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101 things to do in London with kids: school age children

Our pick of the London venues and activities that are especially suited to children aged six to 12

By Laura Lee Davies
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Whether careful and contemplative or endlessly energetic, school age kids need lots of distraction. Though you’ll find plenty more entries on our list that they’ll love, these are the ones which kids aged six to 12 will be boasting about in the playground on Monday.

SEE THE FULL LIST101 things to do in London with kids

Things to do with young children

Learn how the grown-up world works at KidZania

Attractions Theme parks Shepherd’s Bush

KidZania at Westfield White City is a slick attraction – a whole city built for child play. Kids can dress up and role-play with hands-on activities, becoming anything from a heroic firefighter or a chocolatier to a glamorous pop star or a dentist – testing themselves at a variety of life skills. Just pray they don’t come home thinking a ‘makery’ is what we call a workshop.

£16.50, from £28 under-15s, £10 under-4s, free under-1s.

All ages

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© Rob Greig

Sweep up exotic animal poo at London Zoo

Attractions Zoos and aquariums Regent’s Park

ZSL London Zoo in Regent’s Park has lots of daily activities that enable families to get close to the wildlife that call it home. There are also additional experiences to make a visit even more memorable. The Zoo Academy is a two-day course with games, challenges, trails and zoo-keeping duties, supported by the zoo’s education staff. Kids get to create a scrapbook of the experience to take home.

£250

Ages 8-10

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Learn to play the gamelan at the South Bank

Things to do Cultural centres South Bank

In 1987 the Southbank Centre was donated a Javanese percussion orchestra of instruments (a gamelan). Ever since, the centre has run sessions where children and adults can learn how to play the instruments. These include Dragon Babies sessions suitable for preschoolers. Family Taster workshops are also hosted at regular times through the year.

£5-£10

Ages 3+

Sleep under a dinosaur at the Natural History Museum

Museums Natural history South Kensington

Enjoy a real-life night at the museum. Dino Snores is a sleepover experience for children (and parents), allowing them to explore the museum by torchlight, enjoy a live science show led by one of the museum’s team, then camp out in the main hall underneath the magnificent skeleton of Dippy the Diplodocus. Kids get to make their own dinosaur T-shirt to keep, too.

£60, £54 mems

Ages 7-11 (adult accompaniment required)

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Hurtle down the giant slides in Victoria Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Victoria Park

On the east side of vast Victoria Park, The Hub is a playground for bold adventurers. Along with climbing equipment and sand play (plus a pool play area that’s open in summertime), The Hub boasts huge swooping slides for speedy thrills. There is a skatepark here, too, though smaller children might prefer to head for the V&A playground to the west of the park, near Grove Road, for the gentle pleasures of swings and other things.

Free

All ages

Scale a skyscraper at Clip ’n Climb

Sport and fitness Climbing Fulham

Give your furniture a break and take the kids to a proper climbing centre. Clip ’n Climb in Chelsea is a colourful landscape of specially designed climbing walls suitable for various ages and levels of ability. Completely safe for beginners, with challenges including ‘The Skyscraper’, ‘Jungle Gym’ and ‘Vertical Drop Slide’, this is a brilliant place for restless little monkeys to gain confidence clambering, climbing and dropping.

£19, £14 under-16s (£14 off-peak, £9 under-16s)

Ages 4+

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Hone your wheel skills at BaySixty6

Sport and fitness Ladbroke Grove

This skate park under the Westway is a brilliant mix of street cool and great organisation (reassuring for parents who don’t want to spend hours in A&E). Friendly and encouraging, they offer regular beginner sessions but also plenty of challenging thrills for experienced skaters, BMX bikers and professional scooters at an excellent purpose-built skatescape. Perfect for kids who want to mix it with older riders who’ve acquired serious smarts.

Crystal Palace Park dinosaur
© Chris Waywell

Square up to a stegosaurus in Crystal Palace Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Crystal Palace

Carefully positioned in the landscape at the Thicket Road end of Crystal Palace Park, vast models of extinct animals and dinosaurs stand just as they did when they were first unveiled in 1854. The Victorians were obsessed with palaeontology, and the ‘Dinosaur Court’ was a huge hit. Fully restored in 2002, the models still fascinate young children (no climbing!) even though any modern-day, dino-obsessed preschooler can tell you that their quaint shapes are anatomically inaccurate.

Free

All ages

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Score a goal at Chelsea FC Stadium Tours

Museums Fulham

Get a glimpse of parts of Stamford Bridge usually only accessible if you’re a player or an official. See the Home and Away dressing rooms, the Press Room and sit in the dugout on a guided hour-long tour, with behind-the-scenes insights. The most popular tour option includes a museum visit with interactive exhibits to test your footie skills. Closed on match days, check availability online.

£17, £12 concs, £11 under-16s, free under-5s

All ages

101 things to do in London for kids, Comedy Club 4 Kids - some giddy kids at one of our Camp Bestival gigs

Get the giggles at Comedy Club 4 Kids

Want to take your kids to live stand-up comedy free of swear words and inappropriate jokes? Then Comedy Club 4 Kids shows in London and around the UK are ideal for you. Established comedy favourites perform daytime shows aimed at children aged 6+. Kids aged 7+ can also have a go at stand-up themselves at regularly held workshops.

Prices vary

Ages 6+

Various London venues


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