Kidzania, London review
In a nutshell
Taking dressing up and role play to the next level, this interactive entertainment complex allows children up to 14 years to try out different professions. Great fun for big imaginations, and rainy days as it’s located in Westfield shopping mall.
What we tested
- Fun for kids
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Fun for parents
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Worth the money
3.5A star rating of 3.5 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Family friendliness
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Great opportunity for kids to explore different jobs and activities independently, fun rainy-day option, big variety of choice
- Pricey entry fee, queues for some activities, clingy children may not like being separated from parents
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COVID-19 safety update
Some facilities and attractions may be closed or restricted this year, due to COVID-19 – and there may be extra safety rules, pre-booking requirements or one-way systems in place. Please check Kidzania's website before travelling or booking.
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When we visited:
We went at 11am on a Sunday morning at the start of the school summer holidays in July
What’s Kidzania like since Covid-19?
- Face masks for guests 11+ are encouraged
- Contactless temperature checks before entry
- Check-in using the NHS app recommended
What age is Kidzania best for?
Best for: Children aged 5-14 years as they're usually a bit more confident and communicative than younger kids
Still good fun for: Children aged 1-3
Avoid if: maybe you have a clingy child who doesn't want to be separated from you
How much does it cost?
Prices differ a fair bit according to day and time
- Gate prices: Adults from £18, children age 4-14 from £38, 1-3 £10, under 1s free
- Online prices: Adults from £13.50, children age 4-14 from £24, 1-3 £10, under 1s free
- Children aged 0-7 must be accompanied by an adult (18+) with valid adult ticket at all times
- Children aged 8 and over can enter the city unaccompanied, but an adult must be present for their admission
Is it good value?
With tickets for 2 kids and 2 adults, plus food and drink, you could end up spending around £100, depending on the day and time. Spending that much in a normal day may make me baulk normally but you have to expect it on a day out. I think it compares well to the price of many theme parks, where I feel like I'm sometimes being drained of cash at every opportunity. This isn't the case at KidZania. I think it's good value for money. We were only there for just over 4 hours but I thought it was a great and unique experience.
Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for Kidzania?
Yes – at the time of publication, Picniq are offering half-price children’s tickets, and Smartsave’s deal includes 20% off tickets for up to 6 people. There are other offers online, so it’s worth having a search before you buy.
Any extra charges once I’m there?
If you spend the full 4 hours inside Kidzania you’re likely to want at least a drink, if not food here, so factor in a bit of spending money for this.
How long will we spend there?
You get 4 hours inside, which will cover 4 to 6 activities. Four hours isn't much compared to a whole day you might usually be paying for in a theme park. But to be honest, we were in there longer and there was no suggestion that we had to leave - maybe the time limit is just enforced on busy days.
Before we went I thought we'd leave before our 4 hours were up, and that my two would get bored – but they didn't. After 4 hours I think we could have done a little more but had pretty much had our fill, thinking that we would return another day.
What does Kidzania offer for families?
KidZania is a football pitched-sized entertainment complex, designed to look like a working city where kids are in charge and have the opportunity to try out different careers. Remember when going out to work like mum and dad seemed like a fun day out? Now imagine the top jobs you wanted to do as a child, like firefighter, police officer, chocolate chef, or vet and Kidzania gives your little ones a child-friendly sample of what it's like. Children can take part in their chosen activities, which range from 5 to 50 minutes, while you watch from outside the room.
Kids also get to earn and spend their own kidZos (Kidzanian money), and can even choose to save it at the Central Bank of KidZania.
What shouldn’t be missed?
Highlights for us were:
- Seeing our kids have fun independently – they got to choose what they want to do, while we grown-ups watched through large viewing windows or relaxed in the Garden Shed, where there are books, games and computers. You do still have to buy an adult ticket though!
- Westfield Shepherds Bush branch has over 60 activities to try – it’s full of big brands you'd recognise, such as Metro newspaper, Al Jazeera, and Pokemon
- We tried wrap making (the kids even get a free pack of wraps!), chocolate making (well, mixing some melted chocolate and putting it in a mould), smoothie making (learning about how it's made and then getting to taste some), and lots more
The kids enjoyed all of it and asked to go back and do some activities more than once.
- They stacked their own burgers at Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which they had for lunch
- They learnt about firefighting and then got in a firetruck to squirt water at a 'hotel on fire' as their police and ambulance counterparts did their bits
- At the vets, they got to operate on a teddy dog, and it had cuddly body organs that had to be removed!
A town run by kids – is it absolute chaos?
I was warned that it was chaotic inside with so many kids about, but it was actually very calm. The mums and dads are in control on the streets, and in the offices and businesses the staff do well to captivate the kids. Most of the staff were quite young; and some were very good with the kids (Mark in the Innocent smoothie area was a natural).
Does it feel safe?
One of the best things is the security system in place, it's made to be as safe for children as possible. For a start there's only one entrance and exit (not including fire exits), but the safest aspect is the electronic bracelets. They are colourful, bulky, have a radio frequency antenna and an identification chip installed. They look like they could come out of a sci-fi movie, but boy does it give you extra peace of mind.
Children are given a bracelet to wear around their wrist and they can only be removed by employees with parental authorisation through a specialised system at the end of your visit.
Does it cater well for children of different ages?
Kids of all ages were catered for. The city was bustling with children working; even on the streets they were cleaning windows and delivering packages. All were completely engaged in their jobs and enjoying themselves. Kids aged 4 to 14 are what the main role-playing activities are aimed at, but there is an Early Years area for younger ones, where they can learn through play, including a game where they are taught why it's important to wash your hands! There's plenty more than that for them to do, including a baby disco and a face painting studio.
Best activities for 0 to 5-year-olds:
- Bubble making: A sweet and short activity, this is a quiet area where your little ones can learn how to create bubble mixture and make their own bubbles
- Fire and rescue unit: Every kids dream; dress up as a fireman, ride the fire engine around the city and use a real water hose to extinguish flames on a building
- RightZKeeper's residence guest: This is the place where kids under 4 can play and have fun. Dress-up in different outfits from the fancy dress box and get cosy in the living room watching a puppet show! There is also an inflatable bedroom and water trampoline in the bathroom
Best activities for 6 to 10-year-olds:
- Supermarket cashier and customer: Kids learn to serve customers at the till and request assistance through the tannoy system, while customers can estimate their total bill and decide to spend or save. They can stack shelves and fill their shopping trollies just like in the real world
- Theatre: Children learn how to be a performer or work with puppets and then perform their new skills in a real-life theatre where parents can sit in the audience
- Police department: If you're little one's always dreamed of becoming a cop, then this is the activity for them! They can become a police officer and go out on patrol to maintain the safety and order for all KidZanians. Protect residents, respond to anonymous tips, follow mysterious clues, interview witnesses and crack the case!
- Hospital and A&E: Kids get to dress up as a surgeon and learn how to “operate” on a patient. Once in their scrubs, your child can handle and learn how to use all the theatre equipment
Best activities for 11 to 16-year-olds:
- The Stadium: Football and tag rugby is on offer and is a great place for older kids to hang out
- The Hotel: As an employee or guest of the biggest hotel in KidZania, you will explore aspects of front desk operations and housekeeping. You can even take part in the bed making challenge!
- Flying a plane: The Aviation Academy takes place inside a real British Airways plane! Kids can learn pilot training and be taught the crucial elements of navigating a real plane. Younger kids can also be part of the cabin crew for the flight and learn those famous safety instructions.
What you need to know before you go:
- Adults are not able to enter most of the activities, unless they have a carers ticket, so be warned if your child is shy or anxious without you nearby.
- Avoid paying full price on the day – there are some great discounts to be had online
- Check out what your little ones want to do when they get there as there is so much choice – the activities are listed on the website.
- It’s all indoors, so it’s a great rainy day option (or for days when it feels too hot to play outside).
- Book ahead if you want a meal deal at one of the eateries, as they get busy.
- My other half wasn't too enamoured with the kids earning cash at a young age as it made one of ours too keen to get to the shop and spend his – so you could talk them through how money works beforehand.
- There was a bit of waiting for some activities, but, for us, it was no longer than 10 minutes, so nowhere near most theme parks.
Do you have to queue for any of the activities at KidZania?
Some of the activities have a maximum number of children allowed at one time. To be honest, it's quite a good thing as it means the groups can be of just 4 or 6 children and that means they the right amount of attention from the adults and therefore a good experience
The flip side is that this does cause the odd queue for the activities. We didn't wait any longer than 20 minutes, and that was just for one or two activities, which I think compares very well compared to many theme parks, where you can wait for hours!
The entrance to KidZania is done out like an airport check-in, with the zig-zag queuing system in place. We went at 11am on a Sunday morning and there was no queue. Maybe we were lucky!
Was it pushchair friendly?
KidZania has fairly wide streets so it's easy to get a pushchair around. Lockers and storage are available for the duration of your visit, priced at £3 for a locker or buggy (or £5 for both).
What are the food and drink facilities like at KidZania?
KidZania is set up like an indoor city, so has coffee shops and restaurants inside. There's plenty more on offer in Westfield too, though if you're wanting to stay inside you'd have to plump for eating inside. Kidzania’s options include:
- The Fire House, offering pizzas, hot dogs and chicken burgers. You can buy in advance and get meal deals from £6.95.
- There's also a Gourmet Burger Kitchen, where kids can build their own burgers by taking part in the activity and take it away for £2. We did this, and it even got my two to eat burgers, which they never usually do.
- There are also coffee shops for a caffeinated pick-me-up
- Best check in advance if you want to book a meal deal.
Can you take a picnic to Kidzania?
No. Don't go with a packed lunch as you aren't allowed to bring food into Kidzania and no one wants food taken off them!
What are the toilets like?
Nice, bright and clean. Toilets can often let a place down but they were exactly how you'd want here.
How well does KidZania cater for disabled visitors?
KidZania says it's designed to be fully inclusive
- Carers tickets are available, as are awareness wristbands for those with a disability which isn’t visible
- It's accessible to wheelchair users and welcomes guide dogs to some areas where health and safety allows
- All activities are equipped with a 'Help Hearing Guide' - a read-a-long guide for visitors with hearing impairments
- See the Kidzania website for more information on accessibility
Opening dates and times:
Kidzania’s opening hours vary on different days, sometimes opening at 9.30am and closing at 7pm, so best check out the website
How to get to KidZania:
It's in Shepherd's Bush in West London, so is next to Tube and London Overground stations including Shepherd's Bush and White City
- As it is part of the Westfield Shopping Centre, parking is available and there are plenty of buses
- If you're travelling by car the SatNav post code is W12 7GA
Worth a long car journey?
It's a unique experience. I do think it's worth a journey; it's better than any theme park I've been to as there's so much variety on offer; so many more interesting things for your little ones to do than go on rides. It's next to several Tube stations and on several bus routes, so public transport is probably easier than driving.
Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near KidZania?
West London is packed with hotels, B&Bs and holiday home rentals, so there’s something for every family budget, including:
- Guesthouse London Westfield Accommodation offers double, triple and quadruple rooms with shared kitchen access – perfect for making emergency pesto pasta when you can’t face a toddler dinner date out!
- Hotel Dorsett Shepherds Bush also has family rooms around a 10-minute walk from Kidzania
- Find hotels and accommodation deals near Kidzania on Booking.com
- Enjoy some extra space in an apartment or house nearby – find deals on Homeaway.co.uk
Nearby attractions for a longer day out:
If you don’t empty your pockets at Westfield’s huge array of shops, hop on a bus and visit some of London’s fantastic free museums. Great options for kids include the Natural History Museum, The Science Museum and the V&A Museum, all located in the same cluster near to Hyde Park.
We were really impressed with KidZania and would definitely go back - in fact, there's so much to do that I think you'd need to. There's a huge amount of choice and the kids get enough time to get a good experience in each 'job'. It's all been thought-out really well and was a really enjoyable day out.
Visit the Kidzania website
See more reviews of Kidzania on TripAdvisor
Intro to me:
We have twin 6-year-olds called Ezra and Noah and live in London.