Everyone claims London is expensive. I must tell it is partially true, but if we dig deeper, we will realize that some of the things to do in London are actually way cheaper or comes absolutely for free than in most European countries, especially if you visit London with a baby. One of the clear examples for tourists is sightseeing in London.
Read More: Christmas in London with Kids
Want to move to London? Click here to learn more about
- Renting the house in the UK,
- Buying the property in the UK for the first time
- All you should know about childcare options in London
- The Ultimate Guide To Children’s Centres And The Best Free Baby Activities In London
- Also, the health system, and job search.
If you need an easy transfer from one of the London airports, we have already taken care of it.
Now let’s talk about free things to do in London with family, everyone likes to explore places that are offered free of charge. Luckily, in London, you can find plenty of them, including things to do in London for a day, London museums for kids and unusual things to do in London.
Enjoy the list below!
- 1. Natural History Museum
- 2. Tower Bridge
- 3. Millennium Bridge
- 4. St. Paul’s Cathedral
- 5. Covent Garden
- 6. Tate Modern Museum
- 7. Trafalgar Square
- 8. Buckingham Palace and St. James Park
- 9. Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster
- 10. Hyde Park
- 11. Unique buildings of London
- 12. London markets
- 13. Barbican Centre
- 14. Canary Wharf
- 15. London Graffiti
- 16. Free walking tours
Places to visit in London with kids
1. Natural History Museum
All the London museums are FREE! This is coming back to the topic of the advantages of living in London. Most importantly, museums in London are huge, in good shape and with lots of things to see, do and explore.
The government supports and does everything to attract kids, students, locals and tourists to learn more about different aspects of life, this is why queues are massively impressive.
One of the biggest and well-known museums in London is the Natural History Museum. It is highly suggested you pack everything for the day in advance and get there by 10 am when it opens. Otherwise, there is a great chance to spend at least half an hour in a queue. Queues at this museum stretch out of the premises and go round it. Opening hours are from 10:00 to 17:50. Trust me, you will need all this time inside.
Don’t hesitate to bring food and plenty of water with you. You can always buy something for lunch in the cafeteria, such as sandwiches for 5£ or salads for 7£. Or you can prepare it at home and save a couple of £ for another tour. The food range is quite basic there, so bringing a real healthy lunch for your baby is something he will appreciate a lot.
If you just visit their site, you won’t be able to stop reading. This is how much information, events, stories about the animal world, science news, volunteering opportunities for kids, photography and much more they have.
The museum is divided into special areas marked in blue, orange, red and green.
- Blue zone. It is one of the most popular among little ones as it has dinosaurs, the biggest mammals in the animal kingdom, the underwater world, and all sorts of reptiles. This exhibition is huge!
- Green zone. This is the one you see first when entering the museum. Keep your head high because a 25.2-meter blue whale skeleton is going to welcome you first. Green zone talks more about birds and creep-crawlies, such as insects, centipedes, and spiders. There are really interesting glass exhibitions full of little creatures. And you will also be able to know more about fossils and minerals.
- Red Zone explores human evolution and digs deep down into volcanoes and earthquakes. When entering this zone, you will see Stegosaurus – an incredible dinosaur specimen that is three meters tall and six meters long – an unforgettable experience for your little one.
- Orange Zone. This is the one we missed last time, as time flies indeed. This zone is an actual garden where you can enjoy tranquil habitats and a huge variety of plants. Also, you can get into Darwin Centre’s Cocoon and see scientists at work.
What I liked the most is that there is a ton of information to read and learn. I felt like I needed to come there with my notebook and record everything. The museum is filled with interesting facts.
Want to know more about the Natural History Museum, check special posts made by TravelsWithTed.
2. Tower Bridge
One of the most popular things to do with babies in London is to visit Tower Bridge. It is one of London’s landmarks built between 1886 and 1894. Nowadays, it became an iconic symbol of London. Everyone knows it, everyone wants to take a photo there, but not everyone is aware where it is. Lots of tourists get it confused with London Bridge, which is just 500 m away. If you want to visit Tower Bridge you, most likely, have to get out at London Bridge station. On your way out turn right towards Tower Bridge, otherwise, you would need to cross London Bridge and walk 13-15 minutes to Tower Bridge from the other side.
The scenery is incredibly beautiful. We highly recommend taking a walk on both sides of Tower Bridge. From the station’s side, you will be passing through a pedestrian lane of very posh architectural buildings filled with cafeterias and a fountain.
When crossing the bridge, you can get inside the tower and visit its museum. Tower Bridge offers stunning views of a mechanical marvel and it is fun to look down into the river from the height. The price for the adult ranges at 12£ or 25£ for two adults and a child. We skipped on this attraction, as we were more than happy with the views from outside the bridge.
When going down to the other side towards the Tower of London which is a historic castle, first turn right. Most likely, you will get into a tiny food market. This is a great place to stop for a lunch choosing freshly made food from all over the world. You will see stalls of Indian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, French, Mexican and many other cuisines. Right there you will see a fountain with a dolphin that offers great views on to Tower Bridge. We have taken quite a few gorgeous shots there. My husband loves playing with the light.
Tower of London is worth visiting if you wish to learn about 1000 years of history and see the World Heritage Site as it is a secure fortress, royal palace, and infamous prison. Though it is at least half a day tour. Also, it is highly recommended to purchase admission tickets online to avoid long queues. Long story short, views from this side are just blow-minding!
Did you know that Tower Bridge raises? Here are the lift times. Enjoy!
3. Millennium Bridge
The views are so bewitching that you will not notice how in half an hour you will reach the Millennium Bridge. This footbridge is constructed for pedestrian crossing only and is worth walking across for the views of the Thames riverbank and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
4. St. Paul’s Cathedral
Before you step on the Millennium Bridge, make a stop at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The cathedral remains one of the most famous and most recognizable sights in London. Indeed, you may find a lot of images of St. Paul’s Cathedral on Instagram. One secret spot is located in front of the shopping mall called One New Change, where you can also grab some food or enjoy a few fancy drinks at the rooftop with the magic view of the cathedral.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is not only a beautiful building, but its dome has also dominated the skyline for over 300 years and remains among the highest in the world up to date.
5. Covent Garden
One of the legendary places in London’s West End is Covent Garden. It is situated right behind the St. Paul’s Cathedral and offers a variety of entertainment, including shopping and eating out. It is such a relaxing vibe over there that you will not want to leave.
If you are searching for some souvenirs, this is one good place to buy them.
6. Tate Modern Museum
Tate Modern Museum is located on the other side of the Millennium Bridge. As you may already know, all museums in London are free of charge. How cool is that?!
Tate Modern is Britain’s national gallery of international modern art. It is enormous and there are lots of exhibitions going on every day. You can always choose what you want to see and some exhibitions may be of an extra charge.
7. Trafalgar Square
This square was almost the only famous sight I have remembered since I was at school. We had that really old book called London and were forced to learn by heart every story about London. Yep, we had lots of fun during our English classes.
Since it was in mind, I forgot to lessen my expectations and got quite disappointed. But let’s get it straight, Trafalgar Square is a square with Nelson’s column in the center and the National Gallery in front of it. The nearest tube is the Charing Cross station. Its name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars over France and Spain.
It is surrounded by museums, galleries, cultural spaces, and historic buildings. When we got there we were able to see a very nice magic street show. Right next to it, we went to St. James Park where Buckingham Palace is located.
When you enter the park, I recommend you to visit the left side first where the Household Cavalry Museum is. It is a very beautiful and important part of the whole park.
8. Buckingham Palace and St. James Park
Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the center of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning.
We have visited Buckingham Palace together with my younger sister from outside. We had decided to skip the Queen’s Gallery. However, it is a nice experience to explore its vast art collection, where around 450 works of art are on display at any time. Tickets cost 12£ per adult and half price for children from five years old. The tour lasts a bit longer than one hour. Since we were traveling with a baby, we didn’t find it too attractive at that time. Instead, we enjoyed watching the guard change. It happens at 11:30 am, as well as the horse guards at Whitehall at 11:00 am.
I love watching the guard change since I was little. The one in Moscow is the best, in my opinion. But Buckingham Palace has to offer a quite unique experience too. It looks like the whole ceremony including horses, loads of guards nicely organized in hundreds of rows and four columns. It all is accompanied by music. Of course, there is a lot of tourists coming to watch the 3-minute show, so it was a good idea to come as early as possible and grab the best spot.
Buckingham Palace is surrounded by two parks. St. James Park is one of them. It is gorgeous and absolutely a must to visit in London with a toddler! This is what we enjoyed doing the most that day. Nice pond crosses the entire park where you can find fish, ducks, geese, and pelicans. This park is full of squirrels too (like every park in London), so remember to bring some cookies or bread. Your kids will love the experience. We also enjoyed it because it is full of beautiful flowers, plants, and trees. It is quite nice to have a picnic there too, but if you didn’t grab any food with you, there is a café right in the middle of the park.
9. Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster
It is the only a nine-minute walk from St. James Park to Big Ben, so it is an amazing idea to plan your day trip in this area, even if you travel to London with a newborn.
Unfortunately, as I am writing this post, Big Ben still remains silent. It was closed for renovation for four years total and promised to be reopened in August 2021. There is not much to see, but that didn’t affect the number of tourists and pictures taken. We have managed to take a selfie too.
Though it is a great walk around the area. Big ben is surrounded by the Palace of Westminster that offers fabulous views. The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. You can only visit it on Saturdays or during July and August. To get the tickets you can queue and get them on the same day of your visit.
We were quite happy to enjoy our walk. Besides, there is a street right in front of the Big Ben filled with those famous waiting-for-photos telephone booths (here they are called telephone kiosks).
10. Hyde Park
I reckon parks in London is one of the features of this country. There are lots of parks here, I would say, it is a very green city. All parks are in excellent condition, they are enormous and very well-maintained. There are lots to tell about them, so we prepared a special post featuring the best parks in London too.
I would like to stress out Hyde park, as it is located in the city center, and it is one of the best parks we enjoyed. It is situated on the other side of the Buckingham Palace. If you look at the map, you will realize how huge it is.
The Serpentine is a 40-acre recreational lake. And on top of it you will find a 20-meter-high sculpture floating on London’s Serpentine lake, which represents artist Christo’s and late wife Jeanne-Claude’s determination to make art free. The sculpture is made from 7,506 barrels.
We never planned to go there on purpose, we happened to be invited to our friend’s baby’s birthday party and then a picnic. The experience was worth it both times. Hyde Park has a pond in the middle of it with various events happening around. It has two cafes where you can actually have a proper meal and a super delicious ice-cream. Public toilets are available.
Hyde Park is so long that there is lots of space for runners, cyclers, and dancers. Roller skating is quite popular there too, and oh my, sunsets are gorgeous!
It is highly recommended to visit Hyde Park, especially if you travel as a family. If you travel in winter, this is exactly the park where the most famous in Europe Winter Wonderland is happening! It usually starts on the 20th of November and lasts until the first week of January.
11. Unique buildings of London
London is quite famous for its unique architecture. There are quite a few buildings that deserve to be mentioned.
Shard is one of the most famous buildings in London and is considered to be the highest building not only in England but the entire EU. It is a 95-storey super tall skyscraper. Tower Bridge offers a great view of it. But also, Shard offers a stunning 360-degree view of the city for up to 64 km from over 300 m high. The entrance ticket is required, it costs 27£ per adult and 21£ per child from four years old. One of the reasons we admired it from the outside.
This building is situated on 20 Fenchurch Street, and it also provides an amazing view of the city. The best thing about it is that you can get a breath-taking bird’s eye perspective on the capital without spending a penny. The entrance is free of charge, so it is the best option for budget travelers. But there is a catch, you must book a free visit for three weeks in advance. They usually open the new slots on Mondays for the following weeks.
Besides, Walkie-talkie offers a top observation deck on the 38th floor with a garden called Sky Garden. Not to mention that this building you see pretty much in every movie showing London.
11.3. The Gherkin
This building has a very unique design of curvature. It is considered to be a smart building as it automatically adjusts to the weather and incorporates the smart use of light. One of the reasons why it is called smart-scraper. Despite its unique design, the only piece of curved glass is its dome.
12. London markets
London is famous for its markets. If you wish to buy a souvenir, a gift or something incredibly unique for yourself, these places are for you.
The best markets we have experienced are:
- Portobello Road market;
- Covent Garden;
- Borough market;
- Camden Town.
There is way more to tell, so we prepared the special post dedicated exclusively to the market side of London. These market streets are considered to be one of the most famous streets in London too!
13. Barbican Centre
The Barbican area is amazing to explore. Another great idea among all those free things to do in London with a baby. You can easily spend a day there wandering around, eating out and taking photos. This place is exclusively great for industrial photography. The architecture is unique and very different from what you see on a regular London basis.
Barbican is home to several London city landmarks, such as Barbican Arts Centre, the Museum of London, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. There is also a pond, terrace, an absolutely gorgeous viewpoint, and Barbican Estate. As we entered, we were instantly lost in all entrances, and couldn’t find our way out at first. It is tricky to navigate once you are inside, it felt like a maze for me. Every time we were going out from one structure we were inside the other.
But Barbican Centre is not only famous for its architecture, but it also hosts regular film screenings, art exhibitions, and other events. So, if you are interested in dance, music, film, theatre, or visual art, this place is right for you.
14. Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf is one of the main business hubs in the United Kingdom and the world. It is filled with financial tall buildings and located on the Isle of Dogs.
It is great to walk through, grab some coffee, visit the mall, and the nearby park. It is small but looks super luxurious when walking through these giant tall buildings. At the exit of the park, on the square you will find the tube coming out from one building and entering the other which is quite a beautiful sight.
In summer, there are some free activities for kids too.
15. London Graffiti
Another topic worth mentioning in a separate post. Graffiti in London is prohibited, however, there are four best places I have to show you. Check the photo guide and information on how to find these places here.
- The Graffiti Tunnel on Leake Street
- Old Street Station near Cranwood Street
- Camden Town Graffiti
- Arcelor Mittal Orbit Graffiti
16. Free walking tours
There are heaps of free London tours in the city, including the ones offering tours in a different language, such as Spanish or Chinese. Also, different tour companies specialize in various activities. For example, Strawberry tours attract more young people and students as they run a number of free tours, specialty tours, and paid pub crawls.
However, we recommend Free Tours by Foot. It is a super professional friendly team offering a huge variety of tours both in English and Spanish. Every tour is very well-presented and informative. They are also quite helpful and patient with young families, such us.
As you can see, there is a lot to do in London for free. And to be honest, it’s just a needle in a haystack of what I had to say.
We have prepared quite a few posts about wandering in this amazing city, so make sure you check them all and get ready to explore. Check the list below.
Oh, but if you are interested in a 2-week itinerary of visiting England and Ireland, check the post by Anadventureiscalling.
We wish you enjoy your holiday!
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