As the home of the Queen, the prime minister, red double-deckers, Big Ben and a giant Ferris wheel, a visit to London can be incredibly exciting for kids.
When the weather is behaving itself, little ones will love getting a glimpse of the landmarks they’ve seen on TV and in the news like Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, but when the classic Great British rain makes an appearance, they’re likely to be in need of some indoor entertainment options.
With this in mind, here’s our pick of five of the best tourist attractions for children in the UK capital:
1. London Dungeon
Located just around the corner from Westminster Bridge, the London Dungeon provides a thrilling, interactive step back in time for all family members, with actors and sets bringing the London of the past to life.
London Dungeon explores over 1,000 years of history, recreating the fear surrounding the plague in medieval times, the roar of the Great Fire of London, the eerie atmosphere of the East London streets where Jack the Ripper prowled and the terror of the Blitz of the Second World War.
Visitors also get the chance to interact with Guy Fawkes in the midst of his Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, before meeting Sweeney Todd, the murderous Fleet Street barber.
2. Science Museum
London’s Science Museum in South Kensington is great for kids who love to learn. It’s free to enter for adults as well as children, and there are always a fascinating range of exhibitions on offer.
Exhibits explore just about every aspect of science, with highlights for kids including getting to learn how bubbles are formed – while blowing some themselves – as well as learning all about the ‘space race’ and how robots are made and the role they are likely to play in their future.
Other items on display include George Stephenson’s Rocket, regarded as the very first train, and the Apollo 10 command module, while there’s also an extensive exploration of the life and work of one of the greatest modern scientists, Albert Einstein.
3. The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour
Although not in the centre of London and requiring a short drive or train ride to nearby Watford, the Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour at the Leavesden studios is a must-visit for fans of the boy wizard both young and old.
This is where the eight films in the Harry Potter franchise were filmed, with the sets, costumes and props that are known world over are on display here for all to enjoy.
Visitors can take a walk down Diagon Alley, stand outside the Hogwarts gates, step aboard the Hogwarts Express on Platform Nine and Three-Quarters and even taste Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks pub.
A new area where fans can see the imposing Forbidden Forest has recently opened, so watch out for acromantula (giant spiders, if you’re a Muggle) and werewolves.
While the majority of the tourist attractions in this list are all about fun and play, KidZania is all about work.
What does your little one want to be when they grow up? A pilot? A firefighter? A police officer? A pop star? KidZania gives them the chance to make their dream come true for a day, immersing them into the job they want in the future.
With costumes, uniforms, props and professional role-players, KidZania is essentially a working city where the kids are in charge, giving them a taste of their dreams and providing them with a day out they’ll never forget.
5. Shrek’s Adventure
Shrek and its subsequent sequels have been some of the most popular family films of the century so far, turning the traditional fairy tale on its head with an ogre hero and his chatterbox donkey sidekick capturing the hearts of little ones and big kids alike.
The land of Far Far Away that features in the films is waiting to be explored at Shrek’s Adventure on the South Bank of the River Thames, with an innovative combination of DreamWorks animation and live interactive shows bringing this topsy-turvy fairy tale to life.
Visitors board a magical tour bus that takes them on a journey through ten magical live shows, taking in Shrek’s swamp and a mesmerising mirror maze along the way.