river view london

London Travel Guide for Families – Hotels, Sightseeing and General Advice

London is the perfect destination for a city break with children. One can fly to London quickly (and cheaply) from everywhere in Europe, there are a loads of exciting sights and the city is also very children-friendly as a city.

For example there are many museums and experiences specially adapted for those traveling to London with children.

In this big guide we take a look at the entire palette when it comes to a holiday in London with children.

Hotel in London for families with children

Below I have compiled a list of hotels in London that are particularly suitable for families travelling to London with children. The hotels are on various lists when you search for ‘good hotels in London for families‘, located in nice areas of London and are all generally good hotels in different price ranges.

Below I’ll provide a bit of information about the hotel and a direct link to booking the child-friendly hotels in London.

  • Prices of hotels in London are dynamic and fluctuate depending on supply / demand, so click on the link and see current rates.

Melia White House – link to hotel

melia white house hotel for families
One of the best hotels in London for families travelling with children.

The Melia White House hotel is characterized by being a quite big hotel that has made it there speciality to make families with children feel at home.

There is a special children’s check-in at the hotel and for example a theme room for children, as the picture shows here.

The child friendly hotel is located wonderfully well in Central London close to eg. London Zoo and Madame Tussuads.

The Nadler Kensington – link to hotel

nadler kensington london with childrenIn a slightly cheaper price range we find The Nadler Kensington, which is also a popular London hotel for families.

The location is also very good – the hotel is located only a few hundred meters from Earl’s Court tube station, from which there are excellent links to the rest of the city and Central London is only a few minutes away.

For the adults, Harrods is about a 15-minute walk away and for both adults and children the Natural History Museum is approximately 1 km from the hotel. More about the latter later in this guide.

The hotel has large rooms and several of the rooms also have mini kitchens, so you can save some money by making a meal or two at the hotel.

Kensington is a nice and extremely peaceful area which makes it a perfect location for a family-friendly hotel in London.

London House Hotel – link to hotel

london house hotel cheap family friendlyIn the excellent Paddington/Bayswater area we find this family-friendly hotel.

The Paddington area is one of the areas where I have stayed most times in London and it continues to be one of my favourite areas for a city break.

It’s simply super nice, quiet and cosy. 

In the Paddington/Bayswater area you are close to Hyde Park, Oxford Street and a lot of bus and tube lines that make it possible to quickly get around to the rest of London.

At this hotel you can get extra beds in your room for the children.

Possibly the cheapest family-friendly hotel in London on this list, but prices vary as always, so click in and check the price of your travel dates.

Further reading about accommodation in London:

Useful knowledge about London

Below I gather a bit of useful information about London as a city break destination.

Airports in an around London

stansted airport planesLet’s get one thing straight – there is a big difference between which airport you fly to when you travel to London.

The cheapest flights from Europe are typically to Luton, Stansted and Gatwick.

As a matter of principle, I always try to book my flights to Gatwick, as especially transport from Luton, and sometimes Stansted, can take ages.

However, the most central airports in London are London City Airport and Heathrow, where you can reach Paddington St by express train in just 15 minutes. By comparison, it can take 1.5 hours by bus from Luton.

More reading on the subject :

Public transport in London with children

visitor oyster card

The Visitor Oyster Card – buy this and save 50% on all public transport in London!

Public transport in London is amazing. For children, a trip down the London Underground (metro) is an experience in itself, so I would recommend anyone travelling to London with children to use public transport as much as possible.

The downside of the tube is that you don’t really get to see the city while going from A to B…

The buses in London are cheap and there are double-deck buses on most routes.

Grab a seat on the first floor and then a trip from the hotel to an attraction suddenly turns into an exciting bus ride, where you can see a lot of the city!

I would recommend to buy the Visitor Oyster Card or London Travelcard for public transport in London.

Read more and buy your transport passes online in the VisitBritain Webshop at the links below:

Visitor Oyster Card

London Travelcard

Traffic in London

londonLondon is a big city, so there is a lot of traffic.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from walking around the streets of London, but I still feel that it’s necessary to mention in a guide to London for families with children. 

As you probably know, they drive on the left side of the road in Britain, which can make it a bit confusing (even for adults) for the first few days in the city.

Especially at pedestrian crossings you’ve gotta be alert.

The locals will “jaywalk” if they can see that they can just about cross over before a car or bus gets in their way.

Cars and buses are used to this, so they do not stop – it’s the pedestrian who has to jump out of the way.

Therefore, keep an eye on whether the light is red or green before crossing the road and do not just follow the flow if you’re walking around in London with young children.

Sights & experiences in London for families & children

palace of westminster

The Palace of Westminster – and Big Ben.

As mentioned earlier, there’s truly enough to see and experience in London regardless of age. In the following section I would like to highlight a number of attractions and experiences that are especially suitable for families in London.

You can buy tickets in advance to most attractions in London that cost money. It’s often possible to save around 20% if you buy the tickets in advance and sometimes the online tickets are ‘fast track’ tickets which means you can skip the queues. 

London Eye

london eye view

The view from London Eye.

No trip to London is complete without strolling into the huge ferris wheel located right on the banks of the River overlooking Big Ben.

I would really recommend anyone travelling to London with children to take a trip up the London Eye.

The area at the banks of the river is also always packed with children, as there are changing annual activities and plenty of space to romp.

Remember to book fast-track tickets to London Eye in advance so you do not have to stand in the long queue. With a fast-track ticket you go straight up and just enjoy the ride.

Buy fast-track tickets to London Eye from home at VisitBritain here

Boat trip in London

boat cruise london thames riverSeeing London from the river side gives a good impression of how big the city really is.

I can recommend combining a London Eye tour with a boat trip in London as the boats leave just to the right from the London Eye.

You can sail to the Tower of London and see the old prison that will undoubtedly impress the children. Or even further out to Greenwich, a huge green park in South East London.

Read my guide to boat tours in London here (opens in new window).

Harry Potter’s London

harry potter london

If the kids are not fans of Harry Potter, just skip this tip. But if they are, you’ve brought them up well and London is indeed the perfect place to explore places from the Harry Potter movies.

There’s even a Harry Potter Studio, where you get completely under the skin of the movie and almost feel like you’re in it. You can even walk around in the Diagon Alley…

I have written a huge guide to Harry Potter’s London here (opens in a new window).

Science Museum

Well, it’s time for a free experience for the whole family. London is an expensive city, but there are actually some free experiences for children.

The Science Museum in London is Europe’s most visited and of course that is not without reason.

There are changing exhibits, so I would recommend taking a look at the museum’s website here for information on what can be seen when you are in London.

However, there are always lots of interactive experiences so I would really recommend anyone travelling to London with children to spend some hours at this museum. 

The location is just south of Hyde Park – see location on map here.

Natural History Museum

Another free museum and just a few hundred meters from the aforementioned Science Museum. Convenient, right?

If dinosaurs, mammals and giant skeletons are popular with your children, you’ll have to check out the Natural History Museum in London.

Certainly an exciting museum for both children and adults. 

Read more about current exhibitions on the NHM website here.

London Zoo

london zoo tiger

The London Zoo is located in Regent Park, which is also worth a visit when you are around there.

London Zoo distinguishes itself by having over 800 different species and has, among other things, a huge area of ​​tigers and lions, which are always popular animals for the children.

In addition, there is also a large rainforest area and a penguin beach with over 100 penguins.

Buy tickets from London Zoo to VisitBritain here.

Madame Tussauads Wax Museum

sherlock holmes madame tussauds

Madame Tussauds does not need a very big introduction. The large wax museum has gradually spread to a large number of big cities in Europe and of course that’s not without reason.

Another great experience in London for children of all ages 😉

At the wax museum in London you can meet One Direction, David Beckham, the Queen of England, Star Wars characters and many more.

By booking tickets in advance, you are guaranteed access on the day you buy, so it is recommended to do so since Madame Tussauds is very popular.

Save 20% off by booking at VisitBritain here.

Also read the huge guide to Madame Tussauds in London.

London Transport Museum

At London Transport Museum, located right in the heart of London in Covent Garden, there is amazingly much to see and learn.

There are countless old means of transportation at the exhibition and there are interactive things where children can go in a simulator, so it feels like they are driving London’s famous tube.

A both educational and fun day for both children and adults at the London Transport Museum.

Read more about London Transport Museum here.

Skygarden – see London from above

kristoffer fons skygarden

Yours truly in the Skygarden, December 2015.

There are many skyscrapers in London where you can pay to get in, but why pay when Skygarden is free and gives a good view of London?

Skygarden is a large indoor garden, where there is also outdoor access, located close to London Bridge and the Tower of London in the eastern part of town.

Get up in one of London’s tallest buildings for free. All you have to do is book your free visit from home.

Read my post about Skygarden in London here (opens in a new window).

Musicals in London for children

lion king musical

Musicals in London are forever popular and many of the most popular musicals have been running for decades.

There are a lots of musicals in London that are also suitable for children.

Even though your child is not so strong in English yet it’s always fun to see Aladdin or the Lion King.

Cheap West End Musical tickets.

More attractions and experiences for children

There are of course many, many more attractions and experiences in London for both children and adults. I’ve made a link referring to VisitBritain’s top ‘must sees’ – see all of the things here.

I would recommend taking a look at the link above (possibly with the children) and be inspired for your trip to London.

If you’ve got any questions about travelling to London with children then please post a comment below.

Kristoffer

Kristoffer

I may not be a born and bred londoner, but I've had my fair share of trips to the English capital. Since 2013 I've been writing travel guides to London and I visit the city regularly so I can provide the best London Travel Hacks for you to read.

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