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Budget London: 10 Free Things to Do in London With Kids

Dela Lozanova

20 February 2020

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4 minutes
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Hey there, big saver! We know that planning a family day out in London on a budget can seem like an impossible task but worry not - we’ve got a whole list of the top ten free things to do in London with kids for you to explore.

From the big names to the hidden gems, those free places to visit will keep your whole gang entertained, whether you’re a tourist or a local. Let’s jump in and find out some of the coolest free attractions in the capital!

Pretty girl smiling by a red phone booth in London

  1. Enjoy the wonders of rural life at Surrey Docks Farm

    A day at the farm wasn’t the first thing you expected to see on the list of the top free things to do in London, was it? Yet, an idyllic experience of rural life is exactly what you’ll get at Surrey Docks Farm. One is certain, kids are always won over by the adorable farm animals. Goats, sheep, donkeys, piglets and all your other farmyard favourites live there. You can pet them too!

    The farm runs purely on donations and is open 7 days a week. They also host green workshops and holiday activities, in case you’re looking for something special to change up your plans. Sounds like a great addition to any family day out in London, if you ask us.

  2. Visit The National History Museum..and see the garden too!

    The National History Museum is by far one of the most popular free attractions in London and for a good reason too - they’ve got real dinosaur skeletons there! Imagine the look on your kids’ faces when they stand face to face with those prehistoric giants...We definitely have some memories of our own doing this years ago, in fact, you probably do too!

    When most people think about The National History Museum, they don’t immediately think “outdoor adventures”. However, the museum’s very own Wildlife Garden is a wonderful place for a family day out on its own. To get the kids excited about the garden, download the Dippy's Naturenauts app (also free) and get access to lots of games and activities designed to prepare little explorers for their visit.

  3. Museum of London Docklands

    Speaking of great free museums in London... If anyone ever doubts museums can be fun to do with kids, just point them to the Museum of London Docklands. It will change their mind in a day!

     “Do not touch” signs might be the single biggest turn-off for kids but you don't have to worry about those here. Interactive exhibits are at the heart of Museum of London Docklands, so your little explorers will have lots of opportunities to touch, smell and engage with the things around them. Hosting Playtime! - a permanent exhibit, which is especially designed with young children in mind, plus regular free events for kids, the museum is as family-friendly as they get.

    Young boy with Big Ben in the background

  4. Discover a hidden gem - Bushy Park

    Having in mind it’s the second largest of the Royal Parks, it’s surprising Bushy Park isn’t better known than it currently is. Especially knowing that it’s home to hundreds of free roaming deer! You can see them just casually strolling around; you won’t even have to look hard to find them.

    The Bushy Park Playground is one always popular with the little ones too. From taking on the timber climbing frame to swooshing up and down on the basket swings and building castles in the sand pit, kids under 12 will have a blast there. Sounds like the perfect day at the park, doesn't it?

  5. Splash about in the Hyde Park lido

    Here’s one for the summer! Hyde Park is one of the most popular free places to visit in London all year round, so a true Londoner may have lost a bit of the excitement of going there. Then again, it all changes when the sun comes out and the lido at Hyde Park opens up...

    The 110 yard Serpentine Lido has been ranked amongst the best lidos in the UK, so believe us when we say, you’ll have a hard time getting your kids to get out of the water. Just remember to bring sunscreen, a towel and a change of clothes for your mini water lovers.

  6. Enjoy play time at Coram’s Fields

    When looking for free attractions in London that are all about kids, Coram’s Fields is the perfect match. This huge 7-acre park and playground is especially designed “children only” space where kids under 16 can run around, play and find new friends.

    So what’s there, you ask? Well, there’s adventure play, sandpits, paddling pool, music and sensory area and a whole lot more. They even have a wildlife garden and their very own city farm! The furry farm residents are sure to quickly become your favourite thing there.

    Two girls hanging from a tree upside down

  7. Watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

    Watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace never gets old! Tourists flock from all over the world to see it but even if you live in the capital, it’s definitely worth experiencing with your kids. Checking whether the Queen’s home, wondering at the unveiling posture of the guards, watching them march totally in sync, it’s mesmerising for the little ones. 

    In the summer, the ceremony takes place daily at 11.00am and every other day in winter, so you’ve got no excuse to miss it. Plus, Green Park’s just across the street; once you’ve seen the guards change, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll before going back home.

  8. Go on a nature play adventure at Wild Kingdom Playspace

    Aren’t you constantly amazed by your little ones’ imagination? Those brilliant creative moments that are making you smile as you recall them right now are exactly the inspiration behind Wild Kingdom Playspace. This rustic outdoor play area at Three Mills Green was designed to allow kids to run around free and unleash their imagination.

    Your mini explorers will have the opportunity to embark on their nature play adventures as they take on fallen trees, nets, ropes, giant tree stumps, branches and hammocks. From making their way through the ropes canopy to throwing an impromptu performance on the wooden stage, your kids will have countless reasons to love this space. And yes, it’s all completely free!

  9. See the peacocks at Holland Park

    Boasting 22.5 hectares of gardens, sports facilities and fun packed adventure playground for the kids, Holland Park could naturally grab a spot on our list of the best free things to do in London; no questions asked. However, there was something even cooler that put the park on our radar - it’s one of the best places to see peacocks in London!

    No need to pay for a zoo ticket; these feathered beauties can often be spotted fluttering their feathers and stretching out their glamorous tails in the stunning Kyoto Garden at Holland Park. Spring is their main mating season, so that’s the best time to spot peacocks showing off their full colours. It’s quite the impressive sight, small kids get really excited about it too.

    Stunning peacock at Holland Park

  10. Step inside the world of toys at Hamleys

    Entering Hamleys, the oldest toy shop in the world, just had to make it on our list of free places to visit in London with kids! There’s something so magical about walking through multiple floors packed with endless shelves of colourful toys. Your kids will be in awe and to be honest, you’ll feel like a kid too. It’s just wondrous!

    There’s lots going on at Hamleys too. You can join one of the free shop tours or if you’re visiting during the school holidays, you may happen to meet one of your little ones’ favourite characters for a meet and greet there. You never know what new amazing event you’ll discover there.

    Bonus round

    I know we said we’d give you 10 free things to do in London with kids but you know us, we love adding a little extra. Anything for a great family day out, right? So, here’s our special bonus free activity for you!

  11. Explore with a free London Family Text Quest

    Fancy going on your very own quest with the kids? Take on the London Family Text Quest and turn your family walk in Battersea Park into a puzzle-cracking adventure. Search for clues, work together with your mini detectives to solve them and see where the storyline leads you.

    You can download the quest straight to your phone for free and do it whenever you like. It’s a Day Out With The Kids Membership exclusive offer, so this one’s on us!

 Happy boy jumping by Tower of London

We hope you enjoyed our list of the top 10 free things to do in London with kids. Here's a cool infographic we made of the list - hope you like it! 

Free things to do in London with Kids inforgraphic by day Out With The Kids

For even more inspiration, explore one of the links below:

Best family attractions in London | Ideas for things to do in Greater London | 5 Outdoor Adventures in London

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Dela Lozanova

20 February 2020

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Dela is the Content Editor at Day Out With The Kids. Originally from sunny Varna on the Bulgarian seacoast, she now lives in Coventry and travels regularly throughout Europe to escape the rain.

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