Let’s face it – London isn’t a cheap place to live or to visit. In fact, according to ECA International, London is the 6th most expensive location in the world.
However, although expensive, London is a fantastic and vibrant city and with such a huge array of things to do and places to see, you can guarantee that you’ll never be bored.
Even with a limited budget, there is still so much that you can do in London. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best FREE things to do in London, whatever your interests.
Free museums in London
We are spoilt for choice with the array of museums we have in London. Whether your interests lie in medicine, science, nature, or war; whether you’re 4 or 94, there’s something for everyone. And what’s even better is that some of the best museums are totally free!
1. The Science Museum
One of London’s most well-known museums and great for all ages. There’s everything from space rockets to steam engines and there are lots of interactive activities too. You probably won’t get through everything in one day so will need to plan a second trip!
2. The Natural History Museum
Set in one of London’s most beautiful buildings, The Natural History Museum is home to life and earth science and contains more than 80 million collections. Be sure to check out the dinosaur skeletons and the huge blue whale!
3. The Imperial War Museum
The world’s leading museum of war and conflict. This museum was actually built when WW1 was still raging! Find out more about what it was like on the front line more than 100 years ago and what home life was like. You can even experience what it was like to be in an air-raid shelter.
4. Queen’s House, Greenwich
A visit to the Queen’s House is a must if you are near Greenwich. Set with Greenwich Park as its backdrop, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that you are in a busy city.
The Queen’s House, built between 1616 and 1635 and a former Royal residence, is one of the most important buildings in English architecture.
Once you step through the doors, you’ll find yourself in the impressive Great Hall. Continue through to see great artworks from the famous Woburn Abbey collection and don’t forget to take in the beauty of the iconic tulip stairs.
5. Victoria & Albert Museum
The V&A is the world’s largest museum of arts and design. Be sure to visit the jewellery gallery, where you can gawp at Queen Victoria’s impressive jewellery collection.
6. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Situated between Greenwich Park and Greenwich Town, this wonderful museum boasts a collection of over 2.5 million items including astronomical and navigational instruments, ship models and plans, coins, uniforms, and weapons. The museum also contains the world’s largest maritime library and archive collection.
7. National Army Museum
The National Army Museum is the British Army’s central museum, located in the Chelsea district of central London. It has five state-of-the-art gallery spaces, which allow you to explore what it’s like to be a soldier, the origins of the army, and how battle tactics and technology have changed over time.
8. Royal Air Force Museum
Britain’s only national museum dedicated to telling the story of the RAF and its people. It includes five buildings and hangers showing the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force. Be sure to visit to view the amazing aircrafts, old and new, and to hear the fascinating history of the RAF.
9. Horniman Museum
Based in Forest Hill, The Horniman Museum has displays of anthropology, natural history, and musical instruments, and is known for its large collection of taxidermied animals. The museum and gardens are free but there is a charge to visit the butterfly house and aquarium.
10. Museum of London
The Museum of London tells the story of the world’s greatest city. This is a fantastic museum, covering the history of London from the prehistoric to the modern day.
11. Greenwich Park
One of my favourite parks and I try to head there at least once a month. Pause to take in the stunning views of London and then take a stroll through the park and down into Greenwich town center, where you’ll find Greenwich Market and the Cutty Sark.
12. Sky Garden
The Sky Garden is located within the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building. You do have to book tickets before you visit but they are completely free. Take the lift straight to the top of the building and step out to the most breathtaking views of the city. There’s a restaurant and bar inside, but obviously, this will eat into your budget.
13. South Bank Walk
A walk along the south bank of the River Thames is a great way to while away a few hours and enjoy some of London’s most iconic landmarks.
The ‘Queen’s Walk’ takes you over Westminster Bridge, past the London Eye and South Bank’s Art Centre, towards Tate Modern, and on to Shakespeare’s Globe.
There are plenty of places to stop along the way and soak up the beauty of London so make sure you don’t just rush through as quickly as you can.
14. Changing of the Guard
No trip to London would be complete without soaking up the pomp and glory of the Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.
Watch the Queen’s Guard hand over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Palace to the new guard.
It happens every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at around 11 am and lasts around 45 minutes. It’s free to watch but it can get very busy so make sure you turn up early to secure your spot!
15. The National Gallery
The National Gallery houses one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world. Here, you can discover art by some of the world’s greatest artists, including Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh.
There are free guided tours, audio guides available in many different languages, and free family activities for children of all ages.
The National Gallery is situated in London’s famous Trafalgar Square. When you finish at the Gallery you can take a stroll across the road to visit the stone lions.
As you can see, even though living in London is expensive, it is still possible to have fun for free! The activities in the list are some of my favourites but there are so many more free and exciting places to visit. Have you been anywhere that has been free or relatively inexpensive that you’ve really loved? Let me know!
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