London can be an incredible expensive city, but luckily, when it comes to sightseeing, there are SO MANY incredible free things to do in London.
Here’s an overview of my favourite free things to do in London! (Disclaimer: many of them may require you to use the Subway, or Tube, to get to, but once you get there, they are completely free!)
6. Do a Self-Guided Tour of the Major Sights
London has so many famous sights; you simply cannot go to the city without seeing all of the famous buildings! Luckily, you can easily see them all in a day of self-guided sightseeing!
The landmarks that I definitely wouldn’t suggest missing include Big Ben, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Tralfager Square, Westminster Abbey, Oxford Street, and Piccadilly Circus.
While I suppose you could technically walk to see all of these sights, your best bet will be to use the Tube. I highly suggest that you a refundable Oyster Card that will charge you no more than £6.80 for an entire day of travel in Zones 1 and 2. These cards cost £5, but you can deactivate them for a refund at any Tube ticket machine at the end of your stay. You can buy them from any corner vender who sells newspapers.
While the Tube takes a bit of practice to get used to, it is honestly very easy to use. Use the maps located in the Tube tunnels, and if you get lost, feel free to ask the helpful Tube staff.
My brother and sister in front of Big Ben!
5. Relax in Hyde Park
Hyde Park, located just outside of Buckingham Palace, is a really cool place to explore. Spending a day walking around Hyde Park is a great way to experience life like a local Londoner, plus there are lots of cool things to see and do.
You can have a picnic by the river, rent bikes (£2 per hour) from the Santander bike rental and bike around the park, or find the park’s many tame birds, including parrots and swans. To me, the birds are defiantly my favourite part of Hyde Park, and this park is a great way to take some time out of a long day of exploring the city to relax!
4. Explore Camden, Borough, Brick Lane, or Spitafield Markets
London has so many seriously cool markets. Borough, Brick Lane, and Spitafeilds Markets are in central London and serve up a variety of trendy handicrafts and cool food stands. However, by far my favourite market is Camden Market.
Camden Market, located in Northwestern London, is the heart of the trendy scene in London. Located at the busy Camden Lock, this market is where all of the cool kids (and kids at heart) hang out.
It’s always crowded, bustling, and full of surprises. From stalls selling Venezuelan arepas to vendors selling crystal jewellery to the largest rave/clubbing accessory store Cyberdog (in which their employees dress in in full neon costumes with a different theme everyday), there really is an endless variety of things to explore in Camden Market.
To get there, you simply take the Tube to the Zone 2 Camden Market Tube Station.
3. Check out China Town
Chinatown is another favourite low-cost place of mine to explore in London. Located right between Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus, China Town is my favourite place to grab some authentic Chinese food at great prices!
2. Take a Free Tour
As you may have read in some of my other posts, I love free tours! My love of free tours actually developed in London, and I never go to London without going on at least one free tour!
From free food tours, to sightseeing tours, to ghost tours, there is such a wide variety of free tours to go on in London! These tours are not only a great way to learn more about the city, but they are also a great way to meet new people!
Personally, my two all-time favourite London tours are the London Street Art Tour and the Jack the Ripper Tour.
The London Street Art Tour is exciting because it literally changes everyday, as art in East London is changing constantly! You could go on this tour 4 days in a row and see something different each time!
However, as someone who loves crime mysteries, conspiracies, and scary stuff, my all-time favourite London tour is the Jack the Ripper Tour. This tour goes into the various theories behind Jack the Ripper’s identity and takes you to all of the crime scenes. It is spooky and seriously cool! I’ve gone on this exact tour twice and would definitely go a third time!
Just remember, while free tours are technically free and no one will push you to pay, it is polite to leave a donation of whatever you can afford, large or small, at the end of the tour.
My absolute favourite free tour company is Strawberry Tours. Their guides are great, their tours are interesting, and they are the only free tour company that I will use in London! Check out there website and book a tour here!
1. Visit the Museums!!
The ABSOLUTE BEST free thing to do in London is to visit the museum! Absolutely no city in the world beats London in terms of free museums to explore!
My personal favourite free museum is the British Museum. This history museum is absolutely ginormous, and is loaded with historical artifacts from all time periods and places all over the world. Some of the things that I find the coolest in the British museum include the Rosetta Stone , the museum’s mummy collection, the Parthenon Marbles, the Easter Island Head, and the Lindow Bog Man.
You could easily spend a week alone in the British Museum, but there are dozens of other museums to see, including:
The Natural History Museum (complete with many complete dinosaur fossils)
Victoria and Albert Museum (has 2.3 million pieces of art and design artifacts)
Tate Modern ( one of the world’s best museums of modern art) ‘
National Gallery ( contains more than 2,000 paintings from all of human history)
Museum of London (follows the history of the city)
Science Museum ( an interactive museum containing many important Science artifacts)
Imperial War Museum (overviews history of modern war from WWI to the present)
National Portrait Gallery (the world’s largest collection of portraits)
British Library (home to some of the world’s most important literary treasures, such as the Magna Carta and original Shakespeare works)