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7 fun weekend activities for families

It’s Saturday: the kids are bored but you don’t want to give in to their pleas for the TV or games console. Fear not – the City is ready to entertain the little people in your life with a choice of cool, often free, experiences (many with added learning thrown in – shhh, the kids will never know).

And because of the City’s compact size you never have to walk far to find a family-friendly restaurant or café when you need to refuel. It’s a destination sorted for fun and rumbling tummies at the weekend.

Monument

It’s been standing tall above London’s streets since 1677 – a monument to the Great Fire of London which started mere strides from where the structure stands – and today provides a fabulous 360-degree view of the old-meets-new urban landscape (vertigo sufferers need not agree).=

You’ll be following in the footsteps of generations of Londoners when you tread the 311 steps to the top – that’s plenty of time to give the kids a quick history lesson (and perhaps bribes of an ice-cream to entice them to the summit). Entry is ticketed and you may have a short wait (only so many people can fit on a winding staircase at once), but the view is worth it and you’ll get a certificate (who doesn’t love a certificate?).

Getting hungry? Try Pizza Express in Leadenhall Market

F1 Arcade at One New Change

If your slow weekend needs an adrenaline rush, put your foot to the floor and impress the kids with a trip to the world’s first fully-immersive Formula 1 racing simulation experience. Challenge family members in head-to-head races and test reaction speeds in fun games to identify any future Lewis Hamiltons. Booking required and drivers must be 7yrs+.

Getting hungry? The on-site restaurant has a classic kids’ menu.

Family Fun Activities to Enjoy on the Weekend in the City of London - F1 Arcade empty console chair

Guildhall Art Gallery (and Roman Amphitheatre)

Do your children realise that remains of a real Roman amphitheatre can still be seen in the City? Yes, cool! Take them to a family event day (second Saturday of every month) at Guildhall Art Gallery and they could be making Roman coins while hearing tales of gladiatorial combat within the 2,000 year-old walls, or playing art detective among the masterpieces by artists who have been inspired by London over the centuries. Your free ticket to Guildhall Art Gallery includes access to the amphitheatre and family event day activities.

Getting hungry? Try Barbie Green

Family Fun Activities to Enjoy on the Weekend in the City of London - Roman ruins of an amphitheatre in a dark room with lit figures around the room doing traditionally roman sports actvities

© Roman Amphitheatre

St Paul’s Cathedral

Family-friendly attractions don’t always have to leave you frazzled from noise and chaos. A trip to the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral provides a couple of hours of (almost) silent wonder. Explore the building with a sightseeing ticket which gives you access to the Cathedral floor, the Crypt and the two Dome Galleries which offer more fantastic views of London. Make use of the family multimedia guides which are packed with activities including sensory sound tours and colouring challenges. Daily services and many musical performances are free to attend.

Tip: Buy an annual pass on your first visit – it costs the same as a single-trip ticket and you can go as many times as you like within a year.

Getting hungry? Try Wagamama St Paul’s

Family Fun Activities to Enjoy on the Weekend in the City of London - An image of St Pauls CAthedral on a sunny day with people sitting in festical

Tower Bridge

This bridge is so much more than just a way to cross the River Thames. See how many famous buildings you can see from your bird’s-eye view up on the walkways, and dare them to look down through the stomach-flipping glass floor. Kids will also love the Victorian engine rooms and the Family Activity Days (on selected Saturdays and holidays; included in the price of entry) which include free arts and crafts sessions (yes, you do need another homemade crown). Until the end of 2023, you can follow the new interactive ‘Tower Bridge Cat Trail’ inspired by the award-winning books of the same name – meet characters along the way and complete tasks to receive your reward.

Getting hungry? Try Natural Kitchen

Find out more

Family Fun Activities to Enjoy on the Weekend in the City of London - a picture of tower bridge on a sunny day, cropped to show just the tower an upper part of the bridge

Tower of London

Aside from the “wow” factor of the sparkling Crown Jewels and the gruesome tales of treachery and execution, the Tower knows how to capture little imaginations. See if you can spot a lion, elephant and polar bear around the Tower and learn more about the wealth of exotic beasts that were kept here from the 1200s to 1835. Until September 2023, you can also see 14 benches illustrated with designs by school children to mark the coronation of King Charles III.

Getting hungry? Try Zizzi’s

Family Fun Activities to Enjoy on the Weekend in the City of London - A picture of the Tower of London on a summer day, behind the fence there is a family of four standing and listening to an audio guide, an older male, and thee younger girls.

City of London Children’s Trail

Look up, down and all around as you wind through the City streets with Draco the Dragon as your guide on three free, self-guided trails. Pick up the map from the City Information Centre next to St Paul’s Cathedral, before striding off on a 45-minute walk taking in medieval buildings, towering skyscrapers, iconic landmarks and hidden curiosities, with activities to do along the way. Children aged 5-11 years will love it (stickers are involved) – and adults can feel smug about choosing an activity that includes fresh air and exercise.

 

 

Family Fun Activities to Enjoy on the Weekend in the City of London - The City Centre is a modern building with a yellow interior, and we are viewing it through light pink blossom on near by trees with the green gardens in the foreground.

City Information Centre building

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