When one thinks about going on a vacation to London, the first thing that comes to mind is, “great, there goes my life savings”. London is notorious for being a wallet-destroying and bank-breaking city. However, that’s not the case, there are many great things that you can do in London without going broke. In this article, we will discuss the top 10 best free things to do in London that will not only make your trip memorable but will also help you save a penny or two.
So, without further ado, let’s traverse to the Big Smoke and check out the best free things to do in London.
Top 10 Best Free Things to Do in London – A Quick Glance
Top 10 Best Free Things to Do in London – Overview
1. Best Free Things to Do in London for Art Lovers – Visiting the Tate Modern
For all the art enthusiasts out there, one of the best free things to do in London is to visit the Tate Modern. Tate Modern first opened its doors to Londoners in the year 2000 and they couldn’t believe their luck, an art space, so multi-functional and colossal that one could pretty much live in it.
Immerse yourself in modern art as you waft between the galleries of Tate Modern, enhance your experience by visiting its temporary exhibitions and cafes, meet up with friends, and soak up the views towards St Paul’s, as the lines between art and mundane life blur. Tate Modern is the most beautiful gift to art lovers, filled with modern art that is equal parts, beautiful, refreshing, challenging, and infuriating, and the best part is, it is free to view.
2. Best Free Things to Do in London for Music Lovers – Listening to the Future Stars of Classical Music
Home to three of the world’s most popular music schools namely, the Royal Academy, the Royal College, and the Guildhall, London is like heaven to classical music enthusiasts. The schools hold public performances as part of their study programs, in which the best of the best students showcase their talents and mesmerize the audience, putting them in a trance with their music. And you know what, these performances are one of the best free things to do in London, however, these events are ticketed, so you will have to book well in advance if you want to enjoy a no-cost concert by the future stars of classical music.
In the 1 p.m. Friday concerts, you will be able to catch the violinists of the Royal Academy performing Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis. On the other hand, the Guildhall students perform as soloists, orchestras, and ensembles at either 4 p.m. or 6 p.m. For tickets, please visit the Royal Academy, and Guildhall websites.
3. Best Free Things to Do in London on a Hot Day – Splashing in the Water Jets
If you are traveling with kids who are prone to boredom and fussiness, and not a fan of hot city afternoons, take them to one of the many water jets the city has to offer, to wash away all the boredom and heat. London is home to several joyous, public-spirited fountains that have become a staple of summer life. Dancing through the water jets, playing tag and other such games are some of the best free things to do in London with your kids.
Granary Square in King’s Cross harbors the most water jets, about 1,080 of them. You can also take your family to the splash park by the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. After you’ve had your fill of water-splashing fun, head on to the kiosk next door to try their irresistible raspberry sorbet. Take a breather and eat the sorbet by sitting on the grass banks of the river as your eyes dance around, witnessing the beauty of the city.
4. Best Free Things to do in London on a Cold Day – Basking in the Sun in a Skyscraper’s Garden
A visit to London without going to its indoor Sky Garden is a big no. The place has become so popular among tourists that you have to book entry weeks in advance. Too much crowded for you? Well, don’t worry we don’t like crowds either. Therefore, we found a hidden gem, another rooftop garden that is only 200 yards away from the Sky Garden and is quite a lovely place.
The place is known as The Garden at 120 and is located 15 stories up in the city’s financial district, at 120 Fenchurch Street. You can visit the place without booking, and as it is far less crowded, there are no queues. The Garden offers intriguing views of Big Smoke’s landmarks at every turn, from the Tower of London to the Gherkin office block.
5. Best Free Things to do in London when you Get Hungry – Scouring the Borough Market
You will need to set aside a budget if you wish you buy the odd irresistible items like Brindisa’s chorizo rolls or Bread Ahead’s sourdough loaf. However, a visit to the Borough Market which is the spiritual home of London’s foodie scene is free. For the best choice of street food and come-hither samples in the shops and stalls, visit the place on Friday or Saturday, but make sure to be early before the place gets too crowded. Borough Market is quite a tight space and is too busy for a picnic.
The surrounding restaurants and cafes do have tables, but in short supply. Therefore, to enjoy your meal, either take it to the lawn outside Tate Modern or go to the South Bank.
6. Best Free Things to do in London for History Buffs – Visiting the London Mithraeum
The city of London is an old one, and harbors a windingly long tapestry of history, with the weird and the wonderful woven into it. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that you can sometimes come across some bizarre but intriguing places to visit in the city. One such place that is equal parts bizarre, and alluring is the London Mithraeum. If you are a history lover, then one of the best free things to do in London is visit the intriguing London Mithraeum. The London Mithraeum was a Roman temple that was dedicated to worshiping the Persian god Mithras.
Discovered in 1954, during the construction of a building in Walbrook, London Mithraeum is one of the most captivating museums of today’s age, housing hundreds of fascinating artifacts. So, if you are a lover of all things historical, searching for the best free things to do in London, then a trip to the London Mithraeum is a must.
7. Best Free Things to Do in London for the Lovers of Architecture – Visiting the Big Ben
The Big Ben needs no introduction, this iconic clock tower of the Place of Westminster is an enduring symbol of the Big Smoke and is a must-see site for all tourists. The clock tower stands tall along the River Thames and is dubbed as a Gothic Revival masterpiece that reflects to the world, London’s historical significance as well as its architectural prowess. For over 150 years the Clock Tower has been a focal point of the city, with its resounding chimes resonating through London.
A simple gaze upon the beautiful clock tower makes for a memorable experience especially if you witness its beauty as the sun dips down the horizon, illuminating the tower and accentuating its beauty.
8. Best Free Things to Do in London for the Quintessential Experience – Walking Across the Tower Bridge
The Tower Bridge is one of the most iconic structures in London that took eight years to complete. Opened to the public in 1886, the bridge gracefully spans over the River Thames and is one of the most Instagramable places in the city. Walking across Tower Bridge is one of the best free things to do in London, and also one of the most memorable ones.
While strolling across the bridge you can admire its intricate design, take stunning photos, and appreciate its role as an architectural gem. The bridge is even more stunning as the day turns dark, and it is illuminated. It’s the kind of place that dons a different attire for different phases of the day, so our advice is to visit the bridge during the daytime as well as the nighttime to witness its full glory.
9. Best Free Things to Do in London for the Lovers of British Royalty – Witnessing the Changing of the Guard
If you want a glimpse into the grandeur of British tradition and royalty, witnessing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is a must. This iconic spectacle is a daily event (if the weather permits) and takes place outside the official residence of the British monarchy. The ceremony is a time-honored tradition, dating back centuries, and is marked by precise marching, military music, and the exchanging of the sentries.
Set against Buckingham Place’s regal façade, the Changing of Guard is a striking display of the British military’s pageantry and discipline. The ceremony lasts for about 45 minutes and is quite the spectator attractor, so it’s best to arrive early to secure a good viewing point.
10. Best Free Things to do in London for the Lovers of Nature – Basking in the Beauty of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
In the heart of Big Smoke, Hyde Park, and Kensington Garden form a massive green space that is nothing short of beautiful and enchanting. These two royal parks offer a plethora of outdoor activities, cultural landmarks, as well as scenic beauty. Leisure seekers and nature enthusiasts should definitely take a stroll down Hyde Park, which is truly a gift of nature to mankind.
As you walk along the pathway of London’s largest park, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the serene Serpentine Lake that it harbors, rent a paddleboat, and enjoy the wind on your face as you paddle to the center of the lake, while taking in the beauty of your surroundings. Hyde Park also hosts open-air concerts and various events throughout the year, that you can take part in without spending a penny.
Kensington Gardens on the other hand offer a more tranquil and formal experience. Home to Kensington Palace, the official residence of several generations of British royals, the famous Peter Pan statue, and the peaceful Italian Gardens, Kensington Palace resonates the kind of beauty that soothes the eyes and revives the soul.
Traveling on a Budget: Top 10 Cheapest Hotels in London
For all the budget travel out there, we have compiled a list of the top 10 cheapest hotels in London that you can stay in without breaking the bank