Adventure-packed outdoor activities in London for kids
Outdoor things to do in London with kids
We don't want to jinx the blue skies but we've got plans aplenty when it comes to outdoor activities in London with kids, and with school holidays just around the corner, now's the time to get ready for an al fresco summer of fun.
Chill out in Covent Garden
With its abundance of street entertainers and outdoor dining and shopping options, Covent Garden is always a hit for a sunny day of exploration. It's also a short stroll from there to China Town, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square if you want to extend the adventures. www.coventgarden.london
Whizz down the river with Thames Rockets
There's no better way to make the most of all this glorious sunshine than by whipping down the Thames on a speedboat with the famalam! Thames Rockets definitely knows how to pack an adventure punch, and it doesn't matter how many times we do it, it's always one of our fave things to do in London. Better still, use the discount code TRinsta20 and you'll bag yourself 20% off the total price. Discounts and freedom all in one hit: speed on over to make a booking, stat!
Thames Rockets, Boarding Gate One, The London Eye Pier, SE1 7PB
Magic up a Tour for Muggles
Now here's a magical outdoor activity in London the kids will definitely be on board with: a Harry Potter walking tour (leave the broomsticks at home for this one). Follow in the footsteps of The Boy Who Lived on this two-hour walking tour which will start from the beautiful Leadenhall Market and traverse the winding roads of the City of London before crossing the Thames over to the southside and ending near London Bridge, visiting Harry Potter-related spots around town that muggles of all ages will love.
Ramble around a country park
If all those lockdowns taught us anything, it's that despite London being mostly city, there's also a fair few country parks and forests to ramble around. Check out our guide to the best green spots to hang out with the kids, and while you're at it have a look at our Geocaching for beginners guide too for an extra activity hit.
Unleash your inner detective on The City Treasure Hunt
Gather your small sleuths and try your hand at The City Treasure Hunt and head out on a trail around the Square Mile to find 14 clues, starting with your troops near St Paul's Cathedral and working your way East. You'll discover everything from a Roman Amphitheatre to magical ruins on your quest, and don't forget to schedule a pit stop at one of the two optional pub breaks along the way (or both...).
www.thesecret.city/trails/the-city; 1 Cheapside, London EC2V 6AA;
Enjoy a wheely good ScooTour
Choose from seven different options including the Sherlock Holmes, Hidden London and London Landmark tours, and hop on a ScooTour e-Scooter for a trip around London that's wheely quite different. This one is for over-18s only, so perfect for a day out with older, harder-to-please kids, but there's also the e-Bike tour option which is open to kids age 14 and over.
Have a blooming good adventure at Kew Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew is the perfect place to explore when it comes to outdoor activities in London with kids. Highlights for families include the wild botanic garden, with 500 acres of woodland and the world's largest seed conservation project to discover, plus a dramatic rock garden, a treetop walkway and the newly opened Children's Garden: a fun, interactive space where little ones can climb, run, jump and investigate.
www.kew.org; Richmond, London TW9 3AQ
Get wild at ZSL London Zoo
Step into London’s only living rainforest where you'll get up close to an amazing variety of rainforest species including monkeys, sloth, bats and tamandua. Keep an eye on seasonal events which are always rather roarsome.
ZSL London Zoo, Outer Circle, London NW1 4RY
Score an activity hole in one with crazy golf
Swing over to the London for Kidz guide to crazy golf in London and you'll find lots of outdoor picks that are well above par when it comes to outdoor adventures in town.
Tire out the fam at Holland Park
Round up the troops and hustle them over to Holland Park’s Adventure Playground for an aerial runway, mini climbing wall, climbing frames, 22 acres of recreation areas, gardens and more woodlands full of wildlife than you can shake a stick from said woods at. Tired kiddos guaranteed.
www.rbkc.gov.uk; Holland Park, London W8 6LU
Go ape at Go Ape
Go Ape has three locations in London, at Alexandra Palace, Battersea Park and Cockfosters, and the family can navigate through ropes in tall trees, dangling bridges, zip lines and a whole heap more aerial fun. Minimum height restrictions are 1m, so check your small chimps are tall enough before getting there to save tears!
Flock over to a farm or animal sanctuary
Ewe definitely won't regret a day out at an urban farms or animal sanctuary when it comes to a top day out with your small creatures. There are plenty to pick from, many of which are our favourite word, free. Our favourite local spot, Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, has lots of fun stuff lined up for the summer so do pop it on your radar.
Try a spot of mudlarking
We can't guarantee that you'll find real treasure, but we can guarantee a treasure of an outdoor activity when it comes to mudlarking. Either join an organised tour with Thames Explorer Trust or go DIY by checking the Thames tide times ahead of your adventure. If you're going it alone then the best places to mudlark are under the Millennium Bridge outside the Tate Modern on the South Bank or move over on the North Bank near St. Paul's Cathedral.
Check out Barnard Park
Stretching for 9 acres across Islington and boasting top notch play and sports facilities this is definitely an outdoor activity in London to have on your radar. The huge children's adventure playground plus a seasonal water play feature with interactive sprays is always a hit, plus there's also a full size redgra surfaced football (free play) pitch to get busy on too!
www.islington.gov.uk; Copenhagen Street, London N1 0ER
Get your adrenalin rushing with Laser Tag
Head over to Chiswick where you'll find Adrenalin Rush, the home of Laser Tag or Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting at purpose built outdoor facilities where fun is the name of the combat game.
www.arush.co.uk; Chiswick Rugby Football Club, Dan Mason Drive, Chiswick, London W4 2SH
Get aboard a Tootbus tour
An open-top bus is always a great way to explore the city and TOOTbus does one aimed at kids and families which we love. Packed with discovery and edutainment, this is a bus journey well worth hopping onto and it's running daily throughout the school hols. www.tootbus.com; departs from Charles II Street, London SW1Y 4QN
Hire a row boat or pedalo
With 30 years of row boat and pedalo hire in Tower Hamlet's Victoria Park, Regal Boat Hire is the place to sail over to for an adventure on one of its fleet of 40 boats. Enjoy a leisurely row around the vast lake or else up the exercise ante and wear out the kids with a pedalo. www.regalboathire.co.uk; Grove Rd, London E3 5TB
Catch an aerial view of London from the Shard
If you've a head for heights then head up to the 72nd floor of the Shard to take in the city from its outdoor viewing gallery. At almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in the capital, it offers visitors unparalleled 360-degree views for up to 40 miles! www.the-shard.com/viewing-gallery; 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG
Discover canal side spots around London
Take a stroll / scoot along Regent's Canal which will have you meandering from Little Venice, through Camden and even past ZSL London Zoo along the way. All that canal sightseeing given you a taste for narrowboating? Then why not extend the adventure by booking a canal boat adventure with the family? We've got a whole guide on just that. www.waterways.org.uk
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