What are Some Free Things to do in London?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

London, England is considered by many to be one of the greatest cities on Earth. From historical sites and buildings to the thriving pulse of the modern-day metropolis, London can seem an infinite feast of activities and possibilities. For the budget-minded traveler, London might not appear to be the most wallet-friendly destination, but this is not the case. There are a wide selection of free things to do in London, as long as you know where to look.

In London, fans of author Charles Dickens can visit Camden Town, an area in "A Christmas Carol".
In London, fans of author Charles Dickens can visit Camden Town, an area in "A Christmas Carol".

One of the most surprising free things to do in London is visit world-class museums and art galleries. The National Gallery in Piccadilly Square is free to visitors, allowing anyone to enjoy a look at works by Monet, Hans Holbein, and Michelangelo. For those who prefer museums with an archeological feel, the British Museum in Holburn charges no admission, and contains such cultural treasures as the Rosetta Stone. Many other museums, such as South Kensington’s Natural History and Science Museum, are also free to visit, although some offer access to special traveling exhibits for a fee.

Red telephone boxes can be found around London and are good photo opportunities.
Red telephone boxes can be found around London and are good photo opportunities.

London has a long history of influencing the musical world, and the wise traveler knows that concerts are some of the best free things to do in London. Particularly in the summer, free concerts are available along the banks of the Thames river, and frequently advertised in local papers and weekly entertainment guides. Even in the winter months, certain areas of the city are filled with street musicians and performers. Covent Garden, a theater and shopping district in Central London, is famous for its free performances, and even auditions musicians before allowing them to perform in the area.

Visitors to London may see members of the Queen's Guard at royal residences.
Visitors to London may see members of the Queen's Guard at royal residences.

Another of the best free things to do in London is visit the many historic and beautiful parks. Centuries ago, when the city was much smaller, many of the parks served as gardens and recreational grounds for the nobility and monarchy, but they are now available free of charge to visitors. Regent’s Park was once used as a hunting ground for King Henry VIII, but now serves as a multi-purpose public park. If you happen to be a dinosaur lover, Crystal Palace Park features the first dinosaur sculptures that were ever built.

The Old Bailey courthouse is free and open to the public.
The Old Bailey courthouse is free and open to the public.

Literary lovers will find many free things to do in London. Although there are many tours available for a fee, it is quite easy to wander the famous neighborhoods on your own, searching for landmarks. Charles Dickens’ fans may take a stroll through Camden Town, following in the footsteps of Bob Cratchit. For those desperate for a glimpse into the world of Harry Potter, King’s Cross Station is located in central London, where you can see for yourself if platform nine-and-three-quarters really exists.

London is a center of culture and history with more than 250 museums and many other sights.
London is a center of culture and history with more than 250 museums and many other sights.

While London is full of exciting opportunities for the luxury traveler, it doesn’t exclude those on a budget. The free things to do in London will often help travelers escape from the tourist attractions and catch a look at local life. Combining free activities with a few well-chosen pricey additions will surely give you a balanced and exciting look at the beautiful city.

Street performers can be found on many of London's streets.
Street performers can be found on many of London's streets.
In the summer, one can find free concerts along the banks of the Thames.
In the summer, one can find free concerts along the banks of the Thames.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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Discussion Comments

anon32040

Sherlock Holmes, a fictional detective with a wide following in various parts of the world had an address in Baker Street, possibly 21B.

The street exists, but there was never a 21B.

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