If you’re looking for things to do in London as a teenager, don’t despair! We know only too well that those aged between 13 and 19 can be notoriously hard to please, which is exactly why this guide is packed with teenager activities in London they’ll love.
From thrilling adrenaline rides to soccer stadium tours, foodie experiences, cultural attractions and even ghosts and ghouls, this guide lists 15 fun things to do in London – with a teenager or by letting them fly solo for a while.
When you’re stuck regarding what to do when taking a trip to London with tweens or older teens, this list should help to smooth your way. As well as the top things to do, we have you covered by sharing our top tips and answers to frequently asked questions regarding things to do for teenagers in London.
If you’re heading to London with younger siblings, don’t miss our post on the top things to do in London with kids. If theme parks are a favourite then check out our guide to the top 10 UK theme parks too!
- 15 best things to do in London with teens
- IFS Cloud cable car
- Climb the O2 roof
- The View from The Shard
- Shop till they drop at the markets
- Take a football stadium tour
- Organise a photoshoot
- Have afternoon tea at a top hotel
- Tour the Cartoon Museum
- Jump on the Thames Rocket
- Go to The Globe
- Take in a West End show
- See a movie at a Leicester Square cinema
- Eat curry on Brick Lane
- Discover the street art of the East End
- Take a spooky tour of London
- Top Tips for doing London with teens
- London with teens – FAQs
- What will your teens do in London?
- London Travel Guide & Itinerary Planner (+ 4 bonus ebooks)
15 best things to do in London with teens
IFS Cloud cable car
While the London Eye is one of the best things to do for people of all ages, the average teenager in London might well appreciate being whisked across the city skyline by cable car more than other members of the family.
It’s one of the most fun things to do in London for a teenager, and gives them a birds-eye view over the historic city while experiencing the thrill of a ride over the Thames. Sights to look out for include the O2 Arena and the Olympic park built for the 2012 games. The cable was also created as an additional Olympic attraction.
Oyster card holders can get a discount, or you can buy a combined ticket with a Thames Clippers River Roamer day pass here.
Climb the O2 roof
If seeing the O2 as their cable car whizzes by isn’t enough, book your adventurous teen a space on one of the top things to do in London for teens. They can climb the roof of the O2 arena, and might even learn a little about its history as the Millenium Dome along the way.
Drinking in those views over the River Thames is also a highlight. The climb takes 90 minutes in total, and gives those who participate a unique perspective on the UK capital. As well as something to boast about to their friends back home.
Britain has very high standards of safety and your teen will be tooled up with all the right kit before they begin the ascent. On a clear day, they may be able to see as far as 15 miles away.
Buying a ticket through Get Your Guide means you can cancel up to 24 hours before the climb without a penalty. You can do that here.
The View from The Shard
Even a teen surely cannot fail to be impressed by travelling up to the top of one of Britain’s most iconic buildings – and the reward at the top is breathtaking views over this world-famous city.
The viewing platform is on the 72nd floor and offers spectacular 360 degree views over the London skyline. This is another of the best things to do in London as a teenager when they want to claim bragging rights among their friends.
It’s possible to see up to 40 miles away on the clearest of days, and they can buy a souvenir photo in the gift shop after spending as long as they like up there.
You can also buy refundable tickets for entry to The Shard via Get Your Guide here.
Shop till they drop at the markets
All teens love shopping, right? So it naturally follows that exploring some of the city’s eclectic range of markets is one of the top things to do in London when you’re a teen.
According to Time Out London, a teenager should be happy picking from a list comprising an antique market (that also sells jewellery and homeware for their room), general goods, artisan foods or gifts.
If we had to pick one for teens, make it Camden Market. Based by Regent’s Canal, it’s the most legendary of all London markets, and is apparently the fourth most popular attraction in the whole city. It’s also open seven days a week from 10 am until late. Find out more here.
Read more – Complete guide to 9 of London’s best markets
Take a football stadium tour
If they’re into soccer – or football as it’s known in the UK – then trust us, your teen would dearly love to take a tour of one of the top stadiums to be found on earth. You can do this at the home of Tottenham Hotspur or Arsenal, or even at Wembley itself.
The latter is also used as a concert venue, and if you did manage to grab Premier League tickets to see their favourite team playing Wembley then they’re surely guaranteed to love you forever. Check out what’s on when you visit here.
Failing that, a tour of the Emirates stadium or the Tottenham Hotspur stadium – both in North London – are major London attractions for teenage tourists who love football or soccer.
Organise a photoshoot
If they’re more into striking a pose than watching what’s going on at the football pitch, why not organise a photoshoot for your teen?
It will make a great souvenir of their time in the British capital, and is one of the more unusual activities for teenagers in London. You can book a time slot to suit you, and can also arrange a location of your choice for the photoshoot.
Whether the backdrop is the river Thames lined by all those iconic buildings, a cute terrace of smart townhouses, an urban street scene or a famous London landmark, it makes for an everlasting memento of your stay in the UK.
You can book your personal travel photographer with our professional London photographer Domi from Scalens Studio. Quote code UKTP10 at checkout for 10 extra images for free!
Have afternoon tea at a top hotel
Afternoon tea is a British institution and to miss out on this delectable treat while in London is just not on! For anyone not in the know, it involves dainty finger sandwiches, delicate little cakes and freshly, baked, fluffy scones slathered in fresh clotted cream and fruity jam (jelly).
Really, the thought alone is enough to make any teen (or adult or child) salivate. This foodie experience is definitely up there with the top activities for teenagers in London, and will give them plenty of opportunities to create content for sharing via Insta and TikTok.
Any top hotel will do the job incredibly well, or go for a Harry Potter-themed afternoon tea at the Georgian House Hotel in Pimlico. You can find out more about that in this post.
Another popular option for those who want something different is to take a Brigit’s Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour – this is certainly the perfect way to combine afternoon tea and sightseeing. Book here.
Tour the Cartoon Museum
Yes, we know – teenagers tend to roll their eyes at the mere thought of spending time at a museum. But have they heard of the Cartoon Museum? Located in Fitzrovia, it’s a great one to do before or after that afternoon tea.
The museum has a collection spanning cartoon artwork dating back as far as the 1800s, and there are 8,000 comics on display. That should keep them busy for a while.
The best thing about it is that kids and teens under 18 get in for free, though adults do need to buy an admission ticket. Find out more here.
Jump on the Thames Rocket
The Thames Rockets are the UK’s best speedboat experience bar none. Whether you have a teenage son who wants to be like James Bond when he’s older or a daughter who simply hankers after a glamorous lifestyle, these trips offer excitement and adrenaline in spades.
Wearing life jackets, they’ll take to a RIB speedboat alongside a number of others for the ride of their life along the Thames. If you want to join them, why not book the ‘Mum goes free’ option?
Rides last between 40 and 80 minutes, taking in lots of iconic London sights along the way. When it comes to cool places for teens in London, surely a speedboat is high on the list.
Options offered include:
Go to The Globe
As they’re likely to be studying his plays at school, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre is one of the best teenage attractions in London to visit. It might even help to bring the eccentric cast of characters to life next time they take a class on Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Julius Caesar.
There are various family-friendly events throughout the year, or you can find out which plays are on and book some tickets. Find out more at the official website here.
Alternatively try the Unicorn Theatre near Tower Bridge, a leading light within the industry targeting young people in particular.
Take in a West End show
There are always lots of shows for teens going on in London’s theatreland, and to miss seeing all the lights, special effects and accomplished actors is to miss out.
Options will vary depending on when you visit, but popular favourites for all ages have included The Lion King, Wicked and Mary Poppins, as well as more grown-up options like the Tina Turner musical, Pretty Woman, Back to the Future, Moulin Rouge and Mamma Mia.
It might even be a bonding experience for the whole family, as well as being one of the best things to do in London with a teenage daughter or son.
Check out what’s on at the London Theatre Direct website.
See a movie at a Leicester Square cinema
All the hot movie premieres in London take place in buzzing Leicester Square in the heart of the West End, so following in the footsteps of their favourite stars is a must for many starstruck teens.
There are several vast cinemas on Leicester Square, including the iconic Odeon Luxe, a Cineworld with IMAX technology and a Vue. You can check out what’s on at each by referring to the Cineworld, Vue or Odeon sites.
There may not be a red carpet, but if that’s the case then your teen is just going to have to use their imagination. This is for sure one of the most fun things to do in London for a teenager – even more so if there does happen to be a premiere going on.
Eat curry on Brick Lane
Take your teen to Brick Lane or the surrounding areas of Shoreditch, Spitalfields or Whitechapel to sample one of the many curry restaurants lining the streets of the East End.
Indian-style curries are incredibly popular in Britain and to sample one for themselves will give them something of an insight into the local way of life. While ensuring tingling tastebuds for the whole family at the same time.
Whether it’s an ultra-mild, creamy vegetable Korma, a sweet, bright orange Chicken Tikka Masala or something more fiery like a lamb Madras, sharing a range of curries accompanied by rice and naan bread is a very British thing to do during a weekend or holiday. It’s one of the unique sides of London for teenage tourists to experience.
Everyone has their own favourite: try asking at your hotel for a staff recommendation.
Discover the street art of the East End
Before you head to a Brick Lane curry house for the evening’s feast, why not take your teen on a street art tour of the East End?
The districts of Shoreditch and Spitalfields are abundant in street art, as is the area around Brick Lane itself. This is a great way to discover an alternative side to London, and as the scene is constantly evolving, a unique experience is guaranteed.
A guided walking tour doesn’t cost too much and is one of the coolest things for teenagers to do in London. En route they’ll learn all about how graffiti and urban art has transformed the cityscape as well as how the whole scene developed.
We recommend the guided street art walking tour you can book via Get Your Guide here.
Alternatives with Viator include
- London Street Art Walking Tour – A small-group walking tour of the hip Shoreditch district and thriving Brick Lane, home to some of the heaviest concentrations of the city’s street art.
- Shoreditch Street Art Tour London – Join a guide on a speciality street art-themed tour that starts at Old Spitalfields Market and visits Brick Lane and Shoreditch. Along the way, hear stories about local artists and learn how to interpret different pieces.
Take a spooky tour of London
This isn’t perhaps one for those who’ve just turned 13, but for older teenagers with an interest in the strange, spooky or downright macabre, a ghoulish tour of London is ideal.
It’s one of the best things for teens to do in London when they hail from countries like Australia or the US, which simply don’t have the high concentration of ancient buildings that are found in European cities. Including, of course, London.
Options include a spooky boat ride on the Thames, Jack the Ripper tours, Ghastly Ghost experiences and historic – and haunted – Hampton Court Palace.
Find out more about the various options here.
Top Tips for doing London with teens
London is a busy city, so teens need to keep their wits about them rather than walking around while looking at their iPhone screen. It’s also wise to store any valuables in the hotel safe if you can, just in case.
Make sure they know about all the potential dangers lurking in any big city, especially if they’re not familiar with big places. Stress that they must also return to an agreed location at a time specified by you when heading out to explore without parents.
Be weather wise
Teens from drier climates may not be expecting wet weather, but it’s often a fact of life in London. Equip them with an umbrella if they refuse to wear a rain jacket, or you can buy packs of disposable ponchos for them to carry along.
If they’re easily bored and will want to try every single one of the things to do in central London for a teenager, make sure you save as much time and money as possible by booking their tickets ahead of time.
We recommend Get Your Guide, who normally refund in full if you cancel 24 hours or more before the date or time of the event.
Using public transport
Make sure your teen knows how to use the public transport network if they are heading out solo – as well as what to do or who to approach in an emergency.
Oyster cards and the like can be tricky for newcomers, so try them out as a family before letting your teen loose.
London with teens – FAQs
Is London good for teens?
London is great for teens – there are so many amazing things for teenagers to do in London and the thought of impressing their friends should spur them on if nothing else!
Even when nothing on the list appeals or it’s pouring with rain, a browse around the shops of the Oxford Street area should put a smile on their faces – especially if they have some cash to spend.
What can you do at 15 in the UK?
A number of movies screened in the UK carry a ‘15’ rating, so your teen can go and see one of these without a parent if they like.
For many things, they’ll have to wait until they’re 16, 17 or 18. 16 is the legal age of sexual consent in the UK, while drivers can begin learning at 17. The legal drinking age in the UK is 18.
What is the most important thing for a teenager?
The teenage years are tricky for all concerned. Teens do need to develop their own identity and have a growing sense of independence as they progress through the pre-20 years.
This is good to bear in mind when planning your trip, as your idea of London teenager activities may well be very different from theirs – and both parties may need to compromise.
What will your teens do in London?
We hope that our top tips and list of things for teenagers to do in London has helped you plan your time in the UK capital. For more inspiration, don’t miss our guide to London for kids, as many of the activities and attractions included may also appeal to your older children.
- London Travel Guide – links to everything you need to know to plan your trip
- Looking for accommodation? Read our guide to where to stay in London
- First time visitors? Read our top tips for visiting London for the first time
- How to get around London? Read our guide to using public transport in London and our guide to London’s manin trains stations.
- What to see and do – Complete London bucket list with guide to all the top sights and attractions & Guide to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
- How to purchase tickets for London attractions – Guide to purchasing tickets for the lost popular London attractions & Best London bus tours reviewed
- Boat trips and cruises – Comparison guide to the best boat trips and cruises on the Thames
- Visiting on a budget? Read out budget guide to London with tips to save money when visiting
- Free things to do in London – Discover 32 free things to see and do in London
- Best day trips? Read our guide to the best day trips by train and our guide to the best tours from London
- More for kids – 10 Best UK theme parks