Free Things To Do In London


Free Things To Do In London

A brief rejoinder on pricing in London:

1 tuna belly hand roll at Sushisamba: £16.

1 Eggs Benedict at The Ritz: £40.

Access to daily concerts, a 900 year old Parliament building, a subterranean vault full of silver, a buried Roman temple, a vast warehouse filled with neon and a museum housing some of the world’s most treasured works of art going back centuries: £0.

If you thought London was one of Europe’s most expensive cities to explore… you’d be right. But there’s also an impressive amount of things to do for free here too, and here are the most valuable amongst them…


The Chapel of Love

Fortnum & Mason have installed a pop-up chapel in the middle of their store, complete with a chiming bell, stained glass windows and a steeple stretching up through three storeys. Classic. And for the whole month of February, you can actually get married there – perfect if your partner wants a church wedding, but you’ve always wanted to tie the knot in a 300 year old luxury grocery store.

Details: 1st – 29th February Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER Free to visit

New Ground Coffee

New Ground slide things to do London

New Ground has, well, broken new ground.

Because the pop up coffee shop has brought a first to Selfridges in the form of a giant, yellow slide. It’s only there till the 9th, and will require you to publically whizz down in full view of passers-by on the other side of the window. But once you’ve gone down, you can perk up again with one of their sustainable, socially conscious coffees. READ MORE

Details: Until 9th February Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB Free

The Little Orchestra

Little Orchestra things to do in London February

Ok, this one isn’t free, but it’s seriously good value. The Little Orchestra stage beautifully intimate concerts in unusual spaces. And for each of their Beethoven concerts taking place every month this year, they’re holding dress rehearsal nights with £5 tickets. READ MORE

Details: 20th February | Porchester Hall, Porchester RoadLondonW2 5HS | £5+

WOW at Japan House


When you call your visual design studio an all-caps, back-patting, rakishly confident name like WOW you had better deliver. And WOW certainly does. They’re a Japanese firm whose work has been stunning audiences in the Far East, and is now making its way to the UK for the first time. It’s at Japan House, and you’ll find digital installations including Tokyo Lights Odyssey, a 360-degree immersive look at Tokyo at night, and Poppo, a chance to carve a traditional wooden doll and project your own face onto it.

Details: Until 22nd March 2020 | Japan Centre, 101-111 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA | Free

Driverless: Who is in Control?

Driverless: Who is in Control?

It’s only a matter of time before driverless cars finally pass their Theory Test and take over the world’s roads. And to give you a little sneak preview of what that’ll be like, the Science Museum are displaying self-driving cars, autonomous flying drones and smart underwater vehicles, including the venerable Autosub Boaty McBoatface. READ MORE

Details: Until October 2020 | The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, SW7 2DD

Being Human – Wellcome Collection

Do you smoke? Have you been to New York? Do you feel like getting freaked the fuck out? Then make your way to The Wellcome Collection. As part of their new permanent gallery called Being Human (which includes 50 other incredible art & science installations) there’ll be a special display by artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg. She took cigarettes butts off the streets of Manhattan, harvested & sequenced the DNA, 3D-printed the faces of the people that it belonged to, then hung them up in the gallery. Yeah.

Details: Throughout February | The Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE



Head To An Art Gallery

Almost every single art gallery in London has a free permanent collection to look around. Catch famous faces from Elizabeth I to Mick Jagger at the National Portrait Gallery, find cutting-edge sculpture at the Pangolin, or interrogate the delicate fragility of existence itself in front of a blank canvas at the Tate Modern. You can even visit the ticketed exhibitions at The Photographers’ Gallery for free after 5pm.


Take A Tour of London Museums

London is completely spoilt for free museums. There’s the V&A (focussed on art and design from around the world); the Natural History Museum (home to animatronic dinosaurs, an earthquake simulator and a dimly-lit library of preserved Victorian worms in jars); and the Science Museum (rockets, steam engines, iron lungs). There’s more unusual ones, too, like the Horniman Museum (which wins points for name alone, if not the overstuffed walrus) and the Wellcome Collection’s unsettling collection of 18th century surgical instruments.


£1 Comedy at The Secret Comedy Club

£1 for a whole night of comedy?

You must be having a laugh.

Because it’s here that you’ll find line-ups of top-quality comedians off the TV and stand-up circuit – plus drinks so well-priced for London that you’ll find anything funny by the end of the night. And you’ll end up saving enough to make up for your technically-not-free entrance fee.
Details: Every Monday, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday night The Top Secret Comedy Club, 170 Drury Lane, London, WC2B 5PD

Free Concerts at St. Martin-in-the-Fields

St Martin in the Fields free things to do in London

Just your typical free concert in an insanely palatial church, from haunting violin solos to improvised 17th century dance music on a lute.
Details: Mondays, Tuesdays & Fridays, 1.45-3.45pm St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 4JJ

Walk the Sherling High Level Walkway

Watch set designers and prop makers beavering away from the National Theatre’s backstage high-level walkway. Resist the urge to shout “LOOK OUT”.
Details: Open Mon-Sat 9.30am-7.30pm, just turn up National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PX

Pay What You Can For Theatre Tickets

Arcola Theatre - free things to do in London

Every Tuesday evening, Hackney’s Arcola Theatre sells Pay What You Can tickets on a first-come, first-served basis – and you fork out whatever you can, no judgement.
Details: Every Tuesday from 6pm (but aim to queue before then) Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL

Dance To Live Music at Hootananny Brixton

Brixton’s perennially packed live music dance hall, with street food outside and a stage inside, where you can bop along to anything from Balkan gypsy folk to Bhangra hip hop.
Details: Free entry most weekdays and before 9pm on weekends 95 Effra Road, SW2 1DF

Learn Something Niche on a Lunchbreak

V&A Lunchtime lectures - free things to do in London

Swap actual food for food for thought at one of London’s many lunchtime lectures – pick up a bit of art history at the National Gallery, attend a philosophical debate at Conway Hall or learn about 19th century ‘tuberculosis chic’ at the V&A. READ MORE

UCL | V&A | National Gallery | The British Museum | Conway Hall | Gresham College | The British Academy

Catch a Free Lunchtime Concert at the Royal Academy of Music

Totally free weekly concerts from some of the city’s most talented musicians, from guitar trios to accordion chamber music.
Details: Every Tuesday from 1.05pm, just turn up Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, NW1 5HT

Explore London’s Secret Gardens

Secret Gardens - free things to do in London

A guide to greenery in London: 1) Hyde Park. 2) Regent’s Park. 3) Hidden walled gardens, canal boat rooftops and an urban community garden on a former railway track…


Head To The Royal Opera House at Lunch

And find free performances ranging from opera to ballet, from some of the city’s most talented artists.
Details: Regular lunchtimes from 1pm, just turn up | Royal Opera House, Bow Street, WC2E 9DD

Browse London’s Food Markets

Borough market - food market London


They’re all free to enter, and there’s usually samples to be had if the sight of mountains of cheese is too much to resist.


Free Stand-Up Comedy In A Victorian Pub

The Roebuck in Borough is already one of the area’s lovelier taverns. And alongside their regular poetry nights, quizzes and life drawing classes, they also throw in a monthly free stand-up night – after which it would probably be advisable to grab something at Padella, most of whose mains are under a tenner.
Details: Last Thursday of every month The Roebuck, 50 Great Dover Street, SE1 4YG

Get A Free View Over London

One New Change View - free things to do in London

The One New Change shopping centre in St. Paul’s has a huge viewing platform that manages that rare combination of being both free and relatively uncrowded – head up for a great view of the cathedral dome and sunsets over the Shard.
Details: Open daily, 6am-midnight 1 New Change, EC4M 9AF

Free Events at Pop Brixton

Dancing in a village of shipping containers.

It’s a crate night out.

And surprisingly for a night at such an atmospheric, al fresco venue – packed with pop up street food kitchens and bars – you won’t have to part with any pennies to catch the live musicians and DJs taking to the Pop Brixton stage. And if you’re in need of some restoration the morning after, there’s also regular free tai chi and urban gardening classes.
Details: Mondays 12.30-1.30pm, Thursdays 10am-12pm, Friday & Saturday nights Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ

Get Lost In The Sir John Soane Museum

Sir John Soane Museum free things to do in London this month

The eccentric home of 19th century architect Sir John Soane has been kept exactly the way he left it – with moving walls, a 3000 year old mummy in the basement, and a gothic hideaway for his monk alter-ego, Padre Giovanni. READ MORE
Details: Open Wed-Sun, 10am-5pm 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP

God’s Own Junkyard

God's Own Junkyard

Essentially the modern-day equivalent: a huge, glittering warehouse space crammed with neon signs and artwork collected over decades. READ MORE
Details: Open Friday & Saturday 11am-9pm, Sunday 11am-6pm God’s Own Junkyard, Unit 12 Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, E17 9HQ

Visit London’s Silver Vaults

A subterranean treasure trove occupied by expert silversmiths, where you can browse through everything from contemporary jewellery to flamboyant Georgian salt pigs.
Details: Open weekdays 9am-5.30pm, Saturdays 9am-1pm The London Silver Vaults, Chancery Lane, WC2A 1QS

Fitzrovia Chapel

Fitzrovia Chapel - free things to do in London


Oh, just a secret chapel hidden amongst some Fitzrovia apartment blocks with a completely gold ceiling.
Details: Open Wednesdays 11am-4pm Fitzroy Place, 2 Pearson Square, London W1T 3BF

Stepney City Farm

Stepney City Farm - free things to do in London

You can cuddle rabbits, baby goats and lambs. For free.
Details: Open 10am-4pm, Tuesday-Sunday Stepney City Farm, Stepney Way, E1 3DG

Freemasons’ Hall

Freemasons Hall - free things to do in London

Surprisingly for one of the world’s most famously secretive organisations, you can have a snoop around the grand art deco Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden whenever you like.
Details: Monday-Saturday; check ahead HERE | 60 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AZ

Kenwood House

A grand stately home atop Hampstead Heath, filled with priceless artwork, insanely beautiful rooms, and no less than 112 acres of gardens. READ MORE
Details: Open daily, 10am-4pm Hampstead Lane, NW3 7JR

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market - free things to do in London

If you can resist the urge to buy multiple succulents, you can enjoy all the bustle of London’s biggest flower market for free. READ MORE
Details: Sundays 8am-3pm Columbia Road, E2 7RG

Queen Elizabeth Hall Rooftop Garden

The perfect spot to take a picnic, the rooftop garden and bar atop the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank is free to enter, and offers a leafy oasis amidst the brutalist concrete jungle of the Southbank Centre.

Details: Open daily Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX

Take A Stroll Along The Thames

Free things to do in London

Martin Hesketh/Flickr

By a convenient fluke, many of London’s most interesting sights can be found along the river – take the Nudge’s walking tour here.

Visit The Ancient Westminster Hall

Over 900 years old, Westminster Hall is not just the oldest part of the Houses of Parliament, it’s also the free-est.
Details: Open 9am-8pm when Parliament is in session Houses of Parliament, SW1A 0AA

Watch the Ceremony of the Keys

Tower of London - free things to do in London

Every night, the Tower of London is locked up in the same elaborate way as it has been for the past 700 years. And it’s an excellent way to get a glimpse of the castle while swerving the usual £25 entrance fee.
Details: Every night, must book ahead HERE Tower of London, EC3N 4AB

Head Underground To Roman London

It’s an ancient Roman temple. In London. Plus you can see how much lower the ground was 2000 years ago.
Details: Open Tues-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12-5pm 12 Walbrook, EC4N 8AA

See London From 500ft In The Air

Sky Garden - free things to do in London

Granted, you need to be fairly organised booking tickets for Sky Garden (they’re only released a few days in advance) – but the view is totally worth it.
Details: Weekdays 10am-6pm, weekends 11am-9pm – must book ahead HERE Sky Garden Walk, EC3M 8AF

Climb Brixton’s 200 Year Old Windmill

You can even volunteer to mill some flour while you’re at it.
Details: Second weekend of every month, March-October Windmill Gardens, West end of Blenheim Gardens, Off Brixton Hill, SW2 5EU

Perambulate the Hampstead Pergola

Hampstead Pergola - free things to do in London

As elevated walkways built by the aristocracy out of rubble from the Northern Line go… this is probably one of the loveliest.
Details: Open daily from 8.30am (closing times vary) The Pergola, Inverforth Close, NW3 7EX

Climb Hackney’s Oldest Tower

That lone tower by Hackney Central station is the only remaining part of St. Augustine’s Church, demolished in 1798. And today you can climb up it for a free bird’s eye view over Hackney.
Details: Last Sunday of every month Mare Street, E8 1HR

Take Yourself On A Brick Lane Street Art Tour

Brick Lane

Street artists from all over the world come to Brick Lane to showcase their work, and with that, it’s constantly changing, meaning you can come again, and again…and again, and still be delighted every time.

Details: Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL

Go Wild Swimming In Shadwell Basin

Rules around swimming in the Shadwell Basin are a little grey. However we say as long as you’re respectful and not disturbing anyone – kids canoeing or the wildlife – it’s yours for the takin’.

Details: Wapping, London, E1W 3SG

Visit The Terrapins At The Barbican Conservatory

The Barbican

They also have tropical fish, and over 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees. READ MORE

Details: it’s open selected Saturdays and Sundays between 12 and 5pm | Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

Toe-Tap To Live Blues At The Blues Kitchen Camden

Blues Kitchen Camden

Entry’s free all night on a Monday. READ MORE

Details: Monday, 9.45-12pm | 111-113 Camden High Street, Camden, NW1 7JN

Take A Parkour Class

You pay by parkour-based tasks set by the coach.

Details: Days and timings vary, so check the timetable | The Commando Temple, 14, 15, 16 Resolution Way, London, SE8 4NT

Walk Your Way Through London’s Best Walks

Epping Forest

From the Jubilee Greenway to Epping Forest. READ MORE

Last Updated: 5th February 2020 | Main image: Royal Academy


Looking for more things to do in London? Check out our roster of 100 London Date Ideas

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