Whether you’re searching for ideas for the school holidays or just planning things to do in London with the kids this weekend, make the most of family time with our guide to an unforgettable family day out.
Morning: inspire their creativity
Start the day inspiring your pint-sized Picassos with free entry at the Royal Academy of Arts. Get the kids talking with everything from magnificent sculptural masterpieces through to contemporary and classic art. Which are their favourites? How do they think they were made? Keep the conversations going at home and make memories and pieces for your walls with the RA’s family art and craft activities. If you’re visiting in the school summer holidays, don’t miss the Young Artists’ Summer Show exhibiting art from kids and teens across the UK.
Got some extra time? Pop over to nearby Regent Street and visit Hamleys. Generations of children have visited and returned with their families to share the magic of the world’s oldest toyshop. Browse the latest toys, gadgets and games and check its holiday and half term activities and daily event calendar for exhilarating challenges and experiences in-store.
Keep up with growing kids and find new favourites from the children’s clothing collections on Regent Street.
Lunch: share a special afternoon tea
Introduce the kids to a quintessential British tradition at DUKES London. Choose from its award-winning afternoon tea menu – will you go traditional or opt for a vegan or seasonal selection? With a selection of sandwiches, freshly baked scones and sweet treats designed for little dukes and duchesses, you’re guaran-tea-d to have clear plates and big smiles ready for your afternoon.
Afternoon: go nature spotting or explore London’s history
Stroll into nearby St James’s Park and let the kids run wild in nearly 57 acres of open space. Circle the lake and spot the wildlife who have made this central London haven their home. Be sure to stop off and admire the beautiful fairytale views of Buckingham Palace and Big Ben from the Blue Bridge. Can you spot the London Eye?
For older kids and teens, nearby Santander Cycles docking stations make for an easy and leisurely way to explore the neighbourhood. Curious minds can learn more about the city’s history and the people who have made it what it is today with our Blue Plaque tracks. Or delve deeper in our city’s history and head underground at the Churchill War Rooms.
Top tip: if you (and the kids) need an afternoon pick-me-up, we recommend the indulgent chocolate sorbet from Scully – it’s hard to believe it’s dairy-free. Or why not let them design their own sundae or special hot chocolate in The Parlour at Fortnum & Mason?
Evening: choose from London’s best family-friendly restaurants
Wander back towards The Mall and past the Duke of York statue, who may have been The Grand Old Duke of York from the nursery rhyme. Continue up Waterloo Place to Shoryu where kids can slurp authentic Japanese ramen or choose from family favourites like chicken teriyaki on its kids set menu. Or book your table at celebrity chef Angela Hartnett's Cafe Murano and give the kids control with its set menu. Kids can choose their favourite fresh pasta and add their chosen sauce for a hearty plate that will cause no complaints. Still hungry for dessert? It’s homemade ice cream and sorbet or fruit.
Exhausted from your day exploring St James’s? Book in at one of our best hotels for families and make the most of discovering London with kids.
Find more ideas for things to do in half term and family activities in London.