As much as I love walking around, sometimes it’s worth slowing down and stopping to observe the city. Watching the world go by is a fun free thing to do in London, and there are some great places for it.
48. Regent’s Canal
Watching the canal boats go by from the steps outside Granary Square in King’s Cross is the ideal way to spend a sunny afternoon.
49. Piccadilly Circus
Watching the people go by and the lights flash on the big screens in Piccadilly Circus is another good way to absorb the London scene.
50. South Bank
Watching the world go by on the South Bank is a great way to soak up the city. From the performers to the London Eye, the riverboats to the festivals, there’s always something exciting going on here.
I love exploring London neighborhoods, and one of my top picks for free things to do in London is getting lost in a different one every day.
Hampstead has always been my favorite part of London, and this leafy village is the perfect place to spend an afternoon meandering. The atmosphere here is hard to beat.
Richmond is a great area to explore, too. Its riverside location makes it the ideal spot for a waterfront walk on a sunny day. The aforementioned Richmond Park is perfect for picnics, too.
Greenwich is full of maritime history and free museums and parks, so it’s an ideal place to explore if you want a mix of pretty streets, great views, and London history.
South London is underrated, and Dulwich village is worth a special trip. This area is full of beautiful houses, parks, and picture galleries. Neighboring East Dulwich has great window shopping on Lordship Lane, too.
46. Notting Hill
Notting Hill needs no introduction. This is one of the most famous London neighborhoods, and for good reason. Its colorful houses, vibrant market, and beautiful side streets make it worth visiting over and over.
47. Covent Garden
Covent Garden is a great place to explore for its shops, cafes, courtyards, and entertainment. It’s at the heart of many of London’s cultural attractions, and colorful spaces like Neal’s Yard delight.
London’s street performers entertain locals and visitors from all over the world. From dancers and singers to actors and mimes, they put on shows for kids of all ages.
But it’s not just humans that entertain in London. There are floral displays all over the city that catch the eye and provide a pleasant distraction. Seeing them is one of the best free things to do in London.
39. Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a great place to see street performers in London. Not only does it have regular acts and chalk artists, but there are also free parades, events, and festivals in the square all the time.
40. Covent Garden
Covent Garden is famous for its entertainment, and the area in and around the covered piazza is always full of performers. Whether it’s Covent Garden Christmas carols or comedy, there’s something to see here year-round.
The floral facades in London’s Belgravia offer some of the most beautiful entertainment in the city. Elizabeth Street alone could keep my camera busy for hours.
London’s street art scene has gone from strength to strength over the years. There’s no better place to see it than hip east London. I’ve even written a free street art tour you can take.
22. Street Art in Shoreditch
Shoreditch is one of the best places to see street art in London. The areas around Shoreditch High Street and Redchurch Street are some of my favorites, but you can’t go wrong in this area.
23. Street Art in Spitalfields
Spitalfields might even have better street art than Shoreditch. Hanbury Street alone has some of the best in the city. It changes all the time, so it’s worth going back to the area around Brick Lane again and again.
I love to walk, and London is the perfect place for it. With so many big attractions and beautiful side streets, exploring on foot is one of the most rewarding free things to do in London.
15. Walk Along the Thames
Walking along the Thames is a great way to get a feel for the city and see some of the most important landmarks.
From the Houses of Parliament to the London Eye and Tower Bridge, there’s no shortage of sights to take in on a stroll along the river.
My favorite stretch of the Thames Path is the one from Hammersmith to Chiswick. I’ve also published a free self-guided Thames walk in London if you want a longer route.
16. Walk Along Regent’s Canal
London also has beautiful canals. It’s worth taking a canal walkthrough Maida Vale, Little Venice, Camden, and King’s Cross to take in the colorful boats and views along the way.
You even get a free glimpse of the animals at the zoo as you go, so it’s another great free thing to do in London.
17. Walk down the King’s Road
Walking down the King’s Road from Sloane Square to Parson’s Green is another great way to spend a morning or afternoon. There’s great window shopping en route, and the colorful side streets are fun to explore.
18. Walk across Millennium Bridge
It’s a short one, but strolling across the Millennium Bridge from Tate Modern to St Paul’s Cathedral is another great walk. It has ideal vantage points of both buildings as you go, not to mention fantastic river views.
19. Meander through the Mews
I love a good London mews street, and the city center has no shortage. One of my top free things to do in London is to wander through the mews in Kensington, South Kensington, Notting Hill, and other London neighborhoods.
20. Walk in Search of Blue Plaques
London also has plenty of blue plaques on buildings where famous people once lived. Walking around areas like Bloomsbury and Hampstead to spot blue plaques is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
21. Walk Everywhere
In fact, walking everywhere in London is a great way to spend time. I’ve written a lot of free self-guided London walking toursthat will take you all over the city on foot.
Another of my favorite free things to do in London is visiting the museums. It’s amazing how many of them cost nothing to enter, and how impressive their collections are.
Few other cities have so much on display for free, and that’s always been something I appreciate about London.
9. British Museum
The British Museum houses antiquities from all over the world, and it’s inspiring to see everything from the Rosetta Stone to the Parthenon Sculptures in one place. It’s one of the most famous museums in the city, and it’s worth a special trip.
10. The National Gallery
The National Gallery is full of paintings and other works of fine art from around the world. From the Renaissance to the Impressionists, this museum is packed with world-class art.
11. Tate Modern
Tate Modern is known for its cutting-edge contemporary art and rotating exhibitions, and it also offers some of the best free views of London from its upper floors and viewing terrace.
12. Tate Britain
Tate Britain is a great museum for learning about British art through the ages. From historic paintings to modern sculpture, visiting this museum is one of the best free things to do in London for art.
13. Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is beautiful outside and in. The building itself is stunning, and inside there’s everything from dinosaur bones to exquisite gemstones. The secret garden is great as well.
14. The V&A
The V&A is a design lover’s heaven, and has impressive collections of fashion, furniture, art, and more. Its historic cafe is worth a special trip, too.
There’s no getting around it: London is expensive. But while the cost of living and visiting may seem high, the UK capital has a lot to do and see that doesn’t cost a thing. In fact, there are so many free things to do in London that days go by when I don’t spend much at all.
One of the great things about London is that a lot of the city’s best-loved attractions are free.
Most of the big museums are free to enter, a lot of the best views of the city are free to enjoy, and there’s tons of free entertainment on offer.
Above all, the city is beautiful enough that just walking around is a highlight in its own right.
I’ve picked my favorite free things to do in London for this blog post, and there are plenty more to experience on top of them. I hope they encourage you to see more of London while spending less.
Free Things to Do in London: The Parks
The parks are my favorite free things in London. From the Royal Parks to the local squares, London has an amazing amount of green space for a city its size. And that’s to say nothing of the gardens, which are worth a special trip to see.
1. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of London’s biggest and best parks, and is a great place to take in the flowers and watch the boats go by on the Serpentine.
2. St James’s Park
St James’s Park is full of birds from around the world and has beautiful gardens bordering the lake. The views from the bridge are stunning, too.
3. Green Park
Green Park is perfect for picnics in the warmer months, and has impressive daffodils in the spring. It’s a great place to wander after a visit to Buckingham Palace or a stroll down Piccadilly.
4. Holland Park
Holland Park has manicured gardens, peacocks, and lots of woodland walking paths. The spring flowers are gorgeous (as are the summer ones), and the Kyoto Garden is always a treat.
5. Regent’s Park
Regent’s Park is lovely when the roses are in bloom. The park also has events and festivals on throughout the year. But with lakes, gardens, and playing fields galore, there are enough free things to do in London without needing to pay for more.
6. Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath is one of London’s wildest parks. It’s a great place to go to feel far from the urban center of London. The views of the city from Parliament Hill are amazing, too.
7. Victoria Park
Victoria Park is full of gardens and boats, and is the perfect place for a wander in east London. From water features to a Chinese pagoda, there’s a lot to discover here.
8. Richmond Park
Richmond Park is famous for its deer, and its vast expanse makes it ideal for a good leg stretch. It’s packed with views, dogs, and horses, too, so there’s always something to see.