Most household journeys to London will cross by the Tower of London and Tower Bridge a minimum of as soon as – however when you’ve had a glimpse of the 2 iconic landmarks, you’ll discover a string of different issues to do close to Tower Bridge with youngsters.
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So whether or not you’re seeking to fill an hour or two in your London itinerary, or making an attempt to work out how you can spend a complete day round Tower Bridge with youngsters, I’ve picked out my high ideas.
All the pieces is inside round a ten minute stroll of one of many two websites and principally inside the world between Tower Bridge and London Bridge – so in the event you’re searching for issues to do close to London Bridge, you’ll discover loads of concepts right here.
Tower Bridge is definitely essentially the most well-known of London’s bridges, and in addition to getting a view of its well-known blue and white paint and taking a stroll throughout Tower Bridge, you possibly can head inside to find its historical past – together with the truth that it was a chocolate brown color when it first opened, repainted for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.
Head into the Tower Bridge Exhibition and you’ll cross its high-level walkways and expertise views down over the bridge and River Thames by means of its glass flooring. One for the courageous!
Do you know that when the bridge was opened in 1894, eight years after building started, it had high-level walkways so folks may nonetheless cross even when the bridge itself was opened – though these closed 16 years later for lack of use!
And in addition to the prospect to face on the glass walkway and nervously benefit from the views, head into the engine rooms, and there are common household actions for teenagers too.
Take a look at the Tower Bridge Path for Little Explorers and household path, in addition to particular occasions throughout holidays and the prospect to some well-known occasions in its historical past, together with the time a double-decker bus jumped throughout the opening bridge.
To ensure entry purchase tickets to Tower Bridge upfront, though it’s also possible to get walk-up entry. A go to often takes round 60-90 minutes.
See Tower Bridge rise
One of the vital well-known info about Tower Bridge is that the central sections will be raised to permit bigger boats to sail into the Higher Pool of London – and the occasions are revealed upfront.
The bridge – which is technically a mixed suspension and bascule bridge – rises round 800 occasions a yr, so time your go to proper and you’ll watch because it lifts open to let the river site visitors by means of.
For a few of the finest views of Tower Bridge opening there are viewpoints on each banks too. On the north financial institution, head close to the Tower of London and in the direction of St Katherine’s Pier – spot the lady with a dolphin fountain as you do – or on the south financial institution discover a spot close to HMS Belfast or round Butler’s Wharf.
Examine the hottest schedule of bridge raise occasions right here.
The Tower of London
The Tower is one in every of my very own private favorite days out in London with youngsters, from the astonishing crown jewels to the well-known ravens, beefeaters and centuries of historical past.
You may discover former royal residences, adorned as they’d have been when kings lived there, and uncover the Tower’s grim historical past as a jail too, together with a memorial to 2 of Henry VIII’s executed queens.
It additionally homes a part of the Royal Armoury, plus you’ll discover shows on the Tower’s menagerie of animals, uncover reside performances throughout college holidays, and have an opportunity to stroll the partitions.
High tip: In the event you’re visiting, head to the Crown Jewels first because the queues solely are likely to get longer all through the day – however shortly after opening, you possibly can usually stroll in with out ready.
Tickets will be purchased on the day, though prebooking is strongly really useful. Excursions with the beefeaters (correctly referred to as Yeomen Warders) are together with in entrance, and you’ll merely flip up on the day.
For a memorably uncommon night, you possibly can go to within the night to look at the Ceremony of the Keys – take a look at my expertise of watching the Ceremony of the Keys with youngsters right here.
This new immersive expertise close to the Tower of London is themed across the Gunpowder Plot, the place you’ll be whisked again to 1605 to see in the event you can foil Man Fawkes…
Appropriate for teenagers aged 12+, The Gunpowder Plot takes place within the Tower Vaults, beneath the Tower of London, the place Man Fawkes and his fellow trailers had been imprisoned and tortured after their plan was foiled.
Utilizing a mixture of VR expertise, particular results, immersive theatre, and bodily sensations (together with darkish and loud noises), your problem is to cease the notorious plot to explode the Homes of Parliament.
Lasting round 1 hour 40 minutes, together with a 20-minute interval within the recreated Duck and Drake – solely open to these collaborating (and plotters!), the Tower Vaults are proper subsequent to the Tower of London itself, though they’re separate entrances and tickets.
As an added bonus for Harry Potter followers, Man Fawkes himself is performed by actor Tom Felton (though no, you gained’t get to fulfill him on the day).
The Sky Backyard
London’s highest public backyard, the Sky Backyard is likely one of the metropolis’s most uncommon viewpoints – and probably the greatest free issues to do close to Tower Bridge.
Set within the skyscraper referred to as the Walkie Talkie (in the event you’re scuffling with instructions, it’s not difficult to identify), the terraces are stuffed with Mediterranean and South African crops, so it feels such as you’re removed from town under.
Till you take a look at the nice 360-degree views of London, that’s! With a coated terrace, you may get some wonderful views throughout to the Shard, St Paul’s, Tower Bridge and alongside the Thames, with views by means of the glass in the event you favor to not go outdoors.
Whereas tickets are free, you must ebook upfront (and adults want ID to enter), with tickets getting snapped up shortly for weekends and faculty holidays.
They’re launched three weeks upfront, though there are often some walk-in areas in the event you’re comfortable to queue on the day – it’s finest to reach early although. You too can ebook tables on the two eating places in its place technique to go to (though clearly it’s not then free).
For extra free issues to do in London with youngsters, take a look at my high picks
View from the Shard
The View from the Shard is likely one of the costlier London viewpoints, nevertheless it’s additionally deservedly probably the most memorable.
The massive viewing platform sits on flooring 68 and 69 of London’s tallest constructing, a whopping 310m above the bottom, making it London’s highest viewpoint.
The 360 diploma view over the capital helps you to see for as much as 40 miles on a transparent day, and The View from the Shard is the one place the place you possibly can actually see the entire metropolis without delay.
There’s additionally an Open-Air Skydeck on ground 72 so you possibly can really feel virtually as in the event you’re floating within the air above London. Click on right here to ebook tickets.
Take a look at these different nice views in London with youngsters for extra methods to take in the skyline
St Katherine’s Dock
Only a stone’s throw from the Tower of London, St Katherine’s Dock is a superb chilled out place to flee the bustle of London – and ideal in the event you’re searching for locations to eat close to Tower Bridge with youngsters.
As soon as the docks the place a few of London’s most useful cargo was unloaded, right now it’s a marina – you possibly can even sleep overseas a few of the yachts, together with Sea Dancer – with a complete string of eating places, plus a daily avenue meals market, Kerb.
The Dickens Inn is a reconstructed 18th century pub, right now serving nice pizza and with tables outdoor overlooking the water for sunny days. Or there are family-friendly chains together with Cote Brasserie, Zizzi and Cafe Rouge, plus dim sum at Ping Pong amongst others.
Maintain a watch out for occasions as effectively, plus the Horrible Thames boat tour additionally departs from Tower Bridge Quay, by the marina, as does the Thames Tigers speedboats.
Horrible Thames boat tour
What do you get while you cross the creators of Horrible Histories with 2,000 years of drama alongside London’s riverbanks? The fantastically child-friendly Horrible Thames cruise.
With tales of revolution, beheadings and pirates (and the stomach-turning motive why Queen Victoria’s pleasure cruise lasted solely minutes), you sail from close to Tower Bridge to Westminster and again by way of Execution Dock, whereas prizewinning school-child Billy (or Billie) and their trainer carry out and supply the commentary.
The cruise itself solely takes 45 minutes however with songs, simply the correct amount of viewers participation, plus an excellent stability of enjoyable and info, it feels such as you get twice as a lot packed in – all together with the standard Horrible Histories recipe of gruesomely ridiculous, gory sound results, plus loads of rest room humour.
Some genuinely quirky info, plus it doesn’t draw back from the troublesome subjects, together with London’s position within the slave commerce. Departs from Tower Bridge Quay close to St Katherine’s Dock, from early April to late October – purchase tickets or reward vouchers right here
Take a look at my overview of the Horrible Thames boat tour right here
Boat journey alongside the Thames
The Horrible Histories boat tour isn’t the one technique to see London from the river, with an enormous selection of boat excursions in London with youngsters too.
You may select from sightseeing cruises and hop-on hop-off choices departing from Tower Pier, whether or not you fancy heading all the best way to Greenwich after your day trip round Tower Bridge with youngsters, or alongside the Thames in the direction of Bankside and Westminster.
For sightseeing, take a look at Metropolis Cruises which runs varied excursions alongside the river, or in the event you’re not bothered about commentary, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers could be a cheaper choice, and a great way to get from A to B.
Or head over to Tower Bridge Quay, by St Katherine’s Docks, for a extra adventurous boat journey alongside the river with Thames Tigers speedboats (appropriate for ages 7+).
Click on right here to take a look at the entire set of boat journeys in London with youngsters
As soon as a Royal Navy gentle cruiser, now a museum ship completely moored on the Thames, HMS Belfast is essentially the most important surviving Second World Struggle Navy warship – current on the D-Day landings and within the Korean Struggle.
Reopened after main renovations, you possibly can uncover what life would have been like on board for the crew who served aboard – and with 9 decks to discover, there’s lots to see aboard.
Interactive experiences vary from a sound set up inside a gun turret to an opportunity to see simply what it takes to feed the 950 males aboard (trace: which means peeling a LOT of potatoes) and steering the ship.
There are additionally reminiscences from veterans who served on HMS Belfast, in addition to common household trails and actions throughout college holidays.
Prebooking tickets is really useful however not important.
Stroll the Thames Path
The Thames is the guts of town, so a stroll alongside the river is at all times probably the greatest issues to do in London with youngsters.
It’s simple to walk alongside the banks of the river alongside the Thames Path – or in the event you’re feeling energetic, it stretches off for miles in every path from round Tower Bridge.
Look out for a few of the quirky particulars just like the dolphin lampposts – in the event you don’t assume the ornament seems to be very similar to dolphins, you’d be proper, they’re truly sturgeon.
And as you benefit from the views throughout the river, you would consider a few of the highlights from by means of its historical past. Roman artefacts have been dug up on its banks by archaeologists and mudlarks for hundreds of years, together with an oil lamp and bone hair pin throughout the previous decade alone, because the tides and wakes of the boat site visitors fire up the silt.
Maintain going somewhat additional past London Bridge and you’ll see the Golden Hinde, a recreation of the ship during which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe, in addition to Borough Market, plus all of the sights of the South Financial institution and Bankside, together with the Clink jail, the Globe Theatre and Tate Fashionable
Go to London Bridge Metropolis
Head throughout the river from Tower Bridge to find the world known as London Bridge Metropolis – stretching all the best way from Tower Bridge to London Bridge, there are repeatedly family-friendly occasions and trails to observe.
In the summertime, take a look at the fountains close to The Scoop at Extra London, 200 jets organized in traces which spring as much as catch the unwary, in addition to free theatre performances, reside music and movie and sports activities screenings at The Scoop itself.
In winter, there’s the Christmas by the River Christmas market, with twinkling lights and festive decorations alongside the riverside.
There’s usually free public artwork to find, together with the Chimps Are Household path, with statues and details about chimpanzees dotted across the space, together with at Hay’s Galleria with its retailers and eating places.
Uncover Roman London
There are many reminders of the Roman metropolis of Londinium if you realize the place to look together with a part of London Wall close to Tower Hill tube station.
You too can spy a statue of the emperor Trajan in entrance of the stone and tile wall, in-built 200AD. The emperor’s head and physique initially got here from utterly totally different statues.
The residents of Londinium had their very own public bathhouses, whereas the rich loved personal baths connected to their home – utilizing both was as a lot of a social event as an opportunity to get clear – together with the Billingsgate Roman Bathhouse at 101 Decrease Thames Avenue.
Tucked away within the basement of an workplace block, it consists of the stays of a number of of the totally different rooms – the chilly frigidarium, the tepidarium and the warmer caldarium the place iron scrapers known as strigils would take away the filth and sweat, with perfumed oils utilized. Usually open to the general public on Saturdays between April and November.
Stroll a bit additional to the Mithraeum, the place you possibly can uncover the Roman temple of Mithras – based within the third century, it lay hidden for hundreds of years however since 2017, it’s been open to the general public. Free to enter however prebooked tickets are really useful.
Climb the Monument
Standing 202 ft excessive, the Monument is 202 ft from the spot the place the Nice Fireplace of London began on Pudding Lane – in the event you laid it down, it could attain proper to the bakery.
Sitting on the junction of Monument Avenue and Fish Avenue Hill, the pillar with its flaming orb on high was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1677 to commemorate the well-known hearth in 1666.
And in addition to studying the plaque on the backside, it’s also possible to climb the 311 steps to the gallery on the high to look out throughout town.
For extra Nice Fireplace of London areas, take a look at this publish to plan a strolling tour to a few of the key websites
Solely 33 individuals are allowed inside at any time, with a free certificates for these which make the climb. For sure, it will get very chilly on the highest in the event you’re visiting in winter!
If you wish to climb the Monument, tickets are solely obtainable on the web site itself (carry money to be on the protected aspect), with grownup entry costing £5.40, and £2.70 for kids aged 5 to fifteen. You too can get joint tickets for the Monument and the Tower Bridge Exhibition, in addition to household tickets.
It’s open every day from 9.30am-6pm, with admission half-hour earlier than closing and it’s closed totally from December 24-26.
Go to London’s oldest church
Relationship again to 675AD, All Hallows-by-the-Tower is believed to be the oldest surviving church in London, overlooking the Tower of London from Byward Avenue.
Based by the Abbey of Barking, it’s greater than three centuries older than the Tower itself, and you’ll nonetheless see an arch from the Saxon church right now.
Head right down to the crypt, with its little museum tracing the historical past of the church, and there’s a Roman pavement that’s even older, relationship from the 2nd century.
With such a protracted historical past, it has hyperlinks to a string of well-known folks. Samuel Pepys watched London burn from its tower (although fortunately the blaze didn’t attain All Hallows), whereas lots of these beheaded on Tower Hill had been delivered to the church, together with Thomas Extra.
John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the USA, was married within the church in 1797, whereas William Penn, founding father of Pennsylvania was baptised within the church.
There are guided excursions in addition to a free audio tour obtainable.
Go to a park in a church
There’s been a church of St Dunstan on this web site since round 1100, added to by Sir Christopher Wren after the Nice Fireplace of London earlier than being broken within the Blitz through the Second World Struggle.
However whereas the bombing left the church in ruins, it additionally led to probably the most exceptional inexperienced areas in the entire of London – and simply probably the most uncommon issues to do close to the Tower of London.
Reworked to a public backyard, you possibly can nonetheless see the arched stone home windows of St Dunstan within the East, now with ivy entwined across the stone and moss rising.
On the coronary heart of the church, timber develop and there are benches set in a circle to loosen up amid this busy part of town between the Monument and the Tower of London (though it’s much less of a quiet oasis than it as soon as was on a sunny day).
Enter from Idol Lane or St Dunstan’s Hill, from 8am to 7pm/nightfall (until there’s an occasion going down).
For extra uncommon issues to do in London with youngsters, take a look at my high picks
See a part of previous London bridge
The church of St Magnus the Martyr stands on the head of the previous London Bridge, and is house to a 4 metre mannequin of the previous bridge in addition to elements of town’s early river crossings.
Constructed round 900 years in the past, presumably longer, the churchyard can also be house to a number of historic sections of earlier London Bridges, together with medieval stones, in addition to a timber thought so far again to 75AD inside an 18th century archway.
Discovered on Fish Avenue Hill, probably the most necessary streets in Roman Londinium, it’s a reminder of simply how lengthy Londoners (and guests!) have been crossing the Thames at this level, when London Bridge was as soon as the bridge downstream of Kingston for hundreds of years till Putney Bridge was in-built 1729.
Cross London Bridge
London Bridge has spanned the Thames because the Romans constructed the primary one in 55BC – over time, it has usually ‘fallen down’ (because the nursery rhyme has it), been destroyed by hearth and repeatedly rebuilt.
The early pontoon-style bridge was changed by timber bridges then a thirteenth century stone bridge, with retailers and homes constructed alongside the bridge – it was as soon as one in every of London’s busiest buying streets.
It even had public bogs, or latrines, at one stage… although it was distinctly dangerous to make use of them at occasions, with one set falling into the Thames within the late fifteenth century.
The ‘new’ bridge, changing the medieval crossing in 1831, was later bought and now stands in Lake Havasu Metropolis in Arizona.
The current-concrete day bridge, linking the Metropolis of London and Southwark, is unquestionably not essentially the most thrilling one – however on the plus aspect, it’s an excellent place to get a very good view again over to Tower Bridge (and a reminder that the 2 should not the identical!) and the Shard.
Look out for the dragons as you attain the southern financial institution, marking boundary of the Metropolis of London, the place you formally cross from the previous Liberty of Southwark. Usually mistaken for griffins, there are 13 across the metropolis – this pair is a later smaller recreation of the nineteenth century originals close to Temple Gardens.
The London Bridge Expertise & London Tombs
Journey again in time to find over 2,000 years of the world’s darkish and grotesque historical past as a part of The London Bridge Expertise. The spooky interactive walk-through journey options reside actors enjoying a few of London’s most notorious characters, together with Jack The Ripper, William Wallace, and plenty of extra.
Then, for a really terrifying Halloween expertise in London, you can also make your approach right down to the scare maze that’s the London Tombs. Right here you’ll have to squeeze your approach by means of the confined catacombs, making an attempt to flee the zombies, spiders, clowns, bloody butchers, and different creatures of nightmares round each nook.
The London Bridge Expertise is for kids 4+, whereas the London Tombs is just appropriate for kids 11+ – however be warned, the Tombs have been topped the UK’s scariest attraction for the final 13 years, so the attraction undoubtedly isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Go to Leadenhall Market
Who wouldn’t need to step by means of the magical entrance into Diagon Alley? The true life filming location from Harry Potter is just not off Charing Cross Highway – as an alternative the Victorian coated market within the Metropolis of London was used for the road of wizarding retailers within the first film.
For extra Harry Potter areas in London, take a look at this publish
You’ll additionally discover pop-up retailers, performances and artwork installations – tentacles had been seen entwining from the ceiling at Halloween – in addition to common family-friendly occasions going down.
And the best way in to The Leaky Cauldron? You want the curved door subsequent to the optician in Bull’s Head Passage… beforehand blue, it’s now been painted white.
For extra concepts of issues to do in London with youngsters, take a look at my high ideas
Disclosure: This publish comprises affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I’ll obtain a small fee
Tower of London/Sky Backyard/Horrible Thames/lamppost/dragon statue copyright MummyTravels, all different photographs courtesy of Depositphotos