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101 things to do in London: perfect for the kids

Give the kids a treat: explore these family-friendly London highlights

Some of the things about London that grown-ups find most exciting can seem more boring than last year’s playground trend to youngsters, but treat them to the family-friendly selections from our list and suddenly the city will seem like one big theme park.

Things to do with kids in London

Contemplate life and death at the British Museum

In galleries lined with the prized possessions of kings and the everyday trinkets of peasants, the British Museum reveals stories of life, death and glory. Get a picture of how Native American cultures lived centuries ago, seek out the sport of a lion hunt in carvings circa 645BC and explore rituals of death and remembrance reflected in the decorated casket of the ancient Egyptian mummy of Katebet.


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Bloomsbury

See World War I’s stories re-told at the Imperial War Museum

The IWM’s brand new First World War Galleries examine the politics and legacy of the 1914-1918 conflict, but also day-to-day life in the trenches. In photographs, artefacts like tins of food, and a collection of letters (many from fighters who never came back), the museum tells a powerful and moving story.

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Elephant & Castle

Walk among dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum

For everyone from T-Rex-obsessed toddlers to budding paleontologists, the Natural History Museum remains the ultimate destination for matters pre-historic. A walk around the dinosaurs gallery, with its life-size models and skeletons, allows you to appreciate the sheer scale of these creatures, while the four animatronic displays reveal more about how they lived.


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Gloucester Road

Learn through art at the Science Museum’s Media Space

The Science Museum’s stunning new second floor gallery provides a chance to explore the imagination and creativity of invention as captured in photography and art. See a visiting exhibition or installation then kick back and discuss it over a coffee in the café.


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Knightsbridge

See both Tates in a day

Can’t decide between the Picassos at Tate Modern and the Constables at Tate Britain? Do both! The Tate Boat (decorated with Damien Hirst dots) runs along the Thames between Tate Britain by Vauxhall Bridge and the Tate Modern on Bankside every 40 minutes during gallery opening hours, seven days a week (except Dec 24-26).


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Bankside

Drive a tube train at the London Transport Museum

Children can be seen and heard at this lively Covent Garden temple of travel. There are hands-on exhibits and visitors can clamber on board a tube train or experience what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of a bus. Sadly you can’t take one for a spin, but standing still certainly evokes the experience of London traffic.


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Aldwych

Celebrate the seasons at Kew Gardens

The colours at Kew change throughout the year – from February’s stunning sea of two million purple and white crocuses and March’s pink blossom Cherry Walk, to the rich red poppies that bloom in August and the autumn fruit of the berberis plants. Download the free Kew Gardens app to find out what’s in bloom on any day of the year.


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Kew, Surrey

Go deep into Tiger Territory at London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo’s enclosure for its Sumatran tigers, Melati and Jae Jae, is especially designed to replicate the landscape of their natural habitat, with trees to climb and high feeding poles that allow them to hunt and eat as they might in the wild. If the zoo wanted to make them feel at home, it seems to have worked – visitors looking through the large glass windows can now see the couple’s triplet cubs, too.

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Primrose Hill

See London from above at the Shard

Making the city’s skyline a whole lot more spiky than it used to be, the Shard has quickly become an iconic London landmark. The tallest building in Western Europe, the tower has floor-to-ceiling windows offering amazing views. The public visiting area, The View From the Shard, allows you to look out 244 metres above ground level, as if you’re perched over the city on your own cloud.


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Southwark

Take a spin on the London Eye

Okay, at an elegant 0.6mph, the London Eye doesn’t really spin, but the views as it wheels round to 135 metres above the ground can be pretty thrilling nonetheless. Look out over the Thames and central London (you can even see if the Queen’s opened her curtains at Buckingham Palace), or book a special package – options include romantic champagne trips and a two-trip ticket so that you can ride early in the morning and at dusk on the same day.

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Waterloo
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