Ah, London in the summer! School's out, the sun is shining, and the kids are getting restless. It's easy to fall into the trap of paying roughly £100 a pop for family outings to attractions like Madame Tussauds or the London Dungeons, not to mention dropping upwards of £50 for an afternoon at the cinema or Peppa Pig Live. It all adds up and leaves fewer pennies in your piggy bank for family holidays later on. Save your cash while soaking in the sun and the community spirit alike at one of London's numerous free family events this year.
Trooping the Colour
Take in the history and the pageantry of the Queen's birthday parade, which has been held annually since 1820. Watch the Queen carry out an inspection of troops from the Household Division before they parade down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. Tickets are allocated by ballot, but anyone can turn up to the Mall to watch the parade and enjoy the spectacle. This year it will be held on Saturday 14 of June.
Museum of Childhood Summer Festival
Head on down to Bethnal Green on July 27 to take part in the Museum of Childhood's cheerful summer festival, which features rickshaw rides, live music, craft activities, and children's performers for your entertainment. Browse the stalls for some cakes and take a stroll through the gardens.
Lambeth Country Show
You don't have to travel too far to feel like you're in the country this summer. Just visit the Lambeth Country Show in Brockwell Park on the weekend of July 19-20 for exciting events from horse jousting to sheep dog displays. There will be arts and crafts stalls, horticulture competitions, farm animals, and naturally plenty of candy floss.
Interactive puppet games and a travelling menagerie provide entertainment straight out of a Dickens tale. Enjoy street theatre, food, and live music at this event deriving inspiration from Victorian fairs. The Greenwich Fair is held at the Cutty Sark Gardens at the Old Royal Naval College from June 20-22, with no shortage of surreal performances to surprise and delight.
Free Performances at The Scoop
If you're in the mood for a spot of something cultural, take advantage of the free theatre events at The Scoop amphitheatre throughout the month of August. There will be a variety of evening open-air shows designed for both kids and adults, with tickets available on a first-come first-served basis.
Sensational Butterflies Exhibition
Alright, so this one's a bit of a cheat as it's only free for under-4's, but the Sensational Butterflies exhibition at the National History Museum is always a blockbuster kid-pleaser. Visit on a rainy day and be whisked away into a tropical world of colourful butterflies from around the world.
Are you travelling to London from out of town this summer? Check out this guide for some ideas of where to stay that will keep costs low, and this list of 50 free things to do while you're here. London has the reputation of being expensive, but fortunately for visitors there's a wealth of free museums, galleries, parks, and events to enjoy.