Summer is rapidly approaching, so we decided to take a look at some of the outdoor ‘must-do’ items currently available in London.

Narrowing our list down to only five activities proved harder than expected, so in the end we applied the following criteria: activities had to be outdoors (the best way to burn off the extra energy), they had to be packed with fun that will keep the youngsters entertained (obviously) and finally they had to be easy on the budget (this one was for the parents).

So without further ado - drum roll please - here are our top five outdoor children’s activities in London.

Time to park off

If there’s one thing London has in abundance it's parks, from the humble village green to great sprawling forests. One of our favourite parks is Richmond Park, as it’s nice and big (plenty of space for the youngsters to burn off some steam on bike or on foot) and has the added attraction of over 600 deer.

Battersea Park has a children’s zoo and boats that can be rented on the lake, Clapham Common has tennis courts and a skate park, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has fountains and a climbing wall and St James’s Park has pelicans and the Horse Guard Parade. Best of all, parks have free entrance (although items like the zoo and boats do have a charge).

Sightseeing on the go

There’s no doubt parents will want to see some of the iconic London sights, but keeping the children and their extremely short attention spans entertained is the hard part. A boat ride down the Thames may be just the solution, as it offers very good views of most of the sights (without endless waiting in queues or the entrance fees).

The water bus offers a cost-effective way to see a lot of the attractions such as Westminster Abbey and the London Eye, and the children will love being out on the water.

 For a faster paced option, Thames Rockets' by London RIB Voyages offers a 50 minute action packed boat ride that takes in the sights of 35 famous London landmarks. The excitement of racing down the Thames on a speedboat will have the children enthralled, and the knowledgeable and witty guides will have everyone enjoying the sights and learning some cool new facts at the same time.

Horsing around

Animals always get the children interested, and for a bustling city London has a surprising amount of options. The younger children will probably be best suited to some of the animal farms, where they will be able to see all of the typical farm animals as well as a few unique additions.

Vauxhall City Farm had us mesmerised with their alpacas (entrance is free , although you can pay to get a food bag to feed to the animals) and for the older children London Zoo and London Aquarium offer an exciting (although more expensive) alternative, and there are enough animals to see and learn about to fill up an entire day.

Go on, be a tourist (you know you want to)

There are some activities that simply have to be done on a trip to London. Seeing Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guard is one such item, as is strolling across Tower Bridge and watching it open from the bank of the Thames River (it opens three times a day).

Harry Potter fans will probably want to visit King’s Cross to push a trolley through Platform 9 ¾ (there’s even a trolley conveniently embedded in the wall for some great photo taking opportunities) while parents wanting to improve their children’s geography grades will do well to plan a trip to the Prime Meridian Line (otherwise known as the Greenwich line, at exactly zero longtitude).

Let’s get historical

Yes, yes, we know that technically this one is not outdoors, but the museums in London are simply too good to be left off the list. Museums are not normally known for keeping children entertained or for being easy on the pocket, but the Natural History Museum somehow manages to break both these stereotypes.

Other free museums that are also worth visiting include the British Museum with its Egyptian mummies, the Science Museum with its space rockets and the Museum of London Docklands. Bear in mind the museums can get busy in the afternoons, so it’s worth going earlier in the day to avoid the buzzkill of waiting in queues. 

For more tips on planning a great day out take a look at the official visitors guide to London at

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