London is among the most famous travel destinations in the world. It’s one of those must-see places on many-a bucket list. It’s also known to be rather expensive to visit. However, there are ways around this. There are, for example, food markets, bargain stores and even free tours and attractions! You’d be surprised how much good stuff can be enjoyed in London without spending a penny. Please don’t let the cost put you off. London is one of my favourite cities in the world, you have to see it! And you really can have a great time exploring, even on a budget, with these free things to do in London.
Fun and Free Things to do in London
Museum-hopping in London
One of the many free things to do in London is museum hopping. The capital has more than 170 museums, boasting some of the biggest London attractions, and many of them are free! From arts to natural science, there are plenty of interesting exhibits in check out.
One of these free entrance museums includes the British Museum that displays a wide collection of artefacts across the world.
Opening Hours: Open daily 10.00–17.30
The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is known for spectacular dinosaur skeletons as well as the blue whale.
London’s Natural History Museum
Opening Hours: Open every day 10.00-17.50. Last entry 17.30
Closed on certain special dates. Check official website for more details.
Other free museums that you may be interested in are the Science Museum for its must-see Apollo 10 command capsule, as well as the Tate Modern.
Admission: Free. Ticket Required for some galleries and special exhibitions.
Opening Hours: Open every day 10.00–18.00. Last entry 17.15.
Galleries start to close 30 minutes before the museum closes.
Sunday to Thursday 10.00–18.00
Friday to Saturday 10.00–22.00
London is famous for its art collection and the good news is some of them are free!
Wallace Collection is a popular art gallery in London that showcases French paintings such as those by Rembrandt and Titian. My favourite is the National Gallery, for its classic paintings by Da Vinci and Van Gogh. It also showcases portraits of famous personalities such as Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth II.
Stroll Around London’s Best Parks
After museum-hopping around London, rest your aching legs at one of the many parks in London. This is no East Coast Park. These are massive parks and often really beautiful. They’re especially great during summer, when the London weather is much more inviting, to enjoy a bit of nature in the middle of the city.
To the north-west London, you can find Regent’s Park equipped with four children’s playground and a large wetland area housing more than 100 wild bird species. My favourite spot was the 12,000-rose flowerbed in the park. When it comes to things to do in London with kids, this is bound to keep them entertained.
Greenwich Park and Hyde Park are also other popular parks in London for their gorgeous views. The first overlooks River Thames while the latter offers you a gorgeous boating experience on the Serpentine.
Wander Through Camden High Street
When you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Camden Market, one of the most well-known food markets in London. I bet you didn’t think it was possible for eating to be one of the free things to do in London, since food, well, costs money. Turns out, there’s a way around that! Many food stalls in Camden Market offer free samples, so you don’t have to spend to get a little taste of English cuisine.
Camden is known as an edgy neighbourhood with a flourishing street art scene. People watching is fascinating in Camden!
You can also learn more about the history of rock music in the UK by exploring the Camden area. Visit the iconic pubs in Camden like the Electric Ballroom where David Bowie and The Rolling Stones performed, or the Hawley Arms where the late Amy Winehouse frequented back in the day. You can even find an Amy Winehouse statue in the market area!
There are other cool markets to look out for elsewhere if you want to indulge in a spot of London shopping. Brick Lane is a cool place to visit with a similar vibe. There’s also Borough Market where you can sample delicious cheese, Old Spitalfields Market for a mix of clothes and hipster food, and other antique markets and farmers markets spread out across London.
Watch the Changing of the Guards Outside Buckingham Palace
The iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony happens outside The Buckingham Palace every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 10:30 am. The ceremony is free and seeing it is an absolute must when it comes to London activities. Just make sure that you reach there early to get an unobstructed view of the pageantry!
Even if you miss the ceremony, you can still take photos with the guards or the palace itself — who knows, you may even spot one of the royal family members!
Retreat to the South Bank
Of course, one of the top free things to do in London is simply to stroll through the city. The city is rich with history, architecture, events, art, nightlife, a mix of many cultures and modern counter-cultures. You’d be surprised walking down a single street in many parts of London you can come across English pubs, Indian restaurants, Chinese takeaway shops, kebab shops, Jamaican bars, Thai, Japanese, Nando’s, even ‘Singapore noodles’ served in some shops! It’s fun just to see the diversity.
Image Source: Benjamin Gillet via Flickr
My favourite part of London is the South Bank, next to the River Thames. Enjoy the scenic view of the South Bank with the London’s Eye and London County Hall in the backdrop. Occasionally, there are fairs and events happening around the South Bank. Like the Christmas winter markets, where you might get to hear Christmas carols, sample food and just take in the Christmas cheer with the smells of mulled wine and baked goods.
There are also plenty of things to do in London at night right here, with the buildings along the South Bank lighting up in beautiful electric blue hues.
No matter what budget you are on, there is so much to discover and enjoy with these affordable things to do London.