Making plans: 5 great places to visit in London with small children
Although our half term and Easter holidays are very much on hold this year, this pandemic can't last forever. Planning days out can sometimes be really stressful, especially, if like us, you sometimes only realise half term is upon you at pick up, when you spy your child holding a year's supply of crafting and the class guinea pig.
So, why not make the most of these longer than usual days at home by planning your next trip to our exciting capital city? Depending on the age of your child, planning a day out in London with a toddler or small child can feel like such a momentous task that parents can be forgiven for putting it off and just visiting the local park. But our friends at KidRated - the website where kids review their best days out in London - think it’s just as important for parents to have a good time at exciting places, as it is for the little ones.
The good news is there are so many attractions and venues that are perfect for young families, it’s simply just about choosing the right one for you.
To help you navigate the bewildering choice on offer of places and things to do in London, we’ve teamed up with the KidRated team to give you 5 great ideas to plan for.
1 London Transport Museum
This is a must-visit for any parent with small kids. It is packed with huge replica buses to climb on and pretend to drive, plus loads of uniforms to dress up in and activities to complete. You can even let the tots loose on the Baby DLR! When you head out to the rest of the exhibits, don’t forget to grab a free trail card to help you follow the story as it unfolds in the displays.
Plus kids go free!
2. National Gallery
To make the most out of the National Gallery, get one of the child-friendly audio tours or printed trails. Family workshops and drawing sessions are available for 5 to 11 year-olds at 11 am and 2 pm on Sundays. They’re free and you don’t have to book. Be warned though – places are allocated on a first come first served basis so make sure you get there early. Kids must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
The National Gallery will have your kids loving paintings, so be prepared to stop them using the walls at home as their new canvas!
Families are encouraged to visit, with the Pigott Education Centre a base for facilities such as baby-changing and family events.
3. Tower of London
First things first, the Tower of London is not the best place to visit with tiny kids or buggies if you want to spend the day there as there are quite a lot of steps and steep inclines to navigate. However, there is an awful lot to see including The Crown Jewels, the ravens, actors, museums, and tours with Beefeaters.
During the holidays, there are free family activities, which have included Knight School, where kids are taught ( by costumed experts), how to handle a sword, joust and dance like a medieval lord. Plus craft activities like polishing armour, writing with a quill and building a catapult.
4. The Roald Dahl Museum
Okay, it's not actually in London, but for any Mathilda or Twits fans, it's not that far to the Roald Dahl Museum in Buckinghamshire, which is a celebration of the author’s life and works. It features three rooms based on different eras of his life and is aimed at children aged 6 to 12, though there are also lots of fun activities for younger children.
Sit in the chair where Dahl wrote his magical stories; explore the Boy Gallery to learn about Dahl’s love for chocolate and schoolboy mischief. And, visit the Solo Gallery which explores his travels in Africa and the mementos he kept when working in his Writing Hut.
You can discover inventions with Willy Wonka and you can even test your sparkiness with the Sparkometer. Throughout school holidays and at weekends, storytelling sessions are run hourly.
5. Horniman Museum and Gardens
With such a range of different exhibitions every kid will love something at the Horniman Museum and Gallery. And with a buggy park in the basement and lift access, it is a perfect museum to visit with young children and toddlers.
If your kids are more interested in unusual animals, The Horniman has one of the biggest collections of taxidermy in Europe. Animal-lovers can visit the alpacas, goats, sheep and other smaller animals at the petting zoo.
Finally, there’s a cafe and a well-stocked gift shop but on a nice day, why not save money and bring your own picnic to eat in the lovely gardens?
For ideas of what to do with babies and toddlers in London, check out KidRated's dedicated page.