How to easily see it all in London in 24 hours with kids

London is a great place to come with your kids. But if you are here for just a short time, it can be difficult to fit it all in. If you had just 24 hours in London, what would you do with your kids? Where would you go? I've come up with an easy day itinerary for how to spend 24 hours in London with kids, see all the most important sights and enjoy the less-touristy London too.

I love London. It has been my hometown for the past 10 years and I learn something new here every day. It is a wonderful place to bring your family too. In my pre-child state I used to live in Bloomsbury (just a stone throw away from British Museum) and stroll around care-free, looking for a perfect place to have a latte. Now I am a harangued mother who still loves exploring London but has to balance this desire with the demands of a pint-sized shadow...  So I am all about chilling, easy travel and taking the time to enjoy the sights, and this is what I have tried to include in my London in 24 hours itinerary.

So here is what I would do if I was visiting London for 24 hours with my kids.

lake view at st james's park

8 AM: Have breakfast at St James's Park

St James's Park has a restaurant, or alternatively, just pack some pastries and grab a coffee from one of the many coffee stops around the park. St James's Park is such a lovely place to spend a bit of time with kids, as they can see birds (my favourite bird was the black swan - see if you can spot it still!) and run around in beautiful setting. From the bridge the view to both Buckingham Palace and London Eye is stunning. 

9 AM: Take touristy pictures

Stroll towards the Big Ben and take the obligatory touristy shots in front of it. There is also a red phone booth, lots of double-decker busses whizzing past, Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Palace for other photo opportunities. If your kids are old enough to appreciate it, you could also go and check out the Queen's Guards at Horse Guards entrance. There should be someone there all the time, but the mounted sentries come around 10 AM. This is about 10 minutes walk (or one or two bus stops) away on Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square.

squirrel at st james's park

two girls sitting on a bench in front of st james's park lake

big ben view from parliament square

household cavalry soldier in front of tourists

household cavalry soldier at horse guards parade

10 AM: Go on a cruise

Get to the Westminster Pier to catch a boat ride on the Thames, all the way to Greenwich Pier. This is definitely the best and the easiest way to see the sights in London, as you get to see all the major sights in a couple of hours. You will see Westminster Palace from the riverside, London Eye, Millennium Bridge (the one in Harry Potter), a peek of St Pauls, Tower Bridge, Tower, City skyscrapers, Shard, Canary Wharf and finally Greenwich. 

We were invited to test City Cruises recently, and I thought this was just perfect as you could either sit up on an open deck (fabulous views!) or if it is a bit drizzly you could also sit inside in the warm with a coffee in your hand. I loved that we had a running commentary from the captain explaining the sights and giving us little tit-bits of information of London history, such as where they used to hang the pirates or how the London Bridge was sold to an American oil baron (although, the real story is not quite as juicy as the captain told it...). City Cruises do regular runs starting from 10 AM, leaving every 40 minutes from the Westminster Pier so if you miss one boat you shouldn't worry too much.

waiting for city cruises at westminster pier

mum and daughter on city cruises boat at westminster

view of st pauls from river thames

city skyscrapers seen from river thames

tower bridge from a boat below

two kayakers on river thames

12 AM: Have lunch at Greenwich

Disembark at Greenwich Pier. Stroll around to the market place to grab lunch if you are feeling adventurous, or stop in one of the many many pubs or restaurants at the waterfront. Or, if you have kids as adventurous as mine (read that as in deep-fried and breaded...) there is also McDonald's nearby. On a pretty summer day the park is a gorgeous location to have a picnic in. 

1 PM: Enjoy the views

Walk around the Greenwich University and Cutty Sark, and soak up the atmosphere. The buildings are stunning, and the riverside is beautiful just to stroll around, so do make the most of it. This is one of my favourite areas in London and and one of the places I recommend people visit if they want to have a bit of the real London, away from the touristy crowds. Of course, there are plenty of tourists in Greenwich too, but it is also a place where locals love to visit, especially in the summer.

greenwich market sign

ornamental plates at greenwich market stall

toddler walking at greenwich university grounds

greenwich university buildings

toddler posing in front of cutty sark boat

2 PM: Get back to Central London with a boat

Get back to the Greenwich Pier and embark on City Cruises back towards Central London, and soak up all the sights again!

4 PM: Enjoy street performers at the South Bank

Disembark on London Eye Pier. Stroll around South Bank, and enjoy the street artists, dancers, skaters, musicians and other interesting things happening here. You might even catch a soap bubble show (guaranteed kids favourite) or grab a snack from one of the many stalls.

mum and daughter listening to a street performer on embankment bridge

london eye seen from below

sitting on an artsy bench at south bank

5 PM: Dinner time! 

There are a few restaurants near South Bank Centre, so make your way into any that take your fancy. I find Giraffe is very easy with kids, but if you want something a bit more adventurous there is plenty to choose from. 

6:30 PM: Time to leave...

And let's face it, after a full day out with the kids, it is time to get back to the hotel and have a well-deserved sleep! Waterloo and Embankment are the closest tube stations, so make your way there - by this time the tube is still busy but the worst of the rush hour has passed and it should be manageable. There are lots of shops and restaurants around these stations as well, so if you prefer eating at the hotel to a restaurant, you could just leave earlier and grab something to take back with you.

What would you do if you were in London for 24 hours?

What to do for 24 hours in London with kids - My recommendations on what to see and how to do it the easiest way. Includes all the major sights!


  1. These are wonderful suggestions of things to do with kids in London - some of my favourites, like Green Park and getting the boat to Greenwich, which is packed with fantastic things for children to see and do. I like the mix of indoor and outdoor activities you've chosen too. Great post for #FarawayFiles

    1. Thanks! These are all fun places to visit with kids, and quite low key as well so they can run around and just be kids :) Thanks for hosting!

  2. That's a great first taste of the capital - I love doing the cruise along to Greenwich and exploring there too, and it's definitely a chilled out way to get around. #citytripping

    1. It was so easy and nice - I've never done a proper cruise like this, but it was so quick to see all the major sights I now recommend this to all friends and family that come here for a visit.

  3. Ooh those are some fantastic tips. I love your photographs too, you've got a great eye. #citytripping

    1. Thank you! I do try :) I love photography, just wish I had more time for it.

  4. I love London and am always looking for new things to do when I'm in town! I'll definitely be looking into some of these ideas on my next visit! #citytripping

    1. Fab, definitely consider some of these. Greenwich really is a lvoely place to go in the summer, and Green Park an easy place to get a bit of nature amongst the smog :D

  5. Great ideas. There's so much to seein London and this is a good way to get a taste of all the sights. I haven't taken a city cruise before - not in the daytime anyway. Must do it soon. Thanks for linking #citytripping

    1. Night time cruise would be pretty fab! I've never done one. You do get to see ALL the main sights, so it was pretty perfect for a touristy day. Thanks for hosting :)

  6. So much to see and do in London, but weirdly we have only been there for about 24 hours recently each time on way to somewhere else! Once I was on crutches and wished I thought about a river cruise - would have been a great way to see the city without so much effort! Cheers and thanks for linking with #FarawayFiles

    1. Ah London is no fun to navigate on crutches... It is really difficult here as much of the tube network hasn't got proper disabled access :( I hope you get to visit here one day for a bit longer, London's got much to offer :) Thanks for hosting!

  7. I love your suggestions! I am a huge fan of my home city (London!) and think Greenwich is a fantastic place to visit and the South Bank too. I just love walking by The Thames. #citytripping

    1. South Bank is lovely - I rarely go there anymore as it is quite packed and a bit touristy, but this was a day trip that called for it I think :) Thames is gorgeous though.


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