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London, Ontario, a city rich in culture and history, offers a wide variety of activities and attractions that cater to various interests, all within easy reach of Toronto. Whether you’re an avid history buff, a lover of the arts, an outdoor enthusiast, or a family looking for a fun day out, London has something special in store for everyone.
For those intrigued by history and cultural experiences, Fanshawe Pioneer Village is a must-visit. This interactive museum takes you back in time to the 19th century, offering a glimpse into the life of early settlers in Ontario. Another cultural gem is The Grand Theatre, known for its stunning productions that showcase both local and international talent, making it a central figure in London’s vibrant arts scene.
Families with young children will find Storybook Gardens an interesting destination. This enchanting amusement park brings fairy tales to life, with interactive play areas and attractions that ignite the imagination. For those seeking educational but fun experiences, the London Museum offers interactive exhibits that combine learning with play.
To learn more about these and other attractions and great places to visit, read through our list of the best things to do in London Ontario.
The Best Things To Do in London Ontario
Explore the Past at Fanshawe Pioneer Village
Fanshawe Pioneer Village, located, within the Fanshawe Conservation Area, is a re-creation of 19th-century life in rural Ontario. This interactive village portrays the period from 1820 to 1920 and serves as a bridge connecting visitors to the past, allowing them to explore and experience the way of life from a bygone era.
The village comprises historical buildings, some original and some replicas, ranging from log cabins to elegant Victorian homes, as well as a one-room schoolhouse and a quaint chapel. Each building has been carefully restored and furnished to reflect the period.
Costumed interpreters bring history to life. These characters, portraying the villagers of the time, engage in daily activities such as blacksmithing, cooking, and farming, demonstrating skills and crafts of the era. These re-enactments are not only educational but also entertaining, providing insights into the challenges and triumphs of early settlers in Ontario. It also serves as a valuable educational resource with interactive learning opportunities.
The village’s location within the Fanshawe Conservation Area adds another layer of appeal. The surrounding natural beauty offers a scenic backdrop. During the winter months, the pathways through the village turn into cross-country ski and snowshoe trails, offering a different perspective of the landscape.
Take the Kids to Storybook Gardens
Storybook Gardens, located in Spring Bank Park, is a magical destination that brings the enchantment of fairy tales and children’s stories to life. This unique theme park, specifically designed for young children, offers an array of attractions and activities that ignite the imagination and provide endless fun.
Covering an area of over 20 acres, Storybook Gardens is for children up to around nine years old and represents a storybook that comes to life with various zones and play areas inspired by classic fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Children can climb through the Old Woman’s Shoe, have a memorable encounter with Humpty Dumpty, and embark on adventures in settings that replicate their favourite stories.
The park includes a variety of play areas including splash pads for water fun in the summer to a magic carpet slide and numerous other play structures that encourage physical activity and exploration. During the winter months, the park offers seasonal attractions like skating trails.
The park hosts day camps and special events that are both fun and informative and is a popular spot for family outings, school field trips, birthday parties, and playdates.
Have Some Adult Fun at Budweiser Gardens
Budweiser Gardens, located in the heart of downtown London, is an iconic multi-purpose facility known for hosting a wide array of high-profile events, including sports games, concerts, and various entertainment shows. Since opening in 2002, the venue has become a central hub for entertainment and sports in the region, drawing visitors from across Canada and beyond.
The venue is home to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and the London Lightning of the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC), making it a popular destination for sports fans. It’s also a prime location for concerts and live performances and hosts a wide range of musicians, comedians, and performers.
Located in downtown London, it’s easily accessible by public transportation and offers parking options nearby. The venue’s central location also means it’s surrounded by a variety of restaurants, bars, and hotels, making it easy for visitors to plan a complete evening out.
See a Show at The Grand Theatre
The Grand Theatre, located on Richmond Street, is renowned for its rich history, remarkable architecture, and its pivotal role in fostering the performing arts in the region. Established in 1901, the theatre has survived challenges over the years, including a devastating fire in 1978, yet it has always emerged stronger.
As a premier venue for live theatre and concerts, the Grand Theatre boasts two beautifully designed stages and offers an intimate setting that brings audiences close to the performances. It also supports emerging artists and playwrights, offers educational programs, and engages with the community through various outreach initiatives.
Centrally located in the city, it’s a perfect destination for a memorable evening out. Its proximity to various dining and entertainment options allows visitors to enjoy a complete cultural experience.
Explore London Children’s Museum
Located in the brand-new development at 100 Kellogg Lane, the London Children’s Museum is all about interactive learning and a whole lot of fun and serves as a vibrant educational playground for children of all ages. This institution is not just a museum in the traditional sense but a dynamic space where curiosity leads to discovery and learning through play.
The museum offers a variety of exhibits that cover a broad spectrum of subjects, from science and history to culture and the arts. Exhibits are designed to stimulate young minds, encouraging exploration and hands-on learning. The dinosaur room is a favourite and captivates children with its prehistoric wonders, while other areas introduce them to indigenous cultures or the intricacies of their own neighbourhoods.
The museum’s design is thoughtful and child-centric, equipped with amenities that cater to the needs of families, including quiet play areas, nursing rooms, and snack areas. Free family nights are held each Thursday with admission waived.
Take a Stroll Through Springbank Park
Springbank Park offers a diverse range of recreational and leisure activities for people of all ages. Set along the Thames River, the park features an extensive network of trails that are perfect for walking, jogging, and cycling. The park is also a favourite spot for family outings and picnics with well-maintained picnic areas and ample open spaces and playgrounds.
The proximity to the Thames River is a bonus with activities like paddle boating and fishing. Various events and festivals are held throughout the year.
Visit Museum London
Museum London, situated at the fork of the Thames River, is one of Canada’s leading regional art museums and holds a significant place in the cultural landscape of Southwestern Ontario. One of the museum’s key attractions is its extensive collection of Canadian art, considered one of the finest in the country. This collection includes works from the 18th century to the present day, showcasing a wide range of artistic expressions and styles and representing a variety of mediums, from traditional paintings and sculptures to contemporary installations and multimedia works.
In addition to its art collection, Museum London is also dedicated to preserving and presenting the local history of London and the surrounding area. The museum’s historical exhibits delve into various aspects of the region’s past, from its Indigenous roots to its development as a modern city.
It’s also a vibrant community hub that hosts a variety of educational programs, workshops, and events aimed at promoting arts and culture within the community. These programs cater to diverse audiences, from school groups to art enthusiasts, and often involve local artists and historians.
East Park London
East Park London is an exemplary model of a multi-faceted recreational facility that combines the sport of golf with a variety of energetic and family-friendly activities. This unique blend makes East Park a popular destination for a wide range of visitors, from golf enthusiasts to families looking for a fun day out.
The golf course at East Park is a notable feature, characterized by its Robbie Robinson-designed 18-hole layout. The course is renowned for its aesthetic beauty and the quality of its greens, making it a favourite among local golfers. Whether you are a seasoned player or a beginner, the course offers an enjoyable and challenging experience and is considered one of London’s best golf courses.
East Park is much more than just a golf course, though. It features an amusement park area that provides a variety of activities for all ages including an indoor rock-climbing wall, go-karts, bumper cars, and a water park with seven slides. Other highlights include mini-golf, batting cages, a jungle gym, and “footgolf,” a combination of soccer and golf.