101 Free Things to do in London

Here is a huge list of things that you can do in London for free. We’ve put a lot of work into this list, and we hope that you can create some lovely London memories by doing some of the things listed. This is a springboard for doing your own research in how to get to each of these places and when they’re open.

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    1. British Museum - The best Museum in London. Plan a whole day here.
    2. National Gallery – Some of history’s best art for free.
    3. Trafalgar Square – Go see Nelson and people-watch as London goes by.
    4. Walk through Hyde Park - No trip to London is complete without a walk through Hyde Park.
    5. Covent Garden – Explore the old market, watch street performers, hear musicians. Plenty of free fun to be had in Covent Garden!
    6. Walk along the Thames – Smell the fresh river air and listen to the Thames lap along the shore.
    7. Tate Modern – Some of the art is questionable, but the building is amazing in itself and worth a visit alone.
    8. Evensong Church Service – You have to pay admission to get into most of London’s cathedrals, but if you go to evensong service  you can get in for free.
    9. Cross Tower Bridge - It’s a free thrill for all tourists to cross the bridge! Wait around, and you might even see it open and close.
    10. National Maritime Museum – Explore Britain Royal Navy’s history.
    11. Walk through the Woolwich Foot Tunnel – Cross one of the oldest tunnels under the Thames – get off a the DLR stop King George V and walk to the entrance.
    12. Pollocks Toy Museum – Toys from around the world – great place for the kids!
    13. Imperial War Museum – See Britain’s Military History in all its glory.
    14. Borough Market – Explore one of London’s coolest markets!
    15. British Film Institute’s Mediatheque – Explore Britain’s film heritage.
    16. Houses of Parliament - It costs money to go inside, but that doesn’t have to stop you from checking out the building from the outside.
    17. Museum of London – Fun look at the history of London.
    18. National Portrait Gallery – Might not interest everyone as it’s pictures of aristocracy through the ages.
    19. Natural History Museum – One of the world’s finest natural history museums. Check out the Darwin Centre!
    20. Victoria and Albert Museum – A strange hodge-podge museum that provides an interesting insight into Britain’s cultural heritage.
    21. Science Museum – Who doesn’t like science? Kids will love it!
    22. Serpentine Gallery – Art Gallery located in Hyde Park that rotates various exhibitions through the year.
    23. Tate Britain - Like the National Gallery, it’s home to some beautiful art.
    24. Guildhall Art Gallery – Collection of art collected by the Corporation of London.
    25. Wallace Collection – Collection of European art and artifacts.
    26. Whitechapel Gallery – Modern Art gallery in East London.
    27. Bank of England Museum – Take a look at the monetary history of the world.
    28. Changing of the Guard – It’s a tourist trap, but always fun to see on a sunny day. Every day in the summer at 11:30. Arrive early.
    29. Ceremony of the Keys - You have to request permission to witness this, but it’s pretty cool. Watch the nightly lock-up of the Tower of London.
    30. Sir John Soane’s Museum – The eclectic collection of a famous London architect exactly as he left it.
    31. Kenwood House – Lovely stately home located in Hampstead Heath.
    32. Geffrye Museum – Period rooms museum from 1600 to today.
    33. Royal Air Force Museum – See the history of Britain’s flying aces.
    34. Horniman Museum – An eclectic family museum with many different displays.
    35. Queen Mary’s Rose Garden - London’s largest and best rose garden.
    36. St James’ Park – One of London’s fine Royal Parks.
    37. The Globe Theatre – See the replica of the theatre that was home to Shakespeare’s plays! It costs to get in for a tour, but not to have a look outside.
    38. Princess Diana Memorial - Located in Hyde Park, you can pay your respects to Princess Di.
    39. Speaker’s Corner - Arrive on a Sunday morning, and watch the colorful characters gathered to speak about anything.
    40. Leicester Square – Relax in the park in the middle or admire the glitzy lights of this tourist haven.
    41. Tower Bridge Lifts – Watch Tower Bridge open and close.
    42. Museum of London Docklands - A lesser known London, but cool none the less. You can explore London’s maritime shipping history.
    43. Lunch Concerts at St. Martin in the Fields – Enjoy lunch in the Crypt at St. Martin in the Fields, and also enjoy free concerts every day.
    44. Free Concerts at the National Theatre – Check with them for regular free concerts open to the public.
    45. Watch a TV Show Recorded at the BBC – It’s free to be in the studio audience of a show as it’s being recorded.
    46. View London from Primrose Hill – Admire the view from London’s Primrose Hill.
    47. London Silver Vaults - Check out the world’s largest retail collection of fine antique silver.
    48. Hunterian Museum – See a unique collection of animal specimens kept in jars.
    49. Watch a Trial at Central Criminal Court – It’s free to watch a trial take place from the public galleries at the Central Criminal Court.
    50. Walk through the City on a Saturday – The Square Mile or City of London is practically abandoned on the weekends. Check out the cool architecture and enjoy the quiet streets.
    51. Street Performers in Covent Garden or the South Bank – Seek out buskers throughout London for free and fun entertainment.
    52. Catch a Film Premiere in Leicester Square – The Odeon Theatre in Leicester Square regularly holds film premieres where you can catch a glimpse of stars.
    53. Coram’s Fields –  Unique seven-acre playground and park for children living in or visiting London.
    54. Foundling Museum -  Britain’s original home for abandoned children and London’s first ever public art gallery.
    55. The Photographer’s Gallery – Largest public display gallery dedicated to photography.
    56. Peter Pan Statue – Check out the statue of the literary classic located in Kensington Gardens.
    57. Museum of Childhood – Dedicated to the history of childhood.
    58. See the London Stone – Check out the Roman Stone from where all distance from London was measured located at 111 Cannon Street.
    59. Touch the Roman Wall – Throughout the city of London you’ll see traces of the original Roman Wall fortification. There’s large pieces around the Museum of London.
    60. Check out Picadilly Circus – See the iconic bright lights and the famous statue of Eros.
    61. Musicians in Covent Garden Apple Market – On the lower levels of the Market, there’s usually musicians busking while people eat.
    62. Explore Leadenhall Market - Gorgeous market located in the City of London worth exploring for the architecture alone.
    63. Walk Across Hampstead Heath – Beautiful park in London that provides lovely views of metropolitan London.
    64. Visit Regent’s Park – Another great Royal Park, and there’s a zoo!
    65. Wellington Arch – One of two triumphal arches in London.
    66. Marble Arch – The second triumphal arch in London.
    67. Visit Platform 9 3/4 – Doesn’t really exist, of course, but station authorities have set up a fake entrance for Harry Potter fans at King’s Cross Station.
    68. Visit St Pancras International – Admire this beautiful station, watch Eurostar trains arrive and depart, and visit the statue of the couple kissing.
    69. Free Music at the Notting Hill Arts Club – Regular free music in Notting Hill.
    70. Harrod’s Food Hall – Browse quail eggs, cava, and custom-made cakes in the sumptuous food halls in Harrods.
    71. Walk along the South Bank – Walk from Waterloo Bridge to the Tate Modern, and see a huge part of London.
    72. Walk through Richmond Park – Another lovely park.
    73. Changing of the Guard in Windsor - If you happen to be in Windsor, there’s a changing of the guard there as well.
    74. Visit Bushy Park – Yet another lovely park.
    75. 5th View Bar – Check out the priceless views.
    76. Canals of Maida Vale/Little Venice – See London’s waterways and cute boats where people actually live!
    77. Abbey Road Crosswalk - Become a traffic hazard, and have your own Beatles pictures taken.
    78. Admire the Barbican - Built after World War II, it’s a triumph of modernism.
    79. Postman’s Park - The square from the movie “Closer” where memorials are dedicated to people who died saving Londoners.
    80. Take a free London guided walk – Pick up a guidebook or download a free audio tour, and do your own London walk.
    81. Travel Bookshop in Notting Hill – Visit the bookstore that the shop in the film Notting Hill was based on.
    82. Portobello Road Market – Be prepared for huge crowds, but no visit to London is complete without a visit to the bustling market.
    83. Explore Blue Plaques - Look closely on old buildings, and you’ll see lots of blue plaques, which offer some history about famous people who lived there.
    84. Listen to Big Ben Chime – Stand in Parliament Square at noon and wait for Big Ben to make its music.
    85. Visit the U.S. Embassy – You can’t go inside unless you have business, but you can admire the building and the beautiful square that surrounds it.
    86. Visit the Cenotaph – Pay respects to Britain’s memorials to the two World Wars.
    87. Explore Camden Town and Camden Lock Market – Much bigger than Portobello Road and much more to see.
    88. Check out City Hall and the Scoop - Admire London’s new bee-hive-shaped city hall and watch out for free performances in the Scoop outside.
    89. Visit 10 Downing Street – Get a glimpse of the residence of the Prime Minister. Wait long enough, and you might see him come and go.
    90. Picnic in Battersea Park – Lovely riverside park with views of the Thames.
    91. Cross the Jubilee Bridge – Cross the Thames at Embankment on this beautiful bridge.
    92. Cross the Millennium Bridge – Best way to cross from the Tate Modern to St Paul’s or vice verse.
    93. See the Roosevelt & Churchill Statue - Located in Bond Street, see the two great world leaders as friends.
    94. See the Churchill Statue – Located in Parliament Square.
    95. See the Lincoln Statue - Statue of the American president located in Parliament Square. The only one to have such an honor.
    96. Free WiFi in the Apple Stores – Need wifi or access to the web? Then stop in the Apple Stores in Covent Garden or Regent Street and recharge your Internet batteries.
    97. Get Photographed in a Red Phone Box – Nothing more touristy or more awesome than a picture in a red phone box.
    98. Visit the National Army Museum – Discover the history of Britain’s armed forces.
    99. Visit Russell Square – Quiet little green park in the middle of bustling London right around the corner from the British Museum.
    100. Visit the 7-7 Memorial - Located in Hyde Park on the east side, you can pay your respects to those who lost their lives in the terror attacks on 7-7-05.
    101. Feed the Ducks in St James Park – They’ll appreciate it!



    Did you find this list useful? This check out our London Guidebook – 101 London Travel Tips, which features all the travel tips about London the other guidebooks leave out. More details here.

    A great resource for finding Cheap Flights to London.

    Click to Download This List as a Printable PDF!


Comments

  1. says

    This is absolutely fantastic!! Who says big cities have to be expensive? Although I wonder if the buskers would be happy to be on this list? In Tasmania, street performers expect to get PAID for their show!! Can’t wait until the day I get to use this list in person.
    Thanks,
    Tania

  2. Mina says

    Great list,
    ticked off about half of it.

    But it is news to me that the Globe Theatre is for free
    I paid an entrance fee for it and the Museum attached to it. – And I paid even more I think for the play -MacBeth couple of years ago

    • PeteH says

      You can explore The Globe for free on Shakespeare’s birthday (St George’s Day)… you can also see the foundations of The Rose in a basement nearby (although they are not much more that lights marking the outline)

  3. Werner Weissflach says

    I will send you the Bill after i enjoy all your free stuff. Dont get me wrong , London is twice the price of Berlin or Prague. Land at Stansted and pay $ 35.00 for a 30 min train ride and you will know what I am talking about.

  4. Howard says

    Add Kew Gardens to the things on the list that are not free unless you are a small child. Still plenty to do if you have limited funds.

  5. Manuela says

    Since 1st March 2011 Temple Church is not for free anymore as well. They now charge £3 for the rare occasions you are able to visit it. But it is still worth anyway.

  6. Scotchm says

    Haven’t been to England in several years and miss it very much. Points: Get a charge card with no or low transaction fee and charge everything you can. Don’t buy in the U.K. if you can get the identical thing at home for less. Duty-free shops aren’t as cheap as they seem to be. London was a great place for Indian and Chinese food. Is it still? Motoring around the Isles, we almost always stayed in a B&B — good price, good location, cosy, friendly proprietors. Language: Do people still say ‘knickers’ for underwear? A Black Cab, of course, refers to the color of the auto, not the driver. Be careful in using and thinking about that label. Question: Why do Brits drive on the left and walk/queue to the right? Makes no sense. Be consistent, please.

    • PeteH says

      Black Cabs (taxis) are not necessarily black. In London at least, it is taken to mean 1 of 4 main designs (2 ‘classic’, the Metrocab and a new Merc MPV minibus design), all of which have ‘for hire’ signs and meters and can be flagged down in the street. The London cabbie will have spent years learning every street and major building in central London before earning their badge. The alternative is the ‘minicab’, which is a domestic car that can only be pre-booked (beware of touts outside the airport and nightclubs!). Minicab drivers are licensed (in London) and have passed background checks but there is no test of street knowledge and many rely on savnavs for anything other than a local journey. Cab fares are regulated and metered but minicab fares are not, so it would be wise to agree an estimate at the start of the journey.

      Outside of London, the arrangements are decided locally, but in general most cities and major towns will have licensed drivers, although not necessarily in distinctive vehicles and with meters, with smaller towns relying on mincabs (that may not be licensed)

    • Nicky says

      Yes we still say knickers, why would we stop? It’s such a good word! Consistency is not necessary, tourists learn the rules pretty quick, stand on the right on the tube escalator and you’ll be fine!

    • says

      Historically traffic has always been keep-to-the-left since at least the time of Rome and only changed fairly recently in modern history, mainly due to the French. Ancient British travellers on horseback generally rode on the left side of the road because more people are right-handed, and so a horseman would thus be able to hold the reins with his left hand and keep his right hand free to offer in friendship to passing riders or to defend himself with a sword, if necessary. If everyone rides horses on the left you will always encounter the enemy with the best chance of defeating them. As British history evolved it just progressed using this basic logic of horse riding and in to modern traffic.The French army under Napoleon however rode on the right hand side of the road. Napoleon changed the rule of the road in the European countries he conquered from keep-left to keep-right. Some justifications are symbolic, such as the fact that Napoleon himself was left handed and so would rather approach the enemy on the right hand side with his more powerful left arm free to attack. But also because Europe and Britain all rode on the left, Napoleon would change countries he invaded to a drive on the right system as a display of absolute power in even the minutest of details and to show his influence and to distinguish countries who were friends or foe. Napoleon tried many time to defeat the British and invade but they always fought him off and therefore the British kept the more normal and logical ‘drive on the left’ where as Europe and the wider world spread using the incorrect way.

      • Patricia Kidd says

        Thank you from a USA traveler! Your info is wonderful! I so appreciate it! I’ll be back to London in two days. Excited as usual! The city of my beloved Grandmother’s birth never gets old! I love the UK!

  7. Robert Walling says

    I like St Bartholomews the Great, an absolutely brilliant piece of Norman architecture. Odd bits of several films have been shot in and around St Bartholomew The Great. Four Weddngs and a Funeral for one and Mel Gibson was dismembered on West Smithfield just outside the church in Braveheart.
    vbw

    • PeteH says

      William Wallace himself was executed at Smithfield and there is a plaque on St Bartholomew’s Hosp to commemorate. Nearby is the Golden Boy of Pye Corner, marking the end of the Great Fire (“This Boy is in Memmory Put up for the late FIRE of LONDON Occasion’d by the Sin of Gluttony” – it started in Pudding Lane and ended at Pye Corner!), with another memorial below marking the site of the Fortune of War pub, a meeting point for bodysnatchers

  8. steve wallington says

    You could add a free river trip on the woolwich ferry [by car you’ll have to queue but on foot its more fun and no queuing]

  9. Cathleen Clark says

    We were there in September of last year, and my husband enjoyed the Winston Churchill statue. I think it was across from Parliment…cannot really remember…. unfortunately there was Iraq/Afghanistan War protesters surrounding it. But it was pretty cool to see anyway!

  10. says

    HEARTILY RECOMMEND Sir JOhn Soane’s Museum, also in the Holborn area are free guided walks, getbrochure outside Holborn Tube station!

  11. Kevon says

    Hunterian Museum is f#%king AWESOME! I’m partial to bagels at Brick Lane on Sunday mornings. Brixton used to have a market on Saturdays. This isn’t free, but getting your wallet nicked in the tube and then hunting down the perp at a massage parlor in Soho is an adventure you won’t forget (tried that one on our last trip : )

  12. Liz says

    This list is brilliant! Especially the tip off about the comedy clubs and the BBC audience tickets – thanks!

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