From hip modern hotels to classic landmark getaways, London offers families many great options. Our list of top 10 family vacations in London includes luxury properties, mid-range hotels and affordable choices. On your family trip, visit the city's museums, historic attractions, beautiful parks and unique shops. At some of these hotels, you can relax next to an indoor pool after a day of sightseeing, have Traditional Afternoon Tea and enjoy the view. If you are looking for ideas for couples, read Top 20 Romantic Getaways in London.
1.The Royal Park Hotel near Hyde Park
3.Baglioni Hotel London
4.easyHotel South Kensington
5.The Chelsea Harbour Hotel
6.No.11 Cadogan Gardens Near Harrods
7.Lanesborough Hotel London
8.The Dorchester Hotel
10.Brown's Hotel near the West End
30 Great Kid Friendly London Vacations
- The Royal Park Hotel near Hyde Park
- Athenaeum Hotel
- Baglioni Hotel London
- easyHotel South Kensington
- The Chelsea Harbour Hotel
- No.11 Cadogan Gardens Near Harrods
- Lanesborough Hotel London
- The Dorchester Hotel
- Halkin Hotel
- Brown's Hotel near the West End
- Cover Photo: The Royal Park Hotel
More Fun London Family Vacation Ideas
London is one of the world's great cultural cities. It offers many museums, galleries, theaters and attractions. It is also home to internationally renowned concert halls such as the Royal Opera House, Royal Festival Hall and Royal Albert Hall. The weather can be quite unpredictable and you should be ready for both sun and rain, especially in spring and fall. Average winter temperatures are around 42 degrees Fahrenheit and summer temperatures are in the 70s. Summer is a great time to visit London and there are many activities to choose from. Famous musicals, theater, shopping, new spas and timeless attractions await the visitor to this European city. Here are some of the top attractions to visit with kids.
In August and September when the Buckingham Palace is open to the public, visitors can tour the State Rooms, including the Throne Room, Picture Gallery and State Dining Room. Approximate visit time is 2.5 hours.
The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
In August and September, guided tours are available at the Houses of Parliament. Visitors can see The Queen's Robing Room, The Royal Gallery, The Prince's Chamber, the Chamber of the House of Lord's, the Central Lobby, House of Commons, Members Lobby, Division Lobby, St Stephens Hall and Westminster Hall.
Tower of London
Tower of London houses the priceless Crown Jewels. You can also see Traitors' Gate, the Medieval Palace, the Bloody Tower and the famous ravens.
The Tower Bridge Experience
This is one of the newest London attractions. Walk 140 feet above the Thames and see an exhibition which explains the history of Tower Bridge.
The British Museum
The British Museum features collections of over 6 million objects, including mummies, antiquities and drawings. The British Museum is the oldest public museum in the world. The newest Great Court is a covered inner courtyard with a glass and steel roof.
Westminster Abbey is a Gothic building which has been the setting for every Coronation since 1066. Visitors can see the coronation chair, royal tombs and the grave of the unknown warrior.
St Paul's Cathedral
This famous cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1710. Guided tours of the cathedral lasting one and a half hours are available several times a day. The crypt houses tombs of famous figures, including Lord Nelson.
Natural History Museum
A fun place to visit for kids and grown-ups alike, the Natural History Museum contains interactive exhibits such as the Earthquake area and the Dinosaurs. Plan to spend a full day since there are hundreds of exhibits to choose from.
Exhibits include the history of science, technology, and medicine as well as hands-on modern technology. Display items include the Charles Babbage’s calculating machine, Apollo and a plane simulator for kids.
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and Exhibition
The Exhibition includes the story of the re-creation of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre from 400 years ago. Learn about the costume and clothing design, special effects and music. Guided tours last about 1.5 hours.
Victoria and Albert Museum
The museum includes collections dating back to 3000 BC, furniture, textiles, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, jewellery, books, prints and photographs.
London Eye is the world's highest observation wheel (135 metres high). It provides a 30-minute, slow-moving tour of London with great panoramic views.
The collection features wax figures of famous people and themed settings.
At 9'-0" diameter, 7'-6" high, and weighing more than 30,000 pounds, the bell of the Great Clock of Westminster or 'Big Ben' is one of the most famous bells in the world. However, the worldwide fame of this attractions is often incorrectly bestowed, not on the bell, but instead on the clock tower in which it hangs. Today, it is impossible not to go on any bus or walking tour of London without hearing one of the groups members point and shout, "look over there in the sky it's Big Ben." When what they mean to say is, "look over there it's the clock tower." Big Ben is the name of the main bell in the clock tower, not the name of the actual tower.
In 1844, the British Parliament decided that the new buildings for the Houses of Parliament, then under construction, should have a tower with a clock. After much time was spent on the planning stages, the famous bell was finally cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Big Ben was then transported from the foundry to the Houses of Parliament by a horse drawn carriage, much to the delight of the crowds of onlookers. On May 31 st, 1859, the ringing of the bells in the Great Clock of Westminster were heard across London. On this day, members of Parliament called a special meeting to decide upon a name for the new bell. After a long debate, the bell was named after the first commissioner of works, Sir Benjamin Hall. Shortly after it was put into place, the bell developed a crack that still exists today. Due mostly to increased city noise, Big Ben is not as easy to hear today as it was in 1844 but it still rings on time. The clock tower is particularly splendid now after an extensive renovation and cleaning. It is a must see stop for any visitors to London.
Musicals & Theater
The Phantom of the Opera has been playing since 1986 and continues to draw crowds. Remember to book tickets at www.londontheatre.co.uk before you go. The Lord Of The Rings play at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (tickets from £15) is a spectacle for J.R.R. Tolkien fans. Over 70 actors, singers and musicians, combined with clever staging and design take you to Middle-earth during this fun performance. es Miserables at the Queens Theatre is another popular musical with over 7,500 performances in 18 years.
London Bicycle Tour Company offers a great way to explore the city by bike, whether you want to join a tour or rent a bike. >Get a bird's eye view from the London Eye. You can see the Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament on your 30-minute journey through the air. Tickets include an interactive guide and a 4D movie experience. Tickets are about US $30. The Flexi Fast Track pass gives you priority boarding and costs extra - you can buy it online to avoid waiting in line. You can even rent a private capsule for a romantic proposal, a wedding or a special occasion. Madame Tussauds museum offers fun interactive exhibits such as Einstein's IQ test. p>The Berkeley features a new Pret-a-Portea cake collection served in the Caramel from 2-6pm every day (from £34 per person).
Family Vacation Tips
There are many convenient ways to travel around - the Underground, black cabs, buses and rail. If you are planning to use the Underground, there are many passes that you can buy - from one-day to weekly travel passes. Family passes and weekend passes also exist. The city is well connected with major international cities. There are many direct daily flights from North America, which land at Heathrow or Gatwick Airport.
Heathrow Airport is located on the edge of west London. The quickest way into central part of town from Heathrow is by rail (Heathrow Express). Trains leave Heathrow Airport from approximately 5 a.m. to 23:30 p.m. The train trip to the center of London takes from 15 to 20 minutes. Standard fares cost are GBP 12 one way. You can reserve online and get a reduced fare at www.heathrowexpress.co.uk. Alternatively, you can take the London Underground (The Piccadilly line) which take about 50 minutes and costs GBP 3.60. Black cabs are also readily available at the airport.
Gatwick Airport is situated 28 miles south of London. The quickest way into central London from Gatwick is by rail via Gatwick Express. Trains leave Gatwick Airport from 4:35 a.m. to 1:35 a.m. and run every 15 minutes at peak times. The train ride to Victoria station lasts about 30 minutes and costs GBP 11 one way. You can book your tickets online at www.gatwickexpress.co.uk. Black cabs are also readily available at the airport.
If you are planning to tour many attractions, you can purchase the London Pass which gives you unlimited access to more than GBP 200 worth of attractions and free travel in London. Great British Heritage Pass gives unlimited access to over 600 properties throughout the UK. It can be purchased by overseas visitors from British Tourist Authority offices. The London for Less card offers reductions at over 200 places in Central London, including money off theatre, concerts, opera and ballet tickets. It is available from bookshops and the Britain Visitor Center in Regent Street. Get a bird's eye view of the city from the London Eye.
Get the free interactive app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad created by the Museum of London. Streetmuseum works by connecting the present day street scene to hundreds of historic images of the city. In addition to viewing old photos of the location that you are touring, you can also read about the history of each site. Download the app before your flight and get to know the city before you land which will make it easier to get around and plan your activities. You can play a game with kids to keep them entertained during the flight. Look up the area surrounding the hotel and point out familiar landmarks. Once you land, you can continue the game and use the app to explore the city hands-on.
London Deals & Packages
From room discounts and free nights to great spa and family packages, hotels in London offer travelers a great way to vacation in this incredible city for less. Try the Harry Potter package and take a tour that lets you take a peak at how the famous movies were made, go see the new Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Musical, or get away with a relaxing luxury spa package. There is plenty to choose from.
1. Kids Stay Free at One Aldwych
Check into One Aldwych with your family and enjoy a free stay for your kids. Book a spacious two bedroom suite and receive the children's bedroom free of charge. Breakfast will be complimentary throughout your stay with options that range from traditional full English breakfast to decadent chocolate chip pancakes.
2. Weekend Spa Offer at the The Dorchester
Enjoy lower rates and special perks at the Dorchester spa with the "Spa and Stay" special which includes: 1 hour aromatherapy massage each at The Dorchester Spa, An exclusive gift from spa, Two glasses of champagne and English breakfast for two. Rates start at 714 GBP including tax.
4. Harry Potter Special at the Athenaeum
The Athenaeum is offering a Harry Potter special from 370 GBP which includes: Tickets for the to the Warner Bros Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter, Accommodation for one night, Full English breakfast for 2 people, Free dining for Kids 12 and under, VAT at 20%, Complimentary drinks and snacks from the mini-bar, Free Wi-Fi and Full use of the hotel spa, gym and hot-tubs.
5. 3rd Night Free at Syon Park
Syon Park is offering three nights for the price of two, a 33% savings. Moreover, a second room for children aged 18 or younger is charged at 50% of the rate of the first room.
6. Children's Chocolate Afternoon Tea Factory at Dukes
Dukes hotel is offering Nigel Mendham's Children's Chocolate Afternoon Tea Factory which includes home-made chocolate treats followed by the new Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Musical at the Royal Drury Lane theatre. It includes: Shortbread decorated as The Golden Ticket, Blueberry infused pudding (Bubble gum addict Violet Beauregarde turns into a giant human blueberry after chewing on Willy Wonka's magical bubblegum), Gingerbread men resembling Oompa-Loompas, and Oozing chocolate fondant with eclair surfboards (holding an oompa loompa) in tribute to Willy Wonka's flowing chocolate river.
7. 15% Off Suites at the Halkin
The Halkin Hotel is offering 15% off suites when you book at least 7 days in advance.
8. Spa Escape at the Mandarin
Starting at 575 GBP, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park the "Urban Spa Escape" includes: Full English Breakfast for two (including healthy options) and a Choice of 2 x 50 minute Oriental Essence or a 1 hour and 50 minutes Treatment Experience per room.
9. Free Tickets and VIP Access to 55 London Attractions
The "Sightseeing Special" at The Royal Park Hotel starts at 435 GBP and includes: One day's free fast track entry for two people to 55 different London attractions, as well as a host of special offers and discounts. The special also includes a welcoming drink upon arrival followed by a Devonshire afternoon cream tea for two as well as a glass of champagne and canapes every evening of your stay.
Family Offer at the Ritz
The Ritz Hotel London is offering the "Happy Families" special which includes: A Welcome Gift upon arrival, Souvenir Membership Card, Access to the Teen Concierge, Unlimited complimentary ice-cream, An evening treat upon turndown, Wii or Playstation game consoles in-room, Selection of age-appropriate children's books and DVDs in-room, Children’s-sized bathrobes and slippers, Special children's bathroom amenities, Special children's room service menu, and Complimentary children's breakfast.
Luxury Suite Offer at the Corinthia Hotel
The Corinthia Hotel is offering the "Suite Treats" special with rates from 415 GBP which includes: a Choice of luxury accommodation in one of London's top suites, In room check in, Unpacking service, English Breakfast, Champagne, spa access, late check-out.
15% Off on Weekends at No.11 Cadogan Gardens
No.11 Cadogan Gardens is offering a weekend package. Stay between Friday and Monday for a minimum of two nights for a 15% off of the best available room rate, with a continental breakfast included each morning.
Gourmet Package at The Berkeley
The Berkeley Hotel is offering a gourmet special which includes Chef's Menu at Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley plus an overnight stay from just £720 (inclusive of taxes) based on two guests sharing a Deluxe King-bedded room. You will be welcomed with a bottle of champagne in your room as well as a signed cookbook and chocolates from Marcus Wareing. The evening will then continue into his two Michelin-starred claret-hued dining room and your overnight experience will be completed the following morning with an English breakfast.