London is surely one of the most exciting cities in the world, with its collection of amazing restaurants and vibrant bars, fascinating museums and art galleries and unique neighbourhoods, each with their own set of characteristics.
In fact, there is so much to do in London that you could easily spend a week or two doing everything!
Although at first you might think this bustling and fast-paced city might not suit an older person, in fact there are so many things to do in London for the elderly, even if they’re not up to climbing stairs or walking long distances.
So, if you’re in your golden years, or you have parents or grandparents who are, read on to discover some of our top picks in London to keep elderly people entertained…
A lot of people use the Underground to get around London, but the crowds and accessibility may pose an issue for elderly people. Instead, why not take a London Bus Tour around the city to view some of its most famous attractions.
There are several different routes you can take and each is narrated by an expert tour guide who will give you information about everything you see.
Many bus tour operators also include a ticket to travel on a cruise boat on the Thames too, so keep an eye out for special offers.
The Shard rose to fame - literally! - in 2009 and welcomes over two million visitors each year. The Shard offers stunning 360-degree views across the entire city from its glass windows and you can even enjoy a glass of champagne as part of the experience.
There are some top bars and restaurants at The Shard if you want to enjoy a nice meal, too. Just make sure you visit on a clear day, otherwise you might be disappointed!
Alternatively, for other magnificent views over the city, you can also go up The Fenchurch Building (otherwise known as the Walkie Talkie building) for free!
History buffs will really enjoy a trip to must-see attraction Churchill’s underground war rooms, where he planned out England’s war strategy during World War II.
Hidden far beneath the busy city streets, head below ground to discover the secrets of Churchill and his war cabinet. There is lift and wheelchair access for those who are less mobile and you can also head to the Churchill Museum after your trip, which is part of the attraction.
The War Rooms can be found in the heart of London by St James’s Park Underground and are open Wednesday to Sunday from 9.30 AM to 6 PM.
On a sunny day, a visit to ZSL London Zoo is a pleasant way to pass the time with elderly parents or grandparents.
The zoo is located in Regent's Park and is home to an amazing 755 species of different animals, from lions and llamas to penguins and pygmy hippos. In fact, as London Zoo was set up for wildlife studies in 1828, this makes it the world’s oldest scientific zoo!
Tickets for seniors (60 years and above) at the zoo come at a discounted price and wheelchair hire can be added on for an additional fee.
The zoo is open every day of the year except Christmas, with visiting hours between 10 AM and 4-6PM. Last admission is one hour before closing time.
Of London’s many parks and green spaces, Hyde Park is the most famous. One of eight royal parks in the capital, Hyde Park offers a wealth of different activities; from walking in the rose garden and spotting local wildlife, to enjoying a public speech at Speakers’ Corner or taking in a music concert. You can find more information about accessibility at the park here.
Depending on what area of London you visit, St James Park and Kensington Gardens are other beautiful parks you can visit.
The Tower of London is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, steeped in a rich history. Elderly people will love a trip to discover this historic building - but as there are lots of stairs and winding passageways, this might not be the best option for those who struggle with mobility. There are induction loops for deaf or hard of hearing visitors and carers can attend free of charge.
The Tower is located within easy walking distance of London Bridge, Liverpool Street and Charing Cross and opens daily between 10 AM to 5:30 PM.
Located on the south bank of the Thames, the world-famous London Eye offers a 30-minute unique perspective of the city and is a much-loved tourist attraction.
At 135 metres off the ground, see if you can spot iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, while an interactive guide offers you information on each one.
If there’s a large group of you, you can book a private pod and choose the Fast Track option to beat the queues. There are disabled tickets available to be booked in advance and each pod on the Eye can comfortably house two wheelchairs or mobility scooters.
See here for all tickets and pricing info - and if you’re planning to spend the day in London with your elderly relative, it’s worth a look at London Combination Tickets to find out what other attractions you can see.
Chinatown’s unique charm makes for a happy few hours exploring; whether it’s to sample authentic Chinese cuisine from the many bars and restaurants, or browse the bakeries and shops for tasty home baked treats.
Chinatown can become extremely crowded at certain times of the day, so if your elderly loved one is a wheelchair user or needs help walking, it may be best to avoid peak times.
Chinatown is conveniently located in central London, making nearby areas like Covent Garden and Soho easy to get to - or if your loved one has the stamina, why not book a walking tour that covers all these areas at once!
You’ll learn plenty of fun facts about the city’s history along the way and you can go for lunch or a drink afterwards.
London is famous for its West End theatres, putting on hundreds of musicals, dance performances and plays each year. Most West End theatres offer matinee shows, which are perfect for older people as they don’t go on too late and often have more seats available.
Lots of theatres have disabled access facilities, wheelchair access, sound-amplification systems and adapted toilet and bar facilities too.
From Mamma Mia to The Lion King and Shakespeare to Saturday Night Fever, you’re sure to find a performance your elderly relative will love! You can even snap up last-minute tickets on the day using apps like Today Tix.
Enjoy a moment’s respite from the city hustle and bustle with a spot of afternoon tea. London has some of the world’s best afternoon tea spots, including The Ritz, The Savoy, Fortnum & Mason and Claridge’s - if you’re feeling fancy!
There are also themed afternoon teas such as the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea, a Sherlock themed tea and even a Peter Pan event! Find more info on the best afternoon teas here.
There are many secret drinking holes that have survived for hundreds of years, hidden away in the city. If your elderly relative is a fan of a tipple, hunt down spots like The Nag’s Head, Ye Olde Mitre Tavern and The Dog and Duck; some of which date back to the 1700s! If you have the stamina for it, there are walking tours that take you on a pub crawl of these old treasures - or do your own tour and see how many you can find.
Take a break from weekend sightseeing for a bite to eat with some of the best roast dinners the city has to offer. From cosy neighbourhood spots like Bobbin in Clapham Common, to big establishments like the Cat & Mutton in Hackney, sample juicy meat, crispy roasties and vegetables, plus pudding if you find room!
Alternatively, head further out to Hampstead Heath, where pubs like the famous Spaniards Inn await. Book ahead to avoid being disappointed on the door.
If your elderly relative fancies a Wind in the Willows-inspired daytrip, renting a rowboat or a pedalo on the Serpentine is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Of course, you’ll be in charge of rowing and pedalling while they put their feet up and enjoy the breeze. Why not follow up with a picnic in the park afterwards?
Hyde Park boat and pedalo hire usually opens up at the end of March each year. More information can be found on the Hyde Park site.
The stunning St Paul’s Cathedral draws huge numbers of tourists each year - and it’s no surprise why. This London landmark has been at the centre of many major events, from the funerals of Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill to the marriage of royals Prince Charles and Diana.
Wander through the Stone Galleries, wonder at the magical Golden Gallery and dare to venture below ground to the crypts. There are also lift facilities inside for those with limited mobility.
Opening times at the Cathedral are Monday to Saturday, from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM and those aged 65 or over get a discounted ticket price.
If your elderly loved one likes history, art and culture, London is home to some of the world’s best museums, including The British Museum.
With constantly changing exhibitions on every possible theme from the world of Stonehenge and Italian Renaissance master Raphael, to the ancient Greeks and demonic feminine power, you can while away a few hours learning about the thousands of historical artefacts behind the Museum's walls. Just check the site before you visit to see what’s on.
There are audio descriptive tours, large print guides and audio enhancement loops available for those who need them and the Museum is completely accessible for all levels of mobility. If you have time, The Natural History Museum and art galleries such as The V&A, The Tate Modern and The Tate Britain are also worth exploring.
We hope this list has given you plenty of inspiration for things to do in London for the elderly. Remember to take things at your own pace and make the most of every activity - after all, you can always visit again!