Theme parks and attractions
There are a number of great theme parks dotted around the outskirts of London, along with a few firm favourite attractions slap bang in the centre. Many are owned by Merlin entertainment and it is possible to get further discounts by buying an annual pass. Usually, you’ll find discounts online and in the press, so keep your eyes peeled. Supermarket loyalty schemes also offer discounts, as do rail operators, so it’s worth doing your homework before shelling out a fortune.
Chessington World of adventures
Chessington World of Adventures has a real emphasis on families and fun (with Thorpe park aimed at an older teen/adult market). It combines the attractions of a theme park with a zoo and live shows for a really great family day out! Rides include Bubbleworks, Dragon's Fury and the Vampire ride. In the zoo you will see gorillas, big cats, monkeys, birds, Sea lions and many more exciting animals. On site you'll also find a broad range of food to suit most tastes, a good picnic area and plenty of places to get a coffee for adults when they start to flag. Be warned; you will have to queue when it is busy. Ideal for an in service training day! Check for offers before paying full price.
Open: March to November, 10am until dusk
Admission: from £27.60 online
Train: situated on the A243 & 10 mins from Chessington South Station
Address: Chessington, Surrey KT9 2NE
Phone: 0870 999 0045
This park is aimed at older children, teens and adults. Chessington, its sister park, is fairly nearby and caters for younger ones. Saying that, there are still a number of rides for smaller children and you can check the Thorpe Park website for ride listings and height restrictions if unsure. This has some great rides for the more adventurous including Stealth, Colossus, Detonator and Nemesis Inferno!
Ages: all (ideal for 12+)
Opening time: March until November, times vary, check website.
Admission: from £27.99 online, but check for offers
Address: Thorpe Park, Staines Road, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8PN
Phone: 0870 444 44 66
Since it opened in 1996, Legoland Windsor has been providing lots of hands on entertainment, with plenty of theme park rides, aimed at those aged from 2 to12. There are over 50 interactive rides, live shows, building workshops, driving schools and a number of new attractions, all set in 150 acres of parkland. On site you'll find a broad selection of meals and snacks available, ranging from pizzas to Mexican and you could always take a picnic. Overall Legoland provides an enjoyable day out for kids and a relatively stress free day for adults. The annual pass offers good value.
Open: March until November, 10am-5pm, with seasonal variation
Admission: from £46.20
Tube: Windsor & Eaton Riverside
Address: Winkfield Road Windsor Berkshire SL4 4AY
Phone: 0871 2222 001
The London Dungeon
The Dungeons brings together an amazing cast of theatrical actors, special effects, stages, scenes and rides in a truly unique and exciting walkthrough experience that you see, hear, touch, smell and feel. It’s hilarious fun and it’s sometimes a bit scary. The dark and eerie atmosphere might prove a little overwhelming for younger children. Right next door to the Aquarium, the London Eye and across the river from the Houses of Parliament.
Open: 10am until 5pm and later in school holidays
Admission: from £19.95 online
Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB
Phone: 0871 423 2240
One of London's most famous tourist attractions has a host of celebrity wax effigies, such as Brad Pitt, Wayne Rooney, Robbie Williams, Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Minogue and many more. You also get access to the Stardome, which replaced the Planetarium after it closed in 2006. It features a 360-degree show `The Wonderful World Of Stars', produced by Oscar-winning animators Aardman (Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run). Pushchair storage available.
Open: 9am - 6pm
Admission: Adult: £25, Child: £21
Tube: Baker Street
Address: Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LR
Phone: 0870 999 0046