Last Updated on February 4, 2023 by Louise
Are you looking for the best attractions for toddlers in London? Do you want to keep a 1 or 2 year old amused and entertained in the UK’s capital city.
London is a great city for toddlers. From playgrounds to museums, play areas to fountains, London buses to boats – there are so many attractions and things to do for toddlers in London.
The best thing about the attractions is that many of them are low cost or completely free.
We also have a guide of how to use public transport with a stroller and a list of toddler friendly restaurants.
Please note that many of the attractions require you to prebook in advance (even if they’re free). It’s worth checking out the attraction’s website before you go to see if you need to book.
1.) Say Ahoy at Diana’s Memorial Playground
Photo by Mark Ahsmann
Diana’s Memorial Playground is a free playground for kids under 12 but is especially great for toddlers. It’s located in Kensington Gardens.
The main focal point is the Pirate Ship which acts as a huge climbing frame. Surrounding this is a “beach”, (ie. one huge sandpit for your toddler for toddlers to play). Make sure you also explore the rest of the park. Hide in tepees and wooden houses. Enjoy swings and slides and follow the sensory trail
There is plenty of seating for grown ups. It can get busy (sometimes there is a queue to get in) but it is definitely worth a visit. There is good access for pushchairs and they can be parked throughout the playground.
The Diana Playground Cafe offers a children’s menu but it can be a little pricey so if the weather is nice a picnic is good idea.
There are toilets and baby changing facilities available.
Find out more at Diana’s memorial playground
2.) Dip Your Feet in the Diana Memorial Fountain, Hyde Park
Photo by Morgaine
The Diana Memorial playground is located in Hyde Park. You can walk by the side of the Princess Diana Memorial fountain with your toddler. On hot days, sit on the edge, dip your feet in and watch your toddler splash and play. It’s a great way to cool off. You can also sit on the green grass next to the fountain and bring a picnic.
Find out more at the Diana Memorial Fountain
3.) Explore the Rest of Hyde Park
Hyde park is one of the central London Royal parks and covers an area of 350 acres. Things to do include the Serpentine Lake where you can hire different paddle and row boats in the summer. There ’s also a children’s playground and lots of space for little ones to toddle or to run around.
Find out more at Hyde Park
4.) Discover an Underwater World at London Aquarium
Photo by Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi
The London Aquarium is based on the Southbank of the River Thames (next to the Millennium Wheel). It is a large aquarium with fish, penguins, jellyfish and sharks.
I took my little boy when he was about 17 months and he loved it. He was about the right height for looking into the fish tanks and was able to get out of his pushchair and toddle along, holding onto the railing next to the tanks.
For older toddlers there is a kid’s zone where you can put your hands in the water and touch the stingrays.
The aquarium is spacious and an easy place to use a pushchair. There are lifts to all the floors. Toilets and baby changing are located on every floor.
Tip: Book in advance on the website to get a 10% discount.
Find out more at London Aquarium
5.) Enjoy the Street Performers on the Southbank
After an aquarium visit, why not take a walk along the Southbank? It’s flat and although it can be busy, it’s easy to push a stroller here. There are normally street performers which include human statues and magicians. It’s a good place to show your toddler boats on the River Thames.
6.) See Farm Animals at Coram’s Fields
Photo credit: Stuart / Flickr Creative Commons
Coram’s Fields is a seven acre open space in the Bloomsbury area of Central London. It includes a playground, sand pit, animal corner and a café. Adults over 16 are only permitted to enter if they are accompanying a child.
The playground is nice for toddlers as there is a fantastic sandpit, paddling pool and small climbing frame. The animal corner has goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits.
It’s completely free although they do appreciate donations. It’s close to the British Museum (10 minutes walk away) so you could visit the museum after tiring your toddler out!
Find out more at Coram’s Fields
7.) Visit the All Aboard Play Zone at London Transport Museum
Photo by Matt Brown
Toddlers love buses, trains, cars and all kinds of transport so they will enjoy looking around the Transport museum in Covent Garden. Visit the All Aboard Play Zone which has activities and dressing up for kids aged between 0 and 7 years old. It’s great for make believe play. Pretend to fly a plane, get on a bus and fix a train.
There are lots of interactive galleries throughout the museum and term time story and singing sessions. Toddlers will love the half bus which they can hop on board and pretend to drive.
Find out more at the London Transport Museum
8.) Visit Play Base at the National Army Museum
Play Base is a soft play area for kids aged between 0 and 8 years located at the National Army Museum. In addition to Play Base there are often additional activities for the under 5s such as sensory sessions. A visit to the National Army museum is free! Play base has a cost of £6.25 per child.
Check out the National Army Museum website
9.) Splash in the Water Play at The Basement at the Science Museum
The Science Museum has a dedicated section for the under 5s called The Garden which is free. It’s aimed at the 3 to 6 age group but we found many of the things to do were great for toddlers too. My son visited aged 2 and loved it. There’s lots of interactive activities including water play, huge building blocks, puppets, instruments and lots more.
The science museum is very good for pushchair access with lifts and lots of space. There is a buggy park just outside The Garden so you don’t have to take your pushchair in with you.
Find out more at The Garden, Science Museum
10.) Say Hello to the Meerkats at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
Photo Credit: Battersea Park Children’s Zoo Facebook Page
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is the perfect day out for toddlers. See farm animals, meerkats, monkeys, birds and mice. There’s a nice play area as well as a fire engine to sit in and a tractor to ride.
Find out more at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
11.) Visit the Children’s Gallery at the National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum, in Greenwich holds events for the under 5s including singing and arts and crafts which are normally free. There’s also a children’s gallery for under 7s. The gallery is free during term time but there’s a small charge at weekends and during the school holidays. There is access for pushchairs to this museum with lifts. There are also cafes and you can eat a picnic inside if the weather isn’t great.
Find out more at the National Maritime Museum
12.) Get Close Up to the Animals at Mudchute Farm
Mudchute Farm, in South East London is free and the largest urban farm in London. There are lots of farm animals including horses, goats, cows, rabbits, chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep and Ilama. You’ll need to hop on the DLR to get there. Find more information on getting to Mudchute Farm.
Find out more at Mudchute Farm
There are many other inner city farms you can visit in London which are great for toddlers. Others include Hackney City Farm, Vauxhall City Farm, and Spitalfields City Farm.
13.) Play at Mudlarks at the Museum of Docklands
The Museum of Docklands is two minutes walk from West India Quay in the east of the London.
For kids, the Museum of Docklands has Mudlarks, a play area for the under 8s where they can learn about the history of the docks through play. There are lots of interactive activities for young children.
Pretend to drive a DLR train, load cargo and balance cargo on the clipper. Enjoy the soft play area, build with large bricks and transport them in a wheelbarrow. Book your ticket for Mudlarks online before you go.
Find out more at Mudlarks, Museum of Docklands
14.) Take a Ride on a Double Decker Bus
Why not climb aboard a double decker bus, sit on the top deck and have a short ride around London? If you choose an empty bus sit right at the front. If your toddler likes buses he/she will love the experience.
15.) Head to the Playground at Regents Park
Marylebone Playground at Regents Park. Photo credit: David Hallam-Jones
Regents Park is just north of Central London and is where London Zoo is located. In some parts of the park (that back onto the zoo) you can even glimpse some of the animals.
It is a large park, with a large lake which is home to ducks, geese and swans. Like other London parks it is a good place to spot very tame squirrels.
There’s a children’s boating lake. In the summer there you can hire rowboats. In addition there are four children’s playgrounds! Find more information about Regent Park’s playgrounds here.
Find out more at Regent’s Park
16.) See More Animals at London Zoo
Toddlers love animals and there is a wide variety to see at London Zoo. See the animals in the flesh that they recognise from toddler and baby books. Toddler favourites include the monkeys, penguins, tigers, the aquarium, a petting area for small children and the butterfly house.
Find out more at London Zoo
17.) Look out for Pelicans at St James’s Park
St James’s Park is the Royal Park in front of Buckingham Palace. There’s lots for toddlers to see and do. Firstly there’s duck island which is home to many ducks, black swans and pelicans. The pelicans are fed there every day at 2.30pm. The children’s playground has a lovely sandpit which is popular with the babies and young children.
There’s also swings, a slide, wooden caterpillars to sit on, a seesaw and a bridge to walk over.
Find out more at St. James’s Park
18.) Investigate the Wildlife at Holland Park
Holland Park is one of the smaller but prettier parks in Central London located near Kensington High Street.
There is a lot of wildlife to spot with toddlers including squirrels, rabbits, foxes and resident peacocks. The squirrels are tame and will come very close almost begging for food. There is a wildlife pond to investigate, lots of different birds and two species of bat. There’s woodland and open grassy areas, formal gardens and informal gardens.
There is also a good and well maintained play area for under eights.
Find out more at Holland Park
19.) Marvel at the View From Greenwich Park
Greenwich Park is the oldest Royal Park. The playground has a large sandpit, swings and several play structures with slides, tunnels to crawl though and steps to climb. There are picnic tables and a refreshment kiosk which is open in the summer and toilets. The boating lake for children is right next door to the park and opens in the summer too.
It is a bit of a hard walk up a steep hill (especially with a pushchair) but its worth going to the top of Greenwich Hill to see the views of the River Thames, Canary Wharf and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Find out more at Greenwich Park
20.) Take a Boat Ride
A boat ride along the River Thames is a fun thing to do with a toddler. One option is to get on a boat at Westminster Pier and travel up to Greenwich where you can visit Greenwich park and the National Maritime Museum. Greenwich also has a market, the Cutty Sark and the Royal Observatory among it’s attractions. Many boat rides include commentary which gives interesting facts and historical information about the buildings that surround the river.
21.) Fire Up Your Imagination at Discover Children’s Story Centre
Photo Credit: Discover Children’s Story Centre Facebook Page
Discover Children’s Story centre is an amazing place for young children. Take the tube from Central London to Stratford to get here. There’s two floors of imaginative activities and an outdoor playground. Slide down a monster’s tongue, sail on a pirate ship and play with giant musical instruments. There are tunnels to explore, places to climb, book corners, arts and crafts and lots more.
Find out more at Discover Children’s Story Centre
22.) Enjoy the Tumbling Play Area at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Visit the Tumbling Bay play area and The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. With rock pools, sand pits, treehouses, wobbly bridge, slides and swings, it’s a great playground for toddlers.
Find out more at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
23.)Discover the Children’s Garden at Kew Gardens
Pergola in the Sun, Children’s Garden, Kew. Photo Credit: Kew Gardens Website
Kew Gardens covers 300 acres and there is plenty of space for toddlers to walk and run around. They will love everything including the trees, squirrels, flowers and spotting the planes (Kew Gardens is on the flight path to Heathrow).
The highlight for toddlers is the impressive Children’s Garden which is for kids from 2 to 12 years old. There’s so much to do here including trampolines, slides, climbing areas and a walkway around a tree.
Another highlight for families is the natural area, with 37 acres of classic woodland to explore. There’s a bug hotel, a log trail and a huge picnic table where you can stop and eat.
Find out more at Kew Gardens
24.) Splash in Granary Square Fountains, Kings Cross
Photo by Bex Walton
London can get very warm during the summer. A great place to take toddlers to cool off are the fountains in Granary Square, Kings Cross. Kids can play in the fountains here. The area is surrounded by bars and restaurants where you can grab some refreshments.
Find out more at Granary Square Fountains
25.) Try Musical Instruments at the Horniman Museum
Photo by duncan c
The Horniman museum is a family friendly and free museum which is great for toddlers. It’s a bit of the beaten track in Forest Hill, South London but is well worth a visit. There is an aquarium (which is a small charge). My toddler loved looking around this when he was around 20 months.
Toddlers can run around the large gardens and fields. There are animals including goats and rabbits which the children can pet. In the music room toddlers can try out different instruments from around the world which my son at 20 months loved. They often have events for the under 5s such as story time and other family events as well.
If you’re coming from Central London you will need to get the train from London Bridge to Forest Hill Station. It’s signposted from the station and is about a ten minute walk.
The museum is easy to navigate with a pushchair with lifts and plenty of space.
There are toilets and good baby changing facilities.
There is also a very reasonably priced cafe with a large selection of small meals and snacks. There were plenty of highchairs as well.
Find out more at the Horniman Museum
27.) See the Dinosaurs At Crystal Palace Park
Photo Credit: Peter Cooper
If you have a dinosaur mad toddler, the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park are not to be missed! They’re free to view. The park is a 30 minute train journey out of central London from London Victoria. Find out how to get to the park. If you’re already in the area it’s a good place to go. Crystal Palace park also has a free maze and a city farm too.
Find out more at Crystal Palace Park
Where to Eat with Toddlers in London
Many restaurants in London are child friendly and so are many pubs. You’ll find many pubs are busy with families at lunchtime enjoying a pub lunch. Most of them have highchairs and facilities to change your baby. The best plan is to check out the venue’s website and if you’re unsure contact them before you go!
The Jungle Cave is a popular family restaurant with kids menus in the West End at Piccadilly Circus. Eat surrounded by the sight and sounds of the rainforest jungle. There are animated elephants and gorillas. There are also tropical fish to look at as well as parrots. Children get an activity pack to entertain them during the meal. Book online on the website.
Chain restaurants are often good at catering for young kids and toddlers. Here are a few with branches throughout London:
Giraffe is a great family restaurant. There are several branches across London. We’ve been to the Giraffe on the Southbank, London and they are great with kids. They had balloons, which my toddler loved. They also give out packs with activities for older toddlers. The staff are really friendly with children. There was no shortage of highchairs and the Southbank branch has baby changing facilities. The food tends to be burgers, salads with other options including lasagne, stirfry and steak and chips.
Cafe Rouge has been a favourite of ours. They have many branches in London. There are highchairs, a children’s menu and the staff are welcoming to children. The good thing I find about Cafe Rouge is that somehow the atmosphere seems quite loud so if your child decides to cry it gets soaked up with all the background noise.
Pizza Express restaurants are great too. There are kids menus with activity packs. They have baby changing facilities and highchairs and this chain is known for being child friendly.
Bella Italia is a chain Italian restaurant which warmly welcomes children, has baby changing facilities and highchairs. There’s a kids menu for 2 to 6 year olds and 7 to 11 year olds.
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