10 Free Things to See and Do in London

London is one of the most popular European destinations for tourists, especially those from North America and Asia. As in other big cities, and because of currency exchange rates, prices in London – for accommodation, food and drink, entertainment, transportation – can be high. So what can you do for free?

free things in london

Art galleries

London is home to a number of world class art galleries.  As well as Tate Modern on the site of a former power station on the south bank of the Thames which specializes in modern paintings, sculptures and other installations, there is also its sister gallery Tate Britain, the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square, itself an iconic and much-visited destination (there is a exit from Charing Cross London Underground station directly into the square). All these galleries are free to visit, although some of them may ask for a voluntary donation or charge admission for special events or exhibitions.

Museums

All the big London museums are free to visit but as with the art galleries some of them charge admission for special exhibitions. They include the British Museum, one of the world’s leading museums with extensive collections relating to British and world history, the Museum of London, where you can learn about the history of the city starting with the Roman occupation of England, the Natural History Museum, and the Imperial War Museum which documents the lengthy history of the British involvement in international conflicts.

Parks

Walk or picnic in one of the London’s many open spaces such as Hyde Park, Regent’s Park and St. James’s Park. Many also have impressive views of the city’s landmarks and historic buildings.

Churches

 St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey charge admission fees to visitors but it’s free to attend a service (you can also get in free outside these times if you tell them you’re visiting for religious reasons and are insistent).

free things london

Music

 Free live music in London spans rock, jazz and folk in pubs to classical concerts in churches such as St. Martin-in-the-Fields.

Lectures

Institutions where you can attend free talks and lectures include the London School of Economics and the Royal Society.

Walks

Many places in London, such as the parks, offer free guided walks. You can also of course go for a walk yourself, for example along the Thames with its iconic skyline.

Public buildings

The Central Criminal and High Courts and Houses of Parliament – where you can watch a trial or debate – are open to visitors, although you may need to queue in order to gain admission.

free things to see and do in london

Sport

While top class football, cricket and rugby is very expensive, there are sports events you can watch in London, notably the University Boat Race on the Thames and the London Marathon.

Architecture

One of London’s main attractions is its architecture, from the Norman Westminster Abbey and Tower of London, through Wren’s seventeenth century St Paul’s Cathedral and modern buildings such as Canary Wharf.

As you can see, whether you’re staying at hotels in Earls Court  or more upscale luxury central London hotels there are lots of free things to see and do in London. Go and experience some of them for yourself and have a great trip to England’s historic and vibrant capital.

Have you visited London? Which of all free sightings do you like best? Any others you think should be in the list?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below, and this post too if you think others might find it helpful!

[Photo credits @ Fickr: top anirudh koul; middle Michael Spence]

Leave a Reply 13 comments

Paula Tavernie - July 16, 2012 Reply

London is an amazing place to visit and this post really encourage a lot individuals to visit the place. There are many things to explore here in London.

Kimme Lanson - May 22, 2012 Reply

I heard London is well-known for its popular street markets. The most popular are Camden Market and Portobello Market, following closely by Greenwich Market.I wish to shop here and then visit The West Piazza of Covent Garden Market that has street performers to entertain.

    maitravelsite - May 22, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the tips Kimme. It is true that street markets are good places where to learn about local life.

David@live answering service - May 9, 2012 Reply

London has always been my destination to visit & I did it in January this year! Well, I must say the architecture & the spots are worth the visit! The boat racing on Thames is worth enjoying! Good One!

    maitravelsite - May 9, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the tip!

Jenny - May 5, 2012 Reply

I have learned from my online friend that London is known for its banking and insurance institutions and some famous landmarks, too, e.g., The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, etc for these things I have to visit London once.

Katie Shaw - May 4, 2012 Reply

Every year thousands of public and private buildings in London and across the UK are opened to the public for free tours over a weekend in September. It’s called Heritage Open Days. See here:
http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/

    maitravelsite - May 4, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the tip Katie, much appreciated!

Clark - May 3, 2012 Reply

London is such a nice place and I think its Filthy rich city in the world and obviously very beautiful, it is a very old city with both old and new buildings of great design. I want to visit London especially for Buckingham Palace, thanks for these tips.

Gisselle - May 3, 2012 Reply

London is such a nice place and I must admit that it is one of the most beautiful places in this world..

Jeans Malui - May 2, 2012 Reply

Well This are the things i do when i visit london

ella - May 2, 2012 Reply

Love London’s architecture, you can just spend hours on the streets without going into any museums and not get bored

    maitravelsite - May 2, 2012 Reply

    It’s free entertainment all the way!

Leave a Reply: