If you are looking for a few things to do with your children over the summer break, then there is nothing more fun than a day out in London. Whether you’re based down this way like we are, or would be just coming for the day, there are lots of different things to see and do. Even if you’re a local! So here are a few ideas, something for every taste and budget. Have you ever been to any of theme before?
City Cruises Boat Tour
If your kids are anything like mine, then they love being on different modes of transport. Even the train into London is an adventure for them. But a boat, well that is even better! Having lived down this way for nearly nine years, I must admit that until recently I had never been on a boat in London. But it is very doable and very easy. A fun little adventure for your kids too.
I went on a boat tour with City Cruises* recently and had a good time. We joined the boat at the tower pier (right by the Tower of London as you might imagine). Then it took us on a half hour journey down to Greenwich. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but it was really fun and I learnt quite a lot of new things along the way, as you do have someone talking you through the journey. Greenwich itself is fun too, as you can have a wander around the market and go on the Cutty Sark. Then you can get the boat back again. Something different and lots of fun.
Cost: £10 per adult and £5 per child when booked in advance online
Kensington Gardens Splash Pad
If you’re based in London then you have no doubt been here before, as it is one of the best in the city. But nothing says summer like a trip to the playwark and also having a splash around in the play fountains. Plus, its not like we can all get to the beach over summer. In Kensington Gardens you’ll find the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground and Fountain, which is free to enjoy and explore. I like that it has the added benefit of places to eat a picnic, as well as being close to High Street Kensington if you’re looking for a restaurant to eat out at (Jamie’s Italian and Las Iguanas are both doing kids eat free over summer btw).
Along the Southbank is a big hub for tourists. So as someone who doesn’t got there that often, I forgot about all that it has to offer. There are a few amusements like the London Eye and the Aquarium, but more recently, there is the Shrek’s Adventure* attraction. We visited recently and I was quite surprised that you don’t need much time to do it in. I think we were there for around and 90 minutes in total, so don’t think that you’ll need a full day to do it or anything.
My son found the attraction amusing and entertaining. The actors along the way got the kids involved to chant or shout out different things, and Max, aged 5, really enjoyed that side of it. I had read that it was quite scary, but Max wasn’t scared at all, and as a parent I’m not too sure what you’d find that scary. You are stood for a lot of it, and have to park your pushchairs, so having said that I would only take children that are a little older, from five or six, just for practicality.
From my point of view the cost is quite a lot for what you get, though. As the attraction doesn’t last long, it does seem quite steep at what could be £27.50 per adult or £22 per child if you get the tickets on the door. So I would strongly recommend booking online in advance, as it takes 30% off the price. Having said that, it is still quite a lot. So I’d book a London Big City Pass instead, so you have access to things like the London Eye, Madame Tussauds London, London Dungeon, and SEA LIFE London, for example. Then you could just spend the day in that area and it would be better value for money. I don’t think that I’d go again, but getting the London Big City pass would be the way I’d do it if I was going to go again.
Cost: £22 per child max.
You can’t mention things to do in London without a museum, right? Although I do like the National History Museum I find that in the school holidays it is by far the busiest. My children have never shown an interest in the V&A museum, so it has to be the science museum! The lower ground floor of the Science Museum is amazing for hands on play, while the rest of the floors are better for observing things. But over summer, there are different workshops and displays, as well as simulators and tours that would be an additional cost. You can spend a while in the science museum, though.
Cost: Free (although a donation is recommended)
Set in Trafalgar Square, you can visit the National Gallery as well as spending some time enjoying that part of London (though it can get pretty busy in summer). But if you’ve got younger children, there are weekly story telling sessions (on Sundays) at the National Gallery, where children aged from two to five can sit on the ‘Magic Carpet’ and enjoy a story, all free of charge. No booking is required.
Cost: Free (although some charges apply for certain exhibitions)
Have you ever been to any of these before? Would love to hear what you think!
*tickets were gifted to the attraction. All words and opinions are my own.