The best things to see and do in London with babies

November 10, 2012

What are the best things to do with babies and children in London?

Baby on the tube

I was 23 when I moved here and the London to me of those years was all pubs, bars, clubs, shops, work, restaurants and night buses. Nearly ten years on, the city as I now know it is nestled in a baby bubble of parks, coffee shops, friends houses and playgroups in our south-of-the-river enclave. When I first had children I didn’t even know the Tate Modern had a children’s area (see?).

In terms of our recommendations and top tips for things to see and do with babies in London, from museums, galleries, parks, shops, days out, things to see, eat and do, challenges and experiences (as well as all the well-known landmarks in every guidebook, as well as the  quirky, less well known, and completely top-secret things). Here’s our favourites so far:

The best London parks for children

Ten of the best things for toddlers to do in London

The Horniman Museum (our absolute favourite!)

The Science Museum

Crystal Palace Park Farm

Kensington Palace

Afternoon tea at the Sanderson Hotel

The Southbank and Royal Festival Hall

I’d love it if you let me know your ultimate favourite things to see and do in London with babies –  leave me a comment or sending me a tweet. Thanks!

19 Comments

  • crafts on sea

    November 11, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Tate Modern has a kids bit? Seriously?! Hmm, sorry obviously they’ll be no sensible ideas from me as I am totally clueless too, I left London a few years before I had my son so all I know is where to get a rough kebab! Will be interested to see how you do though, good luck!

    1. gillian

      November 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      I miss the days of needing to know where you can get a rough kebab! And which shops will let you buy booze after 12…thanks, looking forward to putting the list together.

  • Ashley Norris

    November 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I love the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, Kew Gardens, Mildmay Secret Gardens and best of the lot Coram Fields

    1. gillian

      November 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Brilliant, thank you – ashamed to say I’ve not been to any of these (not even Kew Gardens!) Oh dear…

      1. angus h

        December 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm

        If you go to Kew with a little one, the Climbers & Creepers area is a must. There’s a huge indoor play area with lots of nice sensory stuff even a 1 year old can enjoy, so it’s a good day out even in the rain.

        1. gillian

          December 18, 2012 at 9:45 pm

          Ahh brilliant tip – thank you so much! That sounds great (especially as it’s indoors). I had no idea there was anything like this, I presumed it was all for older children / adults.

  • Nick

    November 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I’ve always loved the Natural History Museum, mainly for the dinosaurs!

    1. gillian

      November 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      Of course! Definitely going on the list…

  • Julia

    December 11, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Kids all ages love the Hornimann museum, especially the aquarium though it can get a bit too crowded in the school holidays. I also wanted to go to toddler opera at the Southbank centre but it sold out very quickly.

    1. gillian

      December 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      I’m a bit ashamed to say that we’ve never been to the Hornimann Museum, despite living so close – we will have to go as I’ve heard so many good things about it! Toddler opera sounds brilliant too. Thanks so much for these suggestions xx

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  • angus h

    December 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Another vote for the Horniman. Took my boys (just turned 2, and 4-and-a-bit) yesterday for the umpteenth time, they always love it.

    Its galleries are all quite small, well suited to short attention spans, the aquarium is great for all ages as is the interactive room in the musical instruments gallery (lots of things to bash). The natural history room there is nice, my 2yo had a lot of fun naming all the animals, there are a few interactive displays that the older boy enjoys, and the huge walrus in the middle of the room is a hit with both.

  • angus h

    December 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Last one from me – Battersea Park Childrens Zoo. Lovely little zoo with lots & lots of small animals (monkeys, birds, rodents, lizards…) and a few medium sized ones, interspersed with great childrens’ play equipment. It’s compact enough to be easy to get around, big enough to cope well with the crowds.

    One word of warning. Battersea Park station is a complete and utter nightmare with a buggy – or worse yet, with a toddler on foot and a baby in the buggy, as I was foolish enough to attempt on my own one time. The stairs are incredibly steep and narrow, the platform is narrow too. So best to get there another way – Clapham Junction is a longish walk or a short hop on the bus, and there’s loads of car parking if driving’s an option.

    1. gillian

      December 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      Thank you so much for all these suggestions! Yet again another thing I had no idea about 🙂 I will investigate buses as I know what you mean about the station; must have been a nightmare with two. Are you in south London?

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  • Sue

    April 19, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    This is great for a non london-er trying to plan a weeks visit to family with a very active 11mth old!

    1. gillian

      April 24, 2014 at 11:38 am

      Glad it was useful! Let me know what you get up to x

  • Adam

    July 10, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Thanks to everyone who has helped compile this list. We have an almost 3 & an almost 1 year old and although we’ve lived in London before, it was pre our boys’ arrival so we’re still learning the best spots.

    Archbishop’s Park must rate a mention as well as Kennington Park with its cafe and playground (we’re in Kennington/ Walworth area).

    Cheers

    1. gillian

      July 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      These are great suggestions, thank you! And glad it’s useful x

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