101 free things to do in London

Explore London without breaking the bank - from top attractions to cutting edge comedy nights, there are plenty of places to visit in London for free.
Give your credit card a rest with these 101 fabulous London freebies.

Free museums

  1. Come face-to-face with a roaring T-Rex and experience the earthquake simulator at the Natural History Museum.
  2. Examine treasures at Sir John Soane's Museum, a 19th-century townhouse.
  3. Explore the fascinating history of England's capital at the Museum of London.
  4. Hold a genuine bar of gold at the Bank of England Museum.
  5. Be inspired by the beautiful objects on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
  6. Learn about the history of the river Thames at Museum of London Docklands.
  7. Discover the life and works of one of Britain’s most inspiring designers at the William Morris Gallery.
  8. Head to Greenwich to swing by the Queen's House and the National Maritime Museum

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Unusual attractions

  1. Marvel at the Jar of Moles at the Grant Museum of Zoology.
  2. See the gigantic overstuffed walrus at the Horniman Museum.
  3. Be wowed by the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies at the British Museum.
  4. Be dazzled by the 400 exhibits – including a Spitfire and a Harrier fighter jet – on display at the Imperial War Museum.
  5. See the world's oldest dinosaur sculptures at Crystal Palace Park.
  6. See what life was like for the poor and destitute of London's East End during the late 1800s in the Ragged School Museum.
  7. Take your pain away with a visit to The Anaesthesia Museum, this quirky attraction charts the history of anaesthesia from 1846 to the present day.
  8. Browse old sewing machines at the London Sewing Machine Museum.
  9. Examine exhibitions spanning art, health and science at the Science Gallery London.
  10. Visit the Wellcome Collection to see a bunch of marvellously weird objects, including an ancient mummy, Napoleon's toothbrush and Darwin's walking stick.

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Park life

  1. Relax on Wimbledon Common where you'll find ponds, a nature trail and a windmill.
  2. Go deer-spotting in beautiful Richmond Park.
  3. See the Prime Meridian line for free at Park Vista.
  4. Bliss-out in Bushy Park, home to 320 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. Also look out for water birds, owls, woodpeckers and bats.

Free things to do with kids

  1. Ride the singing elevator (JCB Glass lift) in the Royal Festival Hall.
  2. Meet ferrets, bunnies, alpacas and more at Vauxhall City Farm.
  3. See farm animals at Mudchute Farm and Park.
  4. Push a trolley through to Harry Potter's magical world at the wall marked Platform 9 ¾ at King's Cross.
  5. Watch the skateboarders performing death-defying tricks under Southbank Centre.
  6. Go mudlarking – the city equivalent of beachcombing – outside Gabriel's Wharf or on the City of London side of the Millennium Bridge, where you can check the surface for old clay smoking pipes and bits of pottery. Check the tide tables in advance.
  7. Watch the street entertainers in Covent Garden.
  8. Little ones can be pirates for the day on Captain Hook's huge wooden pirate ship at the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground.
  9. Splash about in rock pools and balance on wobbly bridges at Tumbling Bay playground
  10. See amazing exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command capsule and Stephenson’s Rocket, at the Science Museum.
  11. Explore the V&A Museum of Childhood, where you'll find dolls' houses, games and construction toys dating back to the 1600s.

Free London attractions

  1. Watch the Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
  2. Follow in the footsteps of The Beatles by crossing the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing that's featured on the eponymous album cover. 
  3. Watch Tower Bridge open. See continuous images of the 19th-century landmark on our live video feed.
  4. Meet the stone lions at Trafalgar Square.
  5. Explore the parkland, waterways and striking venues at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London for free.
  6. Take a selfie in front of the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus.
  7. Enjoy a paddle in the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, made from 545 pieces of Cornish granite.
  8. Observe a case at the Supreme Court, the UK’s final court of appeal.

Best London walks

  1. Take a stroll 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 one of the fascinating free London walking tours run by Strawberry Tours
  4. Stroll through the lush riverside village 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.

Free gardens in London

  1. Chill out in the Barbican Conservatory, alive with tropical plants, trees and fish.
  2. Achieve Zen in Kyoto Japanese Garden in Holland Park.
  3. Take a look at the Watts Victorian memorial in Postman's Park, where acts of heroism are marked.
  4. Be dazzled by the wildflowers at the secret Phoenix Garden in London's West End.
  5. Flower fans can soak up the floral colours and aromas of Columbia Road Flower Market.
  6. Explore the magical ruins of a church bombed in the Blitz in the pretty St Dunstan in the East gardens. 

Unusual cultural activities

  1. See prop-makers and theatre designers working behind the scenes at the National Theatre by walking along its Sherling Backstage Walkway.
  2. Discover London's rich musical heritage by visiting legendary locations including "Tin Pan Alley".
  3. Visit neon wonderland God's Own Junkyard, home to Europe's largest collection of vintage neon signs.
  4. Take a peek at London's public and street art, including works by guerrilla artist Banksy.
  5. Feast your eyes on literary treasures, including the Magna Carta and lyrics by The Beatles, at the British Library.

Free art galleries

  1. See contemporary art at White Cube Gallery, Bermondsey.
  2. See a Rosetti painting at the Guildhall Art Gallery
  3. Notice how The Laughing Cavalier's eyes appear to follow you around the room in the famous Frans Hals painting at the Wallace Collection.
  4. Get an eyeful of kings and queens, musicians and film stars at the National Portrait Gallery.
  5. Discover art by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner, Renoir and Van Gogh at the National Gallery.
  6. Admire masterpieces by Cézanne, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, Dalí, Pollock, Warhol and Bourgeois at Tate Modern.
  7. See modern art at Chelsea's palatial Saatchi Gallery.
  8. Learn about contemporary artists at The Curve at the Barbican Centre, which hosts a string of free temporary exhibitions.

Cost-free comedy clubs

  1. Enjoy a giggle at Angel Comedy Club, offering free comedy shows every night of the week.
  2. Pay nothing to see comedy and improv at the Top Secret Comedy Club.

Free live music

  1. Hear talented musicians studying at the Royal College of Music performing free lunchtime and rush-hour concerts across London.
  2. Dance along to ska, roots, reggae and folk rhythms at Hootananny Brixton, which offers loads of free gigs.
  3. See accomplished musicians performing at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music.
  4. Spend a lazy Saturday afternoon at Daylight Music at the Union Chapel (suggested donation of £5).
  5. Southbank Centre holds regular free musical performances in the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall.
  6. Enjoy free entry to blues bar Ain't Nothing But... from Sunday to Thursday nights.
  7. Discover free lunchtime concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields church.
  8. Tap your feet to live jazz every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at The Troubadour.

Historic London

  1. Check out the mysterious London Stone, temporarily moved to Museum of London from its home at 111 Cannon Street. Legend says the stone was part of an altar in a temple built by Brutus of Troy.
  2. See the remains of London's Roman amphitheatre in the basement of the Guildhall Art Gallery.
  3. Visit Southwark Cathedral, the oldest cathedral church building in London.
  4. Explore Kenwood House, a stunning stately home designed by 18th-century Scottish architect Robert Adam on the edge of Hampstead Heath. 
  5. 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.
  6. Discover more than 1,000 years of history at Headstone Manor & Museum.

Fun summer activites

  1. Relax in the sunshine while listening to super-talented artists at a free London music festival.
  2. Cool off under the fountains by The Scoop.
  3. Bring a picnic to feast on in Somerset House's gorgeous 18th-century courtyard.
  4. Watch the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships on one of the free big screens around the city.
  5. Hear some free speech as London's most vocal orators share their opinions at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park.

Check out our budget guide for more cheap things to do in London.