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

Jan 14, 2016 by

This Weekend for the Whole Family:

Brixton Bloc, Remembrance of Bowie: Saturday, noon-11pm, after 6pm £3 entry.  Just around the corner from Stansfield Road where David Bowie was born, Brixton Bloc will be playing Labyrinth all day, along with music from this creative mastermind.


Lumiere London: head over to King’s Cross, Mayfair, Piccadilly, Regent Street, St James’s, Trafalgar Square and Westminster to marvel in how international artists have illuminated our city and brightened up these early nights.  6:30-10pm.

For anyone wishing to think about including more fitness in their 2016, do check out local mum Kerri Holland’s new Postparty online fitness videos. This is a fabulous resource for anyone staying at home with small children, or returning to work and unable to squeeze a visit to the gym into the grind (there are workouts for home and office).


If you do some social media sharing or sing up to be a free member to Postparty site, you can also enter to win a complimentary stay at the sumptuous all-inclusive family guest house, Villa Pia in Lippiano Italy, during April or May, excluding May half-term.  Should you win, you, your spouse and infant (any additional children and activities will incur regular the tariff) will be treated to a 6 night stay in Villa Pia, be wined and dined for all meals except Thursdays (chef’s day off) and have use of two swimming pools, tennis courts, grounds, play equipment, cots, highchairs, cutlery … a true holiday for parents.

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


National Portrait Gallery, Drop-in Family Session: Drawing Faces.  Children ages 3+ should come to the 1-2:30 session; children age 7+ from 3-4:30pm.  Sunday, free, drop-in.


Lyric Hammersmith, Snow Child: Saturday, 11am and 1:30pm, ages 3-8 (children under 18 months can sit in laps free of charge).  As Autumn leaves fall and the foxes, wolves and bears hide month the trees, you are brought into a wonderful story of love, family and the power of dreams.  Tickets £8.


Le Institute Francais, Music for Kids, Discovering Violin:  For children ages 5+, a social, hands-on discovery session introducing children to different instruments.  This Saturday is violin; other sessions include viola, piano and cello.


Royal Academy, Family Studio: Fresh Prints: Costumed models and exotic animals bring the works of Jean-Eitenne Liotard to life. Draw massive mono prints, get inky and learn about art.  Sunday 11am-3pm, free, drop-in, all ages.


Half Moon Theatre, Big Wow Small Wonder: Saturday, 11am and 2pm, £6.50. Justin is the smallest boy in the whole town; so small that he can swim with goldfish, his sister takes him to school in her lunchbox, so small the bullies want to catch him and keep him as a pet.  For ages 4-8.



Unicorn Theatre, Up Club and Up Club: Head over on Saturday mornings for a free art session.  This Saturday make snazzy shells, noon-2pm, age 2+, drop-in.

This Weekend for Much Older Children


Wigmore Hall, Musical Explorers: Come join violinist Alison Blunt and the students from the Royal Academy of Music and explore improvisation inspired by musical genres from around the world.  Saturday, 10:30-3:20pm, ages 5+, £15 adult, £10 child.


Noel Coward Theatre, A Christmas Carol: This is neither free, nor affordable, but we took the kids and went as a family on New Year’s Eve and had the most wonderful time.  As you would expect, the kids LOVED Jim Broadbent who brilliantly played Ebenezer Scrooge with a perfect balance of timing and physical comedy to keep them roaring with laughter, while the grown-up thoroughly enjoyed the anti-austerity political commentary running throughout the play.  Worth every penny, if you have any left after the holidays.


Stratfod Circus, Chotto Desh: Akram Khan’s 2011 hit has been adapted for children ages 7+ and their families.   Chat Desh, meaning “small homeland”, draws on the story of a young man’s dreams from Britain to Bangladesh using dance, text, visuals and sound.

Monkey Music Spring Term

Monkey Music, the “must do” specialist, baby and toddler music classes have a few remaining spaces in their ever-popular Chelsea venues.  These mum and baby music classes are favourites with over 400 local mums, and are a great way to connect with other families in your neighbourhood.  The venues are lovely, carefully chosen for mums and pushchairs.


The light-filled, spacious Cineworld Cinema venue is a favourite with local mums; colourful and fun with sweeping fews over Fulham road. Coopers Arms, just off Flood Street, is another fabulous venue and very convenient for anyone running an older child to school in the area.


Monkey Music is extending a special offer to new members:  half-price on its membership in January.  Please ring Caroline 0208 767 9827 or email chelsea.westminster@monkeymusic.co.uk to book your complimentary trial class and receive half off your membership fee; book early to avoid disappointment.



Little Diggers, Vauxhall City Farm: A gardening club for parents and toddlers with a range of activities that get children digging in soil and growing food.  Thursdays 10-11:30, children ages 2-4, £4 per adult.

Babies and Toddlers


Royal Albert Hall, Storytelling and Music Sessions: Could you think of a more stately venue to introduce 0-4 year olds to music, movement and storytelling?  Join seasoned storytellers Paul Rubinstein, Olivia Armstrong and Becky Dixon to this fabulous, hands-on, musical storytelling session.  Wednesdays, 10 am and 11:30 (sold out), tickets just £5.

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, 11:00.  This week’s feature: The Lady in the Van. Bring babies under 12 months to this amazingly plush cinema, relax with some coffee and catch a flick.

Clapham Picturehouse, Big Scream: Head to Clapham and see The Revenant  Sunday and Thursday Room, 10:30, £7.50.

Ritzy, Brixton, Big Scream: Fridays, 11am, £7.50.  This week’s features: Room, The Revenant and Joy.

Rich Mix, Parents and Babies: See Start Wars The Force Awakens.  Monday 11th January  £6, 11:40

Family Cinema 

BFI Families: bring the kids to see Goonies on the big screen.  £4 – £10.65, Sunday 1:20


Curzon Cinema, Victoria:  This week’s programme, Little Penguin Prororo’s Racing Adventure,  Saturday and Sunday, 10:30. £3.50 per person. .

Gate Picturehouse, Kids Club: This week’s programme: Zarafa.  £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 Little Penguin Pororo’s Racing Adventure £3.00 per person.

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

Electric Cinema, Kid’s Club: This week’s feature, The Little Penguin Pororo’s Racing Adventure, 9:30am. 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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