9 BEST FAMILY HOTELS in London - Where to Stay with Kids (2022)

There is plenty to do in London in eight days, and the Harry Potter Studio tour is very popular with teenagers. If you want to take your kids out to a show, you’re spoiled for choice: there are plenty of shows and musicals happening in London’s West End on any given day. You can check what’s going to be on during the time of your visit at londontheatre.co.uk and if you have your hearts set on a particularl show, it’s worth buying tickets online in advance. Otherwise, you can look for bargains when you’re in London by visiting the TKTS booth in Leicester Square.

Below are some ideas for what you can do in London in seven days (since a visit to Harry Potter Studios is essentially a day trip. It’s around 20 miles north of London, so you need to take a train from London Euston to Watford Junction, and take a shuttle to the studios from there. Since it sounds like you’re Harry Potter fans, you might be interested in some sights in London as well: at London King’s Cross station, there’s the platform 9 34, the Tour for Muggles does entertaining walking tours of central London, taking in the sights from the Harry Potter movies, and a many different London tours for Harry Potter fans.

Day 1: If it’s your first time in London, a good way to get a feel for London is to take a boat tour. City Cruises depart from the Westminster pier in central London, and on the way you get to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, the Shard and other attractions. Some of the boats go all the way east to Greenwich, and you can get off and visit different attractions along the way. For one day, I recommend going on the London Eye – you get a great view of London from above, even if it’s cloudy (book online for cheaper prices). Next to the London Eye is the London Dungeon, which is a fun, actor-led introduction to London’s gruesome history with special effects, creepy sets, and a ride at the end. Some teenagers really enjoy it, while others might think it’s a bit twee – it depends on your kids. You can then take the boat east to the Tate Modern if you’re into art: it’s the UK’s biggest contemporary art museum and it’s free entry, unless you wish to attend one of the special exhibitions. You can then take the boat one more stop to the Tower of London – a royal fortress that’s the home of Crown Jewels. It’s really well-geared towards family exploration: there are towers to climb, a museum with medieval weaponry and suits of armour, and you can sign up for a really worthwhile, entertaining tour with the Yeomen (Beefeaters) – the Tower’s guardians. Next door is Tower Bridge, with its twin towers and a glass-bottomed walkway high above river. Across the bridge is the H.M.S. Belfast, a former Royal Navy boat that you can climb aboard and explore. From Tower Bridge, it’s a 10-minute walk to London Bridge, where you can go up the Shard, London’s tallest skyscraper. It helps if the weather is nice, since you get amazing views of London from the viewing platform (book online for discounts). There is some excellent street food at Borough Market nearby. Or you can take the London underground to London Bridge and start at the Shard, and work your way backwards towards the London Eye. Since that’s a lot to see in one day, you may consider splitting this into two days’ worth of outings.

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Day 3: Spend a day around the Covent Garden/Leicester Square area. There is usually some street theatre happening around the covered market area in Covent Garden proper, and it’s a fun neighbourhood to wander around, with plenty of shopping and eating options. If you want to take it easy, there are several cinemas as Leicester Square, and if you’re interested in art, the excellent National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery are both nearby. If you’re interested in history, the Churchill War Rooms is a museum in former British wartime headquarters and a fascinating glimpse of Britain during The Blitz. Just around the corner from there is Westminster Abbey, London’s (and possibly the UK’s) most stunning church – it’s where Prince William and Kate Middleton got married and where most of England’s kings and queens are buried. If you visit, go at opening time, since it’s hugely popular. Finally, if you want to do see something few people (including Londoners) ever get to see, there are the popular Hidden London tours run by the London Transport Museum that take you down into the disused tunnels that were once part of the London Underground; some remain unchanged since WWII. You have to book weeks ahead for these.

There are plenty of places to eat in the neighbourhood and Covent Garden/Leicester Square is right in the heart of West End, in case you want to catch a show that day at one of the many theatres in the neighbourhood.

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Day 4: Head to Buckingham Palace in the morning; every other day there’s the Changing of the Guard (check online which day it’ll be) at 11.30am. There’s marching and music and it’s a fun spectacle, so get there at least half an hour before to get a good viewing spot. From there you could also catch the tube to Russell Square and visit the British Museum with its incredible collection of treasures from around the world, or head up to Madame Tussaud’s and your pictures taken with the Royal Family, movie stars, famous musicians and other wax figures.

Day 5: Head to South Kensington and visit the excellent Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. They are next door to each other in South Kensington (near the tube station). The Natural History Museum is geared towards visitors of all ages and has an excellent dinosaur room, among other things, while the Science Museum has lots of interactive displays, also for visitors of all ages. Across the street is the superb Victoria & Albert Museum – the world’s largest art and design museum, with superb displays – fashions through the ages, treasures from the Far East, and much more – this can be interesting for teenagers of all ages. Try to go on a weekday to avoid crowds. There are restaurants nearby, as is the famous Harrods department store – fun to browse, even if you’re not planning on shopping, and with and excellent gourmet food hall.

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Day 6: Do a day trip to Windsor Castle, the Queen’s official home. You can combine that with a visit to Legoland Windsor, which is popular with kids, teenagers and Lego-lovers of all ages. It’s a short train ride from London Paddington to Windsor Central Station.

Day 7: Particularly if the weather is good, you can do a day trip to Kew Gardens, London’s biggest botanical gardens. It’s a vast, tranquil space with lots of trails and a canopy walk – but that rather depends on whether you’re into flowers and walking. You’ll need to take a train from London Waterloo to Kew. You can combine that with a visit to Hampton Court Palace, the palace of England’s most notorious king: Henry VIII (or just visit Hampton Court instead of Kew) – it’s a really grand palace, with lots of rooms to explore, plus a garden maze and more. It’s possible to take a bus between Kew and Hampton Court and Hampton Court is reachable from central London by train.

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An alternative for Day 7: Take the boat from Westminster pier all the way to Greenwich and visit the Cutty Sark, Britain’s last surviving tea clipper. You can climb on board and there are some hands-on exhibits. It’s a nice part of London to walk around; you can walk up to the Royal Observatory to have a look at the telescopes and to stand with your feet in two different hemispheres – on either side of the Greenwich Meridian Line! The Royal Naval College by the river is a good place to wander around, too.

FAQs

Where is best to stay in London with children? ›

Where to stay in London with kids
  • Bankside, South Bank and London Waterloo. Just across the river from Big Ben, the South Bank is littered with some of London's best attractions, kid-friendly restaurants and fun family activities. ...
  • South Kensington. ...
  • St James's. ...
  • Paddington. ...
  • Crystal Palace and Forest Hill.

Which area is best to stay in London for tourists? ›

Best Places to Stay in London
  • The West End – Best for First Time Visitors. ...
  • Westminster – Best for Tourists. ...
  • London Bridge and the South Bank – Best for Tourist Attractions. ...
  • Soho – Best for Nightlife. ...
  • Kensington – Best Place to Stay in London With Family. ...
  • Shoreditch. ...
  • Mayfair, Belgravia and Victoria. ...
  • Marylebone.
26 Nov 2021

Where should a first time tourist stay in London? ›

Mayfair is the best area to stay in London for first time visitors to the city because of its proximity to Hyde Park, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. The architecture and tiny side streets also make Mayfair one of the most instagrammable spots in London.

Is London a good family holiday? ›

Absolutely! London is a good family trip for kids for all ages. It offers plenty of things to do for toddlers, school aged children and teens. From history to pop culture to the arts and sports, and even seeing London from above in the London Eye, there are so many things that make London a good family trip.

What is the safest area to stay in London? ›

Mayfair, South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Chelsea – all these are largely safe to walk around any time of day. Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia are also very safe, but standard precautions apply at night. Covent Garden is generally fine but things can get lively late on weekend nights.

How many days in London is enough? ›

For those of you who are planning to visit just London on this trip, I recommend spending 5-7 days to get a complete sense of what the city has to offer – both the major tourist sights and the local, off-beat places. What is this? If you're short on PTO, five days is a great amount of time to spend in London.

What is the best month to go to London? ›

The best time to visit London is March through May when the temperatures are mild and the city's parks are green and blooming. However, late spring – along with summer – is also prime tourist season, and hotel and flight prices reflect the surge.

Is 5 days in London too much? ›

As you'll see, 5 days in London is a perfect amount to see all the greatest sights! Read on to learn how to spend five days in London, plus some other travel tips to help you plan your trip.

What is the cheapest month to travel to London? ›

The most affordable time to visit London will almost always be the winter months of January and February, as the holiday season is over and there's not a whole lot going on. Hotels in London are almost always busy, so there usually isn't a season in which you can expect much better prices on your hotel room.

What is London famous for for kids? ›

Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Tower of London, the Royal Guards… Below are our kids' favorites. Our boys were super excited to see the Big Ben tower for the first time.

How much does a family of 4 need in London? ›

A family of four would need approximately £4,235 to live comfortably in the UK. A couple might spend £27,340 per year, £2,278 a month, or £480 a week in the UK, and a family of three would require about £3,500 a month to cover average expenses.

Which side of London is safest? ›

So where are the safest areas in London? Well, our London-based experts have found four safe neighbourhoods for you: Richmond, Kensington & Chelsea, Fitzrovia, and Hampstead.

How safe is London at night? ›

In London, visitors should avoid wandering around the city alone at night, particularly in less safe areas like east London where street crime is more prevalent than in other neighborhoods.

Is the London Eye suitable for children? ›

Of course, everyone is welcome to visit the London Eye including children! Please be advised we strongly advise guests to pre-book online here to avoid disappointment.

Is the Tower of London suitable for 4 year olds? ›

If you have little kids, I highly recommend you wait until they're older before visiting the Tower of London. I think the best age range is minimum of 7 years old.

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