The Top Family-Friendly Attractions in South London

The Xstrata Treetop Walkway in Kew Gardens
The Xstrata Treetop Walkway in Kew Gardens | © Monica Wells / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Ruaidhrí Carroll
London Travel Writer19 August 2020

The south bank of London boasts some of the UK capital’s most impressive attractions. Whether it’s the historical significance of HMS Belfast or the Royal Observatory, natural spectacles at the London Aquarium or the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, or the brilliant and eclectic art collections at Tate Modern, south London has something to offer every family. Here’s our roundup.

Imperial War Museum

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The Churchill War Rooms is a museum in London and one of the five branches of the Imperial War Museum
© Rik Hamilton / Alamy Stock Photo
Immerse the family in the harrowing history of war at the Imperial War Museum, one of five museums within the collection. Founded in 1917, the museum encourages the study and understanding of modern warfare and wartime experience through a range of interactive exhibits and genuine military hardware.

London Eye

Architectural Landmark
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London Eye offers unparalleled views of the city
© Lenny Kalcic / Alamy Stock Photo
Observe the beauty of London from a sturdy pod suspended in the sky over the River Thames. Looking down, to the east are St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the snaking tracks of Waterloo station, while the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben sit just across the river on the north bank.

Sea Life London Aquarium

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The SEA LIFE London Aquarium boasts the UK’s largest jellyfish experience
© Anthony Lynn / Alamy Stock Photo

Marvel at the wonders of aquatic life at the London Aquarium on the south side of the river, just by Westminster Bridge, across from the Houses of Parliament and next to the London Eye. Catch an animal at feeding time, take a walk over a tank full of sharks and learn about all things subaquatic. Fun for all the family.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Botanical Garden, Park
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Step into Palm House at Kew Gardens for a change of scenery
© Andrew Daymond / Alamy Stock Photo
Explore the rich biodiversity in the flower fields of London’s largest Unesco World Heritage site. Striving to express the truth that all life depends on plants and fungi, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew is perhaps the most striking natural setting London has to offer.

Tate Modern

Art Gallery, Bridge, Building, Museum
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Tate Modern on South Bank houses an incredible collection of contemporary art
© Tate Photography
Survey the pioneering works of international modern and contemporary art on display at Tate Modern on the south bank of the Thames. Come to understand the political propensity of modern art and learn about how art relates and responds to different spheres of modern life in this former power station.

HMS Belfast

Historical Landmark
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© Peter Scholey / Alamy Stock Photo

Jump aboard the HMS Belfast, the buoyant branch of the Imperial War Museums that has been anchored in the River Thames since 1971. This maritime museum is itself an exhibit, having fired some of the first shots during the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944, before seeing further action in the Korean War.

Royal Observatory

Building, Museum
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The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London
Trace the development of time zones at the Royal Observatory | © Chris Dorney / Alamy Stock Photo
Discover the home of the prime meridian and the international waypoint of time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park, overlooking the Thames. Commissioned by King Charles II in 1675, and opened the following year, the observatory has served as a hub of astrological advancement for British astronomers ever since.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Architectural Landmark
Map View
© Hufton+Crow-VIEW / Alamy Stock Photo

Make some furry friends at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, which has been responsible for helping over 3m cats and dogs find new homes since it was established in 1860. Originally founded in Holloway, north London, the animal rescue centre moved to its current location next to Battersea power station in 1871.

These recommendations were updated on August 19, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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