A visit to London is always worthwhile, however it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Whether it’s catching the latest exhibition at one of the world-class museums, seeing the royals in real life, or simply wandering around the famous parks and gardens, there are plenty of things to do in London for free.
London doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive
The British Museum
The British Museum is one of the greatest museums on Earth, with over eight million works dedicated to human history, art and culture. It’s one of the best London free attractions and you can spend more than a whole day here, taking in the different departments and galleries. Over two million years of human history is documented here, with artefacts on display from all corners of the world. See the famous Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, Egyptian mummies and Samurai armour, amongst many more important objects. The British Museum also regularly changes their free exhibitions and displays, plus there are other special events for a small fee (members can access for free).
The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery
Art lovers won’t want to miss the National Gallery, another of the great free things to do in London. Located at the iconic Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery houses an enormous collection of paintings from the 13th century to 1900. It’s one of the most visited museums in the world, home to famous paintings such as Leonard da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks, Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, J. M. W. Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire, and Sandro Botticelli’s Venus and Mars. Adjoining the National Gallery is the National Portrait Gallery, a large art gallery that houses thousands of portraits of historically important and famous British people. The paintings date back to the Middle Ages, all the way to modern day. Come face to face with people such as English royalty, rock stars, artists and the controversial Portrait of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
Changing of the Guard
Kids will love watching the Changing of the Guard, a daily event that takes place from 11am at Buckingham Palace. This age-old tradition involves the Buckingham Palace Old Guard and the St James’s Palace Old Guard switching over their official duties with the New Guard from Wellington Barracks. It’s a formal ceremony complete with music, costumes and horses. It’s an extremely popular event so it’s best to get there early to secure a good viewing spot.
St James’ Park
For cheap things to do in London with kids, head to St James Park, a lovely green park just behind Buckingham Palace. Here, you can feed the local ducks yourself or watch the pelicans who come for their daily feed at 2:30pm. From April to September, there’s a children’s playground or otherwise you can just wander around the grounds and stop for a picnic in the sun. There’s also a casual café/restaurant in the park that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are just a short walk from St James’ Park where you can see Kensington Palace, the Diana Memorial Playground and the Serpentine.
If you’re a Beatles fan, you’ll already be familiar with the Abbey Road crossing, the iconic pedestrian crossing made famous on the cover of the last Beatles album, Abbey Road. It’s located just in front of the studio where the album was recorded and there’s a wall where you can write your name and a message of love and peace in the Beatles’ memory. To see more of the London that John, Paul, George and Ringo loved, you can take a Beatles tour to see their favourite spots.