- By Kevin
- On Aug 4, 2017
- Travel Tips
Bisected by the River Thames, London is a bustling metropolis where more than 300 languages are spoken; a city steeped in history and a rich cultural diversity. Favourite attractions and activities in London with kids recommended. Explore everything from the seat of British democracy, the Palace of Westminster, to Greenwich, home of the Royal Observatory and the Prime Meridian – where you can stand with one foot in both hemispheres of the world.
The London Zoo
The London Zoo, which is located within the city on the northern edge of Regent's Park, is the world's oldest scientific zoo and has been open to the public since 1847. It's a small zoo by North American standards but it's a fun place to spend part of the day in order to take a break from other sightseeing. The zoo has at least two connections to popular culture that most kids will be familiar with. It is home to the reptile exhibit featured in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and it was home to a black bear called Winnie during WWI that was often visited by A.A. Milne and his son and inspired the author to pen Winnie-the-Pooh.
Anything Harry Potter
Harry Potter fans in the family will be thrilled to visit many of the film sites in and around the city of London. There are tours of various lengths that can be taken on foot, by car or even by bicycle around the city or as a day trip out of the city. Our family was thrilled with our 13 hour Harry Potter tour that included filming sites in London and the outskirts as well as the Village of Lacock and Oxford University. Fans will also enjoy visiting Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross station to have a photo taken pushing a luggage cart through the station wall and to shop for souvenirs in the adjacent shop.
The highlight of any trip to London for Harry Potter fans though will most certainly be a visit to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter. This attraction was not yet open on our first family visit to London in 2010 but was priority number one on our summer 2013 trip. The studio is located outside London and can be reached either via public transport or as part of a tour group for anyone who doesn't have a vehicle. We spent several hours on a self-guided tour of the studio completely blown away by the sets, props and costumes on display. The Studio Shop at the end of the tour has every conceivable Harry Potter souvenir available so plan to spend some time there as well. I have a detailed review of our day at The Making of Harry Potter here.
The bustling Covent Garden Market is a great place to stroll with kids to browse the open-air stalls, indoor shops and neighbourhood boutiques for unique souvenirs or to find a great place to eat. It was raining when we arrived at Covent Garden so we headed indoors and stumbled upon Candy Cakes, a colourful little shop selling delicious cupcakes and cookies made from natural ingredients. (We were quite disappointed to discover on our most recent trip to Covent Garden that the Candy Cakes shop was no longer there but found many other little shops to explore.) Theatre fans will also think it's "loverly" to visit the place where flower girl Eliza Dolittle met Professor Henry Higgins and transformed her life.