Best Free Things to Do in London with Kids

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London has a long-standing reputation of being wildly expensive. And while accommodations especially are not cheap, it turns out there are actually plenty of free things to do in London with kids!

We’ve absolutely loved exploring so many of these free things to do in London for families – they’re some of the reasons why I think visiting London with kids is an amazing family trip!

Keep reading for some of our favorite free activities in London for families!

Free London Museums when Visiting London with Kids

  1. Natural History Museum – Stop in to see findings from paleontologist Mary Anning, the blue whale skeleton in the gorgeous Hintze Hall, a cabinet of hummingbirds, and so much more.
  2. Science Museum – A favorite with kiddos. The hands-on Wonder Lab requires a small fee but is a gem with kids 12 & under.
  3. V&A Museum – Museum of applied & decorative arts. The best part is a super fun & free children’s backpack to check out that has activities for different areas of the museum.
  4. Museum of Childhood (Young V&A) – dedicated to the history of childhood. Extensive collection of toys, games, costumes, and childhood artifacts from the 1600s to the present day.
  5. Design Museum – Museum of contemporary architecture & design where kids will be fascinated seeing “old” staples their parents used (like rotary phones and the 1st iPods). Permanent galleries are free; the gift shop is especially well curated.
  6. Museum of the Home – An off-the-beaten-path gem that showcases the way people live through the ages. Excellent special events, too.
  7. British Museum – A classic must-see that houses the Rosetta Stone and sculptures from the Parthenon.
  8. British Library – The Treasures exhibit is really worth a stop to see the original Magna Carta, childhood writings of Jane Austen & Charlotte Bronte, some of the earliest copies of Beowulf & Canterbury Tales, a first edition of Shakespeare’s plays, and more!
  9. Museum of London Docklands – explores the history of London’s River Thames and its port. Kids will enjoy the Mudlarks gallery, a play area with hands-on activities.
  10. Grant Museum of Zoology – a fascinating collection of animal specimens, including skeletons and preserved creatures.
  11. National Maritime Museum – showcases Britain’s naval history and maritime heritage. Interactive exhibits and family-friendly activities make it a great destination for visitors of all ages.
  12. Portrait Gallery – huge collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people, from Tudor times to the present day. Great opportunity for children to learn about notable figures through art.
  13. National Gallery – offers a comprehensive collection of European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. With free admission, families can explore masterpieces by artists like Van Gogh, Da Vinci, and Turner.
  14. RAF Museum – presents the history of the Royal Air Force through a vast collection of aircraft, memorabilia, and interactive displays. Offers flight simulators and educational activities.
  15. Tate Modern – Britain’s national gallery of modern and contemporary art, featuring works by artists such as Picasso and Warhol. The museum offers free family activities and stunning views of the city from its top floors.
  16. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology – one of the largest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world. Visitors can explore thousands of artifacts, including pottery, jewelry, and ancient tools.
  17. Bank of England Museum – delves into the history of the UK’s central bank, offering exhibits on its role in the economy and monetary policy. Interactive displays and the chance to hold a gold bar make it a memorable visit for children.
  18. Queen’s House – former royal residence and an architectural masterpiece designed by Inigo Jones. Hosts family-friendly activities and events.
  19. Imperial War Museum – comprehensive look at conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth, with exhibits ranging from World War I to the present day.

FREE London Houses, Gardens, & Historic Sites

  1. Changing of the Guard – Is there anything more quintessential in London? Watching the Changing of the Guard is completely free. (Find times HERE.)
  2. London Mithraeum – An ancient Roman temple buried under the streets of London? It’s true, and it’s fascinating. Visits are free, but reserve tickets online in advance.
  3. Kenwood House – a beautiful old house in the Hampstead area, it used to serve as the residence for the Earls of Mansfield. Now it has lots of family-friendly activities with huge gardens, sculptures, architecture, and more.
  4. Somerset House – Such a lovely historic house in the heart of the city. There’s a lovely splash area here, as well!
  5. Picnic by Big Ben in Parliament Square Garden – it’s free to view the stunning Westminster Palace from the outside. Walk the bridge for a gorgeous view, then picnic in the green space nearby. Don’t forget to stop to see the Winston Churchill statue!
  6. Watch a Parliament debate – Watching a debate in both the House of Lords and House of Commons is free to view. More info HERE.
  7. Horniman Museum and Gardens – combines a natural history museum with an aquarium, a butterfly house, and beautifully maintained gardens. Hands-on exhibits and outdoor spaces perfect for picnics and play.
  8. Mudchute City Farm – a large, beautiful urban farm with animals, free weekend play sessions, & more.
  9. Kyoto Garden – this serene little spot inside Holland Park is a refuge from the busyness of the city
  10. Chiswick House Gardens – in a lovely area of West London, the Chiswick House gardens are free and open to the public. (The house itself does charge a fee.)
  11. Hackney City Farm – Farm animals, cafe, fresh veggies…what could be better for a family day out?
  12. Vauxhall City Farm – Another delightful little city farm. Free entry, but always appreciates donations.
  13. Battersea Park – An urban oasis with gardens, themed walks, and interesting public art.

Best FREE London Viewpoints for Families

  1. Sky Garden – free 360-degree view of London from its landscaped public garden. There are restaurants and cafes, making this a great place to stop for a bite to eat.
  2. Horizon 22 – viewing platform located in the 22 Bishopsgate skyscraper, providing breathtaking views over London. It’s one of the highest viewing points in the city!
  3. Garden at 120 – quiet green space with views of London’s iconic landmarks. The garden is free to visit and features beautifully landscaped areas with seating and walking paths.
  4. Primrose Hill – one of the best natural viewpoints in London, with a clear view of the city skyline. One of the best spots for a picnic and sunset!
  5. Greenwich Park – panoramic views of the River Thames and the London skyline. The Royal Observatory and National Maritime Museum are also located here, so a great spot to hit multiple sights.
  6. Parliament Hill – one of the most iconic views of London’s skyline. Popular spot for kite flying, picnics, and enjoying the wide, open space with sweeping city views.
  7. Tate Modern viewing level – Tate Modern’s Blavatnik Building features a free viewing level on the 10th floor, offering stunning panoramic views of the River Thames and the London skyline. Enjoy the art museum’s collection and then take in the breathtaking cityscape from above.
  8. Alexandra Palace – offers spectacular views of London from its hilltop location in North London. The palace and surrounding park also host various events, concerts, and a popular ice rink.
  9. One New Change – the rooftop terrace at One New Change shopping center offers free views of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London skyline. A great spot for photography.

London Parks & Playgrounds: Best Free Playgrounds in London for Families

  1. Diana Playground – a magical, Peter Pan-themed playground featuring a large wooden pirate ship, teepees, and sensory trails. 
  2. Holland Park Adventure Playground – a variety of play structures, including climbing frames, swings, and zip lines designed to encourage active play and adventure.
  3. Regent’s Park – one of London’s Royal Parks, featuring gardens, a boating lake, and the famous London Zoo. 
  4. Victoria Park – historic park in East London with beautiful lakes, a Chinese pagoda, and multiple playgrounds.
  5. Jubilee Gardens – beautifully landscaped green space with modern playground equipment. Great spot for families to relax and enjoy views of the Thames and the iconic London skyline.
  6. Coram Fields – seven-acre playground and park with a variety of play equipment, sports fields, and a small petting farm. Adults are only allowed entry when accompanied by a child, ensuring a safe, child-friendly environment.
  7. Glamis Adventure Playground – an especially great one for older kiddos with working repair tools, a vegetable garden, and more.
  8. Richmond Park – London’s largest Royal Park, great for outdoor activities.
  9. Hyde Park – one of London’s most famous parks, featuring landmarks such as the Serpentine Lake, Speaker’s Corner, and the Diana Memorial Fountain.
  10. Barnard Adventure Playground – dynamic play space designed to encourage adventurous, creative, and free play among children. Variety of structures like climbing frames, swings, and a zip line.
  11. Highgate Woods – in North London, this is another terrific one for all ages.
  12. Greenwich Park – stunning panoramic views of London, the River Thames, and landmarks such as the Royal Observatory and the Prime Meridian line.
  13. Hampstead Heath – wild parkland offering woodlands, ponds, and scenic viewpoints like Parliament Hill.
  14. St. James Park – known for its beautiful flower beds, lake, and resident pelicans. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is nearby.
  15. Brockwell Park – playgrounds, rolling hills, a historic lido, and a charming walled garden.
  16. Crystal Palace Park – who wouldn’t want to see life-sized dinosaurs?

Water Play Areas: Free Splash Parks in London

  1. Courtyard of V&A – shallow paddling pool and interactive water jets, providing a delightful space for children to splash and play.
  2. Diana Memorial Fountain – a circular stream where children can paddle and play with the flowing water. 
  3. Granary Square Fountain – over 1,000 choreographed fountains that kids can run through and play in, plus the fountains light up at night!
  4. The Waterworks, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – jets and sprays that children can enjoy on warm days.
  5. Hampstead Heath Paddling Pool – large, shallow pool perfect for young children to splash around and cool off during the summer.
  6. Victoria Park Splash Pool – popular summer attraction featuring fountains, water jets, and splash pads designed for children.
  7. Coram’s Fields Paddling Pool – shallow water play area within a seven-acre playground specifically for children.
  8. Southbank Centre Fountains – fun water play area where children can run through the jets.
  9. Clissold Park Splash Pad – interactive water jets and fountains that are part of a larger, family-friendly park that includes playgrounds and animal enclosures.

Free Religious Services & Activities: Best Churches in London & Religious Sites in London for Families

  1. Westminster Abbey (Evensong) – beautiful liturgical music and centuries-old traditions create a moving spiritual experience for attendees.
  2. St. Paul’s Cathedral (Evensong) – peaceful and reflective service accompanied by the sublime voices of the cathedral choir.
  3. BAPS Sriswaminaraynan Mandir – the largest Hindu temple in Europe is absolutely stunning and has many different events and activities on site, and is free to the public during most times. Check out the offerings HERE.
  4. St. Martin-in-the-Fields – known for its welcoming atmosphere and beautiful music during services.
  5. Southwark Cathedral – features a Shakespeare statue commemorating the playwright’s connections to the area.

Other Free London Attractions for Families

  1. Visit Hamley’s Toy Store – a favorite activity we recommend for all visitors! One of the oldest and largest toy stores in the world, offering seven floors of fun and games.
  2. Explore the children’s section of Harrod’s – a magical wonderland featuring luxury toys, clothing, and an enchanting array of products for kids.
  3. Barbican Conservatory – a hidden tropical oasis in the heart of the Barbican Centre, home to over 2,000 species of plants and trees.
  4. Do a Self-Guided Street Art Walking Tour – near Brick Lane is a terrific area for strolling and finding all kinds of gems.
  5. Ride a Double Decker Bus – okay, it’s not completely free, but it’s pretty darn economical at £1.75/ride (and kids under 11 are, indeed, free). You’ll get a terrific view and pay way less than a Hop On, Hop Off bus. Routes 139, 24, 11, and 9 are great ones.
  6. Tower Bridge – This iconic bridge is completely free to walk across, and stay a bit to watch it raise up for a ship to go under.
  7. Harry Potter Walking Tour – Go see sites from the books and films with your Harry Potter lovers. Either do an organized free walking tour (be sure to tip), or follow a self-guided tour. Don’t forget to stop at Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross!
  8. Changing of the guard – everyone should see this at least once! A quintessentially British ceremony where the Old Guard hands over responsibility to the New Guard.
  9. Borough Market – one of London’s oldest and most famous food markets, offering a wide array of fresh produce, gourmet foods, and international cuisine. It’s a foodie paradise!
  10. Columbia Road Flower Market – the variety of plants and colors here truly dazzles
  11. Street Performers – there are amazing performers in many areas of the city, but some of my favorites are just outside the National Gallery and in Covent Garden.
  12. LEGO Store – the 2-story wonder on Leicester Square is a favorite for families.
  13. Southbank Centre – world-renowned arts complex along the River Thames, hosting a diverse range of cultural events, performances, and exhibitions.
  14. Camden Market – eclectic marketplace known for its diverse range of stalls selling fashion, art, antiques, and street food.
  15. Regent’s Canal – stroll along while watching boats and wildlife. Such a lovely after-dinner activity on long summer evenings!
  16. Street Art in Shoreditch – famous for its vibrant street art scene, featuring murals and graffiti from renowned artists like Banksy.
  17. Piccadilly Circus – known for its iconic illuminated billboards and the famous Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain.
  18. Portobello Road Market – world’s largest antiques market, offering a treasure trove of vintage items, collectibles, and unique finds. 

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