London is jam-packed with free museums, galleries, gardens, parks and much more, meaning a visit to London doesn’t have to break the bank.
- Be wowed by the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies at The British Museum.
- Come face-to-face with a roaring T-Rex and experience the earthquake simulator at the Natural History Museum.
- Examine treasures at Sir John Soane’s Museum, a 19th-century townhouse.
- Explore the fascinating history of England’s capital at the Museum of London.
- Immerse yourself in royal history as you admire an extensive art collection of royal portraits at the Queen’s House.
- Be inspired by the beautiful objects on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
- Learn about the history of the river Thames at the Museum of London Docklands.
- Learn how science has evolved through the ages with key objects and experiments at the Faraday Museum.
- Discover the life and works of one of Britain’s most inspiring designers at the William Morris Gallery.
- Journey through Britain’s naval history at the National Maritime Museum.
- Marvel at the Jar of Moles at the Grant Museum of Zoology.
- Be dazzled by the 400 exhibits – including a Spitfire and a Harrier fighter jet – on display at the Imperial War Museum.
- Spot the gigantic overstuffed walrus at the Horniman Museum and Gardens.
- See the world’s oldest dinosaur sculptures at Crystal Palace Park.
- Examine exhibitions spanning art, health and science at the Science Museum.
- Visit the Wellcome Collection to see a bunch of marvellously weird objects, including an ancient mummy, Napoleon’s toothbrush and Darwin’s walking stick.
- Push a trolley into Harry Potter’s magical world at the wall marked Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross.
- Climb to the top of Greenwich Park for stunning views of the city skyline.
- Relax on Wimbledon Common where you’ll find ponds, a nature trail and a windmill.
- Go deer-spotting in beautiful Richmond Park.
- Bliss-out in Bushy Park, home to 320 free-roaming deer.
- Burn off some calories by jogging around Hyde Park, which covers 350 acres (142 hectares).
- See the Peter Pan statue at Kensington Gardens.
- 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 in London with kids
- Ride the singing elevator (JCB glass lift) in the Royal Festival Hall.
- Let the teens fill up their feeds with colourful shots at Instagrammers’ hotspot Neal’s Yard.
- Watch the street entertainers in the Piazza and market Covent Garden, before treating budding fashionistas at the upscale beauty and fashion boutiques.
- Marvel at mind-blowing creations from the famous plastic bricks at The LEGO Store on Leicester Square.
- Follow in the wizarding trail of Harry Potter at filming location Leadenhall Market.
- Watch the skateboarders performing death-defying tricks under Southbank Centre.
- 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.
- Little ones can be pirates for the day on Captain Hook’s huge wooden pirate ship at the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground.
- Splash about in rock pools and balance on wobbly bridges at Tumbling Bay playground.
- Meet ferrets, bunnies, alpacas and more at Vauxhall City Farm and farm animals at Mudchute Farm and Park.
- See amazing exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command capsule and Stephenson’s Rocket, at the Science Museum.
Free attractions in London
- Watch the Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
- Take a selfie in front of the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus.
- Spot celebs at the latest red-carpet film premiere at Leicester Square.
- Be amazed by the ornate arches and pagodas in Chinatown, which is home to lots of low-cost eateries and Asian supermarkets.
- Hunt down permanent light installations around Carnaby, including one work made from 51 oversized light bulbs.
- Follow in the footsteps of The Beatles by crossing the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing that’s featured on the eponymous album cover.
- Watch Tower Bridge open. See continuous images of the 19th-century landmark on our live video feed.
- Meet the stone lions at Trafalgar Square.
- Explore the parkland, waterways and striking venues at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London for free.
- Enjoy a paddle in the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, made from 545 pieces of Cornish granite.
- Observe a case at the Supreme Court, the UK’s final court of appeal.
Best London walks
- Take a stroll along the picture-pretty South Bank.
- Follow the towpath through tranquil Little Venice to discover a slew of waterfront cafes and pubs.
- Join one of the fascinating free London walking tours run by Strawberry Tours.
- 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.
- Take a shady walk among the 35,000 monuments of Brompton Cemetery, including one of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.
- Escape the city in the ancient woodland of Highgate Wood.
- Spot rare plants and insects in Epping Forest.
Fantastic views of London
- 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.
- Celeb-spot while looking out across the capital from Primrose Hill.
- Get snapping with our guide to London’s top photo opportunities.
- Stroll to the top of Hampstead Heath’s Parliament Hill for marvellous vistas across London.
- Chill out in the Barbican Conservatory, alive with tropical plants, trees and fish, on select days throughout the year.
- Venture up the yellow spiral staircase to Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden for river views and drinks among wildflowers.
- Take some time out at Brown Hart Gardens, a secluded spot in Mayfair.
- Achieve Zen in Kyoto Japanese Garden in Holland Park.
- Take a look at the Watts Victorian memorial in Postman’s Park, where acts of heroism are marked.
- Flower fans can soak up the floral colours and aromas of Columbia Road Flower Market.
- Explore the magical ruins of a church bombed in the Blitz in the pretty St Dunstan in the East gardens.
- Stroll through the stunning botanical garden at Fulham Palace to admire rare and beautiful plants and the walled garden.
Unusual cultural activities
- Visit neon wonderland God’s Own Junkyard, home to Europe’s largest collection of vintage neon signs.
- Take a peek at London’s public and street art, including works by guerrilla artist Banksy and Insta-worthy street art tunnel in Leake Street Arches.
- Feast your eyes on literary treasures, including Magna Carta and lyrics by The Beatles, at The British Library.
Free art galleries in London
- Take a journey through the history of British art from 1500 to the present day at Tate Britain.
- Check out the Royal Academy of Arts‘ free collections of artworks, sculptures and statues.
- Discover art by world greats, including Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Turner and Van Gogh at the The National Gallery.
- Admire more contemporary masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Rothko, Dalí, Pollock and Warhol at Tate Modern.
- Marvel at the Pre-Raphaelites, study paintings of London from the 17th century, and more at the Guildhall Art Gallery.
- Notice how The Laughing Cavalier’s eyes appear to follow you around the room in the famous Frans Hals painting at The Wallace Collection.
- Keep an eye out for free temporary exhibitions at The Curve at the Barbican Centre.
Free live music in London
- Bag a spot at one of Southbank Centre‘s regular free musical performances in the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall.
- See opera for no charge as part of the Royal Opera House’s Live at Lunch concerts.
- Enjoy free entry to blues bar Ain’t Nothing But… from Sunday to Thursday nights.
- Dance along to ska, roots, reggae and folk rhythms at Hootananny Brixton, which offers loads of free gigs.
- See accomplished musicians performing at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music.
- Discover free lunchtime concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields church.
- Tap your feet to live jazz every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at The Troubadour.
Historic London attractions
- Discover heritage treasures and rarely-seen artefacts at the City of London Heritage Gallery.
- See the remains of London’s Roman amphitheatre in the basement of the Guildhall Art Gallery.
- Book your free ticket well in advance to attend the Ceremony of the Keys, a ritual at the Tower of London that’s happened almost every night for 700 years.
- Explore Kenwood House, a stunning stately home designed by 18th-century Scottish architect Robert Adam on the edge of Hampstead Heath.
- 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.
- Check out more Roman ruins and artefacts at the London Mithraeum, an ancient temple that was left untouched for centuries.
Free festivals in London
- Celebrate Chinese New Year in London’s Chinatown, the biggest celebrations outside Asia.
- Explore more cultural highlights from across the globe with festivals on Trafalgar Square, including Chanukah, Diwali, Eid and Japan Matsuri.
- 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.
- Join revellers at London’s biggest street party, the Notting Hill Carnival.
- Soak up the action at the month-long Totally Thames festival.
- Join the party at the colourful Pride in London parade, celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community.
- See the lively St Patrick’s Day parade wind through the streets of London.
Fun free summer activities
- Relax in the sunshine while listening to super-talented artists at a free London music festival.
- Enjoy offers, workshops and activities from retailers and plenty of street food on traffic-free streets, as part of the annual Regent Street Summer Streets.
- Grab a picnic and catch a live-streamed opera or ballet performance in Trafalgar Square, as part of the BP Summer Big Screens events each summer.
- 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.
- Watch the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships on one of the free big screens around the city.
- Hear some free speech as London’s most vocal orators share their opinions at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park.
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