Winter is a great season to visit London with kids, but when we think of winter, we usually think of a "white winter".
Of course, when the city is covered in snow, going to one of the many parks in London is probably the best thing to do. What child does not like to play in the snow?
However, not all winters are white in England. In fact, it rarely snows in London. But who needs snow to have fun in a city like London?
London has many entertaining activities and events to offer to families with children in winter.
From the best kid-friendly museums to the city’s iconic monuments to fun and educative hands-on workshops, we have listed the best things to do in London with kids in the winter.
Just like Paris has the Louvre, New York has the Metropolitan and Saint Petersburg has the Hermitage, London’s iconic museum is the British Museum. It is your chance to discover the largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts outside Egypt, including mummies and the world famous Rosetta Stone. But that’s not all! Wait until you see the impressive frescoes of the Parthenon of Ancient Greece. Other attractions include the gigantic winged bulls of Assyria, the marble sculptures and frescoes of the Parthenon of Ancient Greece, and many more fantastic historical relics.
And why not make the most of your visit with your children by booking our Mystery at the British Museum tour? You’ll be covering the highlights of the museum in just 2 hours, and your children will have loads of fun listening to the family-friendly guide and solving the riddles in the entertaining game booklet.
Located in a beautiful building just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Royal Albert Hall, the Natural History Museum is a true fun and educational playground for children of all ages. Here, they will learn everything about the mysteries of our planet, from the time of the mighty dinosaurs to our modern era. It’s a great opportunity for you to refresh your memory as well! Highlights include skeletons of dinosaurs, a skeleton of a blue whale (the biggest creature that ever existed on earth) and even a Wildlife Garden. The Natural History Museum is truly one of thebest things to do in London with kids in winter.
How about learning more about the fascinating history of London? After all, this world-famous city has a lot of interesting stories to be told. From the prehistoric times to the world we live in today, you and your children will learn everything there is to know about the UK’s capital at the Museum of London.
Here, you will find a lot of exciting and intriguing things such as a Paleolithic bear skull, but there are also more classic (but still captivating) objects such as models, pictures, diagrams, and original artifacts in a series of chronological galleries. The interactive displays and activities will surely keep you and your children highly engaged!
Welcome aboard the HMS Belfast, Europe’s largest preserved World War II warship! This old Royal Navy light cruiser is a permanently moored museum ship on the River Thames. On board, you and your children will discover the fascinating life aboard such a ship, with wax statues giving life to all the different areas, such as the engine room, the kitchen and even the cabins.
If you are interested in the history of transport, then check out the London Transport Museum. After all, London was the first city in the world to have a subway network (the Tube). The museum is dedicated to the history of London’s transport system since 1800. Through approximately 80 vehicles (including a red London bus and the world’s first subway) and other interesting items, you and your children will understandthe powerful link between transport and the growth of modern London.
Here’s a museum your whole family will want to warm up in when visiting London in winter: the Science Museum. If your kids love everything science, they will find this museum fascinating! The museum is entirely dedicated to science and presents objects related to topics such as astronomy, physics, chemistry, time, light, technological and medical achievements in a family-friendly way. In other words, your children will learn as much as they have fun!
***NOTE: certain galleries might be closed at certain times. You can check out the full schedule of gallery closures HERE
While there seems to be a Madame Tussauds in every major European city at this point, only the London one gives you the ability to say you've met the royal family! Although the entrance fee is on the expensive side, it is totally justified once you experience this exceptional place. Life-like wax statues of the most famous British and international people (real or fictional) will take you far away from reality. Madame Tussauds is one activity in London that your children will never forget!
If you don’t mind the cold weather, there are some landmarks in London that should be visited! And to make it even better for children, we recommend avoiding “classic” ways to visit these highlights and choosing something a lot more family-friendly.
The highlights that should not be missed when visiting London with kids in winter are the Tower of London, the “Royal” area (from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace), the London Eye and a cruise down the Thames River for an original overview of the capital city.
You can choose to visit these areas on your own, but it would be a shame to be in London and not to combine fun and education when visiting these highlights. Thanks to the fully trained professional guides and the entertaining game booklets, the Family Twist tours of these highlights will create family memories like never before.
Discover our private From Westminster to Buckingham Palace, London and the River Thames, Exploring the Tower of London, and Childhood in Kensington Palace tours, designed specifically for families and always with the kids in mind! These will allow you to spend some quality time with your family and create unforgettable memories
Check out all of the family-friendly activities that we offer in London HERE
If you are not so much in the mood to embrace the cold winter in London, then why not warm up with a fun-filled, hands-on workshop? After all, these curated private experience were specifically designed for families, so might as well enjoy!
For example, why not become a detective for a couple of hours with our Becoming a Scotland Yard Detective activity? Accompagnied by a real Scotland Yard detective, you and your children will learn how to solve a murder case using real techniques such the collecting and analyzing of fingerprints, footprints, blood samples and much more! All this in the comfort of a private area.
Another great activity is our deliciously messy Chocolate Workshop. Let’s face it: winter is simply the perfect time to enjoy the warmth of a kitchen. And what better way to do that than to book a private, family-friendly cooking class. And when it comes to chocolate, you can be sure your kids are going to love it!
Lastly, have some fun and learn how to be proper members of British high society with our The Art of British Etiquette workshop! There will definitely be laughs involved (and some balancing of books on heads), and you'll walk out of there having mastered the most crucial of British skills: how to properly drink a cup of tea.
Calling Potterheads of all ages! Come explore the magical world of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros Studios in London. The studios are located roughly 20 miles outside of London, to the North West. Here, you will be able to have a behind-the-scenes peek of the Harry Potter films: the sets, the costumes, the props, and all the wizardry Harry Potter and his friends are famous for!
The London Eye is the iconic Ferris Wheel located opposite the Houses of Parliament, above the Thames River. From the large cars on the wheel, you will have a magnificent bird’s-eye view over London. Have fun trying to spot the many iconic monuments of the city! Can you spot the Gherkin, the Shard, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben? A spin on the London Eye is a great introduction to the city when visiting London with kids. Go on a clear day for the best view of London, though the city is beautiful in the fog and rain as well (when you're safely ensconced in your pod)!
***NOTE: the London Eye is an extremely popular attraction, and we highly suggest booking your tickets online in advance (for cheaper prices too!). You can book your tickets online HERE
Just opposite the London Eye is the famous London Dungeon. It’s one of the creepiest and most famous tourist attractions in London for kids. How exciting is that? With live actors, special effects and crazy rides, you will re-live some of the most macabre events of London’s history… Not for the faint of heart!
Kidzania is a unique interactive attraction that revolves exclusively around children. The concept is simple: a child size city run by children. The city is located in a 75,000 sq. ft. venue, and the kids become what they have always wanted to be: a fire-fighter, a nurse, a pilot, a film maker… Over 60 different roles that kids from 4 to 14 will enjoy.
***PRO TIP: opening hours for Kidzania vary drastically depending on the day, and some days are school-only days. Check online in advance before you go!
We would not be able to write something about London with kids in winter without mentioning something about Christmas and New Year’s. Those two essential holidays make winter so much fun for every family! And in a city like London, there are just too many things happening. There is simply not a good reason to miss any of the scheduled events!
For more than a month each year, the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland offers experiences that go beyond just being a Christmas market. It is a place of fun and entertainment, especially for children. Attractions here include an ice-skating rink, a giant Ferris wheel, a circus shows and last but not least… Santa’s very own house! When it comes to food, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is full of original restaurants such as the Ice bar, the Swiss chalet or even the Fire Pit Bar where you can roast marshmallows over a wood fire. For your Christmas gifts you will definitively find what you have always dreamed of inside one of the 200 wooden chalets.
This traditional Christmas market is located between the Tate modern museum (London’s modern art museum) and the River Thames. Here, you will find traditional Christmas market products such as jewelry, Christmas decorations, wooden toys and much more. The Tate Modern Christmas market will enchant the whole family. And there is a good chance your children will want to hop on the merry-go-round. A great pick for a wonderful Christmas in London with kids.
The thing that sets the London Bridge City Christmas Market apart from the others is the view. From there, you’ll be able to snap a great picture of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge with the market’s Christmas specialties and decorations in the front. Just like other Christmas markets though, you will find a lot of unique gifts and food from all over the world.
Christmas in Leicester Square
In the winter months, Christmas in Leicester Square transforms the area into a winter wnderland. Featuring a traditional Christmas market, a Santa's Grotto, and different live entertainment throughout the winter (some are family-friendly entertainers with shows designed specifically for children), experience a little bit of everything at this magical event!
A lot of pop-up ice rinks appear in different parts of London during the winter months, and are paradise for children! Here are some of the most popular and family-friendly pop-up ice skating rinks in London:
Once again, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park glides onto (pun unintended but totally intended) our list of the top ice skating rinks in London! One of the main reasons is because it’s the largest open air ice rink in the UK. It’s also very welcoming and the beautiful lights and decorations make it a place you wouldn’t want to miss.
Ice Guides are availalbe if you are a beginner, and the rink also provide props to help the kids out on the ice! The rink also features live bandstand music (so you and bust out a move or two!).
Nicely located on the Edmond J. Sadra Fountain courtyard not too far away Covent Garden, the Somerset House ice rink offers two ambiances. During the day, it’s the perfect time for families and friends to glide on the ice. There is a skate school and a Polar Cub Club for children. But when the sun has set, on selected days (Club Nights) international DJs come warm up the ambiance!
***NOTE: we highly reccommend that you book your tickets online in advance - only a small number of tickets are kept at the box office to be purchased day-of
London is also very famous for its plethora of shows, plays and musicals. Just like Broadway in New York, the entertainment offered in London’s West End (the theater district of London) will please the entire family and is a great way to keep away from cold and rainy days. In London, you will find a lot of the big international hits such as the Lion King, Wicked, Mathilda, but also more genuine theatrical plays (generally for older children).
Check out our blog post on our favorite kid-friendly shows playing on the West End HERE
If you don’t mind being outdoors, head out to the London Zoo, but if you prefer to be in a warm interior, then the London Aquarium is the better option.
The London Zoo
Located in Regent’s Park, the London Zoo (also called Regent’s Zoo) is one of the best things to do in London with kids. Historically, it is the world’s oldest scientific zoo (1828), originally intended for scientific study but later on opened to the public (1847). Today, it houses 756 species (over 17,480 animals). You and your children will be able to see fascinating animals such as lions, tigers, gorillas, komodo dragons, penguins, reptiles and many more! In winter though, some animals might not be visible..
Located a stone’s throw away from the London Eye, opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the London Aquarium (Sea Life London Aquarium) opened in 1997 and is now the largest aquarium in London. You and your children will be able to enjoy walking through the glass tunnel and see different kinds of sharks, or discover the ray lagoon, the penguin point, the crocodile pool and even Nemo’s kingdom among other fascinating highlights. Needless to say that this is a great activity to entertain your children in London on New Year’s Eve.
The taking of afternoon tea is a very British custom, and anyone that spends a family vacation in London should experience the afternoon tea at least once.
This light snack eaten between 4PM and 6PM is not only about tea. There are also many delicious goodies such as scones, cakes, pastries and the traditional cucumber sandwich that are part of the whole experience. Today theafternoon tea is often served in hotels or tea shops, and some areas have made it their trademark.
Check out our blog post on the best family-friendly afternoon teas in London HERE
We wish you and your family a happy holiday season and hope you enjoy London in the wintertime!