Teens are such a joy, aren’t they? Maybe you’re lucky and have raised teenage humans who are social, interested, and fun to travel with… or maybe you’re the other 99.99% of parents who – despite their best efforts – have now encountered the phase of raising children where it’s like pulling teeth to get them to look up from their phones and engage with the world around them. Either way, no judgment: just think back on your own time as a teen and it’s easy to see why it’s tough to be that age in today’s world.
Luckily, London has something for travelers of every style, budget, and age including teens. There are some incredible things to do in London with teens, and this list just begins to scratch the surface. Whether your teen is interested in music, science, history, pop culture, or just cat memes, London has something to offer.
Take a read through this list, book an activity or two for your teen(s) travel companion – or ask them to pick one they want to do –, and soon you’ll be bonding over a new experience that will convince you both to put down your phones and enjoy the moment together.
1. Abbey Road
Visiting Abbey Road is a pilgrimage for every self-respecting Beatles fan. If you happen to be one of these and have a teen, this is the perfect moment to pass your love for music to your child. In northwest London, you’ll find Abbey Road Beatles in St John’s Wood.
You can simply tour the area or sign up for the many walking tours to learn more about the 1960s and the musical phenomenon of the Beatles. Of course, you can also have fun recreating the iconic 1969 Abbey Road album cover. FYI, you won’t be the only one on the pedestrian crossing, but far from being annoying, it’s quite amusing to see how people try to take a picture crossing the street.
2. Crazy Golf
Crazy golf is one of the top things to do in London with teens. It’ll be an ace up your sleeve when it’s raining outside, and you’re stuck with them in the hotel.
London is full of cool mini-golf courses everywhere, even in places you wouldn’t imagine. They’re on rooftops, WWII bunkers, beer gardens, and parks. Some have made a name for themselves in the last few years and are worth checking out to sink a putt.
Swingers is one of the top golf courses in the city and worth checking out. They are in a WW2 bunker located underneath the Gherkin. The bunker resembles a 1920s English country golf course, a fancier event than usual golf.
Another crazy golf option, Junkyard Golf, is the opposite of Swingers. Expect loud music, neon lights, and graffitis on the walls.
3. Doctor Who: Time Fracture
Fancy being a time traveler for a while? Sign up your children for the Doctor Who: Time Fracture experience.
Doctor Who: Time Fracture is a live, interactive theater show, meaning the audience is a character. They have a role, purpose, and voice within the narrative – Introverts, don’t despair. Visitors can participate as much or as little as they want.
The play revolves around a time fracture causing anomalies in reality, causing the possible eradication of the universe. Doctor Who would normally be able to solve something like that, but due to the time fracture. So the Doctor has sent a list of names to units who’ll save the universe (audience members).
4. Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium
Bring your kids to Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium for a much-needed dose of furry cuddling and playing. Visiting London’s first cat café is one of the most teen-friendly activities in London. For 90 minutes, you get to hug and play with cats of all sizes, colors, and levels of fluffiness.
Cats are free to wander around the 2-story coffee shop and are there to learn socializing skills before someone adopts them. So by visiting, you are doing your part to help kitties who need a home. Guests have to book in advance to visit and enjoy lap cats while sipping a cup of tea and munching a slice of cake.
5. Ride the Ghost (Tour) Bus
London might be all about glitz and glamour, but it wasn’t always like this. The gorgeous city has been the background of atrocious events which have left some wandering spirits in the material realm. The Ghost Tour Bus invites stout-hearted people to join their adventure through the city as they hear the scariest stories about murders, tortures, and crimes.
Best of all, you get to explore the spooky side of London aboard a vintage 1960s Routemaster double-decker bus named The Necrobus. The guides are actors who throw themselves into the spirit of the event and incorporate history, horror, and pop culture. They also have witty names like Eddie Krueger.
6. Thames River Cruise
Let’s grab your teens and give them an experience on water. London has a huge variety of cruise experiences that you and your teen can enjoy. The Speedboat Experience is the ultimate water adventure for adrenaline junkies and consequently, one of the top teen-friendly things to do in London. It’s an unbeatable alternative to regular sightseeing cruises. They follow tourist routes and pass by most London landmarks.
Another great option is the Thames RIB Experience. The cruise zips through London while a stereo system pumps James Bond music. Thames Rockets is another great speedboat experience.
7. The Barbican Estate
The Barbican Estate is one of postwar Britain’s most ambitious housing projects. Before WWII the site was full of rental housing for middle-class and upper-middle-class residents. However, bombings ended up devastating the area, leaving nothing but dust and rubble. Today, The Barbican Estate is a cluster of concrete tower blocks that stand as the finest example of Brutalist architecture.
The complex is a Grade II-listed landmark, and the bold structures of each building create an imposing and overwhelming landscape every visitor should witness. There are behind Brutalism and the area’s history.
8. The Clink Prison Museum
The Clink Prison Museum is one of the top things to do in London with teens. A dark piece of history, The Clink was one of the cruelest prisons in London from the 12th century till the end of the 18th century. Today, the prison’s building is a museum, showing London’s darker and far less pleasant side of history.
As the museum shows, medieval prisons were the scenario of severe tortures, and they employed quite interesting artifacts to punish prisoners, which you can see here. There are some interactive exhibitions, and visitors can manipulate the torture devices.
9. The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre was the famous venue Shakespeare’s playing company built in 1599. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed it in 1613, but there’s a modern reconstruction based on the original one in London you can visit.
Shakespeare’s theater was nothing like the theaters we know today. It features a circular shape, has the groundlings (the cheapest “seats” as spectators had to stand throughout the entire play), and galleries where wealthier attendants got the chance to sit. The tours around the theater are fascinating, showing you all the devices that actors used to create special effects and bring art to the general public.
10. The Harry Potter Studio Tour
Any list of great things to do in London with teens would be incomplete without visiting The Harry Potter Studio Tour. So many children and teens have watched Harry Potter and even read the books.
Visiting the studio in Leavesden is a bucket-list destination for Potterheads, and it’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone to see what went on behind the scenes of the saga. You can see all the props and authentic costumes the young wizards wore in the movies, plus so much more.
11. The London Bridge Experience
London is a city rich in history, no doubt about that. However, the city has excelled at finding interactive ways to tell it besides monotonous walking tours or museum exhibitions. The London Bridge Experience is a perfect example of that.
The London Bridge Experience is an interactive two-part immersive tour where actors lead the audience through moments in London’s history. First, you walk through London Bridge, hearing about the city’s most frightening stories, like Jack the Ripper and The Keeper of the Heads. Next, you descend into the old site of the London Tombs, deep below London Bridge station. Prepare to scream a lot and get the life scared out of you.
12. The London Dungeon
If I haven’t covered enough horror-themed attractions, here’s The London Dungeon. Located along South Bank, the London Dungeon is an interactive walk-through experience that mixes terror with historical events. The tour lasts 90 minutes, and you go from room to room “traveling” through London’s historical moments like the Gunpowder Plot, Great Fire of London, and Jack the Ripper.
Teenagers will love the authenticity of the experience. The live actors, special effects, and use of sound create a fantastic atmosphere. There’s a drop ride at the end, which is the tour’s highlight. As soon as you sit, the elevator drops, and you don’t know when it’ll stop. What a way to finish a tour, huh!
13. The Monument
The Monument is one of Sir Christopher Wren’s most famous creations. The architect built The Monument between 1671 and 1677 to commentate the Great Fire of London. It is a fluted Doric column extending from the east side of Fish Street Hill and to Pudding Lane, where historians believe the great fire originated.
The Monument is so popular because it is one of the city’s best vantage points. You have to pay a fee and climb 311 steps to the top, but the reward is worth it: bird’s-eye views of London.
14. The Natural History Museum
Teenagers’ fascination with dinosaurs is nothing new. Just look at the continual success of Jurassic Parks! Bring your teen to London’s Natural History Museum to see gigantic skeletons of what once were the inhabitants of the Earth. The museum houses a unique collection of more than 80 million specimens spanning 4.5 billion years. There are even meteorites from outer space!
Its most famous resident is Hope, the blue whale skeleton dangling from the museum’s Hintze Hall. A quick note for grown-ups, take a closer look at the building. It is a gem. The interior architecture is impressive, not to mention the outside gargoyles and engravings in the columns.
15. The Prince Charles Cinema
Going to the movies is a proven plan to entertain pretty much every family member. You can experience a fun movie night at The Prince Charles Cinema in London.
Located in the heart of the West End, The Prince Charles Cinema is one of the city’s most successful and loved independent cinemas. Don’t worry. They also screen recent Hollywood releases, so your children won’t have to sit through a 90-minute Kurosawa classic. The cinema has a rotating program with more than ten different films a week on two screens.
Fun fact: The Prince Charles Cinema is Quentin Tarantino’s favorite UK cinema.
16. The Science Museum
Take your teens to explore the fascinating world of science in London’s Science Museum. The museum sits in South Kensington and has four floors brimming with exhibitions. Each section focuses on different scientific discoveries that forever changed the world, from the Industrial Revolution to today and beyond.
The best part of the museum is that it covers numerous scientific fields: astronomy, physics, mathematics, engineering, etc. You’ll find the most interactive experience, Wonderlab, on the third floor. The Wonderlab experience works with teams that invite visitors to explore science through explosive demonstrations and shows. The Wonderlab does cost an extra fee, and you have to book your ticket in advance.
17. The Sherlock Holmes Museum
If your teen is a bookworm, they’ll love touring the house of the most famous detective in literary fiction, Sherlock Holmes. The museum sits at 221B Baker Street, where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stated that the detective and Watson lived.
It is a recreation of Sherlock’s three-story apartment, and the similarities with the literary one are shocking. It is a Georgian house and has the same style described in the novels. Each room features Victorian decor and furniture, and there are even life-size waxworks that bring to life iconic moments! The museum also has a gift shop next door with all things, Sherlock Holmes!
18. The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit
I wouldn’t say London is a city with adrenaline-filled attractions. The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit could change my mind. ArcelorMittal Orbit is Britain’s largest sculpture. However, it is truly unique because you can slide right down the sculpture.
The structure features a tunnel slide that whisks you down to the bottom. It’s the world’s highest and longest tunnel slide. The trip is only 40 seconds long, and visitors reach speeds of up to 15mph! You pass through both light and dark areas while circling The Orbit 12 times as you go down.
I can only imagine how cool it would be to return home and tell your high school friends you’ve been down the longest and highest slide in the world.
19 The View at Sky Garden
Viewing the iconic London skyline is something that people of all ages can appreciate. One of the best places to view the city is at the Sky Garden. Perched on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie, Skygarden is a unique venue in London. As the name suggests, it’s brimming with impressive foliage that creates a true urban jungle in the middle of the concrete city.
The Sky Garden features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, providing fantastic views of London from every angle imaginable. It also has a couple of bars and restaurants to enjoy coffee and cake or classy British fare.
20. Tour a Football Stadium
Football (soccer for my American compatriots) isn’t nearly as popular in the US as in England or all of Britain. Far from being “just a sport,” football is more of a lifestyle in the UK. It’s their national sport and a game they invented. Touring a football stadium is a fun way to explore a different but vital aspect of British culture. My suggestion is that you tour the Chelsea FC Stadium.
Chelsea is one of the giants of English football and won the 2022 Club World Cup. During the tour, a guide tells you about the past, present, and future of this beloved stadium and club while showing you the main areas of the venue. After the tour, you can visit the club’s shop with a huge range of Chelsea merchandise.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in London with teens – and surely there’s at least one on this list that your teens will look up from their devices long enough to enjoy. Have any questions about the teen-friendly London activities on this list? Let me know in the comments!