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Christmas at London Transport Museum
Photograph: Tracy Howl

Wonderful off-peak wintery activities for families in London

From crisp winter walks to ice skating and Christmas markets, there's plenty to keep the whole family entertained and active in London over the festive period – and all during the wonderful world of off-peak

Time Out in association with Transport for London
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Christmas is a magical time to be in London and perfect for planning festive fun with your family. But it's not all just about the big day: there are plenty of exciting and affordable activities to keep the kids entertained throughout December and into the New Year.

Check out our top picks below – and make sure you book ahead for some of these Christmas activities because they're only on for a short time!

Make the most of Transport for London's discounted off-peak fares when travelling to these activities, which start at just £1.50 and apply 9.30am-3.59pm, and after 7pm during the week and all day at the weekends. Not only that: the icing on the Christmas cake is that up to four children under 11 can travel free at any time on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail services in London when accompanied by a fare paying adult.

There's no excuse not to get out and discover London as a family this winter!

Remember to check TfL Journey Planner before you travel and always touch in and out with the same card or device to pay the right fare. 


              

Horniman Butterfly House
  • Things to do
  • Forest Hill

It might be cold outside, but things are positively tropical in the Horniman Museum’s steamy indoor garden filled with hundreds of free-flying butterflies. Spot the colourful insects, including rare butterflies like the Horniman swallow tail (named after the south east London museum’s founder), and watch them hatch out of their puparium. You’ll be winging your way there in no time. Free for under 3s, £5.40 for children and adults.
Getting there: Overground to Forest Hill.
Local bus routes:
176, 185, 197, 356, P4.

This super-interactive and fascinating museum is a treat for families at any time of year – but no more so than during the festive period. This year, families can visit the museum's magical forest, meet Santa in his secret cabin, or track him down in the galleries. Children can also join in with sing-a-longs and storytelling sessions, and make transport-inspired decorations, such a bunting and decorations using the iconic Tube logo or 'roundel' to take home. From December 1 to January 6. For the full list of Christmas activities, visit the museum website. Adult prices from £16 (concessions £13.50). Cheapest tickets available online. Adult tickets allow unlimited daytime access for the museum for a whole year.
Getting there Piccadilly or Northern line to Leicester Square.
Local bus routes RV1, 9, 13, 15, 139, 153.

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Woodberry Wetlands
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Manor House

Don’t know your reed warbler from your great crested grebe? Go species spotting at this tranquil nature reserve tucked away behind the high rises of Finsbury Park. The working reservoir with its reed-fringed ponds and dappled woodland, was opened in 2016 after nearly 200 years of being closed to the public. Now it’s the perfect spot for a crisp winter walk. Free.
Getting there: Piccadilly line to Manor House.
Local bus routes: 253, 254, 259, 279.  

Kentish Town City Farm
  • Things to do
  • Kentish Town

Get up close and personal with a bunch of cute creatures at this fabulous city farm huddled around two railway lines at Gospel Oak. See goats larking about beneath railway arches and sheep bleating over the whirring nearby trains. Don’t miss the ducks, chickens, geese, three horses, two donkeys, two pigs and a cow that also call this place home. Free.
Getting there: Overground to Gospel Oak or northern line to Kentish Town.
Local bus routes: 24, 46, 134, 214, C11.

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Ahoy! Gallery
  • Museums
  • Military and maritime
  • Greenwich

Get little minds excited about all things nautical at the National Maritime Museum’s immersive children's exhibition. Kids can stock the boiler of a steamship, work in an interactive boatyard, find out about pirates and polar exploration and play a game of firing cannons. They’ll be so wowed, they might forgive you for dragging them around Turner's ‘Battle of Trafalgar’ gallery afterwards. Free. 
Getting there: DLR to Cutty Sark.
Local bus routes:
129, 177, 180, 188, 286, 386, N1.

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Morden

Cold and frosty mornings were made for walking around this beautiful former deer park. A magical mist hangs over the river and wetland area in the early hours, where your can spy egret and snipe in the winter months. Keep an eye out for patches of snowdrops in the arboretum and with no leaves on the trees, you can catch some breathtaking views of the winter skyline from the spacious South Park. Free.
Getting there: Northern line to Morden.
Local bus routes: 80, 118, 157, 164, 201, 470, 93, K5.



Your guide to the wonderful world of off-peak

Get there for less!
David Potter

Get there for less!

TfL’s off-peak fares mean that you’ll have more in your pocket to enjoy the festive period. Off-peak fares apply on all Tube, DLR and most London Overground services across London. You can tap into the wonderful world of off-peak every weekday before 6.30am, between 9.30am and 3.59pm, and after 7pm. They also apply all day at weekends and public holidays. Always touch in and out with the same card or device to pay the right fare.

Travel in Zones 2-6 for £1.50
Fare shown is for an adult off-peak pay as you go journey not going via Zone 1.

Travel into Zone 1 from £2.40
Fare shown is for an adult off-peak pay as you go journey from Zone 2 into Zone 1.

Travel by bus and tram for £1.50
TfL’s Hopper fare lets you take unlimited bus and tram journeys anytime, anywhere within one hour of first touching in for just £1.50. 

Got kids?
Under 11s travel free!
Up to four children under 11 can travel free at any time on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail services in London when accompanied by an adult. An adult is anyone over 16 using an adult rate ticket (but not a Group Day Travelcard), pay as you go or free travel concession. 

11 to 15-year-olds travel free or at a discounted rate with a Zip Oyster photocard
With a Zip Oyster photocard, children aged 11 to 15 can travel free on buses and trams and travel at half the adult rate on most other TfL services. Getting a Zip Oyster photocard is super easy: parents or guardians just need to visit tfl.gov.uk/zip and apply online.

Your key to London adventures

The Cultural TfL Map is your key to finding more of London's family friendly hidden gems. This interactive map reveals more than 500 Time Out-recommended museums, galleries, street art and more, all within a short walk or bus ride of each station. Many of these experiences are free!

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We know that affordable, convenient public transport is the key to accessing the best that London has to offer – and thanks to TfL’s affordable off-peak fares and other discounts across the network, the possibilities for adventure are wider than ever. Here, you'll find plenty more unexpected and exciting off-peak outings.

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