Visit a city farm
London has its fair share of city farms, from Hackney City Farm in east London to Deen City Farm in Modern, where they run young farmer days. There are alpacas and chipmunks at Hounslow Urban Farm and a whole riding school and equestrian centre as well as a petting zoo at Mudchute Farm on the Isle of Dogs.
You can’t get away from the fact that if it’s animals you’re after, London Zoo really is world class. For kids there are add-on experiences like being a Junior Keeper for a day or staying overnight in the new lodges on site that will really make it a trip of a lifetime.
For anything under the water, the Sealife London Aquarium on the Embankment is your dream afternoon. Wander through the perspex tunnels to get up close with the sharks, see the resident penguins and get kids thinking about what we can do to clean up our oceans.
Far from being boring, the Science Museum is a huge interactive playground for kids. From exhibits they can touch and play with to 3D movies, games and puzzles, it will make their imagination come alive. Especially good for kids is this year’s blockbuster exhibition, Robots.
While the British Museum is a wondrous places it’s also huge. Cut it down to size with a free family app or follow the museum’s list of the 12 must-sees for kids. Join as a Young Friend and kids will have the chance to visit at night and take part in special family events. There are also activity trails, backpacks with activities in them to keep kids amused, and free crayons and colouring if you ask at reception.
V&A Museum of childhood
Kids are especially well catered for at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. Until the end of April there’s a fun exhibition about boardgames, plus there’s lot of free workshops and things to do for kids to get their creative juices flowing.
Camden Arts Centre
Camden Arts Centre is all geared up for families with free make and do sessions on at the weekends plus there are courses all year round to introduce kids to mediums such as pottery – they can also see real artists at work in their studios. There’s also a great wildlife garden there as well.
The Tate Modern runs free activities for kids every weekend from 11am-4pm while the space afforded by the Turbine Hall is perfect for little legs to run around. Older kids can spot iconic artworks from painters like Picasso and there’s also the Bloomberg Connect Drawing Bar which gives kids the opportunity to create their own artworks which are then screened onto a wall.
While the art might be seriously grown up over here at this impressive East End gallery, they do cater for families and art loving parents. Its Crib Notes sessions are a great idea. Turn up an hour before general opening times with your under 5s and you’ll get a special guided tour around the exhibition where your little ones can be as loud as they like. There’s often tea thrown in at the end: they know you need it.
Tower of London
The myths and legends, beefeaters and ravens of the Tower of London always hold huge fascination for kids of all ages. Discover London’s gruesome past at the historic tower; there are also lots of games and activities the kids can do while they look round. The website also has follow up make and do ideas like making your own helmet.
Get lost at one of the world’s most famous mazes at Hampton Court. Henry VIII’s palace on the river is set up for family visitors – there are huge grounds to run around and have picnics in, children can discover what it was like to live as a Tudor with actors wandering around every day, and you can even visit the royal chocolate kitchens.
Kids will love exploring the Cutty Sark – the fastest ship of her time, fully restored and moored in Greenwich. They can even walk underneath it and touch the copper hull. During school holidays there are a range of science based events and workshops for kids to get involved with.