There’s no denying it, London can be a very expensive place, food, hotels and tourist attractions all add up pretty quick. But if you know where to look there are loads of free things to do in London. One of my favourite things to do in the city is just walk, look at the famous architecture, soak in the atmosphere and people watch. Try exploring the many London parks, watching the street performers in Covent Garden or just riding on the tube but make sure you take time to visit at least a few of the following free attractions.
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Natural History Museum
Whilst there is a charge for some of the temporary exhibits most of the Natural History Museum is free to visit and full of wonder. The layout is set out in colour-coded zones, each having its own trail to be sure you don’t miss anything. The building itself is a must see but don’t miss the dinosaur exhibit, if you have a little thrill seeker with you, standing in front of the roaring T Rex will be well worth the trip.
Victoria and Albert Museum (V & A)
Again a few temporary exhibits will carry a small charges but there is free admission for all to the main museum. The V & A has plenty of hands on exhibits and also runs free drop in activities daily so check the website for activities. Don’t miss the Imagination Station to pick up the activity of the day designed to enhance your visit.
Marvel at the wonders of space or learn about the makings of the modern world with loads of hands on activities for all ages. Little kids will particularly enjoy The Garden where they can play with water, sound and building blocks and plenty more. Admission to the London Science Museum is free but if you want to visit the IMAX theatre, flight simulators or some special exhibits you will have to pay.
Kensington Roof Gardens
Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city 100 feet above Kensington High Street, the 1.5 acre gardens took two years to complete and even have a stream and flamingos in the woodland area! The Roof Gardens are often booked for private events so make sure you check availability before you visit.
The Wallace Collection
Take a trip back in time at the Wallace Collection where you can try on armour in the Conservation Gallery or just explore the many beautiful displays. Make sure you pick up a free trail at the information desk when you arrive to help you discover even more. They run a drop in art workshop on the first Sunday of the month and offer plenty of other family activities, be sure to check the website to plan your visit.
Diana Memorial Playground
If you want to burn off a little steam head to Kensington Gardens where you can play pirates on the huge wooden pirate ship set on its own beach, explore the sensory trail or just chill out in a teepee. The playground was inspired by the Peter Pan stories and when it gets really busy they operate a queue management system.
Full of colour and interesting shapes, the Tate galleries feel very welcoming to kids and there is no need to be quiet or worry about offending anyone on your way round. The Tate put on loads of activities for families and you can pick up a free artist designed activity from the information desk.
Imperial War Museum
Learn about societies experiences of war and conflict at the Imperial War Museum. It covers everything from the undercover world of espionage and covert operations to significant historical figures such as Winston Churchill. The museum offers plenty of drop in activities for families so stop off at the One Stop Shop when you arrive to check out what’s on.
For more tips on free things to do in London and some which are just great value. Check out this insiders guide to London with kids. And if you’re looking for a good value place to stay then I recommend heading off the main tourist hot spots. The Indigo Hotel at Tower Hill is a great option.
What are you favourite free things to do in London? Leave them in the comments below.