If you’re looking for things to do in London with toddlers you’ve come to the right place. Not only will you find a wide range of different sights, attractions, and activities for the little ones in London. 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 toddlers visiting London.
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.
Here are 7 great activities you can do while visiting London with young kids:
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? One of the most extraordinary experiences a toddler can have in London is the public transport system. 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. The only thing we would say is to avoid the rush hour during weekdays from 7-9 AM and in the afternoon from 5-7 PM.
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.
2. Enjoy a scenic view along the Thames Path
One of the most popular things to do in London with toddlers includes walking on the Thames Path. A paved walkway along the Thames offers scenic views of the city. It passes by numerous landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the Tate Modern, and the Millennium Footbridge. And the great thing about this walk is that it’s completely traffic-free, which means you can let the kids run around on their own or bring their scooter to ride.
The London Eye and Sea Life are some of the most popular spots for families with toddlers walking the Thames Path. 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 London Eye with several climbing frames suitable for different age groups.
3. Visit a toddler-friendly museum
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, there are dozens of interactive exhibits that your child can enjoy 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.
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 located in a beautiful park which includes 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.
4. Visit London’s petting zoos with toddlers
London’s city farms might not be among the highest profiled attractions compared to all the world-renowned palaces, monuments, and museums the city has to offer. 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.
Another authentic farm to visit is Hackney City Farm, where you’ll also find a lovely farm café serving hearty lunch dishes and a shop selling organic produce. Close to Hackney City Farm, you’ll also find the hectic Columbia Road Flower Market, 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. If you want to see more exotic creatures than farm animals, you’ll find London Zoo located in Regent’s Park. This is the world’s oldest scientific Zoo, but very modern in layout, making it easy for toddlers to spot the animals.
5. Have fun in soft play areas and indoor playgrounds
You’ll never be able to rule out the rain when visiting London, and it’s always good to have a backup solution when it comes to 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, where you’ll find several play areas perfect for toddlers and preschoolers with interactive displays and hands-on activities. We also very much like the Oxygen Trampoline Park with its four locations across London.
A hidden gem outside of 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 stepping into different types of careers.
6. Enjoy London’s parks with toddlers
Kew Gardens is an enormous park that is perfect for families with toddlers. 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.
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 the changing of the guards is high up on the list. We also recommend visiting the Tower of London to see the crown jewels and all the shiny armours 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.
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.
7. Slide and swing in London’s great outdoor playgrounds
London is scattered with amazing 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 entrance).
Here are some FAQs when it comes to 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 your 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.