It was hard to narrow it down to only our top 3 London days out with kids but we did it. If you’re wandering why keep reading.
The idea of entertaining your kids for an entire day in London always seems daunting so after many epic fail days we finally landed on the real winners and wanted to share them with you. One I haven’t included in this post but also deserves a mention is Somerset House purely as we already talked about it a few months ago so you can check it out here. Ok so why did we pick these over so many others? Lots of reasons, access, cost, entertainment value, diversity and of course the food!
The Free Day – The Museum of Childhood
The museum is super easy to reach and located about 100 meters away from the Bethnal Green Central Line stop. The TFL site is a great place to journey plan if your in the city.
The great thing about the museum is that it doesn’t feel overwhelming. If you have younger children they won’t leave in a state of hysteria and exhaustion which is a bonus. The interactive displays are varied enough for all ages and it’s actually super fun to watch your kids working out how some of them work. Oscar was mesmerized by the pendulum acrobats and did not want to leave the sandpit! As this is part of the V & A museums the gift shop is also excellent with lots of quirky souvenirs. Cafe is standard but the size does mean you can relax if your kids are lively aka loud like mine. If your feeling adventurous after your visit I highly recommend a stroll down the canal with a pit stop at my latest obsession the very child friendly Toconoco cafe. It’s adorable you have to go.
Mid range – The Horniman Museum and Gardens
I have been meaning to come to this museum for a while an have heard so many good things. I was truly blown away. We got the over ground train to Forest Hill from Shoreditch High street which took around 25 minutes and was only a 10 minute walk from the museum. The location is so beautiful high on a vista overlooking London which makes for some great photos too. There are botanical gardens, picnic areas and a petting zoo within the grounds and although we were there in the winter we still managed a brisk walk around as it’s just so scenic.
Inside there are a number of static exhibitions which I found truly unique. The instrument room was fascinating and crammed full of information I sort of wished I didn’t have a hyper toddler in tow so I could really take it all in but you can’t have it all. The natural history rooms are equally packed to the brim with a cornocopia of oddities. The fact many are in cabinets is not great for younger children but there is plenty more to see so no big deal. There are scheduled activities at the museum too, story times and workshops as well as downloadable activity packs all info on the site.
The basement floor aquarium is small but perfectly formed and the only part of the museum you have to pay for. At 3.50 UK pounds its not exactly breaking the bank. The visiting exhibit section on our visit was the African Worlds exhibit which was vibrant and exotic with lots of sounds, colors and giant sculptures for Oscar to enjoy too. The cafe is really fantastic I love the lunch boxes which had a thoughtful selection of goodies including our favorite UK snacks Organix. The coffee and walrus cookie were excellent too.
The wallet breaker – The London Zoo
London Zoo is by far the most expensive we have been to so far even more then New York and Gothenburg, Sweden which was surprising. The regular price is between 19 UK pounds and 25 UK pounds depending on where you purchase the tickets and the season. Very confusing PS London Zoo. Saying that it really is a sprawling affair. The Zoo is located at the top of Regents Park so there is also the option of picnicking there before or after your visit, weather permitting. We got the tube to Baker Street and walked which was fine but not entirely straightforward so map it if you can. We visited with my dear friend Sophie of www.whatsofibisaw.blogspot.com and her son Freddie. Sophie being far more organized them me managed to score us a deal and get 1/2 price tickets on the Days out Guide UK site. If your group contains more than one adult I highly suggest you do too as this is a bit of a wallet buster. Still it’s in my top three for a reason. It’s really a place you can spend the entire day. There is so much to see and do with regular talks and feeding times (we got to see both the lions and the penguins feeding) as well as petting zoos and two cafés. The largest of which is much better with a huge selection of food and beautiful floor to ceiling windows to take it all in with. There was a beautiful old carousel there on our visit too which I’m not sure is a permanent feature or not but as you well know I have a carousel obsession so of course I loved it! A fantastic day out for all ages. I remember going on a date here about 10 years ago when I lived in London and it was as magic then as it was this time around.