Are you looking for something to do in London that won’t cost a penny? Do you need somewhere to go on a rainy day in the UK’s capital city? The sprawling metropolis is fat with museums embracing a wide range of subjects and many have one thing in common – you can get in for free.
What’s more, these museums are extremely child-friendly, giving plenty of opportunity to touch as well as to look and providing structured activities such as themed trails.
The larger museums will often host a special display for the season and which they charge for, but access to the vast majority of the museum remains at no charge. Donations are encouraged and every visitor should be able to leave a few coins as token of their appreciation.
Here’s a list of the top museums you can get into for free and which should provide several days of entertainment and education:
The British Museum
Thousands of years of human history are squeezed into room after room at this world-famous institution. The dramatic hall of Egyptian sculpture is not to be missed, and because most children love the macabre they be pleased to meet the long-dead Egyptians ‘Bones’ and ‘Ginger’.
The Natural History Museum
the dinosaur exhibition is always popular, and there’s always a long queue so be prepared to wait. Children also enjoy the creepy-crawly display and gaze in awe at the life-sized blue whale hanging from the ceiling.
The Science Museum
technology is always popular with and this museum has plenty of buttons to push and screens to looks at, along with a huge range of machines, some very one. Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’, the first true railway locomotive, is found here. The basement contains enough hands-on activities to keep children busy all day.
Victoria Albert Museum
this huge building is a historical showcase of art and design from around the world. It might not be so appealing to children, but not everyone looking for an inexpensive day out will have little people to entertain. Save some for another visit – there’s just too much to take in on one day.
Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green
An outpost of the V A; which focuses on children and will have plenty for them to do.
Museum of London
The story of the great city is laid out: prehistory, the Roman period, the squalid medieval city and the destructive Great Fire of 1666, the drama and poverty of the Victorians, the Second World War Blitz and more.
Bank of England Museum
Founded in 1694 the bank has played a key role in the world’s financial development. The museum accessed a wealth of historical material included the weapons once used by the armed guards.
British Dental Association Museum
This museum has limited opening hours of 1pm to 4pm on Tuesday and Thursday only. But it’s worth making an appointment!
Based in Forest Hill this museum began as a collection by a Victorian tea-trader but it hasn’t stopped there. It contains a wide range of material from across the world.
Earlier this year I decided it would be a good bonding experience to take my grandson on a trip to London, England. After checking out the London hotel prices and locations online and reading numerous reviews I decided on a hotel/motel called the Premier Inn. We traveled in late May from Tucson, Arizona and approximately 20 hours later landed at London’s Heathrow Airport. We found a taxi and headed for our Premier Inn, which was about a ten minute drive from Heathrow Airport. We checked in, settled into our room and caught up on some much needed sleep.
The following day we planned our London sightseeing for the next three days deciding on the Open Top London Double Decker Bus Tour, the Stonehenge and Bath Tour and a day at the Science Museum. We also decided we would connect with the tours from London’s Victoria Station area by taking the bus, which stopped right in front of the hotel, to the local underground station and then take the train to Victoria Station. The rest of the day was spent exploring the area adjacent to the hotel and taking our first London bus ride and we made it back to the hotel just fine.
Taking the Open Top Double Decker Bus Tour was a great way to see London. The tour took us to Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Thames cruise, the Tower of London and ending up on The Mall to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. The only drawback for me was the constant going up and down the stairs from the top deck of the bus at the different sights. As my legs turned to jelly we finally stayed on the lower deck of the bus. We could still hear the tour guide though who was very knowledgeable and quite a comedian and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
We picked up the Stonehenge and Bath tour at the Victoria Coach Station and set off in our air conditioned coach to Stonehenge. The drive through the English countryside to the Salisbury plain was beautiful. Walking around the Stonehenge circle of lintels and megalithic pillars amongst hundred of tourist not so beautiful. Sitting on the grass contemplating the stones very relaxing. The trip to Bath through the English countryside also a very pleasant experience and our Roman baths tour guide, dressed as a Roman legionary, was again very knowledgeable and entertaining. All in all a good tour.
The Science Museum was about a ten minute walk from the Kensington underground station. There was quite a lot to see and do there, which included the IMAX 3D Cinema, interactive exhibits and games, galleries exhibiting British flight pioneers and collections from 1750 to 2000 showing development of the industrial world. We were in there most of the day and we found it pretty interesting.
Most of our meals on this trip were eaten in pubs or cafes along the tour routes, which were adequate and even downright tasty in some cases. My grandson loved the fish and chips. I believe he ate fish and chips almost every day we were there. When the trip was over, my grandson and I both decided it had been a great trip and something we can remember for the rest of our lives.
Rainham in Essex is a small surburban village in the United Kingdom and is part of the London Borough of Havering. It was once a very small town that started to grow in population in the 1930’s. Rainham is situated near the A13 road, which can take you into London very quickly. It is a ten minute drive to Lakeside shopping mall in Thurrock, Essex in the opposite direction from London and it is, also, a twenty minute drive to Romford and Hornchurch shopping areas.
I have lived in Rainham for many years previous to living in Cyprus. My children grew up here and went to the primary Catholic school called La Salette. In the grounds of where the school is situated is also a Catholic church and a Social Club.
Rainham has a great community spirit and it has become very popular to many families from London areas who want to buy property in Rainham. Of course, in the past, there have been a lack of properties for sale in Rainham, Essex, because property owners never want to sell once they move to Rainham.
What to See and do in and Around Rainham
Rainham village Fayres – The Rainham village fayres have been running for around 12 years. Fayres usually take place on the first May bank holiday and the first Saturday in December. There is an Art Exhibition at the Rainham Hall in the May bank holiday fayre and Rainham Village Library have a craft day in the December fayre. There are usually a variety of stalls all around Rainham village and going up Upminster Road South.
Hotels – In Rainham there is the Premier Inn, which is called Willow Farm. There is a restaurant and pub there too, which many residents of Rainham visit for an evening meal out or to meet family and friends. I have stayed at this hotel many times when visiting England from Cyprus and I would recommend staying at any of the Premier Inns throughout the United Kingdom, as they are all exactly the same as the one in Rainham. I know this as I have stayed in many others in England.
Shopping – There is a Tesco Extra in Rainham for supermarket shopping or to buy practically anything, as Tesco Extras now sell everything from food to furniture. For a wider range of shopping you can visit Romford market or the shopping center there. There are lots of shops to choose from in Romford. There is also Lakeside shopping mall, which is not far from Rainham. There are three floors in Lakeside. Two floors are full of shops, (go to the Lakeside UK website for more information) and the top floor is equipped with eating places. There are a complex of cinemas at Lakeside and outside is the river area where restaurants and pubs can be find.
Theatre – Nearby Rainham is Hornchurch where the Queen’s Theatre is situated. There are many fantastic theatre production plays and musicals to see at this amazing theatre. For more information on what is on there today, go to the Queen’s Theatre website.
Rainham Social Club and Working Men’s Club – These social clubs in Rainham are for members only. If you know someone that is a member, then you can attend with them as a visitor. The clubs have some live entertainment, a bar and dancing.
Transport From Rainham to London
The transport from Rainham to London is excellent. From Rainham Railway station you can get a train to Fenchurch Street that takes twenty mintues. There are tube stations nearby called Dagenham East, Dagenham Heathway or Elm Park that will enable you to take the District Line on the underground tube system and will take you directly into London Victoria or you can change to get to other places in London. To London Victoria from Elm Park it will take around thirty-five minutes.
Rainham in Essex is a good place to live or to visit if wanting to come to England for a holiday.