Bangalore with kids

***This post was featured by Lonely Planet as one of the top family travel posts from August 2017.***

Bangalore is often overlooked by travellers as it lacks the world-class, wow-factor sights of some other Indian cities. Those that do visit are often only stopping in to savour their creature comforts (think Marmite from Spar supermarket and purchasing clean knickers from M&S) before getting back on the road and heading north to Hampi or west to Mysore or Kochi.

However, this burgeoning IT metropolis with its green open spaces, gated playgrounds and soft-play, is a fantastic destination for kids to run free and play (which in turn gives the parents a welcome break!) Plus, due to its higher altitude, Bangalore enjoys a more benevolent climate; a cool respite if travelling during the warmer months (although it can still get uncomfortably hot between April and June).

Bangalore is currently our home and we love it here; we thought it about time to share our favourite activities for families travelling to Bangalore.

Lalbagh Botanical Gardens

Lalbagh Bangalore with kids

Start at the West Gate and stroll along the lakeside path, look for monkeys and munch on sweetcorn from one of the numerous food vendors. It’s a welcome novelty to enjoy such a beautiful green space in this congested city and allow the kids to run free away from the traffic. Follow the path to the other side of the gardens, find the Peninsular Gneiss and take the short climb to the top for great views of the city skyline, a small temple and drinks stall.
(Open 6am-7pm everyday, entry fee Rs20, children under 12 free, camera Rs50)

Big Bull Temple and Bugle Park

Big Bull Temple, Bangalore with kids

Walk underneath the imposing big bull horns and climb the steps to the Big Bull Temple, containing a giant granite sculpture of the sacred animal, adorned in flowers. A few rupees secures a blessing from the priest and remember to place your hand on the bull’s hoof for good luck. On exiting, follow the steps to the right into Bugle Park and let the kids release some energy by climbing over boulders and mixing with the local kids at the playground.
(Big Bull Temple is open 7am-8.30pm. However, Bugle Park does not open until 4.30pm)

Iskcon Temple

Iskcon Temple, Bangalore with kids

Inaugurated in 1997, this is one of the largest Iskcon temples in the world. It may look like a big wedding cake but it has the substance to match the style. Climb the steps to marvel at the lavish decorations and stop to observe the fascinating ceremonies taking place, as the Hare Krishna chant provides a looping soundtrack to your visit. There is a fantastic food market as you leave the main temple so time your arrival for lunch. There are also lots of souvenir stalls. We treated our boys to a Hare Krishna flute. As with most temples, make sure your legs and shoulders are covered and leave the camera at home; photography is strictly prohibited.
(www.iskconbangalore.org Open 7.15am-1pm and 4.15-8.20pm Mon to Fri, 7.15am-8.30pm Sat, Sun and Public Holidays).

Afternoon Tea at the Taj West End

Tea at the Taj West End, Bangalore with kids

An oasis hidden amongst the chaos and noise of central Bangalore, the luxurious Taj West End has been providing a sanctuary for locals and travellers alike since 1887. Head to Mynt, their multi-cuisine restaurant, and if it’s not too hot, choose a table on the lawn. Being from the UK, it was an absolute treat to enjoy perfect tea from a teapot, whilst the boys ran barefoot around the manicured lawn. We also indulged in some scrummy cupcakes (only Rs50++ each). Once you’re all tea-d out, explore the lush gardens. Ask a member of staff to show you the way.

Cubbon Park

Cubbon Park, Bangalore with kids

Said to be the (overworked) ‘lungs’ of the city, this sprawling 120-hectare park in central Bangalore is where the kids can come to collect sticks, scramble over boulders, climb trees and run free. Combining this with a visit to Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technical Museum makes for a good afternoon (see below). There is also a small fair-ground (Jawahar Bal Bhavan) on the north-eastern edge of the park.
(Cubbon Park is open daily 6am to 6pm)

Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technical Museum

Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technical Museum

A fantastic hands-on science museum with lots of buttons to press, wheels to turn, levels to pull and a dinosaur. Includes some interesting engineering displays and strange distorting mirrors.
(vismuseum.gov.in, adult/child Rs40/free, open 10:30am-5pm)

Playgrounds

Playground, Bangalore with kids

In addition to the Bugle Rock playground next to Bull Temple (see above), Bangalore has a plethora of gated, clean playgrounds dotted around the city. Many even have security guards. Admittedly they may need a fresh lick of paint, but they are a great place for your little ones to play with local children. Just bear in mind the majority don’t open until later in the afternoon (sometimes at late as 4pm). Our favourites are Defence Colony Children’s Park (open 8am-12pm and 3:30pm-7pm daily) and Nandanavana Children’s Play Ground (open daily 4pm-8pm, Rs5, shoes must be removed). Check out Buzzing Bubs for a more extensive list of playgrounds in Bangalore.

Funky Monkeys Softplay

Funky Monkeys, Bangalore with kids

Do you feel you need to reward the kids with some normality after all their travelling? Funky Monkeys at 1MG Road Mall is a clean, safe and super fun play area for children under the age of 12. Attentive staff inside the play area oversee your little ones, so kick back with a chai and enjoy some relative peace. There is also a bigger Funky Monkeys at Orion Mall and details of other indoor play centres in Bangalore can be found here.
(www.funkymonkeys.in Open 11am-8pm Mon to Thurs Rs450 per child, 10.30am-8.30am Fri to Sun Rs550 per child)

Hilton swimming pool

Hilton Bangalore
Photo credit: Hilton Bangalore

Sample 5-star luxury for an afternoon at the Hilton Bangalore Embassy GolfLinks, with a guest day-pass to their outdoor swimming pools. There is a nice heated kids’ pool and jacuzzi pool (which is also great for the little ones), as well as a standard main pool. The staff will look after you extremely well, so sit back on one of their king-size cabanas poolside and order a beef burger and a cold bottle of Kingfisher. You deserve it.
(Rs1500++ adults, children free. Pass is for 2 hours, but you can stretch it to 3)

The one downside of the Hilton, however, is the lack of shade. If it’s a very hot day, or you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, we recommend the covered pool at The Paul. They too have a kids’ pool, although it’s unheated and a bit on the chilly side.
(Day pass is Rs500++ adults, Rs250 children aged 5-12, children under 5 are free)

Sunday Brunch at the Sheraton

Sheraton, Bangalore with kids

Brunch to many of us means a good fry-up enjoyed on a late and lazy morning. In Bangalore, Sunday Brunch is actually a buffet lunch held 12pm until 4pm in most of the big 5* hotels and is extremely popular with expats and locals alike. Our favourite is the Sheraton Sunday Brunch as it lays on the best entertainment for kids. There is a supervised play area that includes a bouncy castle, face painting, crafts, toys and balloon-animals made to order. And the best bit? Kids under 4 are FREE! The buffet is extensive and if you’ve been travelling in India for a while, treat yourselves to some cured meats, cheese and slow cooked beef. Call ahead to book a table on 08042520133 or you can book online via zomato.
(www.sheratongrandbangalore.com, Every Sunday 12pm-4pm, Prices at time of writing: Brunch with unlimited alcohol RS2500++, Brunch with unlimited soft drinks Rs1900++, Kids Brunch (4-12 years) Rs850++)

Other activities in Bangalore

Bangalore Fort, Bangalore with kids

Bangalore Fort, although very small, is a good space for the kids to explore and a peaceful retreat from the chaos of surrounding streets. Combine a visit here with a meander around bustling Krishnarajendra Market for a taste of traditional urban India. It is extremely busy, so we advise putting the kid(s) on your shoulders, taking in the colourful spices and dyes and perhaps purchasing some fresh fruit. In the centre is the colourful flower market. Further South along Krishnarajendra Road (just 500 metres) there is also Tipu Sultan’s Palace and Venkataraman Temple.

Bangalore Palace is another interesting place to visit. Supposedly based on Windsor Castle, marvel at the lavish interiors and walls adorned with old family photographs. There is also some disturbing hunting memorabilia on display.

If you feel the need to escape the city, we also recommend a day trip to Nandi Hills, stopping at Prestige Golfshire for lunch and a dip in the pool on the way back to Bangalore. Or enjoy the thrills at the amusement park and water park of Wonderla, one hour drive South West of the city.

Where to stay
Many of the 5* hotels often have good deals on booking.com. At time of writing, Taj West End had rooms for Rs8000 and the Sheraton had rooms for Rs6400, so it’s worth checking out.

Recommended mid-range hotels include Pride Hotel (central location and great breakfast) or i45 Hotel (also central and exceptional value).

Getting to Bangalore
Bangalore is a well connected hub on the Indian rail network with direct overnight trains to Hampi, Pondicherry, Chennai, Kochi, Goa, and there are up to 14 trains per day to Mysore. Check the IRCTC website for up-to-date train times. There are three main train stations in Bangalore; City train central is the main hub, Cantonment train station is handy for the central MG Road area, while Yeshvantpur train station is 8km northwest and where you’ll arrive if coming from Goa.

International and domestic flights arrive and depart from Kempegowda International Airport, 40km North of central Bangalore. Air Asia, Air India, GoAir, IndiGo, JetAirways and SpiceJet are the domestic operators with daily flights to all major cities across in India.

Getting around Bangalore

Bangalore auto with kids

Bangalore traffic has to be seen to be believed. A 5km drive, can easily take half an hour. So bare this in mind when planning your day. The easiest way to get around Bangalore is by booking a car through either the Uber or Ola app. However, by far the most fun way to get around is by auto. Check out our post Auto-rickshaws in Bangalore with kids. There is also the shiny new metro, that is still a work in progress. There are currently two lines in operation and the best source of information on it is actually wiki.

Bangalore with kids
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To read more about travelling India with young kids, head to our India page.


Where would we be without our trusted Lonely Planet

LP

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49 thoughts on “Bangalore with kids

  1. I’m a huge fan of experiencing real life when I travel, which means seeing the day-to-day stuff as well as the big tourist draws. Bangalore looks very much like modern India in a nutshell, so I’d love to visit! (I’m not sure the railway station at 3am on a night train counts?!). Thanks for sharing your new hometown!

  2. Sometimes it is hard to find things to do for children while traveling. So glad you were able to find things to do for your children. Looks like they had a blast and

  3. This is such an interesting read! I knew nothing at all about Bangalore, but it looks a fabulous place to visit. It’s great that you are surrounded by all this culture and beauty, but you can still find a bit of almost British normality with a soft play area!

  4. I only really knew of Bangalore’s IT reputation so really interesting to hear about the other side of the city for families, especially from someone who lives there. #farawayfiles

  5. Clare Thomson

    You’ve made Bangalore look like such a great place for families! Lots of parks, fascinating temples and museums to discover. Thanks for sharing your insider tips with us on #FarawayFiles

    1. Thanks for reading Clare. There really is so much to do with kids here. Fow those families travelling around, it makes for a great stop for a dose of normality, which I think kids need now and again.

  6. Love this blog!!! It almost convinces me that India with Kids would be Ok!!! Seriously, the nice thing about a blog like this is that it isn’t about the ‘tourist attractions’ but about enjoying life in a a foreign place with children… Thanks!

  7. Sally@Tips 4 Trips

    I haven’t thought of visiting Bangalore – but I had I been heading in that direction I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it. That wedding cake temple and the historic fort definitely worth a few days in town.

  8. I now really wish we had visited Bangalore when we lived in Delhi (and not just for the M&S knickers!). It really looks like a great city to explore with the kids and I have to say the playgrounds look *really* nice compared to the ones we had in Delhi! It’s also great to hear that the climate is a little friendlier than in the north. Great post!

    1. Well it’s always good to have somewhere to come back to 😉. We’re actually going to Delhi next month, so I should pick your brains on what there is to do with kids there. Thanks for reading!

  9. Looks like a nice place to live an expat. I think outsiders have a view of India as being under developed and chaotic all the time. Your home seems to have some great facilities and attractions for families

  10. I didn’t know much about Bangalore before this post. It looks like a wonderful place especially for families with young children. I especially like the Fort. Although small, I can tell it would be a hit with my kids.

  11. wanderingwagarschristina

    I didn’t know much about Bangalore before this post. It looks like a wonderful place especially for families with young children. I especially like the Fort. Although small, I can tell it would be a hit with my kids.

  12. I haven’t explored the southern parts of India yet, and yeah I have heard that many travellers skip Bangalore. Instead they move on to other sights that are more historical. I love that picture of your kids in the auto rickshaw haha…cute! #FarawayFiles

  13. The Iskcon Temple is magnificent! What I love about this guide is the mix of play and cultural activities as well as that pool. I think that mixing it up is the key to travelling with kids and you have nailed it here with your guide to Bangalore. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    1. Thanks so much Erin. It took us a while to find our feet and things to do here. So little written on Bangalore! But we’re very happy and think it’s a great stop for families travelling through India 🙂

  14. Pingback: Thoughts on living in Bangalore from expat Mums – TraveLynn Family

  15. Priya Vin

    We have always avoided visiting Bangalore because of the traffic nightmares, you have inspired us to stop by on our next visit to India.

  16. Trish @ Mum's Gone To

    What an eye-opener! So many interesting places to visit with children. I’d be heading to the Bull Temple with afternoon tea at the Taj – we love their hotel in London.
    #GetGone

  17. Great post by Travelynn Family! I would definitely recommend this article to the people taking a trip to Bangalore or just going there for some other purpose. It has information about all the great places that you absolutely must hit up. It is a very informative and useful article for travellers.

    1. Thanks Daisy. If had known how much kid-friendly stuff was on our doorstep before leaving the UK, I really wouldn’t have been nervous at all. Has made it so easy keeping the little ones entertained. Thanks for reading 🙂

  18. Pingback: Visiting the Taj Mahal with young kids – TraveLynn Family

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