15 Unique and Free Things to do in London
When I was 21, I was your stereotypical college student on her first trip to Europe. I had no money and no experience travelling, but that wasn’t going to stop me from embracing each and every part of my study abroad experience in my dream city: good ol’ London town.
Fortunately, there is no better place to travel than London if you are looking for constant excitement and entertainment even a broke college student could afford. The American dollar might not get you that far in England, but thanks to London’s surplus of free activities, you don’t have to spend a fortune to immerse yourself in British culture and entertainment.
If you find yourself in this expensive city with a fairly low budget, here are fifteen free things you can do in London that will leave you with priceless memories and photos.
Meander Through the British Museum
In all honesty, even a handful of hours isn’t enough time to take in the sheer intensity of this museum. From the moment you enter, you’ll be surrounded by stunning architecture and incredible pieces of art and history. You can even stand next to the real Rosetta Stone! It’s amazing to realize that all of this is accessible without paying a penny.
Reserve a Slot at the Sky Garden
As long as you make your reservation in advance and don’t indulge in a cocktail upon arriving, a trip to the Sky Garden is completely free. Take in the famous London skyline from 525 feet up in the air. Sure, you could ride the London Eye for 30 bucks a piece or head up to wine and dine in The Shard for a hefty price, but why not just take the impressive free route that offers a spectacular view?
Take a Self-Guided Walking Tour
When in London, you absolutely must see the iconic sights like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. However, you don’t need to fork over a large sum to do so. Do some research and find a free walking tour that will show you all of the big must-see buildings and roads.
Stroll Across Tower Bridge
Often mistakenly referred to as London Bridge by visitors, this is the famous bridge you’ve seen plastered on so many postcards. You can pay extra to go to the very top, but it’s not worth the price according to most tourists. Stick to the ground and have fun waltzing across a bridge that’s recognized around the world.
Appreciate Modern Art at the Tate Britain
Another free museum? Of course! You can budget an entire afternoon for gazing at the priceless pieces of art hanging in this popular museum. You may need to purchase tickets to see certain, limited-time showcases, but in general, you can enjoy the museum without paying.
Spot Peacocks in Kyoto Garden
Not only is this place downright gorgeous, but it’s home to quite a few colourful birds that aren’t afraid to walk right up to you. Take pictures of the peacocks, then enjoy taking things down a notch and soaking in the beauty of the garden itself.
Gawk at the Wares in Harrod’s
This gigantic department store is truly a sight to behold. The price tags may be staggering, but you don’t have to spend a dime to enjoy the extravagance. Dedicate a few hours to striding through the various parts of the store and feeling like you’re a movie star in some British film.Staying in expensive London and need to give your wallet a break? Here are 15 FREE Things to do in London City!Click To Tweet
Fall in Love With Camden Market
Ah, Camden Market, how I miss thee. This is the hustling, bustling centre of the Camden area, and it’s packed with enough entertainment to keep you busy for several hours. Food stalls, clothing stores, street performers, live music, and so much more make this a market worth checking out. Spend money if you wish to or simply enjoy taking in the sights and sounds.
Pretend You’re Harry Potter at King’s Cross Station
For some crazy reason, you have to pay an obnoxious fee to actually take a picture with the luggage cart and Hogwarts scarf at this centre of transportation, but that shouldn’t stop you from dropping by. The station itself is a sight to see, and the Harry Potter themed store and display are just a bonus.
Snap Some Photos of the Graffiti in Shoreditch
If you want to be in the hippest area of the city, spend some time in Shoreditch. Young artists and dreamers have made the area their home, and you’ll have fun exploring the streets peppered with interesting restaurants, vintage stores, and graffiti.
Okay, so this one isn’t technically free since you do have to hop on a train to reach it, but once you arrive, exploring Greenwich for free on foot is simple. I was blown away by the architecture and green grass, and you can even straddle the Meridian Line.
Stop to Smell the Roses in Queen Mary’s Gardens
I apologize for the pun, but seriously, you need to check out the gorgeous flowers at Regent’s Park. Queen Mary’s is home to approximately 12,000 roses that are on display, which makes spending a day in the area well worth your time, especially if you find yourself in London during the summer months.
Pretend You’re in a Movie at Trafalgar Square
Even if that name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, you’ve already seen Trafalgar Square in countless shows and films. Now’s your chance to check it out in person. Toss a pence in the fountain, watch the ever-present pigeons, or count how many double-decker red buses you can see whizzing around the area.
Learn Something at the National History Museum
Why not throw another museum on the list before we wrap things up? This one is the perfect place for people who want to learn about everything from dinosaur fossils to human evolution. You’ll easily pass a couple of hours here, and as with the other museums, you won’t have to fork over your credit card unless you wish to see the speciality exhibits.
Visit the Oldest Market in London
Borough Market dates back to roughly the 12th century, and for centuries it has been a centre of gourmet food and trade. Visiting is completely free, but it’ll take a heavy dose of self-restraint to avoid purchasing any of the fruits, meats, and local fare that’s for sale.
London isn’t a cheap city to live in or visit, but if you play your cards right, you can make hundreds of amazing memories during your time there without going broke. As a general rule of thumb, do your research before travelling abroad and understand how the day-to-day culture functions. Then, be sure to take advantage of the history and entertainment that’s present, even if you don’t have a wad of cash to spare.
Photo by: Garry Knight / CC-BY
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What other fun free things to do in London can we add to this list? Comment below!