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Top 10 Free Things to do in London

Top 10 Free Things to do in London main image

Ranked as the best student city in the world, London not only provides incredible academic and professional opportunities, but is also renowned for its heady mix of art and culture, world-class cuisine and some of the best nights out in Europe.

Inevitably, all of this comes with a financial cost, but don’t let that deter you. One of the joys of London is discovering the abundance of free activities on offer. From immersing yourself in countless museums, to strolling around world-famous landmarks and partying the night away at some of London’s biggest, free festivals – you’ll never be short of free things to do.

Here are ten of our favorites.

Explore the free museums

London has an abundance of free museums housing collections from across the globe, with displays both impressive and eccentric. Head to South Kensington and you can visit the Natural History Museum, admire the huge array of beautiful artefacts in the Victoria & Albert museum, and immerse yourself in space exploration at the Science Museum.

The Imperial War Museum is also a must-see, with a staggering 400 exhibits displaying the impacts of war through the eyes of those who experienced it first-hand.

See the world-famous sights

The beauty of London is you can be walking almost anywhere in the city and are guaranteed to spot a famous landmark or historical building and the best part – it’s completely free!

Wander around Westminster for a close-up look at Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. You can then head down the river and take a walk over Tower Bridge – hang around long enough and you could even see it open for a passing ship!

Enjoy the buskers in Covent Garden as you wind your way through the arcades and make your way to see the majestic, bronze lions guarding Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.

Relax in the city’s parks

Despite its status as one of the biggest and busiest cities in Europe, London has plenty of parks and green spaces for you to unwind in. Hyde Park has 350 acres of beautiful, open space for you to enjoy and you can even dip your toes in Serpentine lake.

For wildlife enthusiasts, Richmond Park is the ideal place for deer-spotting with 650 currently living in the park. Or, you could time your visit to St James’ Park to coincide with the daily pelican feeding at 2:30pm.

Regent’s Park is one of the most popular thanks to its central location. Take a walk around the beautifully manicured gardens before working your way up to Primrose Hill for some great views of the city skyscrapers.

Absorb yourself in London’s art scene

There’s an abundance of free art to enjoy in London, with galleries such as the Tate Modern, National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery displaying everything from Picasso to Botticelli.

If you fancy something less austere, Shoreditch is the home of edgy, ever-changing street art. Keep your eyes peeled for world-famous artist Banksy’s work.

Go on a free walking tour

There’s no better way to get to know the city than on foot. Whether you’re a Harry Potter fanatic, keen to spot graffiti art in East London or want to hear about the city’s infamous ghost stories, there will be a walking tour that’s perfect for you.

If there’s a specific area of town you want to explore, walking tours are a great way to familiarize yourself with the area before you continue exploring on your own.  

Peruse the city’s many markets

For cheap eats, quirky presents and all manner of bargains, London’s markets cannot be beaten.

Borough Market is renowned for its fresh produce and street food. Soak up the atmosphere here and enjoy a fresh juice under the old railway arches. Fashion aficionados should head to Brick Lane Market, a treasure trove of vintage clothes and unique arts and crafts.

For something different try the famous Columbia Road Flower Market, where you can enjoy the sights and smells of fresh bouquets and bag a bargain towards closing time, happy in the knowledge that every pound spent here goes to local, independent businesses.  

Attend a free festival

There are huge, free festivals to keep you entertained all year round in London. Every August bank holiday is Notting Hill Carnival, London’s biggest street festival. Enjoy Caribbean culture at its best with mind-blowing food, flamboyant costumes and tunes blasting away into the night.

Also, check the Lunar calendar to make sure you’re around for the biggest Chinese New Year festivities outside of Asia in London’s Chinatown.

Stroll along the Southbank

A quintessential London activity, nothing can beat a stroll along the Southbank on a glorious summer’s day. Take in the excellent views of the city from the riverbank, admire the skills of those practicing in the much-loved skate park, or sit back and enjoy free entertainment from the many buskers you’ll pass along the way.

If you time it right with the tides, you can even head right down to the water’s edge for a bit of mudlarking – the urban equivalent of beachcombing – and potentially spot a historical artefact.

Take in the views from Hampstead Heath

Just north of Camden lies the beautiful Hampstead Heath. It’s definitely worth the steep walk up Parliament Hill for the impressive vista across the city. On a summer’s day continue exploring and you can take a refreshing dip, with three outdoor swimming pools and a lido to choose from.

Walk along London’s prettiest canal

Touted as one of the prettiest walks in London, the canalside route from King’s Cross to Little Venice reveals a London that feels completely different to the skyscrapers of the city. On the way, you’ll get to peruse the books in London’s only floating bookstore and admire the newly regenerated Granary Square.

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Written by Chelsea D.

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