London based Mum, Jennie Poole, shares her ideas of great things to do with toddlers on holiday in London.
1. Toddler Friendly Farms
There are a surprising number of farms in central London including Vauxhall, Surrey Docks, Mudchute, Hackney and Kentish Town. They tend to be tucked away where you least expect them and provide a brilliant change of scene for toddlers in London. They are often free to visit but ask for a small donation. Some have cafes or picnic areas.
2. Diana Memorial Playground
Free. Located just next to Kensington Palace, this is a wonderful landscaped playground complete with a pirate ship, teepees and a beach. Perfect if you are on holiday with your toddler in London.
3. London Zoo
Pricey but a wonderful and very full day out. Plenty to do and see at all times of the year. The butterfly tunnel and (the new) Penguin Island were my daughter’s favorites at the last trip. For toddlers there is a dedicated area with a story telling wigwam and face-painting. Lots of food options or take a picnic.
4. Science Museum
Free. Great interactive area for under 5’s on the ground floor. Take your own picnic or use one of their cafes. Your toddler will love seeing rockets, spacemen, cars and trains!
5. London Transport Museum
Free for under 16s. Adults £15 but you can reuse your ticket as many times as you like within one year. A great central London location with plenty for all ages. Toddlers will love the hands-on-galleries where they can climb drive a bus, train or tube!
6. The Southbank
Spend a day strolling along London’s Southbank looking out for boats, Big Ben, the London Eye, street performers and skateboarders. Optional ticketed activities include the Aquarium, London Eye and fun kids theatre and activities at the Southbank Centre during school holidays. There is plenty of child-friendly indoor space at the Festival Hall if it rains as well as cafe and street food options all along the river, including the Real Food Festival market behind the Festival hall Fri-Sun.
7. Natural History Museum
Free. Dynamic dinosaurs and a giant blue whale amongst many other amazing things to see! Huge displays of every stuffed bird, animal and reptile under the sun.
8. Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
Children 2-15 £6.50. Adult £8.75. A surprisingly large children’s zoo full of mammals, birds, reptiles and other creepy crawlies, hidden away in this lovely London park by the river. Large play area and café and definitely enough fun to fill a whole day.
9. Corams Fields
Free. A fantastic playground with something for children of all ages tucked away between Kings Cross and Holborn. Their children’s center runs a range of free drop-in activity sessions for under 5s during term time and there is a small farm area with animals and birds plus an outdoor café.
Free. Not quite central London but included because it is simply brilliant for toddlers, wins lots of awards and is fairly easy to get to via public transport. Small natural history-style museum space full of stuffed animals and other curiosities plus musical gardens, a petting zoo and good cafe. Lovely toddler friendly aquarium (£3). Loads to do but not overwhelmingly huge.
5 extra tips to you have a great holiday with your toddler in London
1. Buses are fairly easy with pushchairs – but they will only let two on at a time. Kids go free and adults need a loaded Oyster card.
2. Tube travel is doable with a pushchair but there are lots of escalators – the stations marked with a disabled symbol have lifts to the platforms which make life a lot easier. There is always at least one wide gate for pushchairs at tube and rail stations.
3. London has more than its fair share of hidden green space and children’s parks, often where you’d least expect it – ask or look on Google Earth to see what’s tucked away behind that office block.
4. London restaurants and cafes are typically very child friendly and many have stacks of highchairs and kids menus.
5. Weekends can be very busy at museums and parks, if you can make a midweek visit you might find you have a lot more space to yourself