London is one of the most extravagant cities in the world. The city’s grandeur is reflected in its architecture and buildings too. Travelers often stretch their budgets to cope with the expense of the city.
What if we told you that there are free things to do in London that will go easy on your pocket and quench your travel lust?
Explore the temple of arts, exquisite landmarks, and learn the evolution of the English language without worrying about money. Here is the list of free things to do in London on a solo trip or with friends and family.
Outdoors/Walks/Parks in London – Free Things to Do in London
London has the best parks and outdoor activities for adults and kids alike. Green parks are sprawling across the city, making them ideal for unwinding.
From strolling to picnicking, London’s parks are the best for recreational activities. Here we round up some of the parks and walking tours that you shouldn’t miss visiting on your London tour.
#1. Hyde Park
Part of the Royal Parks of London, Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London. The park contains two water bodies, Serpentine and Long Water. Feed the ducks, learn the hunting events of King Henry VIII, explore Lady Diana’s commemorative memorial and Speaker’s Corner.
With four thousand trees and ornamental flower gardens, Hyde Park is a fresh get away from the bustle of London. You can go swimming, boating, skating, and cycling. There are amazing children’s playgrounds and play tracks for tennis and horse riding.
Have food at the lakeside restaurants. Explore the beautiful buildings and wonderful monuments such as the Joy of Life Fountain, the Serpentine Bridge, and the Achilles statue.
The Winter Wonderland and summer concerts at Hyde Park are simply amazing. If you visit between November and January, ice-skating is a must-do.
Opening Times: Hyde Park is open all year round, from 5:00 p.m. until midnight.
Address: Hyde Park, London W2 2UH
Telephone/Website: 0300 061 2000 / [email protected]
Public Transport: Knightsbridge Tube Station, Lancaster Gate Tube Station, and Marble Arch Tube Station are the underground stations near Hyde Park. Paddington Railway Station, Marylebone Railway Station, and Victoria Railway Station are the mainline stations near the park.
#2. St James Park
At the heart of London, covering 23 hectares of land, St James Park is a serene space. The park is flanked on all sides by famous landmarks: Horse Guards to the east, Buckingham Palace to the west, the Mall to the north, and the Birdcage Walk to the south. Duck Island is the top attraction at the park.
The park hosts many ceremonial parades and national celebrations. You can spot avian wildlife, including ducks, pelicans, water birds, woodpeckers, owls, and bats. Children’s playground and bird feeding are some of the amusing activities for you and your kids. Refreshment kiosks are also available at the park.
Opening Times: The park is open from 5:00 p.m. to midnight.
Address: London SW1A 2BJ
Telephone/Email: 0300 061 2350 / [email protected]
Public Transport: Westminster Tube Station, St James’s Park Tube Station, and Charing Cross Tube Station are the nearby underground stations. Charing Cross Railway Station, Victoria Railway Station, and Blackfriars Railway Station are the nearby mainline stations to the park.
#3. Sky Garden – Top of the Sky Experience
You can enjoy spectacular views, including the best free vantage point of the capital from Sky Garden. The indoor restaurant and viewing decks are romantic escapades. Watch the glorious hues of sundown from the decks of the restaurant without paying a buck.
If you are looking for an intimate evening with your loved ones at no cost, we recommend Sky Garden. It is also among the perfect free things to do in London this weekend.
Address: 1 Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF
Telephone/Email: 0207 337 2344 / [email protected]
Public Transport: Monument Tube Station, Bank Tube Station, and Cannon Street Tube Station are the nearby underground stations to Sky Garden. Fenchurch Street Railway Station, Cannon Street Railway Station, and Liverpool Street Railway Station are the nearby mainline stations to Sky Garden.
Entry: Although the entry to Sky Garden is free, the seats are limited. You need to book in advance for your free visit online.
#4. Hampstead Heath—Floral Land
If you love flowers and want to take a break from city life, Hampstead Heath is for you. London’s beloved green space, Hampstead Heath is just four miles from Trafalgar Square. From Hampstead Head, you can catch some stunning views of London. The Parliament Hill, Golders Hill Park, swimming ponds, sports pitches, hill garden, and splash pools are some of the free things to do in London at Hampstead Heath.
The chain of ponds, the rolling woods, the 180 bird species, the grass snakes, the 23 species of butterflies, and the idyllic floral setting make Hampstead Heath a surreal picnic spot.
Opening Times: Hampstead Heath is open on all days.
Address: West Gate Lodge, Hampstead Lane, Hampstead Heath London NW3 7JP
Telephone/Email: +44 (0)20 7332 3322 / [email protected]
Public Transport: Hampstead Tube Station, Highgate Tube Station, and Belsize Park Tube Station are the nearby underground stations to Hampstead Heath. Kentish Town Railway Station, West Hampstead Railway Station, and Cricklewood Railway Station are nearby mainline stations to the park.
#5. National Gallery—Explore European Culture
If you are looking for free things to do in London and learn European art, then visit the National Gallery. Every art piece is a masterpiece in itself, reflecting on the ancient European culture. You can find the art works of Botticelli, Turner, Renoir, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Leonardo da Vinci, and Van Gogh.
The National Gallery hosts free activities for people of all ages. From Courtauld Impressionists to the roles of Mantegna and Berlin in the Renaissance, the artworks reveal the depths of European history. Poetry, printmaking, and drawing workshops are also held at the gallery.
Opening Times: The gallery is daily 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Fridays, it operates from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Address: Trafalgar Square, Westminster London WC2N 5DN
Telephone/Email: +44 (0)20 7747 2885 / [email protected]
Public Transport: The nearest underground stations to the National Gallery are Embankment, Charing Cross, and Leicester Square.
#6. Walk along the Thames—A Walk to Remember
Walking along the banks of the River Thames is one of the best free things to do in London during nights. Strolling along the longest river in England, Thames will help you build everlasting memories. The river stretch traverses through the heart of London, giving you some of the most iconic views of the cityscape from the river.
There are many faces to the River Thames. The rural side of the river (where the river originates) is untouched by visitors. The Thames passes by castles and palaces. On the industrial side of the Thames, business and commerce take place.
Capture picturesque views of the beautiful city and get lost in the broad landscapes and skyscrapers along the River Thames. You can go for a morning stroll or an evening walk depending on your preference. You can stop by the Statue of Boudica, London County Hall, the London Eye, Cleopatra’s Needle, Millennium Bridge, Tate Modern Museum, and more on your walk along the Thames.
Public Transport: Pimlico Tube Station, St James’s Park Tube Station, and Westminster Tube Station are the nearby underground stations to the river Thames.
Victoria Railway Station, Charing Cross Railway Station, and Blackfriars Railway Station are nearby mainline stations to the river.
Cool Free Markets in London for Shopping / Window-Shopping Enthusiasts
There are exciting shopping markets and stores in London. You have an array of options to browse through and shop from.
#1. Covent Garden
Between St. Martin’s Lane and Drury Lane in the West End, Covent Garden is a popular tourist spot. An abode of cafés, shops, and craft markets, Covent Garden is a shopping paradise. Shop to your heart’s content or simply window-shop at the Covent Garden.
Opening Times: Covent Garden is open Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Address: 48 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9EP
Telephone/Email: +44 20 7420 5856/[email protected]
Public Transport: Covent Garden’s tube station is very near to James Street. Take the Embankment (Circle, District, Bakerloo, and Northern Line), from there the garden is a ten minutes’ walk. You can also take Holborn (Central Line) to Covent Garden.
The nearest railway station to Covent Garden is Charing Cross. Take bus routes 9, 13, 15, 23, 139 or 153 and get off at Trafalgar Square, from where the Market Building is a short walk away.
#2. Daunt Bookshop
If you are a bookworm, then Daunt Bookshop is among the top things to do in London. Daunt Bookshop is a treasure trove of old and new books alike. The stained glass windows and age-old gallery reminisce Edwardian history and tales. The books are arranged country-wise and give the reader a world tour.
Opening Times: The shop is open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Address: Daunt Books, 83 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QW
Telephone/Email: 020 7224 2295/[email protected]
#3. Portobello Road Market—Antiques Treasure
Since the 1950s, Portobello Road Market has treasured antiques. If you love shopping, savoring street delights, and are not overwhelmed by crowds, Portobello Road Market should be on top of your free-things-to-do-with-friends list in London. Visit the local stalls that offer everything from food to music.
Drool over the sumptuous food, or shop till your feet hurt. The place also makes for a perfect free family outing. The market is busiest during the weekend. Plan according to your convenience.
Opening Times: From Monday to Wednesday, the market is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Thursdays, it is open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, the market runs from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Address: Portobello Road, 72 Tavistock Road, London W11 1AN
Telephone/Email: +44 (0)20 7727 7684 / [email protected]
Public Transport: Ladbroke Grove Station on the Hammersmith is the nearby tube to Portobello Road Market.
For centuries, Harrods has been the one-stop shopping stall for luxury products. Its exclusive collections and exceptional service have kept Harrods on top of shopping sprees. Just browsing through the shops is a fun thing to do in London. There are 330 departments installed on seven floors selling the finest products.
From fashion, food, homeware, and technology, Harrods has everything. Boutiques in Harrods sell products from international brands, including Valentino and Prada. You can purchase exquisite fragrances at the Salon du Parfums or dine at the finest restaurants that serve a variety of cuisines.
Shoppers can avail special services such as gift concierge, urban retreat spa, tax rewards, and by-appointment personal shopping.
Timings: The market is open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. On Sundays, Harrods opens at 11:30 a.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m.
Address: Harrods, Knightsbridge London SW1X 7XL
Telephone/Email: +44 (0)20 7730 1234/[email protected]
Public Transport: You can take the Knightsbridge tube to the Harrods. Victoria train also takes to the venue.
#5. Hamleys of London
Hamleys is a toy shopping institution and is among the kids’ favorite things to do in London. Named and famed as one of the largest toy stores in the world, Hamleys delights adults and kids the same way. Even the royals install nurseries and playrooms from this toy shop.
More than fifty thousand toys, including computer games, toys, gadgets, and specialist collector areas are stocked in seven floors in the stores.
A theater is installed at the stores for entertaining kids of all ages.
Address: 188-196 Regent Street, London W1B 5BT
Public Transport: Oxford Circus Tube Station, Piccadilly Circus Tube Station, and Bond Street Tube Station are nearby underground stations. Charing Cross Railway Station, Euston Railway Station, and Marylebone Railway Station are nearby mainline stations to Hamleys.
Top Entertaining Things to Do in London
London is a hub to free arts, culture, and entertainment. You must not miss the following places in the pursuit of fun.
#1. Lunchtime Concert at St Martin’s-in-the-Fields
Nestled in the northeastern corner of Trafalgar Square since the medieval times is a famous Anglican church called St Martin’s-in-the-Fields. Live premier concerts are held at this place. You can enjoy free concerts by world-class musicians during lunch. Choral music and piano solos are often performed at St Martin’s.
Opening Times: You can enjoy live concerts on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays at 1:00 p.m.
Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ
#2. The Scoop
The Scoop is an outdoor amphitheater on the south side of the River Thames and offers loads of fun and entertainment. With the capacity to accommodate a thousand people, the place is lit with the energy of people accompanied by the serenity of the River Thames.
The place is devoted to living concerts, entertainment shows, music, opera, dance, and more. All these things you can do it for free. Arrive early to reserve your spot as the seats are limited.
Fitness events are also conducted at The Scoop. If you are a morning person looking for things to do in London in the mornings, Project Awesome outdoor fitness will delight you. Between November 30 and January 3, The Scoop hosts the London Bridge City Christmas Market that features several entertaining shows.
There are interactive events for kids during Christmas. The changing LED light ribbons at the venue will enchant your kids.
Address: More London, Bermondsey, London SE1 2DB
Telephone/Email: +44 (0)20 7403 4866 / [email protected]
Public Transport: London Bridge Tube Station is the nearest underground station to the venue, which is only six minutes away.
#3. Street Art—Free Thing to Do in London
Appreciate London’s art by strolling through the city’s streets. Explore the urban artworks of noted artists like Banksy and some unknown street artists. There are contemporary sculptures, modern murals, abstract art, and quirky installations dotted across the city for free.
National, international, and budding artists worked to decorate the streets with an array of creative works. You can spot painted murals on high-story buildings. The miniature bronze statues are quite appealing. Some of London’s street art challenges political notions, while some make you laugh till your stomach hurts.
Some of the street arts have been vandalized, but you can still spot the most memorable street art pieces: Guard Dog and His Master’s Voice at the beer garden of Cargo, Phone Tap on Chrisp Street in London, Sorry the Lifestyle in Poplar, East London, Blur Crazy Beat Art Work in Stoke Newington Church Street.
You can also admire street arts in north London. Enjoy colorful artworks in Camden. At Leake Street Tunnel you can discover hidden gems of street art.
Join Shoreditch Street Art Tour to explore unparalleled street art in London.
Telephone/Email: +44 7834 088533 / [email protected]
Ticket Booking Link: https://www.shoreditchstreetarttours.co.uk/events/
London is a diverse city featuring incredible art and history in museums and galleries and conserving nature through parks. Despite its cost of living, the city offers a wide range of activities for free. With a good source of information, one can discover the beautiful mystery in this beautiful city without burning a hole in their pockets.