The Free and Fun Things To Do In London with Kids

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 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 queue to get in can get a little long, but does move fast.
The entrance hall.
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.

IMG_1570

Zoë and Chad being T-Rex
Zoë and Chad being T-Rex
Zoë seriously loved this robotic T-Rex, what a brave girl!
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, but it does cost to rent a chair to sit in.
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
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.
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.

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Elizabeth Tower & Big Ben
Elizabeth Tower & Big Ben
Walking around the House of Parliament area.
Walking around the House of Parliament area.
Houses of Parliament
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
Buckingham Palace Gates
The roadway to Buckingham Palace.
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!

  35 comments for “The Free and Fun Things To Do In London with Kids

  1. The Vanilla Housewife
    July 4, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I’d love to see The Natural History Museum, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace someday! But I think it will cost me my husband and 2 kids plus and arm and leg to get there! LOL

    • andthreetogo
      July 5, 2014 at 8:52 am

      It may be cheaper to fly in the winter… But then you would probably freeze… It was cold in the summer. 🙂 haha

  2. joylovestravel
    July 5, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Love all these places! We have spent our fair share of time with those dinosaurs too. People think London is expensive (it is) but just goes to show you can do so much for free with kids.

    • andthreetogo
      July 5, 2014 at 8:54 am

      That is one of the reasons I love traveling with my daughter, I would have never seen all these wonderful things if I didn’t have her with me. 🙂 I wouldn’t have made the effort.

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  4. Sue Slaght
    July 5, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I was very disappointed to find out that the Piccadily circus was a roundabout. Almost as disappointed as finding out London Bridge was in Arizona. 🙂 Love the spots you have high lighted here.

    • andthreetogo
      July 5, 2014 at 11:07 am

      I am glad I wasn’t the only one confused by the term circus 🙂

  5. freebutfun
    July 5, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Great highlights! All of those would be good both with or without children too! And thanks for clarifying the circus thing, I always thought there had once upon a time been a circus… 😀

    • andthreetogo
      July 5, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      Thanks! I have to say I am glad there wasn’t any clowns there at least. 🙂 I would have had to run away. Haha

  6. Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
    July 5, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks for this list (I’ve pinned it, in case). There are definitely lots of very expensive things to do in London, but also a lot of freebies.

    And yeah – definitely the tube or the buses – you can get anywhere with that pass.

    The black cabs tend to be pretty expensive. Mini cabs can be better although it depends on the driver and the negotiations you make up front. Public transport is going to beat both options any day.

    • andthreetogo
      July 7, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      I don’t know why but busses always are so daunting to me… Until I finally use them, then I love them haha. 🙂

      • Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
        July 7, 2014 at 6:48 pm

        No, buses are definitely harder. Two reasons (my personal analysis): the stops aren’t clearly marked and there’s no separation of ticketing and navigating.

        On the train you tap through the ticket gate, then you can scratch your head over the map to your heart’s content, then your stop is clearly announced as the doors swing open and you can do it all in reverse. On the bus you have to watch out for your stop, ding the bell well in advance, then jump off as you tap your ticket and double-check you’re definitely in the right place. Stressful. That’s before you add “herding kids” or “manoeuvring strollers”.

        • andthreetogo
          July 7, 2014 at 7:07 pm

          You hit the nail on the head my friend 🙂

          • Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
            July 7, 2014 at 8:25 pm

            Once you’ve got the buses down you can really puff your chest out a bit and say you’ve “arrived” (in the hoity-toity non-literal sense of the word).

  7. thankfultravelers
    July 5, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Great article! I love the way you describe the sights! One idea I’ve been reading about and it sounds worth the cost is the Heritage Pass . ( this may be the name for Ireland sites but London has one as well. We purchased one when we went to France and it saved us a great deal of $$ and we also say many superb things we might not have seen if we had to pay, or pay full price. I heartily checking for this type of pass anywhere one travels.
    Love hearing of your adventures! Makes me want to head to London!

    • andthreetogo
      July 6, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Thanks mom! I have not heard of the heritage pass before… I will research it and mention it! Wish you would have been there when we were there!:)

  8. thehomeschoolingdoctor
    July 7, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Great info! I liked learning about Piccadilly “Circus.” We always like learning how to get around in a new place, so we would have fun with their “subway” system. Hope you all have a great week!

    • andthreetogo
      July 7, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      Thanks! I hope someday to read about your time in London, I’m sure it would be fun to read!

      • thehomeschoolingdoctor
        July 7, 2014 at 9:17 pm

        That would be great to be traveling that far again!

  9. Less to More
    July 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    These are some of the places I visited. I agree…. the Underground is the way to get around. I’ve used other subway systems in other cities and countries, and I was impressed at what London has in place.

    • andthreetogo
      July 8, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      It was so easy! 🙂

  10. thebritishberliner
    July 9, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    All excellent tips. I’d add the Science Museum too and any art gallery as they also have activities for children to do, find or discover. The Science Museum is great with kids. Lots of children running around and screaming! It’s next door to the Natural History Museum.
    In fact, just walking around London is amazing for children. The last time I was there with family, I took my son to Chinatown (eyes wide open at the hanging chickens with heads on), the East End (more eyes open at the colourful markets), and Camden Lock (eyes even wider at the bronze horses, and hippy clothes). All experiences totally for free LOL!

    • andthreetogo
      July 9, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Excellent suggestions! Chad took z to the science museum but they were only there for about a half hour before z needed a long nap. 🙂 I guess it was a lot of fun though.

  11. Christy @ kidsrsimple.com
    July 10, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Great free but fun things to do in London! I love London and we went to Cambridge for my brother’s graduation. You should go there as this is a University town and it is peaceful and beautiful. I didn’t read about the London Bridge (Tower Bridge), but I am sure you went there. It’s free and good place to bring Z there and sing the London Bridge song 🙂

    • andthreetogo
      July 11, 2014 at 9:11 am

      We only drive over the tower bridge, I definitely want to walk across it next time (and go in the London dungeons when z is much older). Good ideas! Thanks!

  12. LKD
    July 18, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I LOVE following other people’s adventures and this blog is a great find! We went to London for one day only and I dragged my poor husband to as many places as possible — we ate while walking! But that was before we had our child. It is inspiring to see people travel with a young child! When our daughter is 4, we are planning to take her to Europe to see Paris and London and return to the two places we have been together. For now, we read about them in storybooks! “Their changing guards at Buckingham Palace/Christopher Robin went down with Alice.”
    Thanks for the lovely travelogue! Will check back in soon!

    • andthreetogo
      July 18, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      I am so glad you stopped by and commented! London was fabulous. I hope to go there again. It’s actually a really easy city to take little ones /)

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  14. citramanica
    August 23, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Great article! We are going to London next week and are looking for ideas on where to go and what to do with kids that won’t break the bank….

    • andthreetogo
      August 23, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      Thank you! I hope you find it helpful! For up to date stuff make sure to check out http://fourkidsonemomtravel.com. She updates it all the time with posts about what is happening in the city (such as a tube strike coming up). Have a great trip! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 🙂

      • citramanica
        August 23, 2014 at 9:07 pm

        Thanks for the link! Going to check it out soon… Do you by any chance know someone who’s blogging from Manchester by the way? Thank you 🙂

        • andthreetogo
          August 23, 2014 at 9:27 pm

          I don’t think so. I will keep my eyes open and let you know if I do. 🙂

          • citramanica
            August 23, 2014 at 9:31 pm

            Thank you 🙂

        • andthreetogo
          August 27, 2014 at 8:08 am

          I found a lady who blogs about fashion and such, but she is in Manchester. She may be able to answer some questions for you http://www.smocktofrock.co.uk . I hope she can help. 🙂

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