If you've visited this page before, you may remember it was a "Top 10" list but there were just too many good ideas so I had to expand!
I love going to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace with my daughter. We take a picnic and get there early so we can get a good spot. We've watched from many locations - right outside Buckingham Palace, waited at one of the gates, stood outside Green Park, from the Victoria Memorial in the middle of the roundabout in front of the palace - but I think I like watching on The Mall best as you see the Guards marching for much longer.
This large, safe, outdoor play area is truly outstanding. The Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens, next to Kensington Palace, the former home of Diana Princess of Wales, is a fabulous children's playground for kids up to 12 years. It's dominated by a large pirate ship which children can climb all over then come down and play in the sand. There's also a sensory trail, areas for climbing and exploring as well as swings and slides. Staff are on site at all times and no adults can enter without children (just as at Coram's Fields). There's a cafe and clean toilets meaning many stay all day so on busy days there is a limit and you may have to wait to enter. But outside of the height of summer you'll be in and playing immediately.
This museum gives you a reason to visit the London Docklands and see the contrast between the old and new architecture. The museum is housed in a 200 year old warehouse and tells the story of the London's history as a port. There are free activity packs from Reception and the Mudlarks play area for under 12s is free and fantastic. Everything is themed around life in the London docks so the big kids can weigh cargo or load a tea clipper while the small kids get to crawl around with large foam bananas and a London bus, plus they can pretend to drive a DLR train.
Talking of trains, to get to the Museum of London Docklands you need to take the DLR (Docklands Light Railway). Get a seat at the front as these trains don't have a driver and you, or your little one, can pretend to drive the train!
Coram's Fields is a unique seven acre playground and park for children in central London. It is free to use and provides a safe and stimulating environment where children can play freely. Adults are only permitted with a child and there is always staff available to ensure all is well.
The nearby Foundling Museum is always free for children and free for adults accompanying children during all Family Fun activities. Family Fun takes place in the Foundling Museum Education Center on the first Saturday of every month and is suitable for children aged 3-12, unless otherwise stated.
If you're looking for a healthy lunch nearby, Alara is a fine healthfood shop and you should look out for the metal objects embedded in the pavement of Marchmont Street too.
5. Kew Gardens
The best news is children under 17 go free to Kew Gardens and you can easily spend a day there so this is a great outdoors, cost-effective destination. Kids love to run around outdoors and there are great expanses here, as well as the Treetop High Walkway which offers wonderful views as do the high walkways inside the enormous greenhouses.
Climbers and Creepers is Kew's indoor interactive play area for 3-9 year olds and Treehouse Towers is for 3-11 year olds. Both are positioned next to a cafe and family shop. Explore the Gardens first as once the kids get here they won't want to leave!
This bronze statue of Peter Pan is in Kensington Gardens, next to Hyde Park. The exact location was chosen by Peter Pan's author, J.M. Barrie. Barrie lived close to Kensington Gardens and published his first Peter Pan story in 1902, using the park for inspiration. In his Peter Pan tale, The Little White Bird, Peter flies out of his nursery and lands beside the Long Water lake, on the spot where the statue now stands.
The lower section of the statue has Peter Pan standing on a tree trunk covered with climbing squirrels, rabbits, and mice which can be fun to admire with shorter friends. A visit to Kensington Gardens has many other treats for young visitors such as the Diana Memorial Playground, the Diana Memorial Fountain and Kensington Palace.
10. Horniman Museum
The Horniman Museum is a real find. Tucked away in the depths of south London, it has exhibitions of the natural and cultural worlds. And it even has an aquarium (small fee). Really, this place is worth the trip - it's actually only 13 minutes by train from London Bridge train station.