30 free things to do with kids in London

From exciting museums and child-friendly art exhibitions to fun-filled parks and fascinating landmarks, there are plenty of free things to do with kids on a family trip to London.

If you're in the city now and are seeking out the best things to do in London with kids, make sure to check out these 101 family activities and download the Visit London app to use while you're on the go.

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Family-friendly museums

A young child in the wonderlab the equinor gallery at the science museum in london.
Young visitor in Wonderlab The Equinor Gallery at the Science Museum © Science Museum Group
  1. Be amazed at the Natural History Museum: Meet a roaring T-Rex and feel the ground shake on the earthquake simulator.
  2. Step into the past at the Ragged School Museum: See what life was like for the poor and destitute children of London’s East End during the late 1800s.
  3. Enjoy seafaring tales at the National Maritime Museum: Stoke the boiler of a steamship in the AHOY! Children's gallery.
  4. Spend hours at the British Museum: Be wowed by the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.
  5. Get interactive at the Science Museum: Spot space rockets and giant steam engines, and enjoy hands-on activities.
  6. Explore the collections at the Young V&A: See childhood objects and take part in daily activities, including storytelling and crafting. Currently closed for refurbishment. 
  7. Learn about London's trade at the Museum of London Docklands: Step into Sailortown, a reconstruction of 19th-century London.
  8. Find quirky exhibits at the Wellcome Collection: Discover Napoleon's toothbrush and Darwin's walking stick.

Top London parks and fountains

Children wonder at the flowers in the gardens of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park © London Legacy Development Corporation
  1. Unwind in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: Splash about in the fountains and let them loose in the playgrounds.
  2. Play at the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground: Climb the wooden pirate ship or commandeer a teepee.
  3. Meet life-size dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park: You'll also find a children's farm, maze and playground.  
  4. Enjoy an afternoon at Coram’s Fields: This park and playground has a small animal area, cafe and paddling pool.
  5. Cool off at Granary Square: This traffic-free square in King's Cross has fountains where jets change colour and squirt in patterns. 

Animal attractions in London

Pelicans gather by the lake at st. james's park in london.
Pelicans at St. James's Park. © Shutterstock
  1. Explore the Horniman Museum and Gardens: Meet the gigantic overstuffed walrus and more weird and wonderful exhibits.
  2. Meet animals at Mudchute Farm and ParkFeed the cows and more at London’s largest urban park.
  3. Head to Vauxhall City Farm: Marvel at the funky hairstyles of its three famous alpacas, Tom, Jerry and Ben.
  4. Say hi to the residents at Deen City Farm and Riding School: Take home some farm produce after the little ones have played with the animals.
  5. Time your visit to St James’s Park: Watch the pelicans being fed every day at 2.30pm, while keeping your eyes peeled for water birds, owls, pelicans and bats too.
  6. Go pond dipping at Camley Street Natural Park: You can also spot birds and butterflies at this King's Cross wildlife haven.

Theatre and art

A family and others walk across the bridge opposite the London Gallery Tate Modern.
The Tate Modern. © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid
  1. Take an unusual lift at Royal Festival Hall: Ride in the singing elevator – also known as the JCB lift.
  2. Don't miss the Imagine Children’s Festival: Enjoy free children's theatre and inspirational author-led events at the Southbank Centre during February half-term.
  3. Join free workshops at Tate Modern: Get messy with clay or engage in a drawing session at one of the many classes.
  4. Settle down for National Gallery’s storytelling sessions: Fly away on a magic carpet and more in sessions for families with under-fives.
  5. Get creative at the Royal Academy of Arts: Encourage budding young artists to get creative with a free Art Detectives pack.

Fascinating London landmarks

People sitting in the square at Covent Garden with women strolling past in the sun
Visit Covent Garden © Brendan Bell / Photos.London. Image courtesy of Brendan Bell / Photos.London.
  1. Enjoy free entertainment at Covent Garden: Watch the street entertainers in the Piazza, where human statues, acrobats and magicians dazzle the crowds. 
  2. Take a City Cruises river tour: Spot landmarks on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour on the Thames  kids under five go free, or purchase a family ticket which allows free access for up to three children (five to 15 years of age) when paying for two adults.
  3. Get into the Christmas spirit: See some of London’s top sights lit up – big light switch-on events usually include free entertainment. 
  4. Watch Changing the Guard: Brightly dressed guards dazzle the kids at this historic ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
  5. Grab a selfie at Platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross Station: Push a trolley through to Harry Potter’s magical world. 
  6. Watch Tower Bridge open: See the bridge lift from the banks of the river Thames.