Last Updated on January 23, 2024

From fascinating museums to fun filled playgrounds, cute animals to impressive landmarks, underground tunnels to climbing high – there are so many free things to do in London. You won’t need to spend any money in this amazing city to have a day out to remember.

Many attractions require you to book a ticket in advance even though they are free. Check the website to make sure the details are up to date before you go!

Table of Contents

Experience an Immersive Light Show at Outernet

Outernet is a digital entertainment venue which located in the West End and the most visited attraction in London. Visitors can enjoy a variety of interactive, immersive light shows which are free. No booking is required, just walk in.

One of the most popular is the butterfly trail. Check out the Outernet app before you go to make sure the show you want is showing and the time to get there.

Admire London’s Skyline from the Sky Garden

For a free acitivity with a wow factor, climb to the top of The Sky Garden. The view is simply incredible! The Sky Garden is an indoor garden on the top of a sky scraper (35 floors up). There is a restaurant at the top for delicious food and drinks.

For guarenteed entry book a free ticket before you go. It gets booked up quickly so try and book a couple of weeks in advance.

Science Museum

There's lots of free displays at the Science Museum.  Visit the flight gallery which it's many interactive exhibits. Step into the virtual world of the Atmosphere Gallery with it's own oceans and lands. Learn how technology will help us remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in Our Future Planet Gallery.

Very young kids (aged between 3 and 5) will love the interactive activities in The Garden in the Basement which are free. There's are also many fun galleries and exhbitions that have an extra charge. Paid galleries worth checking out include Wonderlab  which is aimed at 7 to 14 year olds and Power up which is an interactive, hands-on gaming experience

Book a free timed entry ticket before you go. Find our more at the Science Museum

See the Dinosaurs at the National History Museum

You’ll find the Natural History Museum right nextdoor to the science museum. Don’t miss the Earth Hall which features the earthquake simulator and uses geology to tell the story of the Earth. The dinosaur section is also one not to be missed. It includes part of one of the first T-Rexes unearthed, as well as a triceratops skull.

Find out more at the Natural History Museum

Be Inspired by the Creativity at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Another free museum next to National History Museum is the Victoria and Albert Museum. It's a huge museum with collections on architecture, fashion, textiles, photography, jewellery, glass, ceramics, theatre and so much more. There are over 2.3 million exhibits. You can't get round it in one day, so pick the ones you're interested in and focus on those

Highlights include the Great Bed of Ware which is a 3 metre wide four poster bed referenced in many plays including Shakespeare's twelfth night.

It's also worth checking out if they're any special exhibitions on, although these sometimes have a cost. At the time of writing, the museum is hosting  "Diva" which celebrates the power of iconic performers

 

 

Play at Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens


Photo by Mark Ahsmann 

Located next to Kensington Palace, Diana Memorial Playground is a great place to take children.

Dig in the sandpit underneath the huge pirate ship. Follow the sensory trail and enjoy the slides, bridges and tee pees. There’s plenty of seating for grown ups who can relax while their kids play.

Find out more at Diana Memorial Playground

Visit the Bank of England Museum

This fab little museum has interactive displays and question sheets for kids. Visitors can hold a gold bar and children can enjoy completing the money jigsaws. Don’t forget to take a selfie in front of the Bank of England which appeared in the movie Mary Poppins Returns.

Find out more at the Bank of England museum

See the Changing of the Guard

The Queen’s Life Guard change daily on Horse Guards Parade at 11:00 Monday to Saturday and at 10:00 on Sunday’s. There is also a Dismount Parade on the forecourt of Horse Guards at 16:00. Many people wait to watch the changing of the guard outside Buckingham Palace. However, there are several other viewpoints to watch the ceremony. Find out the best places to watch the Changing of The Guard.

Stroll through St James’s Park


St James’s Park London

St James’s Park is situated in front of Buckingham Palace and is described as the most Royal as the Royal Parks. Take a walk through from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square and stop off at duck island in St James’ Park. Duck island is a lake full of ducks, swans (including black swans), some geese and pelicans! See the pelicans being fed at 2.30pm each day. For kids there’s also a playground with sandpit, swings, slide and more.

Find out more at St James’s Park

See the Street Performers along the Southbank

A stroll along the Southbank is a great to experience the fun and hustle and bustle of the city. It stretches between Lambeth Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge on the south side of the River Thames. The street performers include human statues and  magicians. They normally perform just a short walk down from the Millennium Eye.

Visit the Tate Modern

Entry to the Tate Modern is free. It displays contemporary and modern art from around the world. On top floor of the Blavatnik building, step out onto the terrace for amazing views of London. There are often events and exhibitions that you need to book for in advance on the website.

Find out more at the Tate Modern

Enjoy the Views from Greenwich Park

Greenwich park has lots of space to picnic and run around, a great playground, flower gardens and a boating lake. Head for the top of the hill to see magnificent views of the park, the River Thames and Canary Wharf.

Find out more at Greenwich Park

Voyage into history at the National Maritime Museum.

The National Maritime Museum is at the bottom of Greenwich Park. One of the top things to see is the jacket Nelson was wearing when he was shot and killed at the Battle of Trafalgar.

For kids, there’s a children’s gallery aimed at under 7s that’s free during the week in term time but has a small charge at weekends and school holidays. There’s also activities for families and children in school holidays.

Find out more at The National Maritime Museum.

Spot the Wildlife at Holland Park

Holland Park is a small but pretty park in Central London, located near Kensington High Street.  There are squirrels, rabbits, foxes and resident peacocks that roam the park so keep your eyes open. The squirrels are tame and come very close almost begging for food.

There is a wildlife pond to investigate, lots of different birds and  two species of bat. There’s woodland and open grassy areas, formal gardens and informal gardens. There is also a well maintained play area.

Fine out more at Holland Park

Discover if You Could Be A Solider at The National Army Museum

Learn about the history and current day activities of the Army at the National Army Museum. Don’t miss the soldier gallery with an immersive action theatre that shows you what life is like on the battlefield. Hear from the individuals who experienced it first-hand.

Kids can practise their army crawl underneath the Dingo truck in the solider gallery. Older kids will be interested in items from wars in the past including a saw used to amputate limbs at Waterloo and Florence Nightingale’s lamp. There is also a soft play for under 0 to 8s which has an extra charge (£6.25 per child at the time of writing).

Find out more at the National Army Museum

Take a Free Harry Potter Tour

If you’re a Harry Potter fan take a free guided Harry Potter walking tour or if you prefer to walk independently a free self guided Harry Potter walking tour

 

Pet the farm animals at Coram’s Fields

Coram’s fields is a seven acre open space in the Bloomsbury area of Central London which includes a playground, sand pit, animal corner and a cafe.

Find out more at Coram’s Fields

Marvel at the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Park is a 30 minute train journey out of central London from London Victoria. However, if you’re a dinosaur fan or based in South East London, Crystal Palace Park is well worth a visit for a day out. The highlight is the life sized dinosaurs but there’s also a free maze, a skate park, a free farm and a free museum which is open on Sundays,

Find out more at Crystal Palace Park and how to get there.

Climb Up Primrose Hill

Next to London Zoo, you’ll find Primrose Hill. Climb the 63 mete summit, take a picnic and see the views.

Find out more at Primrose Hill

Watch Tower Bridge Open

Tower Bridge opens about 800 times every year. Check on the website in advance to see what time the bridge will open and what vessel will be passing through.

Find the Tower Bridge Lift Times

Get a Selfie Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station

If you are a Harry Potter fan, don’t forget to take a selfie at platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station.

Visit Hamley’s Toy Store

Hamley’s Toy Store is located on Regent Street. There’s 7 floors of toys so it’s sure to entertain kids. There are often toy demonstrations going on as well.

Find out more at Hamley’s Toy Store

Walk under the River Thames

Walk under the River Thames in the Greenwich Foot tunnel. The tunnel links Greenwich to Island Gardens, Tower Hamlets.

Find out more at the Greenwich foot tunnel.

Visit Regents Park

Regents Park is just north of Central London and is the home to London Zoo. Some parts of the park back onto the zoo and you can even glimpse some of the animals. It is a large park, with a large lake home to ducks, geese and swans.  Like other London parks it is a good place to spot very tame squirrels.

Find out more at Regent’s Park

Picnic in Hyde Park

Hyde Park is a massive. There ’s a childen’s playground and lots of space for little ones to run around. Kids enjoy dipping their feet in Diana’s memorial fountain on a hot day. Take a picnic. Visit one of the many war memorials in the park. On a Sunday Morning, visit Speaker’s corner to see if there’s anybody taking the stand.

Find out more at Hyde park

See the Street Performers at Covent Garden

Explore the market and watch the human statues, magicians and comedians.

Find out more at Covent Garden

Take a Walk Around Battersea Park

Take a walk around another in London’s park on the south bank of the River Thames. See the peace pergola, fountains, lakes and the lovely views across the river.

Find out more at Battersea Park

Explore Camden Market

Mooch around and soak up the atmosphere of the fabulous Camden market. Look out for some of the amazing shop fronts.

Find out more at Camden market

Explore 2 million Years of History at the British Museum

With over 50 galleries you could spend the whole day here. See Egyptian sculpture, objects from the Roman Empire, the African galleries and lots more. Kids may like the Egyptian section with Egyptian mummies. There are often free events and workshops going on for kids too.

Find out more at the British Museum

Explore the Collections and See the Animals at the Horniman Museum

The Horniman Museum is located a little way out of the city centre in Forest Hill, South West London. You’ll need to take a train from the city centre to Forest Hill station to get there.  It’s a unique museum with exhibits exploring global cultures and natural wonders.

The most popular things to see include a female mummy, an overstuffed walrus and an extremely large tuba. Kids love the music room where they can try out instruments from around the world.  They also love running around the large gardens and fields and petting the animals which include goats and rabbits. There’s a small aquarium and butterfly house (a small charge applies). Under 5s can enjoy free story telling sessions on some days. There are often free family activities and events too!

Find out more at at Horniman Museum

Enjoy views of London from Parliament Hill

Climb 98 metres to the top of Parliament Hill for views of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Palace of Westminster, the Gherkin and the Shard

Find out more at Parliament Hill

Spot deer at Richmond Park

Situated in South West London, Richmond Park is the largest of London’s park. If you’re lucky you may spot a deer. Kids will love the playground at Petersham Gate.

Find out more at Richmond Park

See Over 100 Aircraft at the RAF Museum

The aircraft include early planes to the latest jets. Enjoy sound and light shows. There’s also special section for kids, with replica planes and helicopters.

Find out more at the RAF Museum

Learn about the impact of War at The Imperial War Museum

Interesting displays guide you through war stories from the First World War to the present day. They often have events aimed at families.

Find out more at Imperial War Museum

Get Up Close with the Animals at London’s City Farms

There are city farms all over London which are free to visit. Some ask for a donation. Here is a quick round up.

Vauxhall City Farm – Situated a short walk from Vauxhall underground. It’s a great place to meet farm animals. Sometimes you can feed them too.

Mudchute Farm – Located in the heart of East London, Mudchute Farm is free and great for kids. There are lots of farm animals including horses, goats, cows, rabbits, chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep and Ilamas.

Spitalfields City Farm has donkeys and goats. There’s also a vegetable, herb & wildflower gardens.

Hackney City Farm has some large pigs, goats and chickens.

Crystal Palace Park Farm in South East London. It offers something a bit out of the ordinary with its chinchillas, parakeets, snakes, and amphibians.

Step in the Granary Square Fountains, Kings Cross.

Granary Square is a traffic-free square The fountains change colour and have different squirt patterns. On a hot day, kids enjoy stepping into the fountains to keep cool.

Find out more at  Granary Square Fountains

Follow a Trail at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Set across 100 acres, there’s lots to explore at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. There are five trails you can follow, including an art trail and children’s trail.

Kids will enjoy the playgrounds and splashing in the fountains. A favourite is the Tumbling Bay play area with rock pools, sand pits, treehouses, wobbly bridge, slides and swings. The Pleasure Gardens area features climbing swings and a large sandpit.

Find out more at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Discover the trades of by-gone London at the Museum of London Docklands

Discover the reconstruction of 19th-century London called Sailortown. Under 5s will also like the Mudlarks play area

Find out more at the Museum of London Docklands

Experience Victorian Life at the Ragged School Museum

Find out what it was like for poor children living in London’s East End during the late 1800s.

Find out more at Ragged School Museum

Visit a London Library

There are public libraries all over London. Many hold free events for children including story time and singing.

Park Run at one of London’s Parks

There are junior park runs of 2k or 5K runs for older kids and adults.

Find out more at the park run website

Look at Strange Body Parts at The Hunterian Museum

The Hunterian Museum is the museum of Royal College of Surgeons. It’s full of strange body parts.  It features the anatomy and pathology collections of the eighteenth-century surgeon and anatomist John Hunter.

Find out more at the Hunterian Museum

Visit the National Gallery

The National Gallery is located in the heart of Trafalgar Square. See free exhibitions and paintings which include work from famous artisst such as Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gough. There are often activities on for kids during the school holidays. Check the website before you go.

Find out more at National Gallery

Walk Through British Art at Tate Britain

Explore artworks from 1545 to the present day at Tate Britain, Westminster. You can see many of the paintings for free, although there is an extra cost for some exhibitions. There are also family events such as story time.

Find out more at Tate Britain

Discover the collections at the Sir John Soane Museum

Sir John Soane was the eccentric architect of the Bank of England. There are a lot of interesting and quirky arti facts at the Joan Soane Museum which are jam-packed into a fairly small house. Although the museum may be a little dry for kids, there are often family craft and storytelling sessions. Check the website out to see what’s going on.

Find out more at Sir John Soane’s museum

See the Artwork at Queen’s House, Greenwich

The Queen’s House is the former royal residence of Queen Anne of Denmark. You will need a pre-booked ticket to enter but entry is free. Highlights include the iconic Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth 1. Make sure to gaze up at the hall ceiling at the museum as well.

There are activities aimed at kids and families with events taking place throughout the school holidays. Do the family trail and check out the family challenges on the website before you visit.

Find out more at Queen’s House, Greenwich

See the Laughing Cavalier at the Wallace Collection

The Wallace collection has paintings from the 15th to 19th century, with a particularly impressive collection of 18th century French artworks. There are family sessions which take place on weekends and school holidays. Kids may like the chain mail area, weaponry, and other strange gadgetry on show.

Find out more at the Wallace Collection

Find Roman Temple Ruins at the London Mithraeum

The London Mithraeum is a museum centred around the ruins of a Roman Temple. There are recently excavated Roman artefacts and contemporary art commissions as well. Although not specifically aimed at kids, children are provided with a trail to complete as you go round. There are events for families and kids during school holidays.

Find out more at London Mithraeum

Explore Domestic Life at the Museum of the Home

The Museum of the Home looks at our relationship with the home during the past 400 years. It covers how people make homes, relax in them, clean and maintain them and lots more.

There are plenty of interactive galleries including the Domestic Game Changers gallery. A fun interactive display where you can discover everyday items in the home which have transformed the ways we live in our homes. Enjoy the gardens too. Kids can enjoy a bug hunt, a picnic and smell the herbs.

Get Inspired at the Design Museum

The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum on contemporary design. The top floor has an exhibition on changing design including products many adults will remember such as a the Walkman and VCR. There are fun activities for kids which include booklets with tasks to complete.

Find out more at The Museum of the Home

Go Through the Time Tunnel at the Museum of Brands.

Go through the time tunnel and see the consumer culture of Victorian times. Discover the most memorable products throughout the ages on the memory trail.

Find out more at the Musuem of Brands

See the Microscopic Creatures at the Grant Museum of Zoology

The Grant Museum of Zoology is a small museum of natural history based at University College London. Look out for it’s Micrarium, a showcase for a collection of microscopic creatures captured between glass slides.

Find out more at the Grant Museum of Zoology

See the Wildlife at Camley Street Natural Park

Camley Street Natural Park is on the banks of Regent’s Canal in the heart of KIng’s Cross. It’s a two acre nature reserve which is run by the London Wildlife Trust. Here you can see birds, butterflies, amphibians and plant life right in the middle of the city.

Find out more at Camley Street Natural Park

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