London is a vast and vibrant city with plenty to do, but it also has a reputation for being expensive.
While London can certainly be pricey, whether you’re planning a weekend trip to the capital, or already live here, there are still plenty of things to do on a budget.
Here are 20 London attractions you can visit for free.
1. Bayswater Road Market
Strolling through this leafy Kensington street is a treat any day of the week, but every Sunday you can browse through the original collection of art for sale in the market by talented local artists.
2. Little Venice
This picturesque stretch of London canal is host to plenty of waterside cafes and pubs, where you can have a relaxing stroll, or take a boat ride up the canal towards Camden.
3. Battersea Park
Battersea Park is a calm sanctuary from the bustle of Central London and is a great day out for families thanks to its 200 acres of parkland, children’s zoo and boating lake.
4. Natural History Museum
One of the capital’s most notorious tourist locations, the Natural History Museum justifies its popularity, thanks to its incredible range of artifacts and installations which offer an insight into the many wonders of the natural world.
5. Hunterian Museum
The Royal College of Surgeons’ Hunterian Museum is situated near Holborn and is not for the faint of heart. Browsing the museum’s collection of anatomical and pathological specimens, instruments and artifacts is a gruesomely intriguing day out.
6. Hyde Park
In addition to the park itself, on Friday nights you can visit Hyde Park’s group skating sessions, and enjoy an active group jaunt around London.
7. Highgate Cemetery
This is no ordinary cemetery, as a permanent home to many famed historical figures and the site of some of the capital’s most incredible architecture and nature, Highgate Cemetery is a beautiful place to spend a sunny afternoon.
8. Holland Park’s Kyoto Garden
The traditional-style Japanese garden is a beautiful and tranquil addition to the hectic lifestyle of London, offering a small slice of zen in the nation’s capital.
Kyoto Garden, via londonist.com
9. Alfie’s Antiques Market
London’s largest indoor antiques market is a great place for a browse, even if you’re not buying. With its vast array of eclectic treasures, you can while away many hours enjoying the range of antiques on offer, and even the shop’s iconic Egyptian-style facade.
10. Abbey Road
For music fans, the zebra crossing at Abbey Road is a fun tourist destination, allowing you to interrupt local traffic to recreate the Beatles’ iconic album cover. As an added bonus, you can check out other people walking in the footsteps of John, Paul, George, and Ringo via the joys of webcam.
11. Saatchi Gallery
Charles Saatchi’s Gallery at Kings Road boasts a fine collection of contemporary paintings and sculpture, while also playing host to several different exhibitions, talks and workshops every year.
12. Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament are home to the country’s government, and the world’s most famous clock, Big Ben (yes, that’s not it’s proper name). You can pay a visit inside the buildings, although you may need to reserve ahead, or just enjoy the neo-Gothic architecture from the outside.
The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, and hosts an enormous collection of historic fashion, design and ceramics items alongside visiting exhibitions.
14. Street art across East London
You can find lots of street art across East London, but Shoreditch in particular is a prime spot for some impressive graffiti. Check out the ultra hip Brick Lane for some excellent urban art, as well as Middlesex Street and Sclater Street.
15. Sky Garden
The top three floors of 20 Fenchurch Street, or ‘walkie talkie’ as it is known locally, offers one of the best free vantage points in Central London. With indoor viewing decks and restaurants occupying this space, it’s a great spot to view this sprawling city.
16. Portobello Road Market
If you want to live like Hugh Grant in Notting Hill (and really, who amongst us doesn’t?), then take a trip to the energetic Portobello Road Market to peruse a range of sellers flogging their wares.
Portobello Road Market, image via portobelloroad.co.uk
17. Temple Church
Dating back to the 12th Century, this historic church is a distinctive building amongst the contemporary steel and glass buildings of the city, and will be of particular interest to fans of the Da Vinci Code, for its famous role in the film.
18. Platform 9¾
Another one for movie fans, you can have a go at pushing Harry Potter’s trolley through the wall at Platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross Station.
19. Changing the Guard
If you take a trip up to Buckingham palace, it’s unlikely you’ll get to see the Queen, but you can witness the daily changing the guard ceremony, with this display of pomp and circumstance an entertaining and unique sight.
20. South Bank
Take a stroll up the regenerated and picturesque South Bank, where you can stop at a variety of bars, shops and restaurants, take part in some skateboarding, and visit the exceptional Tate Modern.
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