24 Amazing Free Things To Do In London
Last Updated on February 5, 2024
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London can be an expensive city if you head to all the tourist traps. But luckily there are a surprising amount of free things to do in London!
And many of them are some of the biggest attractions in London! While others are some of the top hidden gems within the city.
I am the master of finding something free to do in any city which is why I’m coming to you with a great guide to London filled with things to do in London that are free!
There are always free things to do in a city you just have to do a little research and be prepared to get lost.
As my mother used to say “The best things in life are free” and I have to say I agree with her!
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All you need is a travel card that will reach London Zones 1-6 and you are set to enjoy some of the best free activities and attractions in London.
Table of Contents
Best Free Things to do in London
1. Hampstead Pergola and Hill Gardens
One of the most underrated free things to do in London is the Hampstead Pergola and Hill Gardens.
The pergola was built in 1906 and was one of Lord Leverhulmes ideas. He wanted to build a legacy, so decided that the pergola was a great idea.
Over the years there were many extensions of this fantastic structure but sadly after his death, the Pergola was forgotten.
This place is now overgrown by wildflowers and vines and looks absolutely amazing. It has such an eerie feeling to it and I wouldn’t have thought this secret place would still exist in London.
Nearest Tube station: Hampstead
2. Listen to the protests in the speakers’ corner in Hyde Park
I went to Hyde Park a couple of months ago and wondered why everyone was yelling about different issues, and then I found out that it’s a speaker’s corner.
Every Sunday, people come here that want to voice an issue and debate with one another. It’s been happening every Sunday since 1866!
Nearest Tube station: Marble Arch
3. Postman’s park
This park is simply amazing and one of the most inspiring free things to do in London.
It was opened in 1880 and is dedicated to all the people who died while trying to save someone else’s life.
You can read the plaques on the wall about how they died, and pay your respects.
Spend a few moments remembering these amazing people who are no longer with us. They deserve remembrance.
You can get here by taking the tube to St Paul’s. It’s only a couple of minutes’ walking distance from the station. It’s a sanctuary amongst a concrete jungle.
Nearest Tube station: St. Pauls
4. Kyoto gardens in Holland Park
If you fancy a peaceful afternoon then head to Holland Park where you can sit, relax and enjoy the Kyoto gardens.
It’s only a short walk from the Holland Park tube station, you could definitely spend a sunny afternoon here!
This is one of the best places to visit for free in London and will really help you clear your head and relax.
Nearest Tube station: Holland Park
5. Little Venice
Little Venice is so dazzling and one of my favourite free things to do in London. The bright colour of moss growing on the canal might not sound glamorous but it does look amazing.
I suggest you start from Warwick Avenue tube station and walk along the canal until Paddington station. You will get to see some very quaint houseboats and take some great pictures.
Nearest Tube station: Warwick Avenue
6. Goodwins Court
It is a little hard to find but it is the cutest, tiniest alleyway I have seen. It looks like a set out of Harry Potter with old school lanterns hanging all the way down.
This alleyway is off St Martins Lane, make sure you look carefully because there is no sign saying the street name! It’s strangely quiet as well.
My friend and I just sat there in silence and we couldn’t hear the chaos of London that surrounded us.
Nearest Tube station: Leicester Square
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7. Do a free walking tour
Yes, there are still free walking tours these days! I can thoroughly recommend doing the Free London Walking Tours as one of the best free things to do in London.
You’ll find a bit of everything from Jack the Ripper Tours to a secret London tour. There is more than one tour to choose from so make sure you check out their website.
Note: Even though the tours are free, donations are always greatly appreciated if you enjoyed the tour.
Nearest Tube station: Depends on the tour
8. Oldest street sign in London – Tavistock St
Tavistock Street has a hidden gem that not many people know about. It is home to the oldest recorded street sign in London dated back to 1636!
It’s very hard to find though so keep your eye out. It is located at the very top of the buildings numbered 34-38.
You will see a blue plaque at number 36 saying ‘In 1821, Thomas de Quincy(1785-1859) wrote ‘Confessions of an English Opium Eater’.
When you see this you’re not looking high enough! Stand on the other side of the road and you will see a white plaque.
It’s very hard to see in direct sunlight and quite hard to get a photo of but mind-blowing when you see it and think about when this was dated back to.
Nearest Tube station: Covent Garden
9. Check out the Markets throughout London
London is famous for its bustling markets, there are so many to choose from. If you’re in London on a weekday then check out the Camden Markets, Covent Garden and Brixton Markets.
On a Saturday check out the Borough Markets and Portobello Road Markets. On a Sunday you have to check out Upmarket and Bricklane markets in Shoreditch (East London).
These simply cannot be missed as one of the best free things to do in London. Of course, they might not be totally free if you can’t resist buying something while you’re looking around.
Nearest Tube station: Depends on the market
10. See the view of the city at Primrose Hill
A great view of the beautiful city of London is Primrose Hill. Buy some food from the markets and come up here to enjoy the afternoon, eat and drink a bottle of wine!
It’s not far from the London Zoo so if you are heading that way then make sure you stop over!
You honestly can’t miss the best free view of London! Plus, Primrose Hill is a great place to spend the day walking around and enjoying a picnic.
Nearest Tube station: St John’s Wood
11. Street Art in Shoreditch
One of the absolute best free things to do in London is see the street art in Shoreditch. It is spread out across the district and neighbouring areas like Whitechapel and Bethnal Green.
Some of the most popular spots for street art in Shoreditch are Brick Lane (and the adjacent streets) and Allen Park (affectionately known as Alien Park) and the surrounding area.
But if you have the time, definitely explore a little further afield and you might find some real gems!
This might be the best free thing to do in London because you can visit nearly day to day and always find something new
You’ll find everything in Shoreditch from famous artists like ROA, Phlegm, Vhils and Fanakapan to lesser-known, up-and-coming, but equally talented local artists.
While Shoreditch is a highlight for street art, there are so many places to visit in London for free that feature fantastic street art you could easily spend a whole trip just finding it all.
If you have the time, there is so much amazing street art in London. Brixton is possibly the next best spot, and itself one of the best things to do in South West London.
A few other great spots for street art are Camden, Walthamstow and Camden.
Nearest Tube Station: Shoreditch High Street, Whitechapel, Aldgate or Aldgate East
12. London Mithraeum
Once a temple for the enigmatic cult of Mithras, today one of the most unique places to visit for free in London is the London Mithraeum.
Little is known about the Roman god Mithras, or his devoted followers. So that fact that there is a temple dedicated to him in the heart of London seems too good to be true for history buffs.
Even more amazing is that this miraculously well preserved archaeological site was rediscovered by chance in 1954 on the final day of a planned dig.
Meaning one of the coolest free activities in London almost wasn’t discovered at all!
At the underground London Mithraeum you can see ancient artefacts, ruins and recreations of the temple remains. There are also immersive exhibits to really help bring the history to life.
Although this site is free, it is advisable to book your [free] ticket ahead of time to ensure you get in within a set time-frame.
Nearest Tube Station: Bank
13. Sky Garden
If you’re looking for the best free view of London within the actual city, the Sky Garden is going to far exceed your expectations!
The Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden, and this large glass building offers fantastic 360 degree views of the city. Not to mention the garden itself is worth a visit.
If you can, I highly recommend visiting just before sunset so you can get clear views of the city in daylight AND enjoy the absolutely stunning sunset views.
While you’re there, stop in one of the restaurants or bars and enjoy a meal or drink (or both) with your view.
Although this is one of the best free things to do in London, you will NEED to book tickets ahead of time. They’re free and you can book them online.
Nearest Tube Station: Monument
14. British Museum
Not only is this one of the best places to visit in London for free, but the British Museum is one of the most impressive museums in the city.
Many of London’s museums are free. But with a jaw-dropping collection of over 8 million works (not surprisingly, one of the largest in the entire world), you really can’t miss this one!
So, as you can imagine, it can take quite awhile to see everything within. You can easily spend a day – or two – wandering around the British Museum.
Dedicated to human history, the museum boasts over 2 million years worth of art, artefacts and other remnants of humanity.
There are special exhibits for every part of the world, with Egypt being one of the most popular regions.
But there are also collections devoted to specific themes, such as animals, death and love.
No matter your interest, the British Museum has a collection that will feel like it was curated just for you.
Visitors can go it alone, or arrange to take a tour. Not all of the tours are free, though some are, such as the eye-opener tours and the LGBTQ+ history tours.
If you love art and history, this is one of the free things to do in London you can’t miss!
Nearest Tube Station: Tottenham Court Road
15. St Dunstan in the East
Originally built in 1100, St. Dunstan in the East has become a London symbol of perseverance and strength.
After being nearly destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666, it took nearly 150 years before St Dunstan in the East was rebuilt… only to be destroyed once again during the Blitz.
Today you can visit the hauntingly beautiful hollowed out church remains an have a walk around, or sit and admire the foliage.
Popular with professionals on their lunch break, St. Dunstan in the East is a peaceful hideaway in Central London
Although it might not have had the happiest history, now it is one of the most beautiful places to visit for free in London. And a great place for a picnic!
Nearest Tube Station: Monument
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16. Angel Comedy Club at the Camden Head
You would be surprised how many quality activities are free in London. One such thing is the Angel Comedy Club at the Camden Head in Angel, Islington.
There are two Angel Comedy Club locations, but the one at Camden Head is always 100% free. But donations are welcome, and you usually wind up buying a drink or two during the night.
Most nights are casual open-mic nights with anyone who fancies it signing up to give it a go. However, some nights are scheduled for established comedians (usually to try out new stuff).
And sometimes, famous comedians just stop in to say hi and test out material without the stress of a high-paying audience.
Some of the biggest names in comedy have performed at the Camden Head, and you truly never know who you might see.
I’ve visited the Camden Head multiple times over the years, and while I haven’t seen anyone who was super famous at the time, I have seen a few people who went on to become big!
Nearest Tube Station: Angel
17. Barbican Conservatory
Somehow this amazing botanical garden has remained one of London’s best kept secrets!
Housed inside a striking Brutalist building, the Barbican Conservatory is in the second largest conservatory in London (after Kew Gardens).
It is also home to over 1500 species of plants and trees, as well as a small turtles and koi carp.
Despite being in the heart of London, visiting here truly feels like stepping into another time or place. It is so peaceful and quiet, you’d never know you were in London!
Visiting is completely free, but you do need to book a slot ahead of time, and the site is only open on select days, the details of which are released a week in advance.
This helps keep the traffic through the Barbican low, helping to both maintain the site and and keep it a peaceful experience for visitors.
So if you’re ready to experience one of the most non touristy things to do in London completely free – book your spot here.
The conservatory is located in the Barbican Centre, where you can catch a film, enjoy a concert or play, see an art exhibition, browse the library or have a meal at one of the restaurants.
Nearest Tube Station: Barbican
18. God’s Own Junkyard
Thanks to its slightly off-the-beaten-path location in Walthamstow this incredibly cool attraction is actually one of the most fun non touristy things to do in London.
Not that you won’t see anyone else, but its North London location does mean a lot fewer people are willing or have time to make the trek.
But if you are able to visit, God’s Own Junkyard is so much fun – and perfect for the gram.
God’s Own Junkyard was the impressive collection of Chris Bracey, who was also known in the business as Neon Man, and the Master of Glow.
Bracey made and collected neon signs for over 30 years, and worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood and British cinema.
After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, Bracey wanted to create something that showcased his passion. After he died in 2014, his sons continued to maintain the site.
Today it is one of the coolest free things to do in London, and popular with fellow neon enthusiasts, influencers, and hipsters.
Nearest Tube Station: Wood Street
19. Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum’s impressive collection of over 80 million specimens easily makes this one of the top free attractions in London.
All of the items at the museum fall into one of the five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology, and zoology.
Visitors will find a little bit of every facet of natural history here, from dinosaurs and dodo birds to giant rocks (including from the moon!).
This is one of the best free things to do in London for families as kids will love wandering around the exhibits and learning about all the cool specimens from throughout history.
Nearest Tube Station: South Kensington
20. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
If you are looking for free things to do in North West London, this stunning Mandir (Hindu temple, or place of worship) is a must.
There are a few large Mandirs in London, but the one on Neasden is the best for non-Hindu visitors as not all have facilities for this.
Visitors enter through the Haveli, a cultural centre that features classrooms, prayer rooms, a creche and much more.
Visitors are welcome to sit in on many of the ceremonies, and you can get more information about what is currently on in the Haveli.
If a guide is available, you can also arrange for a guided tour at the information desk here, which I recommend. Otherwise, you can wander around, but where you can go might be limited.
Afterward, make sure to stop by the souvenir shop! You can also wander through the gorgeous gardens and get photos of this amazing building. Photos are NOT permitted inside, though.
This incredible Hindu site is one of the top non touristy things to do in London!
Nearest Tube Station: Stonebridge Park
21. Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
Who doesn’t love dinosaurs, right? Well, now you can walk among them at one of the most unique free attractions in London – Crystal Palace.
Granted, the prehistoric statues within the park aren’t the most accurate (and not just because they’re reptilian rather than bird-like).
Still, seeing as the statues were commissioned during the Victorian era, they’re pretty impressive.
And accurate or not, walking among these dinosaurs is one of the most fun free things to do in London for kids and adults alike.
Not all of the statues are dinosaurs, either, some represent other extinct animals, such as the mastodon.
Located in Southern London, a visit to Crystal Palace is a fun day or half-day excursion for the whole family, or anyone looking for unusual things free to do in London.
Nearest Tube Station: Crystal Palace
22. Changing of the Guard
When many people think of London, they think of Buckingham Palace and the iconic Queen’s Guard.
So it’s no surprise that one of the most popular things to do in London that are free is to witness the changing of the guard.
This impressive and elaborate ceremony happens regularly – including daily in the summer months – and lasts 40 minutes!
Although Buckingham Palace’s changing of the guards is the most famous, there are actually a few places within the city to see the ceremony.
Nevertheless, the one at Buckingham Palace is the most popular for a reason – it’s worth it.
Even if you’re not interested in Buckingham Palace itself or the royal family, seeing the changing of the guards at least once is a must.
It’s not just one of the best free things to do in London – it’s something fun for locals and visitors. And kids, especially, will love it!
Nearest Tube Station: St James’s Park
23. Notting Hill Houses
Many cities have that street with the colorful or outlandishly decorated homes. Well, in London, there is a whole neighbourhood of colourful houses.
Granted, not every single home in Notting Hill is worth a walk by, but you can easily spend an afternoon wandering around the neighbourhood discovering some fun gems.
Two of the most colourful streets in Notting Hill are St Lukes Mews and Portobello Road. These are streets with multiple houses in a row painted in fun and vibrant colours.
There are many more, but it’s more fun to discover for yourself. There are also lots of standalone houses to stumble upon, as well.
However, please be respectful when visiting this neighbourhood and taking photos of the houses.
Do not take photos of people at their homes without their permission, do not do disruptive photo shoots on people’s front stoops or violate their privacy.
And, while you’re in the neighbourhood, you might want to also visit Portobello Road Market and the famous bookshop that inspired the film Notting Hill (The Notting Hill Book Shop).
If you happen to be visiting London in August, the Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event usually taking place towards the end of the month, and a lot of fun
Nearest Tube Station: Ladbroke Grove, Latimer Road, Westbourne Park
24. Tate Modern
As one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world, no itinerary of free things to do in London would be complete without a visit to the Tate Modern Museum.
Opened by Queen Elizabeth II in May 2000, this museum was the third most visited museum in the world in 2020.
Each of the permanent collections is completely free to view for all visitors.
Ranging from the birth of Modernism in the early 1900s to groundbreaking art pieces of today, the exhibits at the Tate Modern are some of the most thought-provoking in the world.
There are works here from such renowned artists as Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Pablo Picasso.
The outside of the Tate Modern is just as striking as the works inside.
Until it was redeveloped and repurposed, the building served as the Bankside Power Station from 1963-1981.
The main tower, which served as the former power station’s main chimney, is over 300 feet tall, and can be seen standing proudly on the banks of the River Thames.
The brutalist concrete exterior is a little foreboding and intimidating, which is probably very appropriate for how these modern artists want viewers to feel about their work sometimes!
If you’re into modern art, or you’re looking to broaden your mind, the Tate Modern is one of the best free things to do in London.
Nearest Tube Station: Blackfriars
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Where to stay in London:
- Generator Hostel London – Perfect place for making friends
- Clink 78 – Includes a free London walking tour
- Wombats City Hostel London – Very trendy and in East London (one of the best funniest neighbourhoods in London!)
- YHA London Central – Right in the heart of London
- Safestay Holland Park – You will feel like you’re in a hotel, not a hostel!
Frequently Asked Questions
Many of London’s top museums are free to enter, with some asking only for a suggested donation (which is optional). Donation or not, the many museums are the best free attractions in London.
From walking tours and street art to museums, galleries, historical sites and parks, there are free things to do in London for everyone!
The areas of Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Mayfair and Kensington are among the most expensive in the city. So if you’re looking for free things to do in London, avoid these locations!
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- Unique Things to do in London for Under £10
- The Best Hostels in London for Backpackers
- Most Beautiful Places to Visit in England
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