If you are looking to take a short break with your family then London really is a great place to go. There is so much on offer for children of all ages, from the tiny tots right through to teenagers, as well as being plenty to keep adults entertained as well. From the simple pleasures of riding in an iconic black taxi cab to studying exhibits at one of the world-famous museums, you won’t be short on weekend experiences for the family in the capital city.
The type of weekend break you plan will, naturally, depend entirely on the type of family you are. If you like to be outdoors and keeping active then the attractions you pick will be very different from a family who likes to learn and discover interesting details. Whatever your interests, there will be sure to be something for you in London. Here are just 5 of our top choices for weekend experiences in the capital:-
1. Family Weekend Break to ‘Museumland’
South Kensington is home to three of London’s biggest museums: the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum. To fully explore all three would take an entire weekend, but it is possible to whizz round and see just the highlights if time is short. Top attractions to note are the dinosaur exhibition in the Natural History Museum where visitors can get up close to a scary T-Rex and the Launch Pad in the Science Museum where you can play with various gadgets and enjoy free 20-minute shows. One of the great things about the Science Museum is the touchscreen information areas which suggest itineraries for children of various ages.
Whilst the Victoria & Albert Museum is perhaps not as child-friendly as the other two, there is a dedicated kids zone and themed trails which children may enjoy.
2. Family Weekend Break in Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of London’s best open spaces, covering over 350 acres. For a family weekend break in Hyde Park you will be spoiled for choice. The Serpentine Lido and paddling pool are great for adults and children alike in the warmer months and during winter the park is transformed into a Winter Wonderland which will be sure to delight. From November until January families can take a spin around the ice rink, enjoy some of the fairground rides or be amazed at the frozen sculptures in the Magical Ice Kingdom.
Aside from this, the Royal Park is a wonderful space for families to enjoy and is centrally located, meaning that it is easy to access other attractions in London if you choose to stay in one of the many family friendly hotels; Grand Royale London Hyde Park is best option.
3. Family Weekend Break to Greenwich
Often overlooked in favour of other, more popular attractions, Greenwich is an amazing and intriguing part of London to visit and will be sure to thrill visitors of all ages, although especially those with an interest in space.
Take a boat trip along the Thames to Greenwich, and spot some of London’s many famous landmarks along the way. Once you disembark you can discover the delights of the Royal Observatory with its giant telescope and the state of the art planetarium. Once you’ve exhausted this, head over to the National Maritime Museum where children can learn all about the history of seafaring with interactive galleries. They can even try their hand at being a sailor (or a pirate!) and firing a cannon. Head into central Greenwich and board Cutty Sark for a fantastic onboard experience which includes interactive elements designed to evoke the sights, smells and sounds of life at sea.
4. Family Weekend Break for Teenagers
If you are the parents of teenagers then you no doubt know that they aren’t necessarily excited by the same things they once were and it can be harder to think of ways to entertain them on family weekend breaks. Don’t despair however as London has much to offer older children as well as younger.
Camden and Portobello Road markets are a must for any budding fashionista, with their host of stalls selling alternative clothing and accessories. If you can only spare time for one then generally speaking Portobello is considered the more trendy of the two. There are also a number of walking tours which can be done around the city that may interest your teens. These include everything from street art tours to treasure hunts.
Alternatively, taking a theatre show in London’s West End is always a great way to spend an afternoon and there are many shows suitable for all ages.
5. Family Weekend Breaks for Animal Lovers
Whilst not everyone will appreciate an entire weekend dedicated to animals, if you have younger children then there really is nothing better than a visit to a zoo or farm and London is stuffed full of then. ZSL London Zoo is obviously a great choice, and home to many interesting and exotic creatures as well as your staple zoo animals. However, London all boasts a number of city farms which are a great way to spend the day, Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is a lovely example of this. The WWT Wetland Centre is also a good choice, with various interactive elements, an adventure play areas for under 11’s and the chance to spot the birds and wildlife which reside here.
Of course, these are just small examples of some great themed weekends you could have in the capital city. If a family weekend break in Hyde Park or Museumland isn’t for you, then why not create your own? There is a wealth of information on the various tourist attractions in London available online which will aid and assist you in creating the ideal family weekend break for you.