Free Things to do in London
A trip to London can often be an expensive affair, so finding free things to do in the city is always a bonus. Get those much-wanted photos of some of London’s famous landmarks, find a beautiful park for a picnic, visit a historic market or spend the day getting lost in a museum without spending a penny.
When you purchase a 24, 48 or 72-hour bus ticket from The Original Tour, not only will you see the best bits of the city but you will also benefit from a free Thames River Cruise and 3 free walking tours in London.
Free Attractions in London
See some of the top sights in London, completely free! Whilst it may not be possible to go inside or experience some of these sights for free, you can still grab those all important pictures of these iconic landmarks.
There are very few things that are as breathtaking as walking down The Mall and seeing Buckingham Palace in front of you. Home to the British Monarchy, Buckingham Palace is one of the most popular attractions in London. Watch the Changing of the Guards ceremony outside the palace or join our walking tour for free with your Original Tour bus ticket.
Joining both the north and south bank of the Thames, Tower Bridge is an iconic London landmark. Right next to the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge straddles the River Thames and is instantly recognisable. Take some photos from the banks of the river or cross this historic London bridge by foot.
Home to the National Gallery, Nelson’s Column, the world’s smallest police phone box and the beautiful fountains, Trafalgar Square commemorates the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. There are plenty of photo opportunities as well as the chance to head inside at the National Gallery to enjoy some free art exhibitions in London.
Westminster Bridge provides a prime spot for some great photos. Snap away at Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye across the river. With so many attractions in one place, Westminster is certainly one of the best places to visit in London for free.
Free Museums and art in London
Whether you want to escape from the bad weather, immerse yourself in art and culture or learn about world history, head to one of London’s free museums.
The British Museum is open daily from 10am - 5.15pm. Discover collections from around the world including ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, ancient Egypt exhibitions and exclusive visiting exhibitions throughout the year. You can also get a free audio guide and kids activity pack to accompany your visit.
London is home to both the Tate Modern and Tate Britain, both of which are completely free. Tate Modern in Bankside showcases international modern and contemporary art including live displays and immersive pieces. In contrast, Tate Britain in Millbank is home to British art from 1500 to the present day and includes a wide selection of paintings, sculptures and displays.
Natural History Museum
Not only is it a beautiful building, but the National History Museum is also full of fascinating historical artefacts depicting life on earth. Uncover dinosaur fossils, human biology, geology and so much more at the Natural history museum. There are also a variety of exhibitions throughout the year but you may have to pay to access these.
Free things to do in London with Kids
Travelling with children can be tough, so finding things to do in London with kids for free can make your trip more affordable. Go for a picnic, run around a park or make their visit educational. Discover more things to do in London with toddlers, kids or teens in our blog.
It’s fun, it’s educational and it’s completely free! Open daily between 10am and 6pm, there is a world of discovery at your fingertips at the Science Museum. Head to The Garden where children between 3-6 years old can interact with the gallery, take a seat for story time and shows or play around in the multisensory pattern pod.
Diana Memorial Park
The Diana Memorial Park in Kensington Gardens is the perfect place for kids to let loose. With a huge pirate ship, sensory trails and plenty of green space, this park is an outdoor oasis for kids in central London. The park has seasonal opening times throughout the year and during peak periods, it can get busy so queue management may be in place.
Parks and Gardens
Although it is a bustling city, there is no shortage of wide open spaces in London. Some of the best parks to visit in London with kids include; Hyde Park where you can enjoy many outdoor activities, Hampstead Heath where you can swim in the lido for as little as £1 and Richmond Park, home to deer herds and the biggest park in London.
Cool free things to do in London
There are plenty of fun free things to do in London. In such a diverse and vibrant city, the streets are bursting with art, history and culture. Visit some of your favourite film and music locations and recreate iconic pictures from British history.
Central London is thriving with vibrant street art in many areas of the city. Search for the Seven Noses of Soho or head to Shoreditch to see some of the most amazing graffiti and stencil art in East London. There is also some great memorial art around the city including Amy Winehouse in Camden, David Bowie in Brixton and Prince in Turnpike Lane.
Platform 9 ¾
This one is definitely not just for kids! If you’re travelling with a little Potter fan, you simply must take them to Platform 9 ¾! Grab hold of the trolley going straight through the wall between platforms 9 and 10 in King’s Cross station and dress up in your Hogwarts house scarf for a magical picture. There is also a Harry Potter gift shop if you want to buy a souvenir.
Whether you are a huge Beatles fan or not, you have probably seen the iconic zebra crossing photo at Abbey Road. Abbey Road Studios is the most famous recording studio in the world. It has hosted artists such as Lady Gaga, Pink Floyd and, of course, The Beatles, so don’t miss your chance to grab a photo on the crossing.
Places to visit in London for free
You don’t need to pay to visit one of London’s beautiful markets and each one has something different to offer. With live street performers, delicious food and vintage bargains, there is something for everyone at London markets.
Visit London’s oldest food market in Southwark for a taste of fine British produce. Free to enter, Borough market is a hub for quality British and international produce and is home to a variety of stalls, shops and restaurants. There are also a number of tours, demonstrations and ticketed events throughout the year.
Originating as an arts and crafts fair, Camden Market is now a central base in London for fashion, music, art and food. This vibrant community is free to visit and you can get lost in the craft and vintage stalls indoors before grabbing a bite to eat from the street food market. There are also events throughout the year such as cinema screenings and live musicians.
Covent Garden offers a multitude of free things in London that everyone can enjoy. Wander around the Covent Garden Market, listen to live music in the lower courtyard, enjoy live entertainment from street performers in the piazza or get lost in hidden streets such as Neal’s Yard. There is so much to do, you will be spoilt for choice.
Free things to do in London at Night
Just because the day is coming to an end, it doesn’t mean you need to splash out on entertainment. Find a quiet place to watch the sunset, witness an ancient tradition at the Tower of London or have a laugh at a free comedy club.
Watch the Sunset
Spend an evening watching the sun set over the city from one of the best free views in London. Take a picnic up to Primrose Hill or Hampstead Heath and find a quiet spot to watch the sunset. Alternatively, book a free visit at the Sky Garden, London’s highest public garden, or reserve a table for an evening meal.
Up for a laugh? There are a number of great comedy clubs if you are looking for free things to do in London at night. Head to Angel Comedy in the Camden Head pub, 7 nights a week, or try The Platypus Playpen at The Harrison in King’s Cross, with free shows twice a month. You will need to arrive early to grab a seat but you are guaranteed a full night of fun.
The Ceremony of the Keys
The Ceremony of the Keys is a 700-year-old ancient ceremony at the Tower of London and one of the oldest surviving enactments of its kind. The traditional ceremony of ‘locking up the Tower of London’ takes place every evening at 9.53pm and guests must arrive by 9.30pm and book tickets 12-18 months in advance.
There are lots of free places to visit in London if you are looking for a cheap day out or something to fill the time without breaking the bank. Whether it is sightseeing, green spaces or ancient traditions you’re after, London has something for everyone.
Don’t forget, when you purchase a 24, 48 or 72-hour sightseeing bus ticket from The Original Tour, you also benefit from a River Thames cruise and 3 free walking tours in London. Purchase your tickets here and start planning your visit.
Still struggling to plan your London itinerary? Use our itinerary tool for more ideas.