London is probably the most expensive cities on the globe to go to, sleep, eat, drink, or simply plain reside in. There’s no chance to sugar coat it. London eats into your budget quicker than Homer Simpson eats right into a donut. While there are many methods to visit London on a budget , one of the better ways to spend less in the town is to make use of the plethora of free what to see and do in the town.
When you’re spending so much on food, drink, or accommodation, every tiny bit helps and thankfully you can spend weeks here without ever spending a cent on an attraction. This is a set of 58 free things you can do in London:
Go to the Free Museums All public museums in britain are absolve to visit, which is excellent because London has over twenty free museums in the town that can give you endless days of free exploration and learning! This is a set of the free museums:
- The Museum of London – This incredible museum includes a detailed history of the town of London and an in depth exhibit on the fantastic fire of 1666 that destroyed a lot of the town. It’s open daily from 10 am-6 pm.
- The British History Museum – Among the top museums on the planet, you could spend days visiting this place. Opened in the 18th century, this museum houses over 8 million works, like the famed Rosetta Stone. I’ve spent countless hours here. Open daily from 10 am-5:30 pm (8:30 pm on Fridays).
- The Natural History Museum – There are over 80 million items in this comprehensive museum, including specimens collected by Charles Darwin. It’s an extremely good museum for kids too. Open daily from 10am-5:30pm.
- The Science Museum – Founded in 1857, you’ll find some neat interactive galleries on aviation, space exploration, and cool sciency stuff generally. It’s fun museum to geek out in. Open daily from 10am-6pm.
- The National Gallery – This art museum was founded in 1824 and houses a assortment of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to around 1900. There are functions by Johannes Vermeer, Sandro Botticelli, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo. Open daily from 10am-6pm.
- The Tate Modern – Housed in a former power plant, I believe this is among the best art museums in the town and houses plenty of contemporary and modern art. It’s a lovely space and is filled up with some really interesting pieces. Open daily from 10am to 6pm (10pm on Friday and Saturday).
- The Victoria and Albert Museum – Named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, this museums houses over 2,000 artwork covering over 3,000 years of history. Open daily from 10am-5:45pm (10pm on Fridays).
- The Imperial War Museum – This museum covers British conflicts from WWI for this. For all those really interested, there is also an archive here where one can read real documents from various wars. Open daily from 10am-6pm.
- The Horniman Museum and Gardens – This museum includes a comprehensive assortment of historical musical instruments together with some impressive natural history displays. In addition, it includes a huge garden you can explore aswell. Open daily from 10am-5:30pm (Garden is open 7:15am to sunset Monday to Saturday and 8am to sunset on Sundays)
- The National Maritime Museum – That is among the largest maritime museums on earth, with over 2 million items within their collection including ancient maps, ship models, and manuscripts. Open daily from 10am-5pm.
- The V&A Museum of Childhood – That is a branch of the Victoria and Albert museum, with a concentrate on art and crafts designed for (and by) children. Open daily from 10am-5:45pm
- The Sir John Soane’s Museum – This small museum is situated in the former home of Sir John Soane, a neo-classical architect. It’s home to numerous of his drawings and models rendering it a noteworthy stop for anybody thinking about architecture. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am-5pm
- The Guildhall MEMORIAL and Roman Amphitheatre – This gallery houses the art assortment of the town of London. It had been built in 1999 to displace a youthful building destroyed in the Blitz. There generally are a few hundred pieces on display at any moment. Open daily from 10am-5pm (12pm to 4pm on Sundays)
- The Wallace Collection – This art collection contains pieces from the 15th to 19th centuries, disseminate over 30 separate galleries. You’ll find paintings, armor, furniture, decorative art, and everything among here. Open daily from 10am-5pm.
- The National Portrait Gallery – This is the 1st portrait gallery on earth when it opened in 1856, also to this day continues to be among the largest – there are almost 200,000 portraits here! Open daily from 10am-5pm (10am-8pm on Thursday and Friday).
- The Tate Britain – Never to be confused to with the Tate Modern, the Tate Britain is a striking museum home to an expansive assortment of British artwork from the 16th century for this. It’s much less big as the present day, nonetheless it arguably has more famous artwork, including functions by Francis Bacon, Richard Dadd, and William Blake. Open daily from 10am-6pm.
- The Royal Air Force Museum – Opened in 1972, this museum is disseminate over a few different airplane hangars. There are a large number of aircraft here, with displays within the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force’s role in Britain’s history. Open daily from 10am-5pm.
- The Wellcome Collection – That is a quirky museum and library with a variety of unusual displays, covering biology, medicine, science, and art. Open Tu-Sa (10am-6pm; 10am-10pm on Thursdays), 11am-6pm Sa, M (closed).
- The British Library – Established in the 1970’s, that is generally regarded as the biggest national library on earth, with a catalog of over 200 million items. You could spend an eternity here rather than even see every book, aside from read all of them! Open M-Th (9:30am-8pm), Fr (9:30am-6pm), Sa (9:30am-5pm), Su (11am-5pm).
- The Whitechapel Gallery – This gallery houses contemporary artwork, and frequently displays temporary retrospective exhibits. Opened in 1901, it had been also among the first publicly funded galleries in London. Open Tu-Su (11am-6pm; 11am-9pm on Thursdays).
- The National Army Museum – This museum targets the experiences of the British soldier, from the English civil war for this day. Established in the 1960’s, it recently experienced an enormous renovation and re-opened in 2017 with the works now presented across 5 galleries. Open daily from 10am-5:30pm (open until 8pm on the first Wednesday of each month).
- The Serpentine Galleries – Situated in Kensington Gardens in Hyde Park, both of these galleries were established in 1970 and so are home to modern and contemporary art. Open daily from 10am-6pm.
Stroll through the London markets – Everyday is market day in London (though many of them happen just on Sunday) and there are countless markets you can wander through, people watch, or window shop in. Listed below are the best London markets to go to:
- Camden Market – This place houses 1,000+ shops, stalls, cafes, restaurants, bars, buskers, and everything among. It’s probably the most famous markets in the town and ideal for quirky things. Open daily from 8am-6pm.
- Portobello Market – This is actually the world’s largest antique market with over 1,000 sellers offering every type of antique imaginable. Saturday gets the busiest market activity and the most streetside vendors.
- Brick Lane Market – The forex market is home to a variety of assorted items from antiques to books to old electronics. Additionally, you’ll look for a ton of food vendors lining the road. As the shops that line the road are open each day, Sunday may be the main market day when the road fills with sellers and food vendors and folks browsing the marketplace.
- Borough Market – This marketplace goes back to the 1100’s, although current incarnation goes back to 1851. You’ll find a variety of restaurants, food vendors, and places to purchase your groceries. It’s the best food market in the town. Open W-Th (10am-5pm), F (10am-6pm), and Sa (8am-5pm).
- Columbia Road Flower Market – The forex market features mostly flowers and other gardening items.Very little for the traveler, but it’s fun to check out and folks watch. Open on Sundays from 8am-3pm.
- Covent Garden Market – Opened in the 1830’s, that is another good market to seize a bite to consume at and also shop at a number of the artisan craft stalls here. Open Monday to Saturday from 8am-7pm and Sunday 11am-5pm
- Greenwhich Market – This indoor market goes back to the 18th century and houses a variety of items, from jewelry to antiques to crafts to food. Open daily from 10am-5:30pm.
- Old Spitalfield Market – This place hosts an antique market every Thursday and occasional vinyl markets on Fridays. Open M-F (10am-5pm), Sa (11am-5pm), and Su 9am-5pm.
- Maltby Street Market – The forex market opened this year 2010 and is a bustling place to purchase gourmet street food and fresh produce, in addition to a few bars where you could grab a refreshing pint. Open Saturdays 9am-4pm and Sundays 11am-4pm.
- Southbank Center – This marketplace houses regular food and book markets. Open daily from 10am-11pm.
- Flea at HAIR STRAIGHTENING IRON Square – This weekend vintage market features the eclectic clothing, a lot of records, books, crafts, and furniture. Open Saturday 11am-6pm and Sunday 10am-5pm.
Start to see the changing of the guard – Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace at 11:30am plus the horse guards at Whitehall at 11:00am.
Stroll around the town – London is an enormous city and has many unique and interesting neighborhoods.For a far more organized self-guided tour, Visit London includes a free app that enables you to create personalized maps and itineraries. Detour is another app that delivers downloadable audio tours with based around different themes (the Detour app is free, however the tours will definitely cost money to download). StrollOn is another app that enables you to have personalized walking tours too.
Lounge in the Parks – London has some beautiful parks, so when sunlight comes out (which isn’t all too often), Londoners flock outside. With wide spacious parks filled up with flowers, walkways, ponds, ducks, geese, and beautifully manicured lawns, the parks in the town are the spot to be! Among the best parks are:
- St. James’s Park – Covering over 23 hectares, it’s home to a number of paths and trails, a lake, and a lot of birds (including pelicans!).
- Green Park – This park was initially established in the 1500’s, though unlike every other park in the town it doesn’t have any buildings or lakes in it.
- Regent’s Park – This massive park is probably the Royal Parks of London. Established in 1811, it’s also home to the London Zoo and Regent’s University.
- Kensington Gardens – Another Royal Garden of London, this once-private garden houses the Serpentine Galleries and also Kensington Palace.
- Hyde Park – That is perhaps the most well-known park in London. Originally the private hunting grounds of Henry VII, it opened to the general public is 1637 is is an excellent spot to stroll, picnic, or catch among the many events that are hosted here over summer and winter.
- Holland Park – This park comes with an eclectic mixture of attractions, from Japanese gardens to a huge chess set to the ruins of the Holland House that was bombed in WWII.
- Battersea Park – This park used to be always a extremely popular area for dueling. Nowadays it’s used for running, playing sports, having picnics, and music performances.
Visit Westminster Abbey – Westminster costs 20 GBP to go to but you will get into Westminster free of charge during hours of worship. If you would like to visit rather than pay the entrance fee, choose among the services and you’ll enter free of charge.
Have a free walking tour – London is a megacity filled up with a mega amount of walking tours. From free tours to specialty tours to paid tours to literary tours to quirky tea tours, London has everything – including plenty of free tours. This is a list of the best free walking tour companies:
- Free Tours on foot – I’ve taken this company’s NYC tours so when I then found out that they had a London version I was thrilled to have a couple more. The tours are simply as effective as they are in NYC, within the major highlights, well crafted, presented, and incredibly insightful. A few of their excellent tours are: Westminster tour, Harry Potter Walking Tour, Soho tour, Ghost tour, and street art tour. Most walks last two to two and half hours.
- Free London Walking Tours – This tiny company offers free walks from a few older British chaps which have the air of university professor. They tell silly jokes but are super understanding of the most arcane facts of London history. They have a tendency to cover a whole lot of ground – physically and factually – so it’s a whirlwind! Make sure to have a look at their Fire, Pestilence and Plague and Debauched London tours. Tours last two hours.
- Strawberry Tours – This tour company is a far more “hip” tour company for young travelers. The guides and the attendees are younger. They run several free tours, specialty tours, and paid pub crawls (that may explain the young audience). You’ll see them advertised a whole lot. While I didn’t love their pub crawl, their Harry Potter tour, food tour, and London per day tour were fun and informative.
- New Europe Walking Tours – This free walking tour company has walking tours around Europe. They are type of the “backpacker” tour because so many hostels always promote them and you see mostly young travelers on the tours. They are best for a large historic summary of the town.
Attend a Couchsurfing hook up and meet some locals – Couchsurfing is a platform that connects locals and travelers. You can stick with local hosts free of charge but, what I really like about the platform, will be the number of meet-ups and events you can attend. That is the best way to meet people, find quirky stuff, and move on to really know the town. In the event that you download the app, you can also see who’s nearby in the town and free to go out! For guidelines on how best to succeed on Couchsurfing, you can examine out this website post.
Visit some East London street art – Shoreditch, side streets around Brick Lane, Middlesex, and Sclater streets always generally have some really interesting street art worth exploring.
Go to a Church – London is filled with free churches that you could visit. Most aren’t terribly old because they were bombed out through the war but many do date back again to the 1600s! Here are a few of the greatest:
- Westminster Abbey – See above!
- St Paul’s Cathedral – This Anglican cathedral houses the Bishop of London and is among the iconic sites of the town. The funeral services of several famous people have already been held here, including Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill, and Margaret Thatcher.
- Southwark Cathedral – Another Anglican cathedral, Southwark Cathedral was built-in the 19th century from a preexisting church, though that one site has been utilized by Christians for worship for over 1,000 years.
- Temple Church – This church was built-in the 1100’s by the Knight’s Templar and is noteworthy because of its peculiar round shape. It had been heavily damaged in WWII, though it had been restored afterward.
- St Mary-le-Bow – This church was rebuilt after WWII, having also previously been rebuilt following the Great Fire of 1666. Tradition says that the only true Cockneys are those people who are born within earshot of St Mary’s bells.
- St Olave Hart Street – That is among the smaller churches in the town, and mostly of the that survived the fantastic Fire of 1666. Today’s building dates from around the 15th century, though it too was heavily damaged in WWII.
- St Magnus the Martyr – This Baroque church was among the first to move up in flames through the Great Fire, eventually being rebuilt by architect Christoper Wren (who also designed St Paul’s). Like the majority of of London, it had been heavily damaged through the Blitz and has since been restored.
- St Bride’s – That is another church created by Christopher Wren, who spent 7 years building it. It too was destroyed through the Blitz and has since been rebuilt.
Take the London wall walk – This walk goes from the Tower of London around what’s left of the ancient Roman wall that surrounded Roman London. You can walk along the wall, read some historical panels, and even download a booklet about the route.
Go to the Harry Potter platform – Harry Potter took his train to Hogwarts from platform 9 3/4s at London’s King’s Cross Station. Head here, get your picture taken with a luggage cart looking like it’s going right through the wall and live out your Harry Potter dreams.
Crossbones Cemetery – This unconsecrated cemetery is focused on the prostitutes of London and is a hauntingly beautiful cemetery with plaques, music, and information regarding its history and that of a nearby. It closed in 1853 with the remains of around 15,000 paupers, over fifty percent of these children, who lived, worked in the region. ( Interesting Fact: A law was proposed by a virulent anti-prostitution person in Parliament dictating that nothing should ever be built on the region. A couple of years back, they tried to place a railway on the land and a nearby used the law to avoid it from being built.)
Learn some stuff – Want to understand some stuff? Attend a free of charge lecture at among the better universities on the planet for free! The next schools offer free lectures:
- London School of Economics – Upcoming lectures will be posted on the site (including dates, times, and locations.) You can even download previous lectures to view or pay attention to.
- Gresham College – Lectures are often held from 6pm-7pm at the Museum of London. Doors open around thirty minutes prior to the lecture, and seats are on an initial come, first served basis.
- UCL Lunch Hour Lectures – This lecture series is normally held from 1:10pm-1:55pm with seating on an initial come, first served basis. Check the web site for topics and locations.
- Morley College Penny Lectures – These lectures technically cost 1p to wait, but that’s practically free! Check the web site for dates, topics, and locations!
Visit a free comedy show – Laugh the sofa off at among these four places offering free comedy shows:
- Angel Comedy Club – Stand-up, sketch comedy, and improv with two different locations in the town.
- ” INSIDE INFO ” Comedy Club – A classic basement bar/comedy cellar with stand-up and improv shows.
- The Comedy Grotto – Great comedy line-ups usually for less than 5 GBP.
Get your groove on – Pay attention to see some free music at a few of these places:
- Royal Academy of Music – The RAM has regular free student performances and also occasional free ticketed events. Check their calendar for dates and locations.
- Daylight Music at the Union Chapel – Pay-What-You-Can performances from 12pm-2pm every Saturday (check their website for specific performance details).
- Southbank Centre – Free lectures, poetry readings, musical events, and more! Check their calendar for up-to-date information and locations.
- “Ain’t Nothing But…” Blues Bar – They host regular free blues jams and also ticketed blues concerts.
With so many free what to see and do in London, you’ll manage to fill your days and nights of your visit without ever needing to spend a pence! The town could be expensive but with some many free things you can do, you’ll manage to make up those pints by not spending hardly any money throughout your day. There’s no reason to invest lots of money when there’s so much to accomplish here free of charge.
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Book Your Visit to London: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight to London through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s. Focus on Momondo.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld because they have the very best inventory. If you would like to stay somewhere apart from a hostel, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and budget hotels. A few of the best places in which to stay London are:
- St. Christopher’s Inn
- Astor Hyde Park Hostel
For more suggested places to remain, have a look at this longer set of hostels. If you’re wondering what part of town in which to stay, here’s my neighborhood break down of London!
Don’t Forget TRAVEL COVER Travel cover will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. I never embark on a trip without it. I’ve been using World Nomads for a decade. You should too.
Need Some Gear? Have a look at our resource page to find the best companies to use!
Want helpful information? London has some really interesting tours. The best company is Take Walks. They have expert guides and may get you behind the scenes at the city’s best attractions. They’re my go-to walking tour company!
If you prefer a bike tour, use Fat Tire Tours. They have the very best & most affordable bike tours in the town.
Want MORE INFO on London? Make sure to visit my robust guide to London for a lot more planning tips!
To find out more, visit my page on backpacking Europe or my guide to England.