We put together best 10 free things to do in London to explore the city without breaking the bank. Take a look at our suggestions below from free museums to free attractions in London as well as iconic places to see for free. We’ve also included information on opening times and how to get to these places with public transport – you’re welcome 🙂
1. South Bank
The South Bank of River Thames is a buzzing area to explore on foot, offering amazing views of the Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye – day and night. Take a stroll from Westminster Bridge to Jubilee Gardens with a stop at the arts venue Southbank Centre which is home to hundreds of free events every year.
Nearest tube station: Waterloo (Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo & City lines).
2. Trafalgar Square and National Gallery
See the Nelson’s Column, with four bronze lion statues at its base. In the northwest corner, the fourth plinth displays temporary works of art and is changed every couple of years. On the north side is the National Gallery (free admission) to see the works of Raphael, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and more.
National Gallery is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00 (21:00 on Fridays) and is closed on 1 January and 24-26 December. Nearest tube station: Charing Cross (Northern line).
3. Natural History Museum
See a wide range of specimens from various eras in history from dinosaur skeletons to giant squids, venomous snakes to creepy crawlies! One for the whole family to enjoy for free.
Open every day from 10:00 to 17:45, closed 24-26 December. Nearest tube station: South Kensington (Circle, District and Picadilly lines).
4. Tate Britain and Tate Modern
Another two noteworthy free admissions in London are Tate art galleries. Tate Britain has more historical art with a British focus while Tate Modern displays contemporary art with an international focus.
Tate Britain is open everyday from 10:00 to 18:00. Nearest tube station: Pimlico (Victoria line).
Tate Modern is open Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 to 18:00 and Friday to Saturday from 10:00 to 22:00. Nearest tube station: Southwark (Jubilee Line).
5. Victoria and Albert Museum
V&A Museum is home to world’s largest collection of decorative arts and design including sculptures, paintings, jewellery, clothing, furniture and more.
Victoria & Albert Museum is open every day from 10:00 to 17:45 and Fridays from 10:00 to 22:00. Closed 24-26 December.
Nearest tube station: South Kensington (Circle, District and Picadilly lines).
6. Hyde Park
Take a walk through Hyde Park taking in the views with a stop at Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Kids will love the playgrounds and the wildlife. Make sure you check out the Speakers’ Corner on Sunday mornings.
Hyde Park, like all Royal Parks in London is open every day from 05:00 to 00:00.
Tube stations surrounding the park: Lancaster Gate (Central line), Marble Arch (Central line), Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly line) and Knightsbridge (Piccadilly line).
7. St James’s Park
Image courtesy of Martin Pettitt
Enjoy the stunning lake views and make sure you watch the pelicans at feeding time between 14:30 and 15:00 every day, next to Duck Island Cottage. Buckingham Palace flower beds are worth viewing too.
St James’s Park, like London’s other Royal Parks, is open every day from 05:00 to 00:00.
Nearest tube station: St James’s Park (Circle and District lines).
8. Stand on the Meridian Line in Greenwich
Image courtesy of Paul Wilkinson
One to tick off the bucket list! If you go through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich you need to pay a fee however if you exit Greenwich Park from Park Row Gate and turn right to Park Vista, you can see the plaque and the line!
Nearest tube station is North Greenwich (Jubilee line) however we recommend travelling by train from London Bridge station to Greenwich or Maze Hill train stations which takes roughly 10 minutes.
9. Browse markets and famous stores
It’s free to stroll the colourful markets and world-famous shops in London. Portobello Road Market (closest tube station Ladbroke Grove on Circle and Hammersmith & City lines), Covent Garden (closest tube station Covent Garden on Picadilly Line) and Camden Lock Market (Camden Town on Northern Line) are not to be missed.
Then there’s the famous Harrods (open Mon-Sat 10:00-21:00 Sun 11:30-18:00, closest tube station Knightsbridge on Piccadilly line) and Hamleys toy shop (open Mon-Fri 10:00-21:00, Sat 9:30-21:00 and Sun 12:00-18:00, closest tube station Oxford Circus on Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines).
10. Admire city views
Image courtesy of Bex Walton
Gazing at stunning city views is one of the free things to do in London.
Sky Garden, the amazing glass dome on 3 storeys with 360 degree city views is free to enter. Walk-in visitors accepted Mon-Fri 10:00-11:30 and 14:00-16:30 subject to availability. You can book a free ticket for Mon-Fri 10:00-18:00 and Sat-Sun 11:00-21:00.
The summit of Parliament Hill in Hampsted Heath offers amazing views of the iconic buildings in London including the Shard, the Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral and Palace of Westminster. Take the C2 bus from Kentish Town Road in Camden Town, get off at William Ellis School (10 stops) followed by a short walk to Parliament Hill.