If you’re planning a trip to London with kids, there are some great books to introduce your children to the city – including fiction for all ages, children’s guide books and more among my pick of the best kids’ books about London.
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From picture books for toddlers to adventures and mysteries bringing London to life for teens, stories revealing some of the city’s long history or fun introductions to the key landmarks, the big issue isn’t finding great children’s books about London, it’s which ones to pick.
The list below isn’t exhaustive (there are SO many books set in London, for starters), but these are some great ways for kids to get excited about a family city break in London, some essential reading to pack in hand luggage and more inspiration for planning your trip.
You can find more ideas of kids’ books about London in my Amazon lists as well
Books about London for toddlers and preschoolers
Even the littlest visitors to London can find some great books too, including picture books and other preschool favourites. Some options in the next section will also work to read to older preschoolers too.
Paddington’s London Story Treasury
While all the Paddington Bear stories are set in London, this collection of four favourite picture books are a lovely introduction to the city for younger readers.
Paddington’s London Story Treasury includes Paddington at the Zoo, Paddington at the Palace, Paddington and the Marmalade Maze and Paddngton and the Grand Tour, with the usual adventures and heart-warming mishaps of everyone’s favourite bear from Darkest Peru.
Paddington fans will also love in Paddington’s Guide to London too
Charlie and Lola: We Completely Must Go to London
My daughter adored the whole Charlie and Lola series when she was younger, and We Completely Must Go to London is ideal for fans.
The book sees Charlie and his little sister visiting London on a school trip, passing the most famous sights, so little ones can follow along during their own journey – there’s even an ‘extremely good London map’ as well.
Maisy goes to London
Another firm favourite of my daughter when she was young, we read all the adventures of Maisy mouse, including her first adventures in the capital.
Maisy goes to London has the usual colourful pictures and little ones can’t resist joining in with the ‘Honk Honk’ of noisy London horns as she spots Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace and other sights. A lovely introduction for toddlers following in Maisy’s pawprints.
The Queen’s Hat
Sometimes all it takes to have an adventure is a single gust of wind… Take one very special hat, one Queen and all the Queen’s men, and you’ve got the recipe for an adventure through London.
With a string of London landmarks, from London Zoo to Tower Bridge and Big Ben, the question is, where will the Queen’s hat end up? The Queen’s Hat is aimed at ages 3-5.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been? I’ve been to London to visit the Queen
Updating the classic nursery rhyme, Pussy Cat Pussy Cat Where Have you Been does indeed follow pussy cat – this time visiting the modern-day sights of London, including the Shard and London Eye as well as the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and Nelson’s Column.
With its bright illustrations and simple rhymes, it’s great to read even to the littlest visitors to London.
Madeline in London
If you’re wondering what Madeline, the archetypal Parisian storybook heroine, is doing in a list of kids books about London, fans of the classic stories can also follow her adventures this side of the Channel.
After Pepito, who lived next to Madeline and her friends in France, moves to London, they all decide to pay him a visit. Madeline in London is ideal for age 4-7.
Kids’ books about London
The lovely stories are all set in London, including some of the city’s major landmarks – perfect as a souvenir or to get kids excited about their visit.
Harry Potter fans will also love tracking down the locations from the books (and the movies) during a visit to London: so many of them that I’ve compiled a whole set of Harry Potter locations in London
Usborne Look Inside London
I lost count of how many Usborne lift-the-flap books we had over the years – and there’s really nothing to beat these fabulously illustrated children’s books for younger readers.
Look Inside London is no exception, paced with information about the city’s key sites – including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and the Tower of London – as well as London’s other famous sights, including red phone boxes and double-deckers buses, along with black cabs. Great for ages 5+, it’s also something younger siblings (and parents!) can enjoy looking at.
The Tower Bridge Cat
Set in one of London’s most iconic landmarks, The Tower Bridge Cat – the first of several – combines a sweet story and lovely illustrations.
Following title character Bella on the Queen’s birthday, it’s down to the bridge-dwelling cat to save the day when she realises there’s a bus coming over the opening bridge – even better, the story is inspired by the true story of a double-decker bus jumping the bridge.
The Royal Rabbits
The first in a series of stories about Shylo and his Royal Rabbit friends, this tale follows the rabbits’ attempts to stop an evil plot to take a photo of the Queen in her nightwear.
A sweet story of how the smallest and shyest rabbit can still have something important to say, kids can follow along as the Royal Rabbits journey to London. The Royal Rabbits is recommended for ages 7+. You can also buy the three-book collection.
The Hyde Park Squirrels
Another sweet and colourful series of books, the Hyde Park Squirrels is set in Victorian times, starting with Luke goes to London, as Lucas Bushtail sets off for the city to find the sisterm he never knew he had.
But the city has its own dangers, as Luke discovers when he arrives. Although there are two separate books, they’re effectively one story so be prepared to buy the second if you want to find out what happens after the cliffhanger!
See Inside London
Another great lift-the-flap book from Usborne, this is a great alternative – or companion buy – to Look Inside London.
Also aimed at kids aged 5-7, the focus of See Inside London is taking a journey through time (rather than geography), showing London throughout its history from Roman times to the Middle Ages, the Black Death and during the Blitz in the Second World War.
This is London
This classic book was first published in 1959 and while you might not find bowler-hatted bankers on their way to the city these days, This is London is still a gorgeous one to own.
With Miroslav Sasek’s elegant illustrations bringing London to life, you’ll find many of the historic buildings and landmarks, as well as black cabs, the underground, the Horse Guards and other traditional sights as tempting today.
Recommended for age 7+, we were given a copy when my daughter was born and read it with her from a younger age too.
Katie in London
In this magical adventure, one of the Trafalgar Square lions comes to life and takes Katie and her brother Jack on a tour of the city’s best sights.
Aimed at children aged around 3-6 (so also works as another option for preschoolers), their unexpected day out takes them to Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Big Ben and the London Eye, so Katie in London is ideal to introduce younger kids to some of the city’s highlights before their first visit.
A Walk in London
Following a mother and daughter exploring London, this book has a special place in my own heart as I’ve tried to emulate more than a few of their stops with my own daughter.
From travelling by red double-decker bus to spotting the lions in Trafalgar Square, watching the Changing of the Guard and looking inside some of the city’s iconic sights, it’s a sweet way to plan a day out and your own Walk in London
Beatrice and the London Bus
Nine-year-old Beatrice has a dream of being a bus driver – and turning her model Routemaster bus into a talking London Bus, whatever her mum thinks.
Then one day, she meets a talking bus and it seems like her dreams have turned into reality… or is it magic after all? Sweet, funny and a unique introduction to London, Beatrice and the London Bus is proof that anything could happen in this city. Aimed at age 7+.
The Mystery at Big Ben
Part of the Around the World in 80 Mysteries collection, which sees Christina and Grant visiting famous places in 80 countries, this London-based tale packs in some of the city’s history and culture alongside the story.
Each book has a map to help kids learn more of the world’s geography, as they follow Grant, his sister and their two new friends as they try to solve the Mystery at Big Ben, taking them from the London Eye along the Thames and into a dungeon. Aimed at age 8+.
Books about London for teens and tweens
Once your kids are beyond picture books and gentle adventures, there are stories galore set in London, including these great options for younger tweens right up to older teens (and their parents!)
Gruesome Guides: London
Horrible Histories addicts will be delighted to discover that there’s a London book in the series – Gruesome Guides: London – with all the fascinating and foul, gruesome, gory and downright weird facts you’d expect.
There’s plenty of horribly hilarious moments in London’s history to enjoy too as you cover everything from plague and pestilence to fire: discover what caused the Great Stink, peer into spooky St Paul’s and brave the terrifying Tower along the way.
The London Eye Mystery
An ordinary day out in London turns into a mystery, after Ted and Kat’s cousin Salim vanishes – having watched him board the London Eye, his pod returns without him.
With a trail of clues across London, the pair must put their sibling rivalry aside and combine their different approaches to track Salim down – Ted is on the autism spectrum, and it’s his unique approach and perspective which really sets The London Eye Mystery apart. Ideal for 9-11-year-olds.
The Ruby in the Smoke
Fans of Philip Pullman will love this story of Sally Lockhart, set partly in Victorian London where the 16-year-old braves the city’s underworld to track down her father’s killer.
Travelling via India and China, the adventure is as full of detail and peril as you’d expect; The Ruby in the Smoke is guaranteed to keep older tweens and younger teens enthralled.
My name is Victoria
Written by Lucy Worsley, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces (which includes Kensington Palace, childhood home of Queen Victoria), this story is perfect for kids who love history and stories of royal London.
Following Miss V Conroy, who is sent by her father to become the companion to Princess Victoria at Kensington Palace, she is torn between her loyalty to him and the rules he has devised for the young roytal, and her new friendship with the princess, locked away from the world by those very rules. My Name is Victoria is ideal for age 9+.
Rivers of London
Imagine Harry Potter grew up and joined the police… That’s the intriguing starting point for Rivers of London, a novel following probationary constable Peter Grant, the first of a series set in London that’s ideal for teens.
After trying to take a witness statement from a ghost, he finds himself assisting DCI Thomas Nightingale to investigate crimes involving magic or the uncanny – which means meeting the city’s gods and goddesses, and stepping into the world of myths and legends as he does.
While Neil Gaiman went on to write a string of better-known books, teens will love his first novel Neverwhere just as much – with the added bonus that it’s set in London. Or London of sorts.
When a young businessman stops to help an injured girl, he discovers another city of darkness, of monsters – but also of angels – in a subterranean labyrinth. And only if he can help save this underworld kingdom might he return to his former life in the London Above.
London guidebooks for kids
There are London guides galore, but if you’re looking for kid-friendly options, these London guidebooks for children are a great way to get them involved in planning.
Paddington’s Guide to London
Perfect for younger readers, who better to introduce you to London than the bear who made his home here.
From the station where it all started to some key landmarks (with a few detours), there are plenty of fun stories among the information in Paddington’s Guide to London too.
London Planet: City Trails London
The City Trails series from Lonely Planet Kids are one of my favourite guidebooks for children – we’ve used them in cities including Rome, and City Trails London is just as packed with quirky facts and sights.
Venturing away from the classic tourist trail, you can discover the weirdest item ever left on a bus as well as stories about headline-making parrots, not to mention plenty of unexpected corners to discover during your visit to London. Even native Londoners can learn plenty! Aimed at ages 8+
Lonely Planet Kids Pop-up London
With six iconic landmarks including Buckingham Palace, The Shard, the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Underground, it’s pocket-sized, so easy to carry around as you see them in person too.
There are more than 130 London sights to find in the pocket-sized i-spy London, with plenty of facts to discover as you read and explore.
Fun to flick through before you travel, it’s a great way to stop cries of ‘I’m Bored’ as you wander around London, and there are plenty of easy wins – including black taxis and doubledecker buses – for younger kids to find as well.
Check out Things to Spot in London sticker book as another alternative
Mission London: A scavenger hunt adventure
A mix of guidebook and travel challenge, Mission London ensures your kids will be keeping their eyes open throughout the trip as they try to earn enough points to become a special agent.
There are challenges which will apply to ever visit, from trying traditional food to spotting key landmarks, as well as others which you can tailor to your own trip, if you’re visiting particular museums or checking out sites like Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London.
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