Free Things to do in London

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London is one of the best cities in the world but admittedly, it’s one of the most expensive places I’ve ever visited. asked me if I was interested in heading back there so of course, I jumped at the opportunity. Flights to London in the low season (not the summer) are actually pretty reasonable, but depending where you stay, hotels can add up quickly. Fortunately, there are plenty of free things to do in London so you can keep your costs within reason.

Discover dinosaur bones, learn about ancient civilizations, admire art from some of the masters, or try to catch a glimpse of royalty; there are literally dozens of free things to do in London. It’s pretty easy to spend an entire day without spending any money (besides on food and transportation). I’ve visited London a few times before this trip so I was excited to see new free attractions and old favourites.

British Museum

If you have time for just one museum, make it the British Museum. The most famous pieces in the museum are the Elgin Marbles, the Rosetta Stone, and the collection of mummies which represent just a few of the estimated 8 million pieces in the collection. Human history, culture, and are are the focus at the British Museum with grand sections devoted to the Egyptian, Greek, and Middle Eastern cultures. As soon as you enter, you’ll be greeted by the Great Court, a stunning glass covered area that is an architectural marvel. Even if you don’t have time to go to the museum, you can always visit the website which has the largest online database of objects of any museum in the world.

Free Things to do in London British Museum

Hunterian Museum

Located inside the Royal College of Surgeons, the Hunterian Museum is dedicated to the history of surgery and not often mentioned in guidebooks. Despite its “unusual” theme, I’ve always wanted to check out this museum since I first heard of it a few years ago from friends who live in the city. Definitely not for the squeamish, the museum takes a look at how surgery has changed over the years, the amazing things the human body can do, and anything medical related. Be warned, there are plenty of specimens on display that are pretty graphic- tours are talks are available but space is limited.

Free Things to do in London Hunterian


It has been four years since I last visited London so I was amazed at how many new skyscrapers have gone up that have completely changed the skyline of London. The Shard and Leadenhall building have sharp lines which have been received positively by the public while 20 Fenchurch Street  has been dubbed the walkie talking building – at least you can get an epic view of the Southbank at the top-floor Sky Garden for free. Other buildings of note include 30 St. Mary Axe, Lloyd’s of London, City Hall, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Free Things to do in London Sky Garden

South Bank

I wrote a full post on what to check out at London’s Southbank but it’s worth highlighting again since it truly is one of the best spots in London. Attractions you’ll see include The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, City Hall, HMS Belfast, Tate Modern (which is free to enter), Shakespeare’s Globe, Millenium Bridge, National Theatre, Southbank Centre (check out the food market on weekends), London Eye, and the SEA LIFE London Aquarium. You could easily spend an entire day just wandering around this area.

Free Things to do in London South Bank

Hyde Park

There are plenty of parks in London but Hyde Park is probably my favourite. Speaker’s Corner is an interesting place but it gets boring after a few minutes, I much prefer to see the sites within the park. Many monuments and statues can be found throughout the park including the Peter Pan Statue, Physical Energy Statue, Queens Temple, Princess Diana Memorial, Holocaust Memorial Gardens and the Albert Memorial. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion which changes every year and of course Kensington Palace which is the Royal Residence of Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. In the end, this is just a park, but the Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Science Museum, and Harrod’s are within close proximity.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. Amanda Muscarella on October 1, 2016 at 11:39 PM

    I like British Museum so much. I certainly enjoyed the museum and will be back!

  2. Nora on January 29, 2019 at 8:17 AM

    Hi Barry…love all of your posts! Just finished reading all you wrote about visiting London…my question is this; which area would YOU stay in if trying to keep your lodging costs low but still with good access to all the touristy stuff? I am travelling to London early June of this year and am overwhelmed with the high costs:(

    • Barry Choi on January 29, 2019 at 8:21 AM

      Hey Nora,

      Yes, London is expensive!

      Generally speaking, as long as you’re near a transit line, you should be good. As you can imagine, hotels in Zones 3-4 are cheaper than 1-2.

      Two areas I find good and less expensive are around Russell Square and Southwark (south of Tower Bridge). Canary Wharf also tends to be cheaper, but it’s not as convenient.

  3. Nora on January 29, 2019 at 8:45 AM

    Oh thank you…will look at these two areas.
    Am visiting with a friend so whereas I would normally use a hostel setting it is not an option for this trip.
    On a similar note, just want to add that when I went to Lisbon I printed out your posts and tips and they helped me immensely! How to do the day trip to Sintra in particular…it was so easy with your help…thx again:)

    • Barry Choi on January 29, 2019 at 8:49 AM


      Thanks for the kind comments. London is excellent but it’s about 3X the cost of Lisbon if not more =(

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