February mid-term is fast approaching and families will be looking for cheap destinations in London to spend a few days. Luckily, the capital is home to a number of excellent attractions that are totally free – and better still, TripAdvisor has ranked them all based on which have received the most five-star reviews.
There’s a healthy mix of museums, markets and Instagrammable sights for families of all ages – and you can get educational content while you’re there. Below are all of London’s best attractions, compiled by Clarks, none of which will cost you a single penny (unless of course you count the money you could spend in the markets, but you can’t have it all). We’ve also added some recommended activities for those visiting with children.
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Imperial War Museum
If your child loves history, which is a good thing, I promise, then the Imperial War Museum is a must. Established in 1917 when the First World War was still in full swing, it has some of the most comprehensive records of British warfare and is an incredibly important and poignant destination. 6,600 five-star reviews have been left on TripAdvisor for this museum.
Best activities for children: The museum is nothing specific for kids, but a TripAdvisor reviewer said “kids seem to like it for the most part”, adding: “Despite the serious theme and the nature of machinery, I don’t know much young people who don’t like seeing real tanks, submarines, planes and rockets up close.
“There is a caveat, some side exhibits (like the Holocaust exhibit for example) are not for young people, but they are side exhibits after all and they provide ample warning before entering. Most families just choose not to go to these areas, and you can’t really get in by mistake.”
If you like street food, this is the place for you. But if you promise not to spend any money at all, you can watch tourists tasting a variety of delicious products from afar – these tourists have probably left 9,1000 five-star reviews on this market.
Best activities for children:Babyccino Kids recommend visiting the market on a Thursday or Friday around 11am “when the market is in full swing”. The post adds: “Children will love the riot of colors, sounds and smells and the many tasting samples on offer. Plus, market traders are more than happy to engage customers with their culinary knowledge, which which makes it a fun environment to teach and inspire children about food.”
We’re all familiar with Covent Garden, although calling it a free attraction might be a bit of a misnomer, as you’ll likely drop piles of phat on various trinkets here. That being said, posing or taking Instagram photos here is completely free, hence its 17,500 five-star reviews.
Best activities for children: Corinthia London recommend Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop, the London Transport Museum and seeing The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. Admittedly, the latter will cost you a few pounds, but you can’t really complain given the legendary status of the series.
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This market is well known for its collection of amazing street food and eclectic stalls and is a family favourite. No wonder it has received over 17,000 five-star reviews on TripAdvisor.
Best activities for children: Rated for kids recommend an expertly curated street art tour of Camden (perhaps more for teenagers than toddlers), chilling on Primrose Hill, and strolling Regent’s Canal.
Victoria & Albert Museum
The V&A was established in 1852 and was originally called the Museum of Manufactures. This museum has become the largest museum of applied arts, decorative arts and design in the world and houses more than 2.27 million objects. A total of 23,500 five-star reviews were left.
Best activities for children: Mom travels recommend the learning center, which is packed with activities for ages 5-12, as well as the chance to play dress up. The museum also has a picnic area and many interactive elements.
Natural History Museum
This museum has been dubbed “a cathedral of science” and has 70 million botanical objects, 55 million animal exhibits, 9 million archaeological relics, and 500,000 rocks and minerals. It’s no wonder 24,500 people left it five-star reviews.
Best activities for children: The museum website recommends a wide range of activities for kids, including taking a picture with Andy’s clock, the T-rex exhibit, and an earthquake simulator. Like the V&A, the museum also has a beautiful garden for a mid-term picnic.
Opened in 1824, the National Gallery has a rich history and has welcomed over six million visitors each year since 2021 (Covid aside). A total of 29,300 people left five-star reviews.
Best activities for children: mom what else says the museum is “very family-friendly” and recommends booking the museum’s Welcome Wednesdays storytelling sessions, which are aimed at children aged 1 to 5. The best part is that these sessions are completely free, but tourists will need to book online before their visit.
The British Museum is the oldest museum in the world and was even the first national public museum ever built. Over 5,200 people have left five-star reviews for the attraction, making it a must-see for potential tourists.
Best activities for children: The museum has compiled a list of 12 must-see items (a kind of fun treasure trail) that will take children through the whole museum. “F from ancient armor to mummified mammals and past board games to massive monuments, these items will captivate and inspire young minds,” he promises. The visit includes the Rosetta Stone and the bust of Ramsees.
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