Bablands: Free family days in January


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    Welcome back to our new monthly roundup of the best free things to do with kids in the capital (and beyond). I’m Emmy and for the past five years I’ve been looking for the best events and meeting places for Londoners with young children and writing about them on my blog I’ve learned a lot about children’s activities since I started blogging, but one of my most surprising discoveries is that so often the best things are free. With that in mind, I will be working with MoneyMagpie every month to bring you the best family days off in London and beyond.

    January can feel like a no man’s land when it comes to scheduled activities as the venues seem to have poured all their energies into their festive events and neglected the next. If anything, we need more free fun in January than any other time of year thanks to our post-Christmas comedown, the seemingly endless dark days, and the paydays in early December. Luckily, there’s still plenty of wallet-friendly family fun to be had this month, from blues-destroying creative workshops to lively New Years celebrations to electrifying light shows that are worth braving the cold for.

    Free family days in London.

    Bablands London

    Winter lights in Canary Wharf

    Canary Wharf’s award-winning Winter Lights Trail returns 19-29 and features 25 spectacular light installations from some of the world’s most innovative light artists. Highlights include a mammoth family, a greenhouse brought to life through breathtaking projections, and 12 lighted swans performing a fascinating ballet.

    Lunar New Year at the National Maritime Museum

    Greet the New Year with a day of celebrations, performances and activities in Greenwich on the 29th. Watch performances at The Great Map, learn traditional printing techniques, attend a tea ceremony and take part in a range of hands-on family workshops , from qigong and tai chi to dragon dancing, lantern building and mah-jong.

    Little Feet in the British Museum

    The British Museum’s popular hub for children under 5 returns on the 17th with a museum session inspired by the Peru: A Journey in Time exhibition. Little Feet: Animal Antics will explore Peru’s diverse environments and the many creatures that inhabit them. The little ones can learn all about llamas, whales and wild cats before they make a clay animal to take away.

    Family workshops at the William Morris Gallery

    The William Morris Gallery is hosting two free workshops for kids this month: Creative Kids: Weave Some Magic! for 0-5 years on the 20th and Young Poland Family Day: wood printing for young and old on the 22nd Work on woven wall hangings made of wool and other textiles or learn how to make wooden block stamps, inspired by patterns in the Young Poland exhibition.

    Family takeover at Camden Art Center

    The Sunday family takeovers at Camden Art Center for 3-12 years return with Building as Body with Amy Leung on the 16th and 30th. The first session will explore the “skin” of the center through experimental markings with different surfaces and media, while the second will examine the ideas of connections, movement and how we can transport materials along a network.

    Days off for families

    Days off for families


    There’s tons of free fun this month at Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham, from workshops to print your own calendar and creations from recycled wrapping paper to worker-led game sessions.

    The North

    Head to The Tetley in Leeds on the 5th and 19th for Tiny Tetley with Stephanie Jefferies and explore Steph’s ideas for her new special room for young children at The Tetley, which opens in February.

    The southwest

    Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is currently home to Grayson’s Art Club, a blockbuster show, and a poignant chronicle of the lockdown that spans three floors and features artwork from the public, established artists, and celebrities.


    Dundee Contemporary Arts is hosting the Family Art Lab: Tako Taal & Rae-Yen Song on the 29th. Expect plenty of materials, creative ideas, and projects to complete the day or to take home with activities led by local artists.

    You can find more free family days here on last month’s blog.

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