Buzzing Liverpool Street: For St Paul’s Cathedral, The Royal Exchange and Brick Lane
  • Route 24 – Pimlico to Hampstead Heath: Spot attractions like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square
  • Route 74: Baker Street to West Brompton: Park Lane, South Kensington and Earl Court
  • Route 139: Waterloo to West Hampstead: Great spots include Somerset House and Covent Garden

2. Enjoy South Bank’s family hot spots

If you’re looking for a fun and family-friendly destination in London, you can’t go wrong with the South Bank. There’s so much to see and do for toddlers and their parents, from the London Eye to the Sea Life Aquarium, from the Tate Modern to the Globe Theatre. You can stroll along the river, enjoy the street performers, or hop on a boat for a scenic ride.

london eye with toddler

The South Bank is also home to one of the best playgrounds in central London, where your little ones can run, climb, slide and swing to their hearts’ content. And when you get hungry, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and food stalls to suit every taste and budget. The South Bank is a place where you can create lasting memories with your family, and discover the magic of London at every turn.

Toddlers enjoy things that are big and impressive, and by going up in the London Eye, your toddler will feel like Peter Plan flying across London’s skyline. You’ll also find a fantastic public playground next to the London Eye with several climbing frames suitable for different age groups. 

Toddler hot spots on the South Bank

  • London Eye: London’s most popular tourist attraction is both safe and thrilling for toddlers.
  • Shrek’s Adventure: Great for young admirers of the green fairytale character!
  • Sea Life London: Very family-friendly and hands-on with lots of interactive displays.
  • Jubilee Park Playground: A well-maintained playground right next to London Eye with climbing frames for young and old.
  • Thames Clippers ride: Book a round-trip on a high-speed catamaran travelling up and down the Thames.
  • Southbank restaurants: You’ll find a wide range of family-friendly restaurants on the Southbank such as Honest Burgers, Giraffe, Wahaca and Pizza Express.
  • Southbank Centre family events: Lots of free and affordable events during school holidays. Check their website for up-to-date information on things happening for families.

Check out all our tips for families going to the South Bank.

3. Captivating Adventures: London’s Top Museums for Toddlers

There are many museums for toddlers to enjoy in London. For instance, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich has a dedicated section for toddlers, which includes soft play and role-playing. The interactive play area is the perfect place for toddlers to run around. In addition, your child can enjoy dozens of interactive exhibits and learn about Britain’s impressive maritime history.

And of course, no trip to London would be complete without a bite to eat! Luckily, many great family-friendly restaurants around Greenwich’s busy high street.

London Transport Museum Wooden Train
London Transport Museum is always high up on the list among things to do in London with toddlers

The Horniman Museum in South East London is another excellent museum for toddlers. With two hands-on science areas, toddlers and preschoolers can explore all kinds of science. On top of all that, the museum has a lovely cafe and gift shop.

It’s also often less crowded than the museums in South Kensington, making it an excellent option for families. The Horniman Museum is in a beautiful park with a small farm with goats, chickens and rabbits. And on Sundays, you’ll be able to enjoy a lively farmers market with several excellent street food options.

Another great place to visit with toddlers is the Natural History Museum. Located in South Kensington, this museum has many exhibits for kids to explore. Life-sized animatronic T-Rex experiences, a sensory trail, and interactive games will keep the little one busy. If you’re travelling with a toddler, it’s essential to consider the amount of time you’re planning to spend in London with toddlers.

child looking at a display space exhibition
Enjoying the space exhibition at the Science Museum

Top toddler-friendly museums in London

  • London Transport Museum: Lots of interactive galleries and impressive vehicles of all shapes and forms to admire.
  • National Maritime Gallery: Separate toddler-area gated and safe. Just make sure to book in advance.
  • Museum of Docklands: Soft-play area combining fun activities in a maritime setting.
  • National History Museum: Don’t miss the chance to meet T-rex in person!
  • Horniman Museum: A calmer and less frantic museum experience than in Central London.
  • Science Museum: Admire full-size space-rockets and a moon-landing vehicle!

4. Farms and Zoos for Little Animal Friends

London’s city farms might not be among the highest-profile attractions compared to the city’s world-renowned palaces, monuments, and museums. But if you’re looking for some of the most authentic things to do with toddlers in London, I would stop by one of the cool urban farms in East London. 

London’s biggest urban farm is called Mudchute Farm and is located on the Isle of Dog juxtaposed right next to the high-rise buildings of Canary Wharf. Here you’ll find all the favourite farm animals like sheep, goats, cows, and chickens. Even a tiny petting zoo lets kids get close to small furry animals like rabbits and Guinea pigs.

free things london farm
Getting close to the animals: Petting the sheep at Mudchute Farm

Another authentic farm to visit is Hackney City Farm, where you’ll find a lovely farm café serving hearty lunch dishes and a shop selling organic produce. You’ll also find the hectic Columbia Road Flower Market near Hackney City Farm, one of London’s best Sunday markets.

If you’re visiting East End on Sunday, you’ll find several markets around Brick Lane, Spitalfields Market and Petticoat Lane. You’ll find the London Zoo in Regent’s Park if you want to see more exotic creatures than farm animals. This is the world’s oldest scientific Zoo, but very modern in layout, making it easy for toddlers to spot the animals.

Top places to visit for animal-loving toddlers

  • London Zoo: A great classic among things to do with toddlers in London
  • Battersea Park Children’s Zoo: Get close to the cutest little animals in town.
  • Mudchute Farm: Here you’ll find all the classic farm animals under the high-rise buildings of Canary Wharf
  • Hackney City Farm: A relaxed community farm in East London with a family-friendly cafe great for weekend brunches
  • Surrey Docks Farm: With fantastic views, this is an excellent place to take a break on the Thames Path

5. Soft Play Areas and Indoor Playgrounds for Rainy Days

You’ll never be able to rule out the rain when visiting London, and it’s always good to have a backup solution for indoor playgrounds and soft play areas. We’ve already mentioned the soft play area in the National Maritime Museum, an excellent option for a rainy day.

Another option is the London Transport Museum, with several play areas perfect for toddlers and preschoolers with interactive displays and hands-on activities. We also like the Oxygen Trampoline Park with its four locations across London.

kidspace soft play
Kidspace soft play centre in Romford

A hidden gem outside Central London is Docklands Museum next to Canary Wharf, with a popular soft-play area for toddlers, including a fun water-play area where the kids can play with small boats.

Further east in Stratford, you’ll find a magical place for toddlers combining storytelling with play areas where kids can step into a fantasy world as if they were part of the story.

Finally, let’s not forget about KidZania in West London, where your child can take role-playing to a whole new level by stepping into different types of careers.

Top soft play areas and indoor playgrounds for toddlers in London

  • Discover Children’s Story Center: Enjoy interactive storytelling in this fascinating indoor play area in Stratford
  • Kidspace Romford and Croyden: Your kids will have a blast in the biggest soft play centres in London
  • Oxygen Trampoline Parks: Get the whole family jumping in one of Oxygen’s trampoline parks across London
  • KidZania: KidZania in West London is the mecca of role play.
  • The Postal Museum: What could be more fun than learning how to deliver the post!

6. Unleashing Toddler Joy: Exploring London’s Parks

London is the greenest big capital in the world, and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding family-friendly parks in London. If you’re looking for the ultimate garden experience, Kew Gardens is a great place to start. This park offers a railroad ride, picnic areas, and climbing structures.

The theme here is gardening and “green thumb” activities. There’s plenty of room for running around, and the gardens are home to interactive children’s gardens. The nearby cafe offers a kids’ menu that will appeal to parents with little ones. It’s also a great family day out.

Family Friendly Parks in London with toddlers
Don’t forget to consider the royal parks when you’re looking for things to do in London with toddlers

You’ll also find several royal parks in London, formerly used as hunting grounds by the royal family. A favourite for families visiting London with toddlers is Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, where you’ll find the Diana Memorial Garden featuring several kids-friendly climbing frames, including a giant pirate ship.

Greenwich Park is another excellent green lung which is just the perfect place to enjoy a late afternoon picnic while watching the sunset go down across London’s skyline.

Picnic in Greenwich Park
Enjoy a picnic with a view in Greenwich Park

Top parks for toddlers in London

  • Hyde Park: A great place for toddlers to blow off steam in between the tourist attractions.
  • Greenwich Park: We love climbing the hills for picnics with a great view
  • Victoria Park: Vicky Park in East London – how can you go wrong with several playgrounds and a huge paddling-pool
  • Richmond Park: Enjoy a wildlife outing in the middle of London with wild deer roaming freely
  • Kew Gardens: A beautiful park with an amazing playground for young kids

7. Slide and Swing in London’s Great Outdoor Playgrounds

London is scattered with amazing outdoor playgrounds, but some are a bit hidden away, so we always recommend checking out our guide to London’s playgrounds before you visit. If you’re visiting central London, we recommend checking out Horseferry Playground next to the Houses of Parliament, which is relatively small but with lovely wooden play structures for toddlers and preschoolers.

In St James Park, not far away from Buckingham Palace, you’ll also find a compact but well-designed play area perfect for young kids. If you want to experience the best playgrounds London has to offer, you should pay a visit to Children’s Garden in Kew and Magic Garden next to Hampton Court (both paid entrances).

Enjoying Greenwich Park Playground with toddlers
The water area in Greenwich Park playground is a lot of fun for toddlers

Top outdoor playgrounds for toddlers in London

  • Greenwich Park Playground: The sand and water play area is a summer favourite
  • Diana Memorial Playground: A giant pirate ship and toddler-friendly areas
  • Diana Memorial Fountain: A great place for toddlers to dip their toes on a sunny day
  • Horseferry Playground: Small but decent playground for young kids in the shadow of Big Ben
  • The Garden, Kew Gardens: London’s most beautiful playground for toddlers
  • Peckham Rye Playground: Both challenging and easy playground equipment for the whole family
  • Battersea Park Playground(s): A separated gated playground for toddlers with a fun train to climb onboard

8. Gaze in Awe: Behold the Majestic Landmarks of London!

London’s iconic landmarks are famous all over the world, and they are usually high on the list for families going to London for the first time. While it can be exhausting for the little ones to queue up for the most popular tourist spots, so we recommend planning lots of breaks. A nice way to spot a lot of landmarks at the same time is to see them from above by visiting the Shard or Sky Garden.

Child looking out over London
Sky Garden is a great place to take kids, and it’s completely free!

London and the royal family are closely connected, and what’s not more exciting than seeing a real royal palace or royal guards? For most kids visiting London for the first time, seeing Buckingham Palace and changing the guards is high on the list.

We also recommend visiting the Tower of London to see the crown jewels and all the shiny armour and weapons in the White Tower. And if you’re adamant about getting the most out of your visit, why not plan your trip to coincide with one of the big celebratory days like Trooping the Colour, where you might be lucky enough to spot some of the actual members of the royal family?

Top London landmarks to see with toddlers

  • Sky Garden: Book early in advance and secure free tickets to the best views of London
  • Buckingham Palace: Watching the changing of the guard is pretty cool for toddlers
  • Big Ben: London’s most iconic landmark is an essential stop
  • Tower of London: Shiny gold crowns and medieval knights in armour.
  • Tower Bridge: The Tower Bridge experience is well worth the ticket price.

9. Cool Off in a Paddling Pool on Sizzling Days

With temperatures soaring, summer visitors will appreciate the many free paddling pools and water fountains London offers. Easily accessible in Central London, you’ll find several great spots for the little ones to cool down. Somerset House is one of our favourites with its huge fountain courtyard with water jets in perfect harmony. Close to Tower Bridge, you’ll find another fountain area where kids can splash around during summertime. Elephant Springs in South East London is one of the newest water areas with safe and fun natural elements for kids to splash around in.

Somerset House Water Play
The Somerset House Courtyard is a summer favourite

Top water areas in London for toddlers:

  • Elephant Springs: A perfect place for toddlers to make a splash in the city
  • Somerset House Fountain Court: An impressive array of water jets
  • Granary Square: Water fun for all in central London
  • Vicky Park Splash Park: East London has it all, including a really big splash park perfect for hot days
  • More London Fountain: Just right next to Tower Bridge, this is a perfect pit stop with toddlers on a hot day

10. Experience the Joy of Exploring a London Toy Store with Your Toddler

You’ll find the most fabulous toy store in the world in London. We are, of course talking about Hamleys, which has fascinated children of all ages visiting London for decades. With seven levels full of toys, board games, crafts and magic tricks, people travel from all corners of the globe to visit this iconic institution and stock up on toys.

The staff often dresses up in costumes to entertain, and there are always lots of toy demonstrations and craft activities, so you can try them before you buy. It’s one of our favourite things to do in London for toddlers before Christmas, letting the kids point out the things they want the most.

Kids in Hamleys
Activities in Hamleys

Top toy stores to visit in London with toddlers

  • Hamleys: The Regent Street toy store has been a magical place for generations of children.
  • The Disney Store: The place to head for Marvel superheroes and all the classic cartoon characters.
  • The Natural History Museum Shop: A great selection of quality items from unique mineral pieces to dinosaurs.
  • Harrods: Surprisingly interactive, the famous luxury department store is very flexible letting kids play rather than look at the toys.
  • Lego-Store: You’ll find London’s flagship Lego store in Leicester Square where you can design your own unique lego-man.

11. Uncover Adventure: Follow the Children’s Trail Through London!

Children’s trails in London offer a wealth of benefits for young explorers, fostering a sense of adventure, discovery, and learning. These trails are thoughtfully designed to engage young children in a fun and interactive way while immersing them in the rich history, culture, and natural beauty of the city.

city of london trail

Let’s explore two exciting trails that will captivate young minds and create lasting memories.

  1. Greenwich Children’s Trail: Located in the historic area of Greenwich, this trail takes children on a captivating journey through time. As they follow the trail, kids can discover fascinating landmarks such as the Cutty Sark, a legendary tea clipper ship, and the Royal Observatory, where they can stand on the Prime Meridian. Along the way, interactive elements, playful quizzes, and informative signboards engage children’s curiosity, making the trail an educational adventure.
  2. City of London Children’s Trail: In the heart of the bustling City of London, this trail invites children to explore the historic and financial district while unravelling stories of the past. From iconic landmarks like St. Paul’s Cathedral to hidden gems like the Leadenhall Market, this trail provides a perfect balance of awe-inspiring architecture and hidden treasures. Children can engage in exciting challenges, solve puzzles, and uncover fascinating tales that bring the city’s history to life.

12. Discover London’s Waterworld

London offers a plethora of exciting family activities both on the Thames River and the picturesque canals.

Reaching Camden Lock with the waterbus
Reaching Camden Lock with the waterbus
  • Take the waterbus: Embarking on the waterbus adventure along Regent’s Canal is a fantastic option, allowing families with toddlers to soak in the charm of London’s waterways while hopping on and off at various stops. The waterbus provides a unique perspective of the city’s iconic landmarks and hidden gems, making it an educational and enjoyable experience for all.
  • Go kayaking on Regent’s Canal: For those seeking a more active outing, kayaking on Regent’s Canal presents an exhilarating opportunity to explore the city’s waterways at your own pace. Paddling through the scenic canal, families can witness the vibrant neighbourhoods, lush greenery, and even encounter friendly wildlife along the way.
  • River cruise by night: As the sun sets and the city’s iconic landmarks illuminate, the river takes on a whole new allure. Gliding through the shimmering waters, families are treated to a breathtaking spectacle of twinkling lights that dance along the riverbanks. The illuminated panorama includes architectural marvels like the Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, and the majestic London Eye, creating a stunning backdrop against the darkened sky

13. Enchanting Shows for Little Ones

open air theatre regents park
The Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park

London offers a captivating array of performances tailored specifically for toddlers, ensuring a magical and immersive experience for the little ones.

  • The Unicorn Theatre stands as a shining gem, offering innovative and interactive productions designed to engage and entertain young audiences. From enchanting plays to imaginative storytelling, the Unicorn Theatre sparks the imagination of toddlers, fostering a love for the arts from an early age.
  • Another unique experience awaits on the Puppet Barge, where the timeless art of puppetry takes centre stage. Aboard a charming barge floating on the river, toddlers are transported into a world of wonder as skilled puppeteers bring captivating tales to life.
  • The Discover Children’s Story Centre is a vibrant hub where storytelling and imagination collide. With interactive exhibitions, sensory installations, and engaging workshops, this centre provides a safe and nurturing space for toddlers to explore, create, and immerse themselves in the magic of storytelling.
  • Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre presents a captivating stage for both toddlers and their families. This unique outdoor venue combines the beauty of nature with the magic of live performances, creating an unforgettable theatrical experience. As the sun sets and the stars emerge, toddlers are enthralled by the enchanting stories brought to life on this open-air stage. From engaging adaptations of beloved children’s tales to interactive shows that encourage audience participation, the Open Air Theatre sparks imagination and wonder.

By embarking on these children’s trails, young explorers can enjoy a host of benefits. First and foremost, the trails encourage physical activity, allowing children to stretch their legs and engage in outdoor exploration.

The interactive elements and educational content foster a love for learning, igniting their curiosity about history, culture, and the world around them. Moreover, children’s trails promote observation skills,

FAQs – Things to do with toddlers in London:

Is London safe to visit with toddlers?

Yes, London is a very safe place to visit with toddlers as long as you use common sense and take precautions like in any big city across the world.

What can you do in London with a baby?

Have a picnic in one of London’s Royal Parks during summer, or if the weather is bad, visit a baby-friendly museum with a soft play section.

Is the London Transport Museum good for toddlers?

Yes, this is a great museum perfect for toddlers with a separate section designed for the youngest kids with hands-on play elements and opportunities for role-playing.

Is the Science Museum suitable for toddlers?

Yes, definitely suitable. check out their interactive exhibition on the lower ground floor, and don’t forget to visit the gigantic roaring T-rex.

Is London toddler-friendly?

Yes, from riding on London’s iconic tube lines and double-decker buses to visiting interactive museums and changing of the guard, London is a magical place to explore for families with toddlers.

What are your favourite places for toddlers in London? Let us know in the comments.


Rosie May 31, 2022 - 10:03 am

I find the Barbican centre such a relaxed place to take my toddler. It has a nice small play area and a conservatory, and a fun space for kids to explore without any traffic

LondonDucklings August 31, 2022 - 10:14 am

I agree the Barbican is a peaceful oasis in the City 🙂

Lisa June 3, 2022 - 9:59 am

Thanks for a really helpful article, I’ll definitely save it for my next trip to London with the kids

LondonDucklings August 31, 2022 - 10:12 am

That’s really nice to hear, thank you!

George July 16, 2022 - 10:01 am

The Unicorn theatre close to Tower Bridge has a lot of shows and events for young kids – quite affordable as well 🙂

LondonDucklings August 31, 2022 - 10:12 am

Good one! Thanks for sharing.

Sam July 31, 2022 - 10:05 am

If you’re in West London, Holland Park definitely has the best playground around! Great article by the way 🙂

LondonDucklings August 31, 2022 - 10:11 am

Thank you so much!

Janet August 12, 2022 - 3:57 pm

We always enjoy the many street performers on southbank, it’s such a lively area and great for the kids to roam around on their own for a bit

LondonDucklings August 31, 2022 - 10:11 am

Yeah, the street performers are definitely cool!

Andy August 15, 2022 - 10:06 am

The vintage dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park!

LondonDucklings August 31, 2022 - 10:10 am

Always a winner 🙂


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