London is known for being an expensive city, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money while you’re here. If you’re looking to explore the city without breaking the bank, this guide is for you.
From free museums to free walking tours, there are plenty of free things to enjoy in London.
Best Free Things to do in London
Changing of the Guard
Changing of the Guard is a free event that takes place at Buckingham Palace every day at 11:30 am. The event lasts for approximately 45 minutes and is a great opportunity to see the world-famous guards in their traditional red uniforms.
Visitors can watch the guards march from St. James’s Palace to Buckingham Palace, and then take part in the changing of the guard ceremony. The event is the number 1 free things to do in London that is open to the public.
Address: Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA
Horse Guards Parade
Horse Guards Parade is a large parade ground off Whitehall in central London, at grid reference TQ299800. It is the site of the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony.
Horse Guards Parade was formerly the site of the Palace of Whitehall’s tiltyard, where tournaments and other sports were held in front of the palace. The parade ground is free to enter and open all year round and great place to visit in London.
Address: Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX
Street Art in Shoreditch
If you’re ever in London, make sure to stop by Shoreditch to see the amazing street art. It’s always changing, so you’ll never be bored! The hub of London’s urban art scene is cool and trendy, and these 20 spots are a must-see attractions in London. Best of all, it’s free!
There is no specific address for street art in Shoreditch, as it is constantly changing. However, the general area is located east of Liverpool Street station.
Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, built between 1886 and 1894. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of London.
Tower Bridge is free to visit and open all year round from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. The bridge has two towers that are connected by a walkway, and visitors can enjoy stunning views of London from the top.
Address: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP
Harry Potter Platform 9 ¾
Do you consider yourself a Potterhead? If so, Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station is a must-see. If you want to take a selfie at Platform 9 3/4 like Harry Potter did in the films, you can! Just queue up outside of the Harry Potter store in Kings Cross station with your chosen Hogwarts house scarf.
Pushing a trolley through the wall will cost money for the professional photo, but if you just want to take your own photos, it’s one of the coolest and free things to do in London!
Address: King’s Cross Station, Euston Road, London N1 9AP
Columbia Road Flower Market
The Columbia Road Flower Market is a street market in Bethnal Green, London that’s open every Sunday. It has many stores dating back to the Victorian era and is situated off Hackney Road in the Tower Hamlets borough.
The market sells a variety of flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees. It’s the perfect place to find a unique gift or simply to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
The market is free to enter and open from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm on Sundays.
Address: Columbia Road, London E2 7RG
Street performers have always congregated in Covent Garden to amuse a crowd. They generally hang out at the plaza’s western end. Human sculptures that get more creative each year, magicians, musicians, and comedians are all there for you to enjoy.
The majority of these street performances are open to the public and do not cost anything to attend. They may, however, ask for donations at the conclusion of the performance. You might be chosen to participate in the show if you hang out near the front of the crowd.
Public Viewing Gallery at the Oxo Tower
OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie is an iconic landmark on the South Bank of London, with three restaurants on the eighth floor of the OXO Tower. Enjoy views of St Paul’s and the city’s skyline while eating seasonal British food, afternoon tea, or cocktails at this landmark venue.
OXO is a place for celebration, with an enormous outside terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows. OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar & Brasserie in London is just a eight-minute walk from Southwark and Waterloo stations or ten minutes from Blackfriars station, making it convenient for visitors.
The National Theatre, Big Ben, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square are all within walking distance of the area’s cultural center.
The public viewing gallery is free to enter and open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Address: OXO Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, London SE1 9PH
The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London
The Ceremony of the Keys is a medieval ceremony that takes place every night at the Tower of London’s main gates, when they are secured for the night. It is considered to be the world’s oldest surviving military ceremony and is best-known military ritual from the Tower.
The ceremony is free to watch and takes place every night at 9:53 pm.
Address: Tower of London, London EC3N 4AB
Known as the walkie talkie due to its unique shape, this skyscraper features a top-floor restaurant. The food is quite good, but it’s the views that really make this spot worth a visit. The best time to go is around sunset when you can see the city lights come on.
Free access tickets released every Monday at 12:00 pm for the following week. You can book up to three weeks in advance.
Address: 20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 3BY
Leadenhall Market is a covered marketplace in London that people can access via Gracechurch Street, Whittington Avenue, Lime Street, and a number of narrow passageways. It is one of the oldest markets in London, dating back to the 14th century.
The market sells a variety of goods, including fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and flowers. It is free to enter and open Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, and on Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Address: 46-48 Leadenhall Market, London EC3V 1LR
God’s Own Junkyard
Chris Bracey, the mastermind behind Gods Own Junkyard, has created an paradise of lights and neon. Not only is this hidden gem one of the coolest and quirkiest exhibits in London, but you can also enjoy a drink in their bar.
The best time to visit is at night when the lights are on and the exhibits are lit up.
Gods Own Junkyard is open Thursday to Sunday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, and Friday 10:00 am – 10:00 pm. Last entry is one hour before closing.
Address: Unit 12 Raven Mews, London SW11 4QY
Free museums in London
There are a lot of free museums in London. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or science, there’s a free museum for you.
The British Museum
The British Museum is a public museum located in Central London’s Bloomsbury area dedicated to human history, art, and culture. Its permanent collection of eight million pieces is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive.
It covers the history of human civilization from its origins to the present day. The British Museum was the first public national museum in the world.
It is open from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm every day and can book tickets in advance online.
Located at Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG
The National Gallery
The National Gallery, located in Trafalgar Square and founded in 1824, is an art museum that contains a collection of over 2,300 paintings. The paintings date back to the mid-13th century up until 1900.
The Gallery is an nonprofit organization, and a separate entity from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Its collection belongs to the government on behalf of British citizens, and there is no charge for entrance to see the main gallery.
However due to pandemic in 2020 number of visitors drops drastically by 50% ,from 1.2 million people in 2019 down to only 697 thousand visitors . Even with this decrease The Gallery still managed maintain its 8th spot as most popular art museum destination worldwide.
The National Gallery is open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm every day except Thursday when it stays open until 9:00 pm. You do not need to book tickets in advance but there may be queues during peak times.
Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
South Kensington is a dream for Londoners and tourists alike and going here is one of the best free things to do in London, as it houses three of the city’s best museums – the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and V&A – free of charge.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about anything, the Science Museum is the place to visit. Since 1857, it has delighted visitors with its outstanding collections. The museum has been delighting visitors since 1857 and offers a variety of programs for people of all ages.
It’s a must-see attraction in London! Adult events include “Lates,” which are particularly entertaining.
Address: Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD
The Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A) is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 145,000 objects. It is located in South Kensington, London.
The V&A was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The museum’s collections span 5,000 years of human history, from ancient times to the present day, and from every part of the world.
Address: Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW7 2RL
Churchill War Rooms
The Churchill War Rooms are a free museum located in the heart of Westminster. The museum is dedicated to the life and work of Sir Winston Churchill, one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.
The Churchill War Rooms are located in the underground bunkers where Churchill and his government worked during the Second World War. The museum is free to enter and open daily from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.
Address: Clive Steps, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2
The London Mithraeum, popularly known as the Temple of Mithras, Walbrook, is a Roman sanctuary dedicated to the god Mithras that was found in Walbrook during construction work in 1954.
The Mithraeum is now a free museum open to the public. It is located in the City of London, on the site of the former Bloomberg London headquarters. The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Address: Bloomberg London, Walbrook Wharf, London EC4R 3TD
The Barbican Conservatory is one of the largest conservatories in London, coming in at second place. It houses an impressive 2,000 species of plants and trees, as well as terrapins and koi carp.
The conservatory covers a whopping 23,000 square feet , and is located atop the theatre’s fly tower. Going in Barbican Conservatory is one of the free things to do in London.
The conservatory is d open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Address: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
Museum of London Docklands
The Museum of London Docklands is a free museum that tells the story of London’s river, port, and people. It is located in the former West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Address: No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, Hertsmere Road, London E14 4AL
The Horniman Museum and Gardens is a museum in London, England, that specializes in anthropology, natural history, and musical instruments. It was founded in 1901 and designed by Charles Harrison Townsend in the Modern Style.
The museum houses exhibits from anthropology to natural science as well as musical instruments.
The Horniman is free to enter, and there are often free events and exhibitions taking place.
Address: 100 London Rd, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ
Free Art Galleries In London
There are many free art galleries in London, including the Tate Modern, the National Gallery, and the Barbican Centre.
-The Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in London. The gallery is free to enter, and there are often free exhibitions and events taking place.
Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG
The National Gallery is an art museum in London that houses a collection of over 2,000 paintings from the 13th to the 19th century. The gallery is free to enter, and there are often free exhibitions and events taking place.
Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
The Barbican Centre is an arts venue in London that houses a theatre, cinema, and art gallery. The centre is free to enter, and there are often free exhibitions and events taking place.
Address: Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS
Free Parks and Walks in London
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London and one of the Royal Parks of England Walking here is one of the free things to do in London. The park covers 350 acres (142 hectares) and is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. The park is free to enter and open all year round from 5:00 am to midnight.
Hyde Park is home to a variety of attractions including the Serpentine Gallery, the Diana Memorial Fountain, and the Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner.
Address: Hyde Park, London W2 2UH
Richmond Park is a National Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Royal Park of London. The park is open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is free to enter. It’s also open all year long, from 7:00 a.m. until dark.
Richmond Park is home to a number of attractions including the Isabella Plantation, the deer park, and the Pembroke Lodge Gardens.
Address: Richmond Park, London TW10 5HS
Greenwich Park is a former hunting park in Greenwich and one of the largest single green spaces in south-east London. Covering 74 hectares, it is one of the Royal Parks of London, and the first to be enclosed. It is part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site.
The park is free to enter and open all year round from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm. Greenwich Park is home to a number of attractions including the Greenwich Observatory, the Prime Meridian Line, and the Royal Greenwich Park Museum.
Address: Greenwich Park, London SE10 8QY
Battersea Park is a 200-acre (81-hectare) green space located on the south bank of the River Thames in Battersea, London. The park is free to enter and open all year round from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.
Battersea Park is home to a number of attractions including the Battersea Park Children’s Zoo, the Battersea Park Peace Pagoda, and the Pump House Gallery.
Address: Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ
Tips for visiting London with kids
If you’re looking to visit free and paid attractions in London, booking your tickets in advance will help you save money. You can get your tickets for the top sights here.
If you’re traveling with kids, consider getting a family pass which provides free entry to many of London’s attractions, as well as discounts at restaurants and shops. You can find more information about the family pass here.
When it comes to free things to do in London, there are plenty of options for families. Check out our list of free things to do with kids in London.
Founded in 1835 by Marie Tussaud, Madame Tussauds is a chain of wax museums with locations all around the world.
The Millennium Wheel, also known as the London Eye, is a cantilever observation wheel on the south bank of the River Thames in London. It is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel and attracts over 3 million visitors each year.
The London Dungeon is a tourist attraction on the South Bank of London, England, that recreates famous historical events in a gallows humor style. Live actors, special effects, and roller coasters are all used.
It is a brilliantly bonkers, interactive and immersive walkthrough experience, where the whole family can journey through the world of Shrek and meet all his friends.
Sea Life London Aquarium
On the ground floor of County Hall on the South Bank of the River Thames, near the London Eye, the Sea Life London Aquarium opened in March 1997 as London Aquarium. It receives about one million visitors each year and is home to roughly 1,000 species from all over the world.
Big City Saver
The Big City Saver is a new pass that provides discounts to those who visit more than one Merlin attraction.
St Paul’s Cathedral
An iconic London landmark, St. Paul’s Cathedral is a working church with a rich history. The cathedral is free to enter, and there are often free concerts and events taking place.
Address: St Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD
One of the world’s oldest zoos, London Zoo is located in Regent’s Park and is home to over 20,000 animals. The zoo is free to enter for children under 3, and there are discounts for families.
Address: Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RY
A beautiful Gothic cathedral, Westminster Abbey is free to enter for worshipers. However, there is a charge for visitors who wish to explore the abbey and its grounds.
Address: 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA
Tower of London
One of the most famous landmarks in London, the Tower of London is a historic castle that was once used as a prison. Today, the Tower of London is free to enter for UK residents and there are discounts for families.
Address: Tower Hill, London EC3N 4AB
The official residence of the British monarchy, Buckingham Palace is a must-see for any visitor to London. While the palace is not free to enter, there are often free events and exhibitions taking place in the grounds.
Address: Westminster, London SW1A 1AA
The tallest building in the UK, the Shard is a skyscraper located in London’s Southwark district. Visitors can take the elevator to the top of the Shard for free, and there are discounts for those who wish to visit the observation deck.
Address: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG