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Free Family Activities In London!

Friday August 15, 2014 by Alex Wood

alex and hugo's favorite fountains

 

The summer holidays can end up being an expensive time for Mum and Dad, but if you've booked a serviced apartment you've already made a great decision to help with costs. And to help stretch your budget even further we've put together some great ideas on how to entertain the kids for free!

1. SOUTH BANK AND JUBILEE GARDENS

The South Bank is always a great destination for families. It's traffic-free, has wide pavements, fantastic views of some iconic London landmarks, and there's always lots of free stuff going on. Why not start off by heading to Waterloo station and head towards The London Eye (don't worry - we're not suggesting you have to go on it unless you really want to!). It's a great vantage point for really amazing views across the River Thames to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Once you've had fun taking loads of snaps the kids can run around and play in Jubilee Gardens. As well as the green open space to run around safely there is also a playground for under 11s. There's also a really cool skate park underneath the Southbank Center which is the beating heart of the skate scene in London. Kids will love watching the skaters and BMX riders doing their tricks and if they bring their boards they can have a go. Just remember that bikes and scooters aren't allowed in Jubilee Gardens.  You'll always find something interesting at the Southbank Centre where they put on loads of free events all year round, but particularly in the summer. The Royal Festival Hallis also a handy spot to stop for refreshments and toilets!

2. ART GALLERIES

I know art galleries aren't usually a top pick for most kids (Mrs Van Gogh would probably have disagreed) but the Tate Modern is just great for families and you only need to buy tickets for special exhibitions. There is usually a special giant size exhibition in the huge turbine hall entrance which will amaze kids, and there are regular child friendly activities to get them involved. There's a great family friendly café on level 1 overlooking the river which has a buggy park at the back and a kid's menu (and at lunchtime children eat free when an adult buys a meal!) which was recently named Best Family Restaurant in the Time Out Eating & Drinking Awards., On top of that, paper place mats and crayons are brought to the table for families as well, to let the youngsters express their newly found artistic skills!

3. MUSEUMS

The Science Museum is great for kids because there's a section called the Launchpad which is packed with over 50 interactive exhibits where kids do the actual experiments themselves. Also the Pattern Pod which is a hands-on gallery that was created especially for children from 5-8 years of age...and their parents!. Apart from these there are lots of other different exhibits where they (and you) can find out about science, outer space and how the world was created. The nearest underground station is South Kensington but Gloucester Road is also close by. The museum also a great family restaurant, Deep Blue, located on the ground floor at the back of the museum, and serves meals prepared on the premises and kids can choose from a selection of meals from just £5.95.

The Natural History Museum is just next door and also makes a great day out for kids. The galleries are full of interactive exhibits and they have lots of great family activities such as the hands-on science lab, holding live animals like snakes and chameleons in the Animal Vision show, and everyone can experience an earthquake in the volcanoes and earthquake gallery! And for the under 7's the Explorer Backpacks contain an activity booklet showing themed trails and they can really get into the role with a safari hat and binoculars. The Dinosaurs Gallery is always a big hit with kids of all ages where they can meet a terrifying T-.rex, unearth Baryonyx bones and inspect the Triceratops skeleton. If they're inspired by their visit you can always come back to one of the monthly Dino Snores sleepovers where kids get to explore the museum after the staff and visitors have gone home!!! Awesome! They can stay overnight with loads of fun activities to keep them busy from torch lit trails, designing a Dino T-shirt, live shows and best of all snuggling down to sleep in the shadows of the dinosaurs in the main gallery!

4. PARKS

There are lots of parks around London for kids to explore but the big draws are Hyde Park and Regents Park.

Every year millions of Londoners and tourists visit Hyde Park which covers 350 acres and is home to a number of famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers' Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. The park also offers various recreational activities including open water swimming, boating, cycling, tennis and horse riding. There are plenty of places to grab some refreshments around the park, but it's also a great spot to bring your picnic on a sunny day. 
The Regent's Park, designed by John Nash, covers 395 acres and has excellent sports facilities spanning nearly 100 acres, including the largest outdoor sports area in central London and a fantastic wildlife garden designed for and by kids. The park also has four playgrounds dotted around the park,which all have toilet facilities nearby so no one gets caught short!

We also asked our resident mums Alex G and Daisy for their insider tips and here's what they suggested...

Alex Guzek: It's hard to find a good entertainment for toddlers these days - especially free but I can tell you what Hugo's favourite is - in Chelsea at the Duke of York's Square, near the Partridges Restaurant they have these great water fountains - he loves them, when it's hot we go there and he rides his scooter and gets wet and it's all free! And there's always lots of other children there.

Daisy Iovtcheva: Alexander enjoys the Transport Museum, it's free for children but adults have to pay a £15 annual fee and can then go as many times as they wish. 
We also like Holland Park with the Japanese garden and there'gs a very nice "green" playground for children. Another nice park although not very central is Ruislip Lido in North West London - a beautiful lake and playground for children with a nice pub and coffee shop and great little railway which is about £4 for an adult and a child. Another great park with, in my opinion, the best playground for children in London is Battersea Park.

So that's a taste of some of the great free stuff there is to do in London with kids but I'm sure you've got some great ideas of your own - let me know by nominating your favorite on Facebookor Twitter (#PASholidays) and I'll put together all of the favorites throughout the year in a round up review post!

Prestige Apartments has a wide range of serviced apartments and vacation rentals on offer throughout London. We'll have something to suit all budgets and group sizes so why not consider a staycation in a London serviced apartment this year. Just get in touch with our friendly sales team and they'll help you to choose your perfect family friendly apartment.

 

Tel: 020 7704 6514 or email: sales@prestigeapartments.co.uk

Follow me @alexwpas or +alexwood


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