Top Free Things to Do in London

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.

01 of 12

Visit the Tate Modern

Sculptures in the art museum

TripSavvy / Gautier Houba 

Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK
Phone +44 20 7887 8888

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.

02 of 12

Visit the British Museum

The British Museum

TripSavvy / Gautier Houba 

Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG, UK
Phone +44 20 7323 8299
03 of 12

Spend Time Outdoors at St. James's Park

St James's Park

EURASIA PRESS / Getty Images

London SW1H 9AP, UK
Phone +44 300 061 2350

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

04 of 12

Watch the Changing of the Guard

Changing of the guards

TripSavvy / Gautier Houba 

London SW1A 1AA, UK
Phone +44 303 123 7300

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.

Continue to 5 of 12 below.
05 of 12

Walk Along the South Bank for a Free Tour of London's Landmarks

People walking along the south bank

TripSavvy / Gautier Houba 

Westminster Bridge, London SW1, UK

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.

06 of 12

Hang Out at Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

TripSavvy / Gautier Houba 

Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK
Phone +44 20 7983 4750

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.

07 of 12

Watch Street Performers of Covent Garden Market

A street performer in Covent Garden

TripSavvy / Gautier Houba 

14 James Street, London WC2E 8BU, UK
Phone +44 20 7420 5856

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. 

08 of 12

Stroll Through a Famous Street Market

Camden Market

TripSavvy / Gautier Houba 

54-56 Camden Lock Place, London NW1 8AF, UK
Phone +44 20 3763 9900

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:

Continue to 9 of 12 below.
09 of 12

See Inside Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

 TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre 

20 Deans Yd, London SW1P 3PA, UK
Phone +44 20 7222 5152

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.

10 of 12

Attend a Free Concert at the National Theatre

Exterior of the National Theatre

TripSavvy / Gautier Houba

Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX, UK
Phone +44 20 3989 5455

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.

11 of 12

Visit the National Portrait Gallery

Interior of the art museum

TripSavvy / Gautier Houba

Saint Martin's Place, London WC2H 0HE, UK
Phone +44 20 7306 0055

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.

And remember, many of London's major art galleries and museums stay open late.

12 of 12

See London from a New Perspective at Greenwich Park's Observatory

Greenwich Park Observatory
 Doug McKinlay/Getty Images 
131 Greenwich South Street, London SE10 8NX, UK
Phone +44 20 8691 8637

Head to Greenwich Park for awesome views of London's skyline from the observatory. 

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Top Free Things to Do in London