There are plenty of activities in London that will excite both parents and toddlers and best of all, under 3’s are usually free! Public transport is also free for kids under 5. When planning your trip to London, try and strike a balance between activities so that everyone has a good time. Chinatown, Soho and Covent Garden are worth strolling through. Chinatown has some fantastic
restaurants but it may be difficult to find one in the evening that is accessible with a stroller and that is not completely packed. Covent Garden is also in walking distance and there are plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes in this area along with street performers. It is worth exploring its arcade. There is an elevator at the Covent Garden tube station too making it easily accessible.
Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and Harrods in Kensington can be explored at the same time. Hyde Park offers a fantastic place for toddlers to run stretch their leg and there are three playgrounds in the park. If you walk through Hyde Park from Kensington you will reach Marble Arch which connects to Oxford Street. This is roughly 3 miles long and is one of the busiest shopping streets in the city. If you turn onto Regent Street from Oxford Street you will find Piccadilly Circus. This is the West End area where there are plenty of theatres and entertainment. Ripley’s Believe It or Not’s museum is located here and nearby is Nelson’s Column on Trafalgar Square. Hamleys Toy Store on Regent Street is also worth a visit and is a world-renowned, multistorey toy shop with events, demonstrations and elaborate displays for kids of all ages.
A short walk from Trafalgar Square is Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. South Bank (a promenade running along the Thames) is across the bridge from Westminster. This is a great area for babies and toddlers. The area is step free, flat and pedestrianised and there are plenty of street performers and buskers to keep little ones entertained. There is also a Christmas market there in December. The Tate Modern on South Bank is a fantastic museum and is very stroller friendly. It also has baby changing facilities and the café there is also worth a visit at lunch time. The food is excellent and you can get a free child’s dish with every adult one purchased at lunchtime as long as you order from the set menu. Tate Britain, housing less contemporary pieces such as many of Turner’s works, is located across the river from the Tate Modern in Millbank. The London Eye (large Ferris wheel) in south Bank is worth a trip and is sure to entertain toddlers and you can roll your stroller on board. South Bank is also the home to the replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The Sea Life Aquarium London is also in this area, just across from the London Eye and this will fascinate older babies and toddlers.
The area also has some great restaurants; Wagamama and Giraffe are both baby friendly, offering kids menus, high chairs and changing facilities.
If you continue walking down South Bank you will get to the famous London Bridge, further still is Tower Bridge and across the river from here is the Tower of London which is well worth visiting. This extraordinary fortress is steeped in history and also houses the crown jewels. Parts of the Tower are not stroller friendly and many of the surfaces are cobbled therefore it would be better to bring a sling or baby carrier if possible. There are several places to leave pushchairs around the Tower, however this will be at your own risk. There is a secure stroller park next to the Salt Tower. Click here for further information on visiting the Tower with children.
Regents Park is at the end of Regent Street (the opposite end to Piccadilly Circus) and here you will find London Zoo which is a wonderful place to take babies and toddlers. The zoo is very stroller friendly and there are plenty of baby changing facilities and a play area. Madame Tussauds is also near here on Marylebone Road. Through Regent’s Park you will find Primrose Hill, a grassy area with nice views of the city and Camden Town, with its outdoor food market. Be aware that the Camden food market, although well worth a visit, is tough to manage with a stroller and seating tends to be very limited.
Other sights worth seeing include the British Museum which houses some of the world’s most famous antiquities. Next to the museum is Coram’s Fields which has a children’s playground, sand pits, a duck pond, a pet’s corner and a café. The Science Museum is also worth a look as is the Natural History Museum with its dinosaur bones and other exhibitions of various species and specimens from the natural world. If you are interested in travelling a little further you can visit Greenwich or Oxford for a day where there are a lot of green areas for toddlers to run around.
Toddler Centred Activities
There are plenty of city farms and petting zoos in London which will appeal to toddlers and young children. For a list of city farms click here.
The Discover Children’s Story Centre is located in Stratford. It has a café and garden, studios with sensory installations for toddlers and a secret cave. Kids can dress up in costumes and there is a carpeted story room for babies. Under 2’s are free. Toddler Time at the Picturehouse Cinema shows parent and toddler movies. These theatres are located throughout the city. There are special 30 minute movies also which are designed to introduce toddlers to the cinema. Admission is £3.00 per child and under 1s go free. Picturehouse Cinemas have baby changing facilities, booster seats, stroller parking and high chairs in the cafés.
The V&A Museum of Childhood is a wonderful place to take a toddler and has lots of free fun things to do for all ages, from exhibitions and displays to activities for children to sensory pods and a cosy corner of impressions and illuminations. There is also a mini maze, a kaleidoscope and touchy feely surfaces to explore. The London Transport Museum will also satisfy toddlers. Here they can explore miniature trains, buses and other forms of transport and play with toy trains.
The Bees Knees Indoor Children’s Garden in Battersea comprises of a play area which looks like the garden from the teletubbies. There is space for crawling, explorative play and plenty of cushions and soft ground. The Battersea Park Zoo is also worth visiting and has a heated baby changing and feeding area together with an interactive play area which toddlers can enjoy.