Planning a London trip with older kids brings about some challenges. How to keep everyone happy while still seeing some unique things that you’re there for? All while keeping everyone happy and not bored! Thankfully it’s not a hard task when in London as there is a tonne of really interesting attractions that teenagers will love.
I’ve loved taking my teens to London over the last few years and they’ve always loved visiting too. We’ve looked round markets, found book shops, explored museums and taken in a show too. It’s actually a really great place to spend some time with them.
London is a great city for teenagers with lots to do and bucket loads of history. These 15 cool things to do in London for teens will keep everyone happy without being too young, too boring, and still being loads of fun.
Our top picks for London with teenagers:
If you don’t have time for the whole article check out these fun activities in London that teens will love:
The best things to do in London for Teens
In this list of places to go in London with teenagers I’ve tried to include interesting things you can’t get anywhere else in the world. Why go all the way to London to go and do what you do back home? Of course you can still do ice skating, watch films and go to theme parks in London but we’re looking at specifically British things to do and see!
1. Check out the London skyline on the London Eye
A familiar addition to the London Skyline, the London Eye is a really fun thing to do for all ages including teenagers. You go inside a capsule and it will take you, slowly, all the way round so you can get a really great view of Big Ben, the houses of parliament, the river Thames and much more.
Included in the ticket is entry to a 4D show as well.
It’s worth getting your tickets in advance and fast track option might also be good in high season.
2. Enjoy a trip to the theatre in the West End
London’s theatre scene is buzzing and there’s some amazing shows going on at all times. Most teens will come out of a show with wide smiles so I always suggest it as an idea if your budget allows.
Right now I’ve heard amazing things about the Mrs Doubtfire show, Lion King and also Wicked, which I think would be great choices for teens but there are many different shows that could suit.
Also don’t forget to see Harry Potter and The Cursed Child if you’re fans – we recently went and really enjoyed it. It’s a long show, in two parts, but a really good one. (It’s worth checking out the Palace Theatre in any case – it looks amazing!
Teen friendly theatre shows in London in 2023:
It’s also worth looking on Theatre Tickets Direct for deals and to see what might be on when you’re in London.
3. Take a walking tour
From Harry Potter walking tours, to film location tours there’s bound to be something to interest your teens. Maybe a tour to see Baker Street and the history of Sherlock? Or maybe they’re interested in the James Bond?
Here are some tours that might suit teenagers:
- Harry Potter walking tour
- Doctor Who walking tour
- James Bond tour
- Jack the Ripper walking tour
- Sherlock Holmes walking tour
4. Climb the O2 arena
If your teens are of the adrenaline junkie persuasion then you’ll want some high energy things to do for them. Climbing the o2 arena in Greenwich might be right up their street.
You’ll get amazing views from the top heading over to London’s financial district, Canary Wharf. On a clear day you might even be able to see all the way to Big Ben!
If you’re not bothered about going up the O2 yourself you can always spend some time in the shopping area of the O2 while your teenagers get the views of London!
Note that there’s a minimum age of 8 for this attractions and height of 1.2m.
5. Find Platform 9 3/4 at London’s Kings Cross station
If you have any Harry Potter fans travelling with you, no matter whether kids, tweens, teens or older, then you’ll love London. There are lots and lots of places you can visit that scenes from the film are based on etc, but the iconic platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross station is a must visit. Sound like something that doesn’t exist? It certainly does!
I imagine due to popular demand, or just too many people wandering around trying to see if it was really there, Kings Cross Station created the gateway to the platform. You can get your picture taken with the trolley as you head onto it as well! Ok, it’s not quite real, but I think it’s a really awesome little free attraction in London.
There’s no charge to have a go at trying to get to the other side, but there is a professional photographer there who will take your picture. No hard sell and you’re free to take your own pictures too but if you do buy the image, it’s not overly expensive either. You pick it up from the Harry Potter shop next door – it’s only small but does have some nice bits in there.
Day trip option
Harry Potter fans might also appreciate a trip to the Harry Potter Film Studios. It’s a little way out of Central London but not too far. You can get tickets with transfers from the centre of London if you want an easy life.
Check out my tips for visiting the Harry Potter Studios here or see what it was like visiting at Christmas
6. Go on a high speed boat trip along the Thames
A trip on the Thames is a must for anyone visiting London, but for something a bit special and extremely memorable for your teens how about a high speed boat trip?
These RIB Boat tours will take you all along the river in an exhilarating way while still taking in the sights along the way such as the Tower of London, Big Ben and Greenwich. Some even go as far as the Thames Barrier so it’s a decent length of a boat ride!
7. Explore some of London’s horrid past at the London Dungeons
We all love learning about the past of the areas that we travel to and the London Dungeons is great for indulging in that! (We loved the York version recently – highly recommended and a lot of fun!)
You can learn about all sorts of things that happened in London, with a bit of a dark and creepy underside to it. It’s an attraction that is suitable for ages 12+ so nothing too babyish here!
Prices vary but are best if you book online.
8. Visit iconic sporting grounds
Home to many of the world’s best football (soccer) teams, London has a number of sporting grounds where you can get a tour around.
- Wembley Stadium – the England Football team’s home stadium
- Stamford Bridge – home of Chelsea Football Club
- Emirates Stadium – home of Arsenal Football Club
Of course it’s not only football that England is known for – how about a visit to a cricket ground?
9. Watch Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre
If your teen is studying Shakespeare at school (and who doesn’t have to at some point!) or has any interest in drama, theatre and plays at all then you’ll want to look out for performances being shown at the Globe Theatre.
It is an amazing place to visit – it’s a faithful reconstruction of the original building (and only about 200 metres from the original site) which was built in 1599. Imagine getting to watch a Shakespeare play in the setting in which they were written for!
Not only can you watch plays in the Theatre, but you can also go for guided tours like this one (recommended by my daughter who recently took a similar one).
10. Shop for quirky items in Camden Market
There are many markets in London and many areas to go and shop, but if I ask any teenagers that I know where to go, they’ll answer Camden Market.
Camden market is easily reached by tube, being about 10 minutes away on the Northern line and it has a real village vibe to the place. The canal is great to walk around, there’s loads of quirky market stalls with unique things to buy and it’s an amazing place to get street food. If you have teenagers like me you’ll know to go where great food is!
Also check out Portobello Road Market, Covent Garden and Oxford Street for more shopping.
11. Hang out with the stars at a London Film Premiere
Leicester Square in London is where many of the London film premieres happen. If you’re in the city when one is taking place why not go down and see if you can meet the stars of the film and get an autograph?
Remember to take plenty of food and drink and also an umbrella!
New for 2022/2023 in Leicester Square is an installation of some iconic character statues such as Harry Potter, Mary Poppins and Mr Bean!
12. Travel across the Thames on the Emirates Air Line
A cable car ride that takes you from North Greenwich to the Royal Docks is a really fun addition to the day, especially if you’re visiting Greenwich (see below), to get a brilliant view of the city. You’ll see the O2 arena, the business district of Canary Wharf and much more.
Tickets are reasonable at £4 for an adult and £2 for a child and you can use your Oyster card to pay for it too.
13. See where the day begins at Greenwich
Greenwich is a familiar name to many because of the phrase Greenwich Meant Time (GMT). It’s the place where all time is measured from at 0 degrees longitude and the divide between the Eastern and Western hemisphere.
Greenwich is a lovely part of London, a little out of the centre but easy enough on the tube or DLR (docklands light railway). If you take the DLR will also take you past Canary Wharf – the financial district of London.
Once there there’s a lovely park which is great for a picnic, the Royal Observatory, where you can see the ‘Prime Meridian Line’ up close and get your photo taken, and also the Maritime museum (free) to really make a long day of it. The Cutty Sark is also a big draw and interesting for any teens with a love of history.
It was also where the end scenes in the second Thor movie were filmed so a good one for Marvel movie buffs!
14. Visit Churchills War Cabinet Rooms and HMS Belfast
I have to include this because if you have teens like my son who are interested in World War 2 or perhaps are studying it, then these London WW2 sites are a must see.
Churchill’s cabinet war rooms are underneath the city, near the current Prime Minister’s residence and the place where he orchestrated some of the major campaigns of the war. A walking tour might be good for those history obsessed teens.
Another London WW2 attraction is the HMS Belfast which is permanently moored on the River Thames. Go along and find out what life was like at sea when the war was on.
15. Explore some museums
Finally, London is teeming with museums and they are an excellent teenage friendly attraction in London, especially if the weather isn’t looking too great.
If you are new to the UK then the Museum of London has got to be worth a visit to learn lots about this capital city.
Others worthy of mention are the Natural History Museum (always a favourite of mine!), the Imperial War Museum (pictured) and the British Museum. Amazing exhibits in all of them.
Depending on what your teen is interested in there’s bound to be something they’ll enjoy to while away a rainy afternoon.
Did I mention that most museums in London are free?
You might also like our guide to the best FREE London museums with kids which are approved by our teens
Free things to do with teens in London
If budget is a concern then looking for cheap and free things to do in the city with your teenagers is going to be top priority.
Here are some ideas that cost no money at all:
- Museums – many of the museums as mentioned above are free. Not just small, niche museums, the big ones that you can spend a whole day in!
- The Sky Garden. This is a free place to go not far from the Tower of London which is a great instagram friendly spot, a really pretty place in London and has amazing views.
- When you’re done there check out Leadenhall Market right next door – a Harry Potter filming location
- Watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, one of many Royal Palaces in London – you can see this for free!
- Explore the Royal Parks – Kensington Gardens is a favourite of mine
🇬🇧💂♀️ London Travel FAQ 💂♀️🇬🇧
Do I need insurance for traveling to London?
YES! I always recommend people take travel insurance when exploring the world!
Check Travel Insurance Master for quote comparisons from different providers.
Do I need a car for visiting London?
NO – If you’re just visiting London then a car is not recommended and can be more of a hindrance than a help.
If you plan to explore more of the UK then I recommend DiscoverCars to compare car rental prices
How to book accommodation in London?
For hotels I recommend Booking.com
For apartments and cottages check out VRBO
Will my phone work in London?
Perhaps – it depends if you have roaming enabled and beware this can be an expensive way to use your phone.
If you need a SIM for use in the UK I recommend GiffGaff which you can get and set up before traveling.
What’s the best guidebook for London?
I really like the Lonely Planet Guidebooks
Where to get flights for London
Expedia is my first port of call for finding cheap flights to London.
Do I need a visa for London?
Many countries don’t need a visa for visiting England as tourists (USA, Canada, Aus, NZ and Europe) – it’s always best to check first though.
Pin for later!
If you’re looking for more information about a trip to London with kids check out the following posts:
Budget family accommodation in London – how to find the best deals!
2 thoughts on “15 fun things to do in London for Teens: ideas for 2023 that don’t suck!”
London is my city! It’s where my heart is. We love all these things, but the FREE stuff is the best. Anyway, gotta dash, off to London Zoo today, best zoo in the world, does such an amazing job in global conservation. The kids have probably been 100 times, never gets old. Cheers!
I’m always amazed at just how much there is to do in London that is free – it’s really an amazing city! And with my eldest being 16 soon I need to find these things out – all of a sudden he’s an adult for most entry charges!!!
Haven’t been to the zoo for years, don’t think we’ve taken the kids. I remember going when I was a kid and a goat eating my hat. I wasn’t impressed! :p