101 free things to do in London

Explore London without breaking the bank. From top free attractions to cost-free concerts, London has plenty of things to do for free.
People walking through the Great Court at the British Museum in London on a sunny day
The British Museum is one of the many free museums in London. © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid.
Give your wallet a rest with these 101 fabulous London freebies. Discover more of the best free attractions in London, plus cheap things to do in the capital and top tips on how to save money on a London visit.

Free museums in London

  1. See the Rosetta Stone and ancient artefacts from around the world at the British Museum.
  2. Come face-to-face with a roaring T-Rex and experience the earthquake simulator at the Natural History Museum.
  3. Examine treasures at Sir John Soane's Museum, a 19th-century townhouse.
  4. Find out about the history of British currency at the Bank of England Museum.
  5. Immerse yourself in royal history as you admire an extensive art collection of royal portraits at Queen's House.
  6. Be inspired by the beautiful objects on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
  7. Learn about the history of the river Thames at Museum of London Docklands.
  8. Learn how science has evolved through the ages with key objects and experiments at the Faraday Museum.
  9. Discover the life and works of one of Britain’s most inspiring designers at the William Morris Gallery.
  10. Journey through Britain's naval history at the National Maritime Museum

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Unusual free attractions

  1. Marvel at the Jar of Moles at the Grant Museum of Zoology.
  2. Be dazzled by the exhibits – including a Spitfire and a Harrier fighter jet – on display at the Imperial War Museum.
  3. Spot the gigantic overstuffed walrus at the Horniman Museum.
  4. See the world's oldest dinosaur sculptures at Crystal Palace Park.
  5. Examine exhibitions spanning art, health and science at the Science Gallery London.
  6. Visit the Wellcome Collection to see fascinating exhibits about health and medicine.
  7. Push a trolley into Harry Potter's magical world at the wall marked Platform 9¾ at King's Cross
  8. Learn about the famous residents of the Isokon Building, the first modernist block of flats in Britain, at the Isokon Gallery in the former garage.

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Enjoy London park life for free

Groups of people sit on the hill of Greenwich Park overlooking the Old Royal Naval College and the London skyline.
Celebrate summer as you soak the sun in Greenwich Park © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid.
  1. Climb to the top of Greenwich Park for stunning views of the city skyline.
  2. Relax on Wimbledon Common where you'll find ponds, nature trails and a windmill.
  3. Go deer-spotting in beautiful Richmond Park.
  4. Bliss out in Bushy Park, home to hundreds of free-roaming deer.
  5. Burn off some calories by jogging around Hyde Park, which covers 350 acres (142 hectares).
  6. See the Peter Pan statue at Kensington Gardens.
  7. Watch the pelicans being fed every day at 2.30pm at St James's Park.

Free things to do in London with kids

  1. Ride the singing lift at Royal Festival Hall.
  2. Let teens fill up their social feeds with colourful photos at Instagrammers' hotspot Neal's Yard.
  3. Watch street entertainers at Covent Garden.
  4. Marvel at mind-blowing creations from the famous plastic bricks at The LEGO Store on Leicester Square.
  5. Follow in the wizarding trail of Harry Potter at filming location Leadenhall Market.
  6. Watch skateboarders perform gravity-defying tricks at the Southbank Centre Undercroft.
  7. Check out acts by performers along South Bank. Dancers, musicians and bubble shows often happen outside Tate Modern and near the London Eye.
  8. Let the little ones be pirates for the day on Captain Hook's huge wooden ship at the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground.
  9. Splash in rock pools and balance on wobbly bridges at Tumbling Bay playground
  10. Meet ferrets, bunnies, alpacas and more farm animals at Vauxhall City Farm and Mudchute Farm and Park.
  11. See amazing exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command capsule, at the Science Museum.

Free attractions in London

The red, twisting structure of the ArcelorMittal Orbit on the right, and London Stadium on the left, on a bright day.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is free to visit, some attractions require an entry fee © London Legacy Development Corporation.
  1. Watch the Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
  2. Take a selfie in front of the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus.
  3. Spot celebs at the latest red-carpet film premiere at Leicester Square.
  4. Be amazed by the ornate arches and pagodas in Chinatown, home to lots of low-cost eateries and Asian supermarkets.
  5. Hunt down permanent light installations around Carnaby, including one work made from 51 over-sized light bulbs.
  6. Follow in the footsteps of The Beatles by crossing the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing that's featured on the eponymous album cover. 
  7. Check the calendar to find out when to watch Tower Bridge open for large boats.
  8. Meet the stone lions at Trafalgar Square.
  9. Explore the parkland and waterways at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
  10. Paddle in the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, made from 545 pieces of Cornish granite.
  11. Observe a case at the Supreme Court, the UK’s final court of appeal.

Best London walks

  1. Walk along the picture-pretty South Bank.
  2. Follow the towpath through tranquil Little Venice to discover a slew of waterfront cafes and pubs.
  3. Join a fascinating free London walking tour
  4. Stroll through the lush riverside borough of Richmond. Start at the White Cross pub and continue past the rural idyll of Petersham Meadows until you reach Ham House.
  5. Take a shady walk among the 35,000 monuments of Brompton Cemetery, including one of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.
  6. Escape the city in the ancient woodland of Highgate Wood.
  7. Spot rare plants and insects in Epping Forest.
  8. See London's bridges lit up as part of the Illuminated River art installation.

Fantastic views of London for free

Looking out from behind foliage at the view from a large arching window at Sky Garden.
Sky Garden © visitlondon.com/Antoine Buchet.
  1. Find some of the best views of the capital from the heady heights of the Sky Garden or nearby The Garden at 120, both in the City of London.
  2. Celeb-spot while looking out across the capital from Primrose Hill.
  3. Stroll to the top of Hampstead Heath's Parliament Hill for marvellous vistas across London.
  4. See the city from elevated free public viewing galleries at One New Change and Oxo Tower.
  5. Get snapping with this guide to London's best 10 photo spots.

Free gardens

  1. Chill out in the Barbican Conservatory, alive with tropical plants, trees and fish, on select days throughout the year.
  2. Venture up the yellow spiral staircase to Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden for river views and drinks among wild flowers.
  3. Take some time out at Brown Hart Gardens, a secluded spot in Mayfair.
  4. Feel at peace in the Kyoto Japanese Garden in Holland Park.
  5. Take a look at the Watts Victorian memorial in Postman's Park, where acts of heroism are marked.
  6. Flower fans can soak up the floral colours and aromas of Columbia Road Flower Market.
  7. Explore the magical ruins of a church bombed in the Blitz in the pretty St Dunstan in the East gardens. 
  8. Stroll through the stunning botanical garden at Fulham Palace to admire rare and beautiful plants and the walled garden.

London's unusual cultural activities for free

  1. Visit neon wonderland God's Own Junkyard, home to Europe's largest collection of vintage neon signs.
  2. Track down the best places to see street art in London, including works by Banksy and Insta-worthy pieces in the Leake Street Arches
  3. Feast your eyes on literary treasures, such as the Magna Carta and lyrics by The Beatles, at the British Library.

Free art galleries in London

Looking out at Tate Modern's Turbine Hall tower, and the London skyline, with the Shard and City of London skyscrapers on the horizon, at dusk.
Tate Modern © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid.
  1. Take a journey through the history of British art from 1500 to the present day at Tate Britain.
  2. Check out the Royal Academy of Arts' free collections of artworks, sculptures and statues.
  3. Discover art by world greats, including Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Turner and Van Gogh at the National Gallery.
  4. Admire more contemporary masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Rothko, Dalí, Pollock and Warhol at Tate Modern.
  5. Marvel at the Pre-Raphaelites and study paintings of London from the 17th century at the Guildhall Art Gallery
  6. Notice how The Laughing Cavalier's eyes appear to follow you around the room in the famous Frans Hals painting at the Wallace Collection.
  7. Keep an eye out for free temporary exhibitions at The Curve at the Barbican Centre.

Free live music in London

  1. Bag a spot at one of Southbank Centre's regular free musical performances in the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall.
  2. See opera for free as part of the Royal Opera House's Live at Lunch concerts.
  3. Enjoy free entry to blues bar Ain't Nothing But... from Sunday to Thursday nights.
  4. See accomplished musicians performing at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music.
  5. Discover free lunchtime concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields church.
  6. Tap your feet to live jazz every Sunday and Monday at The Troubadour.

Free historic London attractions

  1. Discover historic treasures and rarely seen artefacts at the City of London Heritage Gallery.
  2. See the remains of London's Roman amphitheatre in the basement of the Guildhall Art Gallery.
  3. Explore Kenwood House, a stunning stately home designed by 18th-century Scottish architect Robert Adam on the edge of Hampstead Heath. 
  4. View the London Wall, the remnant of the Roman wall which was built in AD 200 and once formed part of the eastern defences of Roman Londinium.
  5. Check out more Roman ruins and artefacts at the London Mithraeum, an ancient temple that was left untouched for centuries.

Free festivals and seasonal events in London

A woman dressed in a carnival headdress and clothing dances as red ticker tape fills the air at Notting Hill Carnival in London.
Celebrate Notting Hill Carnival in London in August. Image courtesy of iStock.
  1. Celebrate Chinese New Year in London's Chinatown, the biggest celebrations outside Asia.
  2. Explore more cultural highlights from across the globe with festivals on Trafalgar Square, including Chanukah, Diwali and Eid.
  3. Enjoy plenty of pomp and pageantry at one of London's free parades, such as the Lord Mayor's Show, New Year's Day Parade and State Opening of Parliament.
  4. Join revellers at Notting Hill Carnival, London's biggest street festival.
  5. Soak up the action at the month-long Totally Thames festival.
  6. Join the party at the colourful Pride in London parade, celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community.
  7. See the lively St Patrick's Day parade wind through the streets of central London.
  8. Brighten up winter nights with light installations around Southbank Centre and Canary Wharf.

Fun free summer activities

  1. Relax in the sunshine while listening to talented artists at a free London music festival.
  2. Cool off under the fountains by The Scoop and keep an eye out for screenings and events as part of its winter and summer festivals.
  3. Watch the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships on one of the free big screens around the city.
  4. Hear some free speech as London's most vocal orators share their opinions at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park.

Check out this budget guide for cheap things to do in London and more free things to do around the capital. Find "free things to do near me" on the Visit London app, which is packed full of things to do on the go.