Situated on the Thames River, London is the most populous city in Great Britain. From parks to museums and bridges to cemeteries, there is much to explore in the city. Whether you want to pull up your socks and go sightseeing or let your hair down and drown yourself in cocktails, we are here to lend a hand and guide you while you explore the city in the best possible way. If you are looking at free things that can be done in London, rest assured, you are at the right place.
If you are wondering what’s in store for all the freebie lovers, we are here to tell you just that. You can browse through the top 15 activities lined up for you on your visit to London.
Watch The Changing of the Guard ceremony
It is said that your experience in London is incomplete if you haven’t witnessed the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Otherwise called Guard Mounting, the Changing of the Guard ceremony is one of the best ceremonies that take place in London, right at Buckingham Palace. It is a formal ceremony where the Queen’s guards are replaced by a new batch of guards as they march towards Buckingham Palace from Wellington Barracks and switch their responsibilities with one another. Decked in hats and red tunics, the Queen’s Guard will display pageantry and are seen switching their responsibilities with one another. The event is free and is a popular event that takes place in the city, so ensure you get to the spot early for a good view.
Best Places to Watch the Changing of the Guard
- Since the Pantheon is a functioning church and hosts several religious celebrations, you might need to check the official website for updates.
- Due to bad weather conditions, the ceremony could be canceled. Therefore, you may want to check the official website before you head there.
- Make sure you wear comfortable footwear as you will be standing for a long time.
- Carry a raincoat or an umbrella, just in case it rains.
- The ceremony takes place every day from April to July, and on alternate days for the remaining year. Make sure you always check the detailed calendar on the official website.
Explore Shakespeare’s World From His Place Of Birth
Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford is a major attraction in the city. The 16th-century half-timbered building in Henley Street, Warwickshire, is the place where he was born in 1564 and a place where he spent most of his childhood years. You get an insight into Shakespeare’s life history, enjoy live theatre on-demand, and you can see the rare artifacts from his collections, helping you discover how the man continues to shape our lives in the current era.
- We recommend you book your tickets online in advance to avoid the last-minute chaos, especially during the weekends.
- Arrive at the location only at the time that is shown on the ticket. You get 30 minutes to begin your visit from your time of arrival.
- You are not permitted to bring any outside food or drink at Shakespeare’s Birthplace.
- Photography without flash is allowed only for personal use. For commercial purposes, you need to email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Considering the current scenario, visitors are required to keep their face covered with a face mask at all times.
Board Your Trains Now At 9¾, King's Cross Station
Harry Potter fans can assemble at the King’s Cross Station’s Platform 9 ¾ , which is undoubtedly one of the most prominent and well-known railway platforms in the world, that doesn’t exist in reality! Based on J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter, Platform 9 ¾ is a fictional one that is known to transport you to Hogwarts’s School of Witchcraft.
You can find a Harry Potter Shop on the platform with all memorabilia, and can even capture a picture underneath the sign. You can choose what scarf to wear and use various props to make your picture look as realistic, while you make your way through the wall with your half trolley, just like the one in the Harry Potter series.
- Beat the crowds by visiting early and avoiding school holidays, as a lot of children tend to visit the place.
- Skip the line for £20, by purchasing a VIP photo pass lanyard from The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 ¾.
- Be careful with your belongings because there could be a lot of pick-pocketers lingering around the lane.
Go Back In Time At The London Mithraeum
If you are in search of something affordable and historic at the same time, London Mithraeum is the place to be. Tucked away in the city, there reside the ruins of a former Roman temple of Mithras. Visitors are sure to get transported back in time to the third century AD to see how the Romans lived and how they worshipped. The main attraction is the reconstructed temple. You can also explore an array of subjects from Roman Londinium, found beneath the Bloomberg building when the Roman temple was excavated.KNOW MORE
Note: First Thursdays of the month: 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. It is not functional on Mondays, Christmas, and New Year bank holidays.
- Outside food and drinks are not allowed on site. Although, you can explore the restaurants and cafes next door with a wide range of all-day dining options, in Bloomberg Arcade.
- Photography is allowed without flash.
- Visitors with disabilities can access wheelchairs to go around the area.
Walk Along St. James Park and Feed the ducks
Fancy yourself a nice, nature kissed stroll through London? St. James Park is the way to go. Known to be one of the first Royal Parks opened to the public, the St. James Park serves as a habitat for a wide range of species. Situated in the heart of the city, the park welcomes more than 1.7 million visitors every year and is undoubtedly one of the most visited parks in the whole of Europe. What draws visitors’ attention in St. James Park is the Lake, which is home to a variety of birds. You can acknowledge the local wildlife, along with the park’s very own pelicans which can be seen at feeding time. This is best watched from a bench or a walk near the park’s fountain.
- Events may take place on holidays and during the summer. We recommend you check the park’s official website to have an idea before your visit.
- You get a perfect view at the Blue Bridge on a sunny morning and is a great spot to click pictures of the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and more iconic London landmarks.
- If you wish to take a walk, you can take a 7-mile long walk from the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk that will lead through St. James’s Park, Green Park, and Kensington Gardens.
Science Museum - Interactive Exhibits, Apollo 10 command capsule, and Much More!
If you enjoy anything associated with science, then you must visit London’s Science Museum. With more than 3.5 million people visiting every year, the Science Museum is one of the most visited attractions in Europe. The birth of the Science Museum took place in 1909 when the science and engineering collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum were moved to a new location. Within it are world-famous objects like the Apollo 10 command capsule and the Stephenson’s Rocket. Apart from this, you can enjoy a hands-on experience with interactive exhibits present in the museum. Situated in Kensington, this place is accessible from any hotel via public transport.
- If you wish to beat the crowd, late in the afternoon or visiting during a weekday is more ideal.
- If you have kids, you should head to the basement which has a play zone designed for children.
- The museum can be dimly lit in a certain area. If you are visually impaired, reading information on certain exhibits can be slightly difficult.
- London Pass holders get a 10% off at the museum shop if you spend above £10
A Cultural Infusion At The Barbican Conservatory
Known as a cultural venue, the Barbican Conservatory hosts numerous festivities all year long. Right from theatre to musical performance, film talks to art exhibitions, and film screenings, the Barbican’s walls serve the purpose for all art lovers in London and provides a massive roof for these activities.
- If you are looking to get the perfect picture, you can take a stroll near the entrance of Wood Street and get a view of the Barbican.
- Grab a bite at the café nearby.
- The best time to enjoy the scenery around the Barbican is mid-week when the crowds are at bay.
Get The Perfect Backdrop @ Piccadilly Circus
Simplicity at its best! The Piccadilly Circus is a special place in London and you will know this when you are seated by the Eros statue while admiring it. Nearly 100 million people walk by the Piccadilly Circus every year as it is known for being a famous intersection connecting Regent Street, Convent Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, Glasshouse Street, and the famous Haymarket. If this is the very first time that you are visiting, it is no less than a ritual to be in a frame with the Piccadilly lights.
- Since it is an extremely busy area in London, we recommend that you do not drive yourself to Piccadilly Circus.
- You can indulge in retail therapy by walking down Regent’s Street from Piccadilly Circus and heading to Oxford Street.
- The nighttime at the Piccadilly Circus is a sight you can’t miss as it is the liveliest at that time.
- You can grab a bite at a nearby restaurant, possibly the only place where you can sit and relax as there are not too many places in Piccadilly Circus to sit.
Stroll Along the Street Of Art in Shoreditch
What if we told you that apart from the iconic landmarks in London, the city has a side to it that is not often discovered. With numerous street art, trendy bars, and nightclubs to venture into, Shoreditch is a must-see as well. Shoreditch is home to tons of galleries and museums and is filled with graffiti and street arts that are meant to be explored. Museums like Brick Lane Gallery and the Whitechapel gallery are well known, with a mesmerizing art scene along the street. The Old Spitalfields Markets and the Old Brick Lane Market are the places to drop by if you are visiting Shoreditch shortly.
- Get past the hustle by arriving early on market days, or during the weekdays for bars and nightclubs.
- Book tickets beforehand if you want to enjoy a club night or a music gig.
- If you are short of time, make sure you check out the ROA’s crane on Hanbury Street and Stik’s along Brick Lane. There are the most famous pieces of art that you can’t miss.
Check Out The Four Stone Lions at Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is known for its historic importance and is an epicenter for major festivities in the city. The most prominent attraction is the four lion statues sculpted by Edward Landseer situated at its base and the fountains which were carefully crafted by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The center hosts a wide range of events and celebrations throughout the year. Depending on your timeline of visit, we are quite sure that you may stumble upon some event or celebration that may take place at Trafalgar square.
- Feeding pigeons at Trafalgar Square is strictly prohibited.
- You can use public toilets on the west side of the square or at the base of the central staircase. They are accessible only for 12 hours a day.
- If you are hungry and wish to have a delightful meal, there is a café situated at the bottom of the central staircase, open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
- You can visit Buckingham Palace by following The Stand just 18 minutes from the Square.
Spot Celebrities from Primrose Hill
If you are on a holiday in London and are in a mood to do something different, say, climb a hill, well then, we know the exact place you should be heading to – Primrose Hill. You can admire the London skyline from the hilltop, 63 meters above sea level, and enjoy stunning panoramic views of the famous London landmarks – The London Eye, The Shard, The BT Tower, and many many more. Another reason to visit Primrose Hill could be to do some celebrity-watching, as a lot of well-known names in the industry are known to visit and live in the area.
- We recommend you carry warm clothes on your visit to Primrose Hill, as the weather can get slightly chilly during evenings.
- The spring season is the best time to visit Primrose Hill as it will be surrounded by a bloom of flowers.
- Avoid large crowds by visiting Primrose Hill during a weekday rather than on a weekend.
Europe's Largest Collection of Vintage Neon Signs
God’s Own Junkyard is one of the most intriguing places in the city and is known as the neon sign gallery of London. It sits in Walthamstow and you are sure to find some very English homes on your way. On your entrance to the junkyard, you can find the wackiest of neon signs within the walls. This space is a ground for all those who love lights and quirky narratives in neon form.
- You can shoot pictures only with a mobile phone. DSLR cameras are not to be used.
- The place is open only on weekends from Friday to Sunday, so don’t go visit during a weekday as it is going to be shut.
- Be careful and try not to knock anything over, as the place may look like a junkyard quite literally, but it is, in reality, an art gallery in disguise.
Go On A Musical Journey At The Royal Academy of Music
A hub for new talent to connect and create wonderful music, that is what The Royal Academy of Music is known for. The Musical Academy is a risk-taking conservatory in London, England where you can witness the blend of art from the past and the future. Established in the year 1822, the Royal Academy of Music was Britain’s oldest music school. Now, it has become an academy that provides training across various forms of art – jazz, musical theatre, opera, compositions and comprises a student community representing more than half the globe.
- Every event conducted at the Royal Academy of Music requires tickets and must be displayed on your phone at the time of entrance.
- It is recommended to arrive at least 30 minutes before the start time and you will be guided to the venue by stewards.
- The Academy’s cafeteria will remain closed to the public.
- No photography or recording is permitted.
- Keep your face covered at all times with a face mask for the safety and well-being of all.
A Flower Paradise In London - Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Road is one of the nicest-looking flower markets and is a well-known hub in London visited by many locals and tourists across the globe. Every Sunday, the market area is filled with buckets full of exotic flowers and a wide variety of houseplants, herbs, shrubs, and more.
- There is a rush during midday to shop for the perfect pot plant. If you want to avoid the chaotic environment, make sure you arrive as soon as the market opens.
- Once you are done shopping for your blooms, go behind the stalls and explore cafes, restaurants, galleries, and more vintage shops.
- If you want to strike a great deal, visit the market when it is being winded (2 pm to 3 pm). The traders will reduce the prices to shift the remaining items.
Discover Waterfront Cafes & Pubs at Little Venice
Little Venice is a district in West London, tucked away around the junction of Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal. The Regent’s Canal and the Grand Union Canal meet to form an intersection of waterways. The streets are lined with pubs and the canals are filled with boats that allow visitors to sail through the wonderful scenery.
- You can sail along the canal with a nice boat ride. This relaxing activity can be done from April to November.
- Enjoy a long walk along the canal and walk to Camden Town.
- If you wish for a guided tour of Little Venice, it can be done every Saturday at 2:00 PM at £10.
- Why go to West End theatres, when you can catch a show at the Canal Café Theatre.
- The Bridge House Pub is a restaurant around the corner that serves meals and drinks at a price not too heavy on one’s wallet.
Explore The Rest of London
Fancy heading out to some other must-visit London attractions? Take inspiration from our list of the best things to do in London here. Use our comprehensive London Travel Guide to explore the rest of London in a hassle-free fashion with all the need-to-know information in hand.
FAQs: Free Things To Do In London
There are many things you can do for free in London, such as watch the Guard Ceremony, visit Shakespeare's home, visit the London Mithraeum, hit the Science Museum, explore the Barbican Conservatory, and more.
All the attractions listed in the post above can be visited now (post COVID). There are safety measures in place to ensure you have a safe visit.
Yes there are. The British Museum, the National Gallery, Museum of London, Royal Academy of Arts, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, IWM London, National Maritime Museum, etc. are all free to enter.