At first glance, visitors to London might worry that the city is prohibitively expensive. And while they're not wrong—dining and other excursions in this British capital can quickly add up—many of London is an expensive city but there really are so many free things to do in the capital. These ideas should get you started but if you're already familiar with these suggestions you need the super list of 100+ Free Things to Do in London. Now, there's got to be something new to you on there! And if you're traveling with a family, the Free Things to Do in London with Kids feature should come in handy. If you'd like to stick with central London have a look at the Free Things to Do in Westminster article.
Visit the Tate Modern
Tate Modern and Tate Britain house some of the finest pieces of art in the world. Tate Modern focuses on contemporary art while Tate Britain displays British art from the 16th century to the present day.
Visit the British Museum
Spend Time Outdoors at St. James's Park
I regularly hear people tell me the Queen Mary's Rose Gardens in Regent's Park is their favorite spot in London, and who am I to argue? I would also recommend St. James's Park as it offers one of the best views of Buckingham Palace. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens (side by side) are enormous and include the ever popular Diana Memorial Playground and the Peter Pan Statue.
Watch the Changing of the Guard
No visit to London is complete without seeing this military tradition. The Queen's Guard in London changes in the Forecourt inside the gates of Buckingham Palace at 11:30 am every day in the summer and every other day in the winter. Get there early and view the spectacle from outside the front gates.
Walk Along the South Bank for a Free Tour of London's Landmarks
It really is amazing how many London landmarks you can see along this stretch of the River Thames. Take a stroll from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge and you'll pass the London Eye, the Royal Festival Hall, the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre, the Oxo Tower, Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe, Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market.
Hang Out at Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is one of Britain's greatest visitor attractions and was designed by John Nash in the 1820s and constructed in the 1830s. This iconic square has many sights to see including Nelson's Column and the National Gallery. It is both a tourist attraction and a focus for political demonstrations. Every December, Norway donates a marvelous Christmas tree, to thank Britain for liberation from the Nazis.
Watch Street Performers of Covent Garden Market
The West Piazza of Covent Garden Market has street performers to entertain you every afternoon. Good acts can draw huge crowds and the performers love to get audience members to help them with their act. All performers are licensed and have passed an audition to perform here.
You will find more street performers at the weekend along the South Bank, particularly near the London Eye.
Stroll Through a Famous Street Market
London is well-known for its popular street markets. The most popular are Camden Market and Portobello Market, followed closely by Greenwich Market. Find out about these markets and more:
See Inside Westminster Abbey
You can see inside Westminster Abbey for free. The Abbey never charges people who want to worship but they rely on admission fees from visitors to cover running costs. Evensong is the most beautiful of services where the Abbey choir sings. The Choristers of the Choir are educated at Westminster Abbey Choir School and are all extremely talented. Evensong is at 5 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays and at 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Attend a Free Concert at the National Theatre
The Southbank Centre has lots of free music events and there's Free foyer concerts at the National Theatre, also on the South Bank. You can enjoy free Monday lunchtime recitals at the Royal Opera House and regular free lunchtime concerts at St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
See Free Music in London for full details.
Visit the National Portrait Gallery
Other major London art galleries include the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. I would also recommend The Wallace Collection as it's just off Oxford Street and makes a perfect escape from a busy shopping spree.
See London from a New Perspective at Greenwich Park's Observatory
Head to Greenwich Park for awesome views of London's skyline from the observatory.