ZSL London Zoo
The world-famous London Zoo is an expensive, but brilliant day out for your kids and you!It has won many awards for tourism and conservation-most recently voted London’s Best Tourism Experience 2010 in the Visit London Awards. Aside from the almost 750 species of animal the Zoo has a number of special features including the recently opened Penguin Beach-England’s biggest penguin pool. If your child is a budding conservationist, future vet or simply an animal lover,then this is the place for you.
For opening times, prices, location and interactive games for children, visit the ZSL London Zoo website
Millions and millions of people have flocked to Madame Tussauds since the doors first opened over 200 years ago andit remains jus tas popular as it ever was. It’s basically an enormous collection of waxwork figures, which in the majority of cases are extremely life-like. Get up close with celebrities both past and present, and scare your kids in the Chamber of Horrors(spooky displays of famous villains). You and your children can also meet the Royal Family,live out your musical fantasy, beat Beckham at his own game or test your IQ against Einstein
For opening times, prices and location, visit the Madame Tussauds website
QueensIce Rink and Bowl
This is London’s only venue with an ice rink and bowling, so you could easily spend your morning ice skating, have some lunch in the cafe, and finish the kids off with an afternoon of bowling.Queens’ unique ice rink has state of the art colour-change lighting, and special-effect light shows. If your child is new to ice skating you can hire a penguin – basically a balance aid that your child can cling on to as they totter round the ice. Also on offer are children’s parties, children’s (and adult) skate lessons and karaoke.
For opening times, prices and location, visit the Queens Ice Rink and Bowl website
London Transport Museum
Get to grips with all the ways to get round the Capital – both past, present and future. There are lots of hands-on activities aimed at kids both at the Museum and on the Museum’s excellent website. For those under 6 there’s even a special gallery called ‘All aboard!’ where your little perishers can climb aboard fun versions of a bus, train, Tube and taxi. They can take the wheel, becoming a driver for the day, or bump around with the other passengers in the back. They can also explore miniatureLondon, taking control of the transport system, moving buses and trains around London’s most famous landmarks.
For opening times, prices and location ,visit the London Transport Museum website
Buckingham Palace State Rooms
This is a trip for you if your kids are over 5 and Royals-mad. It’s a rare chance to visit one of the few working Royal Palaces remaining in the world. The State Rooms are open for just two months of the year, in August and September, while the Queen makes her annual visit toScotland. You will tour 19 rooms in total, which are used extensively by The Queen and the Royal Family to receive guests on state, ceremonial and official occasions. The tour lasts over two hours and there’s a special audio guide aimed at kids.
For opening times, prices and location, visit the Buckingham Palace State Rooms website
Hamleys Toy Shop,London
What child-heaven and what potential parent-hell this place is if you don’t get there early and/or avoid the run-up to Christmas. Hamleys is one of the world’s largest toy shops and the flagshipLondonstore receives about five million visitors a year. A day in Hamleys is a magical experience for your kids as there’s loads of stuff to play with. The staff are real experts too – expect them to aim helicopters/crying dolls/bubbles in your adult direction. Make sure your wallet is full before you step in the place – it will certainly be a lot lighter when you leave.
For opening times and location visit the Hamleys website
London RIB voyages
Speed throughLondonat up to 35 knots as theThamesis eaten up by 400hp of engine – you and your kids will be ‘pulling G’ as you pass the capital’s famous bridges and landmarks. Get on board at the London Eye, and choose to go to Canary Wharf and back (50 minutes) or to the stunning Thames Barrier and back (80 minutes). Other trips are available.
Whizz past the Houses of Parliament, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, HMS Belfast, The Tower of London,TowerBridge,CanaryWharf,Greenwich, and the O2 Arena.
Visit the London RIB voyages website for more information on prices and sailing times
The Wallace Collection
The Wallace Collection is a national museum in an historicLondontown house. In 25 galleries are unsurpassed displays of French 18th century painting, furniture and porcelain with superb Old Master paintings and a world class armoury. There are plenty of family-friendly activities including ‘The Little Draw’ – a drop-in art workshop held in the galleries on the first Sunday of each month from 1.30-4.30pm. Kids can also go on a treasure hunt and try on armour at any time!
For opening times, prices and location, visit The Wallace Collection website
This is the world-famous stunningly beautiful, 700 year old abbey – and the last resting place for kings, queens, statesmen, soldiers, poets, priests, heroes and even some villains. The Abbey has been the main coronation church since 1066, and was used for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
For visitors, the highlights of the Abbey are its tombs, burial stones and commemorations. A children’s trail is available, and children can dress up as monks in the Museum. There are also many workshops and events laid on free for kids at the Abbey all year round.
For opening times, prices and location, visit the Westminster Abbey website
Forget your Old Masters, the Serpentine Gallery concentrates solely on contemporary art. The Gallery is located in Hyde Park so combine any number ofHyde Parkactivities with a couple of hours checking out the latest in the art world. There are loads of family workshops taking place at the Gallery linked to and inspired by the latest exhibition. Past workshops have included mask-making, monsters, ping-pong games and bat-design with the professionals, and fashion shows.
For opening times, prices and location, visit the Serpentine Gallery website for more details