Thinking of visiting London with the family, this half term, for a day out and worried about how much it will cost? We have had lots of family days out, finding things to do in London on a budget and so I am sharing with you some of our favourite places, some still on our list, of places to visit and things to do. All of these activities are either free or a minimal cost leaving you more pennies for that ice cream in the sun.
South Bank – Free
Visit Southbank for the atmosphere, here you can watch and join in with the skateboarders at the skate park and marvel at the street entertainers. Look at places like Groupon for deals on many of the attractions within easy reach of here. Check out what we got up to on a family day out, with a trip on a boat down the Thames, the London Eye and Shrek’s Adventure. You can also enjoy sometimes enjoy free activities for the kids at the Southbank Centre.
Science Museum – Free
You can spend hours in this place, it’s huge and caters for all ages. The kids love getting hands on and despite being a couple of times we still haven’t managed to get around it all!
Convent Garden- Free
Watch the street entertainers in Covent Garden, where opera singers, human statues and magicians wow the crowds. With lots of little shops and cafes to stop and have a look at too.
Visit Platform 9 3/4 – Free
Push a trolley through to Harry Potter’s magical world at the wall marked Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross. There might be a queue but all Harry Potter fans will love this.
Changing of the Guard – Free
Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. The ceremony is set to music and my kids were fascinated with what was going on.
Ride on the top deck of a double decker – £1.50 for adults; children under 11 are free
Cheaper than a tourist bus, hop on a normal bus. The No11 is a good route on which you will be able to see the Houses of Parliament, Nelson’s Column, Westminster Abbey, Horse Guards Parade and St Paul’s Cathedral in about an hour.
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – Free
Explore the place of the London 2012 Olympics then visit Tumbling Bay. A fab playground with rock pools, sand pits and even tree houses. There is a cafe to pick up coffees and treats and, if it’s hot, you can splash about in the fountains to cool off.
The Tate Modern – Free
Have an art lover, then check out the many free workshops run for kids at the Tate Modern.
Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground -Free
A gated playground with security letting people in and out means you can relax a bit more with the kids here. The boys love the enormous pirate ship and huge sandpit, beach surrounding it. But there are also teepees, swings and plenty of places to sit.
Greenwich – from £5 (under 5’s free)
Visit the home of Greenwich Meantime where you can see the Royal Observatory, the Astronomer Royal’s house and stand on the Meridian Line.
There are lots of other free and paid things for children to see and do in Greenwich. as an alternative to the tube you can go by boat from Westminster Pier and make a whole day of it (£8.25 child return; £16.50 adult return; thamesriverservices.co.uk).
Crystal Palace dinosaurs -Free
Meet life-size dinosaurs, peeking over trees, built by the Victorians in Crystal Palace Park, where you’ll also find a children’s farm, maze and playground.
Duke’s Meadows- Free
A Thames side park with a water play, sand pit/beach, seaside-type promenade, bandstand and adventure playground. Every Sunday, between 10am-2pm, there is a Food Market held next door in the farmyard of Grove Park Farm House farmyard.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post