London has long been a family destination, filled with myriad of attractions, sites, museums and shows. But as you peel back the cover of this city on the Thames, the story plot unfolds to reveal the magic.
Go wild in London
Need to run off that jetlag? Let the kids loose at Go Ape, Battersea Park, in Central London for a few hours of fun climbing rope ladders, zip lining, walking treetops and much more.
Watch as they navigate obstacles, go canopy exploring and race to the end, all while harnessed above ground. They just need to be over six years of age and over 1-metre tall to participate, and parents can watch from the various observation towers.
More info: goape.co.uk
Where: Battersea Park, on the south bank of the River Thames, opposite Chelsea.
Open: Open every weekend and daily during the UK school holidays.
Free museums for kids
With many museums offering free entry, and over 300 museums and galleries to choose, you don’t have to search far or wide for a child friendly option.
The Natural History Museum is free and where you can marvel at a life-size skeleton of a blue whale, get up close and personal with a T-Rex dinosaur, get hands-on in the science lab and try out the earthquake machine to experience a simulated ground tremour.
More info: nhm.ac.uk
Where: Cromwell Road, London
Tube stop: South Kensington train
Science Museum is one of the most visited science and technology museums in all of UK and Europe. With over 15,000 objects on display and interactive galleries, an entire day could easily be occupied here. Be sure to see the Apollo 10 command capsule, before entering the 3D and 4D simulators where you can experience the sensation of blasting off into space. This is one the adults will love too.
More info: sciencemuseum.org.uk
Where: Exhibition Road, London
Tube stop: South Kensington train
Bank of England Museum traces the story of money back to 1694, moving through to its role in the economy today as the nation’s central bank. But this museum will yield a few surprises you wouldn’t expect to see. View gold bars, coins and notes once used for trading in ancient times. Check out the display of pikes and muskets that were used to defend the bank, Roman pottery and mosaics that were unearthed during the banks reconstruction in the 1930s, and discover what George Washington has to do with the bank of England, plus other documents relating to famous customers.
Where: Bartholomew Lane, London
Tube stop: Liverpool Street
The great outdoors
For a wildlife encounter, head to Richmond Park (near Wimbledon) where 650 wild red and fallow deer roam the grasslands, and where many bird species, butterflies, beetles and over 250 types of fungi can be found. Visit Isabella Plantation, best known for its evergreen azaleas, which line the ponds and streams, with their flowering peak in late April and early May, before stopping by Pembroke Lodge for morning tea.
Take the kids to The Regents Park, which houses the largest outdoor sports area in central London. Spanning over 395 acres, it’s also home to the Open Air Theatre, London Zoo, Primrose Hill and the country’s largest waterfowl collection. From Outer Circle, cut down Chester Road to enter through the Jubilee Gates, a grand iron and gilded semi-circular gate that were installed to mark the silver jubilee of King George V and the official opening of Queen Mary’s Gardens in 1935. The best time to see the 12,000 plus roses in bloom is the first two weeks of June.
One of the eight royal parks of London, Kensington Gardens is spread across 97-hectares with an impressive number of attractions. Stroll through the 150-year old Italian Gardens and follow the trail to the Peter Pan Statue, put in place in honour of J.M. Barrie’s fabled tale. Of course the most notable and magnificent attraction on the property is Kensington Palace itself, a royal residence dating back to the 17th-century.
Published under license from Well Travelled.