London is a fantastic place to visit with kids because it offers both entertainment and learning opportunities. Unfortunately it is also a rather expensive city, with the average daily cost of a visit being $187 per person. Therefore your budget might be stretched just by accommodation and food. The good news is that you and your kids can experience some of the best attractions in the city for free. Although, bear in mind that you’ll need to time your trip just right to take advantage of some free options that are only available on certain days.
Family trip guide: top 4 ways to explore London for free
1. Visit free museums
Museums are some of the best attractions in London and the majority of them are completely free, so they can become the highlight of your trip. Note that sometimes an otherwise free museum might house a few paid exhibits, although you’ll usually be advised of this when you enter.
Some of the best free London museums are:
- The British Museum
- Science Museum
- National Gallery
- Natural History Museum
- Tate Modern Gallery
- Victoria & Albert Museum
- Imperial War Museum
- Museum of London
- National Maritime Museum
- Horniman Museum and Gardens
- Sir John Soane’s Museum
- Guildhall Art Gallery
- Wallace Collection
- Tate Britain
- National Portrait Gallery
- Wellcome Collection
- Royal Air Force Museum
- Whitechapel Gallery
- National Army Museum
- British Library
- Serpentine Gallery
- V&A Museum of Childhood
2. Take free walking tours
London is an eclectic city in which a mixture of architectural masterpieces from different eras can be seen. From the majestic Gregorian beauty of the College of Arms to the ultra-modern Lloyd’s Building, London is filled with marvels to admire. And the best way to do this is on foot while taking a free tour in London. These tours will take you to all the most noteworthy attractions so that you don’t miss a single important site. Guides make these adventures fun for both kids and adults as they tell fascinating and informative stories about every site you visit.
The city is so large that you will be able to take a new walking tour every day during your trip and explore new parts of it. Usually they take about two hours so even the youngest kids will not become too tired or distracted.
3. Play in the parks
The parks of London are famous all over the world for their beauty and amenities. Families travelling with kids on a budget are sure to love these places because each of them has fantastic playgrounds, which are free. However, parents should come prepared with a change of clothes because many of the activities available in the parks are rather messy. Your kids are sure to love them even more for it.
The places not to miss during your family trip to London are:
- Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground (Kensington Gardens)
- Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
- Coram’s Fields
- Granary Square
- Highgate Wood
- Crystal Palace Park
- Mudchute Farm and Park (animal feedings are available)
- St. James’s Park
- Camley Street Natural Park
4. Enjoy free shows (if you manage to catch any)
London theatres are every bit as famous as London parks and museums. However, enjoying shows for free is much more difficult here. Families travelling in the summer should investigate the offers which are available from the Southbank Centre, which often hosts festivals with free shows for kids.
There are also many open-air shows during the summer where your whole family can enjoy watching some of the best historical plays. These are usually either free or very cheap, but they are also insanely popular which means that you need to book months in advance or talk to the locals to pick up some ideas about how to get hold of a free ticket.
You should also look into Kids Week, which is an annual event by the Official London Theatre.
Do you have any recommendations for free things to do in London?
For more information on visiting the UK capital, see the Visit London website.
You might be interested to read our features on some of these free things to do in London:
This is a collaborative post.
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