11 fun things to do with under 5's in summer London

We live in London and quite often go out as a family to explore our home town. Because of our daughter's age we tend to go for the toddler-friendly activities and places in London. This summer we have explored London and found lots of great, toddler-friendly places to have a summer family day out. I figured since we have so much experience (this is our home town after all) I would share my favourite picks for what to do in London with a toddler during the summer months of June, July, August and September. 

Enjoy the fresh air
There are loads of great parks in London and let's face it, toddlers love nothing more than running around outside. My absolute favourite park is Coram's Fields, which you can only enter accompanied by a child. This park is near Russell Square.

Another fun kids park located near Central London is the Diana Memorial Playground, where you can play in a giant pirate ship! The closes tube stop is Queensway.

Best thing - both are free!

toddler and sheep statue looking at each other at coram's fields park

a giant climbing frame and slide for children at coram's fields park

toddler walking up a slide at coram's fields park

Admire the gorgeous views
On a beautiful day, I absolutely love to take the boat on the Thames. It feels like a luxurious way to travel after having commuted all week long in the smelly tube... It is a fun way to travel for the kids as well, who wouldn't love being on a boat?

My favourite day out combination is to get a boat ride from Westminster to Greenwich. You get to see all the sights, from Westminster and London Eye, to the Tower and London Bridge, and Canary Wharf before arriving to Greenwich, where you can spend the day admiring the gorgeous Cutty Sark (a big boat) and having a picnic at the Greenwich park. You can check out all kinds of sights and the market over the weekends, but my favourite activity is just to chill at the park and enjoy the views. The historic buildings are gorgeous and the park is very popular amongst Londoners.

MBNA Thames Clippers are an easy choice, as all you need is your Oyster card and this is the cheapest option for a one-way ticket. City Cruises are probably better for the views as you can sit on the deck, but is more expensive and looks pretty packed most weekends.

view of the city from a boat on the thames

greenwich old historic buildings

See some wildlife
ZSL London Zoo is a great place for toddlers - all those animals are really exciting. We have been the the Zoo twice. I have written about my top tips for toddlers when visiting ZSL London Zoo after our first visit, and recently we also visited the Land of the Lions, a new attraction that opened in 2016. It is a brilliant addition by the way, and they put up interactive shows suitable for children throughout the day.

If it is raining, many of the animals withdraw indoors, so it might be a fun idea to go the the London Aquarium. They opened their Penguin enclosure in 2016 too, which is a lovely (albeit small) addition to the great big aquarium. You can see sharks and huge tortoise and manta rays amongst other fist, and it really is quite special.

Both are free for kids under three! (But adult tickets are quite pricey)

children watching monkeys from behind a glass in london zoo

mother and daughter in front of the london zoo land of the lions yellow mural

london zoo land of the lions decoration lion transport box and a toddler inside

land of the lions london zoo wall of posters and a toddler

father and daughter watching a bird on a walking path in london zoo

Have a blast indoors too
Natural History Museum is brilliant place to visit with kids (those dinosaur - wow!), and you can also pop by the Science Museum which is practically next door. Natural History Museum hosts a butterfly exhibition outside the museum during the summer. It is very tropical inside but is really exciting for the kids. The special exhibitions cost a little bit, but the museums are free.

Nearby you also have Harrods, that occasionally hosts free story time and face painting for kids, which can be fun addition to the day for calm and quiet toddlers. I haven't taken my daughter to any of these as she is a bit hyper and I worry she would ruin it for the other ones.

But, for the active and hyper toddlers there are other things to do! You can get your boogie on near South Bank at Monski Mouse disco! I had never heard of baby disco until this summer, and we visited Monski Mouse Baby Disco Dance Hall, and it was fabulous fun! It was a fun and booty-shaking mix of proper retro disco hits and nursery rhymes, and my daughter loved it. Absolutely loved it.

toddler looking at a fish at london aquarium

toddler standing in front of the shark tank in london aquarium

These are my favourite things to do in London with a toddler. A bit of outdoor activities, a bit of indoor activities, some sights, and some animals. To be honest, with toddlers it can be a bit difficult with all the travelling you have to do, so I tend to choose one activity and that is it. We go in, do it, and come back and that is enough. I also think it is worth choosing wisely - many of the activities in London are quite pricey, and quite frankly, with toddlers, they don't always appreciate the things you think they do.

11 fun things to do with kids in London during the summer - outdoors, indoors and events! Top tips from a Londoner: 11 fun things to do in London with toddlers and pre-schoolers during the summer. Includes the best attractions for under 5's and several tips for free activities too!

11 fun things to do with kids in London during the summer - outdoors, indoors and events! Top tips from a Londoner: 11 fun things to do in London with toddlers and pre-schoolers during the summer. Includes the best attractions for under 5's and several tips for free activities too!

Top tips from a Londoner: 11 fun things to do in London with toddlers and pre-schoolers during the summer. Includes the best attractions for under 5's and several tips for free activities in London too! Recommendations such as London Aquarium, Zoo, museums, shop events and best parks!

Do you have any other recommendations for toddler-friendly places and attractions in summer London? 


  1. I didn't know Harrods did story time, that would be a nice little thing to nip into. They have a very nice Disney cafe in there! I'm going to save this list for the next time we're down there!

    1. Oh yes, and I bet they are quite nice being in Harrods. The Disney Cafe is OK, although a bit too expensive for what it is I think. Glad you liked the list :)

  2. Great ideas! I agree, toddlers can be tricky and their attention span very short so they don't need long anywhere! The V&A is good especially if you are already in the Knightsbridge area and ticks the 'free' box. Still need to do the Thames cruise. #citytripping

    1. I love the V&A but I never thought there was much for kids. I always thought it was more of an 'adult' museum with 'adult' exhibitions. I might check it next time to see what they have for kids :)

      Thames cruises are great btw, a must thing to do in London!

  3. Can't go wrong with playgrounds, zoo and natural history museum.. But I never imagined Harrods to be a kids-friendly place too! How cool that they have story time and face painting for kids. #CityTripping

    1. Yeah, I think Harrods is quite kids-friendly - they have a Disney Cafe too. I remember that their toy floor was amazeballs when I was a kid - I loved it :D Obviously they hope you do a bit of shopping there too if you come and visit ;)

  4. Great tips and a few of my favourites - I definitely agree about picking one thing (or eg one attraction and a nearby park) as otherwise it's just too overwhelming for little ones. We've been to Battersea Park children's zoo as well - much smaller than the main zoo but cheaper too and there's a play area along with various fluffy creatures). Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    1. I've never been to Battersea Park but I've heard it is good. Didn't even know they had a kids zoo there! I rarely venture on the south side ha ha, very much of a Northern Londoner here :D Thanks for hosting :)


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