Summer in the City. Family Days Out for FREE or less than £5

It’s that time of year again. The kids have broken up for the summer and the activity planning is in full swing!

We are away for three weeks of the summer break but, rest assured, what’s left of the summer holiday will be spent exploring the best that London has to offer for families and young children.

The thing about the summer holidays is that they cost an absolute fortune! Holidays, trips, days out…it soon adds up. This is my bumper guide to London on the cheap! A selection of fun and fabulous family adventures for free…or less than £5! 

We have been to all of these places and they come highly recommended by a four and six-year-old. Try them out and let me know how you get on.

MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

We are so lucky that the big museums and galleries in London are free. The downside is that they’re usually packed! Go early or go late. Be prepared for crowds. Take a picnic and eat earlier or later to avoid the lunchtime rush. Plan your visit before you go and prioritise what you want to see and do. 

Lots of the big museums are in walking distance of a park or some outdoor space. When the museum or gallery gets a bit too much, retreat to an outdoor spot and find your calm!

Greenwich Park and the Maritime Museum, Greenwich – FREE https://www.rmg.co.uk/National-maritime-museum. There is so much to do in Greenwich. Pack a picnic and make a day of it. Lots of outdoor space for scooting and cycling, parkland to play in and tress to climb. The Maritime Museum is really exciting for kids – interactive and interesting, there are lots of play opportunities.

The Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington – FREE https://www.vam.ac.uk/info/families. Check out the link for the range of free family activities on offer. Eat your packed lunch in the garden as you watch the littluns paddle in the water!

Science Museum, South Kensington – FREE https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/moon-mice-workshop. The Science Museum and the V&A are a ten-minute walk away from Kensington Gardens- https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/kensington-gardens

The British Museum- FREE https://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/events_calendar/family_events.aspx. The British Museum is a ten-minute walk away from Coram’s Fields- https://www.coramsfields.org

The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square – FREE https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/events/families

The National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square – FREE https://www.npg.org.uk/learning/families/calendar.php. The National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery are neighbours so you can visit both easily. Excellent activities for aspiring artists and kids who like to draw, colour, make a mess…

Royal Academy of ArtFREE. https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibitions-and-events?audiences=families

Horniman Museum and Gardens – FREE – https://www.horniman.ac.uk

Discover Children’s Story Centre, Stratford – £6.50. https://www.discover.org.uk.

PARKS

On a sunny day (or a dry day at least) a park is a great option for kids. We pack a picnic, fill up our water bottles and gather bikes, scooters, balls, frisbees…all the accoutrements…and head off to make the most of being outside in warm weather. These parks are some of our favourites…

Coram’s Fields playground- FREE- https://www.coramsfields.org. My first impression of Coram’s Fields was that it was a bit concrete and ugly, but it grew on me. It is a big space with play equipment, animals, sports, picnic areas – it’s actually a really good space – and it’s safe! It is totally kid-friendly and adults are only allowed in with accompanying kids!

Crystal Palace Park- FREEhttps://crystalpalacepark.org.uk. A must for dinosaur hunters – check out my previous blog

Battersea Park- FREEhttps://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/batterseapark

Dulwich Park- FREEhttps://dulwichparkfriends.org.uk

Brockwell Park- FREEhttps://www.friendsofbrockwellpark.org

Victoria Park- FREEhttps://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgnl/leisure_and_culture/parks_and_open_spaces/victoria_park/victoria_park.aspx

PARKS WITH WATER PLAY

Brockwell park, Herne Hill–has a lido, a paddling pool and a miniature railway (charge for the lido. Small charge for the miniature railway) https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/places/brockwell-park.

Kensington Memorial ParkNorth Kensington- FREEhttps://www.rbkc.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/parks/kensington-memorial-park. Read more about our favourite water parks here.

Wimbledon Park, Wimbledon – FREEhttps://www.merton.gov.uk/leisure-recreation-and-culture/parks-and-open-spaces/parks-and-recreation-grounds/wimbledon/wimbledon-park

Vine Road Recreation ground, Barnes – FREEhttps://www.richmond.gov.uk/services/parks_and_open_spaces/find_a_park/vine_road_recreation_ground

Dukes Meadows Park, Chiswick – FREEhttp://www.dukesmeadowspark.com

CINEMA

A good (and cheap) option for a rainy day is the Kids Club at your local cinema. Saturday morning movies for £2-£3 is a total bargain! Check out… https://www.picturehouses.com/cinema/Clapham_Picturehouse/Whats_On?filter=Kids%27%20Clubfor films, dates and prices. 

ANIMALS

Battersea Park Children’s Zoo- £9.95/£7.95https://www.batterseaparkzoo.co.uk

Not under £5 – but worth it! Especially if you make it part of a free day out at Battersea Park

Vauxhall City Farm – suggested donation £3https://www.vauxhallcityfarm.org

Deen City Farm- donationhttps://www.deencityfarm.co.uk. Walk to Deen City Farm from Morden Hall Park

Hackney City Farm – FREE- https://hackneycityfarm.co.uk

Mudchute Farm- FREE-https://www.mudchute.org

Woodlands Farm Trust- FREEhttps://www.thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org/individuals.html

OUTDOOR PLAY

Oasis Play Adventure Playground, Stockwell – FREEhttps://oasisplay.org.uk/come-and-play/

FREE – Lots of ideas for family adventures and outdoor play on the Woodland Trustwebsite; find woodland near you and get outside – https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/get-involved/children-and-families/

FREE – Banstead woods.Follow the Narnia trailthrough ancient woodland and find the carved characters from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. http://www.reigate-banstead.gov.uk/news/article/141/the_witch_joins_the_lion_and_the_wardrobe_at_magical_narnia_trail

Complete the Stick Man trailat the Woodlands Farm Trust and make your own Stick Man. https://www.thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org/TheStickManTrails.html– £2.50

SIGHTSEEING

The Sky Garden – FREE (book in advance)https://skygarden.london/booking. Why pay for the Shard when you can book a free visit to the Sky Garden?

Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace – FREE. https://changing-guard.com/dates-buckingham-palace.html. The Changing of the Guard is at 11am (check dates on the website) so get there a bit earlier to get a good spot. Buckingham Palace is a 15-minute walk to Trafalgar Square, so you can watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony then pop along for the family events at the National Gallery and/or the National Portrait Gallery.

FREE SPORT

Tennis for Free, Morden- FREE. https://tennisinthehood.co.uk. They have other spots around London, use the link to see if free lessons are running near you.

Lastly, another way to get excellent value for money is with a National Trust or English Heritage membership. We use ours all of the time and, at around £9 per month for a family, it’s cheap as chips! We also have Merlin passes (another big money saver) and membership to Kew Gardens.

Whatever you do this summer…enjoy!

Amy x

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