Not everything in London will cost you your first-born child, in fact many of the things that you can do are free. That’s right, FREE! On one of my recent posts about our time in England a fellow blogger gave me the great idea to write a post about what a family can do in London on the cheap. So here I am taking her idea, thank you Free But Fun! Please make sure to check out her blog, she has tons of activities to do with kids on the cheap in her hometown of Helsinki and many great craft projects that can be done in any home anywhere!
Before I start, I feel it’s important to tell you the cheapest way to get around in London is by the London Underground or the “Tube”. We had a rental car that we just ended up parking at our apartment the whole time we were in London due to the fact that parking is very hard to find and there is a congestion charge if you drive within the city limits at certain times and days. Taxi’s are everywhere, but we never took one, so I am unsure as to the prices of taking one. Anyways, back to the Tube, we would just buy a day pass for zones 1-6 and that would take us pretty much anywhere we wanted in London by the Tube or train, I believe they cost about £8 per adult (Z was free).
Now onto the free and fun things that we here at And Three To Go did in London!
(Make sure to read through until the end as I am going to give a list of all the links that I found helpful in our trip!).
1. The Natural History Museum
This was Zoë’s favorite part of our trip to London, so we actually went twice! I mean it’s free, might as well take advantage of the opportunity right?! The museum is open every day of the week from 10:00 until 17:50. The easiest way to get there is to take the Tube to the South Kensington Station and then it is a short walk from there.
The Natural History Museum in London. I have never seen a more beautifully built museum.
The queue to get in can get a little long, but does move fast.
The entrance hall.
We spent most of our time in the Dinosaur area of the museum, as Z fell in love with them. She especially loved the robotic Tyrannosaurus Rex that moved and roared at all the tourists. Strange kid, haha.
Zoë and Chad being T-Rex
Zoë seriously loved this robotic T-Rex, what a brave girl!
There are many other exhibits to see at the Natural History Museum though, and most of them are free to enjoy. There are some areas that they do charge admission for, such as right now there is a Mammoth Exhibition among with a couple other temporary exhibits. The admission charge for those ranges by the person’s age, the exhibits that you want to see and so on. Check out their website for the most up to date information on that.
We meandered through the free exhibits for some time. All the areas were very stroller friendly, but they do have a coat check area where you can also check your stroller if you don’t feel you need it. The coat check is also free! I love it.
I would definitely recommend planning at least a couple of hours at The Natural History Museum during your trip to London. It is a must see.
1. Green Park and Hyde Park
The parks in London are beautifully kept up and are wonderful places to let your young ones run around. We enjoyed both Green Park and Hyde Park during our few days in London. Both of them are well-organized and offer much for kids and adults alike. There are playground area’s for children, but we never made it to them, Zoë was perfectly content running around and chasing the pigeons and looking at the ducks and squirrels. I especially liked all the little kiosks that sold ice cream, like the Mr. Whippy’s I wrote about in one of my other posts… yummy. The ice cream wasn’t free, but it was worth the £2 in my opinion. Hooray for parks (and whipped ice cream)!
The parks are free to enjoy, but it does cost to rent a chair to sit in.
3. Piccadilly Circus
This area is a tourist trap, but it does offer a lot of picture opportunities. In fact it reminded me a lot of San Francisco’s touristy area or the pictures I have seen of New York City’s Times Square. There was a Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not Museum, a plethora of chain restaurants, and the famous Piccadilly Circus Fountain that is compulsory to take a picture of when visiting London (right?). There are also many of the theaters where you can see plays, such as “The Lion King” and such.
Zoë with (a statue of) the tallest man in the world, in front of the “Ripleys Believe It Or Not” Museum in PIcadilly Circus
The fountain in Piccadilly Circus… It was a bit foggy obviously.
On a side note, if you choose to take a hop-on-hop-off bus, most of them start in this area, you can actually buy the tickets in the Underground station at the information desk. I know, those are not free, but I felt it was worth mentioning.
Take the Tube to the Piccadilly Circus stop and you are there.
Also, another side note… Did you know that Circus actually is used for the word Circle, here I was expecting a show and all I got was a round about. Haha.
4. Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey
Okay, we did not enter any of these buildings, but we did take many pictures of the outside of them.If you want to enter these buildings, it is not free, in fact it is quite expensive. We were content to marvel at the grandeur in the details that were painstakingly included on the outside each of these monuments of London history. In the area, there were also many statues of noteworthy politicians from all over the world, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, and Winston Churchill among others. You can easily walk around here for a couple of hours and see everything.
To get here take the Tube to St. James Park or Westminster stop.
Elizabeth Tower & Big Ben
Walking around the House of Parliament area.
Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower
5. Buckingham Palace
Again, we only saw the outside of the Palace, as the tours were not happening during the time of year we were there, but even the outside was a great opportunity for pictures. It has a large road and walkway to it that is blocked off from traffic so your children can run free and use some of their endless energy. Buckingham Palace is where you can see the changing of the guard at 11:30 (get there very early for a good spot)… we did not make it to that, but apparently it’s fun to watch.
Also, there is a little gift shop around the side that has all sorts of interesting monarchy things for sale… I have never seen so many postcards of the royal family anywhere else! Or so many Welsh Corgi stuffed dogs (apparently the Queen has this type of pup). I still kick myself for not buying a postcard of the royal family… oh well, hindsight I guess.
Buckingham Palace Gates
The roadway to Buckingham Palace.
These are just the highlights of the free things that we were able to do in London. I would very much suggest you check out the links I included below for more fun and free things to do in London. They were incredibly helpful to us.
Thank you again Free But Fun for the idea for today’s post! And thank you to everyone else for reading and following along on our adventures! If you would like to see more of us, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
My list of helpful links for London:
Five Best Days Out with Kids in London by Four Kids, One Mom Travel London
Visiting London With Kids by Bubs on the Move
London With Kids by Act of Traveling
5 Things To Do With Kids in London by Escape Artists
Where To Take a Toddler in London by Blog London
Three Days in London With Kids by Fathom
Six Things To Do in London with a Toddler by St. Ermins Hotel Blog
10 Things to Do in London With Kids- 5 Of Them Free! by Travel With Bender
A Walk in London or Wrestling at the Changing of the Guards by Travel Tales of Life
If there are any other links that you think would be good to add to this list, please leave them in the comments and I will add them!