Getting the whole family out and having fun on a budget might seem like an impossible task. Fortunately, you can find cheap family days out London-wide if you know where to look. Whether you and your kids want to check out a museum, play out in the park, or see some exciting London sights, there are lots of things you can do together without spending a penny. Get some ideas with our guide to free things to do with kids in London.
Free things to do with kids in London
In this guide
Free things to do with kids London-wide
- Coram's Fields – Big playground in Bloomsbury
- Natural History Museum – Must-see museum
- Tate galleries – Riverside art galleries
- Kenwood House – Tour a stately home
- Science Museum – Makes science come alive
- Young V&A – Designed by and for kids
- Platform 9¾ – Off to Hogwarts
- Hampstead Heath – Acres of nature
- Victoria Park – Popular East London park
- Highgate Wood – Explore ancient woodland
- Crystal Palace Dinosaurs – Surprising monuments
- Horizon 22 – Amazing city views
- Finsbury Park – Fun facilities
- Hackney City Farm – Make some farmyard friends
- Golders Hill Park Zoo – Free zoo in a park
- Wellcome Collection – Exhibitions that make you think
- National Maritime Museum – Interactive and educational
- Kentish Town City Farm – Explore a farm for free
- British Museum – Grab a backpack and explore
- Ruislip Lido – Visit a beach in London
- Hackney Bumps – Get skating
- Horniman Museum and Gardens – Award-winning museum
- House of MinaLima – See some Harry Potter props
- Diana Memorial Playground – Unique place to play
- Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park – Haven for wildlife
- Buckingham Palace – World-famous landmark
- Battersea Park – Attractive riverside park
- City Visitor Trail – Discover London on a walk
Free things to do with kids London-wide
Big playground in Bloomsbury
Take the kids to Coram's Fields, where they can work off some energy at a seven acre playground. This playground has been open since 1936 and is available to anyone aged under 16. There are various areas including a sensory zone, a paddling pool, a zip wire, and a climbing wall, plus lots of space to run around.
One of London's most popular attractions is the Natural History Museum. This famous museum looks as impressive from the outside as inside and is free to visit. Families can visit to explore various aspects of the natural world, from dinosaurs and fossils to crystal formations and native wildlife. There's so much to discover here.
Riverside art galleries
Take your kids to Tate Modern or Tate Britain if they're little art lovers. The temporary shows usually have paid ticketing but you can see the permanent collections for free. Discover the best of British art at Tate Britain or, on the opposite side of the Thames, explore modern art from around the world at Tate Modern.
Tour a stately home
Kenwood House is a free-to-visit stately home on Hampstead Heath. This grand building has attractive interiors and grounds to explore, plus there's lots to keep all ages entertained. There's a family-friendly trail to get kids interested as they learn more about the house's architecture, gardens, and history. There's also a café and secondhand bookshop.
Makes science come alive
The Science Museum provides entertainment for all ages. It's free to visit and is a great day out for families. The museum is modern and interactive, with displays covering various aspects of scientific endeavour, from space travel and aircraft to climate change. The museum's gift shops are packed with fun items as well.
Designed by and for kids
Young V&A in Bethnal Green is free to visit and has lots to keep kids entertained. This hands-on museum was designed with children and young people, and is intended to inspire creativity and confidence. Things to explore here include sensory playscapes, a skateboarding park for fingers, street art murals, and various temporary exhibitions, events, and activities.
Off to Hogwarts
Platform 9¾ is a must-visit for kids who love Harry Potter. Located in King's Cross station, this is a fantastic free photo opp for Potter fans. Take a photo yourself of your kids going off to Hogwarts, or let the professional photographer on-site do the hard work and give you a great memento of your day out.
Acres of nature
Kids who love getting out in fresh air will enjoy a visit to Hampstead Heath. Covering 800 acres of landscape in North London, it's a top place for a stroll. See refreshing ponds, shaded woodland, meadows, and gorgeous views of central London from Parliament Hill. Whichever part of the Heath you visit, there's lots to explore.
Popular East London park
One of the most popular parks in the whole country, Victoria Park is also the oldest public park in London. There's a boating lake and lots of space to walk or sit down and relax. Attractions here include a Chinese pagoda, a skatepark, tennis courts, an outdoor gym, and a café for refreshments.
Explore ancient woodland
Head to North London and wander through 28 hectares of ancient woodland at Highgate Wood. This place is a haven for wildlife as well as a great place for Londoners looking for a peaceful walk. In addition to the natural landscape, there are facilities like a café, playground, and sports grounds.
See something unusual with the kids by visiting the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs in South London. You can tour these Grade I listed monuments on foot or by pedalo. Constructed in the 19th century, they are rather different to what we know about dinosaurs today, offering an entertaining peek into history.
Amazing city views
Horizon 22 is the highest free viewing platform in Europe, making it a fascinating place for all ages. From its 58th floor location, you can see as far as the South Downs on a clear day – why not challenge the kids to spot your area in the cityscape? You can see some of London's most famous landmarks too.
Finsbury Park is a spacious park in North London with lots of facilities for kids. There are play areas, sports facilities, a lake with lots of wildlife, and a skatepark. There's also lots of open grass and plenty of space to run around or relax. The park is almost always bustling with visitors.
Make some farmyard friends
Discover life on the farm without spending anything at Hackney City Farm. The farmyard and gardens are open to visitors, so families can explore the grounds and meet the animal residents like pigs, chickens, and ponies. The farm also has a café, farm shop, and runs various workshops, activities, and volunteering schemes.
Free zoo in a park
In North London you can visit a free zoo in a park at Golders Hill Park Zoo. The zoo has been here for more than 100 years and is open every day. You'll be able to see a variety of animals and exotic birds including donkeys, lemurs, wallabies, and kookaburras.
Exhibitions that make you think
Located in Euston, Wellcome Collection is a fascinating free museum where art, science, history, and culture intersect. There are permanent exhibitions as well as temporary shows covering topics like beauty, medicine, religion, and the relationship between humans and plants. On-site there's also a shop, a café, and a library and reading room.
Interactive and educational
The National Maritime Museum brings Britain's maritime history to life with interactive displays, art, nautical curiosities, and a record-breaking speedboat. This museum in Greenwich is free to visit and has a dedicated section for children aged below seven. The museum also puts on a variety of family-friendly activities.
Explore a farm for free
Established in 1972, Kentish Town City Farm was the first city farm in the UK. It remains a popular day out in London today, where you can meet the animals and explore nature. Kids are welcome here; the farm operates a Young Farmers programme too that gives 8-16 year olds the chance to volunteer on the farm.
Grab a backpack and explore
The renowned British Museum is well-suited to young visitors. Not only is entrance to this impressive collection of artefacts from around the world free, there's a range of free events and activities designed to keep kids of all ages entertained. Children can undertake different tasks and challenges, dig into an activity backpack, discover the museum explorer trail, and more.
Visit a beach in London
Take the kids to the beach without leaving London – head to Ruislip Lido. This is a reservoir on the city's outskirts with an artificial beach. Visit to catch some sun or go boating, swimming, or fishing. There are play areas, a miniature railway, and cafés, plus it's surrounded by woodland that makes a great place for a walk.
Kids who are into skating will enjoy a visit to Hackney Bumps. This outdoor skatepark in Clapton was built in 1986 and is open all year round. It's now maintained by volunteers. It's made up of bumps with no rails or ledges, and is a great place to practice. Skating lessons for kids are also on offer here.
The Horniman Museum holds impressive collections relating to the natural world and anthropology. It's free to visit but there are charges for some exhibitions and attractions like the aquarium. The museum also has extensive gardens that have great views of London. The variety at this museum makes it an interesting day out for families and groups.
See some Harry Potter props
Kids who enjoy the Harry Potter films will appreciate a trip to House of MinaLima. This award-winning gallery in Soho comes from the design studio behind all the graphic props from the film series. Visitors can see detailed displays of props from the films and might even meet the designers themselves. There's a gift shop as well.
Unique place to play
The Diana Memorial Playground has been entertaining kids in London since 2000. Created in memory of Princess Diana, the goal of the space is to allow kids of all abilities to play together. Amongst the fun facilities, there's a giant pirate ship, a water play area, musical instruments, and swings.
Haven for wildlife
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park is an ideal day out for kids who love wildlife and nature. This nature reserve is close to The O2 and covers four acres of freshwater habitat. A wide variety of species make this space their home – you might spot frogs, reed warblers, and wasp spiders, as well as lots of plant species.
Buckingham Palace is one of our most famous landmarks. You're always welcome to view it from outside free of charge. If you time your visit right, you might even get to watch the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony. It's an interesting place to see for all ages and a bucket list destination for visitors to London.
Attractive riverside park
Battersea Park occupies a space right next to the Thames, offering scenic views. This spacious South London park has lots of features that make it an interesting place to visit, ranging from an evocative Peace Pagoda to a contemporary art gallery, a playground, and a small zoo. There's also lots of space for running around here.
Discover London on a walk
Discover more about the city with a self-directed walking tour. The City Visitor Trail is a free walking trail developed by the City of London, taking you around some of the capital's most famous sights. Explore as much as you want or choose a theme – there are trails designed with families and children in mind.