Have you been to KidZania London? It’s simple to get there by train or public transport, but once inside, you’ll have to let your imagination fly. **KidZania London is a fantasy land for tiny people, an indoor city built for kids, where they run the show (with a little adult supervision).
At the entrance you can pick up your boarding pass (tickets), and go through ‘security’ where you’ll get a primer on visiting the city. Kids and adults receive security RFID bracelets (important as no child can exit KidZania without being matched to the adult who was present at arrival). Kids also get a starter fund of 50 kidZos, the native currency for KidZania.
A City Just for Kids
Throughout the city, kids can take part in various ‘jobs’ that will earn them extra kidZos. They can take their money to the bank and deposit it in exchange for their very own KidZania debit card. Earn enough kidZos and you can buy merchandise at the store, or put it towards paid-for activities in the city.
KidZania London not only has its own bank, but a hotel, shops, entertainment venues, restaurants, ambulance service and much more. You could even put the little critters in jail — there’s one right by the police station (don’t worry, it’s easy to break out).
I had a ‘festival flashback’ to Boomtown Fair, watching all these children roaming around in role play mode. Street sweepers cleaning up, kids pushing shopping carts in the supermarket, and one young medic rushing by with blood bags on a trolley. ‘It’s really hard,’ she told me, breathlessly as I cheered her on.
There were mini firefighters in full kit, with fresh recruits called out every 15 minutes or so to hose down the hotel that kept bursting into ‘flames’. Don’t worry, there’s no actual smoke! Just a bunch of kids having an absolute blast (literally). The hotel exterior doubles up as a climbing wall but wasn’t open when we visited.
Holiday Fun at KidZania London
However, there’s tons to do at KidZania London with 60+ activities and it’s constantly evolving. One popular spot was the WrestleMania station. Here WWE fans could dress up as pro fighters, watch live wrestling on screen, or learn what it takes to produce a live show. Back in the day, my boys would have spent all 4 hours in here. But as fickle as kids are, they’re ‘totally over’ WWE for now, so weren’t fussed.
Instead, they lined up for the Nike Air Max Lab, where they got to learn about the tech and engineering elements of creating trainers.
They had a go at designing their own pair of ‘kreps’… pretty fresh. Can you tell which ones are Ezra’s and which ones are Jed’s?
Other Easter holiday activities included a Yoshi Nintendo chocolate egg hunt inspired by Yoshi. We thought about trying the Shell activity, where kids could wash a car and race mini Scalextric cars on a track. But we were peckish and decided to chill on a bench, eating mini Dutch pancakes and people-watching.
While the boys were busy in the Starlink Space Station (navigating starships with Nintendo Switch) I had a look around the city by myself. KidZania London is quite large (it’s the size of Leicester Square) and a bit overwhelming on first entry. But after you’ve strolled around a few times, you soon get your bearings.
Perhaps because we arrived late in the day (after 3pm), it was much less crowded than I’d feared. The only super long queue I saw was outside the British Airways Aviation Academy.
I liked peeking in to watch kids taking care of toy pets at the vet, or making real wraps in the Mission Deli restaurant. Jed had been to KidZania London once before for a birthday party when he was 8, and he’d raved about it. He especially loved making burgers that he’d gotten to eat afterwards.
If I were a little girl let loose in the city for kids, I would have lost my teeny mind for a chance to take care of baby dolls in the maternity ward. However, kids these days are spoilt for choice with creative family play spaces. Although I don’t think there’s anything on the scale of KidZania for role play fun.
So what did I think of KidZania London overall?
Family Fun Factor
This is a really clever concept with tons of possibilities for endless expansion. I think the activities are timed well averaging around 20 minutes each. So kids can sample a few experiences and make the most of their 4 hours in the city. It’s quite sweet seeing real-life city venues in miniaturised form, and although the brand sponsorship gives it a commercial feel, it also makes it more convincing.
KidZania London doesn’t quite meet the Babes about Town gold standard for ‘family fun’ because, while it’s great for children, there’s not much for grown-ups. There are a few activities for parent and child to try together, but mostly you’ll spot adults with glazed expressions sitting on chairs or benches waiting for activities to finish.
It’s not a huge sacrifice for the benefit of seeing your child’s face light up again and again, but I’m sure they could do more to cater to parents (especially as adults pay an entry fee). There was something called The Shed upstairs that I later found out was an adults’ cafe, but it just didn’t seem all that appealing from outside!
KidZania activities are aimed at children aged 4 to 14, which is probably about fair although I’d say the sweet spot is 5 to 11. That was the age group I saw having the most fun, although there were younger-looking kids rushing about like they’d won the sweetie lottery. Jed was 8 when he first visited KidZania and couldn’t stop talking about his burger-making, kidZo-earning escapades.
This time, he was ready to leave after a couple of hours. Ezra thought it would be full of babies, and was clearly relieved to spot other young teens about town. He remarked on how much bigger it was than he’d imagined and spotted a few activities he seemed happy to try out. There’s an early years section upstairs but this seems pretty low-key, compared to what else is available, and was empty by late afternoon.
Value for Money
Ok, let’s be real, this place is quite expensive. If you’re coming into town with a family of 4 or more, it could make for a wallet-straining day out. However, when you factor in the amount of activities on offer, all included in the price, then it’s not so bad… although I still think the charges for adults are high (especially when there’s not much for adults to do).
The food and drink on site is about standard ‘London day out’ priciness, but you’re welcome to bring your own snacks into KidZania. If you live locally or can visit more than twice in a year, than it’s worth checking out the annual pass.
I was impressed by KidZania, the attention to realism, the breadth and variety of activities, and the engagement of the kids that I saw trying out various educational experiences. It’s not cheap by any means. But if you plan ahead, manage your expectations, and bring your kids at the right age, it’s a winning day out.
Oh and did you know that once your children are 8 and above, you can drop them off safely at KidZania London while you have a browse around Westfield? Result.
- Check the website ahead of your visit to see What’s On and plan accordingly
- Keep an eye out for entry discounts and special offers, and consider the annual pass for extra savings
- Buy your tickets online, as it’s much cheaper
- Pick maybe 2 or 3 activities that your kids really want to try, then go with the flow for the rest
- Arrive super early (9am-ish) or later in the day (after 2.30pm) to beat the crowds
- Most activities take around 20 minutes (max 50 minutes). So rather than queue, simply check start and end timings, then fill your spare time having a wander around KidZania or stopping for a bite to eat
- Bring your own snacks/packed lunch/picnic
- For adults – make sure you have a book/magazine or something to keep you occupied for when your kids are doing activities
- Spend your money on experiences, not things. This is not only an important life lesson, but especially apt in Kidzania where your kidZos won’t get you very far in the merchandise shop (unless you’ve made multiple visits and banked some serious kidZos over time). Reinvest those kidZos in paid activities at KidZania and you’ll get much more value!
Kidzania London (Babes Review)
Jed, age 10
‘A fun town for kids and you can be whoever you want to be. You could be anything from a police man to a chocolate maker. The first time I went to KidZania for a party we made burgers. This time, I got to design trainers. I’d recommend KidZania for ages 5 to 14.’
Ezra, age 13
‘I wasn’t the most excited about going to KidZania now that I’m 13, but actually I found it more interesting than I’d expected. It’s pretty well designed and it looks pretty realistic. I think it’s a great place to take your kids out. I’d recommend it for ages 5 to 10. I’d say 12 is the max!’
KidZania London is at Westfield London (1st floor between M&S and Gap), Ariel Way, W12 7GA (Shepherd’s Bush tube/overground). It’s aimed at ages 4 to 14, but all ages are welcome. Daily 4 hour slots available from 9.30am-7pm (times may vary, check website in advance); online prices – adult from £16 online/£18 door, child 4-14 from £19 online/£38 door, child 1-3 £10, under 1s FREE but booking required. Visit https://kidzania.co.uk/
**We were invited to KidZania London with complimentary press passes, all opinions are strictly our own*