It’s already August, and it’s safe to say that our list of things to do is slowly diminishing. (There’s only so much a bucket and spade can do!). However, here at Inside London, we have decided to compile a list of 5 things to do with your kids this summer to help you out. And the best thing is, it’s all free!
1.Science Museum (Kensington and Chelsea). Open from 10am-6pm. Sometimes overlooked, the Science Museum is one of the best museums to visit with children! There are many interactive exhibits and activities suitable for families with children of most age groups.
- Under 5’s can enjoy ‘The Garden’, an interactive gallery that allows them to explore science through play or the ‘Pattern Pod’ to name a few.
- 6-16-year-olds can step into object galleries that encourage thinking and enlighten young minds to how science makes the world go round. The science museum is also operating a range of free shows and workshops throughout the summer holidays that are great to utilise!
- Entry to the museum is free, and many objects and interactive galleries also have no entry fee. Some free shows are on at scheduled times, so it is worth planning if you want to take part in these.
- It is also worth noting that some interactive galleries are available on a ‘Booking’ basis yet do cost an additional fee. However, there is plenty to do that is free!
- The nearest tube station is South Kensington (5-minute walk from the museum) or Gloucester Road (15-minute walk).
2. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (Newham). Created for the London 2012 Olympic Games, Queen Elizabeth Park is a perfect place to let your little ones go wild. The park has two playgrounds; the Tumbling Bay Playground and the Pleasure Gardens play area, which is both free to the public. Tumbling Bay is located in the north of the park and has many interactive features such as rock pools and treehouses alongside traditional playground activities like swings. Just next to the playground is also a cafe which is convenient for food and drink throughout the day (if you don’t bring any packed lunch!). Pleasure Gardens is a vast space on the south side of the park and features large climbing walls and an interactive waterworks fountain, perfect for the warmer summer days! We’d say that this park is excellent for children of all ages to enjoy!
- The park is open 24-7, and its nearest tube stations are;
- Stratford Station (Step-free), Stratford International station (Step Free) and Hackney Wick. There is between a 15-20 minute walk from both Stratford stations to get to Tumbling Bay.
- There are many docking stations for Santander bikes in the park. You can rent these bikes for a small fee and can use them around the whole city.
3. Table Tennis at Marble Arch (City of Westminster). Put your competitive pants on and enjoy a game of table tennis with great views of one of London’s most famous monuments! It was a hidden find for us, as last week we were in Central and quite literally stumbled across some Table Tennis tables at Marble Arch, bats and all! After some digging, we discovered that Marble Arch and Sing London recently teamed up to make this happen (not an ad!). It is free to play, and all you need to have is an opponent! We’d suggest you bring along some bats and a ball just in case and access to the two tables is obviously on a first-come, first-serve basis so there may be some waiting around if all tables are in use. The tables will be here until the end of August and are perfect for your kids to let out some energy!
- Marble Arch is accessible 24-7. However, peak times do tend to be between 3 pm and 7 pm. We suggest visiting in the morning to avoid busy times in the day.
- The nearest tube station is Marble Arch. (Marble Arch is near the ‘speakers corner’ of Hyde Park).
4. Mudchute Farm Park (Isle of Dogs/Tower Hamlets). A great place to visit to feel like you’re out of the city. This farm park has free admission and is ideal for families! Amongst its 32 Acres, Mudchute is a City Farm that is home to a variety of farm animals and has stables and a kitchen cafe. Animals ranging from Cows and Pigs to Donkeys and Llamas have a home here alongside smaller animals in ‘Pets Corner’. There is ample space for picnics and to enjoy lunch among some friendly animals too. Pets are also encouraged and are more than welcome at the Mudchute Kitchen. We suggest planning your day around Animal Feeding times and the daily farm routine (which you can find on their website). Typically, breakfast feeding time is between 9am-9.45 am, and their sheep are turned out into their fields between 9.15 and 9.30am. Throughout the holidays, there are likely to be a variety of children’s activities hosted on the farm. These are perfect for your little ones to enjoy and great for all the family. The farm is open between 9am-5pm daily (including bank holidays), and you can buy animal feed on site. There is also an outdoor play area.
- The farm is mostly accessible; however, some paths are not tarmac and may have a mud surface.
- The nearest tube stations are Mudchute, Crossharbour and Island Gardens. Crossharbour provides the most direct access.
5. Platform 9 and ¾ (Camden). Now, this is a must-see for all Harry Potter fans (Potterheads!). As mentioned in the Harry Potter books (and films), platform 9 and ¾ at Kings Cross has now become one of the most popular train platforms ever without even existing (kind of). Within Kings Cross St Pancras Station itself, an area has been dedicated to the platform and is available for photo opportunities each day. You won’t be able to miss it as huge crowds often gather around the half-in-half-out luggage trolley and the sign that has been left on the brick wall as a memento. Props and all, are included (including a Gryffindor Scarf), and if you can be prepared to wait, the photo opportunities are great! Just next to the trolley is now a Gift Shop that also sells all of your Harry Potter memorabilia. Photographs at certain times will be taken professionally with the option to buy these photos in the store. However, you are encouraged to take personal photos! Between 6am-8pm and 10pm-12am the sign will be available to take pictures with (without the trolley and props) as these tend to be the least busy times.
- The nearest tube/train station is Kings Cross, St Pancras.
- Photographers are there Monday-Saturday 8am-10pm and Sunday 9am-9pm.
BONUS: Battersea Park (Wandsworth). Entry to the park is free, and the park is open from 8am-dusk. Battersea Park is a vast open space in the London Borough of Wandsworth and contains free activities and adventures for children (alongside some paid ones!). The park has seven individual gardens and an adventure playground that kids love! It has climbing nets and walls alongside slides and an area for under 5’s. It’s a great spot to have a picnic, too! A boating lake and a Children’s Zoo are also within the park; however, these are paid activities. Battersea Park Zoo is also great to visit, and entrance fees are significantly cheaper than ZSL London Zoo.
- The closest train station is Battersea Park which you cannot access on the tube – it is a mainline train station only. The nearest tube is currently Clapham Common, and that is a 29-minute walk away.
These are just some of London’s many free activities to do with your children this summer, and are ones that we love! Let us know if you visit any of these places and if we’ve helped you in finding something to do this summer holiday.