When you’re looking for things to do in London with kids what better place to start then with all the free or at least cheap things you can do first. On the face of it, a trip to London with children in tow appears to be expensive. You have travel costs to factor in and maybe a hotel to book if you’re coming from a long distance or want to make a weekend of it. Being the capital city, London isn’t the cheapest place you can visit in the UK, however, you can cut the costs loads by finding some free things to do in London.
What free things can I do in London with kids?
Play in the park
There are several fun and free adventure playgrounds to explore in London. One of the most popular of course is Regent’s Park, due to its vast array of family-friendly activities. Once used as a hunting space for the infamous Henry VIII, the park eventually opened its gates to the public in 1845 and today has over 166 hectares to discover, meaning the youngsters are sure to find something exciting to do. And if you have a little bit of spare cash to splurge why not visit the historic London Zoo that’s located in the centre of the park?
Alternatively, head to the second star on the right and straight on till morning to arrive at the Diana Memorial Playground. Influenced by Peter Pan and the late Princess’ love of childhood, the enchanting space includes its own beach and pirate ship, amongst various other themed toys and sculptures. Meanwhile, there’s a beautiful seating area for the grown-ups to enjoy; and set against a stunning backdrop, who wouldn’t want to lose a couple of hours there?
Meet the Royals
If you want more regal action, make your way to her Majesty’s royal abode. Although tours of the Queen’s pad aren’t free of charge, there are a few activities that are. For example, the Changing of the Guard, a daily ceremony taking place at Buckingham Palace will leave the kids awe-inspired as they listen to the patriotic music and drums, and witness the highly trained soldiers parade the palace grounds.
Meanwhile, a little later in the day, but well worth keeping the youngsters awake for is the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. Watch the Chief Yeoman Warder carry out his historic ritual as he locks up the Tower for the night with the Queen’s Keys.
Go to Hogwarts
Take the kids on a magical adventure to, uh, King’s Cross Station? Yes, you heard right, the fictional Platform 9 ¾ that features in the famous Harry Potter book and film franchise can be found between the real-life Platforms 9 and 10 at the London station. Surprise your young wizards, grab the chance for an excellent photo opportunity and then visit the gift shop – browsing is completely free right?
You can also visit the House of MinaLima which is a gallery and shop that displays graphic art from the Harry Potter films. With four floors to browse you can all immerse yourselves in the world of Harry Potter without having to go on the expensive studio tour. Weekends are always busy so if you can visit midweek you won’t have to fight the crowds.
Travel Back In Time
As you may well be aware of, London is a very historical city and therefore offers plenty of opportunities to learn and discover the area’s past. The Natural History Museum is a world-class attraction and also has no entry charge. Featuring more than 80 million specimens, walk billions of years back in time as you travel through the galleries of this fantastic collection.
On top of that there is also the chance to meet life-size dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park. This stunning sculpture collection is perfect for a ferocious family day out and little ones will love seeing the gigantic Jurassic statues.
If you want to see some more free museums and galleries to visit in London then take a look at our post that has some others listed: Free Museums and Galleries to visit with Children
Visit the farm
Seems unlikely that you can go to one of the biggest cities in the world and you can also visit a farm but if you take a trip to the Vauxhall City Farm then you can experience rural living in the heart of London. Better than that, it’s completely free for everyone to enjoy.
The farm has loads of different animals to see and pet as well as themed events that are on throughout the year to enjoy.
Play in the mud
Kids of all ages (and grown-ups!) enjoy getting messy in the mud. In London, you can all become mudlarkers for a day and maybe find some hidden treasures from London’s busy past. Mudlarking is the term given to searching on the surface of the mud along the banks of the River Thames for things like clay pipes or old coins.
Some of the best spots to do this from are outside Gabriel’s Wharf or the City of London side of the Millenium Bridge. Make sure you’ve checked out the tide tables so you get the best part of the day to do it in and don’t forget to wear wellies!
Enjoy the view
As a family, we always love taking in the view when we visit a big city. Most of the time this means paying a small fortune, but in London you can get a magnificent view of the skyline (including the iconic Shard and Gherkin buildings) for free from the Sky Garden. If you go up to the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie, not only is there a viewing platform there is also a beautiful atrium filled with foliage so you can all enjoy an indoor garden.
If you want to spend a bit of money the Sky Garden does have some eating options starting out with a cafe for coffee and cake all the way through to a fancier restaurant. Even though visiting the Sky Garden is free, you will need to book at busy times.
If you have any more to add to our list of free things to do in London with kids, we’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below telling us what you did and we will add it to the article