A day out in London with the kids doesn't have to break the bank. Enjoy free entry to some of the world's best museums and galleries, take advantage of free travel for kids, and eat in London's great value restaurants, for a wallet-friendly day out.
Morning: Explore London's Parks
Visit the popular Diana, Princess of Wales' Memorial Playground, where kids can climb the giant wooden pirate ship and explore the sensory trail, beach and teepees. You could even take your rollerblades and join skaters of all ages on the nearby Broadwalk.
Wander across Kensington Gardens to Hyde Park and the magnificent Serpentine lake. The Serpentine is home to a large number of birds, many of which are winter visitors to the park. You're likely to see ducks, geese and more exotic looking species such as Great Crested Grebes.
Take a packed lunch and eat it in the park, or head to the Science Museum's indoor picnic area.
Afternoon: Enjoy London's Free Museums
London's Science Museum is packed full of fun family activities. The Garden, aimed at three to six year olds, is a multi-sensory area where children can explore floating and sinking, shadows and reflections, sound and giant building blocks. The Launchpad gallery is great for older kids, with more than 50 interactive exhibits, plus electrifying shows and demos, all based on the wonderful world of physics.
Next door at the Natural History Museum, get up close to a terrifying T. Rex and find out how baby dinosaurs were born. Visit Investigate, the hands-on science centre for seven to 14 year olds, and get your hands on geological specimens in the Earth Lab. Under-sevens will love the free-to-borrow Explorer Backpacks, which contain an explorer hat, binoculars and drawing materials. (NB: Explorer Backpacks currently unavailable until 30 November 2012).
Evening: Covent Garden
Catch the Tube to Covent Garden to watch the colourful street performers.
Mime artists, acrobats and bicycle stunt performers are among the regular acts that appear in the Covent Garden piazza.
There are loads of fantastic places to eat in Covent Garden, from small cafes to classy restaurants. Try Crème de la Crepe, a reasonably-priced pancake restaurant. Choose from savoury crepes with fillings like cheese, ham and vegetables, or sweet treats with fruit, cream and chocolate. Prices start at £3.30. Alternatively, check out Wahaca, where you can sample Mexican street food in a lively atmosphere. Street food dishes start at £3.50, with main dishes from £7.75. Or enjoy real Indian food in Masala Zone. The restaurant has more than 200 brightly coloured puppets hanging from the ceiling, depicting an Indian wedding scene. It also offers a kids' menu for under sevens costing £4.15 per child.
Family Travel Tips
Children can enjoy free or discounted travel on London's transport system. Older children may need an Oyster photocard.
Visit the Transport for London website for more information.