The idea for this blog post started because a friend asked me for recommendations for someone visiting London with a 2-year old. Then I realised the summer holidays are almost upon us and I need to think up ways to amuse myself and the children too. Two birds, one stone – I love efficiency.
I’ve lived in London (nearly) all my life and I love the variety of things on offer for people of all ages. The city has entertained me as a child, teenager, university student, during my 20s, and now in my 30s with 2 children of my own (omg when did I get so old?). It seems there is an endless list of places to go. Well we don’t have time for an endless list, so here’s the Lo List of London attractions for anyone hanging around town with a toddler this summer. Enjoy!
Natural History Museum
This my childrens’ favourite of the South Ken bunch of museums. Go when it opens and head for the dinosaur room first before it gets too busy – queues can get loooong later in the day. We also love the mammals, creepy crawlies, and human biology areas.
There is a toddler play area in the basement. The Launchpad on the 3rd floor is also good fun for little ones even though it’s aimed at older children.
V&A Museum of Childhood
This is on my to do list for this summer, I’ve heard great things about it.
London Transport Museum
Another favourite with my kids, especially my vehicle-loving son. Nice size to explore for 1.5 – 2 hours without the children getting restless.
Discover Children’s Story centre
I want to visit the Oliver Jeffers exhibition before it closes at the end of summer
Forest Hill? Where’s that? Supposed to be A-mazing and worth the trek.
Another off-the-beaten-track location in Hendon, this modern museum houses an extremely impressive collection of planes and vehicles. Good interactive children’s area too.
London’s largest zoo with lots of animals to see. A little on the pricey side if you’re just taking a toddler – you’d get more of your money’s worth with a slightly older child.
Battersea Park Zoo
Although it doesn’t have all the big animals like London zoo, BPZ is a good size for toddlers and has a nice playground too. Battersea park itself has a pretty location by the river and is a short bus ride from Kings Road if parents need some retail therapy.
PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS
Diana Memorial Playground, Kensington Gardens
Wonderful, large playground. Make sure to explore – there’s so much more than the big pirate ship. Can get very busy on nice days with a ‘one in, one out’ policy in place when it gets too full.
Tumbling Bay Playground, Queen Elizabeth Olympic park
New playground with adjoining café on the site of the Olympic Park.
A 7-acre site in central London (near Russell Square) with play areas, paddling pool, and a small city farm.
Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill
The summit of Primrose Hill gives you a lovely view across London. There is a small playground in the southern part of Primrose Hill (as well as 3 more in Regent’s Park itself). If you’re going to London zoo then definitely make time to visit while you’re in the ‘hood.
Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street (aka the Walkie Talkie)
Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden. Tickets are free but you have to book at least 3 days in advance.
The month of August is Kidsweek in London which means kids get a free ticket when accompanying a paying adult. Their website lists some kiddies’ shows currently playing such as The Gruffalo, Aliens Love Underpants, and Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom.
Check out what’s on at this child-dedicated theatre in London Bridge.
So much to see here! – theatre shows, baby discos, music, art, dance… Check out the listings on their website. There are also fountains, a play area, skateboarders, and the London Eye. It’s all pretty buggy friendly too. If you don’t mind taking a little walk, you can also head along the river towards the Tate Modern and over the Millennium Bridge towards St. Pauls.
Quick note on getting around London with a buggy – be warned that the tube has a lot of stairs/escalators and only a handful of stations have lifts. Buses are good but only take 2 buggies at a time (nothing beats riding at the front on the top deck of a double decker though!). Lastly, if you’re feeling knackered, you can wheel your buggy right into a black cab which can be pretty useful!
*Phew!* I’m excited to explore some new museums over the summer – I find it amazing that having grown up here, there are still so many places on my To Do list. Anyone else have any favourites to add?