Best Time to Visit London is a city that basically has it all, but for many it’s often hard to know where to begin, it has great shopping, beautiful architecture, awesome nightlife, parks, markets and lots of things to look at! There are many free child friendly things to do in London as well. A weekend in London will be packed with stuff to do – here is my Best Time to Visit London guide to a great weekend trip to London:
Best Time to Visit London
Many of the places of interest are concentrated in one area so you can walk between them, however, the public transport in London is quite good and by using the subway you save a lot of time. A day pass is a good idea to get, it costs 6£ and is valid from 9.30 am and lasts all the day until 4.30 am the next morning. You can use the pass both on subways as well as buses.
London Parks and Speakers Chair London
London is full of beautiful parks to hang out in on a nice day or stroll along the green alleys, so take some time to slow down the pace in the parks between shopping. St James park and Hyde park are two big parks located right in town which are both very nice.
In Hyde park they have something called ”speakers chair” every Sunday, where people stand on a stage and talk about whatever they want in a microphone for whoever wants to listen. If you have the guts, you’re welcome to get up there yourself! St James park is a beautiful park to check out after or before a visit to the Buckingham palace.
Changing of the Guard London
The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace at 11.30 every morning is a big tourist attraction. Don’t hold any high expectations on the actual ”show”, especially not in bad weather (which isn’t too rare here), but it’s worth a look just to experience the crazy crowds.
Best Time to Visit London Eye
Best Time to Visit London eye actually gives a great view over London, and it’s especially beautiful at night. But even the area itself is worth a tour, there is a pretty cool area full of Graffiti art right nearby. The best view of Big Ben is from the Westminster bridge going between the London eye and Big Ben, and who doesn’t want that iconic photo shot?
Markets in London
London has HEAPS of markets: small, big, famous and unknown. Camden Market is one of the more popular ones, and it’s a fun place to buy things from local unknown designers. Be sure to check out Covent Garden. It also has a market, and after some shopping you’re likely to see some awesome street performers on the square. This is the square where famous street performers do their acts.
Where to Eat in London
It’s almost more “typical” to eat international food than the traditional British food in London. Cuisine from all corners of the world can be found here, so make the most of it! Restaurants that are located a bit out of the central areas are of course a lot cheaper.
The smaller streets around Kings Cross have some good deals, but chances are that you will be in the center for lunch. There are a lot of “all you can eat” buffets spread around the city center in London, especially Chinese cuisine, but also a lot of Indian restaurants.
For good Mexican food, Chilango is a great Mexican eatery located at five different places across the city. We ate at the one in Chancery Lane 6, and the burritos and nachos were awesome.
- Child Friendly Things To Do in London
Go to the Museums
In most cities, museums charge hefty entry fees – in London however, all of the major museums are completely free! The Museum of London is an all-time favorite, and the famous art gallery Tate Modern is also a must with some amazing contemporary art.
Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard
No trip to London is complete without Buckingham Palace – and when you visit, make sure you do so during the changing of the guards! Every day at 11.30 am this military tradition begins, a spectacle with music and a great chance to see the interesting outfits the guards wear.
London Street Performers
Walking down the street is an event in itself in London, especially on the square at the Covent Garden Market. There, street performers entertain huge crowds every afternoon, and many of the performers are well seasoned professionals that are well worth seeing. Although it’s free to look, if they’re really good a small tip doesn’t hurt.
Hang out in the Parks
London has plenty of green oasis to relax in and rest your feet for a few hours. St. James’s park offers stunning views over Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are huge green oasis in the middle of the city, and Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens in Regent’s Park is a favorite among many.
A free event in Hyde Park is the well renown “Speaker’s Corner”, a sort of “event” which has been held every Sunday since the right of free assembly was recognized in 1872. In the Speaker’s Corner people from all walks of life gather to listen to speeches about anything and everything… and to heckle. The speeches can range from political to sausages to alien invasions, you really have to go there to know what it’s like.
Queen’s Ice and Bowl
Kids love ice skating and bowling, though it’s advisable not to do both at the same time. That does sound fun, though, doesn’t it? Let the kids work off some of that energy for a day of ice skating and bowling all in one place. There’s also an arcade, cafe, and bar.
Thames River Cruise
One of the best ways to see London is from the river as you cruise past many of the most famous sights like the Tower of London and Canary Wharf. The kids will think it’s cool floating past Westminster Abbey and Big Ben from atop the open upper deck. You can take the cruise even when the weather is less than perfect, as the boats offer a lower saloon with a panoramic view. You and the kids will be wowed by the experience.
The London Bridge Experience
Your kids will think you’re the coolest parent ever when you take them on this tour which has won it’s second Screamie award for “Best Year Round Scare Attraction.” It might be too intense for kids under ten years old, so be sure your kids aren’t easily traumatized by creepy special effects and people in spooky costumes that you will meet along the way.
The tour starts within the arches of the London Bridge and is a two-part experience. The second part of the attraction, the London Tombs, will have you face-to-face with the un-dead in a spine-tingling adventure not for the faint of heart. For kids under eleven, the Guardian Angel Tours offer a guide to accompany them through the Tombs and protect them from anything that may be too frightening.
Gamerbase Piccadilly Circus
You might have to drag the kids out of this place after they get involved in an intense, multi-player game they can play online or with anyone else in the centre. This state-of-the-art facility has several Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles and PCs that allow for online gaming that include many of the most popular games available such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.
Your kids will probably enjoy challenging you to a grueling game where they can annihilate you in public, so be prepared to be humiliated. It’s all in fun, right? Whether your kids are very young or in that awkward, brooding teenage stage, they’re going to have a hard time complaining when you take them to these fun spots in London. They might even have to grudgingly admit that their parents are pretty cool as far as parents go, at least for a while.
Get Active with London’s Summer of Sport
Swim the Serpentine, row the Thames, and touch down at Finsbury Park…With hopes of British sporting glory cruelly dashed at Wimbledon this week, Team GB will be hoping to make up for it as London’s Olympic summer of sport gets underway. In true British spirit, it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part, and the nation’s capital is packed with fun sporting activities the whole family can break a sweat to this summer.
Serpentine Swimming Club, W2
If you’re willing to get up early, and we mean early, the Serpentine Swimming Club offers up the briskets way to start your day. The Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park is open to the club’s open air swimmers before 9.30am each morning, 365 days a year. Take a dip in the bracing depths and get up to speed for the weekly Saturday morning races.
Water temperatures can get up to a tropical 20˚ in summer, but take a sharp dive come the autumn, and this hardcore swimming group turn their noses up at wetsuits, even for their famous Christmas Day race. If you’re not the competitive type, or you just don’t fancy hauling yourself out of bed for a shockingly cold 6am bath, try the Serpentine Lido or Hampstead Heath ponds, where you’re free to swim outdoors with the ducks all summer between 10am and 6pm, May to September.
Thames Rowing Club, SW15
Cruising the Thames on a tourist-packed tour boat is for chumps. Put your oar in and see the city’s iconic river in a whole new light with the Thames Rowing Club. Established in 1860, this historic club offers up competitive rowing to men and women, beginners and professionals alike.
They pride themselves on their past record of transforming beginner rowers into national team winners, with their women’s rowing teams becoming regular Henley champions. Their clubhouse at Putney, dating back to 1876, is a treasure trove of British rowing memorabilia, and if you don’t want to race competitively, there are Veterans and Casuals groups designed for those who want to take it easy on the river.
Frame, EC2A & W10
A dance school with a difference, Frame has set out to make dance fun, affordable and open to everyone. Forget the torturous world of the Black Swan, the emphasis here is on getting your body moving in a way that you enjoy. With two dance and fitness studios, one in Shoreditch, the other at Queen’s Park, classes are designed so you can drop in any time you want to try something new.
Alongside the limb-lengthening yoga, Pilates and ballet, there’s hardcore boot camps, and Saturday workshops designed to target specific areas, lifting bums, slimming hips and working off those bingo wings. Boost your confidence on the dance floor with their range of quirky dance classes, where you can work up a sweat with 80’s aerobics Jane Fonda-style and master the moves from your favorite music videos in your lunch break.
London Blitz, N4
Formed in 1995, London’s championship-winning American football club welcomes players of all ages, from 7 and up. With a senior team competing in the BAFA Community League Premiership, and four junior teams too, now’s your chance to score your very own touchdown in Europe’s answer to the Superbowl. Head to London Blitz team HQ in Finsbury Park to join the training and workshops, and you could be going for gold in the Eurobowl tournament next year.
Choose your London attractions
There’s so much on offer it’s important to be realistic in your planning. Trying to cram the British Museum, Tate Modern, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square and the National Portrait Gallery into one day will not help you make the most of them.
The British Museum, for instance, could easily merit a whole day, or even two half-days. The collection is vast, and it contains iconic objects from all over the world, such as the Rosetta Stone, which was instrumental in helping Egyptologists understand ancient hieroglyphs. The British Museum building itself is stunning, and what’s more, it’s all easily accessible, with elevators between floors.
Vary your London sightseeing
Some districts are perfect for exploring at leisure, without the need to use public transport…and they are free child friendly things to do in London as well. Westminster is one of these, with attractions such as Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Cabinet War Rooms all close by one another.
Best Time to Visit London
With just a little planning, your visit to London can include so many different experiences, and this year you may even catch an outdoor Olympic event in the streets of the city. We hope you find this Best Time to Visit London guide useful, and if you have any further tips leave them in the comments below!