I love London. After calling it home for so many years, I have wandered far and wide and have found many hidden gems off the beaten path. As a popular destination for tourists, there are plenty of tours and "must see" destinations advertised - but that can all get a little bit expensive.
They say the best things in life are free - and luckily, in London, there are plenty of free things to do in see that will ensure you make lifelong memories without returning home with an empty bank account!
Visit a Free Museum
Museum trips can be expensive - but there are quite a few museums in London that are completely free! Here are a few of our favourites;
- Victoria and Albert Museum, Knightsbridge - www.vam.ac.uk
- National Gallery, Trafalgar Square - www.nationalgallery.org.uk
- British Museum, Bloomsbury - www.britishmuseum.org
- Science Museum, Knightsbridge - www.sciencemuseum.org.uk
- Tate Modern, Bankside - www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern
- Tate Britain, Millbank - www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-britain
- Natural History Museum, Gloucester Rd - www.nhm.ac.uk
- The Bank of England Museum, Bank - www.bankofengland.co.uk
- Royal Air Force Museum, North West London - www.rafmuseum.org.uk
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich - www.rmg.co.uk
- National Portrait Gallery, Charing Cross - www.npg.org.uk
- Imperial War Museum, Elephant and Castle - www.iwm.org.uk
- Somerset House, Temple - www.somersethouse.org.uk
- British Library, Euston - www.bl.uk
- Museum of London, Barbican - www.museumoflondon.org.uk
- National Army Museum, Outer London - www.nam.ac.uk
- V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green -www.vam.ac.uk/moc/
- All Hallows by the Tower, Tower Hill - www.allhallowsbythetower.org.uk
- St Bride's Church , Temple -
Watch the Changing of the Guard
I feel like most tourists do this already - but it's one thing to tick off your London bucket list! The Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace is completely free and lasts about 45 minutes.
It takes place daily during the summer and the rest of the year it's held only on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It starts at 11am - but you'll want to get there a little early to beat the crowds!
London has many beautiful public parks that are the perfect spot for a picnic or a wander.
- Hyde Park, Central London
- Queen Mary's Rose Garden, Regent's Park
- St James Park, Central London
- Wimbledon Common, Greater London
- The Banks of the River Thames, Central London
- Prime Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich
- South Bank Walk, Central London
- Bushy Park, Middlesex
Take a Free Walking Tour
There are a number of organisations that offer free walking tours throughout London. They're the perfect way to learn more about where you are and what you're seeing.
Stroll Through the Markets
I love open air markets and London has plenty of incredible markets to visit. If you have a few dollars to spare, this is where you're sure to find a bargain - or you can simply stroll through and soak up the atmosphere!
- Convent Garden, West End
The Apple Market is held daily with special collectible and antique stalls there on Mondays only. The rest of the week you'll find artisanal stalls selling a variety of handmade goods.
- Columbia Road Flower Market, Greater London
Every Sunday from 8am-2pm, Columbia Road is transformed with beautiful fresh flowers. The market is held on a beautiful Victorian Street with plenty of wonders to be found.
- Portobello Road Markets, Greater London
My favourite market and the perfect place to find beautiful vintage pieces, trinkets and souvenirs to bring home. It's held daily with the stalls changing from day to day.
- Borough Market, Central London
One of the oldest and largest food markets in London, this is a foodie's delight and open every day except Sunday!
- Camden Market, Camden
Also known as Camden Lock, this market is made up of over 1000 stalls and is popular with both tourists and locals. Open daily.
Enjoy Some Free Entertainment
London is exceptionally generous with lots of free entertainment to enjoy - here are some of my favourites.
- Lunchtime Concerts at St Martin's in the Fields - www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/music/concerts/
Enjoy a free classical music concert on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 1pm.
- Royal Opera House Free Recitals - www.roh.org.uk/recitals/lunchtime-recitals
The Royal Opera House holds free concerts on Mondays (Swiss Church) and Fridays (St Giles in the Fields). Tickets are limited and distributed on a first come first serve basis. Get your tickets at the Royal Opera House Box Office until 11am on the day of the performance.
- Free Performances at The Scoop - www.londontheatre.co.uk/theatres/the-scoop
The Scoop is a free outdoor venue in Central London. Check their website for performance details and times.
- Watch a Free Film at BFI Mediatheques - www.bfi.org.uk/archive-collections/introduction-bfi-collections/bfi-mediatheques/bfi-mediatheques-around-uk/mediatheque-bfi-southbank
The British Film Institute is a charity dedicated to the preservation and promotion of British Filmmaking. Their Mediatheque at Southbank offers free movie screenings from Tuesday-Sunday each week.
- Watch a Free Comedy Show at The Angel Comedy Club - www.angelcomedy.co.uk
The Angel Comedy Club regularly holds free comedy shows. Check their website for times and details and be sure to arrive early so you don't miss out!
- Watch a Trial at The Old Bailey
The Old Bailey is the Criminal Court of the Justice of England and Wales. The court deals with all major criminal cases and trials are open to the public - though you will have to pass through strict security to enter. Visitors must be above 14 years of age and must bring age verification. Trials run from 9:55am-1240pm and 1:55-3:40pm Monday through Friday.
- Participate in the Ceremony of Keys at the Tower of London
The Ceremony of The Keys is a 700 year old ritual that takes place every night at the Tower of London. Each night, all of the doors of the tower are locked and 40-50 visitors are allowed entry to witness the procedure. It's a short ceremony that starts at 9:30pm but it's an incredible experience.
Visit the Sights
Many of London's most popular tourist attractions are actually free! Be sure to add these to your list - and take some photos to share with your friends!
- Go window shopping at Harrods
- Visit Hamley's Toy Store
- Check out the street art by Banksy
- Attend worship at Westminster Abbey
Whilst you do have to pay to visit Westminster Abbey, you can visit for free by attending worship on Sundays and religious holidays like Easter and Christmas.
- Visit Platform 9 and 3/4 at King's Cross
A must for the Harry Potter fan!
- Visit London Wall
- Attend worship at St Paul's Cathedral
Like Westminster Abbey, it does cost money to visit the cathedral at other times - but attending a worship service is completely free.
- Piccadilly Circus
London's own "Time Square"!
- Take a Photo on Abbey Road
A must for a fan of The Beatles!
- See the London Skyline from Parliament Hill
- Walk across the Tower Bridge