London with Kids – The Best Family Hotels

Updated: June 14, 2016

London with Kids – What are the best family hotels in London?

Tips and Recommendations

  • HotelsCombined.com – Great website for hotel deals and discounts.
  • Any time is a great time to visit London. There are so many incredible indoor museums and exhibits that even dreary January and February (when crowds are at their thinnest) can be a wonderful time to see the sights. But if you like nice weather then May to September are your best bets. (When is the best time to visit London?)
  • My favorite neighborhoods for families are South Kensington (close to Hyde Park and kid-friendly museums), Marylebone (friendly neighborhood feel in the heart of the city), and Bloomsbury (tree lined streets and the British Museum). But as long as you’re close to a tube station there are few bad or inconvenient areas in central London.
  • The best restaurants for families are the Golden Hind (great fish n’ chips), Wagamama (noodles and more in a fun environment), Giraffe (kid-friendly food and vibe), Bella Italia (pizza + pasta + gelato = happy kids), Rain Forest Cafe (kid-friendly restaurant near Piccadilly Circus), Masala Zone (family friendly Indian food), Spaghetti House (kids’ menu has 2 courses for £5 or 3 courses for £7.50), Byron (burger joint with a good kids menu).
  • If you’re in London for more than a day then get an Oyster Card for the tube and bus. It’s cheaper but also a big time saver.
  • Like New York and Paris, London doesn’t have a lot of good rooms for families. When you find something you like book it immediately.

The 12 Best Family Hotels in London, England

Four Seasons Hotel Canary Wharf – luxury

Four Seasons London with Kids
Beautiful pool and usual Four Seasons’ kid-friendly service. Removed from the city’s bustle but an easy tube ride into the city. River ferry from jetty in front of hotel goes to West End offering great tour of River Thames’ attractions. A good choice if you want to leave the city behind for a slower pace at night. (Only downer: the pool is open to kids only from 9am to 11am.) Phone: +44 20 7510 1999

Cheval Gloucester Park at Kensington – luxury

Cheval Gloucester with Kids
Wonderful 2 and 3 bedroom apartments comfortably sleep families of 4 and 6. Kitchens have dishwasher, oven, and fridge. Rooms are cleaned daily. Great location near Gloucester Road tube station and 2 grocery stores and a 5 minute walk to the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and Victoria and Albert Museum. Phone: +44 20 7373 1444

51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites And Residences – luxury

Taj Suites with Kids
Luxurious 2 and 3 bedroom suites (with turn-down service) have full kitchens, satellite TV, and DVD players. The Michelin-starred Indian restaurant attached to the hotel serves amazing vegetarian food. Close to Buckingham Palace and several tube stations. Phone: +44 20 7769 7766

The Darlington Hyde Park – moderate

Darlington Hyde Park with Kids
Family, triple, and quadruple rooms available (get a quadruple if you don’t want to be on the basement floor). Close to Paddington Station and Hyde Park. Full English breakfast included. Phone: +44 20 7460 8800

Premier Inn London County Hall – moderate

Premier Inn with Kids
Large family rooms and good value breakfast. Also close to several restaurants and cafes. 1 minute walk to London Eye, 2 minutes to London Aquarium, 5 minutes to Waterloo station, 7 minutes to Big Ben and Parliament. Phone: +44 15 8256 7890

Quality Crown Hotel Hyde Park – moderate

Quality Crown Hotel with Kids
Quadruples have 4 twin beds (in one room), suites have 2 twin beds in the living rooms and a full in a separate bedroom. Good free breakfast. Phone: +44 20 7262 6699

City Marque Waterloo Serviced Apartments – moderate

City Marque Waterloo with Kids
The 12 suites here are all 2-bedroom apartments and have 2 queen beds. Luxury at mid-range prices. Walking distance to Waterloo station. Phone: +44 845 680 0679

Comfort Inn Victoria – budget

Comfort Inn Victoria with Kids
Inexpensive hotel with triples and quadruples. Great location close to Victoria Station and many tourist attractions. Phone: +44 20 7233 6636

Luna & Simone Hotel – budget

Luna Simone with Kids
Comfortable homey rooms. Very helpful and friendly staff. A great warm breakfast is included with the room. Phone: +44 20 7834 5897

Best Western Chiswick Palace & Suites – budget

Best Western Chiswick with Kids
Family rooms have 1 full and 2 twin beds. This is an inexpensive hotel I might choose in a pinch – cheap, free parking, close to Heathrow and 20 minutes to central London by tube – but it wouldn’t be my first choice for an extended stay. Phone: +44 845 373 1023

Park Grand London Hyde Park – budget

Park Grand London with Kids
Handy for catching the express train to Heathrow. Prices are hit and miss. Sometimes very cheap, other times overpriced. Quadruple rooms have 2 queen beds. Phone: +44 20 7262 4521

More Hotels for Families

All of these hotels have triple, quad, or family rooms. There aren’t many large rooms in London so they get reserved far in advance. Book early.

London Houses & Apartments

Recommended rentals for families. Most units have kitchens, washer/dryer, and internet.

Hotels with Swimming Pools

Recommended and Helpful Links

72 questions and comments

    1. DavidDavid Post author

      It’s a very good upscale hotel in a good, central location. It’s in the Shoreditch neighbourhood, which is handy if you’re looking to visit galleries, catch theatre shows or go clothes shopping in local boutiques or along Brick Lane, or if you’re on a business trip. It’s also about 10 minutes’ walk from the Liverpool St train station/tube. As for the the hotel itself, it’s a hip, contemporary ‘concept hotel’, with individually-styled rooms – anything from UK punk to bold graphic styles, with 60s style furniture in the lobby. The decor appeals to some but not others. The staff and very friendly and helpful. There are plenty of amenities, from flat-screen TVs and safes in the rooms to the on-site fitness centre, sauna, restaurant and bar. The Hoi Polloi brasserie does a good job of catering to most dietary needs with its menu of international dishes and raw juice bar. Rooms cost around £155, and overall it’s good value for money.

      Reply
  1. Great Hotels for Families

    Thanks David for this detailed information of the hotels in London. This is a great help that you’ve done to many travellers. I myself had visited about a year ago, and would like to say it was the best family outing we had ever in these years. However, in the list of hotels that you’ve listed above, I would like to add a few names as well, which I think are very well maintained and a paradise for family with kids.

    My favorite family hotels are:

    The Montague on the Gardens, Montague Street
    Rosewood, High Holborn
    The Ritz, Piccadily
    Sofitel London St. James, Waterloo Place
    Brown Hotel, Albemarle Street, Mayfair
    Chessington Safari Hotel, Leatherhead Road, Chessington
    The Rubens at the Palace, Buckingham Palace Road
    The Halkin by COMO, Halkin Street
    The Ampersand, Harrington Road

    Also, for luxury serviced apartments, Collingham Serviced Apartments is also very good and well-maintained for families.

    Urvi

    Reply
  2. London Hotel for Family of 3

    Hi David,
    I’m trying to find somewhere for myself, husband and soon to be 2 year old son. I’m finding London to be a minefield can you help? We are looking for just 2 nights, just 1 room big enough for us all, ideally not far from Hyde Park area, good quality accommodation but not ridiculously expensive. Can you reccommend any where?
    Thank you for your time,
    Lisa

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      There are a number of good, family-friendly options in the Hyde Park area. I don’t know whether your son would want his own bed or whether he’d sleep with you and your husband while you guys are travelling, but just in case, I’m mostly suggesting places which have family rooms as well as regular doubles. There’s the Queen’s Gate Hotel (boutique town house with comfortable rooms, near museums, 5min walk from Hyde Park). There’s Rydges Kensington Hotel (boutique hotel 10 min walk from Hyde Park, right near Gloucester Rd Underground station, really nice beds, stylish rooms, good location for bus tours); it’s a bit pricier than Queen’s Gate Hotel. Then you have the smaller, friendly, family-run Rhodes Hotel, also near Hyde Park – it’s a bit cheaper than the other two. If you don’t mind chain hotels, there’s the Best Western Delmere, a Victorian hotel a few minutes’ walk from Paddington underground/train station and around a 10-minute walk from Hyde Park; it’s good value but doesn’t offer family rooms, though. Finally, the Nadler Kensington has spacious family rooms, offers large discounts if you book in advance and the rooms have mini-kitchens (fridge, microwave).

      Reply
  3. Copthorne Tara or Premier Inn Earls Court

    We are planning to travel to London end of July with our 12 year old son for 10 days.
    Please can you suggest some hotels in Kensington. Also which hotel would you recommend Copthorne Tara or Premier Inn Earls Court?

    Thanks

    Payal Shah

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Kensington is an excellent area to stay in if you’re travelling with a 12-year-old. You’ll be right near three excellent museums: Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

      Places to stay: the Copthorne Tara has an excellent location, but there have been some complaints recently about customer service, outdated decor, thin walls, and generally the feeling that it doesn’t live up to its 4* hotel status. The Premier Inn is a standard business hotel with all the amenities the chain usually offers, and feedback about it has been better recently than about the Copthorne Tara: good customer service, good in-house dining, and good soundproofing, so even though the hotel is near a railway line, the sound shouldn’t bother you. So out of the two, the Premier Inn is a better choice.

      Other good hotels nearby in the same price range include Best Western the Boltons Hotel (modern, appealing rooms in a refurbished townhouse), Mayflower Hotel & Apartments (good location, spacious rooms and studio apartments, continental breakfast included for both), Twenty Nevern Square Hotel (Victorian townhouse with four-poster beds, close to Earl’s Court underground station), NH London Kensington (refurbished Victorian house, stylish, comfortable rooms, close to Earl’s Court underground), Montana Hotel (modern, family rooms, short walk to museums, close to Gloucester Road underground station), and the Hilton London Kensington (a bit further from museums, but modern, comfortable rooms, in-house restaurant).

      Reply
  4. Central Hotels for Family of 5 in London

    Hi David
    Would love your advice for our family of 5 coming in from Heathrow and leaving via train to Paris. Looking for central affordable accommodation in London to see the sights easily in 2 days. (Travelling for a month on Australia $.)

    Melissa Warburton

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Getting into London from Heathrow is easy. You can take the London Underground directly into central London; it takes roughly an hour from any of the terminals and costs £6 per adult and slightly less for kids. However, if you have a lot of luggage, there’s also the Heathrow Express train that runs from the airport to Paddington Station (15-20 minutes), which costs at least £22 per adult. Plus you’ll then have to factor in taxi costs to get to your accommodation. If you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing, it’s worth looking into getting London Travelpasses just to make it cheaper to get around using public transport.

      If you only have a couple of days in London, I’d suggest staying in the Covent Garden/West End area, since it’s super central, within easy walking distance to some sights (National Gallery, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, the River Thames – handy for boat tours with City Cruises) and with a huge number of dining options right on your doorstep – both in Covent Garden and in neighbouring Soho/Chinatown areas. It’s any cuisine you can think of – Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Thai, traditional British.

      Some affordable accommodation options in West End include Premier Inn Leicester Square, the boutique Dean Street Townhouse in Soho, Seven Dials Hotel, and the futuristic, almost capsule-hotel-like Hub – but the last one is only if you’re not looking to spend much time in your room. More upmarket options include the colourful boutique Soho Hotel and Ham Yard Hotel. All of the above options welcome families.

      There are also handy London Underground connections to other major sights – Buckingham Palace at St James’ Park, the Science, Natural History, and Victoria and Albert Museums at South Kensington (the first two are particularly great for kids), the London Eye at Waterloo, the Shard at London Bridge.

      As for travelling to Paris, If you’re taking the Eurostat it’ll be departing from St Pancras train station, which is very easy to reach. Your best bet is to take the London Underground to Kings Cross station; St Pancras is just across the street from Kings Cross (and there’s an underground connection if needed).

      Reply
  5. Merlin Pass for London with Kids

    Hi,

    Great travel tips! We’re in London in May-June with our two boys (9&5), a couple of our local friends have recommended the Merlin Pass. Do you think that makes sense? Or should we buy entry tickets in advance – will that work out better?

    Thanks!
    Neha Sharma

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      It depends on whether you and your family are looking to spend most of your time in London, or whether you’ll be travelling all over the UK during your stay. A Merlin Pass is an annual pass that gives you access to 32 attractions all over the UK – a mix of amusement parks, aquariums, dungeons, castles etc. All of them are suitable for your older boy (though the Dungeons might be a bit scary for the younger one), but out of the 32 attractions, only 5 are located in London – the London Eye, London Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, London Dungeon and Shrek’s Adventure London, with Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures (both theme parks) and Legoland Windsor located within easy reach of the capital.

      The Merlin Pass starts from £129 per person (this is family price, so you’d have to pay £129 per child, and a total of £516 for your entire family), so you’d have to visit quite a few of the attractions to make it worth your while, and it really depends on your interests. I’d suggest buying entry tickets in advance online instead. Just to give you an idea, if you did a day trip as a family from London to Legoland Windsor, and you booked over a week in advance, you’d save over £40.

      If you’re planning on being in London for much of the time, then there’s a lot of great stuff there for kids. There are excellent, free, interactive museums – Natural History Museum, Science Museum, driving a Tube train simulator at the London Transport museum (that’s more for your older boy). There’s petting and feeding farm animals at Hackney City Farm in east London, riding a London Hop On Hop Off Bus (with special commentary for kids) with a free boat thrown in, plus the Tower of London, London Zoo, etc.

      You might want to consider a London Pass, valid from 1-10 days, that gives you free entry to over 60 London attractions, as well as free transport. However, it really depends on what you want to do and see; kids under the age of 11 ride on buses and the Underground for free anyway, and most museums are also free. It’s worth getting a 2-day pass if you’re looking to visit at least a couple of major attractions (Tower of London, London Zoo) and do the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour, but otherwise, it really depends on what you’re into

      Reply
  6. Family Hotel near Regent's Park

    Hi, can you recommend accommodation for a family of four near Regent’s Park please? We are going to the outdoor theatre so want something reasonably easy to get back to late in the evening. Thanks, Jean

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      There’s quite a lot of accommodation to choose from for most budgets, particularly around the south side of Regent’s Park, near Baker Street and Regent’s Park Underground stations and Marylebone railway station. At the southeast corner of Regent’s Park there’s Melia White House (upmarket 1930s hotel, family rooms, presents for kids on arrival) and a Holiday Inn (mid-range, with family rooms), while at the southwest corner of the park, near Baker Street Underground station, there’s the mid-range Blandford Hotel (family rooms), the upmarket Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes (their studio rooms and loft suites sleep two adults and two kids if they’re under the age of 12), The Landmark London (5-star hotel with pool and family rooms), the mid-range Dorset Square Hotel (townhouse hotel; some of the rooms have extra sofa beds with rooms for two kids, or else you can have two deluxe rooms next to each other) and a branch of the mid-range Travelodge chain (family rooms). Both Underground station stops are pretty much the same distance from the Open Air Theatre – a 10min walk or so.

      As for attractions in the neighbourhood, there’s the London Zoo at the north end of Regent’s Park (depends on the age of your family members), there’s Primrose Hill just north of Regent’s Park which is where locals go to hang out and picnic, while right near the Baker Street Underground station you have the Sherlock Holmes Museum (if you’re fans of the detective) and Madame Tussaud’s London (if you’re into wax figures). Plus, Regent’s Park is just a one-stop Underground ride from Oxford Street (for shopping along Oxford Street and Regent Street – high street fashion, and Carnaby Street – specialist stores) and a couple of stops away from the Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square/Covent Garden area (theatres/Chinatown/shopping & dining).

      If you’re looking to eat out around Regent’s Park, there’s a good mix of places, particularly along or around Baker St, Marylebone High St and Crawford St. You can try Fischer’s (informal Viennese cafe-style place serving Austrian/German food), Getti (family-run Italian spot), upmarket fusion cusine at The Providores, the Real Greek (Mediterranean food) or the 108 Brasserie & Bar (British, seasonal), just to name a few. There are also sushi places, pizzerias, Mexican, and Thai restaurants and British pubs scattered around the area. Depending on how old the youngest members of your family are, you can also go to the specifically kid-friendly Hub Cafe and Boathouse Cafe in the Regent’s Park grounds, though those are lunch spots.

      Reply
  7. Apartment for Family of 4 in Central London

    Hi David,

    Thanks so much for all this super information. We are going to be in London for 3 nights towards the end of May and are travelling with our 2 girls – ages 8 & 10. We would like to stay some place central and preferably a serviced apartment-type hotel that might also have a kitchenette. Would you have any recommendations in terms of neighbourhoods and/or hotels?

    Thanks – Katya

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      If you’re looking to stay in central London and you’re travelling with kids, there are several good neighbourhoods to choose from. Central London Apartments offer serviced apartments all over the city – you can just pick the neighbourhood you want to stay in and see what’s on offer.

      If you want to be right in the heart of things – near the theatres, good shopping, the British Museum – then Covent Garden, Leicester Square, and Piccadilly Circus are all near each other and are great locations. They’re also a short walking distance (15 minutes or so) from the Westminster Pier on River Thames, if you want to take a family-friendly sightseeing boat tour (highly recommended) past London’s famous landmarks, such as the London, Eye, the Shard, Tower Bridge and more. The area is very convenient, with great underground and bus connections to other parts of London. And good for eating out – there are restaurants for every budget and you can find anything from dim sum (Chinatown is nearby) to Italian, Thai, and British pubs. Some good kid-friendly options include Belgo Centraal, Bodean’s BBQ, Ed’s Easy Diners, the Rainforest Cafe, and Homeslice. And if your kids like musicals, then Aladdin, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Lion King, and Matilda the Musical are playing in theatres in the area at the time of your visit.

      Chelsea is a little to the west of the centre, but it’s just a 10 minute Underground ride to central London, it’s a bit quieter and that’s where you’ll find two terrific museums. The Natural History Museum and the Science Museum are both aimed at kids, with lots of interactive displays and activities, and they’re both free. Chelsea also has a good dining scene, with anything from burgers and sushi to Italian food and steakhouses; Tom’s Kitchen has a special kids’ menu that offers more than the usual sorry options.

      ApartHotels offer serviced apartments near Tower Bridge, one of London’s iconic landmarks – this is a little east of the centre, by the river. Also good for sightseeing boat tours and a 15 minute ride on the Underground to the very centre of London.

      It’s a good idea to make accommodation bookings as soon as possible, since London gets pretty busy towards the end of May. Also, if you’re looking to do a lot of sightseeing, consider getting the London Pass – for free entry to many attractions, free hop-on, hop-off bus (that takes you to many attractions)…plus you get to skip the lines at a number of sights. If you only want to see a few attractions, then some of the most family-friendly ones are the London Eye, British Museum, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London. And if your girls are Harry Potter fans, you can visit the original film sets Warner Bros Studios or go on a Harry Potter walking tour.

      Reply
  8. London Streets during Marathon

    We’re travelling to London and Paris with our seven year old twins at the end of April (first trip for everyone but me). We just realized that the day we land in London is the day of the London Marathon. Will that make a mess of our day? We were going to try a double decker bus tour but I’m guessing there will be too much congestion. Any other easy ideas for Day one? I’m afraid jetlag will be an issue.

    Thanks in advance.
    Andra

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The day of the London Marathon might not be the best time to take a double decker bus tour, since much of central London will be closed to traffic, but it’s doable.

      There are a couple of double decker bus companies that do sightseeing tours of London: Original Tour and Big Bus Tours and while some of their routes are running on the day, there are likely to be some disruptions to the bus tours. However, both companies also offer free river cruises as part of their hop-on, hop-off bus ticket, while City Cruises specialize in sightseeing along the River Thames, so that might be a good alternative, since the river runs through the scenic heart of London and past many main attractions.

      London’s public transport will be busier than usual on the day, with parts of the Underground in central London pretty crowded. So if you want to avoid crowded public transport as much as possible, you can also consider taking one of the free themed walking tours (Original Tour: Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, Jack the Ripper tour; Big Bus Tours: Royal London, Scene in London – London filming locations for Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Who, and Haunting Mysteries); they’re not too long – a couple of hours each, so are doable with 7-year-old kids.

      Reply
  9. London and Paris with Kids

    Hi Dave!
    We are traveling to London next March and going from there to Paris. Since we’re traveling by plane, I thought about staying in the Paddington area. Any family friendly hotels around that area to recommend us? And in Paris? We are a couple with 3 little kids and I m finding very challenging to find a place to stay with kids!.
    Thank you
    Maria Eugenia Martinelli

    Reply
  10. London with Kids during Holidays

    Hi. We’re going to spend the last week of the year with our kids (12 and 9) in London. Besides the usual hussle and bussle of New Year’s Eve, can we except the long lines of the summer at the local attractions (like Tussaurds)? Or will things be calmer do you think, for a weekday visit, despite being school holidays?
    And is it worth going to Ripley’s Believe it or Not?
    Got the London Eye, Shrek Experience, Tussauds and Sea Life, as well as the Natural History Museum on our bucket list, aside from the other usual suspects (Buckingham Palace, Hyde and St. Jame’s Park, Big Ben, etc.). Thinking of also taking a ride on the Cable Car.
    Anything we should rather skip, or add?
    Apologies for the twenty questions but I want this to be a memorable experience for my family…am totally bumbed I couldn’t get tickets for the Warner Studios Harry Potter tour :(. Next time maybe.
    Thanks for all the useful info on London by the way!
    Rozz

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      First off, check opening days and hours for all attractions as they could be closed some days. Also tube and train can have closures during that week as well – so be prepared/flexible. You’ve got a lot planned for a week and Ripley’s would be the one that I would skip of all the one’s you mention. Tussaud’s will likely be the busiest of any of those (lines can be long) but you can pre-buy tickets. You do lose flexibility when you set a time but it’s worth it in this case. For the other attractions arrive at opening time to avoid long queues.

      Reply
    2. Marlin Apartments

      In my opinion the cable car is really not worthwhile – it takes you to and from parts of London which simply aren’t worh visiting. You can get better views from walking up The Monument, or going to The Shard or up the Walkie Talkie which you can get free tickets for (search Sky Garden)!

      We always stay at the Marlin Apartments which have the best serviced apartments in London, we get a 2 bedroom apartment which comes with a full kitchen and 2 bathrooms, and a separate living area. You literally feel like a local and so at home there, the concierge give good tips so you don’t get ripped off and spot the local buzzing restaurants.

      Head to Borough Market, Southbank, Portobello Market, Hyde Park, and avoid Ripley’s!

      For kids the RIB boat trips along the Thames are incredible fun, and going on the London Eye is advisable to book. Try catching something unique like kids attractions at The Globe theatre. The Aquarium is good fun, Hamley’s is definitely worth heading to!

      Get some bikes and cycle through a park, avoid the roads! Head to some markets 🙂

      Reply
  11. How Long in London and Paris

    We are gung-ho about our 3 week trip to Europe in summer of 2016 (late June/early July). We have much of it planned out already. Stops in Amsterdam, Florence, Rome, and Southern France. We have 7 days to spend in London and Paris at the beginning and end of our trip. How would you allot those days? We are thinking 2 days in London and 5 days in Paris. Does that sound about right? We are first timers to Europe, London, and Paris so don’t have a clue.

    Thanks for your time and website,
    Chuck

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      You’ve planned a great trip with stops at many of my favorite destinations. As for time in London and Paris, that’s always a tough call. They are my 2 favorite cities in Europe and both have lots to offer both kids and adults. I think I would go with 3 days in London and 4 days in Paris. Both are wonderful. The museums and attractions of London are slightly more kid-friendly. But Paris in the summer months is really wonderful. Whatever you decide, you’ll love it.

      Reply
  12. London in November

    Hi David,

    Great that you are taking so much time out to help others !! Request your help on our travel.. We are 3 adults, 1 kid (16 yrs) and a toddler (20 months) and are visiting London between Oct 29th to Nov 11th.. We are still planning where to stay and what all places to visit, in and around London.. Would be great if you could share some ideas pl.. Have seen some BnBs, but still undecided on how to choose..
    Harsha

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      London is great in November. Fewer tourists and many of London’s top attractions are indoors where the grey weather won’t affect you. Top sights for a 16 year old would be the Imperial War Museum, the British Museum, and the Royal Air Force Museum (a bit outside of London). Don’t worry too much about the location of London in which you stay as public transportation is so good and the top sights so spread out that there’s no one “best location”. BnBs can be great and usually include breakfast which most London hotels don’t.

      Reply
  13. Best Time to Visit London with Kids – June or August

    Planning trip with 4 kids aged from 4 to 13 for summer of 2016. Would you recommend late June or early August as the best time for a London visit? We’ll be spending the summer in south France and can either visit London on the way there or the way back home. Is one month more expensive than the other for hotels?

    Thanks,
    Debbie

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Late June would be better for crowds at the main London tourist attractions. Not that June will be quiet but August is when school holidays occur and sights like the Tower of London or British Museum will be busy. As for hotel prices, they’ll actually be cheaper in August as that is a quiet time for business travel and business travel is what really dictates the price of rooms (and a good deal of the demand). Weather should be nice for both months with August being a little warmer.

      Reply
  14. Best Thing To Do with 6 Year Old Boy in London

    We are in London for a weekend. We have (a little selfishly) planned out some adult-centered activities but have time to do one attraction with our 6 year old in mind. What would you suggest. We’ve thought about the London Natural History or the London Transportation Museum. Which would you recommend if we can only visit one?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Both the Natural History Musuem and the Transportation Museum are wonderful – but for a 6 year old I’d lean towards the Transportation Museum which is probably my kids favorite attraction in London. The big plus for the Natural History is that it’s bigger. At the Transportation Museum you’re looking at 1 to 2 hours. The Natural History Museum could fill 2 to 5 hours, or more. So it depends what sort of time slot you’re trying to fill.

      Reply
  15. London in January with Kids

    Like everyone else has said, wonderful information here. Thanks. I’ll be in London in January with by 10 and 12 year old daughters. I know this isn’t summer but wondering what to expect. Is this an OK time to visit or should we delay until some time when we can come in summer. Will the main attractions and museums be open in January?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      January in London is great if you’re mainly interested in the museums and indoor attractions. The British Museum is wonderful to wander around at this time of year – it seems almost empty (if you’re used to the high season crowds). From April to November the Rosetta Stone has a crowd 5 deep around it. In January you can walk straight up to it and spend 30 minutes looking without bothering anyone else. The weather, of course, can be cold and wet. But London has a great transportation system so that shouldn’t bother you much.

      Reply
  16. London with a Stroller

    Would you recommend using a stroller when getting around London? Trying to decide whether to take the stroller for my 3 year old. Nothing special planned besides seeing the iconic sights and a maybe the British and National Museums.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Strollers can be nice for the larger museums (e.g. the British Museum) as when they’ve tired out you can put them in for a nap or just to buy 30 or 60 more minutes. But in general, out and about, they’re more of a pain. The tube often requires lots of stairs, sidewalks are buys in central London, even the bus has stairs (most are double decker). I don’t think the benefits outweigh the costs. I’d leave it at home.

      Reply
  17. Pool at Marylebone Hotel

    Love the look of the Marylebone Hotel. How is the location? And how is the pool? It sounds like it’s part of an athletic club. How does that work? Do you have to go outside to access the club?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I love the Marylebone. The pool is great, though they do have limited hours for children and kids under 5 can’t use it at all (check the website for current hours). It is part of the athletic club, but no, you don’t have to go outside to get to it. There’s a special elevator at the back of the hotel which goes down to the pool.

      Update: Just looked at the Marylebone website and it has incorrect info about kids’ swim times. I emailed the hotel and the (current) correct times for when kids can swim are: Monday to Friday 15.30 to 17.00, Saturday and Sunday 10.30 to 12.00 & 15.30 to 17.00.

      Reply
  18. British Museum with Kids

    We have 2 children, ages 4 and 7 years. Do you think the British Museum would be a fun and interesting outing for them – or is too much for that age?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      That’s a tough age for musuems, but I’d give it a try. Just plan on a short visit. As soon as they get bored head for the door – dragging it out is no fun for anyone. There is a kids package you can get from the main information desk. It has a treasure hunt that both kids might find fun and engaging. There’s also a audio tour that is designed specifically for kids – good for the 7 year old, probably too much for the 4 year old. The Egyptian Mummies are popular with the young crowd.

      Reply
  19. Catching Train to Paris – Recommended Hotel

    We have 3 days in London before catching the Eurostar to Paris. Then 4 days there, 2 in Amsterdam, and back to London for the final 2 nights. Where does the Eurostar depart from? Is that a good area to stay? Could you recommend a 4 or 5 star hotel that would make it easy to catch the train in the morning (and the same on the way back). And on the Paris end, where does the train arrive and is that a good neighborhood to base ourselves. We are a family of 4 from Chicago. We know big cities but don’t know Europe. Thanks, Wendy.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The Eurostar leaves from St Pancras International. Arrive early as you’ll need to go through passport control and security. A good family hotel near the station (5 minute walk) is Pullman St Pancras. There are good sized room with king bed and sofa bed. When the train gets to Paris you’ll be at Gare du Nord. The area around the station is not great but not terrible either. I’ve stayed in the Midnight Hotel Paris which is a 5 minute walk from the station and has some very nice suites that are good for families (and have free breakfast). The hotel was recently refurbished and is very good value for what you get. But since you have 4 nights in Paris staying in a more central neighborhood is probably worth the effort.

      Reply
  20. Family Hotel or Apartment Close to the British Museum

    We have a week in London and have a 13 year old girl who would like to spend a good part of it at the British Museum and a 12 year old boy that would like to go the London Transport Museum (as well as the British). Adults would like to visit the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery. I think it’s best if we find a hotel that will comfortably sleep 4 somewhere near the British Museum (which is in Bloomsbury, right?) – can you recommend a good hotel in this neighborhood for us? The thinking is that we’d be close enough so that our daughter could visit the museum on her own if the rest of the family has had their fill. Being close to shopping would please by wife. I know London is expensive but we would like to keep the charge around $400/day while still having a good bit of room to relax and not feel cramped. Where should we stay?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Try the Private Apartments on Oxford Street – though they’re actually on Tottenham Court Road just off Oxford Street and about a 3 minute walk to the British Museum. They’re a 15 minute walk to the London Transport Museum, National Portrait, and National Galleries (or a direct tube ride). It’s in a very central location. There is good shopping (and grocery stores) just a short walk away.

      Reply
  21. Good Family Restaurant in London

    We have a busy 3 days planned for our family of 5 while in London. We have 1 night free of events and would like to hit a good (great?) London eatery. Any suggestions for a restaurant that won’t be too expensive, good for kids (ages 6, 9, and 11), and has good food? We’re staying in the West End but open to going anywhere that sounds good. Preferably a place with locals and few tourists. Thanks, Darren.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The Golden Hinde is a great fish and chips restaurant just off the high street in Marylebone. The restaurant is over a 100 years old so is doing something right. Mainly locals here. It doesn’t take reservations and is open for lunch and dinner. Highly recommended!

      Reply
  22. Bus Routes for Seeing London

    I’ve heard that taking the double decker buses are a great way to see the city? Would you agree? What are some good routes to see the top sites in London? (We are staying north of Oxford Street.)

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Bus is a great way to both get around London and see some great scenery and street life at the same time. My favorite scenic routes are #159, #24, and #433. All will take you by Trafalgar Square, Westminster, Big Ben areas. If you travel outside of rush hour you can usually get good seats upstairs with a nice view. (Be sure to get an Oyster Card as it makes travel in London much easier.)

      Reply
  23. Best Theater Show for Kids/Best Playground for Kids

    We’ve booked hotel and are now making plans for our week stay. There doesn’t seem to be any playgrounds close to our hotel in London. Since we have to go out of our way to get to one what would you say is the best playground in central London? And as far as theatre and musicals, what are the best shows for kids in London?
    Thanks,
    Alex

    Reply
  24. Cheap Hotel for Family of 6 in London

    We will be in London at the end of September (2016), a family of 2 adults and 4 children. Can you suggest a nice place to stay in London, near tube/bus, but not too expensive? It is ok an apartment or room with 6 sleeping accommodation. thank you, regards
    Stefano

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      If you want an inexpensive place to stay in London that will sleep a family of 6 you’re going to have to compromise on something (most likely location). Try Globe City Apartments – nice rooms, close to the tube (Stepney Green station), but not a great area. I wouldn’t call it unsafe but it’s not a neighborhood you’re hanging around in. If you’re out all day seeing the city you might not care a whole lot though.

      Reply
    2. Marlin Apartments

      As I commented above, Marlin Apartments have apartments for all sizes of groups, we usually travel as a 4, but I know they have 3 bedroom apartments in Canary Wharf which is easy to get anywhere in London from there and you usually get an amazing rate.

      Their London Bridge apartments are best, and you can add a sofa bed to their 2 bedroom apartments so you can sleep 6 people on a real budget! They have full kitchens which are equipped and ready to cook in, 2 bathrooms, and we always get a balcony there with a view of the Shard which is just 2 mins walk away. I wouldn’t stay anywhere else now, it feels like my second home in that City.

      Reply
  25. London Hotels for Family of 5

    Personally, I’d recommend The Athenaeum Hotel, it’s in a great location (Mayfair), and even has a kids’ concierge, offering Wii games, Xbox, scooters, Frisbees, magazines, DVDs etc. And being an 11 year old kid blogger myself, it was definitely family-friendly.

    Lexie

    Reply
  26. Best Neighborhood in London for Family

    We are coming to the end of a 3 week trip through Europe: London, Paris, Rome, Spain, then London, and home. We stayed near Hyde Park on the first visit and loved it but want a different area. I think we’re tired of more traditional sightseeing and want a neighborhood that is very family friendly yet close to the main attractions, metro, playgrounds. What would you recommend for neighborhood and hotels? Our kids are ages 8 and 10.

    Reply
  27. Whitechapel Hotel in London for Family of 4

    We plan to travel with the children (under 5) to London in August. We’ve already booked for our accommodation in The Whitechapel. It isn’t one of recommended ones. Do you think we made the right choice?
    Chinenye

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The one and two bedroom apartments at Whitechapel are great value (the other rooms are rather small). The location is ok – easy access to the tube to get around London but not a lot immediately around the hotel.

      Reply
    2. Best Area of London to Stay with Kids

      I would agree with David, Whitechapel is a great area for a trendy trip around the city, but with kids you’d be better off in Bloomsbury or London Bridge area. I’ve commented a couple of times already recommending this area but I genuinely think there’s no better way to stay in London especially when you have kids!

      Reply
  28. London for Family of 4

    We will be in England and Scotland in early July. We fly to Paris (the flights were cheaper) and then need to get over to London. Family will drive us from there to Edinburgh. We’ll have 2 days in Paris at beginning and end, and 3 days total in London. Questions:
    1) For a family of 4 would bus or train be better to get from Paris to London?
    2) What would be the top 3 things to do with kids in London (ages 8 and 9)?
    3) When should we book our hotel for July in London?

    Don

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      1) From Paris to London train is much better and faster than bus. You’ll take the Eurostar. It’s a quick and enjoyable trip.
      2) Top 3: British Museum, London Transport Musuem, London Imperial War Museum.
      3) Book hotels as soon as possible. London doesn’t have a lot of family-friendly rooms – the sooner you get them booked the better.

      Reply
  29. Bus or Tube in London with Kids

    We’re from New York and will have 1 week in London in early August with out 2 kids ages 8 and 9 before taking the train to Paris for an additional week there. Would you recommend the tube or the bus for getting around London?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      You will have to use the tube to get to some more distant places in London – or from one corner of the city to another – as it’s the fastest and most efficient way to get around the city. But for shorter trips within central London the bus is awesome. The buses run often (we rarely waited for more than a few minutes for any bus) and provide a great view of the city if you go up top (most buses are the double decker kind). But regardless of which one you take be sure you get an Oyster card or a Travelcard as soon as you arrive in London – very handy and make traveling around London easy. Buses don’t accept cash so it’s either a card or individual tickets.

      Here’s a map of bus routes in London:
      map of central London bus routes

      Reply
  30. Paula

    The highlight of our trip was the British Museum. My 2 children whom are 8 and 12 positively loved it. We had one full day in London and were torn between visiting the British Museum and the Natural History Museum. Though I can’t speak to the Natural History Museum as we never got there I think we made a great choice. We were staying nearby which helped tip the scales for the BM. It was great that it was free as we came in the morning, left for lunch, and returned in the afternoon. Our flight was delayed by 5 hours the following day so we also got to pop in the following morning for 2 more hours. (Yes, I realize we should have tried to get somewhere else but the kids were so keen I wanted to follow their passions.)

    There were audio guides for kids but not sure I’d recommend them for kids older than 10 as they’re really for young ones. Good but not teen-friendly–opt for the adult version for anyone older than 9 or 10. There were also treasure hunt maps that, once again, were fine for my youngest but not so much for my oldest. What was really spellbinding for both were the many volunteers that populated little exhibits around the museum. They would call the kids over and talk in-depth about certain stones, a knife, an axe, a pot, that they had out. They’d compare different ages of different tools and how you determined one was from the bronze age and one was from the iron age. It was fascinating (even for me) and I was so proud of kids for asking such thoughtful questions. You could really tell they were “getting it”. Ahhh, to live in London and be able to experience these institutions every day.

    Only other word of advice is to leave early for the airport. We hit construction-related traffic and even though we planned to have several hours at the airport, essentially just made it in time to get ticketed and through security. Leave lots of time!

    Reply
  31. Joyce

    We are regular visitors to London with our kids ages 10 and 12. London is our favorite city for the girls to have both educational and family fun.

    The Girls and my top attractions are the following.

    The British Museum. This was great when the girls were a little younger and keeps getting better with each visit and the girls appreciate the exhibits on a different level. Check in with the information desk to see what they have available. The audio guides are very kid-friendly.

    The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are both very kid friendly and some of the best museums for an introduction to art and painting. The how’s, why’s, and historical significance.

    The Victoria & Albert Museum is also very good. It’s near the Science and Natural History museums which had initially brought us to the neighborhood, but the girls and I both liked the exhibits at the V&A and would end up staying the whole afternoon after intending only an hour to take a look.

    The markets that you’ll find around London are simply excellent. Many are outdoor which is a refreshing change as London will have you indoors for most of the time. The Camden, Greenwich, Portobello, and Borough markets are all good, though I’m by no-means an expert as we hear of a new one on each visit that is supposedly better than all the rest.

    I also recommend using the double decker buses to get around town as opposed to the tube. Less busy, lots to see, and less stressful. The public buses (which I recommend) are different from the tourist buses that have a narrator and are a little tiresome. Use the public buses to get around town and get a free sightseeing tour at the same time.

    Reply
  32. Marc

    You must get out of London and visit the Royal Air Force Museum. It’s fantastic for all ages. There’s so much to see, so many planes (British, German, American), helicopters, displays, and so much to read, that it requires a full day. The kids got an excellent and detailed explanation of what makes flight possible. Worth the trip up in itself as it’s really stuck with them. The museum is free which makes it good value. It is a ways out of London but worth it. The distance also serves to keep the crowds away and there appeared to be more workers/volunteers than visitors. It’s about a half-hour by tube from King’s Cross so not too far. There are 2 things to note about getting there. One: You’ll get on the Northern Line, but you need to be on a train heading to Edgware (and not High Barnet or Mill Hill East). The route splits at Camden so if you’re on the wrong line you’ll obviously go to the wrong place. This is easier than it sounds, just be sure the trains destination is Edgware. Two: You’ll get off the tube at Colindale (not Edgware as might be implied by above), from there you can walk to the museum (about 10 or 15 minutes) or get on the 303 bus which will drop you right at the museum’s door. There are places to eat at the museum and the food is good, kid-friendly, and not expensive by any means. The gift shop has some wonderful things to buy (models, photos, toys). We were ready to leave and then spent 45 minutes just perusing the gift shop. My only complaint was that some of the interactive exhibits for kids were out of order.

    Within London the London Transport Museum, The Natural History Museum, and the London Eye were our kids favorite attractions. The Eye, in particular, surprise me as I thought this was one for the parents but the kiddos were really into it. I recommend going near the end of your visit so the children have some context for what they’re seeing and you can point out places you’ve visited. Our one regret was leaving the British Museum to our final day, a Sunday, when it was too busy to enjoy properly.

    We were in London with our 2 kids ages 6.5 and 10.

    Reply
  33. Where To Stay with Kids in London

    Trying to decide between a hotel in Paddington or a hotel in Kensington. Which is better for a family? (We fly from New York to Gatwick in late June and then from Gatwick to Rome 5 days later.)

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I prefer Kensington for its shops, green areas, and number of museums. Hyde Park is an easy walk from both neighborhoods. It’s easy and convenient to get from Heathrow to Paddington but since you’re flying out of Gatwick that’s not relevant. Both are fine neighborhoods but in your case I’d go with Kensington.

      Reply
  34. London Pass Card for Families

    We are heading to London this spring and one thing I did to decrease sightseeing costs was purchase a London Pass Card. This covers admission to 55+ attractions in London. You might do better on prices if you know exactly where you want to go and pre-purchase tix online. However, I wanted the flexibility of not worrying about tickets I purchased to see a cathedral …if I later changed my mind. To get your monies worth you have to see a lot of attractions in a short period of time.

    Reply
  35. Best Playground for Kids in London near Good Hotel

    Hands down my boys favorite place in London is the Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens. It’s a Peter Pan themed playground complete with pirate ship, tipis, lost boy’s hideouts, and the like! Best of all it’s free. There’s also a little cafe there for snacks or a light lunch–all kid friendly of course! Our family takes the tube to High Street Kensington to have lunch at Whole Foods (great for our multiple food-allergy fam) then walks over past Kensington Palace. It’s a great day out!

    Reply
  36. How To Save Money for Family on London Tube

    Any idea of the best way to get around London on the subway with kids. I mean as to cost and saving money. Are there day passes? Thanks, Eric

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      There are day passes – Oyster cards and travelcards – but whether you’ll buy or need them for your kids will depend on their ages. Generally 10 and under and they won’t need a Oyster card, as long as they are accompanied by an adult they’ll be free on trams, buses, light rail and the tube. Ages 11 to 15 they’ll be free on the trams and buses, and have the child rate on light rail and the tube but they’ll need the Oyster photocard.

      The Oyster card is awesome and highly recommended for adults. It makes getting on the tube, buses, and light rail so easy. You never have to worry about having the right change or money. And it makes most trips cheaper than if you bought a single fare. They do require a small deposit but getting it refunded on your last day in London is easy. You buy them at any tube station and get them refunded at any tube station. You can add money to them at kiosks in any tube station as well. When you enter a tube station with the card there are usually special gates you can use that will allow your kids to enter with you (and avoid the turnstile type gates that allow only one person through at a time). If you have any trouble just ask an attendant and they’ll wave you through with your kids.

      You can also buy the Visitor Oyster Card online and in advance and then use it for getting from Heathrow to London after you land. (Oyster cards don’t work for the Gatwick trains.)

      I hope that helps.

      Good luck.

      Reply

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