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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.