50 Things To Do In London Before You’re 5

50 fun things to do with an under 5 in London

London is awash with places to take the kiddos – whether it’s raining and you need to entertain them undercover or it’s a glorious sunny day and you can take advantage of the city’s outdoor spaces, there’s plenty of choice of things to do with kids in London. And when you’re under 5, there’s SO MUCH FUN to be had. Some of it costs money, some of it is free. Here are my favourite 50 things to do with young kids in London… how many have you ticked off so far?things to do with a baby in London

  1. London Zoo is an awesome day out. Under 3s get in for free and for kids older than that, it’s £17.50 a ticket. So not the cheapest day out, but you can make a proper day of it, take a packed lunch to save money there and enjoy seeing the lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Afterwards, walk through Regent’s Park – it’s huge and beautiful.
  2. The Southbank Centre on the, er, Southbank of the Thames (near Waterloo) has loads of family events and shows on from storytelling for under 5s to dance and music events. Check their listings and book to see something fun. There are plenty of family friendly restaurants nearby from Wagamama to Giraffe.
  3. Frozen Sing-a-long at Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square. Yes, you heard me right. This independent cinema in central London is doing matinee screenings and fancy dress is essential. *warbles Let It Go*
  4. Get on a red double decker bus and ride past the sights (The No11 bus from Liverpool Street drives past loads of famous landmarks like St Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben and Nelson’s Column for less cost than a tourist bus ticket.)
  5. The Discover Centre is one of my personal favourites in London. A five minute walk from Stratford station (and Westfield) it has indoor play areas, storytelling rooms (pre-book tickets when you arrive) and craft sessions. It’s always been raining when we’ve visited, but the outdoor play area looks awesome too.
  6. Centre For Wildlife Gardening in Peckham has a great nature trail and runs kids’ gardening sessions where they can learn about the natural world. In the middle of town. Cool.
  7. Make pirate biscuits or monster cupcakes at baking classes for tots run in East London by BKD. Adelle, who runs the classes, is brilliant with kids (she has a two-year-old herself who helped out at the class we went to.)
  8. Watch classical music aimed at 3-8 year olds and do music related activities and crafts at Crash, Bang, Wallop at Cadogan Hall, Chelsea.
  9. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park looks fantastic and is on our To-Do list. There’s the Tumbling Bay Playground and fun activities like kids’ Zumba classes.
  10. Hire a pedalo in Regent’s Park (be ready to do most of the pedalling!)
  11. There are a few farms in London – Hackney City Farm is a great one. As well as the usual animals, they offer pottery painting sessions and mosaic making. Don’t leave without buying some fresh eggs!
  12. See a puppet show at the Little Angel Theatre, Islington.
  13. The Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens is a joy. You can only enter if you’ve got a child (they have security on the gate) and once you’re in, there are lots of places to explore, play areas and a giant pirate ship to climb over.
  14. Ice skating doesn’t have to be a festive activity – head to Alexandra Palace in north London and have a family skating session all year round.
  15. Paint a plate at Biscuit Ceramic Cafe in Greenwich.
  16. We haven’t been to Coram’s Fields but it’s up there on my ‘must do’ list. Seven acres in the middle of London, it has a farm and play areas galore.
  17. The Southbank doesn’t just have a Centre, it also has cool stuff like a carousel, entertainers making giant bubbles and in summer months, there are water fountains to run through. Hours. Of. Fun.
  18. Buy some seriously amazing ice cream at Scoop in Covent Garden.
  19. Museums aren’t always my first choice for family fun (too many memories of boring school trips) but the Science Museum is something else. Check out the Garden Gallery where under 5s can play with sound, light, contraction and water (take a change of clothes – they might get wet!)
  20. The Unicorn Theatre near London Bridge regularly has kids’ shows on but it also has the Up Club every Saturday between 12pm and 1.30pm, where kids can do activities like rocket building and cake decorating. No need to book.
  21. Another museum I’d recommend – the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden is great for any bus-obsessed child (that’s all of them at some point, right?) and you can visit Shake Shack afterwards for a cheeky burger.
  22. Feed the ducks in St James’ Park. Quack.
  23. If you fancy a boogie, Big Fish Little Fish family raves are fantastic and happen all over the capital, from Hackney to Crouch End to Balham (my favourite venue). Proper DJs play music you’ll love and remember from your youth, while the kids bop away with glow sticks, munch on healthy snacks and make stuff in the craft room.
  24. For a visit to an aquarium that won’t break the bank (*looks at London Aquarium’s ticket prices and faints*) then the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill is brilliant. Small, but perfectly formed, the aquarium is downstairs from lots of cool exhibitions and a great cafe (eat early if you want to find a free table or high chair). The grounds are fun to explore too, with giant musical instruments and space to RUN.
  25. Wimbledon’s Polka Theatre is a theatre that just shows performances for kids, but they also have a drop-in play area and cafe which you can visit at any time.
  26. Take a boat to Greenwich and see the Cutty Sark. Big boat! Ooh. They regularly have family fun sessions where you can make captain’s hats and the like.
  27. Wander along the Regent’s Canal Path and look at the canal boats on the water. Or better still, go on a water bus barge that will take you from Little Venice to Camden.
  28. Go to Buckingham Palace at 11.30am and watch the Changing Of The Guard. Go at another time of the day and stand outside, counting the windows. Bonus points if you see Queenie waving from one of them!
  29. The treetop walk at Kew Gardens is supposed to be pretty cool and if your kiddo’s a bit scared of heights, there are indoor and outdoor play areas to keep them happy. (The Orangery Restaurant serves Peyton and Byrne food so you’ll be kept happy too…)
  30. Making puppets and designing t-shirts are just two of the things on offer at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. Sounds like a great day out, to me.
  31. One of our favourite things to do, on a weekend is visit Brockwell Park in Herne Hill. They have a kick-ass play area with loads of slides, swings, sand pits, a zip wire, climbing frames, cubby holes and more. There’s also a lido and posh cafe which serves the best boiled egg and soldiers.
  32. Have a mid afternoon wine while your little one plays in the garden of The Paxton pub in Gipsy Hill. They have a fab child-friendly menu too.
  33. Watch street performers in Trafalgar Square, then mooch up to Covent Garden to watch some more. Take coppers for your little one to throw in their hat.
  34. For a brilliant Sunday afternoon family show, hit The Albany in Deptford. Dance shows, puppetry – it’s all going on. Sign up to their mailing list for advance notice of what’s on.
  35. The London Eye is a winner for family fun in my book – mainly because it’s a cool thing to do for grown ups too. Book ahead to save yourself 10% and  tickets are free for under 4s.
  36. Try Toddler Time at The Ritzy Cinema, Brixton – special half hour screenings of things, like Peppa Pig or Timmy Time, that cost just £3 per child (grown ups free).
  37. Once a month, the Royal Academy of Arts do a free family activity afternoon, where you can do things like getting green fingered with plants or creating your own story book. Afterwards, stroll along to Piccadilly Circus to look at the big TV screens (and if you are that way inclined, head to the Trocadero).
  38. If you’re visiting the Museum Of London get a free Explorer Bag when you arrive – it’s packed with fun activities that’ll help you and your under 5 explore the exhibitions. Great idea.
  39. Watch the skateboarders on the South Bank. My tot could do this for hours…
  40. Go for a ride on THE TRAIN WITH NO DRIVER (aka the DLR). Ride out to Greenwich or Stratford and back.
  41. Got a dinosaur fan in the family? They’ll love the giant dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum. You can watch the butterflies in the butterfly house too – you might even see one emerge from a chrysalis!
  42. Dinosaur fans should also make their way to Crystal Palace Park where they can climb on them in the play area and see large sculptures poking out from the trees.
  43. I’m 35 and even I love the lights and fountains at Granary Square near King’s Cross. They’re fun for kids to run through, and they can also swing in the giant birdcage. Don’t miss the street food stalls for a quick bite (the burgers and ice lollies look amazing).
  44. Check out a craft or storytelling session at the Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch.
  45. Get a bird’s eye view of the city by going up 72 floors to the Viewing Platform of The Shard. Check their website for any deals on kids – they often do ‘kids go free’ deals during the holidays.
  46. Battersea Children’s Zoo is well worth a visit. As well as the animals they have a fantastic play area and a nice cafe.
  47. Strut your stuff to the sounds of child-friendly reggae, folk and pop tunes at Toddler Jam at Stratford Circus – £3 for a child and parent/carer.
  48. Camley Street Natural Park is a bit of a secret in London –  many people don’t even realise it’s there, nestled near King’s Cross, but it’s a lovely green space run by the London Wildlife Trust.
  49. If you have £100 burning a hole in your purse, head to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Harrods where your little one can have a royal Disney experience to rival no other – dressing up, having their hair done, face painted and generally treated like a princess.
  50. Go for a boogie at Monksi Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall on the Southbank – it happens every Sunday between May and September and costs £8.

Where are your favourite places to go with kids in London?

If you loved this blog post, check out 30 Things To Do Before You’re 3 and 40 Books To Read Before You’re 4!

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The ultimate list for fun activities for under 5s in London! By a mum who lives there and done a lot of it herself...

Image: DTTSP



  1. May 21, 2014 / 2:14 pm

    This is brilliant! Defo gonna try some of these out 😉 xx

    • Alison Perry
      May 21, 2014 / 8:29 pm

      Let me know what you love!

  2. Steph
    May 21, 2014 / 2:14 pm

    Thanks for this great list. We’ve managed to do a few (Olympic park is fab – pack wellies and a picnic). You’ve given me lots of new ideas as well.

    • Alison Perry
      May 21, 2014 / 8:30 pm

      Ooh good tip for Olympic Park – thanks!

  3. May 21, 2014 / 2:30 pm

    Oh my goodness, this is fantastic Alison! I’m heading down to London with the kids next month for a tradefair so I’ll defo be using this blog post to help me plan stuff for us to do. xx

    • Alison Perry
      May 21, 2014 / 8:30 pm

      ….and you’ll be letting me know so I can meet you for lunch/coffee, yes? 🙂

  4. May 21, 2014 / 3:35 pm

    WHAT?! As if I couldn’t love London any more or the Prince Charles for it’s SING ALONG A SOUND OF MUSIC, it now does FROZEN SING ALONGS?! *faints *comes round, does side plait & jumps on tube

    • Alison Perry
      May 21, 2014 / 8:31 pm

      haha – sounds amazing, right?

  5. May 21, 2014 / 3:55 pm

    Brilliant list. We live in Kent and London is easy, of not cheap, to get to for the day. There are done fab things on this list that I’d love to do with Potato! Thank you x

    • Alison Perry
      May 21, 2014 / 8:32 pm

      Pleasure – hope you have fun!

  6. May 21, 2014 / 5:27 pm

    that is one amazing list!

  7. May 21, 2014 / 7:18 pm

    Brilliant – thanks for the ideas! We are off to the Horniman for the first time next week so will make sure we eat early! X

  8. May 22, 2014 / 6:54 am

    I think I’d want to do a lot of these myself! We might be going in Augusr so will try to tick a good few off, especially Coram fields and the London eye!

    • Alison Perry
      May 22, 2014 / 6:55 am

      Let me know how you get on!

  9. May 22, 2014 / 7:07 am

    Great list! Although we’re visitors, not residents any more, this is still great to have bookmarked. I would also add Battersea Park Zoo to your list.

  10. May 22, 2014 / 7:09 am

    This is fab – L is 7 but I’m sure there are still plenty here we can still do, and will do, not to mention all the ones we’ve already done! Pinning this for later. Thanks so much for compiling and sharing 🙂 xx

  11. May 22, 2014 / 7:17 am

    Great list! My kids are older but there’s still plenty they’d enjoy. I’d add taking a trip on the cable car by the O2 arena. You can get the boat there, take the cable car over tge river then head back on the DLR.

    • Alison Perry
      May 22, 2014 / 7:20 am

      Oh yes! Good shout. I haven’t done that yet but I’ve heard it’s good.

  12. Rusky
    May 22, 2014 / 9:02 am

    I may have mentioned this before but self-publishing on lulu.com is very easy and a lot of what you blog deserves a more durable and profitable presence.

    • Alison Perry
      May 22, 2014 / 10:57 am

      Thanks for the tip rusky!

  13. May 22, 2014 / 1:34 pm

    Great list – enough to keep us occupied all through the summer holidays!

  14. May 22, 2014 / 4:50 pm

    Oooh nice list, there’s a few I hadn’t come across which will be fun for a nearly two-year-old.

  15. May 23, 2014 / 12:12 pm

    What a great list! I found myself nodding sagely at so many of your suggestions!

    Another one is pelican feeding in st james park.

    We also love Morden Hall park.

  16. May 29, 2014 / 8:40 pm

    Brill List Alison! As Miss M is not yet 2 we have plenty of time to work our way through all your great suggestions. You need to to a PDF downloadable file of this so we can all print it out and keep!

  17. May 31, 2014 / 11:53 am

    Oh my! So many ideas! Cool! I think we will have to work our way down the ones we haven’t tried (a large number).

  18. June 2, 2014 / 9:39 am

    Ooh wow, have totally pinned and forwarded this amazing list! Fab picks. I love walks along the river from Hammersmith Bridge, and we went to Regents park and rented a family pedalo – maybe one to add to the list of 70 things before you’re 7 for the kiddy pedalo where you need to be a bit taller! Xx

  19. June 4, 2014 / 9:01 pm

    What a fab list!!! Quite a few on here we still haven’t done … must check out the wildlife gardening place in Peckham. Glad to see Brockie park making the list … we’re just over the road from the Lido so we practically live in there in the summer. Are you going to come over for the Lambeth Country Show – it’s a total must if you’ve never been?

    Thanks so much for sharing at #OurLondon

  20. Sauce
    October 29, 2014 / 11:25 pm

    Check out Family Sundays at The Royal Opera House. Last Sunday of the month every month (except December). V popular.

  21. February 10, 2015 / 10:28 am

    What a great list! And nice to see plenty of mentions of great places to visit in South East London too!

    The Grant Museum @ UCL is a great little place to spend the afternoon with under 5’s – I’ve been raving about it since visiting last month. x

  22. February 29, 2016 / 9:57 am

    The best things to do in London are free- I miss the Museums, the Parks (especially Richmond Park), wandering the Thames Path, visiting Markets and just walking around admiring the architecture. I think the couple of attractions that are worth spending money on are the Tower of London, London walks (usually about £10 and lots to choose from) and the interior of St Pauls (love the whispering gallery) and attending a show on the West End.

  23. Verna
    May 29, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    This is fantastic, will surely be doing some of these this half term.

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  25. Charlotte loomes
    October 2, 2016 / 8:35 pm

    This is brilliant! Thank you so much for putting this together! We are now prepped and ready to go for a family day in London tomorrow!

  26. February 8, 2017 / 6:16 pm

    Lots of wonderful ideas here. some are firm favourites with us. My boys loved Kew!

  27. August 14, 2017 / 10:57 am

    that is the best ever seem sight

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