In reality, there are enough museums in London that you could easily spend a week doing nothing but strolling through their halls. Luckily, it’s absolutely free to visit the city’s most popular museums and galleries. Highlights include the Tate Modern, the British Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery.
London is known for it’s spectacular, impeccably-kept gardens, and each is free to visit. We especially love Crystal Palace Park (complete with its life-sized dinosaur sculptures), Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens in Regent’s Park, and Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
London is full of popular and diverse street markets. While some, like the Columbia Road Flower Market and Alfie’s Antique Market, specialize in just one type of item, most have everything from baked goods to designer clothes; one stop shops for vintage finds, specialty foods, and unique gifts.
While seeing the Abbey during the day has a hefty price tag of £16 for non-worshipers, evening visits are free of charge. Plan a visit at 5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays or at 3pm on the weekends, and you’ll be treated to the beautiful Evensong service featuring the Abbey Choir School
Every city has a prime stretch for a self-guided tour, and London is no exception. The path along the River Thames offers views of Big Ben, the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and more. Start at Westminster Bridge and make your way to the Tower Bridge for the best sightseeing.
Prefer a guided tour? No problem! Sandeman’s New London Tours offers a free walking tour every day at 11am and 1pm. You’ll learn about sights like the Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and Houses of Parliament from knowledgeable local guides.
There are tons of places to catch a free concert in London. The National Theatre hosts an eclectic variety of musical acts Monday through Saturday ranging from jazz to folk. Other venues include the Southbank Centre, Notting Hill Arts Club, and the Royal Opera House, which offers free Monday lunchtime recitals.
Gresham College has been offering free lectures since 1597. There are around 150 talks per year on topics like law, medicine, art, and astronomy delivered by prominent professors. Most lectures are first come, first serve, so be sure to arrive early to snag a seat.
If you prefer a more…organic approach to lectures, head to Speaker’s Corner, located in the northeast corner of Hyde Park. Speaker’s corner has existed since Victorian times and welcomes orators from all walks of life. Expect to hear speeches on politics and religion, although most everything is fair game. Feeling especially opinionated? Feel free to join in, as long as you stay within the free speech laws.
The British Library isn’t just for scholars; everyone is welcome inside its massive headquarters. The building is home to an astounding collection of books, of course, but you’ll also find treasures like original Beatles lyrics and Magna Carta in addition to art, sculptures, and an excellent cafe.
Previously: 10 Free Things Berlin