London Itinerary with Kids – The Perfect 3 Day Trip to London

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(This post was updated April 2024.) London is one of the very best places to travel with children – there are so many fun things to do in London with kids! There is so much variety – everything from world-class museums to outdoor space to live theater, much of which is free. Planning a family trip to London? Keep scrolling down for our 3 Day London Itinerary with Kids!

3 days in London with Family

Planning vacations to London is easy with a good itinerary. Now that we’ve lived in London for about 6 months, it’s fun to start sharing some more London family travel tips. It’s been a blast getting familiar with the neighborhoods across the city to find the best family-friendly activities in London!

If you wondering how many days in London with kids, you could definitely spend a week in London or more and still barely scratch the surface of this incredible city. Still, three days is often the amount of time people have if they’re traveling through Europe, or want to venture out to other parts of the UK. So it’s a great starting point for seeing some highlights in our 3 day London family itinerary.

Be sure to pick up an Oyster Card for public transportation – it works for the Tube as well as the bus. While the Tube is great for getting you longer distances, we loved taking the bus for short hops. It’s just so fun riding on the top deck!

Best Places to Stay in London With Kids: Family-Friendly London

The top family-friendly London areas I’d recommend are South Kensington/Knightsbridge, Mayfair/Marylebone/Soho, and Westminster. Some of these areas sort of blend together, but they’re all great pockets that have lots to do (and eat!) and have excellent access to the rest of the city. These are perfect spots to stay in London with kids to be near the best things to do in London with kids. See this post for some great London accommodations options for each!

What to Pack for a European Vacation: Minimal Packing Essentials for Families

Especially with a big family, it’s important for us to pack minimally so we don’t feel totally overwhelmed when we travel. Here are some of our favorite minimal packing essentials for families!

  • Merino Wool Base Layers, Socks, & Sweaters: Here are my favorite base layers to use as pajamas or to layer under clothing in cold weather. I also really love this stretchy merino silk v-neck under clothes or as a top, especially in warmer weather. All our favorite merino wool base layers and wool socks are linked HERE!
  • Diaper Belt Bag: I absolutely love this little bag because it holds so much but is really compact and easy to wear with a variety of outfits. You can use the code PASSPORTFAM10 for 10% off.
  • Packing Cubes: I love packing cubes for keeping things organized, contained, and compact. These are my favorite expandable packing cubes, and I also love these.
  • Lightweight Women’s Pants: I absolutely adore these pants for travel because they’re SO comfortable, fold super small, and dry in a flash. More about why I love them HERE.
  • Lightweight Packable Coat: I love this lightweight packable parka because it is really warm and good for layering, and folds into a bag a little bigger than a water bottle when not in use. My kids have also used these coats for years and they’re excellent because they fold up easily but are warm and layer well. They have a big line of them for the whole family.
  • Shoes: I often only take one pair of shoes – either my favorite white sneakers or my beloved black Chelsea boots. More about both shoes HERE. For my kids, we really love Keen shoes because they’re durable and waterproof. For summer, we love these sneakers or these close-toed hiking sandals. For winter, we love these boots.
  • 40L Backpack: I love this kids backpacking backpack because it’s roomy, easily fits in most carry on requirements on airplanes, and fits really comfortably. (My 6 year old uses the smaller 18L version, and my 3 year old uses the even smaller 12L version.)
  • Pop Up Tent Baby Bed: We’ve had this super lightweight baby travel bed for over a decade. We love it so much because it’s so lightweight and fits easily in a suitcase without having to take a bulky and heavy pack n play.
  • Lightweight Folding Baby Carrier; I absolutely love this baby carrier because it’s supportive but still lightweight and weighs about a pound.

For more packing ideas here’s what I packed for:

London with Kids Itinerary – 3 Days in London

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Family Trip to London – Day 1

  • Kensington Palace
  • Princess Diana Playground
  • Kensington Gardens/Peter Pan Statue/Parakeets/Hyde Park
  • Natural History Museum and/or Victoria & Albert Museum
  • Afternoon Tea

Grab some food for a picnic this morning before heading out, or plan to pick up something quick near the Diana playground. Also, if your kids have a tendency to want to get wet and sandy, a change of clothes might be a good thing to take along, as well.

Kensington Palace with Kids

For your first day on your trip to London with family, kick things off while kids are fresh with a dose of British royalty by heading to Kensington Palace (buy your ticket in advance HERE). Kids will love all the little activities they have inside, including some little toys like those enjoyed by Queen Victoria. The Princess Diana exhibit is dreamy with all her beautiful outfits, so this will be especially fun if you have some little fashionistas! It’s such a charming stop on 3 days in London.

Tip: If you’re traveling as a family to London and plan to visit this and even one other attraction on the list of Historic Royal Palaces, it may be worth it to get an annual pass. Or here’s a combined ticket for the 3 most popular ones.

London with kids

Lunch & Princess Diana Playground

From there, take a short walk to the Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground. This is one of the highlights of visiting London with kids and you could easily spend hours here – it’s multiple playgrounds within a single complex. There’s a giant ship, sand areas, a tiny stream, and tons more. Beware that it can get quite busy, and the lines to enter can get long (although we were there on a sunny day in July and didn’t have to wait at all so…who knows?). Either eat your pre-packed picnic lunch here, or grab some food right outside the playground.

3 Day London Itinerary with Kids

Kensington Gardens

After that, stroll through Kensington Gardens, which is a must-see for any London family trip. Be sure to stop at the Peter Pan statue, and pause to visit the parakeets who flock around you! My kids were mildly terrified at first but quickly found it was a delight. Consider crossing over to Hyde Park, as well; if it’s warm, you could even rent a pedal boat or rowboat!

Natural History Museum and/or Victoria & Albert with Kids

Once you exit the gardens, head over to the Natural History Museum. It’s truly a kid wonderland; the dino exhibit is our favorite.

The Victoria & Albert Museum next door is also a fantastic spot when visiting London with kids. It has a whole series of multimedia children’s backpacks you can check out (for free!) to learn about different art collections.

And the best part? Both museums are completely free!

Planning a family trip to London

Afternoon Tea in London with Kids

After that, head to a late afternoon tea. Many places serve until 5pm, and some do until 7! I recommend going around 4:30 or 5 when planning your London itinerary with kids – you’ll miss the earlier rush and most people won’t be bothered if you’re not completely silent. Plus, then it doubles as an early dinner, and your exhausted kiddos can go back and head straight to bed. Some have a stricter dress code, but others aren’t that particular – be sure to check at your location.

Kensington Palace itself hosts one in the gorgeous Sunken Gardens, and many hotels do, as well. We loved the afternoon tea tea we did at Fortnum & Mason – the food hall is spectacular! Wherever you go, be sure to check if they have a children’s tea, and the ages for which they charge.

Afternoon tea in London with kids


London Itinerary with Kids Day 2:

  • British Museum
  • Transport Museum
  • Savory pies
  • National Gallery
  • Houses of Parliament/Big Ben/Westminster Abbey
  • Buckingham Palace and/or London Eye

British Museum with Kids

For the second day of your family trip to London, start out the day by heading in for a brief visit at the British Museum; seeing the original Rosetta Stone is truly awe-inspiring. There are so many treasures there that it would be impossible to see them all, but they have multiple highlights tours so you can spend anywhere from half an hour to 6 months. I’d recommend keeping it brief (30-60 minutes) to see the incredible building and just a couple highlights before heading to your next stop.

London Transport Museum with Kids

After that quick stop, head over to the Transport Museum – any vehicle-obsessed kid’s idea of heaven! This is such a fun and unique spot when visiting London with kids. There are so many fun forms of transport on display in both miniature and full-size form.

London Transport Museum with Kids

Lunch at Admiralty’s

After that, head in to Admiralty’s pub for lunch, which serves Fuller’s Ale & Pies. My friend who lived in London says these are the best pies in London and I can’t argue – they were fantastic!

National Gallery

After that, pop into the National Gallery across the street (also free!), one of the most kid-friendly art museums I’ve ever visited. This may not be top of mind when visiting London with kids, but the museum has several self-guided highlights tours and children’s tours on their website, as well as lots of guided tours. The gift shop also has a number of wonderful guidebooks you can purchase.

At the start of our time, we purchased a book with a brief description of pieces of art along with stickers for each one that the kids stuck on after finding it. We meant to spend half an hour here and ended up staying for 2.5 hours, but I think planning for 45 minutes-1 hour will allow you to see some of the major works. (Another option is to look into their evening hours on certain days – we loved going when it was much less crowded.)

National Gallery in London with kids

Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, London Eye

Finally, head down to the iconic Houses of Parliament. Big Ben is currently under construction, but it’s still pretty incredible to see the building on the banks of the Thames. Wander over to Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, or hop on the London Eye for an arial view of the city.

Based on time, we couldn’t go inside Westminster Abbey or the Houses of Parliament, but I’d really recommend it if you have time. There are some terrific tours that we hope to do the next time we go! Afterwards, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch the sun setting and casting a rosy glow on the water.

Visiting London with kids


London Itinerary with Kids Day 3:

  • Tower of London
  • Borough Market
  • Millennium Bridge & St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Last afternoon options

Tower of London with Kids

Start off the last day of your family trip to London at the Tower of London. You can purchase a ticket ahead of time HERE. We decided to purchase the Historic Royal Palaces pass, which is worth it if you want to visit 2 or more sites on the list of 6. Or, again, HERE’s a combined ticket for the 3 most popular of those sites.

Head to see the Crown Jewels first, before the crowds arrive, then go back and catch the Beefeaters tour. The tour is included in your ticket and is well worth it. They are extraordinarily knowledgeable and usually quite funny, too.

Tower Bridge & Lunch at Borough Market

When you’ve finished your tour, stroll over the Tower Bridge itself (much more identifiable than its famous-in-name-only cousin, London Bridge). Again, because of time constraints, we didn’t go up and look through the glass floor. But I think it would be so fun if you do have time! Purchase advance tickets HERE.

Then head up the Thames to Borough Market for some lunch. You could spend ages here just wandering stalls. Do not miss getting some Bread Ahead doughnuts while here! Be sure to wander around getting a few samples before you settle on what to get – there are tons of options. Or you could take a food tasting tour!

Kids playing in London red telephone booths

Globe Theater, Millennium Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral

Mosey on by the Globe Theater (and consider a show if you have older children or there’s something really compelling playing). You could even do a behind-the-scenes tour.

Then walk back over the river on Millennium Bridge to St. Paul’s Cathedral. The lines for the cathedral can get long, so if you choose to go inside, be sure purchase tickets in advance.

If you’re a modern art fan, the Tate Modern (directly across Millennium Bridge from St. Paul’s) has really outstanding children’s programming – also for free!

More Options for a London trip with Kids

Let’s be honest, there’s just too much good stuff to see it all in a London 3 day itinerary, so here are a few options for your final afternoon:

London Harry Potter Sites with Kids

If you or your kids are Harry Potter fans, it’s definitely worth finding a few sites. Platform 9 3/4 is almost always crowded, but it’s fun to see, regardless. We opted not to wait in the line for a photo and just paused by the side of it.

The Studio tour in Leavenworth is an all-day event, but I’ve heard it’s fantastic. It sells out quickly, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance.

If you’d like to stay in London itself, THIS Harry Potter walking tour would be perfect for all the Muggles in your group!

London Neighborhoods Walking Tour

London is filled with amazing, walkable, beautiful neighborhoods. Consider strolling South Kensington or Notting Hill; the Portobello Road market is always buzzing with activity next door. There are plenty of opportunities for self-guided tours or just wandering, and lots of beautiful buildings and markets along the way. If you’d like something more organized, there are more OPTIONS than you could imagine!

Thames River Cruise

It’s always delightful seeing London from a boat! This evening cruise sounds dreamy, or you could do a hop-on-hop-off London river cruise to get to various sites along the way. Or if you’d like to visit the London Eye, this combined ticket would be perfect.

(Even without the river cruise, if you choose to visit the London Eye, I’d absolutely recommend an advance purchase Fast-Track ticket. The lines get crazy!)

Churchill War Rooms

We missed this last time as tickets were completely sold out, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance. So many people have told me how incredible this place is that I’m really looking forward to returning sometime soon!

British Library

We REALLY loved going here and seeing so many incredible manuscripts, including an original Magna Carta. If your kids are into books, this would be a wonderful (and free) stop.

Any of these would be wonderful options if you have extra days in the city, as well. Truly, you could spend a lifetime in London with kids and not do it all! If you do have some more days, there are a number of fantastic day trips in the area, as well – here’s a great one!

Hope you enjoyed this 3 day London itinerary with kids! And to help with your planning, here are some tips on how to explore London when on a Budget!

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