London is a beautiful and fun city to visit no matter your age. While our pubs and historical sites are unparalleled, London is far from a city made just for adults; there’s plenty of entertainment and fun for every member of the family, too.
At The Melita, we welcome guests of all ages, from the smallest children to those enjoying their golden years in retirement. Hosting families with children is something we take pride in, and something that brings a great deal of joy into our daily operations. It has also made our staff acutely aware of the importance our guests place on finding fun, family-friendly activities when they visit, whether it’s just for a single night or a full holiday schedule.
We also recognize that, as a parent or guardian, you’re incredibly busy and may not have the time to sit down and browse through tour guides to find the right locations.
To help you find your way, we’ve done the searching for you and listed out just a few of London’s most family-friendly activities and destinations. Each of the entries on this list is sure to be an instant hit with little ones, toddlers, and teens.
Stepping into London’s Rainforest Cafe is like stepping into another world. Almost instantly, you’ll be surrounded by a plethora of waterfalls, aquariums and animatronic creatures, as well as true-to-life sounds sourced from the real rainforest itself. While this is a full-service restaurant, serving both American and International cuisine, it is much more; at its heart, a visit to the Rainforest Cafe is an experience. Sounds of monkeys, parrots, strange birds, and trickling water make this both educational and relaxing, all at the same time.
Within the restaurant itself, both parents and children have access to their own individual menus. Children can dine on kid-friendly menu options like Ham and Cheesy Pasta, Snappy Salmon fish cakes, fresh pizzas made in-house, and delightful Mudpit Sundaes, while adults can enjoy the fully licensed bar or order full-sized entrees like Coastal Calamari, Lamb La Bamba, Ocean Prawn Pasta, and Lost River Salmon. The food is excellent, cooked to perfection, and served by wait staff who are more than happy to impart knowledge about the rainforest when they deliver each plate.
For best results, book a guided tour. This highly recommended service provides you with both an educational tour of each room, with periodic stops to educate kids on the exhibits within, as well as lunch afterward.
Learn more about the Rainforest Cafe’s educational tours, including when and how to book, here.
BFG Dream Jar Trail
This activity isn’t going tobe around for long; it closes on August 31, 2016. But it’s well-worth a mention if you plan to stay with us this summer. It’s also a fabulous way to get to see London without the little ones growing bored throughout your on-foot adventure.
The BFG Dream Jar Trail is a whimsical adventure throughout London that’s timed to coincide with the release of the Big Friendly Giant movie and iconic children’s writer Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday. You’ll follow a route around London that takes you to several locations with giant, towering six-foot «dream jars», each of which was created by master artists like Steven Spielberg, Mark Rylance, and Quentin Blake. The trail eventually leads to The Roald Dahl Museum, a marvel all on its own for young kids.
Better still is that the BFG Dream Jar trail directly benefits charity. After the event’s closure, each of the jars will be auctioned off, with the funds directly benefitting the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity for sick kids.
Curious about the Dream Jar Trail? Learn more here, or give us a call to schedule accommodations. Our friendly staff are always ready to help make your adventure come true.
LegoLand certainly isn’t specific to London; this iconic theme park has locations sprinkled all throughout the known world. It’s a youthful and classic favourite that will enchant little ones (and maybe mum or dad, too–it’s okay to indulge. Who doesn’t love Lego?) and keep the entire family occupied for at least a day, if not longer.
LegoLand is located on a sprawling resort that’s entirely dedicated to Lego, building with Lego, seeing marvels of creation made from only Lego, and getting truly lost in an entire world hand-crafted from these iconic little blocks. It’s suitable for toddlers, young children, and pre-teens alike, and has even been known to draw in the interest of teenagers from time to time.
LegoLand truly caters to kids, so it’s a safe, fun experience for members of the entire family–even the youngest little ones. Mums and dads can visit the Baby Care Centre to nurse, change nappies, or just get some quality quiet time.
Rides and attractions open at LegoLand just after 10:00 in the morning. When planning your visit, it’s helpful to bring a bag with shorts and tee-shirts or swimwear for each child, as some rides do incorporate water and regular clothing may become wet. Other than that, mostly all you need to worry about is getting day passes and arriving early enough to enjoy all the fun!
Getting into LegoLand is a breeze; just book day passes online in advance, and you’re set for the entire day.
Yet another of London’s most successful attempts at catering almost exclusively to kids, KidZania is a city-within-the-city and theme park that offers access to almost 75,000 square feet of roleplaying fun. This Westfield location contains a series of locations where kids can dress up, roleplay, learn, and enjoy an adult-like world that lets them learn by doing.
KidZania is all about encouraging children to «try on» adult roles; whether your little one has always wanted to be a firefighter, a doctor, a chef, a scientist, or something else entirely, guides will present them with hands-on activities that teach basic academic skills.
One of the best features KidZania boasts is the fact that it’s an entirely closed-off experience from the outside world. In fact, children are given electronic bracelets when they enter that will notify staff (and parents) if they happen to leave the facility. These can also be used to instantly track down a child who has wandered off or become lost.
Activity stations and rooms are uniquely designed for a blend of safety and fun, and the options are relatively endless. Kids can join the Advertising Agency and learn how to draft ads, become a worker at the Animation Studio, or even work at the Beauty Salon (perfect for little princesses who love doing hair). It’s not difficult to understand why this is one of London’s most treasured extra-curricular activities.
Best of all, safety is always paramount. Kids can wander freely, but they are always under a watchful eye. There’s even a cosy parent’s lounge where you can relax on a comfortable couch, enjoying free Wi-Fi and food options while older children enjoy the fun.
Warner Bros. Studio: Hogwarts Tour
There’s very few kids in London that haven’t seen the delightful Harry Potter movie series. Little ones from toddlerhood to teens are absolutely obsessed with Hogwarts, and for good reason: it’s an incredibly imaginative world that lets children of all ages (including mum and dad) to get lost in a fantasy world, if just for a little while. Warner Bros. Studio’s remarkable «Making of Harry Potter» theme park and museum is a stunning way to while away an afternoon, or even an entire day.
Created using actual artefacts left over from each of the films, this is an experience that’s deeply rich in Hogwarts canon; even the most die-hard fans will be amazed by the sheer quality of the exhibit. Each of the props and sets shown were used in the original film. At the door, you’ll
To make the most of your experience, start with a stop at the Gift Shop to pick up a Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff shirt for each member of the family. This exquisite little shop also holds a bevy of treasures, including everything from chocolate frogs to replica wands. Once you’ve assimilated yourselves in true Hogwarts form, it’s time for adventure.
Inside the exhibit, you’ll go behind the scenes of one of the most successful film series of all times. Wander through the Great Hall, visit the classrooms and learn to cast spells, ride the Night Bus, or browse through the meal rooms. Even the Hogwarts Express makes a brilliant stop and an excellent picture opportunity.
Once you’ve thoroughly soaked yourself in Hogwarts culture, it’s time for even more fun. Visit the flying broomstick ride to play pretend. Children can «fly» a broomstick just like Harry and Hermione did when playing Quidditch; thankfully, this version is much safer. Backed by a green screen, they’ll sit on the broom and then have a short video created that transposes them into the film. Or, parents and kids can have themselves transposed into the Flying Ford Anglia instead.
Photo, video, and HD USB packages of green screen videos are available for families who want to bring this home as a souvenir.
After a few hours of imaginative adventuring, take the family to order a pint of Butterbeer, or delve into some ice cream in the backlot cafe. Drinks and other snacks are readily available, and there’s plenty of seating available. This is an excellent place to relax and unwind, settle in for a nursing session, or even just get off your feet after a long day in your child’s favourite fantasy world.
Booking your visit ahead of time is strongly recommended, as this is understandably one of London’s busiest child-friendly locations. Tickets can be booked online, but if you haven’t booked when you arrive, check with The Melita Hotel staff for more information on accessing tickets.