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Top 10 Things to Do in London With Teenagers

Cool London for the Older Kids

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As your children grow up they want to do different things. What suits toddlers in London is unlikely to enthrall your fourteen year old. Thankfully, London has something for everyone so here are some ideas to keep the bigger kids happy.

1. Clothes Shopping

Camden Market
© britainonview.com

The teenagers I know of both sexes like to shop for clothes so when you come to London they want to be able to choose something their friends don't have back home. Head to Top Shop at Oxford Circus (name of a tube stop – sadly no clowns or jugglers here) for some great High Street fashion. It's the flagship store and is big enough to demand a few hours of your shopping time. Further along Oxford Street (nearest tube: Marble Arch) is the enormous Primark store which has very cheap fashion clothes in all the latest styles.

And don't forget the street marketsCamden Market is always a hit.

2. Street Art Walking Tour

Eine Street Art in London
© Laura Porter

There are those who call it graffiti but in London we have some of the best street art on display. The walls around east London are ever-changing with new artists regularly appearing on the scene. Have a look at these street art photos to give you an idea of the high standard of artwork you're likely to see. I've put together a suggested walking route to find some great street art or you might prefer to take a guided tour which I've also done and can recommend.

Teenagers often enjoy photography and this would be a great opportunity to get some cool shots of 'real London' for them to post on Facebook. Don't forget to upload your best photos to join the gallery here too.

You can also book a London Street Art Walking Tour through Viator.

3. clueQuest London

clueQuestteam.jpg
© Laura Porter

clueQuest is great fun for teams of 3 to 5 people. It's a live escape game and, once locked inside, you have 60 minutes to get free. You have to work as a team to solve the codes and puzzles and you need to be over 9 year old to truly understand some of the challenges. It's brilliant for families and friends and they stay open late into the evening too. Read my review...

4. The London Dungeon

London Dungeon
© Laura Porter

Teenagers, and many adults, love to be scared. Horror movies would not be so popular if this wasn't true. When the kids were younger they would probably have been too frightened to go in this place but now they are the perfect age. Have a look at some photos so you know what to expect. I like the London Dungeon as it's good giggly-scary fun and you'll have a real adrenalin rush. The actors are there to entertain so bring it on! Read my review...

You can book Skip the Line London Dungeon tickets through Viator.

5. Liquid Nitrogen Ice-cream

Chin Chin Laboratorists
© Laura Porter

Ice-cream is not just for small kids, I can assure you, or why do I still love it now and I'm way beyond teenage? London has many great places for ice-cream but my absolute favorite is Chin Chin Laboratorists in Camden where you get freshly-prepared liquid nitrogen ice-cream! It's amazing to watch it being made for you and photos are allowed. I've explained the whole process on these three pages: what's it all about?, what happens, and how to find them. It really is the coolest ice-cream around!

6. Jack the Ripper Tour

Jack the Ripper Walking Tour
© R. Hackston

Keeping with the 'they like to be scared' theme, a walking tour in the evening hearing about the gruesome tales of Jack the Ripper in Victorian London is another option for older kids. The walk follows the streets around the east end where the murders took place and the tour guides don't hold back with their honesty but are also entertaining. Read my review...

You can also book a 3-hour Jack the Ripper tour and a 2-hour Jack the Ripper tour through Viator.

7. Restaurant Without Waiters

Inamo Soho London
© Intelligent PR

Now the kids are older it can be great to go to restaurants together but it still needs to be interesting so try Inamo which has no waiters as you order your meal through projections on the table. Instead of reading about your food, each dish is projected onto the space where your plate will be so you can get a much better idea what your meal will be like.

The food is Pan-Asian and I've never had problems finding something for even the fussiest eater. And after you've ordered your drinks and meals you can watch 'Chef Cam' and see it all being prepared! There are also games to play to keep you entertained while waiting for everyone to finish. I've been to both branches and you can check the reviews here: Inamo Soho and Inamo St James.

8. Go to Court

Old Bailey London
© Laura Porter

Forget the TV, this is real life. Visitors over 14 are allowed in the public galleries at courts to watch the trials and probably the most famous criminal court in the world is the Old Bailey. (The correct name is the Central Criminal Court but the name Old Bailey is still used regularly.)

You can sit in the public galleries and see trials in session from Monday to Friday at 10.30am-1pm, and 2-4pm. Some cases are busier than others and as there is no reserved seating you may need to queue. Also, there are restrictions on what you can take in (no cameras, video equipment, mobile phones, portable music devices, bags, food or drink) and there are no lockers so it's best to not carry anything with you when visiting.

9. Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea in London
© Laura Porter

I'm an advocate for afternoon tea for all age groups but I know teenagers enjoy being treated like an adult and at afternoon tea the service is as important as the nice tea and cakes so they should be made to feel special.

I've been to most afternoon tea venues in London so have broken down my reviews into lists by price and my favorites to help you choose. The top places in London usually have to be booked up to 3 months in advance but there are many other great places to try too. Find out more...

10. Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds London
© Madame Tussauds London

Like it or not, celebrities play a big part in teenager's lives and getting up close to some big names can be fun for all. It's all about having fun here so there's music playing when you arrive and you can hug your idols and get some great photo opportunities. There are pop stars and actors, as well as sporting legends and historical figures. I like sitting in the US President's chair and answering the phone for him then having a cuddle with Shrek, but that's just me. Find out more...

You can book Skip the Line Madame Tussauds tickets through Viator.

11. City Walks for Kids

City Walks London With Kids
© Laura Porter

I know teenagers are not really kids but what I like about this box of 50 walks if that they are relatively short but always interesting. They can be a great way to add something more to visiting a new area instead of just seeing a museum, attraction, shop, etc. There's a box of walks for grown-ups too so maybe you want to try both to see which suits your family best. Read my review...

12. More...

I've stopped at 11 but I haven't even mentioned the big music stores on Oxford Street or the secondhand record shops in Notting Hill. I didn't get to tell you about getting tickets for a TV show recording or about seeing a Leicester Square film premiere. Or how much fun it is to be in Parliament Square when Big Ben chimes, or getting your photo taken hanging out of a red telephone box, or crossing at the famous Abbey Road crossing. I didn't mention HMS Belfast and Kew Gardens which are free for under 17s. Nor did I say, everyone enjoys the London Eye and their circular River Cruise is fun too. I haven't said if they are adventurous they really need to go to Outdoors in the City. I'll stop now. No, here's another brilliant idea: climb over The O2 with Up at The O2! Or how about playing ping pong at Bounce London? Right, now I'll stop.

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