Traveling to London with Kids and Teens is easy with this guide!
London is the perfect spot for a family vacation! London offers a wide range of attractions and activities that cater to various interests and ages, but families will especially love this European city. My family had the best time in London and I am excited to share my family vacation guide with you!
If you are trying to decide what to do with your kids and teens in London, then this article is especially for you!
Traveling to London as a family is a lot different than going with just adults. This awesome city has so much to offer—you could easily spend a week here. We were only in London for 4 days and there was plenty that we didn’t get to see so we will definitely be back!
Where we stayed
Picking where to stay in London can be tricky because London is such a large city. But since I’m a full-service travel agent, I can help you decide where you should stay for your family vacation based on factors like your interests, family size and budget. We decided to stay in the Westminster area at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge. We picked this hotel so we could be within walking distance of the London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
Check out this time lapse video from our hotel—we loved the location of our London hotel!
Our room had a king bed and a pull out sofa. Our three teens had a room with 2 twin beds and a pull out sofa. When traveling with our teens, we have learned that it best when they each have their own beds! This is a great hotel for those traveling with kids because of the large family suites, indoor pool, and the impressive daily breakfast buffet.
Other popular areas to stay with families:
South Kensington: This area is an excellent choice for families with its proximity to some of London's best museums, including the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. South Kensington is a safe and upscale neighborhood with easy access to public transportation.
Covent Garden: Covent Garden is a bustling and lively area known for its street performances, shops, and restaurants. It's centrally located and within walking distance of many attractions, including the West End theaters.
King's Cross: This area has undergone significant redevelopment and is well-connected to public transportation. It's home to the British Library and is a convenient base for families exploring the city.
What to do in London with Kids and Teens
Tower of London
No trip to London is complete without visiting the Tower of London. This was actually my teen’s favorite thing we did! We opted to do a tour with a guide which I highly recommend. Our guide was knowledgeable and personable and kept our attention for the 3 hours we were with her. Guides not only know the history but they also know which areas of the attractions to hit first to avoid crowds and long waits.
At the start of our tour, our guide took us directly to the most popular area of the Tower of London: The Crown Jewels. Seeing the crowns and jewels that the past and preset Royals have worn was a highlight of our visit. Because we went here first, it was not crowded and we were able to enjoy it without feeling rushed or claustrophobic! By the time we left this area the line to get in was wrapped around the building. It definitely paid to have a guide here!
Theater in London
London has more theaters than any other city in the world, which means you can catch a show every day of the week. London’s West End theater district is iconic and a must see! While we were there Wicked, Back to the Future, The Lion King, Jersey Boys, Frozen, Matilda, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera and so many others were playing! We opted to get tickets to Back to the Future. Having teen boys, I wanted to pick a show that would appeal to them and I must say, they LOVED it! We all thought it was fabulous!
I bought tickets a few months beforehand, but many times you can get discounted day of tickets as well. Tickets to the London theater are more affordable than the theater here in Denver which was a nice surprise! We paid less than $80 a ticket for great seats.
The London Eye
Getting a bird’s eye view of the city of London is fun for all ages and especially kids and teens. The London Eye is a large, enclosed capsule much like a Ferris wheel, that takes you 443 feet in the air for the best views of London! You will get awesome aerial views of Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, the river Thames and much more. The entire ride takes about 30 minutes and is climate controlled for an enjoyable experience no matter what the weather may be that day. You can purchase tickets in advance or buy them the day of as well.
Pro tip: purchase the fast track pass so you don’t have to wait in line. Your family will thank you!
Harry Potter- Warner Bros Studio Tour
If you have any Harry Potter fans travelling with you, then London is the perfect place for a family vacation! Transport your family into the scenes of the Harry Potter films! On the Warner Bros Studios Tour, you can visit many places where scenes from the movies are based on or even filmed at!
On this tour you are able to explore the magical world of Harry Potter, see sets, costumes, and props from the films. You will also get to see Platform 9 3/4 and Hogwarts Express train. This is a And of course what trip to Hogwarts would be complete without Butterbeer! You will also be able to enjoy a taste of the Wizarding World with a stop at the on-site Hogwarts cafe, which serves Butterbeer and other Harry Potter-themed snacks and meals.
Pro Tip: This popular tour sells out quickly. Make sure you by tickets well in advance of your trip.
Another one of our favorite thigs we did on our family vacation to London, was visit Westminster Abbey. This royal church in the center of London is best known for royal weddings, coronations, and burials of royals, monarchs, and other notable British individuals. You can take a guided tour at Westminster Abbey like we did or at the ticket center, you can get a headset with an audio guide that will walk you through the church and explain all the wonderous sites. The audio guides are even available in child-friendly versions. These guides provide interesting information and stories about the Abbey, making the visit more engaging for everyone but especially kids and teens.
For fans of the British royal family, a visit to Buckingham Palace is a must do! Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks in London and should definitely be on your list for your family vacation. Buckingham Palace is not only a significant royal residence but also a symbol of the monarchy and British history.
During the summer months, typically from late July to September, Buckingham Palace opens its State Rooms to the public. On this tour, you can see the rooms that are used by the Royal Family for official functions and ceremonies. Visitors can explore the State Rooms, which are lavishly decorated with fine art and historical artifacts.
Be sure to catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony- a sure treat for your family to witness! Changing of the Guards is a popular and free attraction which takes place outside Buckingham Palace. This event takes place outside Buckingham Palace every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at10:45 am and lasts around 45 minutes, with the actual 'handover' taking place at 11am. Since this is a very popular event, be sure to arrive early to secure a spot.
Remember that Buckingham Palace is a working royal residence, so availability and access to specific areas may be limited during official events, ceremonies, or in the off-season.
Thames River Cruise
Another family favorite thing to do in London is taking a cruise on the Thames River! Thames River Cruises in London offer a fun way for the family to see the city from a different perspective. These cruises s provide stunning views of London's iconic landmarks and are available in various forms, including sightseeing tours, dining experiences, and more. Here's are many different Thames River Cruises to choose from:
Sightseeing Cruises: These cruises offer informative (and entertaining) commentary as you float past major landmarks such as the Tower Bridge, the London Eye, the Shard, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament, and more. Take in the city's skyline and historic buildings while learning about their history.
Dining Cruises: Many companies offer dining cruises where you can enjoy a meal, afternoon tea, or even dinner on the river. This provides a unique culinary experience combined with scenic views.
Evening Cruises: Evening cruises are a fantastic way to see London illuminated at night. The city's landmarks are beautifully lit up, creating a magical atmosphere. Some evening cruises also include entertainment and music.
Hop-On Hop-Off Cruises: These cruises allow you to hop on and off at various piers along the river, making it a convenient way to visit multiple attractions in a day. Many popular attractions are located near the Thames, so it can be a practical mode of transportation. We used this mode of transportation each day!
Themed Cruises: Some companies offer themed cruises, including Halloween, Christmas, and New Year's Eve events. These cruises often include special decorations and entertainment.
London offers excellent shopping opportunities. Kids and teens can explore popular shopping areas like Oxford Street, Regent Street, Covent Garden and the Chinatown.
You'll also find unique markets in London like Camden Market and Portobello Road Market that will sure to entertain your family. Of course, a visit to the famous Harrods Mall won’t disappoint hard to please kids and teens! Harrods is one of the world’s most famous and prestigious luxury department stores and while they may not be able to buy much, window shopping here is some of the best in the city.
Ultimately, taking your family to London is an excellent choice for your family vacation. Teens, tweens and kids of all ages will love all this city has to offer. I loved our time in London and I know you will too!
If you are interested in a London vacation be sure to reach out to me here!
Hi, I’m Megan, the owner or Paradise Travel. I travel as often as I can to gain first hand knowledge to share with others so I can plan the best vacations possible. I'd love to be your travel agent! Thanks for stopping by!