Exploring London with a Family
It’s Not Just for Rock Stars and Royalty
It’s a sad fact that many people who have loved London throughout their twenties move out of the city when it comes to starting a family. But London is a treasure trove for youngsters. Being young in the Big Smoke isn’t just about dancing ‘til dawn and lounging in coffee bars, it’s a multicultural, colorful place where little ones can soak up everything the world has to offer.
Babies & Toddlers
The Museum of London Docklands is more intriguing than it might sound. And it turns out that it’s eminently suitable for the family. Under threes will love the interactive Mudlarks gallery with its soft play area, DLR train and giant props. The museum also has lots of regular activity groups for babies and toddlers on Wednesdays.
The SEA LIFE London Aquarium is a perfect choice for a rainy day and the best bit is that children under 3 can enter for free. The mixture of water and 500 amazing species will fascinate little ones for hours. There are feeding times spread throughout the day so you’re sure to see something exciting.
The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is a truly lovely place, packed full of every child-related object imaginable from the 1600’s to the present day. There are always lots of activities on to keep young ones of all ages entertained, including sensory storytelling, craft sessions, object handling. There are also well thought-through family packs for children with visual impairments and for those on the autistic spectrum.
Crystal Palace Park is a great destination for a sunny day. It’s a huge site, and while adults can enjoy the beautiful views, kids will love running around to seek out the life-size dinosaur models dotted among the trees. It’s right next door to the train station, and there’s also a maze and a playground.
Kew Gardens may not sound appealing to children, but there is a lot on offer for them. The Climbers and Creepers play area is designed for children between 3 and 9 years old and encourages them to learn about plants as they clamber inside giant models. Slightly older children will love the challenge of balancing along the Log Trail, hanging out in Treehouse Towers, or testing their vertigo along the 18-metre-high Treetop Walkway.
Lure teens to the Bank of England Museum with the promise of abandoned cash lying around, and then keep them engaged with activity sheets. Older children enjoy the stories of the people who have worked here – part of the Walk Through Time section of the museum.
The world-class Natural History Museum is an absolute gem. Teenagers should really appreciate the soaring dinosaur fossil skeletons and weird creatures that fill the galleries. Come around Christmas time and let them burn off steam on the outdoor ice skating rink.
Older teenagers will love looking around London’s many markets, where they can people watch and shop. Plus, it’s free (at least until they want to buy something). Try edgy Camden Market or trendy Portobello.
Central London Luxury Hotel, St Ermin’s Hotel, has some extra recommendations on their blog.
About the Author:
Jonny Rowntree is a freelance writer working with St Ermin’s Hotel, London.
St Ermin’s Hotel, Caxton Street, London, SW1H 0QW, Great Britain. Telephone: +44 (0)20 7222 7888