This year, more than ever, parents will be wondering how on earth to keep the kids entertained during the school holidays, without having to spend a fortune. Luckily in London there are plenty of free things to do, but if you do need a little extra money, don’t forget we’re here to help.
First off, many councils have free playschemes and holiday activities for schoolchildren in their borough. Council websites, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are the best places to look for the latest about what’s on. Many activities allow you to just turn up on the day, but some require pre-registration, so it’s worth checking in advance.
Then, of course, London has some of the finest museums in the world, so what better way to entertain – and educate – the kids than with a visit to one of the city’s free museums or galleries? Discover dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum (pictured above), step into outer space at the Science Museum or meet Egyptian mummies at the British Museum.
The capital has dozens of great parks, which give you the chance to relax while the kids play – and you can even take a picnic! Parks like St James’s and Hyde Park with their amazing lakes give kids the chance to get up close with the local wildlife. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with its free trail guides, is a fascinating place to explore, and Hackney City Farm at Haggerston Park can provide kids with hours of fun getting to know all about farmyard animals.
If you’re looking for something which won’t burn a hole in your wallet, but will burn off a few calories, then there’s nothing better than a leisurely walk on a nice summer’s day. Whether it’s a stroll along the Thames, a nature walk in Highgate Wood or you just fancy exploring the landmarks of London, a walk can offer something for everyone.
If you like music and know where to look, you can take advantage of free festivals and performances. Notting Hill Carnival is probably one of the world’s most famous street festivals and is great fun for all the family, and at the South Bank Centre, free music events take place throughout the year.
Kerry Hallett, volunteer director at the Credit Union, said: “There are dozens of free things to do across the city during the school holidays, if you know where to look, but keeping the kids entertained at holiday time isn’t always easy or cheap. Just getting from A to B can soon add up, and feeding the kids gets more expensive by the week.
“So, we would encourage anyone who is struggling financially to get in touch. We offer free, impartial money advice for our members, as well as low interest loans if needed and help with saving for the future. Whatever you do, don’t rack up expensive credit card bills or turn to loan sharks and high-cost lenders – talk to us instead.”