You won’t even have to spend a penny with our roundup of free things to do in London.
We love top-notch cocktails and extravagant pop-ups as much as the next person, but if your bank account is feeling the pinch, Secret London is here to lend a hand. We’ve put together an all-singing, all-dancing roundup of free things to do in London, and it’s a humdinger of a list (if we do say so ourselves).
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 can be found in the capital’s array of museums.
14. Maritime Museum
16. RAF Museum
Free gigs in London
Hearing about free stuff is just music to my ears. From the buskers of Oxford Circus, to the halls of the Royal Opera House, music flows freely across London.
20. Tinkle the ivories on one of London’s street pianos.
21. See a concert at St Martin-in-the-Fields.
23. Attend a lunchtime concert at the Royal Academy of Music.
24. Record your future hit at the Nando’s recording studio.
25. Catch the next big thing at Rough Trade on Brick Lane.
26. Catch one of the Royal Opera House’s free ‘Live at Lunch’ performances.
Free performances in London
Don’t expect free Hamilton tickets, but we’ve got some pretty nifty theatrical things for you to do. Comedy, films, and a healthy amount of drama await!
27. Watch the National Theatre’s sets being made at the Sherling High Level Walkway.
28. Marvel at street performers in Covent Garden.
29. Take a free acting masterclass at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
30. Spot a celeb at a film premiere at Leicester Square.
31. Laugh yourself silly with free comedy shows from Angel Comedy
32. Or chortle away at the Top Secret Comedy Club, where regulars include Jack Whitehall, Omid Djalili, and Simon Amstell.
Free markets in London
They’re only free if you don’t buy anything, but there’s always free samples to be had…
34. Maltby Street Market.
35. Broadway Market.
36. Leadenhall Market.
37. Brick Lane Market.
39. Camden Market.
40. Greenwich Market.
42. Borough Market.
43. Street Feast have free entry at all markets before 7pm.
Free art galleries in London
“There is no must in art because art is free.” It certainly is with these free art exhibitions and galleries, perfect for an eyeful of though-provoking paintings, sculptures, and installations.
47. Wander round the street art of East London.
48. The National Gallery.
49. Tate Britain.
52. Embrace the underground art scene with Leake Street’s graffiti.
53. Somerset House.
54. Saatchi Gallery.
55. Whitechapel Gallery.
57. Enter a world of neon dreams at Gods Own Junkyard.
59. Tate Modern.
61. White Cube Gallery.
62. Head along to First Thursdays, when over 150 East London galleries stay open late for free exhibitions, events, and talks on the first Thursday evening of each month.
Free attractions in London
Many of the big tourist draws charge for entry, but we’ve found some sneaky ways around that. You wanted free attractions in London? You got ’em, kid.
63. Choral evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral is the only way to get in for free.
64. Join one of the day-long celebrations in Trafalgar Square.
65. Wander along the The South Bank.
66. Wellington Arch, although they’ll charge you if you want to go inside.
67. Explore Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
68. The O2.
69. The Houses of Parliament are free to visit, but only if you’re a UK resident and arrange it through your local MP.
71. Mosey through Chinatown.
72. The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace won’t cost you a penny, but summer tours are pricey.
73. The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London is free to attend, even if tours of the Tower aren’t.
74. Big Ben is still closed, but historical talks are still running, free of charge.
75. Westminster Cathedral (which is different to Westminster Abbey, just FYI).
Free walks to go on in London
From free walking tours of London, to self-guided ambles, we’re here for you. Stretch your legs, up your step count, and get a proper eyeful of nature with any of these walks.
77. A lovely stroll along Regent’s Canal.
78. Walk the river with the Thames Path.
80. Pay what’s fair at this walking tour from Sandeman’s.
82. Walk the path of the Great Fire of London.
83. Marvel at some glorious buildings on this architecture walk.
84. Tackle the mammoth London LOOP walk.
85. Wander the paths of Epping Forest.
86. Or just take a walk that ends at the pub.
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.
87. The Sky Garden.
89. Primrose Hill.
90. Parliament Hill.
91. Greenwich Park.
92. Alexandra Palace.
Free cute and colourful places to visit
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.
94. Explore the picturesque Shad Thames.
95. Marvel at Notting Hill’s colourful streets.
96. Climb your way up Peckham Levels’ vibrant stairs.
97. Lose yourself in Neal’s Yard.
98. Feel futuristic in the Kings Cross illuminated tunnel.
99. Shop under the colourful Carnaby lights.
100. Meander through the charming Cecil Court, filled with old bookshops.
Free exercise classes in London
Blergh. But better it’s free than spending £60 a month on the gym, am I right? Whether you’re on wheels, a yoga mat, or on your own two feet, you needn’t break the bank to work out.
101. Get your skates on with free rollerskating lessons.
102. Find inner peace with lunchtime meditation sessions.
103. Work up a sweat at these exercise classes.
104. Strike a pose with yoga classes at St Margaret’s House.
105. Show off your tricks at the famous South Bank skate park.
106. Join a running club.
108. Explore the city at top speed with a free London parkour class.
Free parks and gardens in London
Park yourself at one of these spots for a fabulously free afternoon. Oh, and if you’re enjoying this massive list, we’ve got another one dedicated entirely to parks and gardens!
109. Hyde Park (a classic).
110. Walthamstow Wetlands.
111. Kyoto Garden.
112. Postman’s Park.
113. Regent’s Park.
114. Barbican Conservatory.
118. St Dunstan in the East.
121. St James’s Park, famous for its annual carpet of daffodils.
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, this city is a shopping paradise.
123. House of Hackney.
124. Westfield (if you dare…).
125. Conservatory Archives.
127. Daunt Books, Marylebone.
129. The Royal Arcade.
130. The dreamy Bluebird store in Covent Garden.
131. Hatchards, the royal-approved bookshop.
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.
132. Marvel at the beauty of this stunning Hindu temple.
133. Argue your case at Speaker’s Corner.
134. Learn something new at the British Library.
135. Wander round one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries.
136. Take a tour of Brixton Windmill.
137. Watch Battersea Power Station‘s transformation into ultra-luxe flats.
138. Admire the Brutalist architecture of the Barbican Estate.
139. See the Churchill Arms, the flower power pub of London.
140. Visit the mysterious Roman temple in the City.
141. Amble through the stunning Hays Galleria.
142. Attend a free lecture at Gresham College.
143. Hunt for your dream home in Kensington and Chelsea.
144. Pay your respects at David Bowie’s memorial mural in Brixton.
145. Recreate THAT album cover on Abbey Road.
147. Pose outside No. 10 Downing Street (the fake one).
148. Watch the swift hand of justice at The Old Bailey.
149. Magic up a photo op at Platform 9 and 3/4.
150. Visit the Actor’s Church.
151. Dive into the past at London’s Roman amphitheatre.
152. Uncover the secrets of Freemason’s Hall.
153. Find tranquility at the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.
154. Experience the hustle, bustle, and billboards of Piccadilly Circus.
155. See medieval magnificence in the Guildhall Great Hall.
156. Paddle the waters of London with Moo Canoes – free if you attend their monthly canal litterpicking events.
157. Aim “fore” success at Croydon Disc Golf (bring your own disc to keep it free).
158. Explore the artwork of the Harry Potter films at the magical House of MinaLima.
Free seasonal events in London
They’re free, but they won’t be around all year. These seasonal delights are often short and sweet – but they’ll keep you coming back to London all year long!
167. Join a picnic in the middle of Regent Street during Summer Streets (July).
168. Head to London’s overnight art festival (July).
169. Boogie your way around Notting Hill Carnival (August).
172. See the splendour of the Lord Mayor’s show (November).
174. Join in the merry madness of Santacon (December).
175. Stroll beneath London’s dazzling array of Christmas lights (December).
Also published on Medium.