With half term next month, parents will have their hands full again for a few weeks before the real summer holidays start.
London is a surprisingly child-friendly city, with a lot more to see and do than you might expect.
Here are some of our top kid-friendly picks in the UK capital, from Madame Tussaud’s to Battersea Dogs Home – even an inner city farm in Hackney, which once produced food for the local Londoners.
Pollock’s Toy Museum
1 Scala Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T
Crammed inside two townhouses (one 18th, the other 19th century) on a pretty sidestreet you’ll find this historic haven for all sorts of toys.
The Horniman Museum
100 London Road, SE23
It’s all about tea and travel here! Victorian tea trader Frederick John Horniman collected specimens and artefacts from his travels around the world in the 1860’s. A fascinating look at other worlds from a previous era.
Marylebone Road, Marylebone, London NW1
If we had to pick a Top 5, Madame Tussaud’s would be in it! In 1835, Marie Tussaud was once sculptress to the court of Louis XVI and the waxworks of celebrities, famous people in history and top athletes and politicians are so lifelike this place can almost feel spooky – a brilliant day out. Not to be missed!
Hackney City Farm
1 Goldsmiths Row, Hackney, London E2
A day in the country…except in the city! Hackney City Farm was a real farm in the 1800s – fresh fruit and veg were grown here to feed Londoners. In a former life it was also home to West’s Brewery from the late 1880s to the 1930s, producing beers for the local pubs. Now it’s back in its former glory, as an inner city farm where the kids will get to see small petting animals, calves, sheep, pigs, Amber the goat and Larry the donkey who apparently has had leading roles in Nativity Plays at Westminster Abbey.
Regent’s Park Outer Circle, Primrose Hill, London NW1
For another fantastic day out in London (let the animals do the entertaining!), head to London Zoo in Regent’s Park. It’s one of the world’s most famous zoos on the planet and home to over 12,000 animals.
Battersea Dogs’ Home
4 Battersea Park Road, SW8 4AA
Since 1860, the charity has been housing up to 15,000 dogs and cats a year, with up to 500 “in residence” at any given time. Two warnings if you visit: 1) You’ll want to adopt almost all of the “inmates” – seeing them will pull at your heartstrings. And (2), it’s best to take the kids on a weekday if you can as weekends can get really busy.
The home opened a new etiquette school in 1995, to help dogs overcome behavioral problems and once they’ve been retrained, if that’s necessary, the adoption process starts. Anyone in Britain can adopt one of the cats or dogs, but if you’re interested you’ll be given a thorough interview to make sure the animal will fit into its new family.