35 Free London Museums & Galleries

Fuddy duddy, musty, dusty boring museums are history!  Even the most seemingly dull and dated London museum will have activities and interactive displays designed for the young and young at heart.  Plus, you can visit at any time, with little preplanning or advance ticket purchases. So if you, and the children, are in Kensington Gardens in a sudden deluge, dash over to the Serpentine gallery or down to the Science Museum.  We have collected 35 top free London Museums and Galleries for easy reference.

 

10 Sporty indoor activities for kids on rainy days in London

It’s so easy to sloth at home when the skies are grey and the days are wet. But there are plenty of options to keep active and dry on rainy days in London. Here are 10 top sporty ideas for kids on rainy days in London.

 

10 More indoor activities for kids in London, not necessarily sporty

If you fancy escaping the sofa for a few hours or planning a special occasion, we have a few ideas for you.  From soft play venues to tea & cake there is always something fun to try out on a wet London day.  10 more ideas for kids on rainy days in London.

 

Work and play like an adult at Kidzania

Kidzania is in the Westfield shopping centre in west London.  Kids play at being adults and can choose from a large variety of jobs and occupations, earn Kidzos and then spend them on leisure activities.  It is a unique experience, designed predominantly for 4-14 year olds but there is a dedicated play area for younger siblings.

Dance till you drop at Big Fish Little Fish

Big Fish Little Fish create micro music festivals / raves for the entire family but designed for the age group eight and under.  In between the dancing there are craft ands of play areas to take a break from the beat.

Visit the Animals

The London Zoo is perhaps our best known venue to visit and talk to the animals.  Events and special activities are help though the year and the central London location, in Regents Park make it a convenient visit.

Write your own fairy tale at The Story Centre

The wonderful Story Centre’s aims to inspire kids under 11 to use their naturally fabulous imaginations in creative, literary ways.  Their inter-active workshops also invite famous children’s authors to give readings and join in the fun.

Playtime never ends at Bramley’s

Let your little one’s run wild at Bramley’s in their well organised and totally safe play areas.  These are especially designed for different age groups and spread out over 3 floors.  This play centre is very central and offers an onsite cafe and free wifi for the grown up’s.

Sticky fingers at the Chocolate Museum

The Chocolate Museum will appeal to children of all ages.  Besides learning about chocolates fascinating history, including England’s unique chocolate story, they will also make their very own chocolate in the dynamic workshops held here.  Ideal for the whole family.

Famous arenas for sports fans

Thrill the budding football fan in your family by taking him or her to visit one of London’s world famous sports arenas.  The Arsenal Museum and Stadium Tour  or Chelsea FC, gives you the chance to explore behind the scenes, walk the tunnel and see the players changing rooms. Heady stuff!

Unlock your inner genius

The Institute of Imagination is as thrilling and exciting as it sounds.  With workshops with names like The Tinkering Club and Lab Liftoff, this is the ideal place for kids to let their imaginations take over and get seriously creative and inventive.

Test your skills and have a laugh at Junkyard Golf

Junkyard Golf guarantees plenty of laughs as you make your way through nine holes of crazy golfing challenges!  Flashing lights, loud music and playful mahem will appeal to teenagers, although younger children are allowed to play too – sometimes!

Tea & Cakes on a red London bus

The B-Bakery is calling all afternoon tea lovers looking for an extra thrill.  Take a nice tour of London on board a famous Routemaster bus!  Pour another cuppa and grab another scone as you pass Buckingham Palace and head towards Big Ben.

On rainy, windy snowy days youngsters still need to burn off energy, not to mention festive season goodies.  Fortunately London has a multitude of interesting sporty activities to keep us moving in wintry weather.

Go Karting

TeamSport offers 5 London karting tracks, in different locations.  The minimum age is 8 years old and the tracks cater for adults too.  The venues offer family bookings, parties and corporate functions.

Indoor Laser Tag & Paintball

Another great indoor activity for all age groups.  Star Command offers laser tag in Stratford, East London.  Bunker 51, a sister company, offers laser tag and paint ball in a Cold War bunker, in Greenwich.

Skiing and Snow Boarding

Chel Ski offers Skiing and Snowboarding lessons and fitness classes.  The minimum age is 5 years old.  The venue is located on the border of Fulham and Chelsea ins out west London.  In Chiswick, Skieasy also offers both ski and snow board options on a state of the art, rotating platform,

Climbing Walls

Climbing walls are now dotted all over London so the chance of you finding one near to you is quite good.  The minimum age varies between venues but some are suitable for little ones as young as 5 years old and there are even group sessions for 1-4 year olds. Here are several:  Vauxwall in Vauxhall and Harrow, Clip ‘n Climb in Chealsea /Fulham, Gecko’s in Stoke Newington, The Reach in Woolwich, Mile End Wall in Mile End, The Castle in Stoke Newington, Westway Climbing in Ladbroke Grove, The Arch Climbing Wall in Bermondsey.

Trampolining

Freestyle, parties, classes, soft play areas, fitness classes  – it’s all the rage, for any age.  Jump until you drop all over London.  Zap Space in Stratford, Flip Out in Wandsworth, Barking and Brent Cross, Oxygen Free Jumping in Greenwich, Acton and Croydon, Better Extreme in Islington.

Ice Skating

During the festive season London offers a number of well known ice skating rinks.  However, there are several indoor ice skating rinks open all yer round and perfect to keep kids of all ages busy during rainy days in London.  Here are some of the best known: Alexander Palace Ice Skating in Wood Green, Queens in Bayswater, Streatham Ice Centre in Streatham.

Bowling

Here are some of the well known London bowling alleys to spend a rainy day.  All Star Lanes has four locations – Holborn, Shoreditch, Stratford and West Kensington,  Queens in Bayswater, Rowans in Finnsbury Park, Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, Holborn, The Croc, Soho.

Circus Arts

Enthusiasm and energy required.  From 4 years old you can join a circus class and be flying on a trapeze!  Well almost. Not an activity you can enjoy on the spur of the moment, but if you are planning to be in London for a few weeks in winter there may be a course near you.  Here are some we found on line –  Air Craft Circus is in Greenwich, Aerial Days in Highgate, Circus Glory, Primrose Hill, National Centre for Circus Arts in Hoxton, Flying Fantastic in Wimbledon and Bankside.

Ping Pong

Table tennis has become very popular with the after work crowd looking for something more than simply standing in a bar.  However, some venues are suitable for a game or two during the day with under 18’s.  Bounce is in Farringdon / Holborn and Old Street, The Book Club is in Shoreditch.  For more serious players there is a site dedicated to finding a table near to you: My local Pitch.

Get Wet

Swimming and aqua play may not be the obvious choice in a London winter, but you probably have an indoor swimming pool at your local leisure centre.  Make a quick search on My Local Pitch for your nearest options.  Top of the range is the pool and facilities created for the London 2012 Olympics in Stratford – London Aquatic Centre.  Also top of the list should be Leyton Leisure Lagoon in Leyton, Finchley Lido Leisure Centre in Finchley, Waterfront Leisure Centre in Woolwich.

There are plenty of options to persuade children to leave the sofa and join in on sporty, rainy day activities in London.

 

 

Highgate Cemetery

Visit London - spooky places

Highgate Cemetery opened in 1839 and is now a Grade I listed Park of historic interest and importance. It is famed not only for outstanding funerary architecture and astonishing statuary but also the many well known names now at rest there – Karl. Marx Douglas Adams, Patrick Caulfield and Malcom McLaren to name a few. For the most part it is a romantic space for peaceful  contemplation.  But as our days grow shorter, the gloomy wintery light, rambling vegetation and decaying tombstones enhance the ghostly legends and Victorian Gothic spookiness of it all.

 

The Old Operating Theatre Museum

Creepy places to visit in London

The Old Operating Theatre Museum was created in 1822 before the introduction of anaesthetics and antiseptics.  It is the oldest operating theatre to survive in Europe and has been carefully conserved.  It is an intimate space, approached up a narrow winding staircase into the garret of St Thomas’ Church.  The adjoining museum space is where the creepy really steps up with exhibits of ancient surgical instruments, body parts in bottles – the usual anatomical gruesomeness of it all.  The operating theatre is also a venue for hire.   Yes, you heard right – canapés and fizz can be oganised for an event amidst the gore and ghosts of patients long dead on the operating table.

 

The Victor Wynd Museum of Curiosities

Scary spooky haunted places to visit in London | The London Agent

The Victor Wynd Museum of Curiosities showcases lots of creepy dead stuff.  From shrunken heads to Dodo bones the collection is whimsical, bizarre and gruesome.  Some of the extensive collection of taxidermy can be bought or commissioned. Linger longer at the cocktail bar serving Absinthe or hire the venue for your own private revelry.  Surreal art exhibitions and events are also scheduled throughout the year.  The museum is deliberately subversive and celebrates the 19th Century vogue for collecting and displaying anything that took your fancy – the more macabre the better.  It is grotesque and scary, fantastic and funny and seriously worth the shiver.

 

Chislehurst Caves

Creepy caves, dark narrow tunnels and gloomy ponds. It’s the stuff of Gollum and Harry Potter, smugglers and murderers. The Chislehurst Caves are actually 35 km’s of subterranean, man made chalk mines, dating back to at least the 13th century. Guided tours are conducted in the dark, by lamp light and are atmospheric and entertaining. The question is – would you stay overnight, on your own?

 

 

Plague Pits

Did you know there are Plague Pits, which are essentially mass graves for plague victims, dotted all over London.  Many are now elegant and peaceful garden squares or notable public parks, such as Green Park in central London.  None of them give any indication of the thousands of people buried only a few meters below, and who would have died a miserable and gruesome death. Charterhouse Square is the largest where an estimated 50 000 people have been buried since 1348, some of them still alive when they were disposed of.  Little wonder there are innumerable tales of mysterious moans, groans and shrieks on dark London nights.