You may have your own bucket list, but what about making one of great London landmarks and attractions for your family?
There are things you want to see and do for personal fulfillment, and then there are experiences that you want to have with your spouse or significant other and your children.
A family bucket list is a great way to ensure you make the most of those years before the kids flee the nest. It can also lead to more togetherness once your kids are adults. After all, who says a complete bucket list is over once the little ones turn 18 or even have little ones of their own?
If visiting London is on your family bucket list, that’s a great start. You may want to get even more specific by adding some of the following London landmarks and attractions to the list.
1. Explore the royal palaces, including the Royal Jewels.
Is someone in your family obsessed with the Royal family? Even if you’re a little curious about how they really live and work, you should put the royal palaces of London on your family bucket list. Some of the most noteworthy palaces to visit include:
There are special experiences that you can book tickets for at most of the palaces. Start with guided tours of these London landmarks and attractions to make sure you don’t miss the finer details and entertaining stories shared by the knowledgeable guides. Then make sure you see the Royal Jewels and other special exhibits that you can only see in London.
2. Walk across the famous bridges of London.
If you want to add some adventure to your family bucket list without going too extreme, consider walking across some of London’s iconic bridges. They stretch over the River Thames and have a ton of history behind them, but they’re most fun to walk across while taking in spectacular views of the water and city beyond.
Some of the bridges you might consider adding to this adventure include:
3. Climb the Shard.
The Shard is one of the tallest buildings in London, hitting more than 1,000 feet at its pinnacle. This is one of the most stunnng London landmarks and attractions because of it has viewing decks starting on the 68th floor, which is referred to as The View from the Shard. When you reach the viewing decks, you’re more than 800 feet above the ground and can see for up to 40 miles. You may also want to add this to your family bucket list if you have a Doctor Who fan in the family.
Climbing close to 700 steps to reach the top is exciting, but there is a lift if you just want to get to the viewing deck safely and quickly.
4. Take a speed boat tour of the River Thames.
London river cruises and tours are all about history and spectacular views from the water, but they take on new meaning when you ride a speed boat down the river. These boats can go more than 30 miles per hour and are known to make sharp turns and other daring moves designed to keep passengers awake and at attention.
Some of the most well-known speed boat tour operations are the Thames Rockets and the Thames Tigers. The speedboats used by the Thames Tigers will go over 45 mph while the Thames Rockets reach a max speed of 35 mph.
5. Ride the mail train at the Postal Museum.
Before you roll your eyes at the Postal Museum making it onto our list of the best London landmarks and attractions for your family bucket list, hear us out. The museum is actually quite entertaining and allows you to board an underground mail train that was used by the Royal Mail Service in the 20th century.
Some riders, especially children, find it a bit terrifying while others decide it’s more amusing or entertaining. At the very least, you will get to ride a small train under London. Who else do you know can claim to doing that on vacation?
6. Explore the latest graffiti artwork under the Waterloo station.
If you’re into art, don’t limit your London exposure to the big galleries. If you’re not into art, take a chance and go see the Leake Street Tunnel anyway. This is one of the London landmarks and attractions that is an underground tunnel below the Waterloo station that is covered with stylish graffiti.
Artists are constantly painting over the existing artwork to express themselves and add to the beauty of the tunnel. You can go back each time you visit London and see something different.
This is a great free London attraction that won’t cost you anything but a bit of time. Kids of all ages may enjoy looking at the graffiti because it’s colorful and interesting.
7. See the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.
The Natural History Museum is one of the most popular free London museums, and for good reason. It houses an impressive dinosaur collection that includes the skeletal remains and other artifacts for the T-Rex, Iguanodon, Triceratops, and more. Other exhibits will take you into the habitats of many other animals on land and under the sea.
8. Learn what it was like to live through World Wars I and II at the Imperial War Museums.
The Churchill War Rooms are the highlight of this museum network, but they’re all worth a spot on your family bucket list. You’ll explore actual bunkers that were used as Churchill’s center of operations during the Second World War. There’s also an eye-opening First World War collection that will show you what it was like in the trenches.
There are five museums in total, including the HMS Belfast warship. Your family should visit them all to have a newfound appreciation for those who fought the war as well as those who survived it back home.
9. Catch a show or two.
London has a large theatre presence on the West End, but you shouldn’t limit your show experience to that area. Look for smaller theatres throughout the Greater London area that cater to more narrow audiences and deliver superb performances.
For instance, the Unicorn Theatre caters to kids of all ages. The Old Vic and Young Vic are known for daring stage acts that are often more risqué, but they’re always tons of fun and may even make you think in new ways.
10. Climb the Tower Bridge.
If you didn’t get the climbing bug out of your system at the Shard, perhaps climbing up one of the towers at Tower Bridge will do the trick. Of course you can walk across the bridge for free, no tickets required. But if you want to get your heart pumping a little and see London from up high, you should consider booking a ticket for the Tower Bridge Exhibition and climb up one of the towers. The exhibition also gives you access to a glass walkway.
There are lots of kid-friendly family activities at the Tower Bridge, including the Relaxed Opening that gives kids a less dramatic or intrusive way to experience the tower.
Has your family bucket list expanded a little at this point? If so, start planning that big family trip to London. We have a lot of tips and tricks for visiting London fully prepared for an amazing time.