London locations that keep both kids and parents happy
What’s more dangerous: a bored child or a bored adult? While it’s usually safer to keep the kids occupied, that doesn’t mean that the grown-ups should be yawning from one stop to the next. These multitasking locations make sure everybody’s happy.
This smart area is home to the Victoria & Albert Museum (the V&A), the Royal Albert Hall, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. The Royal Albert Hall offers hour-long Grand Tours between 10am and 4pm every day, while the V&A is home to an astounding collection of fine and applied arts. Neverland Children’s Tours offers supervised London tours exclusively for children over eight: Its ‘Colour Me Creative’ tour fills up a morning in the area, including hands-on craft activities inside the V&A.
So, once you’ve tour the Royal Albert Hall and V&A at your own pace, you could reunite for an afternoon at the more child-friendly Science and Natural History Museums.
You’ll find majestic city views here, as well as a skate park, pitch and putt (simple golfing for any age group), a boating lake, ice skating and Go Ape.
Go Ape Alexandra Palace takes participants up into the trees, to climb along walkways and fly down zip wires. There are various difficulty levels, so most ages are covered here.
If Mum and Dad fancy a drink, head to StrEATlife festival at Alexandra Palace on Saturday 18 August 2018 (above). With craft beer bars, music and delicious food options, it’s open from noon until 10pm and kids are welcome. Meanwhile, a 300m-long, inflatable obstacle course called The Monster is here 24-27 August 2018. It’s for adults, but 11-15 year olds are welcome at certain times.
The Serpentine lake runs through Hyde Park, which has a daily programme of swimming at its lido throughout summer. Open 10am-6pm, it costs £12 for a family ticket and there’s a paddling pool for little ones. The nearby Diana Memorial Fountain is a monument to the late princess, where children and grown-ups go to paddle their feet. To stay dry, hire a pedal boat from The Serpentine’s north bank.
If you journey to the west, you’ll find yourself in Kensington Gardens. Here you can visit Kensington Palace, where the Dukes and Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex live. Art-loving adults will appreciate the Serpentine Gallery, while children will enjoy exploring the Serpentine Pavilion, a temporary outdoor structure just for summer.
Sail east along the Thames to North Greenwich Pier for all sorts of activities. Why not get strapped into a harness and walk over the top of The O2? Up at The O2 (above) is perfect for adventurous adults and children over nine.
Climb down and head inside with your dinosaur-mad kids for the spectacular Walking with Dinosaurs, showing throughout the day at The O2, 14-19 August. Alternatively, head south along the peninsula for Dinosaurs in the Wild. This show take you on a brilliant, immersive adventure to the Cretaceous Period.
Previously overshadowed by other parts of London, this western neighbourhood was reborn as a major shopping destination thanks to Westfield London. This mega mall has a Champagne bar, a just-opened extension adding 90 new shops and Europe’s largest Japanese food hall, Ichiba.
You’ll also KidZania in the mall and it is huge. It’s an indoor city run by kids and each session lasts for four hours. Children can try working in a chocolate factory, flying a plane or presenting the news, while adults can enjoy a relaxation area filled with books, board games and computers.
Get more ideas with these family-friendly London activities for the 2018 summer holidays. Alternatively, check out our video about London’s best outdoor theatre options here.
Pictured: The Monster at Alexandra Palace