Are you looking for something different to do on a day out in London? Perhaps you are visiting from another part of the country, or even further afield. Or maybe your simply looking for some cool activities to fill your weekends.
Particularly as the winter takes hold, finding fun ways to entertain yourself and your family can seem like a challenge. However, there are plenty of fun and different ways to spend a day in London, if you know where to look!
Here are 8 great ideas for how to spend an entertaining day out in London.
- Dive into History at the V&A
The “nation’s attic” is a true national treasure and well worth a visit or a re-visit if you haven’t been for a while. The extensive permanent collections cover everything from musical instruments and fine jewellery to fashion and photography, and are completely free.
Pro tip: If visiting with young children, skip the main exhibitions and go straight to the V&A Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green. The little ones will be entranced with the toys and other children’s objects from the 1600s to present day.
- Visit the Iconic Tower of London
It may be a tourist site, but for good reason: this icon of London offers a fascinating glimpse into some of the most important events in Britain’s history. Here you can see the country’s legendary crown jewels, for some truly eye-dropping precious stones, crowns and jewellery. There are also a number of other exhibitions, such as the Royal Mint, prisoners’ graffiti, and an exhibition on exotic animals which have lived in the Tower.
- Take the Harry Potter Studio Tour
Harry Potter fans young and old will love the Harry Potter Studio Tour, which can be taken at the Warner Brothers London Studio, located in Watford. Here you’ll be able to be immersed in the magic of the Harry Potter Universe, exploring some of the films’ most famous sets, as well as seeing incredible costumes and props from the series of movies.
Pro tip: Tickets are extremely popular and can sell out months in advance. However, you can buy tickets on Tour Scanner, even if they are sold out on the official website.
- Get in Touch with Nature at the Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew are not only a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, they are also a great place to learn about botany. Since opening in 1759, the gardens have played an important role in scientific research for all things to do with the plant world. Today you can visit its many tree and plant sanctuaries , as well as check out historic Kew Palace or explore the numerous Victorian glasshouses if the weather is inclement.
- Discover Marine History at the Cutty Sark
The Cutty Sark is a 17th century British clipper ship, one of the last of its kind to be built, representing the culmination of fine British sail ship building before the arrival of the age of the steamship. Today you can see the beautifully-restored ship in Greenwich, from a special viewing chamber which sits below the raised ship.
- Get Scientific at the Natural History Museum
If you have a love of all things scientific, from dinosaurs and human evolution, to astronomy, the Natural History Museum on Cromwell Road is not to be missed. The museum’s extensive free exhibitions include over 80 million natural specimens, from ancient fossils, precious gemstones and rare minerals, to huge dinosaur and a 25 metre-long blue whale skeleton.
Pro tip: The museum has a special night opening the last Friday of the month, perfect for adults who’d like to sip a beer or wine while checking out the exhibitions.
- Go to Market on Portobello Road
London has a number of markets, but for antique-lovers there’s only one place to go: Portobello Road. The Portobello Road markets are the world’s largest antique markets, and are open Monday – Saturday, with Saturday being by far the busiest. Even if you’re not planning on taking home anything, this is a fascinating place to browse the beautiful, unique and bizarre in a fun atmosphere.
- Have a Fancy Afternoon Tea
Is there anything more quintessentially English than afternoon tea? Consequently, a visit to the English capital is incomplete without sitting down to a proper, luxurious afternoon tea. Whether you are looking for a traditional afternoon tea with scones and cucumber sandwiches, or something more innovative, there are plenty of options to choose from. Traditionalists should head to Claridges for a refined afternoon tea as they have been serving it for the past 150 years. Alternatively, Sketch offers a twist on the traditional afternoon tea fare, with British staples along with a few improvements.