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

Mar 10, 2016 by


I recently made a trip to the refugee encampment in Calais, just before the bulldozing began.  I went to have a look at the overall situation in the camp, but also to look at The Catholic Worker House that was started in Calais to help serve refugees in Calais and Dunkirk.   If you care to read a bit more, please see my piece in the Huffington Post.  Also, please consider donating to the Catholic Worker House via my Just Giving Page, even £5 can help sponsor the stay of long-term volunteers.



London Irish Centre, Family Ceili: A family friendly evening of traditional Irish music, song and dance.  Free entry, all ages, Friday 11th March 7:30pm.

St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade: Sunday 13th, noon-6pm, Trafalgar Square.  Head to Piccadilly for midday and then watch the parade wind its way to Trafalgar Square for a showcasing of Irish music, dance, bands, sport and more.


Shakepeare’s Globe, Twelfth Night Family Performance:  Saturday 12th and 19th March, tickets £5 for standing, £10-£15 for seated.  This is a full-scale, but fast-paced, 90 minute performance of Twelfth Night.


Southbank, Women of the World Festival: Bring the kids over to Southbank and participate in the Women of the World Festival.  There are fencing workshops, poetry workshops, coding workshops for kids … there is even a creche for grown-ups who want to participate in the non-family events.

Museum of London Science Week: Head over to the Museum of London where students from Imperial College will be taking over the museum and helping younger students explore the amazing world of science and technology in London as part of British Science Week.  Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th from 11-4pm.


Whitechapel Gallery Electronic Superhighway:  The new exhibition, Electronic Superhighway, explores how the internet is changing art.  Inspired by the display Intellectual Barbarians: The Kibbo Kift Kindered, get crafty with Rebecca Davies by creating your own colourful costumes.  Event is for all ages, free, booking is advised, but drop-ins welcome if there is room.  Saturday, noon-4pm.


Somerset House, Venturing Beyond with Pat Bradbury: Look beyond the boundaries of space and play in this artist-led workshop with a twist. Explore how thinking, acting and being affect what we make and how we create as part of the Venturing Beyond exhibition.  Free, drop-in ages 6-12 (younger siblings welcome).  Saturday noon-3pm.


Le Institute Francais, Discovering Piano: Saturday 12th, 2:30pm – have a go at the piano, try out a new instrument is a sociable activity with friends or other children.  Ages 6+, booking essential, £5 per person.

Family Performance This Weekend:

Half Moon Theatre, Tom Thumb Saturday 12th, 11am and 2pm, ages 4-9.  Long ago when the world was wood, the most fearsome foe was the one that breathed fire.  Come and enjoy the first folk story ever printed in English, Tom Thumb.

Lyric Hammersmith, The Elves and the Shoemaker: Saturday 12th, 11am and 1pm, ages 3-9,  £8. This well-loved tale is beautifully retold using puppets, sublime music and a kaleidoscope of miniature shoes.

Puppet Theatre Barge, Joey’s Fireworks: Head over to London’s most enchanting theatre for a beautiful tale filled with humour.  Saturday 11am and 3pm; Sunday 3pm.  Adults £10, children £8.50.  Check out my review and pub recommendation here

Unicorn Theatre, Jaramee, Hartledy and Oooglemore : Jaramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore are at the seaside and things start to go wrong.  For ages 3-7

Little Angel Theatre, Alice in Wonderland : Beautiful puppetry, live music, captivating storytelling.  Saturday 11am, 2pm.  Sunday 11am (all age performance) and 2pm.  Suitable for age 5-8; £10 adults, £8 children.

Babies and Toddlers 


Pippa’s Poppets, Pippa Cleary, founder of Pippa’s Poppets is an award-winning composer who has written songs for CBeebies, National Youth Theatre, Stagecoach along with several award-winning musicals. Pippa’s Poppets include homemade drums, click sticks and shakers. Venues include Mondays and Thursdays in Pimlico; Tuesdays at St. Columba’s Knightsbridge; Thursdays at Christchurch Chelsea; Fridays at Bumpkin South Kensington.

Postparty: Fitness and Fun for Bump, Baby and Beyond:  Join Postparty online fitness instruction for 3 months free (offer good for 6 weeks).  Use it at home, with or without the kids, in the office, on the go – your personal fitness instructor.

National Gallery, Welcome Wednesdays: Bring the paintings to life with music, storytelling, art and messy play for the littlest ones.  Wednesdays, 10:30-11:10am.

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, 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: Trumbo. 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 Witch and Anomalisa.  Sundays and Thursdays 10:30, £7.50.

Ritzy, Brixton, Big Scream: Fridays, 11am, £7.50.  This week’s features: Anomalisa and The Witch.

Family Cinema 

Regent Street Cinema, The Good Dinosaur : What would it be like if dinosaurs had never become extinct?  Saturday, 10:30am, just £1.75.

BFI Families: Big Hero 6, Saturday, 1:30.  Move IT! Family Animators Sunday 13th, 11am, stop animation family workshop. £4 for kids,  – £11.75 for grown-ups.

Framed Film Club:  Head to the Barbican for the Framed Film Club, this week’s feature: Shaun the Sheep Movie.  Saturday 11am.

Curzon Cinema, Victoria:  This week’s programme, Snoopy and Charlie Brown: Peanuts Movie.  Saturday and Sunday, 10:30. £3.50 per person.

Gate Picturehouse, Kids Club: This week’s programme: Snoopy and Charlie Brown: A Peanuts Movie, tickets just  £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 Snoopy and Charlie Brown: A Peanuts Movie, £3.00 per person.

Ritzy, Brixton, Kids’ Club: Saturdays, 10:30am.  £1.50.  This week’s feature: Snoopy and Charlie Brown: A Peanuts Movie.

Electric Cinema, Kid’s Club: This week’s feature, Capture the Flag, 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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