The London Eye
The British Airways London Eye is the most popular paid-for visitor attraction in the UK, and a great favourite with kids. Looking like a giant fairground ride, it’s actually the largest observation wheel in the world, taking in over 55 of London’s most famous landmarks in just 30 minutes! You can also combine the flight on the Eye with a 40-minute circular cruise on the Thames. The Eye is open every day from 9:30am to 8pm, staying open till 9pm from July to September.
The Tower of London
Visit the tower for an instant history lesson, as well as stories of intrigue, scandal, murder and robbery! Founded by William the Conqueror in 1066, the tower has had a 900-year history as a royal palace, a prison, a place of executions and a jewel house. Visit the crown jewels and famous black ravens, or take a free Beefeater tour.
The London Dungeon is super scary so older kids will love it, but younger kids should probably stay away. Buried beneath the paving stones of historic Southwark, the London Dungeon presents more than 2,000 years of grim and bloody history in the most interactive and terrifying way possible. Step aboard the scariest boatride in the world … darkness surrounds you, lights flicker … and your kids will think it’s fully sick!
Changing of the Guard
You simply can’t take the kids to London without visiting the Queen! You might not see Her Royal Highness in person, but everyone can experience the famous Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. The event occurs every second day, or daily during summer months.
Be sure to visit one of Europe’s largest displays of aquatic life. The London Aquarium is home to 350 species in more than 50 displays, from two-metre sharks, to stingrays, moray eels, clownfish and flesh-eating piranhas! Don’t miss feeding time in the Atlantic Tank, where a team of divers handfeeds rays and native British sharks. It's the perfect all-weather attraction for the whole family.
Some other great places to visit:
Hampton Court Palace
Natural History Museum
Greenwich – home to the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory
Kew Gardens – the world’s leading botanic gardens
London buses can take you and the kids on a grand tour.
There’s nothing more British than sitting upstairs on a red, double-decker London bus taking in the sights!
The Original London Bus Tour:
This is a great favourite with families, and is the best way to familiarise yourself with the iconic sights of London. The sights you’ll see include the Tower of London, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Madame Tussauds and London Bridge. In fact, you’ll see the spectacular views from seven of London’s bridges if you take all the tour options. There are five tour routes included for the one cost, with a total of 90 stops en route. The ticket is valid for 24 hours, so you can jump on and off all day, spending as much time at each attraction as you like. Kids receive a free kids club pack and have their own narration channel on red routes.
Beach fun English-style
Who’d have thought you’d find fun at a beach in North Yorkshire? Jane E. Fraser – that’s who!
My first few visits to English beaches made me wonder why on earth Brits go to the seaside. Cold, windy and colourless was my impression of England’s beaches. But over the years I have come to love the quaint, old-fashioned ambience and unpredictable weather. I’ve also learned to come prepared. On a recent trip, my family and I fell in love with Sandsend Beach, a long stretch of sand on the coast of North Yorkshire in the north of England.
Sandsend is a natural children’s playground with a shallow inlet providing a safe area that on a warm day is alive with a fleet of inflatable rubber boats crewed by excitable little people. Those not in boats play on the sand with brightly coloured buckets and spades, collecting pebbles and other treasures.
There are scores of ducks bobbing further up the inlet, and countless tiny fish zoom around in the sun-warmed shallows. And there is, of course, ice cream, an essential ingredient of any day at the beach. We ventured around to Robin Hood’s Bay, where families gather with colourful fishing nets to explore the rock pools.
An ice cream van parks on the edge of the tidal flat, and there are deck chairs for hire. Most people sit on the rocks, feet dangling. It had a family-holiday atmosphere full of happy chatter and cries of “look!” as children captured small marine creatures in pink, blue, green and yellow nets.
Several airlines offer flights from Australian cities to London and Manchester. Compare airlines for the best deal.
June, July and August are the warmest months but even in summer there are cool days, so pack warmer layers.
Australians do not need a visa to holiday in Britain.