London is the greatest city in the UK to head to for a fun-filled family break, there really is no doubt about it. From entertaining shows to educational and historic landmarks, there is something for everyone to enjoy and if there is one thing that can be guaranteed, it is that you will not want to leave!
Catch a show at the West End
Aside from New York’s Broadway, London’s West End is one of the most famous areas for theatre goers to head to and there is a plethora of family-friendly shows on offer. From Horrible Histories to Thriller Live and Mama Mia, there is something for everyone to enjoy and sing, cheer, laugh and even cry along to.
Currently making a mark at the Cambridge Theatre is the award-winning Matilda The Musical, which is based on the Roald Dahl story and brought to the stage by the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company.
It isn’t just Matilda which is storming the West End for Roald Dahl, as Charlie and The Chocolate Factory at the Drury Lane Theatre Royal is also becoming a firm favourite, telling the story about Charlie Bucket and the adventure he, along with his Grandpa, go along during their visit to the mysterious Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre is a family favourite that has won a number of accolades, which is no surprise really given that the music is written by the one and only Elton John. Set against the Serengeti Plains, it is currently in its 15th year of production and is one of the most famous musicals to see.
Head to a museum
One of the greatest things to do with the family in the capital is to visit the wonderful museums that are on offer.
Exhibition Road in South Kensington is the best place to start with and it isn’t too far from the hotels near Paddington. Here you will find the Natural History Museum, where you and your children can get very close to a giant T.Rex, experience what an earthquake feels like and come face to face with a life-sized model of the largest creature on earth, the Blue Whale. Entry to the museum is free, although there may be charges for specific exhibitions that are taking place.
Further along from the Natural History Museum you will find the Science Museum, which recently made headlines as The Queen sent her first ever tweet from there while opening the brand new Information Age gallery! Again, admission is free and the museum is filled to the brim with fun and educational activities that cover all things technological and scientific for all to enjoy.
The British Museum which is actually located near Russell Square is a national treasure and home to an Egyptian Mummy and the Rosetta Stone, to name but a few of the exciting artifacts that it holds. It was the first ever national public museum in the world and some of the things that you will learn by visiting will take your breath away. The British Museum was also the setting for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which will no doubt excite the children!
Make friends at London Zoo
The children will immediately recognise London Zoo for its famous Reptile House which featured in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the whole establishment itself really is rather magical. There are over 720 species all together within London Zoo, from snakes to gorillas and giraffes.
There is so much to see and do, and we highly recommend that families plan to spend a good few hours here. Tigers Live! which is a brand new exhibition, is an absolute must, as is the daily Tropical Bird Tour. Get up close and personal with some creepy crawlies at Megabugs Live! before watching the penguins jump, dive, swim and generally have a blast in the pool at Penguins Beach Live!
Head to the skies on the London Eye
The London Eye, which sits on the banks of the River Thames is not only a very famous landmark but it also offers the best views of the city. Also known as the Millenium Wheel, each rotation of the London Eye takes 30 minutes and from here you can see all across the river, from the Houses of Parliament to Canary Wharf and all that’s inbetween.
Make sure to include a visit to the London Eye 4D Experience, which is a cinematic event that includes a number of in-theatre effects, from mist and bubbles to wind! If you want to beat the queues for the London Eye, you can book tickets in advance online.
Meet a celebrity- of sorts
One establishment in London which will definitely please all ages is Madam Tussauds, where you will find wax models of celebrities, superheroes and figures of political importance.
There are many who will undoubtedly get excited as they have their pictures taken with One Direction, while we have seen many try and cosy up to Brad Pitt for a cheeky snap! There are also plenty of Marvel Super Heroes to see, from Captain America to Wolverine, Spider-Man and The Hulk – just make sure you don’t make him too angry!
Those interested in political and cultural figures can pose next to Barack Obama, David Cameron and Boris Johnson before standing with The Queen herself and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Sports fans can also practice their best Usain Bolt pose next to his wax model, which stands along with Jessica Ennis-Hill and Tom Daley. Those who love the BBC’s Sherlock will be pleased to know that one of the latest additions to Madam Tussauds in London is in fact Benedict Cumberbatch.
Cruise down the River Thames
One of the greatest and most fun ways to sightsee in London is to take a boat trip down the River Thames, and there are plenty to choose from.
City Cruises offers hop-on hop-off services which are a great form of transport as well as being very educational and fun for the whole family.
For the more adventurous types, the London RIB Voyages (ridged inflatable boat) are a fantastic thrill-seeking experience which takes you down the River Thames at high speed while your guide keeps the whole family entertained with fun facts and undoubtedly threats to go much, much faster!
One of the ultimate boat trips has to be the London Duck Tours which, being bright yellow, are very hard to miss! The tours take you along the streets of London, past Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, the Ritz Hotel and Wellington Arch before going for a ‘splash down’ into the River Thames.
There are a number of themed trips you can pick from too for private hire with the London Duck Tours, including a James Bond Tour and a Pirate Treasure Hunt.
If you need a place for the family to stay during your trip to London, there are some wonderful hotels near Paddington, such as the Park Grand London Paddington which is perfectly located in the heart of the city.