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Family day out in South Bank London

October 13, 2022

It can be challenging to find activities that your entire family will enjoy when you travel. But when you travel to London, finding family-friendly activities is hardly ever an issue.

That’s because London is known for having endless attractions related to art, culture, history, food, and adventure which all provide you with endless opportunities for how you can fill your time.

To check off a bunch of family-friendly outing activities in London, you’ll want to head over to South Bank. And to help you navigate your time as a family in South Bank and Bankside, we’ve included 10 of our favorite family-friendly activities and restaurants below.

1.)   Visit the London Eye

When you arrive at the London Eye, you’ll be greeted by the world’s highest observation wheel which your whole family can ride to experience breathtaking views of London’s skyline. The London Eye is comprised of 32 pods, representing each of the 32 London Boroughs. This bird’s eye view of the city is something your family will remember forever and will provide you with some of the best photos of London you can get.

2.)   Head to the Riverside Walkway

After you grab a bite to eat and shop with your family at Gabriel’s Wharf, you can head down the riverside walkway for a scenic afternoon stroll. Along your walk you can take in the beauty and culture of South Bank and your family may even cross paths with a street performer. This stroll gets its name from the River Thames, which you will be walking alongside.

3.)   Take a boat ride along the Thames

If you prefer to see the River Thames by boat instead of by foot, you can get aboard a boat at Bankside Pier. Many families opt for the boat ride because it’s one of the best ways to see all of London’s landmarks. During your boat ride, you’ll pass sights like the Monument, Tower Bridge, and the Houses of Parliament. The boat has a covered area and an open upstairs deck so you can choose where you want to sit for some (or all) of the scenic, picturesque ride.

4.)   Visit the Sea Life London aquarium

It’s hard to believe that you can swim with sharks and feed sting rays during your visit to London, but all of that is possible at the Sea Life London Aquarium. If someone in your family isn’t feeling as adventurous, you can still find the typical aquarium attractions you know and love in the aquarium’s 14 different discovery zones that have over 500 sea species to see. You can visit a jellyfish exhibit, come face to face with penguins, meet some sea turtles, and see other amazing fish and marine life that your whole family will love.  

5.)   See a show at the National Theatre

If your family enjoys the arts, you won’t want to miss the chance to stop by the National Theatre. This internationally recognized arts center is the home base for some of London’s best new writing, classics, comedies, and musicals. You’ll just need to check out what show is currently in their lineup in advance of your trip!

6.)   Explore the Florence Nightingale Museum

The Florence Nightingale Museum is full of family-friendly exhibits. That means that while the museum is meant to celebrate the life of Florence Nightingale (who some of your younger family members may not be as familiar with), there are interactive displays, unique collections, and art exhibits catered for children. You’ll find the museum open Wednesday to Sunday so if your visit to South Bank falls on those days, and if your family is interested in history and the opportunity to relive Florence’s childhood, you’ll want to check this out.

7.)   Catch a film at the BFI Imax

While you may not have thought of heading to a movie theatre during your visit, BFI Imax is worth your time. This theatre is a favourite venue among locals. It’s practically as large as five double-decker busses and comes equipped with hundreds of seats and is the UK’s largest 3D cinema screen. Sure, you have movie theatres back home, but we guarantee you don’t have a theatre like this.

8.)   Take off at Shrek’s Adventure

Also located in London is Shrek’s Adventure. If your children are fans of the film, you’ll want to be sure to stop by this attraction. Not only is there an appearance by Shrek himself, but Donkey, Fiona, Puss in boots, the Muffin Man, and your other favourite Shrek characters are all part of this 4D family-friendly adventure that brings you to the Land of FarFarAway.  

9.)   House of Vans Skate Skool

Visiting South Bank means that you are visiting the home of British skating, so immerse yourself in this experience. You can find this hidden London gem inside Leake Street’s arches and tunnels. If you or your family is interested in learning how to skate, the skool offers free one-hour lessons every Saturday morning but you can visit the spot any time. If you don’t want to skate but still want to see the tunnels, you can stop by to see the amazing transformation of the tunnels into an exhibition, cinema, music venue, and skate park all in one place.

10.)  Have dinner at the Swan

If you want to bring your family to a meal with a view that they’ll remember forever, take your family out to the Swan. You can find the Swan located at Shakespeare’s Globe, right next to the River Thames. Whether you want lunch, dinner, or “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” inspired afternoon tea, there is something on the menu for everyone. If we had to suggest one restaurant to get a reservation at during your visit, it would undoubtedly be this one.

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