London is a city where there is ALWAYS something new to discover. Although the English capital has a reputation for not being a particularly cheap city, it does offer many things to do for free. In this article I’ll tell you about 73 things to do in London for FREE.
73 free things to do and see in London
Let’s start with the essential places to see in London. You will find these places in ANY guidebook you consult and they are a must visit if you are coming to London for the first time.
1. Changing of the guard in Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is the residence of the British royal family and, although it is only open to the public during the summer months, it is unfortunately not free of charge. Even so, it is possible (almost) every day to watch the changing of the guard outside. Here you can check the times and days when the changing of the guard takes place. And here you can buy your tickets to enter Buckingham Palace.
2. Take a photo with a red telephone box and the Big Ben
Big Ben is probably one of the most famous clock towers in the world. And that’s why your trip to London should NEVER be without a photo with a red London phone box and Big Ben in the background.
Did you know that you can visit the inside of Big Ben? Check here for available tours.
3. Cross Westminster Bridge, one of the London’s iconic landmarks
4. Admire the London Eye from Jubilee Gardens
Jubilee Gardens are public gardens located next to the London Eye, next to the river. It’s the ideal place to relax during an exhaustive day of sightseeing or have a picnic overlooking the Thames. There are several food, ice-cream and drink stalls around the gardens.
You can also go on the London Eye and look out over the city from there, but this costs extra. Book your tickets here.
5. Discover London’s graffiti tunnel
Waterloo station is home to the famous graffiti tunnel. Leake St is known for being the only place in the city where graffiti is allowed and anyone can do graffiti.
Also in this tunnel is Draughts, a place with more than 800 board games.
6. Green Park
Green Park is one of London’s royal parks. It is located between Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus, so make it your summer picnic spot!
7. Make friends with the squirrels St James’s Park
This London park is located next to Green Park, between Buckingham Palace and Westminster. It is known for its friendly squirrels and for having a small bridge overlooking the London Eye.
8. Visit Pickering Place, the smallest square in Londres
9. Find the club where Willy Fog’s 80 days around the world began in Pall Mall
Reform Club is a gentleman’s club located in Pall Mall. In fiction, Phileas Fogg(or Willy Fog) was a member of this London club, and it was here that the most daring gamble in history took place.
10. Meet the famous Beadles
The Beadles are the world’s oldest and smallest security force. They are in charge of security at Burlington Arcade, a small indoor shopping centre on Piccadilly Street.
11. Find the perfect book in Hatchards, the bookshop of the British Royal Family
Hatchards is London’s oldest bookshop. It is located on Piccadilly Street and was founded in 1797. Politicians and writers such as Oscar Wilde have been frequent customers of Hatchards. It is also the bookshop of the British Royal Family.
12. Enter Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason is a luxury delicatessen located on Piccadilly Street. They were the inventors of the scotch egg and also introduced baked beans to the UK. Like Hatchards, they have a close relationship with the British Royal Family. In fact, their famous picnic baskets with the Fortnum & Mason logo appear in the serie The Crown.
13. Enjoy Piccadilly Circus in all its glory
Piccadilly Circus is one of London’s liveliest spots. In this square, presided over by the Eros fountain and illuminated with its large screens, street artists perform their shows every day. In addition, in the month of December it looks especially beautiful with the Christmas lights.
14. Walk around Soho and visit Carnaby Street
Soho is one of London’s must-visit neighbourhoods. It is known for its nightlife and you will find a great variety of pubs and clubs. During the Christmas season, there are light tours around London and this area is one of the areas that make up the tour, don’t forget to visit Carnaby Street!
15. Continue on to London’s Chinatown
Right in Soho is Chinatown. Here you will find numerous Asian restaurants and supermarkets.
16. to Leicester Square.
Leicester Square is the heart of the city. It is a pedestrian street located in the famous West End of London. It is famous for being the place where many film premieres take place. Several major cinemas such as Odeon, Vue and Empire are located here. You can also see Harry Potter, Mary Poppins and Batman himself in Leicester Square.
17. Go shopping to Liberty
Liberty is a luxury department store on Regent Street. It is characterised by its Tudor-style building and its own line of fabrics. Here you can find fashion and household items.
18. See the Christmas lights in Oxford St
December is one of the best months to visit London. The city is in all its splendour. The streets are decorated with lights, the shops are decked out and the Christmas spirit is all around the city.
Here is a list of things to see and do in London at Christmas.
19. Be a kid again at Hamleys, London’s biggest toy store
Hamleys is every child’s paradise – a five-storey building packed with toys! This huge toy shop is located on Regent St and is decorated in true British style.
20. Visit MinaLima, a gallery exhibiting Harry Potter related art
21. Enter London’s Lego store and board the underground made of lego
The Lego shop is located in Leicester Square and decorated with all of London’s most iconic London landmarks: Big Ben, a red cab, a tube station and even a map of the city.
22. and then go to M&M ‘s World, the only store in the UK
Right next to the Lego shop is the M&M’s London shop. It is one of the few in the world outside the United States. Before the opening of the Berlin shop, the London store was the only one in Europe.
23. National Gallery
Located in Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is one of the best things to do in London for free. It is one of the most important museums in the city and one of the most famous art galleries in the world.
Admission is free. You can book a guided tour or visit on your own. Here are some of the paintings to see at the National Gallery in London.
23. National Portrait Gallery
Located right next to the National Gallery, this gallery exhibits portraits of illustrious British personalities such as Queen Victoria, Winston Churchill and Paul McCartney.
24. See the famous St-Martin-in-the-fields window
25. Enjoy life in London at Trafalgar Square.
Trafalgar Square is London’s most iconic square. It is dominated by the National Gallery and its famous lions. The square hosts a variety of events throughout the year such as Diwali, Chinese New Year and music concerts, among others.
26. Visit Covent Garden market
Covent Garden is a shopping area famous for its luxury shops, food and craft market and street art. Every day local artists perform in the square. London Transport Museum is also located here.
If you travel to London at Christmas, don’t forget to visit this area.
28. Enjoy the free exhibitions at Somerset House
29. Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market is a Victorian-style covered market with restaurants and small shops and was the setting for the first Harry Potter film. In one of the scenes, Hagrid and Harry walk through one of the market’s alleyways to reach the Leaky Cauldron Pub.
Did you know you can visit the Harry Potter Studios in London? You can book your ticket here.
30. Sky Garden
Climb to the top floor of the Walkie Talkie building and enjoy the view from Sky Garden, a free public garden with some of the best views in London.
31. and Garden at 120
32. Find out more about how the Bank of England works in its own museum
33. Take the lift to the rooftop of One New Change and enjoy one of the best views of St Paul’s Cathedral
Take the lift up to the roof of One New Change and see St Paul’s Cathedral from a unique perspective.
34. Escape from the hustle and bustle at St Dunstan in the East
St Dunstan in the East is a former church converted into one of London’s most unique public gardens.
35. Walk around St Katharine docks
This is the most central pier in the city and was once an old department store specialising in luxury goods. Most of them have been transformed, but the structure of its central warehouse (Ivory House) is still preserved.
36. Cross the Tower Bridge
You can also visit the interior and cross the bridge through its glass platform. Entry is free with a London Pass.
37. until you get to Borough Market, London’s most famous food market
This market, albeit in different versions, has existed for over a thousand years. In 1756 it was moved to its current location and became one of the largest food markets in the country. Today, it is best known for its gourmet food stalls, meat, fish, organic fruit and vegetables.
38. O head to Maltby Street
This is a smaller market, located in the Bermondsey neighbourhood, a 20-minute walk from Borough Market. From Wednesday to Sunday it has a food market. Although the best time to visit is at the weekend, when the food stalls are open.
39. Visit Tate Modern
Tate Modern is London’s most important modern art gallery. It houses the largest national collection of modern art from 1900 to the present day. You can also see St Paul’s from its café.
40. Cross the Millenium Bridge, also location of Harry Potter movies
41. Spitafields Market and Brick Lane
hese two places are two of the best markets to visit in London.
Spitalfields Market is ideal for those looking for antiques, vinyl records and vintage clothes. It also has a wide range of food on offer. Brick Lane is a street known for its art galleries, vintage clothing shops and numerous Indian food stalls.
Don’t forget to visit the Old Truman Brewery, now a complex of shops, bars and food stalls!
42. Barbican Conservatory
London’s second largest conservatory is located within the Barbican Centre, one of the city’s largest art institutions.
43. Columbia Road Flowers Market
Every Sunday morning, this little corner of London is filled with colour thanks to its famous flower market. It is advisable to get up early if you want to visit it empty! Besides the flower market, you will also find small shops selling homemade food and antiques.
44. British Library
The British Library is probably one of the most overlooked but worth a visit if you are interested in the subject. Inside you will find manuscripts by Leonardo Da Vinci, a copy of the Magna Carta and even the first complete text of the New Testament.
45. Take a photo in the Platform 9 3/4
46. Word on the water, the bookshop on the canals
47. Camden Town
Camden is one of the most alternative areas of London. It is characterised by its unique façades and its market. In Camden Market you can find everything you are looking for, even space suits in Cyberdog. Here you can also find the figure of Amy Winehouse!
48. Primrose Hill
Primrose Hill is one of the best things to do in London for free. The view from the hill is unique, and it is located near Regent’s Park and Camden Town, in a much more accessible location if you want to visit central London.
49. Hampstead Heath
This is a huge woodland, over 320 hectares in size, located in the northern part of the city. It is a very popular area with Londoners for its stunning views of the London skyline from Parliament Hill. It is also a popular spot for kite flying.
50. Kenwood house
It is a neoclassical mansion located in Hampstead Heath, next to the famous lake. It is featured in the film Notting Hill! And inside you can find paintings by Rembrandt, along with other painters.
51. Hindu Temple
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, known as the Neasden Temple, is the first authentic Hindu temple in Europe. And in 2000, it was recognised as the largest Hindu temple in the world outside India.
52. Alexandra Palace
Alexandra Palace is known for being another place where you can look out over the London skyline. In winter it usually has a skating rink, while in summer it has a terrace where you can enjoy cocktails with a unique panoramic view of the city.
As a curious fact, I will tell you that the first television broadcast in London was made from here in 1936.
53. Little Venice
London’s Little Venice is one of those unknown corners of London. It is situated where the three canals of the city (Regent’s Canal, Grand Union Canal and Paddington Canal) meet.
It is a very picturesque place and one of the best things to do in London for free. You can also take a boat trip or even sleep on one of the canals.
54. Notting Hill
Notting Hill is known for being the neighbourhood of the colourful houses. The film Notting Hill was filmed here and the famous Notting Hill Carnival is held here every year. Some streets not to be missed are Lancaster Road, Penzance Street, Denbigh Terrace or Hillgate Place.
55. Portobello Road Market
This famous market has been held since 1837. It is located in the beautiful neighbourhood of Notting Hill and is known for its antiques market, which is held every Saturday.
56. Holland Park
Holland Park is a London park located between Notting Hill and Kensington, famous for its Japanese gardens.
57. See Michelangelo’s David at the Victoria & Albert Museum
But isn’t Michelangelo’s David in Florence?
Yes, but the V&A Museum has a replica of Michelangelo’s David so you can see it without having to go to Italy. Also, the Victoria & Albert Museum is the world’s largest museum dedicated to art and design.
58. Science Museum
The Science Museum is one of the best things to do in London for free with children. It is a very interactive museum, where the little ones (and not so little ones) can learn how a windmill works and slide down the slides in Wonderlab.
59. Natural History Museum
London’s National History Museum is one of the most impressive and beautiful buildings in the city. It houses dinosaur skeletons, fossil remains and even the remains of a meteorite.
60. British Museum
The British Museum is one of the most important museums in the world. It houses objects from many countries around the world, including the Rosetta Stone and even mummies. You can take a guided tour or visit it on your own. I highly recommend you to visit the Ancient Egypt part!
61. Harrods, the most luxury department store in London
Harrods is probably the most luxurious department store in the city and a must-see in London. Also, one of its escalators, known as the Egyptian Elevator, looks like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.
62. Hyde Park
It is the largest royal park in London, with more than 142 hectares. You can stroll, cycle or hire a boat on the lake. Some things not to miss in Hyde Park are Speaker Corner, Serpentine & Galleries and the Diana of Wales Memorial.
63. Tate Britain
64. Visit Nunhead Cemetery, one of the most beautiful in London
65. Greenwich Park
66. Queen’s House
Queen’s House, located in the Greenwich neighbourhood, is a building famous for its extraordinary art collection and admission is FREE. It was the former residence of various members of the royal family until 1805.
67. National Maritimes Museum
This museum is also located in Greenwich and admission is free.
68. Cross Greenwich Foot Tunnel
69. Regent’s Park
Regent’s Park is another of London’s Royal Parks, located between Camden and Marylebone. It is also very close to Madame Tussauds and the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
70. Take a picture in Abbey Road pedestrian crossing
71. See deers in Richmond Park
Richmond is one of the best neighbourhoods to live in London. It is located further away from the centre, but is well served by underground and train lines. It is known for being home to Richmond Park, one of London’s Royal Parks where you can see deer in the wild.