With only 3 days to see London, it’s really a case of what would you have to leave out rather than include as there really is so much to see and do in one of the world’s biggest and most historic cities.
Our city experts with the help of Katja, founder of Globetotting family travel blog have put together this 3-day London itinerary for families to make sure you capture the best the city of London has to offer.
You can find our podcast show notes about London here or click below to listen to Katja and Marta discuss everything from afternoon teas to specialised tours and fabulous free things you can do in the capital!
Day 1 London Itinerary with Kids
We’re going to start our journey around London with an iconic bus ride.
There are lots of tourist bus operators with guided commentary, however, they can be quite pricey for a family. A great alternative is to catch a regular London double-decker bus (make sure you get a spot at the front of the top deck for the full experience!).
A great route that passes many popular London landmarks is the number 9 from Aldwych. It will take you past Trafalgar Square, Green Park, Knightsbridge and on to Kensington.
Once in Kensington, there are some great free museums to explore including the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. Most of the museums in London are free and make for a great family day out (though can also be incredibly busy with long queues in peak holiday periods).
You can find plenty of dining options in the Kensington area, or head to one of London’s popular parks such as Hyde Park for a picnic lunch. Convenience stores are a great place to pick up a pre-packaged picnic, but you will find most restaurants and pubs most welcoming of children too.
You may still have more museums to tackle or take the kids for a run around at the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens.
If little legs will last, stroll back through Hyde Park and Green Park to catch a glimpse of Buckingham Palace. Whilst the Changing the Guard ceremony happens in the morning, you can still catch some action by continuing your stroll through St James’s Park to the Horse Guards Parade (close to Downing Street) where you can catch the 4pm Dismounting Ceremony for a bit of Royal pomp and pageantry!
Catch a look at Westminster while you are in this corner of town (though note the famous clock tower Big Ben is currently being renovated).
Finish the day in the West End for an early dinner where there is a huge range of dining options from chain restaurants to pubs to choose from.
Note the West End can be busy pre-evening show time so dine early if you want to miss the crowds, or after 7.30 when a lot of the shows have started.
Where to stay in London with kids
There are plenty of options for accommodation in London, all very dependent on budget. The closer you are to Public Transport Zone 1 (Central London), the more it’ll cost!
We like the Premier Inn chain as a budget family option. They have several handy locations including near Tower of London, or slightly further out in Clapham Junction is also a good option withing zone 2 on the overland train network.
Longer-term visitors may want to stay further out of town and commute in (out of peak hours) where there are a lot more AirBnB and rental options.
Day 2 London itinerary with kids
Start your day with one of the major sites of London – the Tower of London. It is a popular attraction so definitely worth getting in early and book skip the line tickets.
From the Tower of London, you can walk on to explore Tower Bridge (often mistakenly called London Bridge). If you time it right and you might just get to see the Bridge open to let tall ships past (see timetable here).
Walk across to the south bank of the river and head to Borough Markets for lunch.
If you are looking for a run around space for the kids, there’s some wonderful lawns and fountains in the summer months in front of the Town Hall.
Alternatively, there are some wonderful themed afternoon teas that are welcoming of children across the city including Alice and Wonderland Mad Hatter Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson or Charlie & the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych.
Continue your stroll along Southbank and enjoy street entertainment, the Tate Modern and roaming exhibits along the Thames.
Day 3 London itinerary with kids
Start your day taking in some fabulous views across the city from the London Eye, before stepping aboard a Thames cruise to Greenwich.
The is plenty to explore in Greenwich, including a visit to the Royal Observatory Greenwich to see where Greenwich Mean Time is recorded and step across the Meridian line.
A visit to the Cutty Sark is also a must for kids. The “Crew” are on hand to explain the ship’s history and bring the story to life.
On a sunny day, arrange a picnic in Greenwich Park.
Take a boat, tube or Docklands light rail (DLR) back to central London and try a speciality tour of one of London’s neighbourhoods.
For those with younger children, we recommend you try the London Transport Museum.
Finish with dinner in Covent Garden and enjoy the street entertainers Alternatively, in the winter head to Somerset House for ice skating for a magical finish to your London trip.
Further family activities in London
If you have more than 3 days in London Some day trip ideas include:
- See a show West End show.
- Head out the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour
- Take the train south-west to explore Hampton Court Palace
- Train out to another town, some favourite day trip locations include Brighton on the beach or the University towns of Oxford and Cambridge
- Check out this comprehensive 7-day London Itinerary.
How to get around London
London’s public transport system is effective but not always child family. The best tip is to travel out of peak time and study the map for step-free access. Once you know where you are headed a lot can actually be covered on foot far easier than making your way up and down the underground, and don’t be afraid to use the buses too.
What to pack for London
- A raincoat or umbrella is always a good idea in London, no matter the season!
- A good compact stroller for easy getting on and off transport
- Good walking shoes you’ll cover a lot of ground
- It’s an easy town to buy anything you might need!
Remember to pop on over and listen to the podcast if you would like to learn more about these places in our interview with Katja Gaskell.
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