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

Nov 26, 2015 by

This Weekend for the Whole Family


Hampstead Christmas Festival: Sunday 29th, noon – ?.  Hampstead High Street will be turned into a winter wonderland with over 90 stalls including children’s activities, reindeer, a film show, live music, Christmas grotto, funfair, food and drink.


Chelsea Physic Garden Christmas Fair: Come and enjoy the serene beauty of the Chelsea Physic gardens while browsing the unique and unusual gift stalls.  Book children take part in the crafty Christmas activities on Saturday and Sunday – £6.60 for the workshops, adults £9.90 plus £6 entry to the gardens.


Victoria Park, Winterville: Head out to Victoria Park and enjoy a huge Christmas village complete with rides, ice skating, children’s areas and activities.


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


British Museum: Head over to the museum for Pop-up Chess in the Great Court from 11am-1:30  – looks really interesting with living chess and the opportunity to play individual games.  At 2pm, there is a screening of Brave in the BP Theatre.  Both events are free and drop-in.


Le Institute Francias, Game Lab: head over and enjoy the last session of this fun session of gaming, its great fun, free, but booking in advance is essential as they are VERY well attended.


Half Moon Theatre, The Boy Who Never Grew Up: Saturday 28th, 11am and 2pm, ages 4+, £6.50. Inspired by J.M. Barrie’s classic tale, head to Neverland with two expert make-believers.  Music, puppetry and fun.


London Design Museum, Create and Make Christmas Decorations:  Bring the kids to make Christmas cards and bunting.  Sunday 29th, 1-4pm, free with entry, ages 5-11.


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.


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.

This Weekend for Much Older Children

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.

Hackney Aquatic Club Swim Squad: HAC is putting together a new squad, for competitive and non-competitive swimmers.  Book in advance for a brief trial where you will be advised the best squad to join.

Babies and Toddlers 


Monkey Music Winter Wonderland Workshop: Saturday 28th, 12:30pm for infants from 3 months.  Bring the entire family and take part in all the fun of Monkey Music.  Book your spot 020 8767 9827.

Monkey Music Complimentary Brompton Library Session: Head over to Brompton Library for a free taster session Wednesday 2nd, 11am.  For children ages 3 months – 4 years.  No need to book, just drop-in.

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: Bridge of Spies. 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 with the baby, this week’s feature: Carol.  Tuesdays, 10am

Clapham Picturehouse, Big Scream: Head to Clapham and see Bridge of Spies  Sundays and Thursday, 10:30, £7.50.

Ritzy, Brixton, Big Scream: Fridays, 11am, £7.50.  This week’s features: Bridge of Spies and Black Mass.

Rich Mix, Parents and Babies: See The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.  Various dates, Monday 23rd November – 3rd December.  £6

Family Cinema 

Somerset House, Tintin and they Mystery of the Golden Fleece: Bring the kids to watch the 1961 classic.  Saturday 28th, noon-1:35 and 2-3:35pm.  Tickets just £6 (warning – there is a big ice rink outside!!)

Rich Mix Kids’ Cine Time: The Book of Life, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th, noon.  Tickets just £1.75

Curzon Cinema, Victoria:  This week’s programme, Ghosthunters.  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: Matilda.  £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 Ghosthunters. £3.00 per person.

Ritzy, Brixton, Kids’ Club: Saturdays, 10:30am.  £1.50.  This week’s feature: Matilda.

Electric Cinema, Kid’s Club: This week’s feature, Paper Planes, 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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