10 Places to Find Free Music in London

The Royal Opera House, COVENT GARDEN , LONDON, London, England.

VisitBritain / Britain on View / Getty Images

If you're keen to check out London's excellent music scene but you're traveling on a tight budget, don't fret. There are tons of great venues across the city that offer free gigs, recitals, and scheduled performances.

01 of 10

The Southbank Centre

 Gautier Houba / TripSavvy

Southbank Centre, London SE1, UK

The Southbank Centre offers an incredible amount of free music and entertainment. The Clore Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall is a great venue as it's viewable from the bar and shop so you can watch a bit of the action, grab a drink, come back and watch some more. It's all very relaxed here. There are free lunchtime music events at the Royal Festival Hall every Friday in the Central Bar. Expect to hear classical, jazz, folk, and world music sessions.

02 of 10

St. James's Piccadilly

St James Piccadilly
St James's Church Piccadilly
197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL, UK
Phone +44 20 7734 4511

St. James's Piccadilly was designed by Sir Christopher Wren (the architect behind St. Paul's Cathedral) in 1684 and is often named as his favorite church. Free lunchtime recitals take place at 1:10 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and last 50 minutes. They're all free to attend but a donation is suggested.

03 of 10

Kings Place

Kings Place, London, England
Kings Place
90 York Way, London N1 9AG, UK
Phone +44 20 3695 7895

Kings Place opened in October 2008 and sits under the offices of the Guardian newspaper. The ground floor features an art gallery dedicated to sculpture next to the main entrance plus cafes, restaurants, and a waterside terrace. It's not a view you expect in King's Cross—canal barges moored in Battlebridge Basin. And there are ​regular free events.

04 of 10

St. Olave's

Interior of St. Olave's Church with wooden pews

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8 Hart Street, London EC3R 7NA, UK
Phone +44 20 7488 4318

St. Olave's Church in the City of London is a small medieval church, where Samuel Pepys (London's 17th-century diarist) and his wife Elizabeth were buried. It was badly damaged during the Second World War and fully restored in the 1950s. St. Olave's is a peaceful place to listen to music, with a lively lunchtime recital series. Lunchtime recitals are held on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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05 of 10

St. Martin-in-the-Fields

Interior of St. Martin-in-the-fields with dark brown pews and a white domed ceiling

Gautier Houba / TripSavvy

Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ, UK
Phone +44 20 7766 1100

There are regular free lunchtime concerts at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square. This historic church, designed by James Gibbs and built in 1726, has free lunchtime recitals.

06 of 10

The Royal Academy of Music

Royal Opera House, London, England
Yang Liu/Getty Images
Bow Street, London WC2E 9DD, UK
Phone +44 20 7304 4000

The Royal Academy of Music also has free concerts on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the Royal College of Music has free shows as well.

07 of 10

Union Chapel, Islington

Union Chapel London
Amy T. Zielinski/Getty Images
19b Compton Terrace, London N1 2UN, UK
Phone +44 20 7226 1686

Union Chapel is one of the best places to see live music in London. Check out the venue's Daylight Music series to see pay-what-you-can 'mini gigs' throughout the year.

08 of 10

Rough Trade East

The band Howler performing at Rough Trade East, London, England
Aurelien Guichard/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0 
Old Truman Brewery 91, Brick Lane, London E1 6QL, UK
Phone +44 20 7392 7788

Rough Trade East near Spitalfields Market is a hipster music store and record label that hosts regular free live gigs by established and up and coming artists. Many bands and performers play here when promoting new work so you'll often find them signing records or taking part in Q&As. Keep an eye out online for upcoming gigs to apply for tickets.

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09 of 10

Trafalgar Square

Tourists at Trafalgar Square, London, England

Jorg Greuel / Getty Images

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

Trafalgar Square provides a stage for cultural, educational, artistic and sporting events, ceremonies, and festivals. Most events are open to everyone.

10 of 10

Covent Garden Market

 Gautier Houba / TripSavvy

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

You'll regularly hear free live music in Covent Garden Market. Go into the middle of the market and look down to the lower level to see who's on.

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10 Places to Find Free Music in London