London is a fantastic place to take your family. It has so many museums, traditions, and green areas, that when it comes to free things to do with kids in London, there are plenty of options for all ages.
Whether your family loves nature, getting active or learning about history and science, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy this city. Here are our 50 free things to do with kids in London!
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Free Things to do in London for Kids
London is an expensive place to visit, and if you’re traveling to London with kids or teens, you’ll find the prices can add up quite quickly! Here are some of our favorite things to do in London that won’t cost you a penny. Hopefully, you’ll find that saving money on some things in London will allow you to spend money on some of the city’s big attractions. So without further ado, let’s see what you should visit with the kids!
London’s Best Parks for Kids
1. Richmond Park
London’s Richmond Park is home to beautiful herds of deer. Walk around the park and see if you can spot them hidden in the tall grass and grazing on the fields.
2. Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens is home to the Diana Memorial Playground, a great place where children can enjoy climbing over a huge pirate ship. The area was inspired by Peter Pan and is designed to be inclusive for all children.
3. St James’ Park
Six pelicans call St James’ Park home. Take a short walk to visit them on the west side of the park near the lake and the park keeper’s house and see them get fed at 14:30 every day.
4. Highgate Wood
The play area here has sections for different age groups, from sandpits and a zip line to climbing structures and equipment that have varying levels of difficulty. This is a great place to relax during a busy family vacation to London.
5. Regent’s Park
There are several play areas in this Royal park, and they each have a unique characteristic, so you’ll want to visit all of them! Hanover Gate has a timber treehouse for older children, and Primrose Hill playground has a musical floor for younger children.
6. Hyde Park
With over 5,000 acres to explore this is one of our favorite parks in London. Kids can feed the ducks, spend time on the playground, and run through the rose garden. Bring a picnic or grab a bite to eat at one of the park’s restaurants.
7. Holland Park
The peacocks in Holland Park are famous across the city and may try to steal a bite of your sandwich if you have a picnic. Their Kyoto garden provides a wonderful change of scenery from the other London parks and a chance to give your kids a glimpse at another culture.
8. Olympic Park
One of the most exciting parks in London, the Olympic Park is a maze of activity areas, canals, sports buildings, and events.
On a quiet day, you can play in the sandpits, climb walls and splash about in the fountains. When the London Stadium has major events, there are usually free fan zones for the public to enjoy.
9. Camley Street Natural Park
London’s Wildlife Trust’s flagship site is nestled in the busy city next to King’s Cross station. There are woodland, grassland ,and wetland habitats throughout the park, making it a rich habitat for birds and butterflies. Kids will love exploring the park and its water features.
10. Brockwell Park
This park is great for families with children of different ages. There are sandpits and climbing frames for younger children and a concrete BMX track for older children. You will need to bring your own bikes, as there aren’t any places to rent one.
11. Crystal Palace Park
If you’ve missed out on Dippy the Dinosaur at the Natural History Museum, don’t worry! Crystal Palace Park has over 30 dinosaur statues within the park. See if you can spot all of them and learn their names. A little out of the way, but still worthy of our 50 free things to do in London with kids.
12. Skateboard Park
Below Queen Elizabeth Hall lies a popular park for skateboarders and BMX riders. There are enough ramps and surfaces to keep the kids happy for a while.
13. Hackney Adventure Playground
Named the best playground in London, it has to have a place in the top 50 free things to do in London with kids! This is a great spot in the rain and sunshine. Inside there are arts and crafts, dancing, and cooking. Outside are climbing frames, go-karts, and tree-houses.
Best Free Museums for Kids London
14. Natural History Museum
You may not be able to find Dippy the Dinosaur at the Natural History Museum anymore, but Hope the Blue Whale is still a sight worth visiting. Be sure to check for the fun, free activities run by the museum.
15. Science Museum
There are a lot of interactive experiments and fun things to do at the Science Museum. Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery is a gold mine for children who love interactive exhibits and learning. It’s the perfect place for learning about the relationship between science and our daily lives.
16. National Maritime Museum
This museum is located in Greenwich, about 40 minutes from Central London, but it is a good place for kids. The AHOY! Children’s Gallery is the perfect interactive play space for those under age 7. There are hundreds of exhibits that bring maritime history to life and kids are sure to love it.
17. Horniman Museum and Gardens
Another free museum, this one offers free downloadable guides, trails, and activity packs. It also has an aquarium and butterfly house, which you can enter for a small fee.
18. National Portrait Gallery
During school holidays and on weekends, the Gallery has art and craft areas on each floor so kids can create their own masterpieces. They can also join “Spark”, and learn to create their own portraits.
19. Museum of London
Online you can find lots of ways to prepare for a trip to the Museum of London. They suggest games to play as you walk around, provide downloadable packs, and you can reserve an activity backpack when you arrive.
20. Museum of London Docklands
There are lots of activities for children here. For under 5s, there’s the Mudlark area, where children can load ships and dig for treasure. Older kids can play in the make-believe supermarket and dress up in Victorian clothing.
21. Bank of England Museum
The Museum prides itself on being family-friendly, with activity sheets available for children of all ages. You can download the sheets from their website or pick them up when you arrive. Make sure you hand-completed sheets to get your reward.
22. British Museum
The British Museum is free for children under 16 and has plenty of exhibits and experiences to keep kids entertained. Kids will enjoy the Museum Mission with tasks to complete in different galleries or pick up an activity backpack that will get kids truly interested in the museum.
23.V&A Museum of Childhood
You may not be able to play with the 100 dollhouses on display here, but there are plenty of free play and creativity sessions available to book on the museum’s website. You can also grab an activity pack to take around the museum with you.
24. Tate Modern
The Tate Modern has hands-on activities for all ages. Kids can experience the “Tate Draw” where their pictures come to life using digital sketchpads.
The rooftop has an amazing view of St Paul’s Cathedral and the rest of London.
25. British Library
The British Library is both a museum and a library, featuring cool historic documents like the Magna Carta and Shakespeare manuscripts. They also bring children’s literature to life through live storytelling and craft activities, and they hold many free children’s events that encourage creativity and imagination.
Harry Potter in London with Kids
26. Platform 9 ¾
For Harry Potter fans, you can visit Platform 9 ¾! Head to King’s Cross station to find the luggage trolley half-hidden in the wall for a photo of you on your way to the famous platform in the London underground.
27. Free Harry Potter tour
If visiting platform 9 ¾ has left you wanting more Harry Potter fun, then why not book a free walking tour run by Strawberry Tours? They offer several free walking tours so you can see the capital on foot. You can also go for a Harry Potter studio tour for more Harry Potter fun.
28. MinaLima House
Another one for Harry Potter fans, this place is owned by the graphic designers who worked on the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films. The walls are covered in artwork from the films.
You’ll find Daily Prophet pages and the Azkaban “Wanted” posters, as well as other pieces of artwork from the films.
Where to Go for Awesome London City Views
29. Sky Garden
The Sky Garden is one of the best views in London, and it has free admission! Make sure you book in advance as it gets busy.
30. Primrose Hill
Lunch with a view! Primrose Hill offers an amazing view of London from east to west. It’s the perfect place to have a picnic or just to take a break from your day. If there are few people around, it’s a great hill to roll down.
Free Events in London
31. Seasonal Events
There are lots of seasonal events that take place across London. From the Fan Zones for the American Football games to Holi Festival events, find out the latest from Time Out.
32. Christmas Lights Walk
Of course, this one is only doable during the festive period, but it’s so much fun! If you’re visiting London at Christmas you will find lights going up all across the city.
Notable areas are Oxford Circus for the window displays, Leicester Square for the market, and Covent Garden for the enormous tree.
33. Notting Hill Carnival Family day
This event only happens once a year, but if you’re in town for Notting Hill Carnival (late August), you are in for a treat. The family day over carnival weekend has a parade, child-friendly music, and delicious food.
Kid walks in London
34. Regent’s Canal
Begin this walk at Warwick Avenue, where the canal is nicknamed Little Venice. Have fun spotting the canal boats and reading out their creative names.
The canal actually runs through the middle of London Zoo. Even if you don’t go in, you may be able to see some of the animals from the canal path.
35. Walk across Tower Bridge
The most iconic bridge in London, if you can catch it when it’s opening for taller boats, it’s a great view. Walking across it, you can look down if you dare and wave at the passing boats.
36. Thames Path
The Thames Path is 184 miles long! Different sections offer different experiences. Walking through the center, you can see the bridges, Westminster, and the London Eye, head further west or east, and you’ll see more green spaces and wildlife.
37. London sightseeing
London’s major landmarks are all within walking distance of each other. Walking from the London Eye to Buckingham palace takes you past Big Ben, 10 Downing St, and Trafalgar Square.
38. The Seven Noses of Soho
A unique one on our list of 50 free things to do in London with kids. One night in 1997, an artist decided to protest CCTV in London by gluing seven models of his nose to buildings across Soho. Some have been taken down, but there are many online guides to help you find those that remain.
If you and the family like to get active, every weekend there are plenty of opportunities to explore areas of London with Parkrun. Run or walk 5K through some of London’s most beautiful parks and locations.
Unique Things to do in London with Kids
40. Changing of the Guard
In the summer, the King’s Guard performs a changeover ceremony every day at 11 am and every other day in the winter at Buckingham Palace.
41. The Ceremony of the Keys
Every evening, the Yeoman Warders perform a ceremony to lock up the Tower of London. The Yeoman Warden has to ask permission to enter with the keys before locking the priceless crown jewels up for the night. Book well in advance as this is a popular event!
42. Barbican Centre
The Barbican Centre offers lots of free events for families. From “squish space,” a sensory play area for children, to entry to their conservatory, the Centre is one of the best places to take your kids for free activities. They even give a kids meal free for every adult meal purchased.
43. Newham City Farm
London has many city farms, which are a great opportunity to visit and interact with animals for free in the city. A donation is appreciated, but worth it to support these little farms in London.
44. The Royal Observatory
Not only is the Royal Observatory free to enter, but it’s also the home of the Meridian Line. It is located in Greenwich, so a quick tube ride from central London.
The Meridian Line is the one that runs from the South Pole to the North Pole separating the eastern and Western Hemispheres, so you can be in both at the same time!
45. Kenwood House
Kenwood House is a fantastic day out for the whole family. You can begin in the children’s play area with jigsaw puzzles, dress up and tea sets and then wander around the house with an explorer backpack to find lions!
46. Nando’s Recording Studio
An incredibly popular activity, you’ll need to check the website for applications to visit. The restaurant chain has opened a basement recording studio in their Soho branch.
47. New London Architecture
Visit an interactive model of London to learn about the historical development of the city, then your child can design their own home and learn the basics of architectural design. NLA also offers city walking tours that can be booked for a fee.
48. Street Pianos of London
Found in St Pancras International, Stratford International, and Marylebone station, these pianos are dotted around for anyone to use for free. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, you can have fun with these abandoned instruments.
49. Street Performers
Of course, a donation to these hard-working artists is appreciated. Covent Garden is home to some of the top performers in the industry. Catch magicians, living statues, and singers with a beautiful backdrop.
50. Sherling High-Level Walkway
Get behind the scenes of the National Theatre to see their props and sets come to life. Walk above the prop store cupboard and watch the latest sets be built.
51. Film Premieres
Leicester Square is the hot spot for film premieres. Take a look at the calendar for the latest kids’ film premieres to take place and spot the stars on the red carpet.
There you have it, come rain or shine, you now have 50 free things to do in London with kids!