This article about the best free things to do in London was updated by the Great British Mag content team on 23 November 2021.
London has hundreds of attractions to explore but, if you’re on a budget, our list of the best free things to do in the English capital is all you’ll need to make the most of the vibrant city.
Take a walking tour
Where: All over London
Price: free (with optional donations)
Why walk around London on your own when you could be steered around the city on a tour with a knowledgeable guide? There are all kinds of tours on offer—from general tours that specialise in the history of a specific area like Soho, St Paul’s or Brick Lane, to more specific tours like street art, Jack the Ripper-inspired trails or even ghost tours. Meet a bunch of new people while getting some exercise, then pay whatever you think the tour is worth at the end.
Get inspired at Speakers’ Corner
Where: Hyde Park
This may sound bizarre but hear us out: Speakers’ Corner started out as a place for public hangings. That all stopped in 1783, but then it started to become a place for protests. A massive three-day protest took place here in 1866, and in 1872 it was officially set aside by parliament for the purpose of public speaking. Nowadays, it’s still a place where open-air speaking, debate, and discussion take place—the likes of Karl Marx and George Orwell have spoken here in the past.
Experience Sky Garden
Where: Fenchurch Street
Price: free, but book a spot in advance
The Sky Garden is one of the most impressive structures in Central London and offers panoramic views of the UK capital city. Entry to the building is free but you’ll need to book a timeslot in advance (often around six weeks beforehand, as it gets very busy). Once you arrive for your slot, you’ll be ferried upstairs in the lift for what feels like an eternity and come out on top of the building to witness a breathtaking garden. You can splurge on a cocktail at the bar or simply walk out onto the deck and soak in the views of the rooftops of London.
Price: free (although some exhibitions are paid for)
Did you know that all publicly-owned museums in London are free? That means you could see the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum or look at some stunning artefacts at the V&A (not to mention a really cool free LGBTQ+ tour). But, in our opinion, the most impressive free museum is the contemporary art in the Tate Modern. As the former Bankside Power Station, the repurposed building stands tall over the Thames and offers some amazing views of the city. Visit the website to pre-book a timeslot.
Harry Potter’s platform 9¾
Where: King’s Cross station
If you’re a big Harry Potter fan, a must-see in London is the world-famous platform 9¾ at King’s Cross station. Get a photo of you pushing the trolley of suitcases submerged into the wall as London’s business people rush around you to catch their trains. Watch out though—there’s usually a queue of people waiting to hold the handlebars and take their snaps.
Catch a comedy show
Where: Hootananny Brixton, Angel Comedy Club, Top Secret Comedy Club
Fancy a laugh? There are loads of free comedy shows across London with some real belly laughter-inducing jokes. From Hootananny in Brixton to the Angel Comedy Club, there are heaps of venues to choose from. One of the coolest places to listen to some comedy is the Top Secret Comedy Club, in various locations across London. Big names in the industry like Jack Whitehall, Omid Djalili, and Simon Amstell have appeared there.
Where: Richmond Park
One of the coolest things about London is the fact that you can take a short train ride from its urban centre and end up in a massive park filled with deer. You may need to walk around a little bit to find them, but they’re usually pretty easy to spot as they tend to travel in a massive herd. They’ll graze on the grass as you walk up to them to get a closer look. The park also offers stunning landscapes and beautiful sunsets.
Visit a city farm
Where: Hackney, Spitalfields and Kentish Town
Want a taste of country life? You don’t have to travel very far—just walk down to your local city farm and hang out with the animals. There are farms in Hackney, Spitalfields and Kentish Town that have a range of animals including chickens, cows, rabbits and one particularly hefty pig in the Hackney farm. So what are you waiting for?
Photos courtesy of Visit Britain
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