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Free events in London

Discover unmissable free events in London, from annual festivals to sports and cultural showcases.
Two lion dance teams balance on yellow poles in Trafalgar Square, with crowds of people and the National Gallery behind.
Chinese New Year in Trafalgar Square. Image courtesy of the London Chinatown Chinese Association.

Many of the capital’s events don’t cost a penny to attend, including free annual events such as Notting Hill Carnival, sporting spectacles including RideLondon, and the year-round Changing the Guard ceremony.

Make sure to also look out for free exhibitions at the capital’s many museums and art galleries.

Free events in London in spring

St Patrick’s Day

Celebrate Ireland’s patron saint with a special free event in March, in central London. Follow the parade through the West End, plus Irish food music and more at the free St Patrick’s Day festival in Trafalgar Square, on or around 17 March each year.

The Passion of Jesus

Watch the The Passion of Jesus, a dramatic re-enactment of the biblical Easter story, which is played out by a 100-strong cast of the Winterhsall Players in Trafalgar Square every Good Friday. Get there early to secure your spot for one of two performances so you don't miss one of the best free Easter events in London.

Vaisakhi Festival

Two people playing instuments on stage, dressed in light blue clothing.

Celebrate the start of the Sikh New Year at free April event, the Vaisakhi Festival, on Trafalgar Square. Enjoy dance and music performances plus food and family fun, as the central London landmark is transformed into a colourful celebration.

Feast of St George

Enjoy plenty of patriotism, as St George’s Day is celebrated on or around 23 April every year with a free festival in London’s Trafalgar Square. England’s culture is put in focus as the Feast of St George combines traditional English food, activities and games for all ages.

Eid Festival

The free Eid Festival on Trafalgar Square celebrates Eid al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan – the date changes each year, but in 2022 it falls in May. Learn about Islamic culture though performances, speeches and activities, shop in the bazaars and pick up food from the many stalls.

London Marathon

Cheer on the runners during the London Marathon, or even take part yourself! Line the streets along the route, which usually winds its way from Greenwich to The Mall during this free April event. In 2021, the London Marathon takes place in October.

The Boat Race

The Boat Race pits the crews of Oxford and Cambridge universities against each other in this historic rowing race each March or April. This free sports event usually takes place on the Thames, between Putney and Mortlake – The Boat Race 2022 route is yet to be confirmed.

Free events in London in summer

Open Garden Squares Weekend

One of the top free summer events for garden-lovers, Open Garden Squares Weekend opens up hundreds of green spaces during a whole weekend each June. Seek out hidden squares, iconic gardens and contemporary landscapes.

Trooping the Colour

Marvel at a spectacular parade featuring soldiers, horses and marching bands during Trooping the Colour, which celebrates Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday each June. Tickets for the grandstands in Horse Guards Parade require a fee, but you can watch on from The Mall or St James’s Park for free.

Pride in London

People standing up on a float, waving rainbow flags, as they travel along during the Pride in London parade.

London’s LGBTQ+ community is celebrated with the free Pride in London festival each June and July. Usually held over a whole month, the festival culminates in a colourful parade through the West End and performances in Trafalgar Square.

RideLondon

Saddle up for a festival of cycling, as RideLondon returns to London each summer with free events, races and bike-themed activities. Sign up for mass-participation events or watch from the sidelines as world-class cyclists race through the streets.

West End Live

See performances from some of the London’s top musicals during West End Live in Trafalgar Square each summer. Previous events having included casts from The Lion King, Les Misérables and Wicked. The 2021 edition of West End Live takes place in September.

Notting Hill Carnival

Enjoy open-air theatre, music, art and more at the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, which takes place in August and September every year. Free events are spread throughout venues in Royal Greenwich, Tower Hamlets and the Docklands.

London Mela

Head to Southall Park for a whole weekend of South Asian culture. London Mela brings together some of the top names in music from the South Asian community, plus dance, food and activities for this free event in August or September.

Free events in London in autumn

London Design Festival

Spot eye-catching installations on London streets as part of free September event, the London Design Festival. Head to dedicated “design hubs” throughout the city, for special installations, design-themed events and arty activities.

Open House London

Peek inside some of the capital’s most iconic and unusual buildings, many of which are not usually open to the public, during Open House London in September. This free event spans historic and modern architecture, with past venues including 10 Downing Street and City Hall.

Diwali

A man dressed in traditional clothing with flower garlands around his neck, at the Diwali festival, while other performers dance in the background.

Celebrate Diwali the festival of lights, each winter with a free festival in Trafalgar Square. The Hindu, Sikh and Jain celebration coincides with the new moon in October or November. Expect music and dance performances, food, crafting and more.

Remembrance

Remember those lost in conflict at annual Remembrance Day events and services each November. There’s a chance to pay your respects during church services and a parade along Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday, which is the closest Sunday to 11 November – the date when the First World War ended in 1918.

Free events in London in winter

Regent Street Motor Show

Regent Street is pedestrianised for a day, as classic and vintage cars park up and motoring-themed activities take over the iconic street during the Regent Street Motor Show. Spot your favourite cars, take part in interactive displays and pick up memorabilia at this free November event in London.

The Lord Mayor’s Show

A golden carriage, manned by people in traditional red livery, passes in front of St Paul's Cathedral.

There’s plenty of pageantry every November, as The Lord Mayor’s Show marks the installation of the new Lord Mayor of London. Watch the golden carriage travel through the City of London alongside marching bands, performers and giant wicker figures in a grand parade, which dates back to 1215.

Peter Pan Cup

Venture out to the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park on Christmas Day, and you’ll find one of London’s most curious events, the Peter Pan Cup. This annual swimming competition for The Serpentine Swimming Club members is a long-running tradition – watch this Christmas event for free as the competitors battle it out.

New Year’s Day Parade

Celebrate the arrival of the new year by lining central London's streets for the New Year’s Day Parade. Colourful floats, dancers, acrobats and performers meander their way past key London icons at this free January event, which attracts thousands of spectators.

Chinese New Year

Chinatown and London’s West End come alive each January or February for the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia. Follow a parade featuring lion and dragon dancers, and join the free festival in Trafalgar Square for the Eye-Dotting Ceremony, performances and a spectacular fireworks display.

Discover more key events in London each month, or find more free things to do in London.