Fun and free family activities in January

If you’re feeling the post-Christmas pinch, we have the perfect solution for you. Pull on your warmest clothes, gather the troops and brave the wintery winds with these ten activities that are family friendly and won’t break the bank.

Geffrye Museum closing day party

The Geffrye Museum, London
7 January, 10am–5pm

The awesome Geffrye Museum celebrates the history of home life. You’ll love exploring the museum’s period rooms, parlours and hallways from the 1600s to the present day. After the 7 January 2018, The Geffrye will close for a transformational (and whopping) two-year development. So, to say a temporary goodbye, they’re throwing a party – hurrah! Enjoy live music, craft workshops, glitter workshops, street food, winter cocktails and much more before the museum shuts its doors.

Hit the beach in Penzance

Long Rock Beach, Penzance
All day, every day

Penzance is home to loads of ace beaches and we especially love Long Rock Beach for its beautiful stretch of golden sand and scattering of pebbles. In the winter months, the beach is peaceful and quiet, perfect for family walks during the chilly weekends. Take the time to catch up with each other as you enjoy some much-needed fresh sea air.

Learn about night time animals

Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Every day, 10am–5pm, with special tours and activities throughout the year

The Museum of Natural History holds Oxford University’s significant collections of geological and zoological specimens. Its most famous features include the Oxfordshire dinosaurs, the Dodo and the swifts that live in the tower. Throughout the year, there are lots of free activities available for families of all sizes. On Monday 15 January, at 10:30am and 11:30am, there is a guided tour for children (toddlers to five years). During the tour, called A Little Look at: Night Time Animals, little ones can hunt for the animals that stay wide awake while we’re asleep at night.

Discover Banksy’s Art on a self-guided walking tour

All day, every day

Be your very own tour guide for the day and explore the work of the UK’s foremost graffiti artist, Banksy. The world-famous satirist began his street art days in Bristol and you can still find some of his classic work around the city.

Reach for the stars

The National Museum, Cardiff
Saturday 13 January, 10am-4pm

Check out this fun-filled day of astronomical activities including a mesmerising 3D space show, a planets quiz, a giant model of our solar system and loads more. The whole family will find something to peak their interest with plenty of shows and displays on offer to help you learn more about the mind-blowing universe we call home.

Explore a secret London on foot

Every Thursday, 2:30pm

Discover some of the city’s long-lost stories in this walking tour with a difference. You’ll uncover some of the more unusual details about our most famous sights and landmarks, including royal scandals and secrets, as well as Churchill’s hidden wartime bunker. The walking group meets every Thursday at 2:30pm at Westminster Underground Station (exit 4). Look for the green umbrella!

Go ghost hunting in Brown’s Folly Woodland

Bath, Somerset
All day, every day

Much has been said about the story of ‘Sally in the Wood’, a girl ghost who’s said to haunt visitors in Somerset’s creepy forest in the Brown Folly Woods near Bath. Is it just a bit of hocus pocus? It’s up to you and the family to decide.

See pigs, goats and meercats at Hanwell Zoo

Hanwell, London
Every day, 10am to 4pm
Free for children under three, £1 for children over three, £2.50 for adults

Hanwell Zoo – known to locals as the ‘Bunny Park’ – is a popular and affordable day out for the whole family. Once upon a time, a visit here was free for everyone, alas, nowadays adults and children over the age of thee need to pay a very reasonable entry fee. Little ones will see a variety of animals from lemurs, meerkats, goats, pigs, frogs and more, and there’s a maze and plenty of open space nearby for children and grown-ups to explore.

‘Love the Words’ of the Welsh bard Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea
Every day, 10am to 4:30pm

First opened in 2014, on Dylan Thomas’s 100th birthday, the Love the Words exhibition at the Dylan Thomas Centre is dedicated to the poet’s written and performed work, with interactive displays, recordings and writings on display throughout. Children can learn about some of the animals that appear in Dylan’s work as well as explore his famous poem ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’.

Changing the Guard at Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle, Windsor
Specific days – see website for details

Come and see the Changing of the Guard at the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Watch as the guards are led by a Regimental Band in the Lower Ward with the new and old Guard entering and leaving through the Henry VIII Gate. Make sure to check the official website for the most recent dates and timings of when the Changing of the Guard takes place.