At Our Whole Village, we plan meaningful vacations for families who want to create lifelong memories and show their kids the world in a more conscious and intentional manner.
We help families take meaningful vacations so that they can escape everyday life, show their kids the world and make lifelong memories - with care, confidence and peace of mind.
Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
Family vacations come with unique challenges that change as your children develop and grow. Traveling with infants means toting loads of extra gear, and young children require itineraries with a well-balanced combo of hands-on activities and generous amounts of nap time. Adolescents need to blow off steam by getting outdoors and trying new things, and tweens and teens should have compelling family vacation “buy-ins.”
When you choose fantastic locations such as Paris or London, getting buy-in from older kids is easier, especially when they help plan parts of the vacation. But with a massive city like London, narrowing down the best activities can be difficult. Where to start? Check out our list of kid-tested, parent-approved things to do in London with teens.
London’s history is vast and rich, spanning nearly two millennia. As one of the world’s greatest cities and oldest capitals, you’ve got to make room in your family travel itinerary to explore at least some of this impressive history. But how do you do it in a way that engages and captivates? By examining the dark side of London with teens.
There are two incredible ways to do this that will elicit both shrieks of terror and gasps of amazement from your kids. The first is The London Bridge Experience, an interactive tour beneath the London Bridge that transports you back in time through spooky stories, haunted artifacts, and characters from the city’s past. These include tales of churches where phantoms roam, Jack the Ripper, and a haunted maze filled with a scary assortment of figures.
Or head to The London Dungeon, where your family will experience 19 interactive shows featuring 20 live actors and spanning 1,000 years of history. Sets are 360 degrees, creating the ultimate immersive experience, and you’ll be thrilled by the special effects and art theming. Moreover, you’ll enjoy the chance to go on two thrilling underground rides, sure to leave your pulse pounding.
The antithesis of a visit to London’s dark underbelly is a ride on the London Eye (a.k.a. the Millennium Wheel), where you’ll enjoy incredible views of the River Thames. That’s why it ranks near the top of our list of things for teenagers to do in London. The tallest cantilevered observation wheel in Europe sits on the South Bank of the River Thames, offering a bird’s eye view of the city, including landmarks like the House of Parliament and Big Ben.
The car your family sits in moves slowly, making the trip photo friendly. When booking your experience, you can opt for a private car if your family prefers. Or you can choose to share one with others. Either way, it’s a relaxing experience that will give your teen plenty of opportunities to rack up photos and videos for Snapchat and TikTok.
But don’t let the photo opps stop at the London Eye! experience. Plan ahead and hire a flytographer for a fun, fabulous, and professional photo shoot during your London family vacation.
In the West End, London attractions for teenage tourists abound, whether they’re fashionistas, foodies, people watchers, or theatergoers. Covent Garden contains countless trendy boutiques, restaurants and dining halls, open spaces where you can soak up the local culture, and theaters.
If you’ve got a trendsetter in your crew, must-see hotspots include Kick Game, known for its exclusive collection of apparel and sneakers, and Glossier beauty supply. You’ll also find plenty of brand-name stores such as Urban Outfitters, Brandy Melville, and Doc Martens.
Of course, nothing beats an authentic meal at Lamb & Flag, the oldest family pub in Covent Garden. At Seven Dials, explore diverse culinary tastes at a street food market. And for dessert, check out the ice cream shop Venchi and the Godiva and Hotel Chocolat, celebrated for its abundant and decadent treats.
Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square offer countless people-watching opportunities. In the central Covent Garden marketplace, wander picturesque cobblestone streets and side alleys in search of off-the-beaten-path treasures. And at Cecil’s Court and Goodwin Court, check out two spots that many believe inspired J. K. Rowling’s Diagon Alley.
Book ahead and make time to take in a musical at one of the more than 40 theater venues in the West End. Annually, 14 million performances take place in this area, making it one of the English-speaking world’s largest theater scenes. Generally, theaters prove small, so you’ll want to get tickets well in advance. Fortunately, intimate theater settings usually ensure every seat is a great one.
If your teen is fascinated by Harry Potter, make a stop at The House of MinaLima. Located in Soho, this gallery features the graphic art of Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, who designed the Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts. On the first floor, check out posters, newspaper articles, insignias, train tickets, and more from the movies.
You’ll also find merch to purchase, including notecards, journals, prints, wallpaper, and posters, as well as illustrated copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Downstairs, feel transported into Rowling’s books as you explore rooms decorated with Black Family Tapestry wallpaper and the Marauder’s Map on the floor. Be sure to check out the decorative fireplace embellished with Hogwarts letters.
Teens who can’t get enough of J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World will fall in love with Warner Brothers Studios’ The Making of Harry Potter. Not only is it a captivating experience for kids, but parents will love it, too. As you explore the magical world created for the movies, consider purchasing the audio tour, which will heighten your experience with back stories about production challenges, set creation, the actors’ experiences, and more.
Plan on spending at least three to four hours exploring the costumes, props, and sets featured in the films. Some exhibits are interactive, allowing visitors to jump into vehicle props for social-media-worthy photos. Your family will even have the chance to try butterbeer and check out an impressive model of Hogwarts Castle.
When it comes to Wizarding-World-themed London teenager activities, you’ll also want to make time for a Harry Potter Walking Tour. Your family has plenty of options at different price points, allowing you to explore London’s influences on the books, from Diagon Alley to Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station.
If your teens are into selfies, you’ve got to visit Madame Tussauds London, where you’ll enjoy two hours checking out wax figures so life-like you’ll have trouble believing the A-listers and royals posed next to you aren’t real. Your entry ticket includes the Marvel Universe 4D experience and a visit to the Chamber of Horrors, where you’ll discover some of the most sensational crimes the capital has ever seen.
After working up an appetite by clicking pics with your favorite frozen-in-time celebs, savor a no-expenses-spared Afternoon Tea at the Park Room at Grosvenor House. Savor expansive views of Hyde Park as you enjoy a proper British service that garnered the Highly Commended certificate in 2019 for its opulence and attention to details. The menu includes a selection of delicate finger sandwiches, open sandwiches, housemade scones, pastries, and freshly baked cakes.
Next, head to the Imperial War Museums to check out the Churchill War Rooms. You and your teen will explore the underground bunkers used by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill and officials from the British government during World War II. More than 115 meetings took place in these rooms, often during the German Blitz and the V-weapon offensive. These rooms remained in use 24 hours a day until August 16, 1945, when the lights went out in the Map Room for the first time in six years.
St. Paul’s Cathedral sits within the central City of London on a site that likely once housed a Roman temple to Diana. In A.D. 604, it was dedicated to St. Paul by King Aethelberht I, but Viking raiders sacked and burned it to the ground in A.D. 962. A third cathedral burned in 1087 and a fourth went up in the late 11th century. The fourth version proved to be one of the tallest buildings in the British Isles, and it would endure other fires, wars, the English Reformation, and more before the construction of Christopher Wren’s design in the 17th century. Apart from this incredible history, the cathedral hosted the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles in 1981, making it one of the most famous churches in the capital.
In the heart of the City of London, you’ll find Leadenhall Market, an airy and beautiful destination featuring stunning architecture from the 14th century. It houses diverse shops, boutiques, and family-friendly restaurants, both covered and outdoors. Find out more about the history of Leadenhall Market.
No visit to London would be complete without exploring the Tower of London, initially built by William the Conqueror in the 1070s. The nearly 1,000-year-old structure protects the Crown Jewels and is also home to the Yeoman Warders (a.k.a. Beefeaters), the iconic guards of the site.
More than three million visitors flock to the Tower of London each year to explore its complex and rich history, which includes plenty of intriguing and spooky stories. Among the most famous are the unsolved murders of Edward IV’s children, known as the Princes in the Tower. But it’s also the final resting place for three queens of England, Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Jane Grey, all executed at the site in the 16th century.
When it comes to things to do in London with teens, you’ll find an endless array of engaging activities. Must-see monuments and landmarks include the Tower of London, the London Eye, and the London Bridge. To keep your teen’s attention captivated, check out the darker side of London’s history through attractions like The London Bridge Experience and The London Dungeon. And devote some time to exploring London’s influences on the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series.
We can help you craft an incredible itinerary based on your family members’ interests and ages. Not only have we traveled to London with our kids, but we’ve got the local connections you need to see one of Europe’s oldest capitals in style. This means the best accommodations and a perfect mix of hands-on experiences, independent exploration, and tours that will make you feel intimately connected to the city. We’re the top pick for families looking for kid-friendly vacations. Ready to find out why?
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