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.
When it comes to the best cities for family vacation, it’s tough to beat the variety of attractions you’ll enjoy in London. There’s so much to do that you need to plan carefully, prioritizing so that every family member gets a few destinations marked off their list. Avoid the temptation of adding something just because people say you must see it. After all, the city is filled with must-sees. Instead, opt for those activities and attractions that most pique your family’s curiosity.
This approach will make for a London trip with plenty of buy-in from each family member. From there, categorize these activities by location to optimize time use. Here are some ideas to help you get started planning your London with kids itinerary.
A family trip to London wouldn’t be complete without watching the Changing of the Guard. A near-daily occurrence, the best places to watch it include Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. If you’re a fan of The Crown, you can kill two birds with one stone by touring Windsor Castle following the ceremony. The Changing of the Guard starts with forming of the Old Guard, which takes place beginning in the palace’s forecourt at 10:30 am.
At 10:45 am, the Old Guard at St. James’s Palace joins them, and the New Guard arrives from Wellington Barracks taking up the responsibilities of the Old Guard. This all occurs in a formal ceremony with plenty of military music and pageantry that your kids will love. You’ll want to arrive at least 15 minutes early since this iconic ceremony invites large crowds. One of the best places for viewing the ceremony is near the palace gates.
After checking out the Changing of the Guard, if you’re at Buckingham Palace, there’s no better time to hop on a double-decker tour bus at Green Park for a ride around the city. Along the way, you’ll see impressive sights like London Bridge, Big Ben, and the Tower of London.
Remember to bring coats if you sit up top because the weather in London is notoriously foggy and brisk year-round. You may be tempted to take the Tube and save a little time. Later in your trip, this may be the best approach. (The same goes for rainy days.) But double-decker buses offer an affordable sightseeing option for families on the go, although they’re prone to get stuck in traffic during rush hour.
One of the first stops on your bus tour is the Hamleys toy store, located on Regent Street. We recommend you scope it out early in the day with the plan of returning later for shopping. (That way, you won’t be stuck walking around London with bags.)
No matter what you decide to do, put this spot on your list because Hamleys is unlike any other toy store you’ve ever visited. It includes demonstrations of one-of-a-kind toys that will entertain your kids for hours. For this reason, we recommend setting a time limit for how long you stay. After all, the area of Oxford and Regent Streets also contains plenty of stores for grown-ups that you’ll want to check out.
After a bit of window shopping, your family can jump back on the bus to head to Westminster Abbey and Parliament. These two incredible buildings will fill in the blanks when it comes to the high points of British history, and you’ll enjoy spectacular views of Clock Tower. You may also wish to take a ride on the London Eye. But be prepared to wait in line, depending on the time of day you visit. We suggest purchasing Fast Track Tickets to maximize your time, permitting you to skip the line.
From the London Eye, take a short ride on the bus to see St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Princess Diana married Prince Charles. If you’ve got school-aged or older children, make sure you spend some time climbing the 528 steps of the cathedral. Soaring views of the city will greet your hard work. Younger kids will need to hang back, but you can get away with carrying an infant in an ergonomic baby carrier. If you’re not keen on the whole climb, take the 259 steps up to The Whispering Gallery, which still permits you to enjoy the cathedral’s incredible architecture and the delight of whispering across the dome.
Besides toy stores, the London Eye, and historic buildings, London is renowned for its top-notch museums. Of course, deciding which ones are must-sees for your family can prove tricky. Ideally, you’ll schedule a visit to these world-class institutions on a rainy or cloudy day.
Among our favorites is the Natural History Museum. Located in a stunning building, the Natural History Museum is considered the most famous museum in the city and places you in the museum quarter. Not only does it give you the sense of stepping back in time, but you’ll feel transported to a Night at the Museum.
Chock full of geological wonders, paleontological treasures, and exotic animals, there’s no end to the sights worth seeing. That said, the most kid-friendly wing of the museum is dedicated to dinosaurs. Here, you’ll find everything from an animatronic T-Rex to an escalator passing through the earth’s core known as the Red Zone. Whether you’ve got a budding geologist or entomologist on your hands, there are plenty of hands-on activities to see. Kids will also enjoy the Blue Zone, dedicated to oceanography and the Human Biology exhibit.
While some of the exhibits in the Natural History Museum could use an update, the Science Museum offers cutting-edge interactive exhibits your kids will adore. It covers everything from mathematics to energy, aviation to trains, appealing to what excites kids’ imaginations the most. One of our favorite areas in the museum is the math area designed by award-winning architect Zaha Hadid. And it’s hard to beat the space exploration exhibit where kids will get their fill of space capsules, rockets, and astronaut suits.
Although you might assume the Victoria and Albert Museum will prove a snoozefest for little ones, think again. Not only does the building that houses the museum deserve a visit, but it boasts a separate museum dedicated to the exploration of childhood. Collections include games, toy figures, and adorable teddy bears. You’ll also find gorgeous exhibits of dolls and miniature vehicles. Since so many school groups visit during the week, this location is best visited after 2pm when crowds die down.
No visit to London with kids would be complete without visiting some of the most prominent Harry Potter locations in London. Get ready for a little magic as you and your family enjoy a fun photo op in front of Platoform 9 ¾ where the train departs annually for Hogwarts. Although finding the platform can prove tricky in the books, in real life you’ve simply got to look on the wall in the station concourse at King’s Cross station in Central London.
At the London Zoo, check out the famed Reptile House where Harry first discovers that he can talk to snakes. Of course, htis is also where Dudley Dursley ended up in the snake’s enclosure on his 11th birthday, which caused chaos in the zoo. Fortunately, you don’t have to speak Parseltongue to enjoy this fun Harry Potter location.
\Of course, the highlight of any Harry Potter-themed excursion to the United Kingdom is a visit to Warner Brothers Studio in Watford. Get ready to feel as if you’ve stepped into the books as you wander the 200-acre complex, visiting countless magical sets from the movies. You’ll also get to check out costumes and props at the location, too. Among the must-see stops along your walking tour are Dumbledore’s Office, Diagon Alley, the Forbidden Forest, Gryffindor Common Room, and the Great Hall. Get the scoop on everything you’ll see on a visit.
Besides London’s amazing museum selection, there are myriad royal heritage and iconic sites worth visiting. They include Kensington Gardens, which is best seen on a tour where you can explore the grounds and learn about its history. You’ll also find out about contemporary uses of Kensington Palace as the former home of Princess Diana and the current home of Prince William and Kate.
If you happen upon a beautiful day in London, opt for a more extensive tour of London’s parks. While it sounds like overkill to schedule a tour of the city’s parks, it’s a must because of the history and stories associated with each location. Another must-see spot is the Tower of London, which has multi-tasked as an impenetrable fortress, royal palace, and infamous prison for centuries. From selfies with Beefeaters to a visit to the Crown Jewels, there’s plenty of fun for the whole family.
One thing you’ll notice about London is how much walking you’ll end up doing. That’s why you must bring comfortable shoes! What’s more, after a full day of sightseeing, there’s no better way to end the day than by watching a musical or a performance at one of the city’s many Children’s Theaters. These shows will entertain the entire family while giving you a chance to get off your feet.
London is one of the most dynamic and colorful cities in the world. A treasure trove of historic buildings, monuments, and museums, there’s no better place to get your fill of British history. But the fun doesn’t stop there. You’ll also find plenty of fantastic ways to sightsee while keeping the kids entertained with double-decker bus tours and London park tours.
Are you interested in finding out more about planning the ideal itinerary for London with kids? Or maybe you’d like to check out other family-friendly destinations? We’ve got you covered. Let us bring our family-friendly know-how and travel expertise to your family travel planning. You’ll enjoy the perfect mix of hands-on tours, independent exploration, and kid-friendly experiences that will bring London to life.
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