There's loads of free things to do in London from morning to night, whether you're looking to learn more about the capital's rich history, find a fantastic viewpoint, or even party the night away to some bass-heavy tunes.

    From dinosaurs to Damien Hirst, evensong to observatories – the best things in London life really are free... well, some of them, at least. See the city and save those pennies with this guide to the best of free London.

    The pomp and history of Westminster Abbey put it on most visitors’ must-see lists, but during the day it can be crowded and expensive. Come at Evensong to catch the church at its best – alive with ceremony and song, and free! 

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    Location: Broad Sanctuary, London, SW1P 3PA.


    Stand with one leg in the western hemisphere and one in the east – the Prime Meridian runs through Greenwich Observatory in south-east London. The elegant red-brick building is also home to interactive displays, a huge domed telescope and some of the best views over London. 

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    Location: Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, SE10 8XJ


    photo by Adusha (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Cutting-edge art on First Thursday

    On the first Thursday of every month a host of East End galleries throw their doors open for free events and exhibitions. Art hotspots like Hackney’s Vyner Street turn into impromptu street parties as a mix of students and art-lovers flit from gallery to gallery. 


    photo by Sludge G (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    An awesome 25-metre skeleton of a blue whale gazes down on the armies of families milling round the vaulted entrance hall of the Natural History Museum in Kensington. Deeper inside there’s a captivating mix of high-tech interactive exhibits, fearsome animatronic dinosaurs and Victorian curiosities.

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    Location: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD, UK


    Regent's Park

    One of London’s Royal Parks

    Regent's Park is one of London's many grand public spaces that’s available for all to enjoy for free. The park covers an immense 410 acres and it's easily accessible from Regent's Park and Baker Street tube stations or Marylebone train station.

    Regent’s Park is stunning, with wide-open hills rolling down to lakes inhabited by waterfowl. There are botanical gardens in the inner section of the park, and of course, there are various sports pitches and playgrounds where the kids can play. Towards the north end, you’ll find various grand English townhouses to admire. Check out the open-air theatre in Queen Mary’s gardens, which is also one of London’s largest performance venues.

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    Location: London NW1 4NR, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)30 0061 2300


    Archive films at Mediatheque

    The long sweep of the South Bank is packed with free things to do – from watching the wild rides of skateboarders to the free exhibitions at the British Film Institute. Don’t miss Mediatheque though. The BFI’s viewing room has thousands of hours of rare film and TV footage to view on personal video stations.

    Location: Belvedere Road, SE1 8XT


    photo by MaryG90 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Legal history at the Inns of Court

    When location scouts for movies like Harry Potter want a London location they head for the Inns of Court in Holborn. A walk through the headquarters of the British legal system takes in thin-windowed Dickensian chambers, quiet fountain squares and the gaudy splendour of the Knights Templar’s London temple.

    Location: The Strand, WC2A 2LL


    Wonderful window-shopping at Sotheby’s

    It’s not just buyers who can browse the lots at one of the world’s most famous auction houses. Extraordinary works of art, from Old Masters to Damien Hirst skulls, pass through these hallowed halls, and they are all exhibited for free.

    Location: 34-35 New Bond Street, W1A 2AA


    photo by Zeisterre (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Cockney culture at Columbia Road Flower Market

    A nondescript street in busy Hackney comes alive every Sunday as armies of flower-sellers turn the area into a riot of colour, fragrance and boisterous banter. Join the crush as Londoners haggle for floral bargains or just wander the street’s urban greenery.

    Location: Columbia Road, E2 7RG


    Chinatown Gate

    The entrance to London’s Chinese hub

    Chinatown Gate is the grand entrance to London’s famed Chinatown area, and the gate is a landmark in itself. The gate is adorned with the vibrant red and gold associated with Chinese culture, with exquisitely drawn Chinese characters decorating the archway.

    Once you’ve taken your selfies at the gate and passed into the town itself, you’ll find a street lined with Chinese restaurants, supermarkets and souvenir shops. If you’re lucky enough to be around in January/February, check your calendar for the exact dates of Chinese New Year. There’s an annual parade, and the dragon dance is a sight to see.

    Location: Gerrard Pl, London W1D 5QJ, UK


    A British master at Tate Britain

    Many of the world’s most famous artworks are on display for free in London’s art galleries. Lose yourself in JMW Turner’s wild impressionistic canvases and evocative sketches at the Tate Britain’s post-modern Clore Gallery, dedicated to that most English of painters.

    Location: Millbank, SW1P 4RG


    Clapham Common

    Play sports and visit London’s biggest bandstand

    Clapham Common is a 220-acre park in London, with Battersea just to the north and Wandsworth to the west. A wide-open park with lots of woods, numerous lakes and sports fields, it's a great place to spend a day.

    Venture into the common and you'll find sports areas like tennis and basketball courts, rugby and football pitches, and even an Aussie rules football pitch. The pride of the park is London's biggest bandstand. Built in 1890 and recently renovated, it's a Grade II-listed building and often houses small local events. Make sure to take a stroll past if you’re there – you might get treated to a free local brass band.

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    Location: Clapham Common, Windmill Dr, London SW4 9DE, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)20 7926 9000


    photo by Justinc (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

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    COVID-19 Travel Alert

    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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