Five free things to do for the whole family in London
Thanks to travel supermarket.com for this excellent guest post.
As the long school summer holidays approach, parents will be planning activities to keep their children occupied during the six- or eight-week break and perhaps wondering how they will manage the expense of doing so for such a long period.
With numerous free attractions in the capital, London is an ideal destination for a reasonably cheap day out, while accommodation in London ranges from budget to luxury hotels. Here are some ideas for entertaining the kids for less than £10.
One of London’s most popular destinations and fun for all the family is the Natural History Museum in South Kensington and best of all admission is free.
The magnificent Romanesque palazzo-style building is home to the most fabulous exhibits, from full-size dinosaur skeletons to an extraordinary display of stuffed miniature birds.
In the basement kids have an opportunity to get hands on with exhibits, with opportunities to touch and feel and interactively investigate real specimens of everything from fossils to feathers and shells to skulls.
You can take an escalator through the Earth’s core, experience the tremors felt in the Japanese earthquake of 1995 and find out what happens above and below ground when a volcano erupts. You’ll need more than a day to do this museum justice and you will want to return.
Right next door you will find another children’s wonderland at the Science Museum. Also free to enter, the Science Museum celebrates the wonders of technology. The Energy Hall proudly displays impressive 18th-century steam engines and locomotives, including Stephenson’s original Rocket.
Kids can explore space and see the Apollo 10 command module in which three astronauts travelled around the moon in 1969 in advance of the Apollo 11 landing.
Under-fives will love The Garden, an interactive gallery created especially for the youngest of visitors, with construction, water, light and sound play activities which will delight and thrill.
Guaranteed to keep even the most hard-to-please toddler busy for hours, The Garden encourages children to explore floating and sinking, shadows and reflection, music and building.
Photo Credit: LedLon89
Arguably one of the most interesting museums in London for kids and also completely free of charge, is the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth, SE1. Built as a lunatic asylum in 1814, the building was the original Bedlam, or Bethlehem Royal Hospital, until it was taken over in 1930 to become a museum.
The large exhibits gallery houses some of the twentieth century’s most important weapons and vehicles, including guns, tanks, aircraft and artillery. One of the highlights is a Spitfire that actually saw action in the Battle of Britain.
The galleries tell the stories of both world wars and help visitors understand what life was like for those who lived through them and for those who sadly did not survive.
For some fresh air and live animals, you can get close to nature at the Hackney City Farm. Lovers of calves, donkeys, goats and sheep will feel right at home with this charming taste of rural farm life in the heart of the city. A self-guided tour leaflet costs only £1 and includes information and children’s activities.
Families with older kids seeking something a little more active might enjoy a walk along the Thames River Path, or at least some of it. Stretching some 36 miles, the signposted walk starts at the Thames Barrier in Greenwich and goes all the way to the Historic Hampton Court Palace and even beyond to the Cotswolds.
The River Thames is the heart of London and a walk along its banks encompasses some of its most famous sights, crossing the mighty river in places due to right-of-way issues. With examples of every waterborne activity along the way as well as marshland, wildlife and cityscapes, this is a fabulous and extremely cost-effective way of seeing London in all its glory.
Whether you’re hiring a car in the UK and passing through the capital or staying in London this summer there are plenty of activities to suit the whole family in the city that won’t break the bank