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Free Things to Do in London With Kids (and Cheap Things too!)

Iconic London is always alive and buzzing with plenty of activities and things to do for all ages. But, all the attraction costs add up and can mean an expensive day out or longer trip.

You’ll be pleased to know, we’ve discovered that there are budget options and plenty of free things to do in London with kids, which still give you a taste of everything London has to offer for families.

This includes many famous landmarks, museums, playgrounds, sightseeing and other unique, quirky attractions.

Living just 50 minutes away by fast train, whenever we decide to visit London, there is always something to do with the kids! We hope some of our favourite free kids’ activities in London help you plan your trip too!

Free Things to Do in London With Kids (and Cheap Things too!)

Free Things to Do in London & Cheaper Family Attractions

Most museums are free to enter with free family activities,, but some venues although entry is free sometimes they charge for additional services and special exhibitions. Do check first!

1. The Sky Garden

The Sky Garden offers free fantastic outdoor views of London. Pre booking is essential and you will need to provide identification. You will be issues a time slot of 1 hour and one adult may bring a maximum of three children with them.

Location: The Fenchurch Building (The Walkie-Talkie) 1, Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF

Nearest tube: Monument tube station. Tower Hill, Tower Gare, Aldgate, Bank and Mansion house are less than a 10-minute walk away.


Westminster bridge london with view of houses of parliament

2. London Bridges

Bridges – Any of the London Bridges will give you a lovely view of the River Thames. Bridges with views of the best landmarks are Westminster, Millennium, Tower, and Blackfriars (Blackfriars Bridge is a railway platform so you will need a rail ticket). A great way to tick off plenty of sightseeing including seeing the London Eye, Big Ben and more!

Location: London, City of London, Southwark, Central London

Nearest tube: Depending on the Bridge you choose, Westminster, Tower Hill station is a 7 minute walk from Tower Bridge, Blackfriars

tower bridge london

3. Changing the Guard

Changing the guard at Buckingham Palace SW1 and Horse Guards SW1. Check the dates of the changing of the guard before attending as it on every day.

Location: Buckingham Palace SW1 and Horse Guards SW1.

Nearest tube: Buckiongham Palace – St James Park or for Horse Guards Charing Cross and Westminster.


4. Free Arts Trails

Head to Canary Wharf and see whats on, from free family-friendly and educational art trails and more!  This childrens art trail starts at Cabots Square and ends at Union Square.

Location: Canary Wharf

Nearest tube: Canary Wharf


5. Head to the Farm

Visit Vauxhall City Farm. There is Free entry to this mini family-friendly city farm ‘zoo’ where you can pet and feed goats – donations are welcome.

Location: 165 Tyers Street, SE11 5HS

Nearest tube: Vauxhall


platform 9/3/4 at kings cross

6. Visit Platform 9 3/4 and Feel Like Harry Potter at Kings Cross

Not many people know this as they see the queue and assume you have to pay but no! You can line up and take your own photo for free of the trolley going through the wall and you holding the handles.

The trolley is accessible at all hours, but if you want a paid for photo, the photographer is there from 9am- 9pm with props including a house scarf. There is a Wizarding World shop next door and toilets close by.

If you are lucky enough to be there on the 1st September at 11am, head to the giant train departures board. There is a ‘Back to Hogwarts Day’ announcement of the Hogwarts Express with a special message on the board. Many people take their wands and cloaks too.

Location: Kings Cross

Nearest tube: Kings Cross


6. Time your trip for the Gun Salutes

See the Gun Salutes for special occasions such as the King’s Birthday etc. Gun salutes can be viewed for free on Tower Hill, but Tower of London ticket holders will get a closer view from inside the Tower.

Next Salutes for 2024 are:

  • Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday: 17 July 2024
  • His Majesty The King’s Accession Day: 08 September 2024
  • His Majesty The King’s Birthday: 14 November 2024

Location: The Wharf

Nearest tube: Tower Hill


7. Watch the Trooping of the Colour Procession

Trooping the Colour is held during May and June. There is a charge to attend the event but you can watch the procession from anywhere along the Mall free of charge. This year you can watch on the 1st, 8th, 15th June 2024.

Events begin at approximately 10.20am for each parade, with the fly-past taking place at 1.00pm on the day of the King’s Birthday Parade only.

Location: Horse Guards Parade. Best viewing places The Mall or on the edge of St James’s Park unless you have tickets for the Grandstand.

Nearest tube: Green Park and Westminster

Best Free Museums in London for Kids

Choose one or more of the incredible free museums in London. Kids will find some special exhibits may cost extra but entry into the main area is free. Many have kids’ activities available.

8. Science Museum

Within the educational Science Museum discover the past, present & Future. As a parent of two inquisitive young minds, I’m always on the lookout for new experiences that will ignite their curiosity and prove to be a good day out!

They particularly enjoyed the free interactive displays that allowed them to test their own reflexes and explore the different types of blood cells and generating electricity using a pedal-powered generator.

The skeletons of dinosaurs are always a hit and the space section as you enter with the towering Apollo 10 spacecraft is pretty amazing.

Location: Exhibition Road, South Kensington

Nearest Tube: South Kensington


9. Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum London, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects and items. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Location: Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL

Nearest Tube: South Kensington (5-minute walk), Gloucester Road (10-minute walk).

10. Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is the leading maritime museum of the United Kingdom and may be the largest museum of its kind in the world.

Location: Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF

Nearest Tube: Greenwich  or Cutty Sark


11. Royal Observatory

The Royal Observatory Greenwich is an observatory situated on a hill in Greenwich Park, overlooking the River Thames. It played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation, and is best known as the location of the prime meridian i.e. GMT- a must photo spot!

Location: Blackheath Ave, London SE10 8XJ

Nearest Tube: Cutty Sark (DLR line)


12. Royal Air Force Museum

The Royal Air Force Museum Hendon, London, commonly called the RAF Museum, is located on the former Hendon Aerodrome, with five major buildings and hangars dedicated to the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force.  

Location: Grahame Park Way, London NW9 5LL

Nearest Train Station: Mill Hill Broadway


13. Imperial War Museums

Imperial War Museums London, is a British national museum organisation with branches at five locations in England, three of which are in London. The incredible historical collections are well worth a visit with helpful staff onsite to answer questions.

Location: Lambeth Rd, London SE1 6HZ

Nearest Tube: Lambeth North (7 minutes), Elephant & Castle


14. The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum, South Kensington, is a museum of natural history that exhibits a vast range of specimens and wildlife from various segments of natural history. Enjoy the free activities which vary. toddlers.

Location: Cromwell Rd, London SW7 5BD

Nearest Tube: South Kensington 

15. The Museum of Childhood

The Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green

Location: Cambridge Heath Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA

Nearest Tube: Whitechapel

16. The British Museum

British Museum,

Location: Great Russell street, London WC1B 3DG.

Nearest Tube: Holborn

17. Museum of London

Museum of London,

Location: Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN

Nearest Tube: Canary Wharf

18. Museum of London Docklands

Museum of London Docklands

Nearest Tube: Canary Wharf

Location: No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL

Granary Square water fountains london near Kings Cross
St Pancras London – Granary Square fountains

Best Gardens & Parks in London for kids

There are plenty of free parks and playgrounds for little ones to burn off steam and game play. Some have water features, like the little fountains at Granary Square in St Pancras – perfect to cool off on a hot day in London. Feeling hungry? There are family-friendly restaurants and cafes around the square too or bring a picnic and sit outdoors.

19. Diana Memorial Playground:

Diana Memorial Playground, Kensington Gardens features an elaborate pirate ship and sand pits, offering hours of fun for young children.

Location: Kensington Gardens, Broad Walk, London W2 4RU, United Kingdom

Nearest tube: Queensway (Central line)

20. Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Park Playgrounds See dinosaurs, a maze, a boating lake, The Concert Bowl, Italian Terraces and much more!

Location: Thicket Rd, London SE19 2GA, UK

Nearest tube: Sydenham

21. The Royal Parks

Royal Parks

Location: The Old Police House, Hyde Park, W Carriage Dr, London W2 2AR, UK

Nearest tube: Baker Street

22. Battersea Park

Battersea Park

Location: London SW11 4NJ, UK

Nearest tube: Sloane Square

23. Alexander Park

Alexander Palace Park

Location: Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY, United Kingdom

Nearest tube: Wood Green

24. Coram Fields

Coram Fields is a community project supported by local resident volunteers, who are happy to help with any questions and provide information.

Location: 93 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1DN

Nearest tube: Russell Square

25. Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park

Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park – The ideal time to go is late April and early to mid May. 40 acre woodland garden with azaleas, rhododendrons, ponds and streams. Home to many birds and bats.

Location: Richmond Park, Richmond TW10 5HS, UK

Nearest tube: Warren Street Underground Station

26. Kyoto Japanese Garden

Kyoto Japanese Garden is one of the unusual London attractions.

Location: Holland Park, Holland Park Ave, London W11 4UA, UK

Nearest tube: Holland Park

London Eye at night lit up in purple viewed from the other side of the Thames
Spot the London Eye when walking over Westminster Bridge

Best Art Galleries in London for kids

27. TATE Modern

TATE Modern is free to enter, although there is a fee for some exhibitions.; Under 12’s are free though. Check out the free events and activities for families though! Take advantage of the Kids’ Pick and Mix lunch offer which includes a sandwich, fruit and a snack. High chairs are available. If you head outdoors to the top deck, you get great views of London – all for free!

Location: Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK

Nearest tube: Southwark

28. TATE Britain

Tate Britain – Entry to the gallery remains free for everyone, with a charge for some exhibitions. Booking is needed for exhibitions, but tickets are available on the door.

Members enjoy free entry to exhibitions – no need to book, just turn up with your card. Members can also bring up to 6 children for free to any exhibition.

Location: Bankside, London SE1 9TG, United Kingdom

Nearest tube: Southwark

29. National Gallery

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square often has free events on for families.

Location: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK

Nearest tube: Leicester Square

Other FREE attractions in London

29. Hamley’s Toy Store

if you can be strong willed and not purchase anything, it’s worth popping in to this iconic store. There is always something to play with, including the giant floor foot piano!

Location: 188-196 Regent St., London W1B 5BT, UK

Nearest tube: Oxford Circus

30.The Supreme Court, Parliament Square

is open to the public from 9.30am-4.30pm Monday to Friday and any member of the public can enter the building during these hours without booking in advance. A self-guided tour booklet is available for a small charge (£1).

Location: Parliament Sq, London SW1P 3BD, United Kingdom

Nearest tube: Westminster Station

31. Royal Courts of Justice, Aldwich is a fascinating working High Court in an historic building.

Location: Strand, London WC2A 2LL, United Kingdom

Nearest tube: Temple Station

32. Watch the Entertainment in Covent Garden

There is always something going on.

Location: Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD England

Nearest tube: Leicester Square

Big Ben ELizabeth Tower Westminster London

Free walks and cycle routes in London for families

31. Green Chain Walk

Location: Green Chain Walk, London, UK

Nearest tube: West Dulwich

32.Jubilee Greenway

Location: Greenway, London E13 9NH, United Kingdom

Nearest tube: Bethnal Green

33. Regent’s Canal Towpath

Location: Regent’s Canal Towpath

Nearest tube: Camden Town

34. Riverside Thames Walk

Location: Riverside Walk, Nine Elms, London SW8 5DA, United Kingdom

Nearest tube: Embankment

35. Ruislip Woods

Location: Ruislip, United Kingdom

Nearest tube: Ruislip Gardens tube station

36. Thames Path

Location: Signal Court Old Station Way Old Station Way, Witney OX29 4TL England

Nearest tube: Embankment

37. Free walking tours of London are available here:

CHEAP EATS IN LONDON

  • Kowloon Bakery in Chinatown for flavoursome stuffed buns such as BBQ pork for under £2.
  • Location:
  • Nearest tube:
  • Din Tai Fung in Covent Garden is so popular for the dim sum but you can walk up and queue.
  • Location:
  • Nearest tube:
  • Pizza Union has 6 restaurants in London including Kings Cross, Spitalfields and Algate and offers fairly tasty but cheap pizza.
  • Location:
  • Nearest tube:

Cheap things to do in London with kids

The following London activities for kids are not free for everybody but are cheap.

  • Not free, but Treasure Trails are from £9.99 for a map, these offer a great way to see London.
  • Ceremony of Keys at The Tower of London a great way to visit the Tower of London. There is a fee of £5 and pre booking is essentail. Tickets can be booked a month in advance. This is the ceremonial locking up of the Tower of London and occurs daily at dusk.
  • The Sorted! Postal Play Space at the Postal Museum. It’s an indoor play area for under 8’s only but you don’t need to pay the admission fee to the museum to enter. Adults do not need a ticket for Sorted!. Under 6 months go free. You must prebook online and its £4 for 45 minutes or £5 on the day.
  • River Bus: Free for under fives, but a good way to see some fo the sights without the tour boat charges. Location: Nearest Tube:
  • Climb on board a London red bus. Kids’ under 11 travel free with an accompanying paying adult. The best bus routes are:

Number 11: (Big Ben, Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Royal Courts of Justice and St Pauls Cathedral.)

Number 22: The No. 22 Bus is a cheap way of seeing the sights from Piccadilly Circus to Putney Common via; Hyde Park Corner, Green Park (Buckingham Palace), Knightsbridge (The Ritz), Sloane Square, Chelsea, Parsons Green and Putney Bridge.

Number 24: From Leicester Square/Tottenham Court Road towards Hampstead Heath, (Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, and Camden Town. To make the most of the bus journey, passengers will want to board the bus outside Victoria train station.)

Number 73. Kings Cross, British Library, Buckingham Palace gardens, Wellington Arch, Hyde Park, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus and Oxford Street.

Some journeys between Trafalgar Square and Tower of London use heritage Routemaster buses (09.30 – 18.30 daily).

The Citymapper App is great for getting around in a city you don’t know.

  • The Monument. Monument costs £5.80 and was built a few years after the 1666 Great Fire of London. Climb up the spiral staircase.
  • Horniman Museum Aquarium. Forest Hill Overground. Museum entry free but the aquarium is £5, £2.50 children.

Cheaper theatre tickets

  • The Globe Theatre offers standing only tickets at £5 each (plus a £1.50 booking fee). Check out the shows here.
  • Harry Potterthe Cursed Child tickets has 40 tickets for every performance, released every Friday. Tickets are located in great seats throughout the theatre, and priced at £40 (£20 per part), for the following week. To enter the lottery you need to download the TodayTix app. You can enter the lottery at any time between 12.01am to 1.00pm every Friday via the TodayTix app, valid for performances the following week. At 1pm every Friday the lottery will close, and the winners will be notified between 1.00pm and 5.00pm the same day. See here for the details.
  • During August, Kids week is a great way to save on Theatre tickets. Kids Week at the theatre – 1 to 31 August where kids go Free to selected shows. Do book as early as possible. Tickets go on sale in June for performances from 1 to 31 August. You can book on www.kidsweek.co.uk or via the dedicated ticket hotline on 0844 995 9662 (calls cost 7p/min plus your telephone company’s network access charge).

Getting around London With Kids

To travel around London, Oyster cards are great. You can use a debit card, or buy an oyster card for a £5 refundable deposit.

Children under 11 travel free on most public transport services in London when accompanied by a fare-paying adult, or with a 5-10 Zip Oyster photocard.

On Uber Boat by Thames Clippers river bus services, kids aged four and under travel free. Children under five also travel free on the IFS Cloud Cable Car when accompanied by a fare-paying adult.


SEASONAL Cheap and Free Things to Do in London With Kids Month by Month

  • January: New Year’s Day Parade; Chinese New Year
  • February: The Guards’ Chapel Recital; Flipping Marvelous Pancake Race
  • March: St Patrick’s Day Parade; Head of the River Race
  • April: The Boat Race; London Marathon
  • May: Canalway Cavalcade; Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival
  • June: Trooping the Colour (King’s birthday); Greenwich Festival (runs into July)
  • July: Royal Opera House BP Big Screens; Pride Festival
  • August: Canary Wharf Jazz Festival; Notting Hill Carnival, Kids Theatre Week
  • September: Thames Festival; Open House London
  • October: Africa on the Square; Diwali on the Square; October Plenty
  • November: Bonfire Weekend; Winter Wonderland (runs into Dec)
  • December: Southbank Winter Festival (runs into Jan); New Year’s Eve Fireworks

NOT CHEAP DAYS OUT – but ways to save money for some of the popular attractions!

Big City Saver Pass is valid for 90 days, costs from £50 for two attractions and has varying packages if you want to see all of the London attractions listed below.

Examples of attractions included are:

  • Shrek Adventure London
  • London Eye
  • Madame Tussauds
  • London Dungeon
  • London SeaLife Aquarium
  • Big Bus Tour

Also check out GroupOn for deals on things to do in London.


Bargain places to stay in London

Accommodation in London can get expensive. These are the very places to search if you are on a tight budget.

University accommodation is available cheaply from Mid March until late April, late June until September, and mid December until mid January. You can pick up some great bargains if you look at these websites:

YHA Lee Valley

Easy Hotels has rooms from £20.

University Rooms London has rooms from £35 out of term time.

Imperial College London offers affordable summer accommodation.

Hub by Premier Inn smaller rooms means smaller prices.

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