Family Adventure in London: A Four Day Itinerary

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This is a guest post from Victoria Evitts.

My kids love London! Its eclectic mix of architecture and diverse offerings is a sensory feast, especially compared with the picturesque but uniform streets of my home town in Bath. As it’s not too far on the train we have done a few day trips in the past, covering some of the main attractions like the London Eye and Big Ben. However for half-term I planned a four-day trip filled with adventure, exploration, and plenty of memorable moments. Here’s a detailed itinerary of our family adventure in London, including some of the best things for young kids.

Day 1: Kensington Gardens And Immersive Experiences

Arrival

On our first day we arrived in London just before lunch, with excited kids ready to explore. We stayed in Paddington Basin for convenience (although there isn’t much in way of food and drink nearby) so we could easily drop our bags. After that our first stop was the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens. This playground is incredible. Inspired by Peter Pan, it features a pirate ship, teepees, sand and water, and plenty of space for imaginative play. We stopped en route to buy sandwiches so we could enjoy a picnic here, and we were very lucky with the weather.

Children's playground with climbing apparatus leading to a lookout point.
In the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground (photo copyright Victoria Evitts)

Afternoon

Next, we headed to the Twist Museum on Oxford Street, an interactive museum of perception. Though pricey (£92 for a family ticket) and with fewer activities than expected, the kids enjoyed the hands-on exhibits. On the basis of first hand and online reviews, I opted for Twist over Dopamine Land. Dopamine Land is a temporary exhibit and therefore created on a much smaller budget but offers fun things like pillow fights and ball pits. While the kids might have preferred Dopamine Land, they still had a blast at Twist, so it was a win overall.

Child walking through a tunnel made from arches of different colours.
Exploring the Twist Museum (photo copyright Victoria Evitts)

Evening

Afterwards, we strolled along Carnaby Street and visited Hamleys, the iconic and overwhelming toy store, which was an absolute hit with the kids. We ended the day with a memorable meal at Inamo on Wardour Street in Soho. This Pan-Asian restaurant offers a unique dining experience with the whole tabletop being interactive with multiple game options and a blank art canvas. There’s obviously a mark up for this but the food was good (the sushi rolls come out in a line styled like a dragon) and the kids loved it.

Day 2: Discovering Stratford, East London

Morning

Our second day began with a visit to the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford, East London. This interactive space is perfect for young children with a love for stories. We participated in the “Box Rocket” show which was a nice addition and was both educational and fun although a little young for our two (6 & 8). However this didn’t stop them enjoying it!

Outside of the Children's Story Centre. An arched window has a picture of a young astronaut and a cat with the words "The Box Rocket".
The interactive Children’s Story Centre (photo copyright Victoria Evitts)

We headed to Roof East, situated on top of a carpark opposite Stratford station, for a relaxing lunch. The view from the top is extensive, the atmosphere is family-friendly (until 5pm when it switches to 18+ only), and it boasts a range of food trucks alongside various games and activities. Most of the activities have a cost, such as crazy golf and archery, but our kids were happy with the free games of Jenga and Cornhole. They also loved pretending to drive the driverless DLR train from Stratford to Stratford International.

Afternoon

From here we walked to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (with an obligatory Mr Whippy), where we explored the Timber Lodge and Tumbling Bay Playground. This was another great find with plenty for the kids to explore and it was so nicely designed and integrated into the landscape that it didn’t feel like a chore for us adults to be there either.

Evening

We headed back into central London for dinner to wow the girls with Chinatown’s vibrant atmosphere. I favour Wong Kei on Wardour Street for food, it’s no frills and is famed for its curt customer service, but the food is reliably good and it is family friendly. However be warned that it’s cash only.

As it’s only round the corner from Leicester Square we finished with visits to the M&M and Lego shops nearby – I highly recommend the pick-a-mix in the M&M shop and the “make your own minifigure” section in the Lego shop. You can get out of both stores with happy kids and without spending a fortune!

Day 3: Crocodiles And Cultural Exploration

Morning

We started with a performance of “The Enormous Crocodile” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. This was a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic and was filled with catchy tunes, clever lyrics, and engaging puppetry that wholly captivated us all.

Two people preparing the stage for an open air theatre. It is arranged to look like water surrounded by plants.
At the Regents Park Open Air Theatre (photo copyright Victoria Evitts)

After this we had planned to have a picnic in Coram’s Fields but little legs were tired and the heavens had opened. So instead we hopped on a tube to Kings Cross (an obligatory stop to see platform 9¾) and enjoyed lunch from Wasabi which we ate in the station’s family room. A gem of a find as not only do they have comfy cubicles to sit in but there is also a model railway and videos talking about the Flying Scotsman.

Afternoon

Post lunch we went east again to visit the Young V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum). This was a great R&R activity as the kids were able to sit and draw, watch clips from West End shows, and explore a variety of interactive exhibits about design and storytelling. There was also a nice family friendly cocktail bar next to the Bethnal Green tube station where the kids got small hot chocolates and we had espresso martinis to round off our visit.

Outside of museum building with the letters V&A above the entrance.
The Young V&A (photo copyright Victoria Evitts)

Evening

For dinner we ate at Wahaca in Covent Garden, a family-friendly restaurant offering fresh Mexican food. The food was the best we had on the trip and there were four clean plates at the end. I highly recommend the Discovery Menu for the adults.

Day 4: Science Museum And IMAX

Morning

Our last day was spent at the Science Museum. This is a firm favourite with our kids, even if they have mostly grown out of the garden play area in the basement. We didn’t do WonderLab this time but instead opted for the 60 minute Antarctica 3D film in the museum’s own IMAX. This was a great way to end our trip: we were all in awe of the visuals and came out of the showing feeling humbled.

We had lunch at the museum’s café before heading back to Paddington for our 3 pm train home. We had planned to try leaf boat racing at the Princess Diana Fountain in Hyde Park but we ran out of time. Nonetheless, our trip was packed with wonderful experiences.

Conclusion

This London itinerary was an unforgettable experience filled with activities that catered for the entire family. From playgrounds and interactive museums to cultural spots and delicious food, London offers endless opportunities for family fun and exploration. Don’t forget an iSpy London book to keep kids engaged on the walks between activities!

Author bio: Once a seasoned traveller, Victoria has taken a break from adventuring in recent years due to having young children. Now that her girls are 6 and 8, she’s ready to start exploring the world again, having enjoyed discovering more of the UK and relaxing on beaches in the meantime.

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3 thoughts on “Family Adventure in London: A Four Day Itinerary”

    1. We came away from Hamleys with only a book each, which was a win(!) and we opted for places that had outdoor seating when we stopped for a drink (rather than hunting out specific child friendly places)

  1. A great itinerary! Didn’t know about the family room in King’s Cross. I need to start exploring more with my children.

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WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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