38 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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Free 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 newly refurbished Young V&A: See childhood objects and take part in daily activities, including storytelling and crafting.
  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.

Free indoor activities in London for kids

A group stands in front of a screen displaying a 360 degrees collage of various film clips.
Heaven’s Gate, an immersive experience by Marco Brambilla at the Outernet. Image courtesy of Outside Organisation
  1. Discover free immersive experiences and light shows at Outernet: See breathtaking digital art and entertainment come to life on interactive wrap-around LED screens.
  2. Marvel at mind-blowing creations from the famous plastic bricks at The LEGO Store on Leicester Square: Explore two floors of LEGO bricks and models, along with demos and fun in-store activities.
  3. Step into the magical world of Hamleys and browse the shelves of London's largest toy shop: Keep the kids entertained with games demonstrations on every floor. Whether you'll manage to walk out empty-handed is another story.
  4. Take an unusual lift at Royal Festival Hall: Ride in the singing elevator – also known as the JCB lift.

Free 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. Join free workshops at Tate Modern: Get messy with clay or engage in a drawing session at one of the many classes.
  2. Settle down for the National Gallery’s storytelling sessions: Fly away on a magic carpet and more in sessions for families with under-fives.
  3. Get creative at the Royal Academy of Arts: Encourage budding young artists to get creative with a free Art Detectives pack.
  4. Don't miss the Imagine Children’s Festival: Enjoy free children's theatre and author-led events at the Southbank Centre during February half-term.

Free outdoor activities in London for kids

A sculpture of Harry Potter on his broom in a Quidditch attire in Leicester Square.
Spot the wizard himself at the Scenes in the Square sculpture trail on Leicester Square. ©Joe Pepler/PinPep.
  1. Follow the interactive Scenes in the Square bronze statue trail: Spot some of your favourite film stars and characters across Leicester Square, including Harry Potter, Batman, Bugs Bunny and Mary Poppins.
  2. Check out the best Paddington Bear book and film locations in London: Take a free adventure around the capital with this family-friendly itinerary.
  3. Enjoy free entertainment at Covent Garden: Watch the street entertainers in the Piazza, where human statues, acrobats and magicians dazzle the crowds. 

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.

Fascinating London landmarks

Band marches in front of Buckingham Palace during Changing the Guard
Absorb the pomp and pageantry of Changing the Guard outside Buckingham Palace. Credit: Shutterstock. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  1. Watch Changing the Guard: Brightly dressed guards dazzle the kids at this historic ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
  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. Grab a selfie at Platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross Station: Push a trolley through to Harry Potter’s magical world. 
  5. Watch Tower Bridge open: See the bridge lift from the banks of the river Thames.

Free days out of London for kids

Aerial view of the beach at Botany Bay near Broadstairs on a summer's day, with crowds of beachgoers set up on the beach and some taking a dip in the sea.
Botany Bay, Broadstairs. Take a trip to the British seaside and enjoy the best beaches near London. Photo by Tom Wheatley on Unsplash.
  1. Go on a family day trip to the beachFrom pretty pebbly beaches to dreamy stretches of golden sand, discover the best beaches near London with the kids.
  2. From legendary castles to fun-filled seaside towns, explore the best of Kent: Plan the perfect day out from London with plenty of free things to see and do for the entire family.
  3. Take a day trip to Brighton from London and discover the famous coastal city: Kids will love playing on Brighton Palace Pier, exploring The Lanes and letting loose on the beach.

Frequently asked questions

Which part of London is best for kids?

South Bank and Bankside have plenty to entertain all ages, from world-class attractions to fascinating history and fun activities for kids.

For outdoor and indoor voyages, sail waves of history on a family day out in the architecture-rich maritime area of Greenwich.

Also perfect for days out with kids, South Kensington boasts some of London's most famous museums and adventure playgrounds.

Explore the whole city with this guide on where to stay in London with kids, featuring more family-friendly areas including Battersea, the West End and Paddington.