It should be no surprise that London is one of the most visited cities in the world. There is so much to see and do, it’s the perfect city for a combination of old and new, historic and modern side by side. If you’re planning a visit it can be easy to be overwhelmed with the lists and lists of ‘must see’ landmarks, museums and other iconic places. There are countless guides on the internet and social media but here are some of my favourite things to do in London : –
You can’t visit London without checking out some of the museums. The Natural History Museum and the Science Museum are always firm favourites but are particularly busy on a weekend and during the school holidays.
For something a little different, check out The Grant Museum of Zoology in the Rockefeller Building. Entry is free and and it’s a quirky little museum with lots of interesting things to see. Another of our favourites is the RAF Museum in Edgware. Away from central of London, the RAF museum is brilliant day out with so much to see. You can explore the Hangars, check out full sized helicopters and planes and younger children can explore the brilliant playground outside.
Theatre shows in London
There are so many theatre shows in London, the options are vast. There are around 40 venues in and around the West End of London alone so that gives you an idea of the scale of productions on offer. Whether you like to plan ahead or book something last minute, there really is something for everyone. We booked a last minute trip to see Back to the Future at the Adelphi during our visit to London last week. My 9 year old thoroughly enjoyed watching Marty McFly transported back to 1955 in a time machine built by the eccentric scientist Doc Brown. We both enjoyed the performance and venue, watching a theatre performance in London always seems so much better than at our local theatre. We’re hoping to visit again in October, and already got my eye on Peter Pan Goes Wrong at the Lyric Theatre.
Hyde Park is always near the top of every London itinerary and one of the most famous Royal Parks. There’s no denying it’s a beautiful park but it’s also a very busy park. If we visit Hyde Park we tend to grab a picnic from Harrods and sit on the grass and people watch or visit Speakers Corner rather than trying to take a walk around the countless joggers and cyclists. Before heading into Hyde Park, make sure you give the Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens a visit. It’s a lovely play area with plenty of seats for parents and lots of sand!
For a more leisurely stroll, often more peaceful than Hyde Park, I like Richmond Park. It’s another of the 8 Royal Parks but a short distance out of central London. It’s easily accessed via Tube or Bus. It’s 2,500 acres in size ( the second largest park in London) and has roaming deer that can often be see wandering between the trees and shrubs. If you’re visiting with children, Petersham Gate Playground is located within Richmond Park and is suitable for children up to 12 years. It has a range of equipment including slides, a sandpit and a water play feature.
Whenever we go to London we light to go for a posh afternoon tea and pretend we’re all fancy. During our most recent visit, we booked a Science themed afternoon tea at the Ampersand Hotel near the Natural History and Science Museums. It was a lovely treat for the kids and the setting was very pretty. Like everything else, there are lots of different options for afternoon tea. There are themed teas, classic afternoon tea or even afternoon tea on a sight seeing bus.
Whether you’re looking for high end designer clothes or London themed trinkets to take home, you need to check out the shops and at least one market during your visit. The more iconic stores like the Lego Shop and M&M World are worth a visit if you’re in London with children but aim to go later in the day when the queues have died down a little.
If you’re visiting at the weekend, Portobello Road Market on a Saturday morning is amazing. There’s a combination of second hand goodies, quirky shops and a food market with every kind of food you can imagine but get there early because it gets busy very quickly.
Do you have any tips for visiting London?