‘Days out with kids Essex‘ – is my list of ideas for ‘indoor activities in Essex‘ and ‘indoor activities in London‘. It includes over 30 ideas for ‘family days out in Essex‘ and ‘family days out in London‘. Make sure you bookmark this post so that you have plenty of ideas for when it’s raining or days when you just need some inspiration!
From museums to theatres or even soft play, there are plenty of options for ‘family days out in Essex‘ and ‘family days out in London‘.
I have sorted the indoor activities in London & indoor activities in Essex ideas by budget so the cheapest are at the top and the more expensive are at the bottom.
if you need ideas on how to occupy the kids in the school holidays check out the post from Going on an Adventure!
30+ Ideas for ‘family days out in Essex’, ‘family days out in London’, ‘days out with kids Essex’, ‘days out with kids London’ & ‘indoor activities in Essex’ & ‘indoor activities in London’
Free indoor activities in London:
Visit a Museum
London is home to a wide range of museums that are perfect for children of all ages. One of our favourite indoor activities in London is the RAF Museum in Hendon. There are also lots of other free museums perfect for family days out in London such as The Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Tate Modern, Tate Britain and The National Gallery which are always popular choices.
Tip for a Family day out in London: You can get into Westminster Abbey for free if you arrive to watch Evensong – check out their timetable for details.
FREE indoor activities in Essex:
Visit Chelmsford museum for a great indoor day out. With 2 floors and some interactive exhibits it is one of the best indoor activities in Essex for free
Family days out in London & Family days out in Essex
Enjoy at Show at the Theatre
We have had lots of incredible family days out in London and have visited lots of theatres to watch shows with our children. In the west end Lily has seen Matilda, Frozen, Wicked and The Lion King. Both children have seen What The Ladybird Heard and Horrible Histories. George has seen Stickman. Take a look at my post about The Best West End Shows for Children to find out about what ages each show is best for.
Locally we have had some great family days out in Essex and have enjoyed watching shows at Victoria Hall in Old Harlow, Harlow Playhouse, The Arts Depot in Finchley, Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage and Cliffs Pavilion and Palace Theatre in Southend.
Go for Afternoon Tea
Lily loves going for afternoon tea and it makes for a great indoor activity in London and a fab indoor activity in Essex. She first started going to hotels for afternoon tea when she was 6 years old. It is something we regularly enjoy doing together. I personally recommend both Fanhams Hall Hotel in Ware and Down Hall Hotel in Hatfield Heath as great venues to take children for afternoon tea. Some London venues do special kids themed afternoon teas such as One The Aldwych and The Shard but we are yet to try any of those! Globetrotting blog has a pretty comprehensive list of afternoon tea options in London for children.
Explore an Aquarium
Children love marine life, and a visit to an aquarium is a great way to learn about the underwater world. The SEALIFE London Aquarium is fantastic destination for a family day out in London, with over 600 species of marine life, but there are also smaller aquariums to explore such as the SEALIFE centre in Southend which makes a great family day out in Essex.
Get Active at a Trampoline Park
Trampoline parks are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. They’re a great way to burn off some energy and have fun at the same time. Flip Out in Lakeside, Jump In in Enfield, Jump city Cheshunt, Urban Limitz at Harlow Leisurezone, Base Jump in Rayleigh and Gravity in Stevenage are just a few of the trampoline parks available in the area. just make sure to check out the opening times and age restrictions before you travel!
Make a splash!
Take the kids for a swim! There are so many lovely pools in the area, some of which have slides for an extra fun day out. Be sure to book though as swimming pools always get very busy! We tend to swim at the Manor of Groves as we are members, but I hear lots of good things about Leisure World in Colchester and Blackwater Leisure Centre in Maldon and they both have slides!
Play at a Soft Play Centre
Soft play centres are perfect for younger children, providing a safe environment for them to run, jump and climb. There are plenty of soft play centres to choose from in Hertfordshire, Essex and London, such as Lakeside indoor soft play, Kidspace in Romford, Gambado in Chelsea, Wild n Wacky in Harlow, Adventure Inside Soft Play Southend, 360 Play in Basildon and Stevenage.
Get your skates on
Ice skating is a fun activity for all ages, and there are plenty of ice rinks to choose from in the area. Alexandra Palace Ice Rink in London is a popular choice, as is Planet Ice in Hemel Hempstead and the Chelmsford Ice Rink in Essex.
Watch a Film
A trip to the cinema is a classic indoor activity, and there are plenty of cinemas in Hertfordshire, Essex and London to choose from. Odeon, Vue and Cineworld all show movies suitable for children. We love to make good use of the Cineworld movies for juniors as they are cheaper than newly released films.
Check the cineworld website – movies for juniors are usually screened early morning on a Saturday, Sunday or half term days and are always marked as movies for juniors (if you don’t see that wording it is just a normal kids film and you will be paying full price to see it!!)
Get Creative visit a pottery painting studio
Pottery painting is a great way for children to get creative and express themselves. There are plenty of options such as the Essex Pottery Studio in Halstead, Pots of Art in St Albans and Social Pottery in Kentish Town.
Go for a strike with bowling
There are lots of great bowling alleys locally and most also come with an amusement area filled with arcade games. We have enjoyed Hollywood Bowl at Stevenage, TenPin in Harlow and Ace of Lanes in Bishops Stortford.
Scale new heights at a climbing wall
Children love to act like Spider-Man and take on a vertical climbing challenge. Check out age restrictions before you go! Vertigo at Harlow leisurezone and Harlow Outdoor Centre both provide indoor climbing walls!
Get active with laser tag
Laser Tag is great fun and a fab way to get kids to burn off some excess energy indoors! Do check age restrictions as due to the nature of the activity it is not suitable for younger children. You could try out Quasar in Harlow or Laser Planet in Watford.
Try Indoor crazy golf
Head over to Mr Mulligan’s in Stevenage, Basildon or London to try your hand at indoor crazy golf! There are also some virtual golf options like Scratch 18 in Harlow or TopGolf in Chigwell or Watford.
Move around the board
Play Monopoly Lifesized in London!
This looks so much fun and is on my to do list! We love a family game of monopoly with my cousins and so are excited to all explore this place together at some point this year!
Visit Chase & Marshall
Visit Nickelodeon Adventure in Lakeside. We love it here and have been a few times, there are a few rides and slides, meet and greets with characters and a cafe – I would say this is aimed at under 8s.
Visit a London attraction
There is so much to see and do for families in London. Popular choices include letting children be grown ups for the day at Kidzania, seeing the waxworks at Madam Tussauds, discovering the Greenwich Royal Observatory and HMS Belfast. There are also some ideal options for younger children such as the postal museum and the story museum.
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I hope that this post about indoor days out with children in Herts, Essex and London has given you plenty of inspiration! Feel free to tag me in any social media posts you make about your adventures that I have inspired as I would love to see them!
If you enjoyed this post, do check out my weekly cleaning checklist.