The Definitive London Travel Guide HTML version
On first sight London seems a hostile place for children, with its
crowds, incessant noise and intimidating traffic. English attitudes
can be discouraging as well, particularly if you've experienced
the more indulgent approach of the French or Italians - London's
restaurateurs, for example, tend to regard children and eating
out as mutually exclusive concepts. Yet if you pick your place
carefully, even central London can be a delight for the pint-
sized, and it needn't overly strain the parental pocket.
Covent Garden 's buskers and jugglers provide no-cost
entertainment in a car-free setting, and there's always the
chance of being plucked from the crowd to help out with a trick.
Don't underestimate the value of London's public transport as
a source of fun, either. The #11 double-decker from Victoria, for
instance, will trundle you past the Houses of Parliament,
Trafalgar Square and the Strand on its way to St Paul's
Cathedral for 40p per child. The driverless Docklands Light
Railway is another guaranteed source of amusement - grab a
seat at the front of the train and pretend to be driver, then take a
boat back to the centre of town from Greenwich.
Lots of London's museums will appeal to children. Below are
those that are primarily geared towards entertaining and/or
educating children - some are covered in the main part of our
guide, and are cross-referenced accordingly. Most offer child-
oriented programmes of workshops, educational story trails,
special shows and suchlike during the school holidays. Time
Out has listings of kids' events, and also produces Kids Out, a
monthly listings magazine for those with children.
Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood
Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 tel 020/8983 5200; www.vam.ac.uk.
Tube: Bethnal Green. Daily except Fri 10am-5.50pm; free.
Best known for its collection of historic dolls' houses, the
museum also has a few buttons to press, and lots of
weekend/holiday events and activities.