Are you like me?
A mother who wants to take their little bundle of joy out for the day, but doesn’t want to break the bank every single time?
Or, maybe you are only visiting London for a day or so and want to find something fun, but free to do?
Well, look no further.
I am a London mum with a toddler, who has worked with children for over 10 years.
All of the following suggestions are some of the best (and completely FREE) things you can do for a fun day out with a toddler in London.
The NHM was awarded with two Hoop Awards in 2018:
“Best for Free Activities”
“Best for Learning”
Within this awe-inspiring museum, there are a multitude of activities and things for youngsters to do.
They can touch some of the collections, experience an earthquake simulator (don’t worry, it’s obviously not as terrifying or dangerous as a real earthquake) and take a walk “through Earth”.
They also have events and tours specifically for children with Autism, deafness and physical disabilities.
With 32 acres of farmland covering part of the Isle of Dogs (East London), Mudchute farm makes for a fabulous day out with a toddler or young child!
This farm has tons of animals (including mini-animals) to pet, play with, feed and take selfies with.
The farm actually holds an Equestrian Centre for horse riding. There are also some show-jumping and cross-country events for visitors to watch.
I actually started horse riding there as a child myself.
Dog shows, country-parties and community events are all held here and draw in the public like you would not imagine!
Before my Squidge turned 2-years old, she had probably visited this museum at least 10 times.
We actually used it as a meeting place for her fathers visits (I’m a single mum) as it is such a reliable and fun little place for kids.
The Museum of Childhood holds various daily mini-events, such as book-readings, craft-making, sing-a-longs and exhibitions.
Being completely free for adults and children, this is an ideal place to bring your tot for a fun day out.
Although my Squidge did not understand what anything was when we went there, she seemed to very much enjoy spending hours examining all of the wonderful toys.
It can also be a trip down memory lane for parents too, as you pass all the “old” toys that you actually played with as a child!
One of the “Royal Parks” of London, the Diana Memorial Playground is open from 10am to after 6pm.
This playground is a haven in Kensington, which attracts over 1 million visitors every year.
The kiddos can play on the traditional pirate ship – with a lovely, clean and soft “beach” surrounding the ship.
They can also play on the sensory trail (great for younger toddlers and children with special needs) or the teepees.
What about just letting them run around and use up some of their energy with the toys, trees, grassy areas and other children.
Adults can take advantage of the comfortable seating area while the kids have all their fun.
The Memorial Playground features a lovely inclusive area (inspired by the Peter Pan stories), for less able-bodied children to play together.
Based in Greenwich, the NMM is for the little explorers in your life.
You can take a visit to the planetarium shows, the observatory and the famous Cutty Sark ship.
There are shows, tours and activities specifically for children under the age of 7, including
- Trips into “space” with teddies
- Meeting the crew of the Cutty Sark ship
- Acting like pirates
Another one of the “Royal Parks” of London, Greenwich is almost every Londoners “go-to” place in Summer.
The park is normally packed and full of laughing children and chatting mothers.
With 183 acres of land – trees, landscape, hills, sandpits, gardens and beautiful views, you don’t even need to go anywhere or do anything with your child.
Simply visiting the park itself and exploring can be fulfilling enough for a whole day out with a toddler or young child.
There is the children’s playground, right at the end of the main park, which has been used by generations over the years.
The children’s playground is pretty big and has tons of fun apparatus for toddlers and young children to climb all over.
The Wonderlab, basement garden (for mini-scientists), flight simulators and the motion theatre are just some of the amazing activities that children can take part in at the Science Museum.
The Garden is an interactive space specifically created for children aged 3-6 years old.
Playing with construction, water, light and sound teaches them new skills. Giant whispering tubes carry sound to a “flying saucer” in the sky.
This museum is fun for old, young, very young and very old! It does not matter whether you are into Science or not, the whole family can have fun together here.
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Family walks, baby groups and toddler groups all take centre-stage for the kiddies at the Museum of London.
The museum offers free activity bags, worksheets and word games for children to play with during their visits.
Adults accompanying their children can find new wonders in the rest of the museum, learning all about the history of London.
There is also a Museum of London in Docklands, which is mainly about the history of East London and the tea-trade.
It might sound boring, but it is very informative and interesting to the history-inclined, and a fun-filled day out with a toddler or young child.
Admission to the museum is completely free, except for some special exhibitions.
Children under 12 can go to these exhibitions for free. Adults have a small fee (specific to each exhibition).
From quizzes to soap carving, videos to creating beautiful paintings for the childrens’ gallery, the Tate has much more to offer children than I ever thought!
Children can even get help with their homework at the Tate!
Your child can explore exhibitions and make shadow puppets, draw on walls and meet lots of new friends while having all this fun.
Then, why not wander to one of the five restaurants to have some lunch before you get back to the fun again?
10. Horniman Museum
The Horniman Museum and Gardens provides a multitude of opportunities to explore and have fun!
Although the museum itself and the gardens are completely free, there are sometimes admission prices to some of the temporary exhibitions.
The museum features an aquarium, animal walk, butterfly house, gardens, music gallery, world and natural gallery and even a hands-on area.
Toddlers and young children can indulge in the farmers markets and musical activities, amongst many more activities and events.
Click the title above to see all of the opportunities available to visitors.
+Extra (paid entry)
The Discover Centre is for 0-11 year olds and their grown-ups.
The Centre features a Story World and Story Garden, with entry to storytelling sessions and an interactive family exhibition.
Craft sessions, children’s TV screenings and storytelling sessions for 0-3 year olds and upwards are a popular child-pleaser here.
Story World is a magical place with two floors of fun, giant trees with a giant crows nest, clouds and a steam ship.
There are no strollers allowed in Story World, but you can leave yours downstairs in the buggy “parking bay”.
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Featured image: Robert Tudor