The East End of London has seen a rich, turbulent and exciting history over the centuries, from medieval settlements to gangster activity and today there are plenty of activities and attractions available that will engage and delight the whole family.
Get active in one of the beautiful open green spaces or learn something new in one of the informative museums, including the Museum of Childhood – an excellent experience to share with your children big and small. The Museum of Childhood is devoted to showcasing toys from the ages with plenty of activities for little hands to get stuck into. The best part, the Museum is free to visit! Plus, there is a café available onsite and the museum regularly rotates their exhibits and events to keep it fresh on your return visit.
Fun for the Whole Family
Hackney City Farm
Keep everyone happy with a trip to Hackney City Farm, only a five-minute walk from Bethnal Green underground station. Hackney City Farm is a fantastic city farm experience boasting all your family farmyard favourites including some guinea pigs and rabbits and the star attractions of the farm, donkeys Clover and Larry. Learn more about the animal routines, life on the farm and then head over to the farm shop where you can purchase some fresh eggs and honey from the farm’s own bees.
As we move into the warmer months, East End offers plenty of great swimming places and outdoor locations for kids. Take the big ones (over 8s, competent swimmers) to splash off some energy at Ultimate Aqua Splash, at the London Aquatics Centre. This obstacle course spanning 40-meters, (or 20m for the smaller kids, over 5s, less confident swimmers) will have kids tackling an inflatable wipe-out style course in the safety of an Olympic pool. For the really little kids, spend a morning in the baby pool at Mile End Leisure Centre, there is plenty to keep tots entertained and the water is nice and warm.
Alternatively, if you want to stay dry but have plenty of energy to burn, take a stroll to Victoria Park. There’s a large play area for kids of all ages available in the West Park and an even bigger one in the East Park, in addition to rope bridges and 12-meter long slides for the biggest and bravest. There’s a couple of cafés available onsite, however do note the Pavilion Café has now gone cashless and you’ll need to have some sort of electronic payment method available.
For the Big Kids
A Walk on the Darker Side
When you’ve got bigger pre-teens and teens, keeping them entertained can be tricky but that’s not to say they wouldn’t enjoy a daytrip to the East End of London. For those that aren’t faint of heart there is plenty of dark and interesting history to discover. Try a Jack the Ripper walking tour that’ll provide a glimpse into life in Victorian London with photos, sketches and even the potential Jack the Ripper letters the killer himself may have penned back in the day.
ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower
Or if thrills top their lists, visit the 376ft tall ArcelorMittal Orbit tower in Olympic Park. This incredible structure was designed by Anish Kapoor and after taking the lift to the viewing platform you can take the world’s longest slide back down! Twisting and turning the tunnel slide boasts some incredible views – will you be able to keep your eyes open long enough to see them?
Just for Mum and Dad
Food and Drink Delights
Want a date night done right? The East End of London is your place to be, with the famed, delicious curries of Brick Lane, to the truly indulgent hot chocolate available at the luxury Dark Sugars chocolate shop. Take an exploratory wander through the street-art rich streets and discover your new favourite boutique eatery that’ll have you returning time after time. There’s a taste to suit every palette.
The East End often gets forgotten in favour of the more popular tourist locations in the city but is a gem that shouldn’t be overlooked. On your next trip to London, spend time in the East End and discover your new favourite place to spend time.
This is such a useful guide. If I am ever in London, I will definitely check out Victoria Park and the Orbit Tower. How long were you in London?
We’re visiting London next month! If we’re going to the east end of London, will try to visit some of the attractions you’ve mentioned here! Thanks a lot!
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