10 FREE THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH TEENS

London is an amazing city but it can be a pricey one.  Keeping your teens entertained needn’t cost a fortune and here are my top 10 free things to do in London with teens.

NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM

National Army Museum
Everything you wanted to know about the British Army and lots more.   The stand-out fact for me was that there was no British Army as such until the Civil War.  We shall be going again soon to help make the ‘War through time’ module of GCSE History syllabus a bit more palatable and understandable. Read more about our visit here.

Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HT

LONDON’S ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE

London's Roman Amphitheatre
Tucked away deep beneath the City of London are the remains of London’s Roman Amphitheatre.  To get there you need to go to the Guildhall Art Gallery, walk past all the paintings, round corners, down stairs, down more stairs and finally through a set of double doors (don’t worry, there are signs).  Once through the doors, it is hard to imagine that a moment ago you were in an art gallery.  Low walls stretch out, beneath your feet you can see real Roman sewers and clever lighting recreates the stands around you.  You can read about our visit here.

Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, London EC2V 5AE

WELLCOME COLLECTION

10 Free Things to do in London with teens
Napoleon’s toothbrush, mummified babies, used guillotine blades and this handy model showing acupuncture points are just some of this things on display in this fabulously quirky collection. Sir Henry Wellcome founded the eponymous pharmaceutical company and used some of his money to amass this medically-related stash of things.  It is the perfect place for the incurably curious.  It has a great café too.

Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE

MATHS GALLERY, SCIENCE MUSEUM

Maths Gallery, Science Museum
Maths: just lines of dull numbers or the most beautiful thing imaginable?  The Maths Gallery at the Science Museum will convince you of the magic and possibility of numerical mastery.  Even the most reluctant teen museum visitor will be smitten by the computers.  You can read more about our visit here.

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD

MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS

Museum of London Docklands

Tall tower blocks make London’s Docklands feel more like America than Britain.  The Museum of London Docklands tells the tale of the area from being the commercial heart of Empire to global financial centre.  Even better, the journey to the museum is best made on the DLR with its driverless trains, my teens no longer enjoy sitting at the front and pretending to drive the train but I have great fun doing so (whilst they skulk at the back disowning me).  Go before the end of September 2017 and see Tunnel, an exhibition showcasing the many amazing archaeological finds uncovered during the construction of the Elizabeth Line.  Read more about our visit here.

Museum of London Docklands, No 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL

STROLL ALONG THE SOUTHBANK

10 Free Things to do in London with Teens
Great views and more silver men standing still than you can shake a stick at are to be had as you stroll along the Southbank of the Thames.  Get off the train at Blackfriars, walk along the north bank for a little way before heading over the Millenium Bridge (aka the Wobbly Bridge) toward Tate Modern.  Maybe pop inside (also free) and ascend the Switch House for panoramic views over London.  Then head east toward the Royal Festival Hall: on your way you will past golden sandy beaches and skateboarders perfecting their skills under the Queen Elizabeth Hall.  My teens love selecting lunch from the street food market behind the Royal Festival Hall.

WALLACE COLLECTION

Wallace Collection
Teens of both genders may like coming face to face with the Laughing Cavalier but it will probably be the boys that appreciate the world class collection of armour.  Whole suits of horse armour and intricately chased suits designed to be admired in rather than actually worn into battle as well as more workmanlike examples are on display.  Elsewhere you can see Marie Antoinette’s desk and many, many fine pictures.  Read more here.

Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BU

QUEEN’S HOUSE

Queen's House
Greenwich, to the south of London, was a favourite residence of the Royal family for many years.  Henry VIII was born here.  Nothing remains of his palace as his Jacobean successors had the current spectacular collection of buildings put up in their place.  The Queen’s House was the first to be constructed, now it is home to an interesting collection of paintings and provides great views of the Observatory in one direction and the glittering tower of docklands in the other, read more about our visit here.

Queen’s House, Romney Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF

NATIONAL GALLERY

Look Down!
Renaissance masterpieces, Tigers striding through forests, Canaletto’s canals or Monet’s lilies: all these and more are on offer at the National Gallery.  I defy anybody to fail to find at least one image that they love in the National Gallery.  As you stride up the main staircase take time to look down at the magnificent mosaics depicting great figures including Winston Churchill.

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

DESIGN MUSEUM


Jeans, jugs and an Olivetti typewriter are just a few of the things on display at the Design Museum in its swanky new home on High Street Kensington. The permament collection is located in the top right hand corner of the building. Take time to walk up and round walkways rather than catch the lift to take in the full grandeur of the space. Read more about our visit here.

Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, London W8 6AG

Do you have favourite free places to take your teens in London?

10 Free things to do in London with teens

MummyTravels
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17 Comments

  1. May 29, 2017 / 7:53 pm

    What wonderful ideas….When I think of London I always think of how expensive it it. I didn’t realise there was so many free days out x #MMBC

    • May 29, 2017 / 8:05 pm

      Even better if you take a picnic with you!

  2. May 30, 2017 / 8:43 am

    Haven’t been a teen for a while but there are plenty of these I’d love to visit! The Wallace Collection has been on my ‘must visit’ list for a while, the Amphitheatre and the Wellcome Collection I hadn’t heard of but am definitely noting for the future! Great recommendations. 🙂 #citytripping

    • May 30, 2017 / 8:47 am

      The Amphitheatre is so hidden that visiting feels like entering a secret world!

  3. May 30, 2017 / 8:52 am

    great ideas! #citytripping

  4. May 30, 2017 / 12:59 pm

    M favourite place for kids of any age has to be the science museum #citytripping

    • May 30, 2017 / 3:19 pm

      It is easy to disappear for a whole day into the Science Museum and still need more time!

  5. May 30, 2017 / 4:35 pm

    I lived in London for a few years and have only done a few of those things. I didn’t even know that there was a maths museum! Although, it’s probably not my thing, I’m fascinated by the number of quality free museums in London! #CityTripping

  6. May 30, 2017 / 9:36 pm

    Lovely ideas! I’m hoping to make it to Greenwich next time, and the design museum looks great!

  7. May 31, 2017 / 8:29 am

    Great ideas in this list! I hope to visit the Museum of London Docklands and the National Army Museum this summer – and the Roman amphitheatre sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing! #CityTripping

  8. June 1, 2017 / 7:22 pm

    There are some old favourites – the Wallace Collection especially – and some new ideas here for me. I havent been to the Design Museum in this location. I think it used to be on the Southbank? Love your work as always. Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

    • June 1, 2017 / 7:57 pm

      If I could choose just one it would be the Wallace Collection

  9. jphowze
    June 2, 2017 / 11:16 am

    Oooh that maths exhibit at the Science Museum looks ace. We have a couple of teens in our household — great suggestions for when they’re taking a break from studying! #farawayfiles

    • June 2, 2017 / 12:00 pm

      The breaks seem to be longer than he study in our house!

  10. June 7, 2017 / 11:05 pm

    The Design Museum is free? Screw the teens – I’m going! Ha. Just kidding. Maybe? Great list. I can’t believe I missed the Winston Churchill mosaic at the National Gallery. I think my teens would dig the Army museum and the Southbank stroll. Then we’d probably be required to try to spend lots of money at the sneaker shops. Ah gotta love teens. Great list Catherine – thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • June 8, 2017 / 7:32 am

      At least you’ll have not spent the sneaker money on entertainment!

  11. June 8, 2017 / 7:36 am

    Exactly and that might be just the motivation my teens need to see some culture first! 😉

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