London has a reputation for being somewhat on the pricey side, but we’re here to tell you that you can spend days in the Great British capital on a shoestring budget. Fancy restaurants and shopping aside, there are tonnes of free things to do in the City.

Whether you’re looking for vantage points, journeys through history or works of art, you can enjoy some of the best London has to offer without spending a penny. Here’s our pick of the 10 best free things to do in the City.

The National Gallery

The National portrait gallery from the outside.
The National Gallery

Art lover or not, The National Gallery is an icon of London. Situated next to Trafalgar Square, this museum houses masterpieces from some of the world’s best-known artists, including Michelangelo, Renoir and van Gogh. Over six million tourists from all the world’s corners flock here every year. All permanent exhibitions are completely free of charge. If you want to avoid the hordes, Friday evenings or weekday mornings are the best times to visit.

Greenwich Park

The view from Greenwhich Park onto Naval College
Greenwhich Park

The hill in Greenwich Park offers one of the most spectacular views of London’s skyline. Take a steady hike to the top, and you’ll be treated to views of the Thames snaking through the capital with the Canary Wharf skyscrapers in the background. Before you go, shave a few more pounds of your holiday’s cost by packing a picnic.

Hampstead Heath

High viewpoint of the city of London Skyline
Hampstead Heath

Royal Parks are great places to relish city views away from crowded streets, but the ancient Hampstead Heath is arguably London’s best parkland for nature lovers. If you can spare a few quid, there are three swimming ponds and a zoo within the park’s borders.

Borough Market

Borough Market

Venture back in time by walking through the maze that is Borough Market, which celebrated its 1,000th birthday in 2014. You’ll find eats from all corners of the globe while you wander passed stalls under Victorian railway arches. It’s open from Monday to Saturday, so there’s no excuse to miss it.

Kensington Gardens

View of Kensington Palace with memorial in fountain
Kensington Gardens

Need to fill your Instagram account with a few selfies in London? At the beautiful Kensington Gardens, you’ll find treasures such as the Peter Pan statue, the Round Pond, the Serpentine Gallery, and the Albert Memorial. The nearby string of Royal Parks are also free to enter – Greenwich Park, St James’s Park, Hyde Park, and Regent’s Park.

Houses of Parliament

View of Houses of Parliament and Big Ben from across the river
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

Speaking of perfect London selfie spots; your free tour of the capital wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Palace of Westminster. From the bridge near the opposite side of the river, you get a panoramic view of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

The British Museum

The British Museum from the inside showing the ceiling
The British Museum

There are no words that give true justice to how spectacular The British Museum is, and admission is completely free. Some of its treasures include samurai armour, Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone. There are over 80,000 artefacts on display. Think that’s remarkable? The museum only has enough space to display 1% of its 8 million possessions at any one time.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum display skeleton
Natural History Museum

While we’re discussing world-class museums, it seems appropriate to give the Natural History Museum a mention. Inside this Gothic revival building, you’ll find dinosaur skeletons, interactive exhibitions and all things that tell the tale of our world’s natural history.

Sky Garden

View of Sky Garden from a higher angle
Sky Garden

The Sky Garden is located at the top of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper, and even though you need to book in advance, you can visit it for free. In addition to the viewing decks that offer panoramic cityscape views, you can dine at restaurants that occupy three floors if you’re feeling a tad peckish.

Covent Garden

People eating in Covent Garden
Covent Garden

Observing the city from above is exhilarating, but so is immersing yourself in the culture at ground level. Covent Garden is a hub of award-winning restaurants, theatres, and luxury fashion stores. However, if you fancy a free day out, you can watch the dozens of performers that bring the area’s street to life.

For more exciting ways to explore the capital, make sure you check out our great range of London tours. There’s a little something there for everyone.

Author

Evan Evans provides unforgettable journeys and experiences to Britain’s most iconic locations. Journey deep into the heart of Britain’s incredible history, culture and legends on a guided tour with London’s longest-running tour operator.

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