I’ve talked about visiting London with kids in the past. In fact, I haven’t really stopped talking about London as a city break destination over the last couple of years and that’s because it’s still one of my favourite places in the work.
South Kensington with kids
Recently, I have shared ideas for a girly weekend in London and a couple of years ago, I wrote a post about things to do on a child-free weekend in London. Today’s blog post, however, is all about discovering South Kensington with kids.
South Kensington has been my favourite area ever since I first visited London all those years ago and although some may say it’s a little snobby, I think it’s the perfect location if you’re visiting with children. There are lots of hotels, restaurants and serviced apartments, which I love as they give you that little bit of extra independence. Simply google ‘serviced apartments Kensington‘ and take your pick.
Now, though, some of my favourite things to do in South Kensington with kids:
For little aristocrats: Kensington Palace
For little aristocrats visiting the South Kensington area, a trip to Kensington Palace is an absolute must. Located on the west side of Hyde Park and set amidst Kensington Gardens, Kensington Palace is the royal residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and other members of the Royal Family as well as the former home of Princess Diana and Queen Victoria.
Before you visit, make sure to download the free Digital Missions app, specially developed for those exploring the stately home with children. You get to meet a character from history, complete challenges and win a badge! Such a fun way for children aged 5-11 to discover Kensington Palace.
For younger kids, there are Tiny Explorer sessions (check website for bookings) that allow little ones to discover the palace and gardens through interactive storytelling, music and play. And if that’s not enough, head to the palace for Storytastic Sunday every last Sunday of the month and explore the palace with activity bags and stories before getting creative in one of the many Make History workshops.
Top tip: Buy your tickets online. You’ll save up to £4 per person.
Address: Kensington Palace at Kensington Gardens, Kensington, Greater London, W8 4PX – Official Website: Kensington Palace
For little adventurers: Princess Diana Memorial Playground
Right outside of Kensington Palace, you will find the Princess Diana Memorial Playground – a tribute to the late Princess of Wales and a fantastic place for little adventurers to run off some excess energy after a trip to Kensington Palace.
Opened in 2000 to remember Princess Diana, and inspired by the tales of Peter Pan, the playground centred around a huge wooden pirate ship is everything and more for little explorers who’re waiting for their very own adventure.
The playground is suitable for children up to the age of 12 years and offers numerous toys, teepees, magical sculptures as well as a sensory trail that encourages less able and able-bodied children to play together in an attempt to nurture the physical, creative, social and educational development of your children.
The playground offers plenty of seating for parents, a water play area during the warmer months as well as a cafe where you can purchase drinks, snacks and hot meals. Due to the popularity of the Princess Diana Memorial Playground with locals and tourists alike, waiting times can occur.
Top tip: Get there early to avoid the queues.
Address: Princess Diana Memorial Playground at Broad Walk, London, Kensington, Greater London, W2 4RU – Official Website: Princess Diana Memorial Playground
For little scientists: Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is an absolute must-see if you’re visiting South Kensington with kids or without – it’s really that cool!
Learn more about the world through 80 million animals, plants, rocks, fossils and exhibits from all over the world and test your science skills in the education space before taking a pic with the gigantic animatronic T-Rex, the secret star of London’s Natural History Museum.
Entrance and most tours are free (check website for exceptions), so this is a fantastic day out if you’ve already been shopping on Oxford or Regent’s Street.
Top tip: Use the entrance on Exhibition Road instead of the main entrance. It’s less busy and has a cloakroom where you can leave your belongings.
Address: Natural History Museum at Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London, SW7 5BD – Official Website: Natural History Museum
For little bookworms: Paddington Bear Tour
This one is a bit of a cheat but Paddington Station is only a stone’s throw away and if you are visiting South Kensington with kids, chances are that they adore the jam-loving bear that was once brought to life by Michael Bond.
Starting at Paddington Station where Paddington once arrived for his very own London adventure, you can go on a 2.5h long walking tour of London visiting many sights, film locations and landmarks that you know from Paddington’s adventures.
Take a photo with Paddington’s statue at the train station, visit Mr Gruber’s antique shop or roam along Portobello market while an experienced tour guide and real Paddington expert will be filling you in on all the Paddington gossip and adventures.
Top Tip: Bring your Oyster Card as there’ll be a short bus journey to bring you to one of the locations.
Address: Paddington Station, London, Greater London, W2 1RH – Official Website: Paddington Bear Movie Tour
For little artists: Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum, short V&A, is the place to be if your kids (and you!) love the fine arts. With daily pop-up performances, music, dance, storytelling and puppetry as well as numerous workshops, the museum aims to inspire and encourage learning and play.
The best way to discover the museum is to pick up one of the free paper trails for families or to borrow one of the free V&A backpacks. They come with a number of different themes and multi-sensory activities and are available from the learning centre or at the main entrance during most school holidays.
If you prefer the hands-on approach, head over to the Imagination Station where you can get your creative juices flowing and even contribute to a temporary display. The museum’s popular Make-It workshops give families the opportunity to work with a practising artist, designer, performer, architect or another professional from the creative industries and are a really unique museum experience. Make sure to check the website for all the different events on offer.
Top tip: Don’t forget to bring a form of printed ID (driving licence or debit card). You’ll need it to borrow a backpack.
Address: Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL – Official Website: Victoria and Albert Museum
Have you visited South Kensington with kids? Let me know your favourite places to visit!