8 Things to Do With Toddlers in London
Finding fun, enjoyable and inexpensive activities when visiting a new city can be difficult, particularly when travelling with young children. Fortunately, in a vibrant place like London, there’s plenty to keep young minds occupied! Here are a few of our favourite things to do with toddlers in London.
Fancy testing your sea legs? Head onboard the HMS Belfast, the largest preserved warship in Europe, which is now permanently moored on the River Thames. Explore as a family and discover what life was really like for the sailors who lived, worked and fought on the ship. There are particular treats in store for young children, too: toddlers can take on the captain’s duties in the operations room, pushing buttons, issuing commands and even wearing the captain’s hat. Visiting is free for under fives.
Visit: HMS Belfast, The Queen's Walk, SE1 2JH
London Transport Museum
The capital is home to some truly iconic transport options, all of which are celebrated in the London Transport Museum. Located conveniently in the heart of Covent Garden, the museum highlights the growth of modern London, paying homage to the red London bus, the world’s first Underground steam train and more. Toddlers will have a whale of a time in the All Aboard family zone, where they’ll be invited to make driver announcements from the driver’s seat of a real bus, and practise their mechanical skills on a mini Tube train in need of repair.
Visit: London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BB
Set in a natural landscape within the famous Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is the excellent children’s playground Tumbling Bay. An award-winning playscape, Tumbling Bay was inspired by the River Lea; with this in mind, there’s an arresting water feature which invites children to hand pump water into a series of little pools and tributaries, becoming masters of dams and locks. In addition, there are slides, swings, sandpits, wobbly bridges and treehouses to discover. If you fancy a bite to eat, the charming Timber Lodge Café is close by.
Visit: Tumbling Bay, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, E20 1DY
After you’ve had an outdoor playtime session in the Olympic Park, why not wander over to Discover, also in Stratford. This immersive experience has been created for children aged 0 to 11 and is a great place for families to learn, play, and make stories together. Featuring a story trail, multi-sensory installations, exhibitions, a magical garden and a café, it’s a fantastic place to spend a day – and, best of all, it’s free for children under two!
Visit: Discover, Stratford High Street, E15 4QZ
Shows and Stories
The Unicorn Theatre
The Unicorn Theatre specialises in productions for young audiences, aiming to instil a life-long love for the arts in children of all ages. There are productions specially designed for toddlers alongside its programme for older children, as well as special workshops and other unique events. Whatever you choose, everything is family friendly; and, as the Unicorn is the UK’s leading theatre company for young people, you can be sure that the entertainment will be top-notch.
Visit: The Unicorn Theatre, Tooley Street, SE1 2HZ
National Gallery Storytelling
Bring some of the world’s best paintings to life for your children with a Sunday morning trip to the National Gallery. Each week, a professional storyteller spins a yarn inspired by a different painting within the gallery; and, once a month, there is a musical ‘magic carpet’ story with a specialist early years music facilitator. The sessions are completely free and are perfect for children between two and five, but they do get busy, so do arrive early to bag your spot.
Visit: National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN
Visit the Animals
Under threes go free at London Zoo, providing the perfect opportunity for toddlers to get up close with some of their favourite animals. With an exciting variety of wildlife all in one location – from giraffes to lions and tigers – and daily shows, like feeding sessions and live presentations, as well as seasonal events, London Zoo is a fantastic day out for the whole family. The zoo is also situated within Regent’s Park, one of the capital’s most beautiful green spaces, which is a great place to enjoy a stroll or a picnic when you are finished.
Visit: London Zoo, Regents Park (Outer Circle), NW1 4RY
SEA LIFE London
If your child is more at home in the sea rather than on land, head to the SEA LIFE London aquarium. Discover the UK’s largest living coral reef, embark on a rainforest adventure, and spot sharks, jellyfish and more. You can even stroke certain small sea creatures in the aquarium’s special rockpool. Better still, just like London Zoo, under threes go free – so you can enjoy an aquatic adventure with your toddler for an affordable price!
Visit: SEA LIFE London, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB