London is a thriving hub of pubs, fashion boutiques, fine-dining institutions and art galleries … but not all of these scenes are suitable for a small child. However, there is a very different side to London, one that makes it a great destination for a family holiday. Read on for a guide to five different London-based activities that will appeal to your whole family, regardless of age or interest. Schedule some time for a London family holiday or long weekend — your kids will thank you for it!
The Natural History Museum
One of the best things about London is that many of its 200 galleries and museums are free of charge with £5 considered the recommended donation amount. The Natural History Museum in particular is one of the highlights, boasting five main collections and containing over 70 million items. The five collections consist of entomology, paleontology, mineralogy, zoology and botany, and are large enough that you can happily spend an entire day exploring (providing the kids don’t get too tired). One of the highlights, and a favourite amongst both kids and adults, is the dinosaur exhibition. It contains a number of well-preserved dinosaur skeletons, including that of a diplodocus. Another must-see is the blue whale model in the mammal exhibition. This life-sized model will blow you away!
The Science Museum
Five floors of fun and learning awaits at London’s Science Museum. Open every day aside from Christmas, this makes for another free and exciting day out. One of the coolest exhibitions includes “Who am I?” which looks at what makes a person an individual, from genetic make-up to upbringing and family history. Another permanent section depicts various medical scenes from Neolithic times through the 1980s. You can get an idea of what brain surgery was like for Neanderthals or the harsh realities of a WWI battlefield hospital. Other great aspects for the family include the 4-D cinema and the Red Arrows jet-flight simulator (charges apply).
Pollock’s Toy Museum
Get in touch with your inner child with Pollock’s Toy Museum, a small museum packed to the rafters with traditional toys and games. Containing six different themed rooms, it’s a delightful place with an incredibly history. The museum was set up in 1956 by Marguerite Fawdry, who brought the stock of the original Benjamin Pollock Ltd. The museum has been in the same Covent Garden location since 1969. Home to all different kinds of toys from all different time periods and places, it makes for a wonderful experience with the kids. Check out the English tin toys, the puppets and the dollhouse sections for a real treat.
Get your freak on at the London Dungeon, a tourist attraction not for the faint-hearted — and hence, better suited for older kids! Quite the authentic experience, the attraction has a history of roughly 40 years. Taking place in an underground dungeon, the audience is provided with a tour covering 1,000 years of London history with the help of a stellar cast of actors and some amazing special effects. You get up close and personal with a number of memorable characters, including Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd. The set is awesome, and the actors are incredible. It’s definitely a different way to experience history!
Harry Potter London Bus Tour
You and your kids can relive the magic of Harry Potter in the place where it all began. The Harry Potter London Bus Tour will be an unsurpassable highlight for any kids who grew up with J.K Rowling’s incredible stories. For slightly over three hours, guests will be entranced with an extensive coach tour of many London locations where filming took place for the series’ conclusion, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Highlights include the inspiration behind Platform 9 ¾, the setting for the Leaky Cauldron and the building that became 12 Grimmauld Place.
Natural History Museum photo credit: geoftheref / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
About the Author: Blogger Kayleigh Morris is from Wales. She enjoys taking her family for a London long weekend whenever she is craving a big-city buzz.