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A man looking at artwork in the 'Frameless Gallery' attraction

Nine child-friendly London attractions for Easter

Desperately seeking entertainment for the kids this Easter break? We’ve hunted out the best ideas


The Easter holidays can be a minefield if you have kids of any age, not least because of the sugar highs – and crashes – brought on by the scourge of the chocolate egg. With the thermometer edging into double digits, a visit to London is a great way to silence the low-level clamour of “I’m bored” and “I’m hungry” to get them out and away from the dreaded screens. But what if you’ve already ticked off Big Ben, The London Eye and The Natural History Museum? Try these less famous attractions. They’ll take you and your gang away from the crowds and into the know…

Munch’s Scream at Frameless. Opening image: Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (Jordan Curtis Hughes)


Let’s face it, the kids + art combo doesn’t always make for a relaxing outing. It’s more eye rolls from other gallery goers and far too much shushing from you. Frameless, however, is worlds away from this. In this immersive 30,000sqft space near Marble Arch, iconic masterpieces are projected onto four enormous walls, so you actually feel as if you’re stepping into a painting. Wade through Monet’s Waterlilies, stand in Canaletto’s Piazza San Marco and get up close to Munch’s Scream, all to the sound of meticulously composed music. With four rooms dedicated to surrealism, the abstract, ‘colour’ and ‘the world’, this multi-sensory experience will enthral even the fidgetiest toddler. 

Temple of Mithras reconstruction (James Newton)

The London Mithraeum

The gleaming, high-rise offices of The City aren’t where you’d expect to find a museum dedicated to Roman London, but this is the location of The London Mithraeum. While, in its past life, the ancient Temple of Mithras hosted the great and the good, it’s now free to enter and is presented in an engaging, atmospheric and informative way, designed to appeal to the iPad generation. More importantly, it’s not very big, so you can nip in and out before they get bored and give yourself a self-congratulatory pat on the back for enriching their brains with some culture. 

Apothecary bottles at the Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret

The Old Operating Theatre

Do your progeny love a bit of blood and gore? Then it’s worth dragging them up the 52-step spiral staircase to the Old Operating Theatre. Located in the attic of a church that was once part of St Thomas’ Hospital, this museum takes you through the rather chequered history of British medicine. Don’t be surprised if the main highlight is the display of terrifying saws and knives used for operations in the days when there were no anaesthetics or antiseptics. But, alongside the macabre, kids will learn about how herbs were used to treat illnesses with varying degrees of success.

Waterfall at the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park (Getty)

The Japanese Kyoto Garden in Holland Park

As far as London parks go, Holland Park’s Japanese Kyoto Garden isn’t your run-of-the-mill. Instead of vast open spaces, here you’ll find tranquil, tiered waterfalls, brightly coloured Japanese maple trees and elegant stone sculptures. While the peace is likely to be shattered if you’re there with children, at least they’ll have fun spotting the enormous koi carp in the garden’s serene pond and the resident peacocks that strut around as if they own the place.

Laser fun with Mr Monopoly at Monopoly Lifesized

Monopoly Lifesized

If you’ve got competitive kids with a capital ‘C’, let them battle it out on a life-sized Monopoly board. This unique experience allows you to build houses, charge rent, get out of jail free, buy train stations and even take control of London’s Waterworks via a series of escape room-style challenges. Teams can be of up to six, so you can make it a family effort or compete against each other to take control of the giant board and London itself.

Miniature railway at The Postal Museum

The Postal Museum

Teach kids what things were like in the dark days before Slack, Prime and WhatsApp with a trip to London’s Postal Museum. Kids will particularly love the Mail Train – a miniature railway that takes you underneath the Mount Pleasant sorting office and shows you how letters and parcels were transported in the 1930s. The museum itself is just as impressive and brings what could be an incredibly dull subject to life with the Mini Town Post Office Play Area, where children can sort mail via chutes, trolleys and pulleys, while hands-on exhibitions are perfect for digital-savvy fingers that like things to press. 

Iguanodon sculptures in Crystal Palace Park (Alamy)

The dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park

Most kids moan at the mere mention of going for a walk, so you usually need something to tempt them into their coats and out of the door. The dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park should provide just that. These enormous and frighteningly realistic statues are free to visit and are based on up-to-date artistic interpretations using the latest scientific knowledge. While not quite Jurassic Park (and thank goodness, too), a wander among plesiosaurs, iguanodons, pterosaurs and dicynodonts is a pleasant way to spend a sunny spring afternoon. 

Workshopping at Discover Children’s Story Centre (Sorcha Bridge)

Discover Children’s Story Centre

If your child is allergic to books and reading, prescribe them a day at Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford. Here, kids can let their imaginations run riot by sliding down a monster’s tongue, performing in a puppet show, discovering lost ships, jumping over alligators and captaining spaceships. There are also sensory light displays, tactile cave spaces, illustration stations and a Story Factory, where older children can try their hand at their first piece of creative writing. Keep an eye out for the special storytelling sessions, fun exhibitions and Meet the Author events that run regularly.

Canoeing at Hackney Wick

Take a canoe out at Hackney Wick

Swap the open-top buses of those classic Westminster sights for a watery tour of hip East London. One for older kids and teens, Moo Canoes will kit you out with safety gear, a paddle and a cow-themed canoe before going through the basics on dry land. Then you’re off, paddling around the Limehouse Basin, where you’ll see the Olympic Stadium, Hackney Marshes and the Crate Brewery, plus loads of birdlife close up. And, for afters, there’s a floating café and bar where you can argue over whether you sit in the cosy, indoor cabin or outside on the flame-heated terrace.