With an outstanding mix of museums, theatres, historical sights and outdoor activities, London is a destination guaranteed to win over every member of the family. Parents and children alike should prepare for a varied and fun-filled weekend in the city, whether it’s sightseeing from a speedboat on the River Thames, an opportunity to handle exhibits at an internationally renowned museum, or a night of mesmerising song and dance at a West End production. Here are some of our top ways to enjoy an unforgettable family weekend in London.
There are few more invigorating ways to kick off a family weekend in London than on a speedboat ride down the River Thames. Seriously exhilarating, the experience takes place in an RIB (short for “rigid inflatable boat”), a model typically used by the Special Forces. Adults and children are provided with both life jackets and wet weather clothing to keep them warm and dry during this fast-paced, thrilling ride.
The British capital may be located inland, but London’s world-class Aquarium offers visitors of all ages the chance to get up close and personal with an amazing variety of marine life. From rays to seahorses, children will love seeing these aquatic species, while learning how to better conserve and protect the world’s precious ocean inhabitants. Families might like to coincide their visit with feeding time at the shark tank, which takes place at 2:30pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. In addition, visitors can opt for a 30-minute Behind The Scenes tour to discover how the marine inhabitants of the aquarium are cared for, lead by an expert guide.
A glimpse of British pageantry at its finest, the Changing of the Guard is a popular attraction with visitors to London, but if you’re travelling with young children the crowds that gather can seem a little daunting. For an alternative but no less enjoyable experience, head to the Queen’s Life Guard instead, who do their change at 11am Monday-Saturday on Horse Guard’s Parade. A mounted regiment, this experience is guaranteed to be particularly popular with young horse lovers.
The Museum’s science centre, Investigate, is designed especially for children aged 5-14 and offers a unique opportunity to get hands-on with over 300 specimens and objects from the museum’s collection. Unlike in a normal museum, young visitors are actively encouraged to touch and feel the objects in order to get a better understanding of their importance. Investigate’s science educators are always happy to provide additional information and support.
London’s West End theatres enjoy a world-class reputation and, with plenty of family-friendly productions to choose from, most within walking distance of Corinthia Hotel London, an evening at the theatre is an essential experience for a family weekend. Parents and children will particularly enjoy the sounds and spectacle of classic Theatreland musicals such as The Lion King and Matilda.
Does it get more British than the Last Night of the Proms? Hardly – for proof, just glance out at the crowd of thousands, each waving their Union Jacks with abandon. While the rest of the Proms concerts, held at the Royal Albert Hall, are certainly worth attending, nothing quite matches the revelry of the festival’s annual conclusion in Hyde Park.
A wonderful way to introduce little ones to art during a family weekend in London, every Sunday morning the National Gallery hosts its Magic Carpet Storytelling. The event is aimed at ages 2 to 5 years, and takes place on a ‘magic’ carpet, which lands in front of a different painting each time. During the course of the 30-minute session, children are treated to captivating stories inspired by the artworks.