Is it possible to have fun in London for free? Sure, why not! Be it just a weekend city break or full-blown vacations in London, the capital of England is an amazing tourist destination. From the magnificent Big Ben to the Coca-Cola London Eye, it offers a whole range of fantastic entertainment and things to do. However, with all its splendor, one thing is certain – London is not the cheapest place in the world. This is especially true if you’re exploring it with your kids and you want them to have as much fun as possible. But don’t worry! We’ve prepared a complete guide of Top 10 Free Things To Do in London for Kids. Spend the time of your life without spending a fortune!
Sky Garden certainly is up there with the most iconic things to do in London, despite being totally free. It can be found on the top three floors of 20 Fenchurch Street and offers a nice choice of restaurants and indoor viewing decks. It is regarded as one of the best vantage points in Central London. In case you had troubles finding the place, this skyscraper is also known under the name of “walkie-talkie” among the locals, due to its unusual shape. It is considered to be among London’s most exclusive social spaces – and it’s hard to disagree with that statement after experiencing the awe-inspiring sights. Keep in mind that it has to be pre-booked (for free) through the website.
We know that kids aren’t THAT fond of museums but bear with us on this one. When looking for free things to do in London for kids, Science Museum is one of the best attractions. In addition to being highly informative and educational, this museum offers a plethora of interactive exhibits which captivate and entertain even the most suborn of children. It spreads over seven floors and features such intriguing displays as the first steam locomotives back from 19th century (Energy Hall) and hot-air balloons and flight simulators (located on the third floor) which kids just love. Add genuine rockets located on the ground floor to that (part of Exploring Space display) and you’ve got yourself a real killer in terms of things to do in London with kids – and the best part is, it’s free!
Shopping and exploring, both at the same time? Then Portobello Road Market is your best bet. Granted, it’s also an excellent attraction for kids. The unparalleled atmosphere combined with the absolutely head-spinning amount of wares (including clothes, toys and fun gadgets, things that kids can’t live without!) make this place one of the most popular free things to do in London. It is located right in the heart of Notting Hill. In addition to the wide choice of shopping, Portobello Road Market mesmerizes with colorful terraces, cozy bars and eateries, historic pubs and more. Once you (or your kids, we know how it is with them) get hungry, we recommend hitting Honest Burgers at 189 Portobello Rd. This burger house, run by energetic, young owners, offers exactly what the name implies – excellent and honest burgers.
Moving forward, we’ve got Hampstead Heath as one of the top choices on our Top Free Things to do in London list. This ancient parkland is a real lifesaver when you’ve got enough of the hustle and bustle of London (and we’re sure you’ve had quite a bit of that at Portobello Road Market). There are plenty of fun things to try in Hampstead Heath, including a zoo, many peaceful and natural spots, as well as three swimming ponds. After long days spent on exploring the most fantastic entertainment in London, this place is a nice change, which allows you to recharge your batteries and get ready for more great attractions.
Hidden from the eyes of London’s mass tourism, Wallace Collection is one of those free things to do in London which require you to stray away from the beaten path. But trust us, it’s a step worth taking! Featuring many famous paintings by Rembrandt, Hals, Delacroix, Rubens, Poussin, Titian, Van Dyck and other great artists, this gallery gives you a real feeling of aristocratic life. It’s housed in a restored, Italianate mansion, which in itself is quite an attraction. Admission is free except for periodical displays. The place has its own restaurant – Wallace – located in the central glass-roofed courtyard. However, if you ask us, there is nothing that goes better with art than wine – and the nearby Clarette offers some of the finest in London (food is not bad there, either!).
Perhaps one of the most iconic and popular ceremonies in the world – the Changing of the Guard – can be observed every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. It happens at 10.30 am outside Buckingham Palace. We’re fairly certain all adults are familiar with the bearskin hats and red tunics which the Queen’s Guards wear? The ceremony of switching guards is quite a sight and an unforgettable event for everyone, kids included. Of course, it is entirely free – all you gotta do is be there in time to witness this attraction. Remember that if you’re looking for things to do in London during the weekend, this takes place on Fridays and Sundays, and not Saturdays!
The famous V&A is without a doubt one of the best decorative art museums in the world. With over 150 years of tradition and an astonishing collection of 4.5 million items, it’s a real feast for those who like to admire, explore and discover new cultures. In our opinion, this is one of the best choices when you’re looking for top things to do in London for kids, as it allows you to combine your city break in London with some educational values. Each floor houses a different theme – for example, on the first floor, you can find Asian displays, with ancient Chinese ceramics or Japanese decorative swords.
Those of you who can never have enough of impressive sacral architecture will be delighted with what St Paul’s Church has to offer. Keep in mind that this can be a bit of a risky step with your kids, who aren’t usually that fond of churches and the like. However, we think it’s still worth it to try to encourage them to visit the place – it has plenty of charm with which it makes up for the effort.
Visiting Tate Modern is one of the most spectacular things to do in London. This modern and contemporary art gallery can be found in South Bank, in a revamped Bankside Power Station. The building itself is quite a sight – it’s a seamless combination of industrial and modern architecture styles. In addition to the regular, free exhibition, it also offers temporary exhibitions which include the works of some of the most famous modern and contemporary artists (please refer to the official website for those). The regular collection includes the works by Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, among others.
In London, Street Art can be admired nearly around every corner. However, if you’re looking for some strong recommendations, there is no place better for street art in London than Shoreditch (and some other areas of East London). There is plenty of quality, awe-inspiring graffiti to be admired on the walls around Brick Lane, as well as the streets of Middlesex and Sclater. If your kids are not big enthusiasts of regular museums and art galleries, then maybe hitting the streets in search of some equally impressive pieces is just the correct approach to take?