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Days out for babies and toddlers in London

It's not only big kids who get to enjoy a fun old time around London. Here are ten hands-on events for babies and toddlers

By Catherine O’Dolan
Your kids may still be too small for educational day trips, but that doesn't mean that your family activities can't be stimulating. Here are five London venues that provide something to engage even the tiniest minds.

Deen City Farm

Things to do Wimbledon

This south London community farm is tucked along a riverside walk between Marton Abbey Mills and Morden Hall Park, and its variously feathered, fleecy and muddy residents (chickens, sheep, cows, goats and pigs to alpacas, ferrets and more) keep even the littlest visitors enthralled. The buggy-friendly site also hosts weekly drop-in baby and toddler classes (Tue from 10.30am, £5).There's a farm shop and cafÈ, and the garden playground/picnic area offers views of horses clip-clopping around the farm's riding school. 

Chickenshed Theatre

Theatre Fringe Cockfosters

Kids are born theatre-lovers, according to the all-inclusive Chickenshed company, founded in 1974 (originally in a disused coop – a far cry from its modern base). Performances are held in one of four spaces including, in summer, an outdoor amphitheatre. 'Tales from the Shed' is its long-running strand aimed at under-sevens, bringing stories, both original and tradititional, to life.


Science Museum

Museums Science and technology South Kensington

Not an outdoor space as the name would suggest, but a multi-sensory haven in the Science Museumís basement. The Garden, with its central water cycle feature, is officially geared towards ages three to six, but babies and toddlers (and their carers) also have a hands-on blast with its colourful foam props, lights, wobbly mirrors, bashable drum pads and more. Park your buggy in the room opposite, and get stuck in.

Polka Theatre
© Vipul Sangoi

Polka Theatre

Theatre Private theatres Wimbledon

Much-loved children's theatre institution Polka is a charmingly colourful venue to visit, with the books and toys in its foyer space, while its programme usually has something for the youngest crowds. There’s a gorgeous little playground and the cheerful café is a top place for lunch.


Mini Masterpieces at Dulwich Picture Gallery

Art Galleries Dulwich

While there's a refined air to this Sir John Soane-designed   gallery, monthly Tuesday sessions Mini Masterpieces prove that fine art isn't just for adults. Babies aged six-to-18 months and their grown-ups get a chance to tour the gallery before getting messy with sensory workshops. You might even leave with your own paint-splattered masterpiece! 

V&A Museum of Childhood Sensory Pod

Museums Childhood Bethnal Green

Amid the plethora of playthings and child-related artefacts, the Sensory Pod is a cosy corner of impressions and illuminations. With an assortment of water- and bubble-filled columns and mirrors creating a dazzling mini maze, your baby will be surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colour and movement. Little ones can either sit or stand right up close to get touchy-feely and explore surfaces.


Discover Story Studio

Art Arts centres Stratford

With ambient lighting overhead, tots can explore interaction zones aplenty at this inspiring centre designed to fire young imaginations. Babies will enjoy the cocooning calm of the carpeted story room, while toddlers will love the plentiful push-button and touch-and-feel elements. In warmer weather, the Story Garden provides another inspiring space to awaken the senses.

National Army Museum Kids' Zone

Museums Military and maritime Chelsea

There are plenty of interactive activities on hand in this snug section designed for babies and toddlers. With everything scaled down to small proportions, tots can pull themselves up to standing position – eliciting shrieks of joy from babies and parents alike.


Horniman Museum Aquarium

Things to do Forest Hill

This acclaimed aquarium provides plenty of low-level windows to offer a fish-eye view of watery goingson. Exhibits showcase aquatic creatures and environments from around the globe, including the British coastline and Fijian coral reefs.

The Bee's Knees Indoor Children's Garden

Kids Play spaces Battersea

A gentle world of softly undulating ‘hills’, this chill-out zone conjures up a rural idyll fashioned after Teletubbies. There’s ample space for babies to practise crawling and climbing through explorative play amid the warm colours and scatter cushions.


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