London is considered one of the most attractive travel destinations in the world, although the city is anything but cheap. No wonder many people worry before their London trip that they will leave more pounds in the British metropolis than they would like. And your trip doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a lot of things in London that are free. We have written down what you can do in the city to save money. With this list in your pocket, you’ll get the best out of your trip, even on a low budget!
More ideas for your London trip
32 Amazing Things to Do in London for Free
Get ready for a long text. I’ve gone to great lengths to gather as many options as possible for you to get the most out of your trip without impoverishing yourself. You can experience lots of things in London for free. Some of these activities belong on every London traveler’s bucket list; others are more of a nice extra, but read for yourself!
Hit Up Horizon 22: London's Highest Free Viewing PlatformBuilding in City of LondonAdd to myTravel added
For several weeks now, London has a new free viewing point that could rival the Sky Garden: Horizon 22. This spot is now the highest free viewing platform in London.
This new viewing platform is located on the roof of the Bishopsgate building in the city. It offers a panoramic view of South London with a stunning outlook on the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, and City Hall. Despite being behind the famous Sky Garden at the Walkie-Talkie Building, Horizon 22 is much higher. It provides an unobstructed view of the landscape.
This is definitely one of the best free activities in London this year, so book your tickets as soon as possible through the official website.
Visit London's Free MuseumsMuseum in BloomsburyAdd to myTravel added
Of course, this is number one on the list. London’s museums are among the most important in the world with their fantastic collections! Whether you prefer to see the mummies at the British Museum, explore the world of dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, or observe the moon at the Science Museum, admission is free!
This also applies to the fantastic exhibitions at the Tate Modern, Tate Britain, and the National Gallery. For us, the fact that London’s museums are free is one of the things that make the city so great! If you want to know which museums have what to offer and which ones are our favorites, look at our museum article.
Stop at the Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4 at King's CrossDrehort in Kings CrossAdd to myTravel added
King’s Cross Station has gained quite a bit of popularity thanks to the Harry Potter films, as you can find the famous Platform 9 3/4 there. This spot is especially popular among young travelers and film enthusiasts. Inside the station, the typical luggage trolley disappears into the wall, just like in the movies. You don’t need a train ticket to take a picture there; it just takes a bit of time.
A small tip from me: You’ll immediately see a queue when you arrive. There’s also a professional photographer on-site taking pictures. Don’t be confused by this; you can take your photos simultaneously. You only need to buy the professional photo in the shop if you want it. The Platform at King’s Cross isn’t the only Harry Potter spot you can discover for free in London. Still, it’s the most popular one! Our comprehensive guide lets you find out which places Potterheads should visit.
Watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham PalaceStreet Fair in WestminsterAdd to myTravel added
The Royals add a special charm to London, as Buckingham Palace is their residence, and many royal activities take place in the metropolis. A great way to experience some royal flair is witnessing the Changing of the Guard at the palace. This is one of the top free activities in London. During the summer, you can see Changing the Guard in London every day, and in winter, every other day. It only gets canceled in nasty weather.
If you want to be there, it’s advisable to arrive early. The Changing of the Guard is a spectacle that always attracts tourists. In short, there can be a crowd in front of the palace. I recommend arriving about an hour early, around 10 AM, to secure a good spot with a clear view. The official start time is 11 AM, but the march usually begins about 15 minutes earlier.
The Butterfly Trail - A Mixed-Reality-ExperienceExhibitions, Fairs and CongressesAdd to myTravel added
This free attraction combines virtual and augmented reality and takes you into a magical forest filled with colorful butterflies. The Butterfly Trail is presented daily for free (no ticket required) at The Now Building in Soho.
Our tip: Before your visit, check the opening hours in the Outernet App to ensure you can experience the attraction.
Head to the Tower Bridge and take a selfie with the London Skyline in the BackgroundBridge in BanksideAdd to myTravel added
The Tower Bridge is one of London’s most impressive landmarks, and crossing it won’t cost anything! You can stroll across it and enjoy the view of the Tower of London, the City Hall, and the city’s skyline. The best time for such a walk is always when the sun is setting. There’s hardly anything more beautiful than watching the sun set behind The Shard from the Tower Bridge. The waters of the Thames reflect the evening colors. It’s fantastic!
Hit the London MarketsMarket in Camden TownOur highlightAdd to myTravel added
London remains a city of markets, with a wide variety of them, ranging from food markets to flea markets. Exploring them is free, but you might need some self-control. I often find it challenging to resist the temptation. I love strolling through the stalls, admiring the many treasures, and more often than not, I come across something I absolutely (don’t) need. However, I never regret the purchase!
The most famous flea market in London is probably Camden Market. If you can, visit it on a weekday, as weekends can get extremely crowded. Alternatively, check out Brick Lane Market on Sundays; it’s one of my favorites. You can also explore the Portobello Road in Notting Hill or… well, you get the idea. The decision is not easy!
See The Illuminated Piccadilly Circus at NightSquare in WestminsterAdd to myTravel added
Piccadilly Circus is one of London’s most visited spots, akin to what Times Square is to New York. If you’re wandering around central London, you’ll inevitably pass by it at some point. However, you should detour to Piccadilly Circus after nightfall because it truly shines in its full glory when the neon signs come to life.
By the way, many people come here to take pictures of the world-famous billboards and then quickly move on. But, in my opinion, they miss out on the best part! I strongly recommend taking a walk from Regent Street to Oxford Circus instead!
Enjoy the View from the Tate ModernMuseum in City of LondonAdd to myTravel added
The Tate Modern is one of the most prestigious museums in the world. As mentioned earlier, the permanent collection has free admission. However, what many people don’t know is that on the 10th floor of the building, there is a fantastic viewpoint with panoramic views. From there, you have a phenomenal view of the skyscrapers of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and The Shard. Of course, it’s not the absolute best view in London, with the building’s chimney partially obstructing the view. But, again, access is free, making it a fantastic way to get a great perspective of the city without breaking the bank.
That’s why, for me, a visit to the Tate Modern is one of the best free things you can do in London! For the view, it’s best to take one of the elevators. But make sure you get on the right one, as not all elevators go all the way up!
Head to Big Ben & Palace of WestminsterBuilding in WestminsterAdd to myTravel added
In London, you can’t miss the Big Ben. Its chimes set the tone along the Thames. Its melody is known to every child, and you can experience its sound for free during your trip to London! And take a photo of England’s most famous clock tower home with you! Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to go up the famous clock tower, which is a shame because you’d certainly have an excellent view of the city from up there. Still, it’s vital to preserve the building.
A visit to the impressive Palace of Westminster is always worthwhile. You can even check around the inside! There are various tours to choose from, including the Parliament tour with an audio guide on the official website. But there are also more exclusive guided tours available.
Go Window Shopping in LondonStreet in Regent StreetAdd to myTravel added
London is a fashion-forward city! Many major brands have stores in London, so shopping in the city can be fantastic. But even if strolling through department stores isn’t your idea of a vacation, window shopping in London is always fun! Walking along Bond Street, you can be impressed by the luxury products in the shop windows. During the Christmas season, you should take advantage of the beautifully decorated windows on the main shopping streets of Regent and Oxford Street. In central London, there’s a suitable shop for almost every taste. After all, just looking doesn’t cost anything!
Take in London from the Sky GardenBuilding in City of LondonAdd to myTravel added
The Sky Garden in the Walkie-Talkie building is another highlight on the list of things you can discover for free in London. The city’s highest garden is a beautiful place to take a deep breath. Moreover, from the Francis Golding Terrace on the 35th floor, you have a phenomenal—if not the best—view of the city and The Shard.
Admission is free, but you must register online on the official Sky Garden website and reserve a time slot for your visit. Don’t forget to stop by one of the two bars when you’re inside!
Take a Stroll on the South Bank of the ThamesBuilding in South BankAdd to myTravel added
We love exploring the city on foot and discovering new corners. London is a wonderful city for walking. One of my favorite routes in London is the South Bank Promenade, stretching from Lambeth to the Southbank Centre and the Oxo Tower.
Along the way, you’ll see plenty of spots you might not come across otherwise. Plan about two hours for this route.
See St. Dunstan in the EastPark in City of LondonAdd to myTravel added
In the heart of London lies a transformed city garden within the ruins of an old church, a perfect autumnal retreat with its red-orange foliage. Ideal for a peaceful break from sightseeing, it’s a popular spot among locals for a lunchtime snack or reading in fresh air. It’s not uncommon to witness photoshoots happening here as well. Don’t miss this unique blend of history and nature for a serene city escape!
Hit Up East London to See the Free Street Art GalleryStreet Art in ShoreditchAdd to myTravel added
As you know, we love East London, especially Shoreditch, Brick Lane, and Spitalfields. The whole area is a massive open-air gallery with artworks adorning almost every wall. Nowhere else in the city will you see as much of the street art scene as there. Emerging artists have painted these walls just as much as the big names in the scene. Even Banksy has left his mark here.
Many fantastic pieces can be hard to find for those unfamiliar with the area, so we are big fans of guided tours. With these tours, you ensure that you get all the best pieces and learn about the artists.
For us, strolling through the street art hotspots is a must on every trip, whether with or without a tour. We love discovering new (and free) art in London. And because it’s a transient art form, with some pieces only lasting a few hours on the walls before being painted over by another artist, there’s always something new to see!
Public Viewing: Watching Sporting Events LiveMarket in SpitalfieldsAdd to myTravel added
The British love watching major sporting events with others! During the summer, large screens are set up all over the city in markets, squares, and parks for this purpose. It’s an experience to watch a Wimbledon match, a Tour de France stage, or the Cricket League’s final amid the sports-crazy Brits.
Just grab a drink and join in! You’ll see how easy it is and how much fun it is to start conversations with Londoners.
Drift in Little Venice and Along the Regent's CanalNeighborhood in PaddingtonAdd to myTravel added
During our first visit to Little Venice, we had to pinch ourselves because we couldn’t believe this green oasis existed right in the heart of London. If you’re reasonably mobile and the weather is favorable, you must detour to London’s Little Venice! The waterfront from Little Venice along the Regent’s Canal to Camden Market is one of the most beautiful routes you can take, and the area’s name isn’t a coincidence.
You might even be reminded of Italian Venice with its waterways, bridges, and boats. If you go the whole distance, you’ll also pass through Regent’s Park and, with a bit of luck, catch a glimpse of the zoo’s animals.
The entire tour is, of course, free. The danger for your budget only lurks at the endpoint: Camden Market. There, you can add the finishing touch to your walk, which lasts about two hours. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll leave the market without buying something small from one of the many stalls! Camden Market is the largest and most popular in the city for a reason!
Be Surprised by Street Performers in Covent GardenMarket in Covent GardenAdd to myTravel added
Covent Garden is one of London’s most popular neighborhoods thanks to its vast concentration of shops, restaurants, and bars. In the heart of the district, you’ll find the Covent Garden Market. The shopping center used to be an old market hall and is a real eye-catcher! Take a look inside when you’re in the area! The building is always beautifully decorated to suit holidays and seasons, making visits never boring.
But what truly makes Covent Garden Market unique are the many street performers who use the area as their stage. You can see great shows for free featuring musicians, singers, magicians, trapeze artists, dancers, and comedians at Covent Garden Market. Just don’t forget to add a little donation to their hats!
Travel to the Far East in ChinatownNeighborhood in LondonAdd to myTravel added
Chinatown might not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, I can’t help myself, so I’m sending you there anyway! Every time I stroll through Chinatown, I feel like I’ve been transported to a different country. The atmosphere is fantastic, and there’s something to discover around every corner. While the neighborhood is compact and only comprises a few streets, exploring Chinatown is still one of the best things you can experience for free in London.
Chinese lanterns hang everywhere, doors are crafted in traditional styles, and the artistic Chinese gates are fascinating. If you have a few pennies to spare, eat at one of the many Chinese restaurants. They’re among the best of their kind.
See the Magna Carta with Your Own Eyes at the British LibraryLibrary in Kings CrossAdd to myTravel added
You’ll find the famous British Library in King’s Cross, just about five minutes from the station of the same name. The exhibitions on the premises are not only interesting for literature enthusiasts! The library’s treasure trove includes Jane Austen’s writing desk and many manuscripts by British authors. One of the most critical pieces is the famous Magna Carta, which is exhibited at the British Library and is freely accessible.
Discover Hundreds of Plants at the Barbican ConservatoryPark in BarbicanAdd to myTravel added
The Barbican Conservatory is London’s second-largest botanical garden, with more than 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees. What makes it exciting is that it’s located within the Barbican Centre, a cultural hub in the heart of the City of London. The good news is that entry to the conservatory is free. Occasionally, they also offer specials like a Tea Time in the jungle.
Unfortunately, the Barbican Conservatory only opens on selected Saturdays and Sundays. You can always check the specific dates on the official Barbican Centre website. The dates are always available two months in advance.
Check Out the Events on Trafalgar SquareSquare in WestminsterAdd to myTravel added
Street festivals are a staple of London city life. Even though the events start in various locations throughout the city center, Trafalgar Square is often the focal point with stages, food stalls, and more. Some popular events include the Chinese New Year celebration, St. Patrick’s Day, London Pride, and the West End music festival.
Photograph Neal's YardStreet in Covent GardenAdd to myTravel added
Just a few minutes away from Covent Garden Market, you’ll find one of London’s most photogenic spots: Neal’s Yard. The square is surrounded by Tudor-style buildings. You can enjoy a pleasant meal at the cafes and restaurants in the square. It’s also close to Seven Dials, where you can stroll through beautiful boutiques.
Leadenhall MarketMarket in City of LondonAdd to myTravel added
Leadenhall Market is one of London’s hidden gems. Nestled in the heart of the city, you can discover this charming little market. Its fantastic classical architecture creates a unique atmosphere. Parts of the Harry Potter films were shot in this setting, and you can even discover the shop that became the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron pub in the first Potter film.
These days, Leadenhall Market is home mainly to restaurants and pubs. However, even if you don’t plan to dine there, the architectural beauty of the place will leave you in awe. The building forms a remarkable contrast to the modern structures of London’s financial district.
Visit London's Free Rooftop TerraceBuilding in City of LondonAdd to myTravel added
The Garden at 120 on the 15th floor of the Fen Court Office Blocks aims to rival the Sky Garden. While the view doesn’t quite reach the same heights (which is, admittedly, challenging), the entry is free, and the queues are much shorter than those at the Sky Garden. The view of the city center is pleasant, and if the weather is good, you can relax a bit in the outdoor area!
Visit the Floating Pocket Park at Paddington BasinNeighborhood in PaddingtonAdd to myTravel added
Just a few meters from Paddington Station and a five-minute walk from Little Venice, you’ll find the trendy spot: Paddington Basin. Since it was revitalized, the area around the water basin has become one of Londoners’ favorite destinations.
Many lovely cafes and restaurants have settled along the waterfront; the drawbridge and the small floating park at Paddington Basin are particularly charming. When the weather is good, the green space is often filled with people reading, enjoying coffee, or simply watching the activity on the water.
(Don't) Indulge in Luxury at Harrods Department StoreDepartment Store in KnightsbridgeAdd to myTravel added
Harrods has a name that resonates like thunder. This luxury department store is a must-see and one of London’s most visited places. The enormous store offers an extensive range of exclusive products under its roof. The impressive interior design and the Hall of Fame on the third floor are worth visiting. If your heart beats for good food, you are in the right place at Harrods’ Food Halls. Of course, you don’t have to pay an entrance fee to enter the store!
Relax and Have a Coffee on the Steps of Granary SquarePark in Kings CrossAdd to myTravel added
Of all the many things that are free in London, I do only a few regularly, but this is one of them: I sit on the steps of Granary Square and stretch my legs. I like King’s Cross, and I have liked it even more since they built Coal Drop Yards. When I’m there, I always grab a coffee to-go, sit on the artificial grass steps, and enjoy the canal view!
Cross the Prime Meridian in GreenwichPark in GreenwichAdd to myTravel added
Greenwich Park is always worth a visit—even if it’s just to cross the time zone once. The Prime Meridian runs through the park! Additionally, you’ll find the Royal Observatory in the park and a charming antique market in the center of Greenwich.
Take a Walk in London's ParksPark in Camden TownAdd to myTravel added
Whether you believe it or not, London is an incredibly green city! This is mainly due to its beautiful parks. A park visit should definitely be on your visit’s bucket list. And, of course, walks in the green areas are incredibly relaxing and free. You’ll find great bathing spots, picnic lawns, and even the odd landmark in many of the parks!
Some of the most popular parks include St. James’s Park, located across from Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and Greenwich Park, which the famous Prime Meridian runs through. Although our absolute favorite is the Regents Park.
Crossrail Place Roof GardenPark in Isle of DogsAdd to myTravel added
The Isle of Dogs is often overlooked and excluded from the itineraries of many London travelers. However, there are some interesting things to see in the eastern area. The financial district has an awe-inspiring skyline, and you’ll also find an intriguing museum by the docks. And you can get in for free!
What impressed me the most was the Crossrail Place Roof Garden in Canary Wharf. As the name suggests, it’s a garden that was built, so to speak, above the subway station. The great thing about this garden is that it’s, okay, this might sound cheesy, an oasis of peace. While bustling London, you can unwind there. Additionally, there are pianos that anyone can play. If you’re in the area, you should check out the garden!
Discover a Pirate Ship on the Middle of LondonMuseum in BanksideAdd to myTravel added
If you’re walking around London a bit, you’ll eventually find yourself in Bankside. Keep your eyes peeled because, at some point, you’ll come across the Golden Hinde, the first British ship to circumnavigate the globe under the command of Sir Francis Drake. So, you can admire a real pirate ship in the center of London for free!
More ideas for your London trip
I love traveling in Europe and I am passionate about writing about my travels. The cultural peculiarities of each region always fascinate me. I enjoy exploring and discovering the best-kept secrets of each town or village. I love road trips as much as city breaks; I love visiting an art gallery and also the magic of musicals or discovering new delicacies in a street market. In this blog, I write about all my travel adventures and my best tips and tricks! Auf Loving Travel schreibe ich über alle meine Reiseerlebnisse und gebe euch meine besten Tipps und Tricks!