If you’re planning to spend a weekend in London on your next family vacation, you will need to be efficient with your time. Once you’ve selected your London accommodations, you’ll want to put together a list of things to do. Use this 3 Day London itinerary with kids to maximize your time and enjoyment.
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Table of Contents
How to Spend 3 Days in London with Kids
Changing of the Guard
Start off your 3 day London itinerary with kids by watching the changing of the guard in front of Buckingham Palace. This ceremony draws a crowd and only takes place once a day at 11 am, and every other day in the winter. So make sure it’s the first thing you do, and get there early for the best views.
Something as simple as changing the guards at the Royal Palace comes with a precision drill and bands playing music. When visiting London, it’s definitely one of the best things to see.
Next, take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour so you can see all the sights and get your bearings.
London by foot is a great way to travel. That said when you don’t have the time, and have kids in tow, this type of public transportation is best. You can listen to interesting facts about the landmarks and even get off at those you want to explore.
St James’s Park
A short walk from Buckingham Palace is St James’s Park, one of the eight Royal Parks of London.
This green space is particularly interesting as it is the home of six pelicans. These famous pelicans get fed by the groundskeepers every day at 14:30. If you’re around, make sure to look out for them.
At the opposite end of the park is Horse Guards Parade. After walking through this, you can then head over to the Houses of Parliament. Be sure to walk by number 10 Downing Street, where the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom lives.
Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It’s where the UK’s laws and policies are voted on and where MPs from across the country meet to debate issues.
This is also where the Queen Elizabeth Tower, more commonly known as Big Ben, stands. You can take a tour, and visit the gallery to watch the debates if you wish. However, if you’re with kids and it’s not their thing, then it’s a great place to see the River Thames and take some photographs.
End your first day with a trip to one of the best places in London, Westminster Abbey.
Parliament Square and Westminster Abbey are the main attractions and have played a key part in British history. It’s where royalty is coronated, married, and buried alongside other notable figures in history.
The Abbey has developed guides and trails for children and teenagers, so this is a great place to take kids to keep them engaged. They also have a free downloadable local guide with a list of family-friendly events that take place across the year.
There are a lot of walking tours that cover Westminster, Parliament, and the Tower of London. Choose which ones you want to visit with kids and book your tours as early as possible.
Day 2 London Itinerary with Kids
Hyde Park and Diana Memorial Playground
Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are two other Royal Parks that are musts in a London itinerary with kids. They offer some great child-friendly activities and a lot of green spaces.
The Diana Memorial Playground is the perfect place to take your kids for an afternoon of relaxation. It has a sandpit and a pirate ship climbing structure that can keep kids entertained for hours.
There’s also a serpentine lake where you can hire paddle boats and feed the ducks. Be careful though, there are lots of geese and swans who aren’t too friendly when bothered!
The Natural History Museum and Science Museum
The Natural History Museum and the Science Museum are two separate museums. However, they are attached, so if there’s a long queue for one, head to the other.
Like many of the museums in London, these are both free for adults and children, although donations are welcome. They are also two of the most family-friendly museums in the city, with interactive exhibits, play areas, trails, and activities for all ages.
Dippy the dinosaur may have left The Natural History Museum, but Hope the Blue Whale has arrived and is certainly a must-see when you have three days in London.
In the Science Museum, you can explore space, see how technology has changed over the years, and even see how you will change over the years!
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or have been to London with kids before, a visit to the theatre is a must!
Catch a West End show in London’s theatre district at least one of the days you’re in the city.
The top family-friendly shows in London are Matilda, The Lion King, and Frozen.
All of the shows are spectacular, so you can’t go wrong. If you’re a music fanatic and want to see one each night, you can find cheap theatre tickets online or at any of the ticket booths in the West End area.
Both of the Disney shows have magical costumes and great special effects. Matilda has so many talented children in its cast, their dancing and singing are second to none. It is a tough choice!
This ship is the world’s only surviving extreme clipper and it is 150 years old. It carried a total of 10 million pounds of tea to England from across the globe.
There’s lots of family fun to be had at the wheel of this boat. You can climb into the bunk beds of the crew and meet the characters of the boat, the captain, and the ship’s figurehead, Nannie.
Your next stop should be the Royal Observatory. This observatory not only takes children on an exciting adventure into space, but it’s also home to the Meridian Line.
This line goes from the North Pole to the South Pole, and cuts directly across London, marking 0 Latitude. When you stand with one foot on either side of the line, you are standing in both the eastern and western hemispheres at the same time!
You can also take in the wonderful view from up here. You’ll see Canary Wharf, The Shard, and the O2 Arena. You will also see planes coming in to land at City Airport.
Tower of London
Finish your 3 Day London itinerary with kids with a trip to see one of the top attractions, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and the Crown Jewels.
This tower is full of stories about Princes, Queens, prisoners, and Kings. The Yeoman Wardens live on the Tower grounds, and they give guests tours and protect the Crown Jewels. Be sure to speak to them and ask questions like, why are they nicknamed “Beefeaters”?
Visiting towards the end of the day means you’re unlikely to encounter a long queue. So, make sure you leave this until towards the end of your visit.
There’s a long conveyor belt will take you past the Queen’s Crown and other pieces of jewelry worn by the royal family. Afterward, head over to London Bridge (aka Tower Bridge) and walk across it. While you’re in the area, consider a stop at Borough Market to grab a bite to eat.
Finally, take the Thames Clipper back to central London. From the water you’ll have a great view of the London landmarks, like the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Families will love spending time in London and seeing the sights. We know it can be overwhelming, but hopefully this 3 day London itinerary will help!