It's a world-famous travel destination, and there are endless ways to create the perfect family day out in London, but where do you start? We know any visit to London wouldn't be complete without ticking off a few of those major landmarks off the bucket list, so we've rounded up our top five.
But we also know that London has a whole host of activities and attractions off the beaten track, each offering a whole lot of potential family memories to the intrepid explorer. Read on to find out a few of our top picks!
Our top 5 unmissable London Landmarks
1. London Bus Tour
OK, so our first landmark isn't technically a landmark, but it is an iconic London red bus, and it's a brilliant way of seeing the sights of London without little feet getting too tired along the way. The Essential Tour takes in all the big sights and sounds of the city and as it's Hop-On, Hop-Off you can take your pick of the spots you'd like to explore a little further.
2. Buckingham Palace
The Queen's residence is the first stop on the route. If you're lucky enough to visit when the palace is open to the public there's a special kid-friendly tour that allows your young ones to imagine themselves waltzing around the Ballroom or sitting atop the royal throne in, you guessed it, the Throne Room.
3. Tower of London
Head out from Buckingham Palace to another royal destination, this time to spy the crown jewels. Kids can chat with a Beefeater, spot the black ravens, and find out about the Towers' somewhat eerie past.
4. The London Eye
Built to commemorate the new Millennium, the London Eye has become as iconic as the historic buildings that surround it. Children will love the feeling of soaring above the city on this giant wheel which offers spectacular views of the skyline below.
5. Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Cross back over the river to set your watches by Big Ben and take a look around the Houses of Parliament. Family-friendly tours take in Guy Fawkes' hiding place, and if Parliament is in session, you and the kids can even watch the action take place.
To top it off you can add on a child-friendly afternoon tea in the House of Commons overlooking the river.
London attractions that are off the beaten track
So you've seen the big sights, you've got the family portrait outside the Queen's gaff, now we highly recommend getting stuck into a few of these more unusual things to do in London with your family.
1. ArcelorMittal Orbit
If you and your family need a bit of adrenaline to fire them up before the next big tourist stop, we prescribe a hair-raising slide down the ArcelorMittal Orbit. The UK's tallest sculpture - 178m long - features 12 twists and turns and is certainly not one for the faint-hearted. But it is, however, the ultimate daredevil experience to brag about in the playground (or indeed the office) when you get home.
Kids must be 8+ to enjoy the ride, but it's located just next to the numerous play parks and water fountains in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park if you've got younger kids, or really just fancy keeping two feet on the ground.
2. Pony ride in Richmond Park
Despite being a buzzing metropolitan city, London is packed full of beautiful green spaces. Richmond Park is one of the cities’ well-known parks famed for its beautiful city skylines and herds of deer roaming the hills. We've all had to tolerate the kids moaning about how much further they have to walk and so, for a different mode of travel, head to Stag Lodge Stables. They offer pony and horse rides for complete beginners through the winding paths in the park.
With Shetlands for the tinies (from age 3+!) and something a little bigger for the 16 year olds, there's a noble steed for everyone.
3. Chicken Shed Theatre
If the inevitable British rain clouds are forecast, and you've got two under 6s to keep dry and entertained, then we think an afternoon of family-friendly, cosy culture is just what's in order. Chicken Shed Theatre produce their own new theatre work and welcome touring companies to their purpose-built space in North London to perform a variety of shows for all different ages. With the idea of theatre changing lives at the heart of what they do, you can be safe in the knowledge that you're supporting a great social enterprise whilst getting an afternoon of first-class family entertainment.
4. Museum of London Docklands
Of course, the Science Museum and The Natural History Museum are at the top of lots of London bucket lists, but London is teeming with all sorts of museums and exhibitions that might tickle your fancy when the lines for the biggies are too long. If you're visiting the capital with the children, then take them to find their inner sailor as they learn about the city's iconic docklands. Be sure to pick up an activity pack and check out the family-specific gallery "Mudlarks" where you can stroll along with a reconstruction of a dockside street and build your very own Canary Wharf!
5. Emirates Cable Car
So, you've ridden the London eye, maybe you've taken a boat ride along the Thames, but have you experienced the big city from the heady heights of the Emirates Cable Car? Glide above the river and take in the spectacular birds-eye views of those picture-postcard spots. We recommend an evening ride when the cars are slowed down a little to give you the chance to take in the view and maybe even watch the sunset. However, if your youngsters have woken you up at the crack of dawn, and are far too excited to get their day in the capital underway, then you can ride for free before 9.30 am!
Phew, if you manage all that in a weekend you're sure to need somewhere comfortable and preferably affordable, to rest your weary heads at night. Dolphin House serviced apartments offer just that: We're located right in zone 1, so just a stone's throw from those iconic landmarks and a hop, skip, and a jump from those unusual spots.
With two-bedroom apartments, there's plenty of space for everyone, and an onsite pool, spa, and restaurant means you can relax in a little bit of luxury after your big day.