London is one of the best places to visit on a shoestring budget. With so many free things to see and do while here, you can easily spend an entire weekend sightseeing and not spend a dime. Wear comfortable shoes and hit the streets for a memorable time in London.
Before heading to your first free attraction, find a London luggage storage place to stow your belongings. To save cash, you will probably be doing a lot of walking and large bags can slow you down. Not only that, but many places do not allow larger bags or backpacks inside.
Spend time checking out free museums and art galleries, then take a free walking tour of the city. Grab a snack and head to one of the parks for an afternoon of fresh air, natural beauty, and sometimes even free performances.
Browse through the top 10 things to do for free in London. Then, check out the list below of the free museums, art galleries, attractions, and walking tours so you can pack your trip full of great activities that won’t cost you anything to enjoy.
Plan your visit to the British Museum, one of the top attractions in London where you can find artifacts from around the world. Stroll through exhibits that include samurai armor, and Egyptian mummies. With over 80,000 artifacts on display, you can easily spend an afternoon immersed in history.
Visit the National Gallery, an art museum founded in 1824. Browse over 2,300 paintings on display dating as far back a the mid-13th century, including Renoir, Michelangelo, van Gogh, and da Vinci. It is free to visit, but you must book online in advance.
Natural History Museum
Wander through this magnificent history museum with over 80 million items for you to explore. Book your free tickets in advance to avoid long lines. Be mesmerized by the gigantic skeleton of a blue whale that is the focal point of the main hall.
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
Come watch one of the most interesting ceremonies in London every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Buckingham Palace is steeped in tradition and the changing of the guard is one of the oldest traditions open to the public.
Watch the queen’s guards in all their fine pageantry as they march in time to music and transfer the responsibility of guarding the palace to the next regiment. Be sure to check times before wandering over to Buckingham Palace.
Houses of Parliament
Enjoy a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament including Big Ben, the most famous clock in the world. Visitors are allowed to sit in on a session as they conduct government business. Plan your visit ahead of time and book your tickets online.
Very popular with children, the Science Museum is geared towards kids of all ages and even the stuffiest adult will find things to occupy their time and take their imagination on a journey. With five floors filled with interactive exhibits, you can easily spend the entire day exploring.
Be sure to book your tickets online so you can skip the lines and spend more time inside exploring the first steam locomotives, hot air balloons, and gliders. Try your hand in the flight simulator before leaving.
Get out and stretch your legs while exploring the Kensington Gardens. Take a picture with the Peter Pan Statue, view the Albert Memorial, or just stroll along the well-manicured paths. Breathe in the fresh air and relax. Take a minute to go over the visitor guidelines before arriving.
National Portrait Gallery
Learn more about the influential and famous British people through history by touring the National Portrait Gallery. Each person highlighted here has influenced the country in some way and has a story to share. Portraits include Shakespeare, Andy Warhol, and Queen Elizabeth II.
Victoria and Albert Museum
One of the most romanticized royal couples, Victoria and Albert shared a love of the arts. This museum holds over 4.5 million items ranging from Asian, Middle Eastern, and Victorian. Get your tickets in advance online and marvel at this extensive collection of art.
St. Paul’s Church
Also known as the Actor’s Church, St. Paul’s Church should not be confused with St. Paul’s Cathedral. Entry to the cathedral is not free. Entry to St. Paul’s Church is free; donations are welcome but not necessary. You can enjoy a virtual tour before seeing the church in person.
It is called the Actor’s Church because the first Punch and Judy Show was held at the church in 1662. Several memorials to influential actors and comedians can be found in the gardens of the church, including Vivien Leigh and Charlie Chaplin.
Other Free Attractions
London is brimming with activity and there is always something to do that won’t cost you one cent! Here is a list of some of the free attractions not listed in the top 10 above.
- Visit Trafalgar Square
- Walk along the South Bank
- View Wellington Arch – you do have to pay to go inside
- Walk around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
- Explore Chinatown
- Watch the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London
- Pay a visit to Westminster Cathedral
- Worship at Westminster Abbey – tourists have to pay, but worshippers do not
London is full of quirky, educational, fun, and just plain interesting museums. Many of these museums do not charge an entrance fee, some do ask for a donation but that is not mandatory.
- The Chocolate Museum
- Queen’s House (Greenwich)
- Museum of London
- Design Museum
- Horniman Museum and Gardens
- Imperial War Museum
- Wellcome Collection
- Royal Academy of Music Museum
- Bank of England Museum
- Sir John Soane’s Museum
- Grant Museum of Zoology
- Museum of London Docklands
- Science Gallery London
- National Army Museum
- National Maritime Museum
Free Art Galleries
Art lovers will be giddy when they see how many galleries in London do not charge admission. Spend time admiring the great artists of times gone by and becoming acquainted with some of the up-and-coming artists from around the world.
- Tate Britain
- Scenes in the Square (at Leicester Square)
- The Serpentine Galleries
- Somerset House
- Leake Street’s Graffiti
- God’s Own Junkyard
- Saatchi Gallery
- The Wallace Collection
- Whitechapel Gallery