Family Friendly things to do in London
Family Friendly things to do in London – London is the capital of our country and also a really interesting and fun place to take the family. However, like most days out in the UK it can be a costly business so I thought I would have a bit of a rummage around to see how you can experience London as a family which won’t break the bank.
The National History Museum – This would be one of the top things on my list of things to do whether it was a paid admission or free. Meet a T-Rex, experience an earthquake and take a trip to the centre of the earth. For a really special treat (not free) you can stay the night at the museum and experience a torch light tour which sounds absolutely amazing.
The Science Museum looks like it would be a really fun place to visit with loads of interactive activities. Some of these are paid and need booking in advance, but if you pop over to their website there is more than enough to keep the little ones and the big ones busy.
London Motor Museum – If cars are your thing then this is a must see exhibition. They even have the likes of Herbie the Volkswagon Beetle, the original Batmobile and the Ford Gran Torino used in the Starsky and Hutch TV series.
The V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green houses the UK’s national collection of childhood objects, all dated as far back from the 1600’s to the present day. There you will find toys, dolls and games. They also run lots of events and workshops so make sure you check their website before your visit.
Horniman Museum & Gardens – They have lots to see including animals (real live ones), an aquarium, butterfly house, 16 acres to run around and discover wildlife, a hands on base where you can touch and experience various things, a music gallery, a natural history area packed full of taxidermy, skeletons and fossils, a nature base and nature trail. There is a small entrance fee for this but it’s definitely up their in the budget friendly category.
Take a trip to Grenwich to see the Royal Observatory, the Astronomer Royal’s house and stand on the Meridian Line. The best way to see all of these is by getting a Day Explorer Ticket where you will have access to all sorts including The Royal Observatory, the Cutty Sark, the Meridian Line and Museums.
The Royal Academy of Art – Run free family workshops and activities so do check their website to see what’s on. Once you’re done you can go and have a play in the fountains outside!
Parks & Play Areas & Farms
Gambado Soft Play Centre – An enormous indoor soft play centre for 0 – 12 year olds
London Zoo – Meet the Majestic King of the Jungle, enter the Gorilla Kingdom and get up close and personal with the Lemurs in their walk-through exhibit. There’s loads of things to see and do at the Zoo. If you’re lucky you may get to experience Zoo Nights on selected dates.
Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace – It’s definitely something you don’t see everyday and is a definite must-do if you haven’t already done so. Once you’re done it’s nice to take a walk through St James’s park.
Spot the Deer at Bushy Park near Hampton Court Palace before wandering through the gardens of Hampton Court Palace. There is a fee to enter the palace but you can wander through the gardens free of charge.
Clapham Common – There is loads of open space to play and run around as well as three ponds, a fishing pond, a duck feeding pond and a model boat pond. There are also two playgrounds, a huge paddling pool and a bandstand café for refuelling.
Film on a Farm – Watch a film across many venues and dates.
Visit Vauxhall City Farm which is completely FREE where you can visit Ducks, Rabbits, Pigs, sheep, alpaca and more. They also have an ecology area, herb and dye garden and a picnic area.
Staying on the farm theme you could also visit Madchute Farm which is also FREE – spread across 34 acres where you can meet farm animals, horse ride and stop in at the tea rooms.
Hackney City Farm – Entry is Free although they do appreciate donations. Here you can meet all kinds of farm animals and they also support lots of community projects and workshops.
Visit the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground and climb aboard the Pirate Ship in Kensington, complete with it’s very own beach.
Crystal Palace Dinosaurs – See how many dinosaurs you can find.
Timber Lodge and Tumbling Baby Playground at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. There you will find rock pools, sand pits, treehouses and wobbly bridges as well as slides swing and plenty of space for running around or having a picnic.
Coram’s Fields – In Central London is a definite pit-stop. They have Playgrounds, a small Farm, a Café and Sports Pitches. Lots of room for the littles to burn off some energy.
Brockwell Park – Apparently one of the best parks in South London it has a great playground with zip wires, climbing frames and tunnels as well as a sandpit and paddling pool (be warned with water jets).
Centre for Wildlife Gardening – Here you will find mini-habitats, ponds to explore, a chalk bank, woodland copse, herb gardens and lots of bug sanctuaries and hotels.
Golders Hill Park Zoo – Hampstead Heath. Explore and visit their collection of rare birds and animals before heading off for a splash in one of the swimming ponds and lido.
Dukes Meadow Park, Chiswick – With it’s own beach and adventure playground! There are also lots of sports that take place, a kiosk for food and it also hosts the Fine Food Market.
Open Top Bus Tour – A must do when you visit London, but do look out for deals as these can be particularly pricey. Groupon are currently offering a family Open Top Bus Ticket for £49 which may seem pricey, but it’s definitely one to tick off your bucket list.
Windsor Duck Tours – Am I the only person that wasn’t aware these things even existed. Basically it’s a boat with wheels so you start the tour on land, and then it drives into the water and becomes a boat. So cool!
Camden Town Market, Spitalfields Market and Portobello market are definitely worth a visit. Be warned though as it will be extremely busy.
City Cruises – Down the River Thames for the ultimate London sightseeing experience including Big Ben, The London Eye, Tower Bridge and more with various pick-up and drop-off points along the way.
Borough Market – near London Bridge where you can find an array of fresh and organic produce including fruit, veg, meat and cheeses as well as baked treats, condiments and scrummy street food.
Brick Lane Market – Have a good old rummage through vintage clothes, shoes, furniture and bric-a-brac with Sunday being the best day to visit.
Broadway Market, Hackney – here you will find local artists and craftspeople selling unique and unusual clothing and gifts as well as locally produced foods, furniture and more.
Maltby Street Market near London Bridge Station is a foodie heaven with lots f street food on offer including New York Style Sandwiches to authentic Mexican Street food.
Hamley’s Toy Store – Here you will find over 50,000 toys spread out across seven floors to indulge your inner child. Whilst it’s free to go in, you may not be able to get out without spending a penny or two.
Follow the Monopoly Board of London using the Google Map Monopoly Route App.
Take a stroll along the many areas where you will find some pretty cool Street Art including Banksy. Head to Camden Town where you will be in for a colourful treat, and Shoreditch is up there for ever changing artwork, and there’s even an organised Street Art Tour you can take to ensure you get the full experience. The tours aren’t free but you could navigate through the areas yourself.
If street Art is something that you’re interested in then head to The Rise Gallery in Croyden where they house an array of cool artwork. They also do organised tours of the local Croyden Street Art.
Lewisham hosts over 60 public artworks which you can find listed on the Council Website or you could follow The Line which is a self-guided walking tour linking The O2 and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Part where you will discover artists such as Damien Hirst, Alex Chinneck and Eduardo Paolozzi.
Ride the Routemaster from Fulham Town Hall to Liverpool Street which passes the Houses of Parliament, Nelson’s Column, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral which takes around an hour.
Take a walk along Regent’s Canal where you will see an array of colourful narrowboats overlooked by the aviary of London Zoo you can take in the scenery and chill away from the hustle and bustle.
London Stadium Tour – Take a walk around this fantastic multi-purpose venue which is home to West Ham United and UK Athletics. The tour includes panoramic views into the stadium, a look around the changing rooms, visit the indoor running track and walk down the Players Tunnel. You could also pretend that you’re the Manager from the Managers dug-out.
A self-guided Treasure Trail – Discover a local area and all it’s hidden gems. Either downloads and print or have one sent to you in the post. The trails are full of clues, facts and information on lots of areas including London. Pack a picnic and off you go.
This is just a handful of the fun things that you can see and do in and around London BUT before you go booking or paying for any attractions, have a look at sites such as Groupon to see what Family Friendly things to do in London you can take advantage of.
This also applies to where you stay when you go. If you have children below school age, I would recommend visiting outside of the school holidays as these times will be less busy and you may get off-peak prices as well. However, school holiday deals are also available so it’s always best to check beforehand to make the most of you money.
*This is a collaborative post.