One of the costliest cities in the world, London drains a lot of your wealth to explore the city’s rich cultural attractions. The strength of the Pound makes it difficult to purchase tickets of all the key attractions of London. Your bucket list of London can comprise of Shakespeare Globe Theatre, Madame Tussauds, The London Eye, The Tower of London, and all the popular sights of London. However, the cost of tickets is something that will raise serious concerns, if you are travelling to London on budget.
Don’t worry, London offers plenty of avenues and opportunities to enjoy the city’s rich culture and character without spending a single penny. Despite the cost, there are plenty of free places to visit in London that will offer a rich insight into the culture of this truly global city. Looking to travel to London and wondering how to plan to see the city on a tight budget? Holidayme presents 20 free things to do in London!
Free Things to do in London
1. British Museum
One of London’s top attractions, the British Museum is absolutely free. The museum houses close to seven million items including the Rosetta stone, Aztec mosaic masks and plenty of popular 20 to 50-minute open tours for free. One of the top free places to visit in London, this museum is a good place to learn about London’s history.
2. British Film Institute's Mediatheque
The institute features four cinemas and the Mediatheque where you can watch DTV/ film archives for free. Hidden under the Waterloo Bridge, the British Film Institute’s Mediatheque provides a glimpse into the British film industry and its evolution. One of the popular free things to do in London, this place is ideal to learn about the popular British films, tv serials and radio programmes.Looking for places to stay in London? Here are the best hotels in London.
3. Houses of Parliament
The Palace of Westminster which houses the Big Ben is a major icon of London. Visit the House of Parliament and enjoy the theatrics, peculiar customs and antics of its prestigious members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords absolutely free. The Big Ben doesn’t chime anymore as it is under renovation. Yet, the Palace of Westminster continues to among the best free attractions of London.
4. Borough MarketThe 13th-century market is packed with food-lovers and is a great place to grab some local delicacies. The market is located on the south of the river and is open from Thursday to Saturday. One of the best free places to visit in London, Borough Market is ideal for savouring local delicacies, interacting with locals and watching the world go by.
5. Museum of London
The magnificent museum documents the history of London from prehistoric times. It boasts of a massive collection featuring artefacts, models, pictures and diagrams. The galleries ‘London Before London ‘and ‘Medieval London’ provide an insight into the history of the city like nowhere else. Certainly among the top free things to do in London!
6. St Paul's Church and Temple Church
The St Paul’s Church is different from the St Paul’s Cathedral which comes with a ticket. The St Paul’s Church is also known as the ‘Actor’s church’. The First Punch and Judy Show happened in 1662 and there are memorials for Charlie Chaplin and Vivien Leigh, a famous British film actress. Da Vinci Code fans will instantly recognise the church which dates to the 12th century and is a must-see attraction in London. The church was built by crusading monks, known as the Knights Templar and is located in a traffic-free oasis of green spaces. It is definitely one of the top things to do in London on a budget.
7. Tate Britain and Tate Modern
The older half of the Tate duo houses permanent works which focus on British masterpieces from the 16th to late-20th centuries. Enjoy the one-hour thematic tours and 15 minutes talks on painters and paintings. The modern half of the Tate, set in the Bankside Power Station on the Thames is one of the city’s most beloved attractions. The special exhibits cost you around 8-10 pounds, but you can enjoy its free and permanent collection of 60,000 works based on different themes.
8. National Theatre and St. Martin in the Fields
Enjoy a free concert at the National Theatre and St. Martin in the Fields. Check out their websites to know more about the recent and upcoming concerts. National Theatre and St. Martin in the Fields is among the best free things to in London at night.
9. Trafalgar Square
Walk along the Thames and admire the iconic landscape of England which still retains its effervescent charm. Visit Trafalgar Square, the most iconic public space in London which is filled with amazing attractions and is absolutely free. Admire the architecture, fountains, Nelson’s column and relax on the steps of Trafalgar Square. Travelling to London on a budget? This is a must-visit!
10. Changing of the Guard Ceremony
A British tradition, full of pomp and glory. Make sure to arrive before 11:30 AM at Buckingham Palace to enjoy this regal display of tradition for free. There is no entry fee to see the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. It's one of the top London free places to visit.
11. Ceremony of the Keys
A secret ceremony where you need permission to witness the nightly lock-off of the Tower of London. One of the most unusual things to see in London, this unique ceremony secures the royal treasures of the British Crown and locks the museum each evening.
12. TV show at BBC Studio
Watch a TV show recorded at the iconic BBC studio and learn about the British public broadcaster which has become an example of quality and reliable global news channel in the world. Learn how this global journalism and media public company has become the world’s most trusted news and entertainment brand.
13. Oxford Street
Visit the Platform 9 ¾, located at the London King's Cross railway station and don’t forget the Oxford Street which served as the iconic landmarks in J.K Rowling’s epic fantasy Harry Potter. Check out the famous Abbey Road Crosswalk, which featured in Beatles album cover of Abbey Road, a legendary rock album of all time.
14. National GalleryAdmire the works of renowned European painters like Van Gogh, Renoir, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo at the National Gallery, which is a must-visit for the art lovers. Close to 5 million visitors throng to this famous landmark at the Trafalgar Square, but you can avoid the rush by visiting on weekday mornings. The National Gallery allows free entrance.
15. National Maritime Museum
Greenwich’s best attraction is housed in this neoclassical building museum which highlights British seafaring traditions. Learn about British Maritime legends like Horatio Nelson, a replica of Ernest Shackleton’s lifeboat and plenty of friendly interactive exhibits in the ‘Your Ocean’ exhibit all for free.
16. Natural History Museum
The museum is a beautiful Gothic Revival building which dates to 1880 and houses a rich collection of natural history including a diplodocus dinosaur skeleton plus a T-Rex skeleton and the Darwin Centre, which has over 4,50,000 jars of pickled specimens. A wildlife garden is open from April to September only and entrance is free.
17. Science Museum
The museum is spread over seven floors and has interactive exhibitions in an informative and entertaining manner. See the Energy Hall which highlights the first steam locomotive of the early 19th century and plenty of exhibitors and flight simulators all for free. Don’t miss the Science Museum, as its one of the most popular free things to do in London.
18. Victoria and Albert Museum
The museum is in operation since 1852 and houses close to 4.5 million objects, making it one of the richest museum in the world. Make sure you have lots of time to admire the rich collections which include Japanese swords, Chinese ceramics, European art, chandeliers, a collection of a half a million images and many more. The museum is free but some special exhibitions need tickets.
19. Walk along the Millennium Bridge
Cross the Jubilee Bridge across the Thames at Embankment and check out the stunning Millennium Bridge to cross from the Tate Modern to St Paul’s. Enjoy a stroll in the evening and take plenty of selfies and snaps of the iconic landmarks of the English capital.
20. War Museums of London
The United Kingdom has a glorious military and war history and London, being the capital, has plenty of world-class museums that highlight the British military achievements and accomplishments. Visit the Imperial War Museum, Royal Air Force Museum, and National Army Museum to get a glimpse of the country’s notable military exploits from all over the world.
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