What are the top free things to do in London with kids? Here’s some free family fun!

In London with kids on a budget? Have visions of pounds flying out of your wallet? Don’t panic! This city may have a pricey reputation, but there’s magic to be experienced without breaking the bank.  

Sure, you could blow your cash on fancy attractions, but where’s the fun in that? Let’s ditch those overpriced tourist traps and unleash our inner explorers with the top free things to do in London with kids. 

Fair warning: some of these may well get the kids worked up in excitement, so be prepared to invest effort in dealing with that!

Family-friendly museums

Discover the wonders of the Natural History Museum

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Location: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7942 5000

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 5:50 PM

Website

The Natural History Museum is a time machine in disguise! With over 80 million objects that trace 4.5 billion years of Earth’s history, you’re in for a mind-bending adventure. Think of it as the greatest hits of the planet – dinosaurs, whales, space rocks, and all the crazy critters in between.

Your little explorers will go wild here. One minute they’re staring up at Hope, the giant blue whale skeleton, the next they’re digging for dinosaur fossils like real palaeontologists. 

They might even unleash their inner T. rex and roar through the prehistoric halls! Want to see the Earth in action? From earthquakes to volcanoes, you’ll feel the power of our planet.

Explore the collections of Young V&A

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Location: Cambridge Heath Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8983 5200

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 5:45 PM

Website

Attention parents: tired of the same old playdates and pricey outings? Buckle up, because London’s Young V&A (formerly the Museum of Childhood) is about to change your family adventures forever – and it won’t cost you a dime!

They’ve got a treasure trove of vintage goodies that’ll spark nostalgia for you and fascination for the little ones. It’s like a walk through the greatest hits of childhood!

This museum is made for EVERYONE. Tiny tots have sensory wonderlands to explore, older kids will love the design workshops, and even teens can geek out over serious artistic concepts. 

Visit the Horniman Museum

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Location: 100 London Rd, London SE23 3PQ, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8699 1872

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Website

Let’s start with the stars of the show: dinosaurs! Their Natural History Gallery is a kid’s dream (and let’s be honest, a grown-up’s too!).  Towering skeletons, roaring animatronics, and enough prehistoric facts to make your little one a palaeontologist-in-training. 

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Ever wanted to see a real shrunken head? Ancient masks? A giant stuffed walrus? The Horniman’s got it all!

Plus, their World Gallery is like a whirlwind tour around the globe. Kids can explore fascinating artefacts, discover musical instruments from far-off lands, and even get lost in a recreated Victorian conservatory. 

Journey back in time at the Ragged School Museum

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Location: 46-50 Copperfield Rd, London E3 4RR, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8980 6405

Opening hours:

  • Wednesday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Website

The Ragged School Museum is about to show you and your kids that the past can be seriously AWESOME. Step back in time to the world of Victorian London, where school was strict, life was tough, and your kids will suddenly develop a newfound appreciation for, well, everything.

It’s housed in the buildings where London’s poorest children got a free education in 1877. Walk into the authentic Victorian classroom – wooden desks, chalkboards, the works – and prepare for your kids’ jaws to drop.  

But buckle up, because once a month they can try a Victorian lesson for themselves! Expect ink-stained fingers and serious respect for those modern-day teachers.

Uncover bizarre exhibits at the Wellcome Collection

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Location: 183 Euston Rd., London NW1 2BE, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7611 2222

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Website

This free hidden gem is where the weird, the wonderful, and the slightly unsettling meet. So, expect shrunken heads, freaky medical gadgets, and enough bizarre artefacts to make you both giggle and cringe. 

It’s not just about the shock value. The Wellcome Collection is like a giant question mark. Why did they invent that contraption? How does this artwork explore the human body? It’s filled with exhibits, mind-bending displays, and enough oddball stuff to fuel your kids’ imaginations for weeks.

And listen, even if some parts send shivers down your spine (those medical tools look… interesting), it’s a fantastic excuse to have those important chats about medicine, history, and the amazing (sometimes freaky) things humans discover. 

Kid-approved parks in London

Recharge in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

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Location: Stratford, Londo  E20 2SE, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 800 072 2110

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

Forget the overpriced theme parks –  Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is about to become your new family BFF! This 560-acre playground (yes, you read that right) was built for the 2012 Olympics, and now it’s overflowing with FREE activities to keep your little adventurers entertained for hours.

There’s a giant zone dedicated to letting loose, with a splash pad so epic it’ll make mermaids jealous. There’s also a jungle gym on steroids, a sandpit fit for castle-building royalty, and enough climbing frames to tire out even the most energetic mini-monkeys.

And hey, if your little athlete needs a post-play cool-down, the London Aquatics Centre offers the  Ultimate AquaSplash. Picture the UK’s biggest selection of inflatables in a giant pool – it’s basically a recipe for guaranteed giggles (and maybe a few friendly water fights!).

See the dinos at Crystal Palace Park

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Location: Thicket Rd, London SE19 2GA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 300 303 8658

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM 

Website

Crystal Palace Park is a haven for little adventurers. Imagine hidden pathways, a sneaky maze, and enough space to run wild and pretend you’re Indiana Jones on a dino dig. 

Now, the dinos here might not be the sleek, scientifically accurate beasts we see in movies today. Think more “derpy interpretations based on limited fossils”. But that’s exactly what makes them so awesome! They’re a hilarious g window into 19th-century science and pure imagination.

Here’s the best part: Crystal Palace Park is easy to get to by public transport or car, and there’s even free parking! 

Have splash day at Granary Square’s fountains

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Location: 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AB, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3940 1000

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

Forget that pathetic sprinkler in the backyard – Granary Square boasts over 1,000 water jets ready to unleash pure watery chaos. It’s a full-blown water dance party! 

The fountains twist, turn, and jump in an unpredictable symphony that’ll have your kids squealing with delight (and probably completely soaked).

And the fun keeps going. As the sun sets, Granary Square transforms into a magical wonderland. The fountains burst into a dazzling light show, setting the stage for a perfect evening picnic (and maybe even a sneaky water fight!).

Spend a fun-filled afternoon at Coram’s Fields

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Location: 93 Guilford St, London WC1N 1DN, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7837 6138

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Website

The magic of Coram’s Fields starts with one simple rule: adults are only allowed in if they’ve brought a kid along with them (think of it as your entry ticket!). This creates a safe, carefree zone where little ones can make a glorious mess without worrying about crowds or dodging grown-ups.

Inside this urban oasis, you won’t find just your standard swings and slides. This place is packed with adventure for all ages! Think epic climbing structures, a giant sandpit (perfect for budding architects), and even a paddling pool for those hot summer days.   

Plus, let’s not forget the resident superstars of the park –  goats, sheep, and chickens in the adorable city farm!  It’s the perfect mix of wild fun and hands-on learning.

Kid-friendly hidden gems 

Strike a pose at Platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross Station

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Location: Euston Rd., London N1 9AL, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 345 711 4141

Website

Tucked away within the station, you’ll find the legendary Platform 9 ¾. Imagine a luggage trolley, halfway vanished into the brick wall, ready to whisk young wizards away to Hogwarts. 

Selfie or pro-photographer? You decide! Both options are great for making memories. But we recommend taking your own photo, since that’s free!

Plus, you can window shop at the Harry Potter shop right next door that’s bursting with magic-themed treats, robes, and more fantastical goodies than you can shake a magic wand at. 

Watch Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace

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Location: London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 303 123 7300

Website

Let’s set the scene: Buckingham Palace provides the grand backdrop, those iconic guards stand tall in their bright red uniforms (and yes, those fuzzy hats!), and a marching band fills the air with a mix of traditional tunes and maybe even a surprise pop hit.

This is like a real-life history lesson that’s actually exciting. Your kids will be hooked on the pomp and circumstance, and you might even find yourself secretly learning something new too. 

Here’s a pro tip: arrive early to snag a good viewing spot along The Mall or near the palace gates. This show is popular, so snag those “front-row” seats without the hefty ticket price. And hey, a quick online schedule check beforehand will save any last-minute royal disappointment.

Have fun at the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground

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Location: Kensington Gardens, Broad Walk, London W2 4RU, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 300 061 2001

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 5:45 PM

Website

Believe it or not, there’s an epic adventure waiting for you and your little explorers within Kensington Gardens. Say hello to the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, a Peter Pan-inspired wonderland begging to be conquered by pint-sized pirates and curious adventurers.

And here’s what makes this playground extra special: it’s designed for everyone!  Kids of all abilities can play side-by-side, sharing in the joy of discovery and proving that fun has no limits.

Note that this place can get crowded, especially on sunny days. Arrive early to claim a prime spot near the pirate ship and avoid any squabbles over who gets to be captain!

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