Ayesha on the London Eye — Photo courtesy of ayes
Kids love London. It might be bewilderingly big, but there's plenty of things to see and do when in the British capital–for big and little people alike.
Why not start the day off at the London Eye on London's South Bank and show your kids the capital from the air? That way they can get their bearings before touching down again and starting this fun tour.
Kids in London, Primrose Hill — Photo courtesy of ell Brown
Animals are another draw for many children. Apart from London Zoo and the London Aquarium, there are also lots of city farms in the capital where children can go and pet animals and even help feed them while learning about eco issues and taking part in fun activities.
Deer in Clissold Park, London — Photo courtesy of Ewan-M
Kids can get restless, so space to run around is also good to have on hand. There are plenty of London parks, from Clissold Park in Stoke Newington, (in one of the most family friendly parts of town, full of kid's toy shops, cafes which have enough space for buggies and pushchairs, and lots of friendly mums and dads with their own kids for your kids to play with) to Hampstead Heath in the North, Victoria Park in the East, Green Park and Hyde Park in the Centre and Wimbledon Common in the South where children can stretch their legs. Pack a picnic in the summer and stay all day.
A Beefeater at the Tower of London — Photo courtesy of xiquinhosilva
History is everywhere in London. One of the best kid friendly attractions is the Tower of London, with its mix of gruesome beheadings, imprisoned princes, and sparkling crown jewels. The old myth about the ravens never being able to leave the tower keeps children enthralled for hours. On school holidays, the Tower employs actors who recount these stories in an interactive way, which gets even shy children involved and happily sword fighting and recreating the history of London and the British crown on the greens in front of the tower.
Museums are another great way to keep children busy. The Science Museum in Kensington and the Imperial War Museum in Kennington / Waterloo are often favoured by children. Both have great interactive exhibitions and information packs and activities to take part in. Again, on school holidays even more effort is made to help children get the most out of their visit.
Kids on bikes in London — Photo courtesy of londoncyclist
London might seem like a busy city traffic wise, and it is. But, in the last few years, the local authorities have made big efforts to put in off-road cycle routes. You can, for instance, cycle off-road from the Tower of London right along to Canary Wharf in the East. From there, the docks are just a hop, skip, and a jump away, with more fascinating history and the Cutty Sark at Greenwich to teach kids about how England used to import its teas, spices and sugars from overseas. There's even an early bicycle that one of the Cutty Sark captains used to cycle around on board ship, tiny cabins that one can climb inside, and the cages where the ship's sailors kept livestock to eat during the long voyages back and forth across the Pacific and beyond.
Of course, all those things might be a bit much to do in one day, but group together a few activities in the same area, and you'll soon have your kids wanting to return to London for their next holiday too.