Alexandra Palace Way, Hornsey
Alexandra Palace (or "Ally Pally," as London kids have nicknamed it), is like a park, rec center, and a concert venue wrapped into one Victorian package. As if that weren't enough, its location also provides one of the best views of the city. Between the ice skating rink, the paddle-boat-filled lake, the skate park, drive-in movie theater, and the farmer's market, it's a definite go-to for tiring out the littles.
Birdland Park & Jurassic Journey
Rissington Rd., Bourton-on-the-Water,
The center and recently opened wildlife reserve in the Cotswolds is set in a beautiful landscape. There are tons of activities and stations for kids to learn about the 500 species of birds that live here. Also worthwhile is a tour of the grounds and of the Marshmouth nature reserve for more bird and animal sightings. It's definitely a day's worth of family activities outside of London.
Tavistock Hotel Basement, Bedford Way, Bloomsbury
While you can walk in and bowl, booking ahead is strongly recommended. This is a great place for parties.
Chelsea Physic Garden
66 Royal Hospital Rd., Chelsea
Beyond being a beautiful place in which to pass an afternoon, this is also London's oldest botanical garden (it dates back to 1673). Don't miss the newest addition, the Garden of Edible and Useful Plants, where you'll find foliage with a variety of uses, from perfume to cosmetics. P.S. Closed Saturdays.
5A Clifton Villas, Maida Vale
This historical garden center—in existence since the 19th-century—is where Londoners go to start their urban oases. The variety is as endless as the knowledge of its kind staff. If you're feeling hands-off, there's a design and installation service here to suit your needs both large and small.
Dennis Severs’ House
18 Folgate St., Whitechapel
What you'll notice first, is that this is a beautiful Grade II* listed Georgian terrace house with a series of 10 striking rooms that appear to have stepped straight out of the 18th- and 19th-centuries. Follow the house's story as you are escorted, in silence, from room to room. No booking required, tickets £10.
Electric Cinema Kids Club
191 Portobello Rd., Notting Hill
Originally built in 1910, Electric Cinema is one of the oldest movie theatres in the UK: It's been running on and off since that time, but it caught our attention when it was leased to Soho House as part of their Electric House property. The Saturday night Kids Club shows a great selection of films for little ones, and kids love hanging out in the unusual leather sofa seating.
Everyman Screen on the Green
83 Upper St., Islington
This is one of Britain’s oldest independent theater groups—with cinemas in Hampstead, Belsize Park, Maida Vale, and more—and as such, they know how to entertain. Loved for their comfortable and stylish interiors—armchair or couch seating comes complete with footstool and a side table for that glass of wine and gourmet snack (no fake-buttered popcorn or boxed chocolate to be found).
Swiss Cottage Sports Centre, Adelaide Rd., Camden
Rock climbing is a seriously intimidating sport for beginners, but High Sports team eases nerves with informal classes and supervised sessions targeted for newcomers. With gym locations all over London, they are an especially great resource for kids, who can learn the basics (and safety) in their Junior clubs. For those who are less committed, they also do birthday parties and one-time drop in classes, which do a fantastic job of occupying kids on rainy days.
Ilchester Place, Kensington
This beautiful and peaceful park is in the Royal Borough of Kensington—more precisely, in the posh neighborhood of Holland Park, which is known for its beautiful Victorian townhouses, tony shops, and great restaurants. The northern part of the park is a semi-wild woodlands, while the rest of the park boasts the famous Orangery, tennis courts, a cricket pitch, a Japanese garden, a giant chess set, an impressive children's Adventure Playground, and even a youth hostel.
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