- Get up, up and away
- Enjoy family time on the water
- Try out the best playgrounds in London
- Discover urban animals
Looking for big family fun in the big city this summer holiday? We’ve got you covered with our guide to the very best outdoor activities in London.
Whether you’re headed to the big smoke for a day trip or you’re a long-term city dweller looking to mix things up, we’ve put together our top picks of outdoor family activities in London to help you make the most of the city. 🏙️
Get up, up and away
When planning outdoor activities for kids in London, what better way to show them the city than from above. Here are our top tips for a stellar view.
Climb the O2 Arena
Climb up and over this iconic landmark to enjoy amazing views of the city with daytime, sunset or twilight climbs available. The 90 minute experience is suitable for kids over 8 with a minimum height of 1.2m. Tickets start at £32 (Tube: North Greenwich)
Let your cheeky monkeys hang loose with treetop courses at Alexandra Palace or Battersea for kids over 1m or Cockfosters for kids over 10 years (min height 1.4m). They can jump, climb and zip-wire their way through various courses, making for an unforgettable adventurous challenge. Prices vary according to location/course.🐒
The Arcelor Mittal Orbit
If only all playgrounds were designed by artists! This incredible slide for kids over 8 (min height 1.3m) loops around the UK’s tallest sculpture, which was created by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond for the London 2012 Olympic Games. It’s the longest tunnel slide in the world and boasts incredible views of the city from two dedicated platforms. Tube: Stratford.
Enjoy family time on the water
Whether you want to take a relaxing dip outdoors or fly down the Thames at speed – there are plenty of outdoor activities in London that take place on the water.
Row, row, row a boat
Pootle about on a pedalo or dip your oar into one of London’s lovely boating lakes.🚣🏿1. The Serpentine Lake
Enjoy the tranquillity of this large lake within the expansive Hyde Park. You can also cool off in the Serpentine Lido or dip your feet in the nearby Diana Memorial Fountain. (Tube: Knightsbridge/Hyde Park Corner)2. Regent’s Park
Hop aboard a rowing boat and see if you can spot a heron or two on one of the islands in the middle of this picturesque lake. There’s also a dedicated boating lake for kids (complete with child-friendly vessels) that opens at weekends and during holidays. (Tube: Baker Street)3. Alexandra Palace Park
Chill out on the water in Ally Pally park lake which also boasts a lakeside café. (Train: Alexandra Palace)
Take advantage of the hop-on hop-off boat tours and make the journey to your next destination part of the adventure. Suitable for the whole family, you can soak it all up as you cruise along the Thames and travel between iconic landmarks like the London Eye, Tower Bridge and the Greenwich. A 24hr pass offers you unlimited travel so it’s a fun way of avoiding the sweaty crush of the tube and you can get a family pass (2 adults + 3 kids) for around £40.
If you’re after something a little more high-octane, strap in for a fast and furious speedboat trip with one of the various tours on offer. Entertaining guides will talk you through various landmarks as you whizz along. Prices vary but start at around £45 per adult/£35 per child.🛥️
Lie low at a Lido
London has an array of lovely Lidos – from the leafy enclaves of Hampstead Heath to the cool surroundings of London Fields. Pop on your cossie and dive in without breaking the bank - most lidos only charge around a fiver for a swim.
Try out the best playgrounds in London
We all know London’s got an impressive array of parks that offer everything from picnicking to paddling – but here are our top 4 playgrounds for when the kids need to blow off some city steam.1. Holland Park Adventure Playground
Aimed at kids aged 5-14, this cleverly-designed adventure playground offers hours of fun for all. You can let the kids climb and slide their way around the imaginative structures while you have a well-earned cuppa. (Tube: Holland Park)🫖2. Battersea Park
There are separate play areas in Battersea Park for toddlers, young kids and older children so there’s plenty of fun for everyone. (Train/overground: Battersea Park)3. St James’s Park Playground
Just across the street from Buckingham Palace, this playground is designed around wooden structures and fun boulders. (Tube: St James’s Park)4. Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground
With a huge pirate ship on its own beach, a sensory trail and an array of play sculptures, this playground within Kensington Gardens fires up children’s imaginations as they explore. (Tube: Queensway)
Discover urban animals
If it’s four-legged friends your kids love, then head to one of these wild destinations for some furry fun.
Zoos1. London Zoo
London Zoo offers a whole day out with plenty to see and do. You’ll see everything from giraffes to gorillas and can even take a stroll through London’s only living rainforest, complete with sloths and monkeys. Tickets from around £30 per adult, £19.50 per child, and under 3s go free. (Tube: Camden Town)🦒2. Battersea Park Children’s zoo
A great place to explore and discover some small but amazing animals such as capuchin monkeys, emus and chameleons. The zoo also has its own adventure playground so the kids can climb, bounce and dig around like their newfound furry/reptilian friends. A family ticket (2 adults + 2 kids) will cost you £35.50. (Tube: Sloane Square)
Whether you head north to Kentish Town or south to Vauxhall. London has an array of city farms where the kids can meet and greet the animals, learn about nature and get a bit muddy.👩🏽🌾
You’d think that in a big bustling city like London there would be nowhere to gallop! There is, in fact, an array of stables within the capital where riders can saddle up. Choose from central venues like Paddington or enjoy a greener trot on the grassy plains of Richmond Park.
Whatever outdoor activities for kids in London you choose, here at GoStudent, we hope you have a ball!
If you find that your wanderings spark an interest in geography or your trip to the zoo throws up a bunch of questions about biology, then why not contact one of our expert tutors for a free trial session?