Having kids is expensive, and most of us don’t have an unlimited entertainment fund. Fortunately, whatever your children’s ages or interests, London has plenty of free family activities. These are my favorite things to do with kids that will cost you nothing at all.
1. Meet a roaring T-Rex and feel the ground shake beneath your feet on the earthquake simulator at the Natural History Museum. Older children can use microscopes to examine specimens at the Investigate science centre.
2. See what life was like for the poor and destitute children of London’s East End during the late 1800s at the Ragged School Museum. Experience a strict lesson in the reconstructed Victorian classroom, and learn more about how these children found housing, education and work.
3. Learn about Britain’s exciting maritime history at the National Maritime Museum, which is part of Royal Museums Greenwich. Under-sevens can stoke the boiler of a steamship in the AHOY! Children’s gallery, while older children can shoot down a pirate ship at All Hands.
4. Be wowed by the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies at the British Museum. Kids can bring history to life at the Digital Discovery Centre, or follow an activity trail for a fascinating journey through ancient Greece and other key moments in history.
5. Walk through the streets of Victorian London at the Museum of London.
6. Goggle space rockets and giant steam engines at the Science Museum. Youngsters can get hands-on in multi-sensory areas, including The Garden (for kids aged three to six) and Pattern Pod (for under-eights).
7. Explore the V&A Museum of Childhood, which houses the UK’s national collection of childhood objects. Wander through the museums’s collection of teddy bears and dolls’ houses, or take part in daily activities, including storytelling and crafting.
8. Find out more about the history of the river Thames at the Museum of London Docklands. Step into Sailortown, a reconstruction of 19th-century London. Let under-eights loose in the Mudlarks soft play area.
9. Take older kids to see a wonderfully weird collection of historical objects at the Wellcome Collection, including Napoleon’s toothbrush and Darwin’s walking stick.