free things to do in london

Last Updated on: 7th June 2024, 07:41 am

Are you planning a trip to London but worried about your budget? Don’t worry! London has plenty of free activities for everyone to enjoy. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, museums to parks, and walking tours to festivals, there is something for every taste and preference.

In this article, I will guide you through the best free things to do in London. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time resident, this guide will provide you with inspiration and ideas for exploring the city without spending a penny. So, let’s get started!

London is a city that never fails to fascinate and inspire its visitors. Its history, culture, and diversity make it one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. And the best part? You can experience all of this without breaking your budget. So why wait? Let’s discover the best free things to do in London!

Free Things to Do in London

1. Iconic Sights to See for Free

If you’re visiting London on a budget, don’t worry, there are plenty of iconic sights that you can see for free. From historical landmarks to beautiful parks, here are my top recommendations:

Attraction Description
Big Ben The iconic clock tower is a must-see for any first-time visitor to London. While the tours inside are not free, you can snap some great photos from the outside.
Tower of London The Tower of London is a medieval castle that has been a royal palace, a prison, and a place of execution. While entry to the main tower is paid, you can view the castle from outside.
Buckingham Palace You can watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside of the Queen’s official residence for free.
The British Museum Home to a vast collection of world art and culture, the British Museum is one of the best free museums in London.
The Tate Modern If you’re an art lover, the Tate Modern is unmissable. Entry to the main collection is free, and you can enjoy stunning views of the city from the terrace on the tenth floor.
Hyde Park Escape the hectic city and relax in one of London’s largest parks. You can enjoy a picnic, take a stroll, and maybe even spot some wildlife.

Don’t forget to bring your camera, as these landmarks offer some of the best photo opportunities in London. And, if you want to learn about the history and culture behind these sights, don’t hesitate to join a free walking tour.

2. Hidden Gems to Explore

London is renowned for its well-known landmarks and attractions. Still, there are lesser-known places that offer unique experiences and a break from crowds. These hidden gems are often off-the-beaten-path London, tucked away in neighborhoods that tourists don’t typically visit. Here are some of my top picks for hidden attractions in London:

Name Description
Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden Found in the Hampstead Heath area, this secret garden offers picturesque views and idyllic scenery.
Graffiti Tunnel in Leake Street A street art tunnel located under Waterloo Station that is always changing so travellers could go back again and again.
Columbia Road Flower Market Open on Sundays, this market is home to blossoming flowers and plants and offers a break from city life.
The Brunel Museum A homage to Isambard Kingdom Brunel, visitors can discover the engineering marvels of the Thames Tunnel and more.

These hidden gems are just a small sample of what London has to offer. Exploring these lesser-known attractions can be a fun and adventurous way to experience London’s culture and history without breaking the bank. Don’t forget to look beyond the obvious and discover the hidden side of London!

hidden gems in London

3. Museums and Galleries with Free Admission

If you’re interested in art, history or culture, London has a wealth of museums and galleries for you to explore, without spending a single penny. Here are some of the best free museums in London:

Museum/Gallery Description
The British Museum One of the world’s oldest museums, the British Museum exhibits a vast collection of artifacts from around the world, including the famous Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles.
The National Gallery Located in Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery houses a collection of European art from the 13th to the 19th century, including masterpieces such as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Botticelli’s Venus and Mars.
Tate Modern The Tate Modern is Britain’s national gallery of contemporary art and features works by artists such as Picasso, Warhol, and Matisse.
Natural History Museum The Natural History Museum showcases a range of specimens from the natural world, including a giant squid, dinosaur skeletons, and a life-sized model of a blue whale.
National Portrait Gallery The National Portrait Gallery has a collection of portraits featuring famous British individuals throughout history, including Elizabeth I and Shakespeare.

In addition to these, there are many other museums and galleries in London with free entry, including the Science Museum, the Museum of London, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

London’s art galleries also offer free admission, allowing visitors to explore a range of contemporary and traditional art for free. Some of the best free art galleries in London include the Tate Britain, the National Gallery, and the Saatchi Gallery.

Take advantage of these free cultural institutions to gain insights into history, art and science without spending any money.

free admission to museums and galleries

4. Parks and Gardens to Relax In

When I need a break from the hustle and bustle of London, I head to one of the city’s many free parks and gardens. Not only are they a peaceful escape, but they’re also the perfect place for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. Here are a few of my favorites:

Park/Garden Name Location Description
Hyde Park Westminster The largest of the Royal Parks, Hyde Park offers beautiful gardens, lakes, and recreational activities such as boating and cycling. Don’t miss the famous Speaker’s Corner, where anyone can share their opinions on any topic.
Kensington Gardens Kensington and Chelsea Adjacent to Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens offer a tranquil atmosphere with a variety of gardens, including the Italian Gardens, the Serpentine Gallery, and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground.
Greenwich Park Greenwich This historic park offers stunning views of the London skyline and the River Thames. It features a rose garden, a deer park, and the Royal Observatory, from where visitors can view the Prime Meridian.
Kew Gardens Richmond upon Thames Kew Gardens is a botanical garden with over 50,000 species of plants and a variety of greenhouses, including the Palm House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

London is also home to several community gardens, which are free to access and often run by volunteers. These green spaces offer a chance to connect with nature and learn about gardening. Some of the most popular community gardens include the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden and the Skip Garden in King’s Cross.

So if you’re looking for a relaxing and budget-friendly way to spend a day in London, head to one of these beautiful parks or gardens and enjoy all that nature has to offer.

free parks in London

5. Free Events and Festivals

London is not only a city of history and culture, but also a city of vibrant events and festivals. From music festivals to cultural celebrations, there is always something to immerse yourself in and experience the lively atmosphere without spending a penny. Here are some of the free events and festivals worth checking out:

  • Notting Hill Carnival: A two-day August bank holiday event celebrating Caribbean culture with music, dance, and food.
  • London Bridge City Summer Festival: A three-month festival running from June to September with free concerts, outdoor cinema screenings, street food markets, and more.
  • Museum of London Docklands Summer Activities: A series of summer activities at the museum, including outdoor theater, storytelling, and live music performances.
  • West End Live: A live music event in Trafalgar Square with performances from top West End shows, such as Hamilton and The Lion King.
  • Open House London: A weekend event in September where many of London’s most historic and unique buildings are open to the public for free.

Free events in London

These are just a few examples of the many free events and festivals that take place in London throughout the year. Whether you’re interested in music, cinema, or cultural celebrations, there’s something for everyone to enjoy without having to spend any money.

6. Walking Tours to Discover the City

If you want to explore London on foot, walking tours are a great option. There are a variety of free walking tours in London, including self-guided tours, themed walks, and tours provided by local organizations.

Self-guided tours are a flexible option that allows you to explore at your own pace. You can choose a route that suits your interests, such as a historical tour or a street art walk. Plus, it’s completely free!

If you prefer a more structured tour, there are many options available. Local organizations such as Sandemans and Free Tours by Foot offer free guided tours led by knowledgeable and passionate guides. Popular tours include the Royal London Tour and the East End Tour.

No matter what type of tour you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to discover London’s neighborhoods, landmarks, and hidden corners while getting some exercise. So put on your walking shoes and start exploring!

7. Free Views from Sky-high Spots

If you want to admire London’s skyline for free, then you’re in luck! There are several places scattered throughout the city where you can enjoy stunning panoramic views that are absolutely breathtaking. Here are a few spots to check out for an unbeatable observation experience:

Location View
The Sky Garden 360-degree views of the city skyline, the Thames River, and landmarks such as the Gherkin and the Shard
Tate Modern A picturesque view of the Thames River and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Hampstead Heath A panoramic view of the city skyline and Regent’s Park
Primrose Hill A stunning view of London that showcases its most famous landmarks, including the London Eye and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

If you want to avoid paying for tickets to the Shard or the London Eye, then visiting these free observation points is an excellent alternative. Whether you’re looking for an intimate rooftop bar or a majestic public space, you’ll find an option to suit your tastes and budget. These observation points will provide you with some of the most epic skyline views in London.

Conclusion

So there you have it! London is a city bursting with many things to do, see, and explore. From world-famous landmarks to hidden gems, there’s always something new to discover without spending a penny. By taking advantage of the city’s free museums, parks, events, and walking tours, visitors can experience the best of London without breaking their budget. So why not start planning your free adventure in London today?

FAQ

What are some free things to do in London?

There are plenty of free activities in London to enjoy. You can visit iconic sights like the Big Ben, Tower of London, and Buckingham Palace. Explore hidden gems such as charming markets and secret gardens. Discover world-class museums and art galleries with free admission. Relax and unwind in beautiful parks and gardens. Attend vibrant events and festivals. Take walking tours to discover the city on foot. Enjoy free views from sky-high spots. London offers endless opportunities to explore without spending any money.

Can you recommend some iconic sights to see for free in London?

Absolutely! Some iconic sights in London that you can see for free include the Big Ben, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, and Buckingham Palace. These landmarks offer stunning architecture, historical significance, and picturesque backdrops for memorable photos.

Where can I find hidden gems to explore in London?

London is full of hidden gems that are off the beaten path. You can explore neighborhoods like Notting Hill and Camden Town, which are known for their unique atmosphere and eclectic shops. Don’t miss Columbia Road Flower Market, Neal’s Yard, and Leadenhall Market. These hidden attractions offer a glimpse into the local culture and provide a break from the tourist crowds.

Are there any museums and galleries in London with free admission?

Yes, there are several museums and galleries in London that offer free admission. The British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern, and Victoria and Albert Museum are just a few examples. These institutions house world-class art collections, historical artifacts, and exhibitions that can be enjoyed without spending a penny.

Where can I find parks and gardens to relax in London?

London is blessed with numerous parks and gardens where you can relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, and Richmond Park are popular choices. If you’re looking for beautiful gardens, check out Kew Gardens, Hampstead Heath, and Chelsea Physic Garden. These green spaces offer a tranquil retreat amidst nature.

Are there any free events and festivals in London?

Absolutely! London hosts a wide range of free events and festivals throughout the year. From street performances in Covent Garden to cultural celebrations like Notting Hill Carnival and Chinese New Year, there’s always something happening in the city. Check the events calendar to find out what’s on during your visit.

Can you recommend any walking tours in London?

There are several walking tours available in London. You can opt for self-guided tours using maps and audio guides, or join free guided tours organized by local organizations. Some popular walking routes include the Thames Path, City of London Trail, and Harry Potter London Tour. Walking tours offer a great way to explore the city’s neighborhoods, landmarks, and hidden corners while getting some exercise.

Where can I enjoy free views from sky-high spots in London?

London offers breathtaking views from various locations. The Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, also known as the Walkie Talkie building, offers free access to a public garden with panoramic views. The Tate Modern’s viewing terrace, Primrose Hill, and Greenwich Park are also fantastic spots to take in the city’s skyline for free.