As the summer holidays approach, if you are a family who has a whole 7 weeks ahead of you to fill, it can feel daunting and expensive! So in this series we thought we would give you some top tips of things to do for free in the big smoke. Starting off with London. I’m not sure if you are aware, but during school holidays is actually one of the best times to visit one of the UK’s cities, as this is when they have some of the best Hotel deals available. As many people will be off abroad or visiting the coast, it can also be a time that is less crowded…yes really!
1. Self Guided Film Tours
London is full of film history at every turn, you just need to know where to find it. If you visit the site London For Free, there is a great interactive map available to help you relive the movie Notting Hill or even The Borough Market seen in films such as Bridget Jones and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I couldn’t recommend this of course without including a more child friendly option, but one I know that the adults would enjoy too. The Visit Britain Blog has a top 10 of Harry Potter locations to visit too.
The Blackfriar Pub used in the set of Sherlock Holmes (2009)
2. Street Art Hunt
Such a cool way to see the hidden sights of London. I for one know my children love to do this. Banksy is just one of the artists that you can search for in London, there really is an incredible street art scene, it just needs a little research to find it. If you want to find out more about the street artists currently expressing themselves, this is a great resource HERE. However whilst in London I would definitely recommend checking out Free Tours On Foot, where you only pay what you feel the tour was worth.
When you have children, this is a great way to spend some time away from the traffic and urban noise. Parks are a place to have fun and let off some steam or simply sit and enjoy the green space and have a picnic in, at lunch time. They can be crowded at peak times though, so we recommend to plan accordingly. I would recommend Kensington Gardens with its views of the palace, and the Peter Pan statue for a photo opportunity. Regents Park with its many playgrounds for all ages. Finsbury Park is also a great one to check out with its skate park area and tennis courts as well as huge sand pit and boating lake.
Kensington Gardens : Microscooter time!
4. Urban Farms
Not all, but some of the city farms are free in London. Most are incredibly good value if you do pay, so well worth checking out. Take Hackney City Farm for example, where a donation is all that is needed. These farms are often run by amazing volunteers with a real passion for what they do, and are great to visit with children whether young or old.
Visiting a gallery can be a great introduction to the world of art for children. I love seeing art through their eyes, and often their innocence puts such an interesting perspective on it. Here is a list of ones that are free:
- The National Gallery -With work from artists such as : Van Gogh, da Vinci, Cézanne, Constable, Caravaggio, Canaletto, Titian and Stubbs.
- The National Portrait Gallery -A vast collection of portraits of British men and women.
- The Royal Academy of Arts
- The Serpentine Gallery
- Tate Modern -Often has visiting exhibitions from artists such as Frida Kahlo, Mark Rothko and Kandinsky.
- The Wallace Collection -Many famous pieces by Rembrandt and Titian
Take your pick!
It would be remiss of me not to mention museums, as London has some fantastic offerings. These are no longer places where you are hushed to be quiet, they can be extremely interactive and fun. Favourites are the Natural History Museum,V&A Museum of Childhood and the Science Museum. Queues can be long, so try to visit early or later to miss rush. Make sure you pack something to keep the children entertained whilst you wait.
7. Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
Something I think everyone should see at least once, as it really is special. Try to get there early to bag yourself a spot, somewhere on the Mall is usually best for this. Combine it with an outdoor picnic, and say you had lunch with the Queen..well sort of!
Those are the 7 Things to Do in London for FREE this Summer, from We Blog Travel.