It’s January, which means you’re likely broke post-festive season (we know we are). So as much as we love an extravagant pop up or a bit of fine dining, today Secret London is opting to lend a hand by giving you some great alternatives. When it comes to free things to do in London, you might think you’d be limited to going to parks. Considering it feels like 50 quid evaporates from your bank account the minute you step outside, we wouldn’t be surprised if that’s all you thought there was.
Thankfully though there’s plenty of free things to do in London this year, and we’ve got a jolly good list of them (if we do say so ourselves). So, give the debit/credit card a break and dive into this roundup of 200 of the best free things to do in London:
Table Of Contents
- Free museums in London
- Free gigs in London
- Free performances in London
- Free markets in London
- Free art galleries in London
- Free attractions in London
- Free walks to go on in London
- Free views over London
- Cute and colourful places to visit for free
- Free exercise classes in London
- Free parks and gardens in London
- Best shops in London to explore
- Even more free things to do in London
- Free seasonal events in London
Free museums in London
Yep, there are lots of free museums in London to visit for a cultural fix. Ancient art, fascinating objects, and even an 82-foot blue whale skeleton and a giant dinosaur can be found in the capital’s array of museums, with hours and hours of fun to be had.
1. British Museum
Another of the best free things to do in London here, you’ll be able to delve into two million years’ worth of human history and culture at this legendary Bloomsbury establishment.
2. The Chocolate Museum (only open on Sundays)
This intriguing museum’s mission is to tell the story of chocolate, from bean, to bar, and finally, to your belly. Yum!
3. Science Museum
A free museum in South Kensington dedicated to the miracle of technological progress… and all the neat things we’ve discovered along the way.
4. Design Museum
A cavernous space right by Holland Park that celebrates all things in contemporary design. Keep an eye out for their paid exhibitions too.
5. Natural History Museum
Dedicated entirely to the flora, fauna and geology of the planet we call home, with exhibits on dinosaurs, earthquakes, venomous insects and other bad-ass features of the natural world.
6. Queen’s House, Greenwich
A former Royal residence offering Thames River views now dedicated to an internationally-renowned art collection, including the unique Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I.
7. Victoria & Albert Museum
Known to most simply as the V&A, head here for amazing outfits, glittering jewellery, intricate mosaics and ancient sculptures in their constantly-changing collection.
8. Wellcome Collection
A museum-come- library right in the heart of Central London connecting science, medicine, life and art in a series of eclectic exhibitions.
9. Imperial War Museum
Charts human conflict as it’s affected Britain throughout the centuries, with a particular focus on WW1 and WW2.
10. Horniman Museum & Gardens
Based upon the eclectic collections of Frederick John Horniman, you’ll find a gallery of taxidermy (including a famously overstuffed walrus), a butterfly house, art and even llamas!
11. Sir John Soane’s Museum
Holds over 45,000 fascinating items amassed by the 19th-century architect Sir John Soane – a true smorgasbord of art and culture.
12. Bank of England Museum
Another of the best free things to do in London here, this museum is home to a collection of diverse items relating to the history of the Bank and the UK economy since 1694.
13. National Maritime Museum
Celebrates London’s seafaring past with permanent exhibitions along with temporary attractions throughout the year, including a fun area especially for kids.
14. Queer Britain
The UK’s first LGBTQ+ Museum run by the charity Queer Britain celebrating Britain’s rich and varied queer history.
15. RAF Museum
After a multi-million pound upgrade in 2018, this Colindale-based spot boasts interactive galleries and immersive activities… along with lots and lots of planes.
16. Science Gallery London
Immersive installations, film, photography, audio, zines, sculptures and more – you name it, it’s here!
17. Grant Museum of Zoology
A part of UCL and established by Robert Edmond Grant in 1828, this Bloomsbury-based spot houses a whole host of species from the animal kingdom – including rare and extinct specimens.
18. Museum of London Docklands
A chance to find out how the docks of the capital shaped the city in which we live today.
19. National Army Museum
Chelsea-based spot which tells the story of Britain’s fighting forces, across five galleries and four floors: Soldier, Army, Society, Battle and Insight.
20. Museum of London (closed until 2026)
Sadly this gem of a museum is now closed until 2026, so keep your eyes peeled for when it reopens for another chance to delve into fascinating stories of Londoners through videos, articles and more.
Free gigs in London
Hearing about free stuff is just music to our ears. While we do also have a hell of a lot of paid-for gigs, there’s ample of free stuff too. From the buskers of Oxford Circus, to the halls of the Royal Opera House, music flows freely across the whole of London, and here’s where to find it.
21. London’s street pianos
Tinkle the ivories and channel your inner Beethoven on one of London’s secret street pianos.
See at classical concert at this Church of England parish church at the north-east corner of Trafalgar Square.
23. The Old Blue Last
Catch a hot gig at this Shoreditch-based boozer – the favourite hangout of staff from Vice magazine.
24. The Royal Academy of Music
This prestigious spot holds weekly lunchtime concerts, which are well worth a visit when you’re in town.
25. Nando’s recording studio
Why not try and record the next big hit at this free recording studio, run by everyone’s favourite chicken chain Nando’s?
26. Rough Trade East
Discover the next big thing at a free event or signing at Rough Trade on Brick Lane in East London.
27. Royal Opera House
Watch one of the free ‘Live at Lunch’ performances at the magnificent Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
Free performances in London
Don’t expect free theatre tickets, but we’ve got some pretty nifty things for you to do when it comes to the performing arts. Comedy, films, and a healthy amount of drama await you!
28. The Sherling High Level Walkway
Watch the National Theatre’s sets and props being made at this intriguing spot in the National Theatre, which is open an hour before performances.
29. Covent Garden
Marvel at the street performers that regularly perform on Covent Garden’s picturesque cobbled streets.
30. Theatre Royal Haymarket
Take a free acting masterclass at this famous theatre in the West End.
31. Leicester Square film premieres
Check out when the next big film premiere is on and see if you can spot some A-Listers (or maybe some reality show D-Listers let’s face it).
32. Angel Comedy
Laugh yourself silly with free comedy shows from this company run by comedians. It’s now in three locations close to – yep, you guessed it – Angel station.
33. Top Secret Comedy Club
Go to a show here where regulars include Jack Whitehall, Joanne McNally, Omid Djalili, and Simon Amstell.
34. Dive into the BFI’s film collection
Here you can view over 95,000 titles from the BFI National Archive – one of the world’s most important and diverse collections of film and television.
35. Join a free theatre workshop at Almeida for Free
Another of the best free things to do in London here – because who doesn’t want to try their hand at treading the boards and becoming the next Helen Mirren or Ian McKellen?!
Free markets in London
They’re only free markets if you don’t buy anything, but there’s always free samples to be had… Meander around these gorgeous spots for the perfect weekend day out!
36. Maltby Street Market
Hidden away in a tangle of streets between London Bridge and Bermondsey, this popular weekend spot brings together some of the best street food traders in the whole capital.
37. Broadway Market
A Victorian street market with a rich history and lots of incredible food on Saturdays, with shops, pubs and independent cafés in between.
38. Leadenhall Market
Magnificent place right in the heart of the City with architecture dating all the way back to the 14th century. Expect boutique retailers, an award-winning pub and more.
39. Backyard Market
You’re sure to unearth hidden trinkets here such as antique jewellery and eclectic prints.
40. Columbia Road Flower Market
Probably the most colourful of all London’s markets due to the plethora of plants and flowers on sale here.
41. Camden Market
The delicious smells wafting up to the Secret London office alone in Camden are enough to put this one on this roundup. Think excellent food, vintage clothing, immersive experiences and more.
42. Greenwich Market
One of our top reasons to visit Greenwich, the market is a jack of all trades, offering food, fashion, arts and crafts, and jewellery.
43. Portobello Road Market
The largest antiques market in the entire world – need we say more?
44. Borough Market
Sitting right in the heart of London Bridge, Borough Market has been a place of food and commerce for over 1000 years. Phew!
45. Chiswick Flower Market
A rival to Columbia Flower Market in the East, this cute spot which only opened in 2020 is one hell of a good reason to head to W4.
46. Brixton Village and Market
A haven of eclectic cuisines, this area of Brixton was first established back in the 1920s and 30s as a market, before being transformed into the foodie haven that it is today. There are also some great shops to boot too.
47. Old Spitalfields Market
The OG of East London markets is actually open seven days a week, but weekends are the busiest and most colourful affairs. The usual suspects of food, fashion, and crafts are all present, and you’ll find higher-end eateries and shops surrounding the market.
48. Mercato Metropolitano
Hiding away off a rather uneventful stretch of Borough High Street is Mercato Metropolitano – a surprisingly massive street food hall which is up there with the very best in town.
49. Pop Brixton
While this spot hosts everything from vintage markets to jazz performances and yoga classes, the restaurants and food stalls on site are the major draw day in, day out.
50. Vinegar Yard
Filled with art installations, street food traders, pop-ups shops and bars, and a giant outdoor garden with unobstructed views of the Shard, you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere better to while away a few hours.
51. Canopy Market
Featuring delicious offerings from the likes of Casa Cannoli, Churros Garcia, and Little Bread Pedlar, you can stuff your face whilst enjoying live music and gigs on Friday nights.
52. Victoria Park Market
A weekly food market located in East London’s most famous and arguably beautiful park. Runs on Sundays from 10am-4pm.
53. Market Halls West End,
The biggest food hall in the UK with practically every kind of cuisine on Earth.
54. Mercato Mayfair
Of all the food halls in London, only one can be said to be a true temple of food. That’d be this one – a delicious dining destination that’s housed inside an old church, and now serves wine, cheese, and plates piled high to visitors. Take us to church.
Free art galleries in London
“There is no must in art because art is free.” It certainly is when you visit these free art exhibitions and galleries, perfect for an eyeful of though-provoking paintings, sculptures, and installations. Just remember to pose thoughtfully, and you’ll fool anyone into thinking you’re a genius art critic.
55. Brick Lane
Some of the best street art in London is found in Brick Lane, and there’s everything here from murals of colourful flowers to giant elephants. Go for a wander and see for yourself!
56. The National Gallery
Founded in 1824, the National Gallery houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.
57. Tate Britain
Part of the prestigious Tate network, this esteemed gallery houses a substantial collection of art since the Tudor period – including many by J.M.W.Turner
58. The Serpentine Galleries
Two modern art galleries hosting world-renowned temporary exhibitions on either side of the famous Serpentine lake.
59. Scenes in the Square
Leicester Square’s lovely, film-themed statue trail.
60. Leake Street
Embrace the underground street art scene at Leake Street in Waterloo.
61. Somerset House
Magnificent Georgian building just off the Strand which has regular free events throughout the year as well as one of the most picturesque ice skating rinks on Earth (yes, we’re biassed).
62. Saatchi Gallery
A London gallery for contemporary art and an independent charity just off King’s Road in Chelsea.
63. Whitechapel Gallery
The chic Whitechapel Gallery has premiered world-class artists, from modern masters Pablo Picasso and Mark Rothko, to contemporaries such as Sophie Calle and Sarah Lucas.
64. The Wallace Collection
A historic London house museum showcasing exquisite paintings, sculptures, ceramics, furniture and armour.
65. Gods Own Junkyard
Neon signs and more in a gallery up in E17. One for the old Instagram!
66. National Portrait Gallery (currently closed for renovations)
Holds the most extensive collection of portraits anywhere in the world – 215,000 (seriously)!
67. Tate Modern
Unlike the Tate Britain, which houses a permanent collection of historic British art, Tate Modern is all about the here and now. Everything you’ll find within the gallery is modern art, dating only as far back as 1900.
68. William Morris Gallery
Displays the life and work of the radical Victorian designer, craftsman and campaigner, William Morris.
69. White Cube Gallery
One of the world’s ‘leading contemporary art galleries’, there’s always something going on at the White Cube in Bermondsey.
70. First Thursdays
Organised by the aforementioned Whitechapel Gallery, head along to this monthly event when over 150 East London galleries stay open late.
71. Carrie Reichardt’s house
Be mesmerised by the mosaic madness of Carrie Reichardt’s house in Chiswick.
72. Tate Lates
Enjoy free events, art displays, and DJ sets at this monthly event.
Free attractions in London
We’ll level with you: most of the big tourist draws around town charge for entry, but we’ve found some sneaky ways around that (it is our job, after all). You wanted attractions to visit for free in London? You got ’em, kid.
73. Choral Evensong
This lovely night of choral singing is the only way you’ll get yourself into the mighty St. Paul’s Cathedral for free – so go for it we say!
74. Trafalgar Square
Join one of the day-long celebrations or other free events at London’s most famous square.
75. Wander along the South Bank
Go for a wander along this lovely stretch right by the Thames and soak up some of the city’s best views.
76. Wellington Arch
Although they’ll charge you if you want to go inside it.
77. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Built especially for the 2012 Olympics, this 520-acre spot has something for everyone, including sporting venues, cafés and even the world’s longest tunnel slide! However, this costs extra…
78. The O2
Though you’ll definitely have to pay to watch a gig here – or climb over it – there are a whole host of bars, restaurants and more here for you to get fed and watered. Alternatively, just amble around it and take in the views!
79. Houses of Parliament
They’re free to visit, but only if you’re a UK resident and arrange it through your local MP or a member of the House of Lords.
80. Tower Bridge
Arguably one of London’s most famous and photogenic landmarks, Tower Bridge is well worth a visit – whether that be by walking across it or motoring under it on board an Uber boat. The dizzying walkway above costs extra mind.
Mosey through this spot right by Leicester Square and gorge yourself on all the saucy dumplings and Peking duck you could want.
82. The Changing of the Guard
Based at Buckingham Palace, this won’t cost you a penny, but Summer tours are pricey.
83. Tower of London
Take a wander around this secure fortress, royal palace and infamous prison – which holds over 1,000 years’ worth of history within its walls.
84. Big Ben
This iconic landmark is still closed, but historical talks are available free of charge.
85. Westminster Cathedral
(Which is different to Westminster Abbey, just FYI).
86. Westminster Abbey
Tourists have to pay to enter Westminster Abbey and their previously hidden gallery too. However, worshipped get in for free.
Free walks to go on in London
From free walking tours of London, to self-guided ambles, we’re here to get you up and wandering the streets of the capital. Stretch your legs, up your step count, and get a proper eyeful of nature with any of these lovely London walks.
87. Regent’s Canal
Go for a wander along the course of a 200-year-old canal, which will take you on a diverse journey through the city, all the way from Paddington Basin to Limehouse Basin.
88. Thames Path
Follow the lifeline of the capital – AKA the River Thames – from Richmond to Greenwich, crossing various bridges and stopping at some great spots along the way — including art galleries, touristy hangouts, bars, pubs, and garden oases.
89. London Sightseeing Tour
Redditor magulagie has created the ultimate sightseeing walk for tourists in a hurry. Just a shade over five miles long on the map, it takes in a ton of London’s most iconic features, and if you avoid going inside any of the places you pass, it’ll only take about two hours!
90. Sandeman’s Walking Tour
On this three-hour free walking tour you’ll tick off many of London’s must-see sites, including Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and more.
91. Epping Forest
This wild pocket of the capital makes up London’s largest open space and is the perfect spot to unwind and get away from the stress of the city. An abundance of lakes, rivers, cute little bridges and plenty of Instagram-worthy spots live in this not so little gem.
92. The Great Fire of London Route
The Great Fire of London destroyed four-fifths of the City back in 1666, including 13,200 houses and 87 churches. This route will take you on a two-hour walk past all the sites along the route, including the Royal Exchange, St. Paul’s Cathedral and more.
93. Design of the Times Route
This 90-minute trailshowcases the diverse and innovative architecture that the City of London is famous for including Temple Bar, the Shard and more.
94. LOOP Route
Tackling the London LOOP is a great way to get to know London better, as this 150-mile route encircles the whole city.
95. See Shakespeare’s London
This walking trail will help bring Shakespeare to life, helping you understand how he lived, the people and important landmarks that contributed to his intriguing life.
96. Pub Crawl Walk
With over 3,500 boozers to choose from, there are plenty of walks where you can get the pints in post-walk. Here’s our guide to the best of them.
Free views over London
It’s time to get high for free (not like that). See stunning, panoramic views of London from high-level platforms or by climbing really big hills, and find a new appreciation for this beautiful city.
97. The Sky Garden
The viewing gallery on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie offers panoramic views over London from their foliage-filled atrium. With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, this lush urban jungle provides fantastic views of the famous rooftops of London and the Thames too.
98. Tate Modern Viewing Level
Amongst the sights to be seen from atop this 360-degree viewing platform are St. Paul’s Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, The Shard, Canary Wharf, and on clear days, even Wembley Stadium!
99. Primrose Hill
Last year’s winner of the most scenic view in the whole of London, a visit to Primrose Hill is certainly not to be sniffed at.
100. Parliament Hill
Head up to the top of the 98-metre-tall Parliament Hill – one of London’s highest viewpoints – for sweeping views as far away as Crystal Palace.
101. Greenwich Park
This author’s favourite viewpoint in the whole of London, Greenwich Park offers Instagram-worthy shots of the glistening skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, the O2, the cable car and more.
102. Alexandra Palace
Jaw-dropping views and mesmerising sunsets await you at Ally Pally, which also has some fairly epic gigs and fireworks this Autumn.
Cute and colourful places to visit for free
All the colours of the rainbow, free of charge. See ravishing reds, brilliant blues, and gorgeous greens at London’s most eye-catching places, or mosey through the prettiest streets in London to fill your Instagram feeds with beauty.
103. Neal’s Yard
Hidden inside a colourful courtyard you’ll find a micro-village full of independent restaurants, bars, cafés and shops.
104. Shad Thames
Filled with converted Victorian warehouses, this cobbled street is gorgeous in its own way, with the overhead gantries making for a dramatic backdrop.
105. Notting Hill’s colourful streets
Even if you’ve never been to Lancaster Road before, you’ll have seen it on Instagram. That stretch of crazy colourful street is like catnip to Instagrammers and Tik Tockers. Nearby St. Luke’s Mews was also where Keira Knightley was like putty to those frankly creepy signs in Love Actually. Who knew!
106. Peckham Levels
Climb your way up through the bright pink stairs at this South East London establishment, which has street food, yoga, bars and more.
107. These beautiful mews
Go for a wander down some of these absolutely dreamy mews in Paddington, Kensington, Gloucester Road and beyond.
108. Kings Cross illuminated tunnel
Previously used during London Fashion Week, this 90-metre long tunnel uses LED lighting to showcase artistic commissions.
109. Carnaby Street
Shop ‘til you drop under Carnaby Street’s colourful lights, which has shops, bars, restaurants and more.
110. The charming Cecil Court
Nicknamed Bookseller’s Row, Cecil Court is a hidden gem right in the heart of central London where you might find your next favourite read.
Free exercise classes in London
Exercise is next up on our list of London things to do for free. Blergh. But better it’s free than spending £60 a month on the gym, am I right even though some gym memberships are cheaper? Whether you’re on wheels, a yoga mat, or on your own two feet, you needn’t break the bank to work out, because London is your playground.
111. Rollerskating lessons
Get your skates on with these free roller skating lessons across the capital.
Find your inner peace with 20 minutes’ worth of lunchtime meditation sessions.
113. Exercise classes
Work up a sweat at one of these exercise classes in Central London.
114. Free yoga classes
Strike a pose with one of these yoga classes in London – downward dogs at the ready!
115. South Bank skate park
Show off your tricks at South Bank’s famous skating rink – a venue which dates all the way back to the 1970’s.
Join a running club and get your sweat on across the capital running past some of the most iconic landmarks in town.
117. Use London’s parks to get fit
London has more than its fair share of parks and gardens – more than 100 in fact – so what better place to enjoy a peaceful wander?
118. London parkour class
Parkour is the activity of running through different areas in a town, using skilful movements to jump over walls and other objects. London is perfect for it, so why not put your skills to the test?!
Free parks and gardens in London
Park yourself at one of these spots for a fabulously free afternoon, or wander beneath the trees and reconnect with nature. Oh, and if you’re enjoying this massive list, we’ve got another one dedicated entirely to parks and gardens!
119. Hyde Park (a classic)
One of London’s eight Royal Parks, Hyde Park is a Grade I-listed spot which has the Serpentine, gardens, galleries and more.
120. Walthamstow Wetlands
Offering over 13 miles of paths to explore across an untamed, wildlife-friendly site, these wetlands are one of the best things you can do when in E17.
121. Kyoto Garden
As the name suggests, this peaceful spot in Holland Park offers a unique, Japanese-style landscape ‘that’s perfect for quiet reflection and relaxation’.
122. Postman’s Park
Just north of St. Paul’s Cathedral, this tranquil spot is more than just a pretty place to grab a bench and scoff a Pret during your lunch break. It’s also home to a truly affecting memorial, commemorating ‘ordinary’ people who acted heroically.
123. Regent’s Park
Another of London’s Royal parks, Regent’s Park is home to the largest grass area for sports in Central London and offers a wide variety of activities, an Open Air Theatre, the ZSL London Zoo and much more besides.
124. Barbican Conservatory
This peaceful place is the second biggest conservatory in London, after Kew Gardens’ Princess of Wales Conservatory. It’s packed full of plants and colourful lights too.
125. Paddington’s Floating Pocket Park
The Floating Pocket Park is rather aptly named. First off, it is indeed a park. Second, it’s cute and pocket-sized. And thirdly, this buoyant little beauty bobs up and down on the waters of the Paddington Basin.
126. Hampstead Hill Gardens and Pergola
Aside from offering lovely views over the Heath and Hampstead Hill Gardens, Hampstead Pergola – which is overflowing with vines – also happens to be a splendiferous spot for a wander.
127. Crossrail Place Roof Garden
Peace and quiet in the heart of London’s financial hub? It’s not impossible, particularly if you make a beeline for Crossrail Place. There, away from the hordes of stressed-out workers, you find the oasis of calm known as Crossrail Place Roof Garden – a rooftop garden with its own street food market.
128. St. Dunstan in the East
A ruined church and park close to Monument, St. Dunstan In The East is now a serene place to get away from the hustle and bustle of London Town.
129. Battersea Park
A 200-acre park right by the Thames, Battersea Park has a lovely lake, a zoo, tennis courts, funfairs and more. They’ve also got the London Peace Pagoda.
130. The Isabella Plantation
You might know Richmond Park for its grassy expanses, woodland bits and wild deer. But it’s also got a park within a park, The Isabella Plantation, which turns pink when the azaleas bloom.
131. St James’s Park
A Royal park which is famous for its annual carpet of daffodils and cherry blossoms.
132. Dalston Eastern Curve Garden
Entirely free to wander around, the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden boasts shaded pathways, lightbulb-festooned seating areas, and various murals scattered across the place.
133. Tranquil Crossbones Garden
Down in London Bridge, you’ll find the Cross Bones Graveyard, which honours the city’s ‘outcast dead‘. A tranquil shrine to paupers and prostitutes, it’s a fascinating spot to check out.
134. The Garden at 120
The Garden at 120, which was landscaped by German firm Latz + Partners, is sandwiched between the Walkie Talkie and The Gherkin, both only a couple of streets away, giving you pretty impressive close-ups.
135. Red Cross Garden
Right in the shadow of The Shard, this small spot is a great spot to get away from city life, relax and enjoy some ‘me time’.
136. The Tide
A beautifully-designed linear park, The Tide furnishes the Greenwich Peninsula with a prime spot for riverside sunset viewing.
Best shops in London to explore
These places are perfect for a browse, but you’ll have to resist temptation to keep that whole free thing going. From historic department stores to cute independent shops, our capital is a shopper’s paradise.
Filled with high-end fashion and luxury homeware, Liberty is one of London’s most famous shops and is an incredible place to go at Christmas time.
138. House of Hackney
Looking for a way to brighten up your living room? Well look no further, because a visit to the House of Hackney will sort you right out. They’ve dreamt up the most extra patterns you ever did see, and everything here is a riot of colour and creativity.
Two massive shopping malls – one in Stratford and one in White City – there’s everything here you could ever want, so why not freshen up your threads?!
140. Conservatory Archives
This beautiful Hackney store is a plant lover’s paradise, so green-fingered people this one’s for you!
Home to over 5000 brands, shop designer fashion and accessories, luxury beauty, fine jewellery and watches, food, furniture and more – what else could you ask for?
142. Daunt Books
This curious Edwardian bookshop is perfect for those with a severe case of the travel bug – as everything here is travel-related!
143. Petersham Nurseries
Part garden centre, part foodie haven, this charming place is one of those places that simply needs to be on any aesthetic-obsessed Londoner’s bucket list.
144. The Royal Arcade
Located in Old Bond Street Mayfair, The Royal Arcade is the oldest shopping arcade in London and is home to jewellery shops, antiques and more.
Bluebird is a proverbial smorgasbord of everything pretty and on trend, and it’s housed within a Grade II-listed coach house in Covent Garden.
This bookseller was founded back in the 18th century hosting regular literary events and book signings.
Even more free things to do in London
You weren’t tired of free stuff in London, were you? Good, cause we aren’t close to being done yet – here’s the best of the rest, with an incredible smorgasbord of experiences and places to check out across the city.
147. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
This beautiful, traditional Hindu temple, standing some 70 feet high and carved entirely out of stone, is well worth the trek out to Neasden for.
148. Speaker’s Corner
Why not argue your case at this corner of Hyde Park near Marble Arch – a traditional site for public speeches and debates since the mid 1800’s.
149. Learn something new at the British Library
One of the largest libraries in the world, this gargantuan spot contains the Magna Carta and handwritten Beatles lyrics among countless other works on some 400 miles of shelves.
150. Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery is the resting place of 170,000 people – including Karl Marx and George Eliot – and it makes for a really serene place for a wander.
151. Brixton Windmill
Despite being in Zone 2, Brixton Windmill feels more than a little like the countryside. It was built in 1816, when this part of South London was mostly fields, and it’s retained a lot of the country charm.
152. Battersea Power Station
As many of you will know, Battersea Power Station has recently undergone the make-over to end all makeovers. Having once supplied electricity to the likes of Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, the disused Power Station has now transformed into one of London’s hottest shopping, dining and leisure destinations.
153. Barbican Estate
This brutalist estate has to be seen to be believed and has exhibitions, a cinema, shops and more.
154. See the Churchill Arms
Enjoy the decor (and maybe a pint) at this picturesque pub, which is adorned with flowers and is found close to Notting Hill.
155. Roman Temple
Deep beneath the headquarters of media giant Bloomberg lies the London Mithraeum, a painstaking restoration of an ancient Roman temple, once a site of worship by a cult dedicated to the god Mithras.
156. Amble through the stunning Hays Galleria
Situated on the south bank of the River Thames lies the Hays Galleria, a Grade II-listed spot which features offices, restaurants, shops, and flats.
157. Attend a free lecture at Gresham College
An institution of higher learning in Holborn, Gresham College has been providing free public lectures all the way back since 1597.
158. Hunt for your dream home in Kensington and Chelsea
One of the most prestigious areas of London is rife for house hunting, We can all dream right?!
159. Pay your respects at David Bowie’s Memorial Mural
A mural of David Bowie, as bright and colourful as the legend himself, is painted on a wall of Morley’s Department store opposite Brixton tube. Fans should definitely go and check it out!
160. Abbey Road
Why not recreate that iconic poster of The Beatles here? Keep an eye out for traffic mind!
161. Visit various city farms
See cute animals for free at a city farm – try Hackney, Spitalfields, Vauxhall or Kentish Town.
162. 10 Adam Street
Pose outside the fake Number 10 Downing Street, home of the Prime Minister, at this spot just 800 metres away on the Strand.
163. The Old Bailey
The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, commonly referred to as the Old Bailey, is a great place to watch the swift hand of justice.
16. Magic up a photo op at Platform 9 and 3/4
What better place to get a photo opp than this iconic spot in King’s Cross St. Pancras – all aboard to Hogwarts!
165. Visit the Actor’s Church
Smack bang in the middle of Covent Garden lies this affectionately-named building which was built all the way back in 1633 – it hosts a wide variety of theatre, services and concerts annually.
166. Dive into the past at London’s Roman Amphitheatre
Culture vultures listen up! The visible remains of an amphitheatre constructed during Roman London lie beneath Guildhall Yard in the City of London – and you can go and visit them!
167. Freemasons Hall
Completed in 1933 as a memorial to the thousands of Freemasons who died in the First World War, and it’s one of the finest Art Deco buildings in the whole of England.
168. Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
This unique fountain memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales was opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 6th July 2004, and it’s a peaceful spot to spend some time.
169. Piccadilly Circus
Right at the junction of five busy streets, this famous London landmark is decked out with neon lights and one of the most impressive sites to visit when you’re in town. Don’t forget your camera!
170. Guildhall Great Hall
This vast, mediaeval hall is associated with a soaring, high-arched ceiling and two huge, Gothic stained-glass windows – it’s a magnificent place to be and is well worth a visit!
171. Moo Canoes
Paddle the waters of London with Moo Canoes – free if you attend their monthly canal litter-picking events.
172. Croydon Disc Golf
Aim for success at Croydon Disc Golf (bring your own disc to keep it free) – set in Lloyd Park down in Croydon.
173. House of MinaLima
In the heart of Soho sits the House of MinaLima, which isn’t just run by Harry Potter fans – it’s run by the very people who helped bring Hogwarts to life.
174. Seven Noses of Soho
The London Noses or Seven Noses of Soho are an artistic installation found on buildings in London. You can find them on a walking tour or you can opt to do it yourself too.
175. Camden’s Walk of Fame
Opened in Camden back in November 2019, London’s official Music Walk of Fame has been set up to commemorate the world’s most extraordinary musicians. When completed, the walk is set to feature over 400 artists, spanning the entire length of pavement from Chalk Farm, all the way to Mornington Crescent.
176. Get out of town
Skip London altogether and explore these breathtaking nearby villages or go on some of these country walks.
177. Conquer a nearby castle
You could go even bigger and channel your inner lord or lady with a visit to one of the various castles dotted around the English countryside.
178. Follow the Monopoly board!
Or you could get inventive and explore London by way of the Monopoly board. Why not we say!
Free seasonal events in London
Ok, so they’re free, but they won’t be around all year. These seasonal delights are often short and sweet – but they’ll certainly keep you coming back to London all year long!
179. Winter Lights
Be dazzled by a stunning free light festival in Canary Wharf which consists of 20 different light installations each January.
180. Lunar New Year
Partake in London’s Lunar New Year which, after a few years off due to the pandemic, is back this February. It’s the largest one outside of Asia.
181. International Women’s Day
Celebrate some truly incredible women for this event which takes place every March.
182. London Landmarks Half Marathon
Get your running kit and trainers and get prepared for this race which takes you past some of the biggest London landmarks.
183. London Marathon
One of the most famous marathons on Earth, why not challenge yourself to 26.2 miles of running? If you’d rather sit it out, don’t miss a chance to watch it and cheer the runners on.
184. See all of London in bloom
See all of London in bloom, from bluebells, to cherry blossom, to wisteria.
185. Open Garden Squares Weekend
Each June this weekend event gives visitors the chance to discover a diverse collection of green spaces, from the historic and traditional to the new and experimental.
186. Mayfield Lavender Farm
This one is great if you’re looking to get a new photo for your Hinge profile! It’s free for under 16s, but adults will have to pay a small fee to see the lavender.
187. Pride in London
Pride in London takes place over a month and it’s one of the world’s biggest prides. It culminates in the Pride Parade, where one and a half million people descend on the West End.
Strawberries and cream, glasses of Pimms, legendary games of tennis – what’s not to love about Wimbledon?
189. Overnight Art Festival
It isn’t really a festival unless you stay up until dawn, is it? By that logic, Art Night will be one hell of a festival, because it doesn’t finish until 6am. You won’t be raving, but you will be getting a real healthy dose of contemporary culture.
190. RHS’s Big Plant Giveaway
Show-quality plants, without spending a penny? For free freesias and gratis geraniums, all it takes is a jaunt to the end of the Northern line. If you visit Morden Hall Park’s picnic area one weekend in July.
191. Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill Carnival is the biggest street party in Europe, attracting over two million visitors every year. It takes place over August Bank Holiday weekend and is an event that you really can’t miss!
192. Kick back at Ruislip Lido
Kick back on the beach at the one and only beach you can reach on the tube. Note that there is no swimming at this one.
193. Granary Square Steps
Enjoy wintery vibes from the steps in King’s Cross St. Pancras, you probably won’t want to play in the fountains but it’s still a beautiful place for a catch up. Bliss.
194. Wild swimming
Cool off at one of the capital’s best wild swimming spots including Hampstead Ponds and more.
195. Open House London
Wander round London’s most impressive and exclusive buildings – 800 in fact – for free at this festival during September.
196. Fireworks displays
So many fireworks displays, so little time. Plan your Bonfire Night with this roundup of the biggest and brightest displays in London.
197. Lord Mayor’s show
The Lord Mayor’s Show dates back to the early 13th century, when King John allowed the City of London to appoint its own Mayor. It’s a tradition that has been continued ever since and includes a colourful procession across town.
198. The Boat Race
This beloved and historic event usually takes place during March or April, and it pits the rowers of Oxford and Cambridge against each other. Get read to get your cheer on!
199. London Eid Festival
Taking place over three days in April and May, this festival celebrates Eid al-Fitr – the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Expect to learn about Islamic culture and eat some incredible street food!
What’s not to love about dressing up in a Santa suit, running around singing Christmas carols, drinking some cans and spreading festive cheer around the city?
So there you have it – the Secret London roundup of 200 of the best free things to do in London. So given the cost of living crisis (sigh) and this being January, we hope this provides you with enough things to do if the funds are feeling fairly tight!
Also published on Medium.