49 free issues to do in London with youngsters


There’s no denying that my dwelling metropolis could be costly – however with so many free issues to do in London with youngsters, there are many household days out that received’t value you a penny.

Boy in policeman's helmet against a chalk drawing of Big Ben, a red London doubledecker bus and Union Jack flag. The top 49 free things to do in London with kids
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Whether you’re searching for an affordable day trip in London with youngsters, need to combine some funds choices in with the pricier household points of interest, or fancy a problem like seeing London for lower than £5 per day, these are my prime picks.

From main London landmarks to one of the best inexperienced areas within the metropolis, London’s prime free museums, playgrounds and even Harry Potter websites, you’ll have loads of money left for souvenirs.

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**If you’d favor a PDF model of this put up to print out (or an ad-free expertise), the complete content material can be accessible to obtain for £1.99 – click on right here to purchase. Includes all 49 suggestions (and seven,500+ phrases) with hyperlinks and pictures**

See London’s sights at no cost

Palaces, historic landmarks, even some conventional ceremonies which return centuries – these free issues to do with youngsters in London are unmissable.

For extra concepts on how to economize on days out in London with youngsters, take a look at my prime suggestions

View of Tower Bridge and the Thames with boats sailing along as the bridge lifts - one of the best free things to do in London with kids

See Tower Bridge rise

With its blue and white ornament, Tower Bridge is a London icon (and no, it’s not referred to as London Bridge). And you may also see Tower Bridge rise round 800 instances a yr.

The central sections could be raised to permit bigger boats to sail into the Upper Pool of London – technically the bridge is a mixed suspension and bascule bridge – and the instances are revealed upfront.

You can get a number of the greatest views of Tower Bridge opening from the financial institution too, with viewpoints on the north financial institution close to the Tower of London and in the direction of St Katherine’s Pier – spot the woman with a dolphin fountain as you do – or on the south financial institution close to HMS Belfast or round Butler’s Wharf.

Check the hottest schedule of bridge raise instances.

Tower of London: The Ceremony of the Keys

At the close by Tower of London, one among my earlier suggestions – the historic Ceremony of the Keys – is unfortunately not utterly free. The £5 charge per ticket remains to be properly value it to observe historical past in motion although, some of the uncommon issues to do in London with youngsters.

Back within the 14th century, Edward III was livid to find he might stroll into the Tower of London unchallenged – and decreed the fortress ought to be locked at sundown and unlocked at dawn from that time on. And the custom continues to at the present time, with the go to now beginning at 9.30pm: tickets accessible from the beginning of the month, should be prebooked.

Check out my expertise of watching the Ceremony of the Keys with youngsters

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Look at Buckingham Palace

If you need a glimpse of the State Apartments, it received’t come low cost – however taking a look on the sweeping façade of Buckingham Palace (and checking to see if the royal household is at dwelling), comes completely free.

If you spy the Royal Standard fluttering above the palace roof, it’s an indication that the monarch is in residence, but when the Union Jack is flying, it’s proof he’s not current.

You also can spot the Victoria Memorial, earlier than heading off down the tree-lined stretch of The Mall or into St James’s Park in the direction of Westminster or Green Park in the direction of Piccadilly.

Listen to Big Ben

One of the icons of London, the Elizabeth Tower – which homes Big Ben – has been beneath scaffolding for years throughout an extended restoration venture.

The 96m tall clocktower dates again to 1859 and with London site visitors (and many guests climbing the steps inside as a part of the Big Ben excursions), the renovations have been the primary for round 40 years.

Now unveiled as soon as once more, the clock face is seen and work has lastly been accomplished. The 13.7 tonne Great Bell, as Big Ben is formally recognized, has been silenced in the course of the facelift, aside from particular events however is because of resume the well-known ‘booooong’ all through the day as soon as work is full.

The Changing of the guard in London, in front of Buckingham Palace - the best free things to do in London with kids

See the Changing of the Guard

Another custom that dates again centuries – this one to the late fifteenth century – the Changing of the Guard is one among London’s hottest free points of interest as they march of their well-known bearskin hats as a full navy band performs.

The Household Troops have guarded Buckingham Palace since Queen Victoria moved in in 1837, though they’ve protected the monarch and royal palaces for hundreds of years earlier than then. And from 10.43am, the Old Guard palms over to the New Guard in a ceremony which takes round an hour.

You also can see the guards beginning to type up by the palace from 10.30am and the brand new guard arriving from Wellington Barracks. The Changing of the Guard usually takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays (every day in June/July) however could also be cancelled for main occasions in addition to notably unhealthy climate – verify it’s going forward earlier than you queue.

Expect to get there early if you’d like a great spot – being too near the palace isn’t at all times splendid, as you don’t essentially have one of the best view by means of the gates. If you’re visiting London with youthful youngsters, get a style at Wellington Barracks on Birdcage Walk beforehand, the place you’ll be able to spot them forming up and listen to the music at round 10.15.

For a much less busy choice, you may also see the Queen’s Life Guard change on Horse Guards Parade, which tends to be much less busy – 11am every day, besides on Sundays when it takes place at 10am.

For extra royal locations in London to go to with youngsters, take a look at my choose of one of the best, from palaces to castles and extra

Hop on a London bus

Another icon of London, a pink double-decker bus is a good expertise in addition to doubling as a mini free tour of London – see if you happen to can seize the entrance seats on the prime for one of the best view.

Strictly talking, this one is barely free for youths – dad and mom must pay (though grownup fares are a mere £1.65 for an hour, so it’s nonetheless a little bit of a cut price – playing cards solely, no money. Check out this put up for extra particulars of utilizing public transport in London with youngsters). 

Sadly the final of the traditional Routemaster buses has been retired from Route 15 but it surely’s nonetheless an important path to see the sights, passing the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and Trafalgar Square.

Or route 11 travels from Victoria by way of Westminster Abbey to Horseguards parade, Trafalgar Square and on to St Paul’s, whereas route 9 takes you from Trafalgar Square west previous Piccadilly to the South Kensington museums and Kensington Palace.

Model doubledecker bus - the best free things to do in London for kids

Visit the Sky Garden

London’s highest public backyard is free to go to, though you do have to ebook upfront to absorb the views – unsurprisingly tickets to the Sky Garden get snapped up at weekends and also you’ll want ID, so plan forward.

Not removed from Monument station (check out the well-known Monument itself on the best way, one other free factor to do in London with youngsters if you happen to don’t climb it), the backyard sits on the prime of the skyscraper Londoners know because the Walkie Talkie constructing – if you happen to’re battling instructions, it’s not tough to identify.

With a coated terrace, you will get some superb views throughout to the Shard, St Paul’s, Tower Bridge and alongside the Thames throughout your hour slot. You can keep longer if you happen to plan go to one of many locations to eat and drink, though these are (clearly) not free.

For extra nice free views in London with youngsters, take a look at my prime picks

Explore Covent Garden

There’s at all times one thing to see across the Covent Garden Piazza, whether or not you like to browse the market stalls, get pleasure from some avenue theatre or uncover the newest shows. At Christmas, big baubles dangle from the glass roof, when you might additionally discover something from Lego creations to occasional leisure on the large screens.

The avenue performers audition for the coveted slots right here, and also you may spot something from magic methods to music – it’s free to observe, though if you happen to benefit from the present, it’s solely truthful to drop one thing within the hat on the finish.

While you’re there, take a stroll over to close by Neal’s Yard for its eye-catchingly shiny buildings.

If you’re searching for one of the best locations to remain close to Covent Garden with youngsters, take a look at my choose of household lodges in London

A view across one of the fountains to the temporary blue cock statue in Trafalgar Square - spotting the latest art on the fourth plinth is a great free thing to do in London with kids

Art in Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square could be most well-known for Nelson’s column – do wander previous to identify the lions at its foot – however since 1998, there’s been a succession of artworks on the  beforehand empty fourth plinth within the sq..

There’s been every part from an enormous blue cockerel and a bronze skeletal horse to a ship in a bottle, and The End, an enormous swirl of whipped cream with a cherry and a fly on prime, whereas a drone transmits a reside feed of Trafalgar Square.

 Antelope by Samson Kambalu is the brand new addition for 2022, and a stroll across the sq. is ideal to mix with a go to to the National Gallery close by.

Scroll down for extra free London museums with youngsters

Visit Parliament

If you’re a UK resident, there are a number of methods you will get into the Houses of Parliament at no cost (in any other case there are additionally paid excursions and a digital tour on supply).

You can ebook as much as six months upfront by contacting your MP (no matter you consider their politics!), to hitch a 75-minute official tour by means of the Palace of Westminster, so you’ll be able to uncover extra concerning the historical past and traditions of Parliament and its dwelling.

If you’re reserving throughout the subsequent 4 weeks, you’ll be able to contact the bookings workforce direct. It’s value understanding that these don’t run every single day (and never at weekends)

Alternatively, you may also get a free ticket to see a debate, both within the House of Commons or the House of Lords – value doing if you happen to fancy taking in one of many extra fashionable debates.

You’ll want ID, there’s airport-style safety and it’s a superb plan to decorate moderately well too.

Otherwise you’ll be able to likelihood your luck on the day and queue to get in to see the House in session – recess very often coincides with college holidays nevertheless, if you happen to’re visiting with youngsters.

A view across the Thames to the Elizabeth Tower containing Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster - some of the best free things to do in London with kids

Discover the Roman Mithraeum

There are loads of reminders of the Roman metropolis of Londinium if you realize the place to look together with a part of London Wall close to the Museum of London.

But simply some of the spectacular is the London Mithraeum. The Roman temple of Mithras was based within the third century by the Walbrook, one among London’s misplaced rivers, earlier than it lay hidden for hundreds of years till 1954.

It was solely in 2017 when the reconstructed temple was reopened in its unique website, beneath Bloomberg’s European Headquarters at 12 Walbrook, together with interactive shows and data for youths. It’s free to enter however prebooked tickets are really useful.

For extra Roman websites in London to go to with youngsters, take a look at my put up – together with loads of free choices

Find a Roman amphitheatre

Head over to the City of London and you will discover one other Roman spotlight at Guildhall Yard – stroll across the open area in entrance of the fifteenth century Guildhall and also you’ll see black stones curving across the yard.

These mark the place the place the Roman amphitheatre as soon as stood. Head into the Guildhall Art Gallery and you’ll see the stays of the amphitheatre itself, together with a part of the sector partitions.

The Art Gallery itself can be free to go to, and also you’ll typically discover occasions going down in Guildhall Yard or as one of many places for occasions protecting the Square Mile making up the City of London.

View of Guildhall Yard with a black circle showing the Roman amphitheatre underground plus the medieval Guildhall and art gallery in the background - the best Roman sites in London

Visit Fulham Palace

For centuries, Fulham Palace was the house of the Bishops of London and you’ll nonetheless see inside the home, now a museum which dates again round 750 years.

As properly discovering out extra concerning the Bishops who lived right here, and at earlier buildings on the location, there’s an opportunity to study concerning the property which as soon as provided the palace, its royal guests, plus there are free trails for youths to comply with.

Outside, the 13-acre gardens embrace a pure play space, and there are common occasions and actions throughout college holidays. Tickets to the home and museum are free however must be prebooked.

The palace sits subsequent to Bishop’s Park, with extra playgrounds, together with water play and an city seaside, plus a rose backyard and sculpture backyard, whereas you may also be part of the Thames Path right here.

Get outdoor in London

Despite being one of many greatest cities on the planet, London additionally scores properly on the subject of inexperienced area, with a sequence of beautiful parks. You’ll additionally discover loads of likelihood to get outdoor in London alongside the Thames and at some specifically designed trails too: all utterly free.

Sign to Coram's Fields in London - one of the best free things to do with kids in London

Coram’s Fields

London is a surprisingly inexperienced metropolis with loads of parks to select from however what makes Coram’s Fields distinctive is that this stretch of inexperienced area is barely open to households – until you’re visiting with youngsters, you’re not allowed in.

Stretching throughout seven acres, there’s tons to find inside as properly: a number of play areas, together with a number of conventional playgrounds with swings, slides and climbing frames, in addition to some interactive choices to make music… or on the very least, a number of noise!

Coram’s Fields can be dwelling to slightly wildlife backyard, plus it’s strolling distance from the British Museum so it’s simple to mix the 2 for a free day trip in London.

Here’s what we considered a go to to Coram’s Fields with a preschooler

Kensington Gardens

While Kensington Gardens isn’t the most important of the royal parks, it’s top-of-the-line if you happen to’re visiting London with youngsters.

The greatest draw is the Diana Memorial Playground within the park’s north-western nook, with an enormous wood pirate ship as its centrepiece, plus a sensory path, play sculptures and many extra.

For tips about extra of the greatest playgrounds in London, take a look at this put up

It’s additionally home to the statue of Peter Pan, subsequent to the Long Water as you stroll in the direction of Hyde Park, with squirrels, rabbits, mice and fairies climbing up in the direction of Peter himself.

Walking distance from the South Kensington museums, together with the Natural History Museum and Science Museum, it’s additionally simple to mix with Hyde Park.

The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park - one of the best free things to do in London with kids

Hyde Park

Stretching across the Serpentine, Hyde Park is dwelling to Winter Wonderland within the run-up to Christmas and numerous occasions in the course of the summer time. But it’s a beautiful place to flee town at any time of the yr.

For youngsters, there’s a playground at South Carriage Drive or you’ll be able to entertain yourselves by getting totally different views of the water as you cross the three bridges over the Diana Memorial fountain. On scorching days, you’ll be able to dip your ft in on the edge (in addition to hiring deckchairs by the lake).

Hyde Park has its personal quirky historical past too. For virtually 150 years, Speaker’s Corner has been the place to go to make your voice heard – anybody can share their views (so long as it doesn’t break any legal guidelines) and also you’ll often discover crowds gathering to pay attention on Sunday mornings.

At the opposite finish of the park, Rotten Row was as soon as the hang-out of highwaymen, in addition to a spot for the cream of society to train their horses in centuries previous. The lengthy sandy bridleway was lined with streetlamps to discourage the thieves though you’ll be able to nonetheless spy individuals driving horses within the park.

St James’s Park

The oldest of the royal parks, St James’s Park is a beautiful inexperienced haven if you happen to’re exploring round Westminster – particularly the prospect to identify the park’s most well-known residents, the pelicans.

There have been pelicans dwelling right here for the reason that seventeenth century and so they even have their very own island within the lake. The official feeding instances have been quickly suspended, however you’ll be able to nonetheless spot the birds swimming and preening.

The views from the Blue Bridge throughout the water in the direction of Buckingham Palace, and out to the London Eye within the different route, are great too. Keep a watch out for the rose emblems on the bottom marking the Diana Memorial route too.

View across the lake at St James's Park in London towards the London Eye - visiting the park and its pelicans is one of the fun free things to do in London with kids

Regent’s Park

The greatest of the royal parks in central London, Regent’s Park is dwelling to London Zoo and an open-air theatre, but in addition loads of points of interest you’ll be able to get pleasure from at no cost.

As properly as getting a peek at a number of of the zoo’s animals from the trail exterior, the park is one thing of a haven for wildlife, particularly birds.

There are additionally 4 separate playgrounds for youths to get pleasure from, or stroll by means of the formal gardens. At the correct time of yr, Queen Mary’s Gardens has 12,000 roses in bloom.

If you’re feeling energetic, you’ll be able to rent rowing boats and head out onto the lake – though this does have a charge.

For an extended stroll, you’ll be able to comply with the Regent’s Canal in the direction of Camden from right here, or cross into Primrose Hill for one of many greatest views in London. It’s additionally a brief stroll from Baker Street and the assorted vacationer points of interest there.

Holland Park

Look out for peacocks in Holland Park, typically to be discovered strutting magnificently across the Kyoto Garden.

The backyard itself was a present from the Japanese metropolis, and with its waterfalls and swimming pools reflecting the cherry blossom in Spring and the flaming Japanese maple bushes in autumn, it’s a good looking spot to walk.

More thrilling for youths is the journey playground, geared toward kids aged 5 to 14, with a zipper wire, climbing frames and wall, and numerous different enjoyable choices, together with a sandpit space for youthful youngsters.

For tips about extra of the greatest playgrounds in London, take a look at this put up

The views from Greenwich park in London down to the Old Royal Naval College and the Docklands - visiting Greenwich Park is on my list of the best free things to do in London with kids

Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park has top-of-the-line views in London, from the hill of the Royal Observatory, gazing right down to the Old Royal Naval school and throughout the Thames to the Docklands and the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf and the monetary district.

But that’s just one cause to discover Greenwich Park with youngsters. It’s the oldest enclosed royal park and has its personal herd of deer which reside across the Wilderness, within the south-east of the park.

There are gardens galore, some with an extended historical past: wander by means of the Queen’s orchard, the park’s herb backyard and rose backyard, and stroll the size of London’s longest herbaceous border. There’s additionally a playground right here.

And whereas boat rent isn’t free, you would additionally head out onto the lake between Easter and October, within the shadow of the Queen’s House.

It’s an important choice to mix with the National Maritime Museum close by (scroll down for extra free London museums with youngsters), additionally free to enter, and you’ll climb as much as the Royal Observatory and see the meridian line.

For extra causes to go to Greenwich with youngsters, take a look at my put up

Battersea Park

Battersea Park is one other beautiful place to walk, with quite a lot of totally different points of interest if you happen to’re visiting London with youngsters – the bulk have a charge, together with the Go Ape Battersea excessive ropes, Battersea Park Children’s Zoo, pedal and rowboats on the lake, and Putt within the Park mini golf, however there’s nonetheless loads to do with out paying a penny.

Look out for the London Peace Pagoda as you wander, a present to town from the founding father of the Japanese Buddhist motion in 1984. The park additionally stretches alongside the sting of the Thames so that you get the river views and an opportunity to stare throughout to the Chelsea Embankment.

Deer in the grass at Richmond Park - one of the best free days out in London with kids

Richmond Park

The greatest of the royal parks, Richmond Park stretches for an astonishing 2,500 acres and can be a nature reserve.

Most well-known for its herds of untamed deer, each pink and fallow deer, you’ve acquired a superb likelihood of recognizing them as you wander – the Tamsin Trail, alongside the sting of the park is right for households, because it’s virtually car-free, and is an effective path to comply with to get a number of glimpses.

It’s necessary to do not forget that they’re wild animals although, so don’t attempt to feed them and at all times maintain a minimum of 50m away, particularly in the course of the rutting season (from September to November) and through May to July when fawns are born.

Don’t miss the beautiful Isabella Plantation gardens, with beautiful winding paths previous the flowers and water, or on a transparent day, climb King Henry’s Mound and look throughout in the direction of St Paul’s Cathedral greater than 10 miles away. It’s a protected view, so nothing is allowed to be constructed within the sightline.

For extra of the greatest views in London with youngsters, take a look at my prime picks

Walk the South Bank

There’s at all times one thing new to find alongside London’s South Bank, with occasions and festivals frequently going down, new art work typically showing, avenue artwork, plus a string of historic websites and main points of interest to see.

The Thames is the guts of town, so a stroll alongside the river is at all times top-of-the-line issues to do in London with youngsters. One of my favorite stretches runs from Westminster Bridge to Southwark Bridge, with views to landmarks just like the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s, in addition to strolling previous the London Eye, the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.

Keep going slightly additional and you’ll see the Golden Hinde, a recreation of the ship wherein Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe, then on in the direction of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

Don’t miss the little particulars too, from the ornamental lampposts to the fountains which create the Appearing Rooms (take spare garments!) and an entire string of inventive touches. These change always, however take a look at this stroll alongside the South Bank for a number of the highlights to look out for.

The Imagine Children’s Festival additionally takes place on the South Bank, often in February, operating for 12 days and geared toward youngsters aged as much as 11, all utterly free.

For one other enjoyable, low cost strolling tour of London (though not utterly free), there’s 10% off the treasure hunts from Treasure Map trails utilizing code MUMMYTRAVELS, together with for central London

Houseboats lining the canal at Little Venice - exploring the canals is a fun free day out with kids in London

Explore Little Venice

If you’re searching for waterfront walks, there’s extra than simply the Thames to discover, with loads of choices alongside town’s canals.

The Regent’s Canal passes from Camden, previous Regent’s Park and London Zoo, however top-of-the-line areas to wander round is picturesque Little Venice with its houseboats moored alongside the banks or cruising down the nonetheless water… to not point out a floating artwork gallery and puppet theatre,

Thought to have been given its identify by poet Robert Browning, it’s a splendidly peaceable spot. The nearest tube is Warwick Avenue however you may also stroll alongside to Paddington Basin, with its Floating Pocket Park (mini inexperienced areas which bob on the water).

Head there at noon on Wednesdays and Fridays, and you’ll see the Fan Bridge being lifted as properly.

Check out a playground

If you go to virtually any one among London’s parks, you’ll discover a playground to entertain your youngsters – from the best-known just like the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens to Holland Park’s journey playground.

But there are a string of others in case your youngsters want a quick break from sightseeing. A stone’s throw from the London Eye, Jubilee Park & Garden has its personal playground, or Victoria Park in east London has each a playground and a splash park, whereas if you happen to’re out by the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Tumbling Bay playground has sand, wobbly bridges, swimming pools and extra to play in.

For someplace actually particular, head to Paddington Recreation Ground playground, aka Paddington Rec close to Maida Vale tube – designed for all ages and talents, it’s meant to encourage inventive play… and also you’ll discover a steamliner, practice, tunnel, musical devices, a wooden forest play space among the many bushes, plus the spotlight of pastel colored playhouses which appear to be terraced homes.

For my full set of the greatest playgrounds in London, take a look at this put up

The ship in the sand at the heart of the Diana Memorial playground in Kensington Gardens - one of the great free things to do in London with kids

Splash in a fountain

When London basks in one among its occasional heatwaves, there’s nowhere higher to be than the fountains which have began popping up throughout town – come ready with spare garments!

As properly because the Appearing Rooms on the South Bank (scroll up for extra particulars), a number of the greatest are at Granary Square close to Kings Cross. Made up of 1,080 separate jets, they dance in patterns, as youngsters splash excitedly amongst them.

You also can discover extra fountains within the courtyard of Somerset House off the Strand, in addition to The Riverside at More London close to Tower Bridge, 200 jets organized in strains which spring as much as catch the unwary.

Spot the Crystal Palace dinosaurs

A brief practice trip from central London lies one among London’s most uncommon points of interest – and one which, aside from the fare to get there, you’ll be able to get pleasure from solely at no cost.

Created again in 1854, the 30 life-size fashions are all of extinct animals, together with dinosaurs, primarily based on one of the best scientific information of the time – not all of which is kind of appropriate.

Now Grade I listed, they’ve been restored greater than as soon as and in the event that they don’t look fairly as you may count on a dinosaur to, they’re nonetheless properly value seeing. You can discover them within the south east aspect of Crystal Palace Park, which can be dwelling to one of many nation’s greatest mazes, one other Victorian design.

For extra uncommon issues to do in London with youngsters, take a look at my choose of one of the best

Dinosaur sculptures in Crystal Palace park - one of the most unusual free things to do in London with kids

Explore Hampstead Heath

This enormous stretch of open heathland stretches from Hampstead to Highgate, and is dwelling to the very best level in London – Parliament Hill. The view right here is protected, and you’ll gaze down onto St Paul’s and the Palace of Westminster, in addition to a number of the metropolis’s tallest buildings.

The woodland and meadows have impressed writers and artists, so it’s a beautiful place to amble: you’ll additionally discover playgrounds on the southern edge. There are three bathing ponds within the east too, though there’s a cost to make use of these (and it is advisable to prebook).

If you’re already an English Heritage member, you’ll be able to go to Kenwood House at no cost, with its artwork assortment contained in the grand Georgian constructing, household actions and extra grounds to discover.

See Walthamstow Wetlands

Around quarter-hour from central London, the Walthamstow Wetlands are the latest and largest wetlands within the metropolis – and in contrast to the earlier title holder, the WWT London Wetlands Centre at Barnes, they’re free to go to.

There are common family-friendly actions, or you’ll be able to merely comply with the 13 miles of paths by means of the character reserve, preserving a watch out for wildlife and having fun with the peace as you wander the paths across the reservoirs… whereas pondering the thought that these provide consuming water for 3.5 million individuals every single day.

Tottenham Hale tube is without doubt one of the best to get to, on the Victoria line from Oxford Circus and King’s Cross, then lower than 10 minutes’ stroll to achieve the wetlands themselves.

For one other free various, the newly reopened Camley Street Natural Park sits between King’s Cross and St Pancras, with wetland, woodland and grassland habitats within the 1 hectare reserve

Free museums in London

Some of London’s best-known museums are famously free to enter, and there’s a lot to find inside that it’s simple to spend a day wanting round – or simply pop in for an hour with out worrying about pricy entrance charges.

For now, prebooking tickets to London’s free museums is really useful, particularly throughout college holidays (though some walk-up tickets can be found), however there’s nonetheless no cost until you’re additionally visiting one of many particular exhibitions.

For extra concepts on issues to do in London with toddlers and preschoolers, take a look at this put up

The whale skeleton which replaced Dippy the diplodocus in the Hintze Hall of London's natural history museum - one of the best free things to do with kids in London

Natural History Museum

One of one of the best free museums in London with a toddler – though older youngsters will like it right here too – the well-known dinosaurs and blue whale skeleton hanging within the entrance corridor are simply the beginning of what you’ll be able to see on the Natural History Museum.

Older youngsters will love the earth sciences part, together with a simulated earthquake, after being whisked upstairs by an escalator rising in the direction of dramatic rumbles and pink mild.

Advert showing an image of a printable scavenger hunt for the Natural History Museum in London and the words 'click here to buy your scavenger hunt for a visit to the Natural History Museum in London with kids, only 99p'

Younger ones will benefit from the mammals part, and the prospect to see Andy’s clock in the event that they’re followers of CBeebies reveals Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures and Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures. You can also have a little break within the Wildlife Garden as properly.

It’s unsurprisingly fashionable, so the free tickets for weekends and faculty holidays do get snapped up quick – don’t depart it too late to ebook.

For my tips about visiting the Natural History Museum with youngsters, click on right here

Science Museum

A brief stroll from the Natural History Museum, you would even squeeze each these nice free London museums into in the future – though you received’t be in need of issues to see at both.

And aside from the interactive reveals of Wonderlab, which does have a reserving charge, there’s no cost to go to the Science Museum.

Toddlers and youthful youngsters will love The Garden, with a number of probabilities to get hands-on, enjoying with water, making music, sensory shows and big blocks. The Pattern Pod is one other nice one for preschoolers and first college age too.

Advert showing an image of a printable scavenger hunt for the Science Museum in London and the words 'click here to buy your scavenger hunt for a visit to the Science Museum in London with kids, only 99p'

And that’s earlier than you take a look at the area gallery, in addition to galleries on communications and data, plus an summary of 250 years of scientific and technological advances which have reworked our on a regular basis life.

Tickets should be prebooked, you’re suggested to permit a minimum of two hours for a go to. 

For my tips about visiting the Science Museum with youngsters, click on right here.

Old planes in one of the galleries at the London Science Museum - one of the best free things to do in London with kids

The British Museum

With round 80,000 gadgets on show on the British Museum (from its greater assortment of eight million or so), it’s additionally an important place to go to with youngsters.

The mummies and the Ancient Egypt galleries are among the many hottest (and often the busiest) however are by no means lower than fascinating. But with trails designed for age three upwards (together with two for preschoolers centered on colors and counting), it’s simple to deliver the artefacts to life.

You can uncover Anglo Saxon treasure, video games which date again 1000’s of years, gods, jewels, on a regular basis gadgets and distinctive finds, to not point out Romans, Greeks, Vikings and an enormous quantity extra.

Only the particular exhibitions have a cost, and if you happen to’re visiting with youngsters aged beneath 5, you need to be capable to skip the queue on the entrance – all guests should prebook free tickets and trails at the moment must be downloaded.

For my tips about visiting the British Museum with youngsters, click on right here.

Museum of London

There’s nowhere higher to find extra concerning the metropolis you’re visiting than this free museum – the Museum of London traces the capital’s historical past from the times when hippos roamed in what’s now Trafalgar Square.

It’s an important one for college age kids, together with nice galleries on Roman London, the Anglo Saxons, the plague and Great Fire of London, in addition to extra trendy instances. You also can choose up trails for youths to comply with as they discover.

Based out close to the Barbican, it additionally tends to be barely quieter than the South Kensington museums at weekends, splendid if you happen to’re attempting to flee the crowds with youngsters in London.

The museum is closing quickly from December 2022, because it strikes from London Wall to West Smithfield, on account of reopen in 2025 beneath the brand new identify The London Museum.

The famous stuffed walrus at the Horniman Museum - visiting the best free museums in London with kids

Horniman Museum

This beautiful museum is exterior central London however is straightforward to achieve from London Bridge, and notably enjoyable with youthful youngsters.

With a number of galleries on totally different themes, the Horniman is nice for little consideration spans as you’ll be able to wander from pure historical past to world music and tradition, to see butterflies and wander the grounds exterior (with extra animals to identify there too).

The Nature Base provides youngsters an opportunity to get palms on, together with stroking a stuffed fox and badger, whereas older ones can study extra about conservation too.

The non permanent exhibitions do have a small cost, as does the small aquarium, however in any other case it’s free with a prebooked ticket. Save a while to go to the Horniman Triangle playground close by, with sandpits and climbing webs among the many play gear.

Read extra about my go to to the Horniman museum with youngsters right here.

Victoria & Albert Museum

While households flock to the opposite South Kensington museums, the Victoria & Albert Museum (or V&A) is one which frequently will get ignored with youngsters.

But the world’s largest museum of ornamental and utilized arts has some implausible household actions to attempt, even for the youngest guests, that are nice for bringing the gathering to life.

With the costumes from the Lion King, eye-catchingly dramatic courtroom clothes, and a really sudden automaton of a tiger consuming a person, in addition to statues, sculptures and extra, it’s a wonderful treasure trove to discover with youngsters.

There are additionally free household occasions throughout college holidays and a few weekends, in addition to trails to comply with (obtain earlier than you come or choose up if you arrive – the household backpacks are at the moment unavailable although).

For my tips about visiting the V&A with youngsters, click on right here

Costumes from The Lion King in the V&A theatre collection - visiting the free museums in London with kids

National Maritime Museum

One of the Royal Museums Greenwich, this free museum traces Britain’s maritime historical past over the centuries, with reveals together with the coat Nelson was sporting when he died.

You also can see mannequin ships and maps, in addition to artworks, with tales of piracy and journey, Polar exploration and voyage by means of the Pacific – the Ahoy gallery is one of the best spot for households with youthful youngsters, or take a look at the interactive Sea Things gallery.

Better for older youngsters than toddlers, though there are household trails and an important big map within the coronary heart of the National Maritime Museum to play on. Tickets should be prebooked with timed entry slots.

For extra concepts of issues to do in Greenwich with youngsters, click on right here.

Tate Modern

Set in a transformed energy station on London’s Bankside, Tate Modern is certainly not your common artwork gallery – youngsters are inspired to speak (and there’s loads of area to run round within the turbine corridor) plus you’ll discover a number of simple methods even for youthful ones to get pleasure from what they see together with steered video games.

The Tate Modern additionally has steered routes for households to comply with by means of the collections, which embrace large names from the 20th century, similar to Matisse, together with works from the previous decade. At current, all guests comply with a one-way route by means of the gallery.

It’s a straightforward one so as to add in to a stroll alongside the South Bank as properly (scroll up for extra particulars).

The exterior of the National Gallery in London, seen from Trafalgar Square against a blue sky - one of the many free museums in London for a day out with kids

National Gallery

With properly over 2,000 works, you’ll be able to see a number of the best artwork on the planet on the National Gallery – and also you don’t have to have an in-depth grasp of artwork historical past to get pleasure from wanting on the collections.

See how lots of the 30 highlights you would discover, whereas there are trails to comply with (though work do have a tendency to maneuver).

For inventive youngsters, don’t go with out packing a pad and a few colouring pencils – you’ll spot loads of different households stopping to create their very own artwork alongside the best way.

There are additionally household actions like Sunday storytelling periods and different college vacation occasions, plus loads of concepts of artwork actions for youths at dwelling in the event that they’re impressed by a go to. You also can watch movies of curators telling a number of the tales behind the work (aimed for aged 8+) earlier than you go to. 

Museum of London Docklands

The sister website of the Museum of London, the Museum of London Docklands sits in a transformed warehouse on West India Quay, as soon as the guts of London’s thriving docks business, and it’s the proper place to find this side of the capital.

With galleries set out in chronological order, you’ll be able to journey from late Tudor instances when the river site visitors moved east from the wharves across the Tower of London proper by means of to the fashionable day, when London’s monetary district took over the world.

There are shows on slavery, you’ll be able to stroll by means of a recreation of sailortown and look inside an air raid shelter, in addition to studying extra concerning the Great Stink and the Great Dock Strike. There are intelligent interactives which imply you needn’t contact the display screen both.

Tickets should be prebooked however entry is free, together with to a number of the non permanent exhibitions. This is one museum which is best with main school-aged kids and older than with preschoolers and toddlers.

Read extra about my go to to the Museum of London Docklands with youngsters right here.

View across West India Dock on our visit to the Museum of London Docklands with kids - one of the free museums in London to visit with kids

Imperial War Museum

Founded in the course of the First World War, the galleries on the Imperial War Museum give attention to the experiences of individuals affected by warfare, so when you’ll additionally get to see some very giant weapons, planes hanging from the ceiling and collections of medals, there’s extra emphasis on particular person tales.

The latest galleries embrace one protecting the Second World War, and the museum runs common household occasions throughout college holidays – one of many current ones was primarily based round spies and espionage.

There is a separate exhibition on the Holocaust as properly, which is barely really useful for kids aged 14+.

The closest tube station is Lambeth North, though you’ll be able to stroll it from Waterloo in lower than quarter-hour. 

RAF London

The Royal Air Force Museum in Colindale, north London tells the story of the RAF over its first 100 years, from the founding in 1918.

Inside the hangars, you’ll be able to see an entire string of plane from through the years, in addition to shows of every part from logbooks and hidden maps to survival rations, plus different automobiles.

Kids can attempt on an RAF uniform or take a look at their very own response instances, together with sensory areas to the touch the fashions and uncover some RAF smells and sounds, plus the prospect for the littlest ones to climb right into a miniature aircraft.

Tickets are free however prebooking is suggested. You also can prebook automobile parking upfront if you happen to don’t need to journey by tube, however this does have a cost.

More free issues to do in London with youngsters

Whether you fancy seeing your favorite ebook character, discovering town’s artwork or recognizing animals, there are loads extra concepts of free issues to do with youngsters in London.

The Paddington bear bench at Paddington station - 49 free things to do in London with kids

See the Paddington statues

For followers of Paddington Bear (and who isn’t?), you’ll be able to’t miss a go to to Paddington Station, the place the furry hero of the books was first discovered by the Browns and obtained his identify.

The lifesize bronze statue with the label asking individuals to take care of this bear is again in its traditional dwelling by Platform 1, after a quick stint close to the Praed Street entrance, between Platforms 9 and 10. Keep a watch out for a plaque marking his appearances on the web page and on display screen too.

You also can discover the Paddington bench throughout the station, the place youngsters can sit subsequent to him and pose for pictures.

The station can be the place to begin for the Pawprint Trail – three trails, actually, every with one of many Paddington statues from the 2014 assortment dotted across the metropolis.

One route takes you alongside the canal to Little Venice and past, one other to Paddington Basin, so they’re good choices to mix with both of those (scroll up for extra particulars) in addition to a go to to Paddington Rec. The third leads within the route of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

For a much less well-known statue of Paddington, head to St Mary’s Churchyard at close by Paddington Green, the place you’ll discover him commemorated along with his creator Michael Bond, one of many Sustrans portrait benches dotted across the nation – right here alongside two different locals, nurse Mary Seacole and mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing.

You don’t have to depart central London both: there’s additionally a statue of Paddington along with his well-known marmalade sandwiches in Leicester Square.

Stroll in Harry Potter’s footsteps

Harry Potter followers can discover a string of web sites from the books and films throughout the capital, together with an opportunity to see the designs which introduced the wizarding world to life, in addition to places which pop up within the movies.

Start at King’s Cross: Platform 9 ¾ was really filmed between platforms 4 and 5, however there’s an opportunity to pose with a baggage trolley disappearing by means of the wall on the station concourse.

There’s knowledgeable photographer taking pictures, full with the headband of whichever home you select (often from 9am to 9pm) and an opportunity to purchase these in the store subsequent door, however there’s no obligation and you may also take your individual pictures at no cost.

There’s often a queue, so it’s greatest to show up early or be prepared to attend (until you flip up after the store has shut with your individual digicam and props).

The stalls of Leadenhall market lit up at night - one of the filming locations from the Harry Potter films, it's a fun free thing to do in London with kids

You also can stroll by means of Leadenhall Market, which doubled for Diagon Alley within the first film, and spot the blue door to the optician’s in Bull’s Head Passage which grew to become the doorway to the Leaky Cauldron. Or be careful for Death Eaters as you stroll throughout the Millennium Bridge between Tate Modern and St Paul’s.

Fans also can go to the House of MinaLima – graphic design duo Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima created every part from the Marauder’s Map to packets of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. It’s free to go searching their gallery at Wardour Street (previously on Greek Street) though with restricted numbers inside, be able to queue right here too.

For extra Harry Potter places in London, take a look at this put up

Spot avenue artwork

London’s avenue artwork scene is continually altering, so it’s potential to return time and again to see one thing new – however in addition to making particular visits to see the newest creations, it’s simple to see a number of the works throughout the capital as you wander previous different points of interest.

Stroll alongside the South Bank and you’ll see avenue artwork by Stik at Hungerford Bridge, not removed from the London Eye, in addition to a technicolour Shakespeare close to the Clink tunnel past the Globe, and extra within the Leake Street tunnel close to Waterloo – only for starters.

Otherwise, components of East London – particularly Shoreditch and Hackney – are good places to attempt. Wander alongside Brick Lane and the roads close by, or if you happen to’re near Liverpool Street and Spitalfields, there’s avenue artwork to be discovered right here too.

Camden can be value a go to, whereas Walthamstow is making a reputation for its avenue artwork too – comply with the Wood Street Walls maps.

And the London Mural Festival noticed greater than 150 artists create over 40 artistic endeavors throughout the capital in September 2020 – lots of which nonetheless stay.

Shakespeare mural in the Clink Street Tunnel - one of the free things to do in London with kids along the South Bank

Wander round God’s Own Junkyard

If you’re visiting Walthamstow on the weekend (or on Fridays), don’t go dwelling with no cease at God’s Own Junkyard, with its piles of neon indicators.

Some are former movie props, however you’ll discover all types of brightly great creations on show – and heaped up in opposition to the partitions – together with retro indicators, spiritual statues, disco paraphernalia, all free to wander round.

Better with teenagers and older youngsters (or it’s possible you’ll need to distract youthful youngsters from a number of of the psychedelic delights on show).

Walk The Line

The Line is London’s first public artwork stroll, a good way to combine the prospect to get outdoor with having fun with artwork, heritage and nature.

The total factor is meant to take round 2 ½ hours to stroll, operating between the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The O2, alongside a few of east London’s waterways and following the road of the Greenwich Meridian.

There are half a dozen artworks on the North Greenwich peninsula alone, close to The O2, and you would additionally hop on the tube if you happen to’d wish to see each however your youngsters don’t fancy doing the complete route on foot – particularly as you’ll be able to often depend on getting misplaced a minimum of as soon as alongside the best way.

Visit a metropolis farm

If you’re visiting London with youngsters who love animals, add one of many many metropolis farms to your record, with a string of web sites dotted across the capital.

Freightliners City Farm (between Caledonian Road tube and Highbury & Islington) has some uncommon breeds, as does Spitalfields City Farm.

At Vauxhall City Farm, you’ll discover alpacas alongside farmyard animals and even a few cats, whereas there are llamas at Mudchute. Hackney City Farm has some smaller fluffy inhabitants together with rabbits and guinea pigs in addition to bigger creatures too.

Some of the farms have restricted opening hours, others must be prebooked so at all times verify immediately for the newest data.

Grey rabbit sitting on straw in a hutch - the city farms are a great free day out in London with kids

Go to Golders Hill Zoo

If you’re searching for one thing extra unique than home animals, how a few free zoo in London?

Golders Hill Zoo is much smaller than London Zoo (and even Battersea Park Children’s Zoo) however nonetheless has some distinctly uncommon animals dwelling in its dwelling in Golders Hill Park (technically a part of Hampstead Heath, in London’s Golders Green) – all registered with BIAZA, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Don’t count on lions or tigers however you’ll be able to spot ring-tailed lemurs and coatis, in addition to kookaburras and eagle owls, plus a herd of deer. It’s beautiful if you happen to’re searching for a free day trip in north London with youthful youngsters.

Here’s what we considered a go to to Golders Hill Zoo with a toddler

Explore a market

London is legendary for its markets, and whereas they’re solely free if you happen to’re strong-willed sufficient to not purchase a memento or two, they’re an important expertise when you’re visiting the capital.

Portobello market is the world’s largest vintage market, though you’ll discover style, classic and extra on the stalls – Saturday is the primary day to go to right here, and hipster favorite Broadway market in Hackney.

Spitalfields Market is one among London’s oldest, and is now open every single day, as is Camden market, with some nice meals and a multicultural mixture of homewares, style and jewelry. Greenwich market is one other every day choice, with antiques, style and meals.

For meals, it’s laborious to beat Borough Market, though solely the extraordinarily strong-willed can resist shopping for one thing off the stalls promoting each produce and really tempting dishes right here.

Stall selling cured meat at London's Borough Market - the markets are one of the fun free things to do with kids in London

Spy well-known names in a cemetery

The thought of going for a stroll in a cemetery might sound an odd one, but it surely’s really an interesting day trip with youngsters in London – and for sure, free – particularly if you happen to go to one of many Magnificent Seven, the ring of seven graveyards created principally within the Victorian age and impressed by Pere Lachaise in Paris.

Brompton Cemetery has an uncommon attraction for youthful kids – Beatrix Potter used to reside close by and a few names on the tombstones apparently impressed characters in her tales: maintain a watch out for Peter Rabbett, Jeremiah Fisher, Mr Nutkins, Mr Brock and Mr McGregor as you go to.

You’ll additionally discover Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, Victorian adventuress Elizabeth Le Blond and pioneering doctor Dr John Snow, plus this cemetery has made numerous appearances in movies, together with Bond film Goldeneye and Sherlock Holmes.

Kensal Green is London’s largest and oldest public cemetery, with big mausoleums in addition to the grave of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, plus tightrope walker Charles Blondin, greatest recognized for crossing the Niagara Gorge on a tightrope.

Bunhill Fields is a Nonconformist burial floor which dates again to the 1660s, with the graves of writers, artists, intellectuals and radicals, together with John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe and William Blake.

The best-known of the cemeteries, Highgate, isn’t free (until you’re a grave proprietor), though the entry cost is minimal (from £4.50 for an grownup ticket to the East Cemetery, 50p for youths) and a few of its catacombs are Grade II listed. It’s the ultimate resting place of Karl Marx, George Eliot and poet Christina Rossetti. Archway tube is the closest, relatively than Highgate itself.

To purchase a PDF model of this put up to maintain, click on right here to go to my on-line retailer – priced £1.99. And for extra concepts on how to economize on days out in London with youngsters, take a look at my prime suggestions

*First revealed 2020, final up to date 2022*


The best free things to do in London with kids - including free museums in London, the best free family attractions, unusual things to do and places to get outdoors with kids in London. #londonwithkids

Tower of London/Trafalgar Square/Coram’s Fields/St James’s Park/Greenwich Park/Natural History Museum/Horniman museum/V&A/National Gallery/Museum of London Docklands/Paddington bench/Shakespeare avenue artwork/Borough market photographs copyright MummyTravels, altering of the guard courtesy Adobe Stock, all different photographs courtesy of Depositphotos

Disclosure: This put up incorporates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee



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