What’s On: London’s Best Free and Affordable Weekend Family Events

Nov 19, 2015 by

This Weekend for the Whole Family


St. Martin in the Field, LMA Mini Maestro: Saturday, 4:30.  Beethoven’s 5th and Ode to Joy.  Bring the kids for an interactive, family concert.  Tickets are £8.50 adults, £6.50 children.


Pumphouse Gallery, Sunday Social: Sunday 11:30-3:30 join artist Ann Pennington for a workshop that focuses on the ideas of the Open exhibition Things We Didn’t Have Before.  Free, all ages, drop in.


National Maritime Museum, Plague Takeover: Saturday 11am-3pm.  Come and enjoy a free day of plague-themed events and family actives to celebrate the opening of the new exhibition Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire and Revolution.  Watch out for plague victims, learn about “Plague Patient Zero” activity, get spotty by a professional make-up artist… and more.  Free, drop-in, all ages.

This Weekend for Younger Children (and perhaps their older siblings)


Wigmore Hall, Ensemble 360 and Polly Ives: Crazy Creatures.  Saturday, 11am-noon.  Bring children ages 4+ to the sumptuous Wigmore Hall for a family concert.  Adults £10, children £8.


Half Moon Theatre, Once Upon a Snowflake: Saturday 21st, 11am and 2pm, ages 3+, £6.50. Liza has gone missing and no one knows where she can be.  One thing’s for certain, those mysterious Winter Sprites may have something to do with it.  Shadow puppetry, storytelling and songs.

This Weekend for Older Children (and perhaps their younger siblings) 


Museum of Childhood, One Way Ticket: Saturday 21st and 28th November, 1:30 trail, 2-3 performance, 3:15-4:30 workshop.  Performance with Half Moon Theatre offers insight into the British Child Mirgrants’ scandal in the years following WWII.  For children ages 8+, free but booking essential.


Le Institute Francais, South Ken Kids Festival: head over to South Kensington for a week filled with live workshops, drawing events, talks, films and more.  Meet your favourite children’s authors and illustrators, too.


Southbank Centre, Bump Rollerdisco: as part of Winter at Southbank Centre Festival, bring the kids to a mobile roller disco (or, children over the age of 12 can go on their own) from Friday 20th November – 17th January, 11am -11pm daily.   Tickets £10 adult, £7.50 children.


Forest Hill, The Inaugural Kraken Salon: A Birthday Party.  Saturday 3-7pm.  Come to Forest Hill for an afternoon of games, music and revolution.  Kraken Studios are putting on an anything goes afternoon of creativity and niceness … and BEER!! Take part in a testing a new workshops where we get to be a room-sized computer console.  Poetry, design, bring instruments or voices, make a picture book … anything.  Free, booking essential.

This Weekend for Much Older Children


Royal College of Music Sparks, Springboard Collective:  10:30am, Sunday.  For children ages 13-18, take part in a two-weekend workshop where students can develop their creativity and performance skills which may support future GCSE or A-Level work.  

Royal Academy, Ai Weiwei: now until the 13th of December.  I took my daughter for her big 10th birthday to the exhibit and cannot recommend it more highly.  The artwork is provocative, reactive, concrete and some works incredibly abstract.  The installation includes life-sized models of his time in prison.  The exhibit is not at all appropriate for young children as the installations are too easy to touch.  £16 for adults, children are free.

Babies and Toddlers 

Pimlico Toy Library: Pimlico Toy Library has a new web site showcasing all their wonderful children’s workshops and baby playtimes.  This is a fantastic resource for any parent or carer, the toys are fastidiously cleaned and the art workshops are brilliantly planned with high quality materials

Electric Cinema, Electric Scream: Mondays, 10:30.  This week’s feature: Steve Jobs. Bring babies under 12 months to this amazingly plush cinema, relax with some coffee and catch a flick.

Everyman Belzise Park, Baby Club: Head up to Belsize Park and catch a film.  Tuesdays, 10am, watch Steve Jobs

Clapham Picturehouse, Big Scream: Head to Clapham and see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.  Sundays and Thursday, 10:30, £7.50.

Ritzy, Brixton, Big Scream: Fridays, 11am, £7.50.  This week’s features: The Dressmaker, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and Tangerine.

Family Cinema 

BFI Family Cinema: Sunday 8th November, Preview – The Good Dindosaur And Q &A with director Peter Sohn and producer Denise Ream 11:50pm.  Kids £4, adults £11.75.

Curzon Cinema, Victoria:  This week’s programme, Maya the Bee.  Saturday and Sunday, 10:30. £3.50 per person.  On Saturday at 11am and 4pm, there will be a screening of He Named me Malala, PG (full price).

Gate Picturehouse, Kids Club: This week’s programme: Bill.  £1 with £4 membership, popcorn and juice £2. (best £3 you will ever spend on a rainy Saturday)

Bloomsbury Curzon: 10:30 Saturday, this week’s screening is Maya the Bee. £3.00 per person.

Ritzy, Brixton, Kids’ Club: Fridays, 11am.  £1.50.  This week’s feature: Bill.

Electric Cinema, Kid’s Club: This week’s feature, Zarafa, 10:30am. Check out the Electric Cinema with its plush, red velvet beds, sofas and armchairs. Looks like a great way for Dad to occupy the kids on a Saturday morning.

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