Discover our family-friendly guide to London, featuring the best family days out in the city, local attractions, and unique experiences. Read more here.
A Family-Friendly Guide To London
The school summer holidays are almost upon us and we at The Ritz are looking forward to welcoming families over the summer season and making their experiences as special as can be. While we offer all kinds of fun for families at The Ritz, from our children’s afternoon tea to guided tours in the Ritz Rolls-Royce, we also encourage our guests to discover the wealth of family things to do in London during their time in the capital. Here are our Ritz recommendations for an unforgettable family break in London.
Our Favourite Family Activities In London
London truly comes alive in summer. The parks are bustling with picnics and sports games, the museums are busy with visitors young and old alike, and the matinées are filled with families dancing in their seats to the songs from West End shows. We have curated a few of our favourite activities to enhance your family trip to London and whether you have toddlers or teenagers we’re certain you’ll find an experience that everyone can agree on!
Out and About
For those glorious days when the sun shines in London, there is no better place to be than the Royal Parks. Be it Royal Green Park just a hop and a skip from your palatial family suite at The Ritz, or the iconic Hyde Park just a short walk away, London’s green spaces are unparalleled for a family day in the sun. Why not pack a picnic with delicatessen delicacies from Fortnum and Mason or Selfridges as an alfresco lunchtime treat?
If you are feeling adventurous and wish to dip your toe into something new, the many lidos of London are beacons to families in the summer months as a refreshing spot to take a dip right in the centre of the capital. The Serpentine Lido is an iconic open water location in Hyde Park which is open until early September for families to make a splash in.
A Touch of Culture
Unfortunately, you can’t always rely on blue skies and sunshine in London but that’s no reason to take a rain check on fun in the city. A spot of drizzle is the ideal opportunity to explore one of London’s fascinating museums, many of which have special areas designed to keep children entertained for hours. They may even be one step ahead of the rest of the class come September with all their new knowledge of space, the Ancient Egyptians or British portrait painters.
South Kensington is well-known as the home of London’s museums with the Natural History Museum, the V&A, and the Science Museum all within a stone’s throw of one another. For a mind-expanding trip amongst the stars, the Science Museum’s new exhibition running until 20th August 2023, ‘Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination’ is a must-do. In the interactive and immersive experience, your family will board a spaceship and journey to an unknown planet while learning about the wonders of science fiction stories that have brought to life your children’s favourite film and TV characters. What’s more, admission is free for children aged 7 and below. Before heading back to The Ritz, be sure to stop by The Garden area. Designed for young children to explore the wonders of physics through play, The Garden allows inquisitive minds to get stuck into the action through water, light and sound.
Meanwhile, the National Portrait Gallery has recently reopened this June after a major three-year restoration. In addition to discovering the incredible collection of paintings, photography, and sculptures from across the centuries, the Gallery is also running a Summer Family Festival at the start of August with plenty of creative activities to explore.
Head to the Box Office
Over on Shaftesbury Avenue, there is a play or musical on London’s West End that will be just the ticket for your family. Whether you are looking for drama and suspense, songs and dancing or laughter and jollity, theatreland has the answer. Seeing the Disney classics live on stage will have younger children singing the tunes for months to come, while teenagers will enjoy re-entering the wizarding world with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child or a trip back in time with Hamilton.
Once you have experienced all that culture, some retail therapy might be just the thing to perk up the little ones before dinner. Be sure to encourage them to have saved up their pennies as London’s Regent Street and Leicester Square are home to unique shopping experiences that children won’t be able to resist. First up, the world’s largest sweet shop with the M&Ms store in Leicester Square. Expect 35,000 square feet and four floors of deliciously colourful fun, including areas to print your face on M&Ms and find gifts to take home for the grandparents.
If that’s not enough, just across the road is the world’s largest LEGO store. From adorable DUPLO sets for your youngest to impressively intricate LEGO collections for your eldest, you are guaranteed to find some hidden gems in the LEGO store that may be added to wish lists for Father Christmas come December. For a truly personal touch and a chance for children’s imaginations to run wild, they can design their own minifigures in the Minifigure Factory.
Of course, it would be amiss to forget London’s finest toy store, Hamleys. Did you know that Hamleys is the oldest toy store in the world? With seven floors filled with toys and demonstrations, and events happening at every turn, it can be difficult to know where to start, but our suggestion is to dive right in!
Don’t forget, our friendly Concierge team possess all the insider knowledge to give our guests the very best experiences London has to offer. From theatre tickets to guided tours, your wish is their command.
Unmissable London Attractions
There are certain London attractions for families that simply cannot be missed. The classic landmarks, the sights of the skyline, and even riding in a traditional London black cab are all key things to tick off your list and write about on your postcard home. But if you are a frequent visitor to London and are looking for something new, we have you covered with our recommendations of London’s most recent and most exciting new additions.
Take in the View
The London skyline is arguably one of the most spectacular in the world and deserves to be admired from all angles. You may well have visited the legendary London Eye (and we encourage you to take a trip above the Thames if you haven’t already) but there are several other stunning viewpoints from which to observe the mesmerising London horizon.
The Shard is fast-becoming London’s most recognisable skyscraper. Located near London Bridge, the towering feat of design and engineering couldn’t be more centrally located for a city viewpoint. As the capital’s tallest skyscraper, it offers 360° panoramic views which are perfect for a game of ‘I Spy’. As a bonus for the parents, there is also a Champagne bar, while the children can enjoy an ice cream in the clouds. More recent still is the view from the newly re-opened Battersea Power Station. An experience seemingly lifted from the pages of a Roald Dahl book, Lift 109, takes guests up through the power station’s chimney and into a viewing platform in the sky. Not one for the faint-hearted!
Unlock your Creativity
Opening on 1st July 2023, the Young V&A museum in Bethnal Green is set to be one the most exciting new museum openings of the summer. Described as a ‘doing’ museum, little ones will have endless fun with their hands-on, sensory activities designed to get children in touch with their creative side.
In 2023, ‘immersive’ is the word on everybody’s lips: it’s no longer enough to see an exhibition, now you can be part of it. Immersive exhibitions are opening all the time in the capital so there is one for all interests. If you and your family wish to get in touch with nature, try the ‘BBC Earth Experience’ which projects breath-taking footage of the seven continents onto state-of-the-art multi-angle screens, with narration from who else but David Attenborough himself. For a psychedelic insight into the mind of Salvador Dalí, head to Brick Lane for the ‘Dalí: Cybernetics’ immersive exhibition. Complete with a virtual reality experience, you can be closer than ever to entering the surreal world and leaving reality behind.
Unique Experiences For The Whole Family
Our aim at The Ritz is to offer our guests one of the best family experiences in London, which is why our staff ensure children and parents alike are treated like royalty during their stay with us. From the moment children run up our front steps and into the spectacular lobby, our Concierge and Reception teams are ready and waiting to start your stay with sparkle. Children will receive their very own VIK (Very Important Kid) Kidz@TheRitz membership card, which unlocks a series of exclusive treats around the hotel.
A Well-Earned Treat
It wouldn’t be a trip to The Ritz without afternoon tea, and our team in The Palm Court are delighted to serve a perfectly portioned afternoon tea especially for children. Our Tea Master is also on hand to recommend caffeine-free tea options such as the delicious Chocolate Mint Rooibos, which is hand-blended in-house. Additionally, an elegant glass of non-alcoholic sparkling tea means that children can feel just like their parents for a celebratory ‘cheers’ moment. For the grand finale, children can indulge in complimentary ice cream in their favourite flavour – as there is always room for ice cream!
The Ultimate Ritz Experience
Having discovered their welcome gifts, dined on a delectable children’s menu in The Ritz Restaurant and relaxed in bathrobes and slippers tailored to their size, the ultimate Ritz family experience awaits with a guided tour in the Ritz Rolls-Royce. Take in the atmosphere of the city and learn about historical landmarks as you pass them by thanks to our knowledgeable chauffeurs, who can personalise the journey to your interests. With plush leather seats and a cutting-edge infotainment system, our Rolls-Royce Phantom does far more than transport you from A to B.
After an action-packed trip to London, enjoying the sights and sounds of the city and the luxury of The Ritz, it’s time to bid our youngest guests farewell until next year when we will be ready to roll out the red carpet once again.