Our new and regular guide to the best free things to do in London with kids.

The Great Fête – Alexandra Palace, Saturday 17 August

Alexandra Park is putting on an eclectic mix of entertainment, education and performance at their annual one-day festival, The Great Fête.


There will be three live music areas featuring up and coming talent alongside international names including a DJ set from DJ Yoda. The festival will also welcome back the popular Silent Disco in the Woods and there will be a screening of the classic film Bladerunner in the on-site theatre.

There will also be a dedicated Play Zone hosting a variety of activities for children, including arts workshops and a crafting bazaar.

StrEATlife, Ally Pally’s free street food and craft beer festival, will run alongside the event and will feature some of the finest names from the street food scene.

For the full programme visit

There are several locations in London available for the sessions, which include games and activities suitable for families in the water.

There are 500 free family swimming sessions available on a first come, first served basis. Each session is for groups of up to five participants. Once the sessions are gone, they’re gone so book yours quickly!

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Each session lasts one hour and aims to help develop water safety and confidence through a fun and engaging lesson environment.

The London sessions are available at the following pools:


  • Barnet Copthall Leisure Centre

  • Church Farm Swimming Pool


  • Crystal Palace National Sports Centre


  • Oasis Sports Centre

  • Pancras Square Leisure

  • Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre

  • Kentish Town Sports Centre


  • New Addington Leisure Centre

  • Purley Leisure Centre

  • South Norwood Leisure Centre

  • Thornton Heath Leisure Centre

  • Waddon Leisure Centre


  • Gurnell Leisure Centre


  • Britannia Leisure Centre

  • Clissold Leisure Centre

  • King's Hall Leisure Centre

  • London Fields Lido

  • Stoke Newington West Reservoir

Hammersmith & Fulham

  • Phoenix Fitness Centre & Janet Adegoke Swimming Pool

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  • Botwell Green Sports & Leisure Centre

  • Highgrove Pool & Fitness Centre


  • Cally Pool

  • Ironmonger Row Baths

  • Archway Leisure Centre

  • Highbury Leisure Centre


  • Brixton Recreation Centre

  • Clapham Leisure Centre

  • Streatham Leisure Centre

  • West Norwood Leisure Centre


  • Canons Leisure Centre

  • Morden Park Pools

  • Wimbledon Leisure Centre

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

  • London Aquatics Centre

Royal Greenwich

  • Charlton Lido

  • Eltham Centre

  • Greenwich Centre

  • Thamesmere Leisure Centre

  • Waterfront Leisure Centre

Kensington & Chelsea

  • Chelsea Sports Centre

  • Kensington Leisure Centre

Tower Hamlets

  • Mile End Park Leisure Centre

  • Poplar Baths

  • St George's Swimming Pool

  • Tiller Leisure Centre

  • York Hall Leisure Centre


  • Wembley Centre

International Quarter London is hosting a series of free family days as part of their Stratford Summer Screen programme.

The free screenings will be held in Endeavour square.

Saturday 17th August – Aardman Family Day

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Aardman Animations are giving you the chance to learn how to make your very own Hognob character at fun, hands-on clay modelling workshops, led by one of their expert model makers. As well as a screening of Early Man, there will also be the chance to see Rhubarb Theatre’s latest material, ‘The Bombardiers’ and ‘Three Suitcases’.

Saturday 7th September – Lego Movie 2 + More Family Day

On 7th September bring the family down to see The Lego Movie 2.

Mrs H and the Sing-along band will also be combining elements of Folk, Soul, Afro, Latin, Dub, comedy and theatre in a live performance.

London Designer Outlet’s Fest For All

Enjoy four weekends of free festival fun for the whole family starting on Saturday August 10.

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Weekend one and two will see ex- HELLO! magazine fashion and beauty editor Charlotte Broadbent share her festival styling tips at the LDO tipi while roaming make-up artists offer free mini-festival glitter. Live music from rising stars Natalie Shay, Luca Fiore and Ky Lewis will play throughout the morning.

A Kids Mini-Fest takes over for weekend three and four, with free face painting, a bubble wizard, hula hooping, ribbon twirling and more. Enjoy live music in the morning with performances from Jazz Mino, Josh Gleaves, Ky Lewis, Sherika and Natalie Shay.

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Across both weekends there are hourly chances to win a £100 LDO voucher if you spend over £40 in any of LDOs stores, restaurants or cinema.

Disney In The West End Summer Pop-Up | Covent Garden - Tuesday 23rd July - Sunday 1st September 2019

Disney’s West End musicals The Lion King, Aladdin, Frozen, and Mary Poppins will be part of a Disney in the West End Summer Pop-Up in Covent Garden from Tuesday 23rd July until Sunday 1st September 2019.

The pop-up will be at 21 Long Acre, Covent Garden and open every day from Monday – Saturday 10:30am - 7:00pm and Sunday at 11:00am - 5:00pm.

Visitors will be able to explore the iconic masks, puppets and costumes from The Lion King up-close and learn about the inspiration behind many of the show’s impressive designs, as well as enjoy the Circle of Life in a fully immersive 360⁰ Lenovo Mirage Solo virtual reality experience.

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For the first time ever in the UK, fans of Frozen will have the unique opportunity to interact with the musical and strike a pose in a specially-created photo moment.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy the nostalgic charm that made them fall in love with Aladdin the first time around and they may even catch a glimpse of the magic lamp in all its wonder.

You will be put through your paces with a Mary Poppins spelling challenge of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

More info at

Smithfield Street Party: A Beastly Adventure | 25 August from 10 am - 6 pm

A fantastical free street party where the animals top the bill, curated by the Museum of London.

Learn how to dance like a bee, look up and watch extraordinary aerialists fly through the sky, transform your perspectives with free running classes and animal amusements and learn how to care for the animals that live alongside us.

In this year’s take on Culture Mile’s annual festival, all London’s animals – past, present or future, large and small, rare and familiar – will be taking over the streets around Smithfield Market for one day only to teach humans the secret ways of their world.

Summer at the Geffrye Museum of the Home | August 15 - 30

Explore the theme of kindness through free hands-on art, craft, digital and multi-sensory activities, family tours of the restored 18th century alms-house and trails in the museum’s beautiful gardens.

Inspired by Charles Dickens’ boy-hero Pip and his journey of self-discovery in the novel Great Expectations, children will be encouraged to create small acts of kindness whilst learning about Victorian family life – having fun and making a difference at the same time.

Families are welcome to stay on afterwards and enjoy a late afternoon performance of Great Expectations by Free Theatre UK in the gardens (free/pay what you can).

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As the museum is now closed until spring 2020 for a transformational redevelopment, most of the activities will take place outside, either on the lawn or under a big canopy.

Drinks and light refreshments will be available to buy or bring a picnic to eat on the lawn.

All activities free except tours of the 18th century alms-house for adults which are £5.

Children must be accompanied by an adult. Many of the workshops are drop-in. Booking for timed workshops opens 30 minutes in advance of each session and places are first-come first served.

Summer at Museum of London Docklands

The events below are free and drop-in and most have a suggested age of 5+ unless otherwise noted.

Ration book recipes | Friday 26 July - 12pm - 2.30pm

Create your own recipe inspired by the museum collection and bring it to life using craft materials. But there’s a twist, you can only use what’s in your World War II ration book. What delicious meals can you rustle up?

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Build a boat | Friday 2 August - 12pm & 2.30pm

Build a beautiful boat using recycled and craft materials and learn some sailor speak. Fill your boat with the goods that travelled to the Docks from all over the world.

River tails and sewer stories | Select dates from Wednesday 7 - Saturday 31 August

Dive in to the sewers and discover tales of pirates, poo and pollution in this interactive family show.

London’s rivers are at risk! What would you do to save them? (To ensure your spot, book online in advance.

Peg dolls | Friday 9 August - 12pm & 2.30pm

Many poor children in the East End during the 1800s could not afford to buy toys. Instead they would make their own from materials they found.

(c) Museum of London

(c) Museum of London

Get crafty in this art workshop and make your very own peg doll like those made by Londoners in the past.

Pirate pictures | Friday 16 & Friday 30 Aug - 12pm & 2.30pm

Create your very own pirate hat and patch fit for any fearsome marauder. Then jump aboard your ship using digital technology to make a pirate picture.

Smells from the docks | Friday 23 Aug - 12pm & 2.30pm

Sniff the goods that would have sailed to the Docks in times past. Can you tell your cinnamon from your cloves?

Identify some mystery aromas and make your own smell bag to take home.

The Black Prince Trust Summer Programmes

Summer Holiday Kicks – until August 30

Free football sessions, delivered by Fulham FC coaches, for kids 11 to 18 years old. All abilities welcome. Sessions are held every Monday and Wednesday in Vauxhall from 1:00 – 3:00 pm.

Football + Multi Sports Camp – until August 23

Kids from 11 to 16 years old can take part in multi-ability, structured skills-based football, multi-sports activities and tournaments. Sessions are held Monday to Friday in Lambeth from 12:00 until 3:00 pm.

Changing Gears – until August 29

Football, boxing and personal development workshops for kids from 12 to 21 years old.

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More info on all sessions available (including basketball) at