The winter months of the year are always a bit tough, with the lack of much daylight and the cold weather… Lucky then that May Half Term offers a glimmer of hope and opportunity, and there’s nowhere better to enjoy a half-term break than in London. The capital is abuzz with fun-seeking families, but to make sure it doesn’t get too expensive, here’s our guide to the best things to do for free in London this half term…
Learn more at Natural History Museum
From the moment you step into the Natural History Museum’s grand entrance hall and are stared down by the famous skeleton of the Diplodocus, you know it’s going to be good. Challenge the kids to spot specific specimens and seek out the famous fossils – head for the palaeontology and zoology sections most popular with younger visitors. London’s is probably the finest and most respected Natural History Museum in the world; utterly fascinating for the whole family, it’s our top pick for the city’s greatest free activity. Situated in the museum district of trendy South Kensington, it’s best combined with our next museum…
Marvel at The Science Museum
Always fun, always educational and always free, The Science Museum is easily one of London’s finest. By far the most interactive of all the museums, it’s one of the best places to get your kids’ minds ticking over and interested in a subject that can otherwise be a little heavy. The best bits and must-try highlights include the chance to fire an air canon in Launchpad, fly a jet in the high-tech simulators of Fly Zone and Who Am I? – the biology exhibition that lets you see what life would be like if you were older, or even a different gender.
Journey to new places with London Transport Museum
Although there is an adult entrance fee (£13.50pp), this payment covers you for unlimited visits for 12 months, plus kids go free (yay!). All aboard a fun day out, with plenty of buses, trains and other modes of transport to keep the whole family entertained.
Experience a slice of the country at Spitalfields City Farm
A nice alternative to all those big, showy attractions, the humble Spitalfields City Farm is one of the capital’s finest. Giving younger kids the chance to see and interact with their favourite farmyard animals, it’s also a bit of a novelty to see this rural oasis just a stone’s throw from the busy city and the financial district. Free to visit six days a week, the farm is run by a passionate community of volunteers and also features pretty gardens worth exploring too. A nice thing to do with the family on the way to the famous Spitalfields Market or grabbing a bargain lunch at popular Brick Lane nearby.
Step back in time with V&A Museum of Childhood
With a wonderful and incredibly extensive collection of toys through the ages, the Museum of Childhood is the perfect place to take the kids. Give them an idea of what their Victorian counterparts would have played with, and their parents’ generation, and their grandparent’s generation. With a number of captivating exhibitions running throughout the year and open every day of the week, there’s no better way to get your children to appreciate everything that they own!
Peruse stunning artwork at Tate Modern
Set on London’s trendy Southbank, there are lots of top London attractions all within walking distance; the ever-popular London Eye, the family favourite London Dungeons and the must-see Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to name but a few. But the incredibly distinctive Tate Modern tops the lot. With free admission, there’s no better place to take the older kids to enrich their creative minds and engage with them intellectually; hear their thoughts and musings on Modern art, and see some of the finest works of the 20th century by the likes of Rothko, Dali, Ernst and Picasso together.
Admire London’s famous views from Sky Garden
We recommend that you book this one in advance (completely free) as it’s amazing and gets busy quickly! Brave the heights of the Walkie Talkie building and see the iconic sights of London from a new perspective. What’s more, Sky Garden is filled with tropical plants and flowers – so there’s plenty to discover up there! Feeling hungry? Treat yourself to a hearty sausage roll or slice of cake at one of the eateries.
Trek through wilderness at Camley Street Natural Park
Did you know this exists just north of St Pancras station? Us neither! Step back from the hustle and bustle of London life and look out for butterflies, birds, frogs and even bats… all before reporting your interesting findings to the reserve workers.
Planning a break in London this half term? Tell us about it in the comments section below…