I just collected a loooooong list for you – from museums to sightseeing and quirky bars and hidden gems.
We love London city!
We have visited it many times.
London can be very expensive, we know it ourselves… which made us look for all the free things to do in order to stretch our budget as much as possible. Great, uh?
This list is spread quite wide. You will find suitable things for students, families, couples, friends …
We already did the research for you, so you can start planning your trip.
Read 71 FUN things to do in London.
A list of 71 fun things to do in the cosmopolitan city which includes kayak, spies and drinking on public toilets ( NOT what you are thinking right now…)
For even more, check these 37 unique experiences in London.
Check these all out!
In this guide we cover:
- Things to do in London for free
- Free Things to do in London at night
- Money-Saving Tips for visiting London
- Where to stay in London on a budget?
- The Map with ALL things to do in London for free
- Summary Things to do in London for FREE
And for the local places seekers, we have our London Secret tips, with crazy budget hints. Of course, you can download them for free!
Make sure you stay in a proper hostel, there is a lot really bad hostels in London. We wrote a detailed guide on the 3 best hostels in London.
The top hostels in London are:
- Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage – best for solo-traveller
- Palmers Lodge Hillspring – best for groups and families
- The Dictionary Hostel – best for backpackers
- Generator Hostel London – best party hostel
- Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage – best hostel for Older Travellers
Come on, grab yourself a tea to settle into the British mood and prepare to enjoy the following…
Things to do in London for free…
We will start with the, as we like to think, a perfect way to get an introduction to the city.
1. Join a Free Walking tour
Always a good way to get to know the city, a free walking tour!
With the walking tour, you will not only get some facts about the city, but you can also get an idea of what you would like to do or discover next.
There are many options in the city, just find the Walking tour you would like to join.
Bear in mind, the FREE walking tours are always tip-based.
This means you (can) pay a tip to the guide at the end of the tour in the amount of whatever you think the tour is worth it. Backpackers usually pay 5€, while others pay around 10€ to 15€ per person. This is just to give you an idea.
Good to know: You do not HAVE to pay, it’s on volunteer base. Yet, I took many free walking tours around Europe. I always gave a tip at the end. Not a single tour has ever been bad or useless. Since there was always a value, the tour guide made a great job, the tip was always well worked for.
Here is a list of free walking tours in London:
2. See the London main attractions
How about I tell you the MAIN attractions in London are free? After a free walking tour, this is my #2 best recommendation!
Walk from Waterloo Bridge to the Tate Modern and see a huge part of the main London attractions, such as:
- the famous London Eye
- Big Ben
- The War Memorial
- Westminster Bridge
- Royal Festival Hall
- Jubilee Gardens
- London Dungeon
- Hungerford Bridge
- Waterloo Bridge
Good to know: Along these streets, you will find lots of street artists. From Charley Chaplin to incredible street musicians with fantastic voices.
At the end of this article, I include a map with all those places.
This brings us to the next free activity…
3. Discover new Artists
During one of our visits to London, we were amazed by Charlotte Campbell, a sweet street musician, playing next to the London Eye. There are so many more street artists around with so much talent.
Yet, Charlotte stands out.
She even has a lot of songs on the Youtube channel and plays concerts.
Check out her Youtube Channel here. You can find her most of the time next to the London Eye. This is where she performs too.
One of our favorite songs? Streets of London, click below:
4. “Changing of the Guard”
Ok, ok, this could be a tourist thing to do… but many people are curious to see it. And in fact, it is really worth it and again, FREE!
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is held every day at 11:30 am. Come over and take a few photos, it is really interesting.
Just so you know, do not provoke the guards. They are allowed to yell at you and even take more action if required. It is a myth that they only need to stand there and should not move. If you are about to harm then, they will harm you before. Just pay attention.
And most of all: be respectful! This is not a theatre, a show or a game!
Good to know: Arrive early because there are plenty of people!
5. Alternative “Changing of the Guard”
If you are curious about the “changing of the Guard” but do not like crowded places, then head over to Windsor.
There’s a changing of the guard as well, and not many people actually go there.
So, this is a more kind of hidden gem for London! Yet, keep in mind, this is still London. There are always people, but much less than at Buckingham Palace.
6. Walk through a National Nature Reserve
Richmond Park is the largest royal park and also a National Nature Reserve in London.
The Park is, you guessed it, free. On top of that, they do also offer free guided walks.
Check out the official website www.royalparks.org.uk for the official schedule.
Good to know: This park is incredibly beautiful. Seriously, they have a wide range of animals to discover.
Personally, I did not expect that beforehand. You can see the following animals:
- a wide range of birds
7. See the Diana Fountain
Another royal park.
Bushy Park is a royal park which as a formal Baroque water garden, and the beautiful Diana Fountain. The park is famed for its mix of waterways, gardens and grassland, and roaming herds of red and fallow deer.
Again, totally unexpected for me.
You can come here for cycling as well as horse riding. Check out more information here.
8. Get some fresh air
Okay, after mentioning two parks, this may sound redundant…
Yet, Hyde Park is one of the biggest parks in London. It has plenty of free things to do!
You can enjoy
Locals do usually come here to run at Hyde Park.
If you are not a sports lover, do not worry.
Hyde Park has also a lake, a restaurant… and plenty of squirrels.
Children (and adults) do love to feed the squirrels!
9. Talk with Peter Pan
Now that we are in Hyde Park, did you notice there is Peter Pan Statue there?
This is one of the nice free things to do in London for families with young kids.
The statue is located in Kensington Gardens and you can actually speak with it.
You just have to dial the code they indicate on the statue and
Peter Pan will call you!
I think this way pretty cool and the face on the children’s faces were priceless when they realized Peter Pan just called.
10. Make an Open Speech
Did you hear about the speaker’s corner?
It is a traditional site for public speeches and debates since the mid-1800s when protests and demonstrations took place in Hyde Park.
It is located on the north-east edge of Hyde Park, nearest Marble Arch, and Oxford Street.
If you have something to say (or you just would like to hear), head there on Sunday morning.
11. Barbecue time!
I am a big fan of BBQs. having a barbecue is one of the best things to do in Summer in London.
Regent’s Park is not only a royal park, but also houses the Open Air Theater, London Zoo, Primrose Hill, and 100 species of wild bird.
All that makes Regent’s Park a perfect spot to barbecue and do activities all day long!
Remark: Bear in mind only portable, reusable charcoal barbecues are allowed.
Remember: please clean up after yourself. This keeps the green tidy and clean for the next crowd.
12. Be on the top of a hill (Panoramic View)
Primrose Hill is located in the northern part of Regent’s Park.
It does offer one of the best panoramic views of London.
We came here by coincidence. On the way here we stumbled upon the Little One Coffee Shop. A tiny coffee shop with yummy muffins and crepes, and super creamy coffee.
Come here for breakfast!
13. Touch a Roman Wall
Throughout the city of London, you’ll see traces of the original Roman Wall fortification.
The largest piece is located in the Museum of London. Like many museums, the Museum of London has free entrance, don’t miss it.
Good to know: You should not touch actually any display items.
14. Recall the steps of the fav four
Visit the iconic zebra crossing on Abbey Road and recreate the steps of Beatles.
“Abbey Road“, the location itself for the famous photo, is the eleventh studio album by The Beatles. The recording sessions for the album were the last in which all four Beatles participated.
Anyway, this iconic photo was taken here and you can recreate it.
Good to know: This is obviously perfect for a group of 4 people…
Find the exact location of Abbey Road here.
15. Enjoy lunch with a free concert
Enjoy lunch in the Crypt at St. Martin in the Fields and you could enjoy a free concert every day. To quote from their website”
“The in-house music program at St Martin’s embraces music in worship, concerts, our weekly Great Sacred Music series as well as an exciting series of broadcasts, recordings and online content.”
Check out their official schedule at www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org
16. Spot a Bansky
Banksy is the world’s most famous Street Artists. Nobody knows who he or she is, but his work is all over the world and a few of him/ her in London.
The graffiti artist’s work can be spotted around London.
Try to find the maid sweeping at Camden’s street or any other of his/ her work.
You will be surprised how many Graffiti from Bansky around the city is.
If you are really curious about Graffiti, I do totally recommend you to join a Graffiti tour. It is not free, it starts at 20€, and totally worth it!
17. Visit Little Venice in London
See London’s waterways and cute boats where people do actually live.
Little Venice is placed on Canals of Maida Vale, near Camden Lock. This place to visit in London is recommended for second-time or third-time visitors.
Although it is really curious and beautiful, for the first-time visitor I recommend staying focused on the main sights. Unless you really have time on your hand.
18. Cross under the Water, the Greenwich Foot Tunnel
Cross one of the oldest tunnels under the Thames. This is really really unique.
It takes around 10 minutes to walk through the tunnel from Cutty Sark to the isle of dogs under the river Thames. There are a few tunnels actually, but the one we mention here is the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.
This is the exact address, located in East London.
Walking through the old tunnel is a very weird (and FREE) activity in London.
Find more details of the tunnel under the Thames here.
19. Get your Red Telephone Box-Photo
Ok, that sounds touristy… but it is awesome. Don’t believe it? Try it and look at the result!
Every day it gets harder to get a picture in a red phone booth.
HINT: There is one next to Big Ben. The perfect location for your Instagram photo below is the exact location.
20. Sit between two world leaders
Located in Bond Street, there is the statue of Roosevelt and Churchill, two world leaders. The place is called “Churchill And Roosevelt Allies Sculpture”.
You can take a seat on the bench between them and picture yourself as the new future leader!
21. Triumphal Arch
Ok, ok… London is so full of Triumphal Archs, that it gets even boring: Wellington Arch is the most important, and the second one is Marble Arch.
But our favorite is Admiralty Arch, which links the Mall with Trafalgar Square.
Why? Become nosey and discover it!
The statue on top of the Wellington Arch reminds of the Brandenburger Gate in Berlin. Is it just me?!
22. Become nosey
We really like Admiralty Arch because the artist Rick Buckley placed a stone-carved human nose on the inner wall of the northernmost arch.
He did it in order to protest the increased use of CCTV cameras in London.
Rick Buckley felt that the government was becoming too “nosey” and he put noses around the city, being Admiralty Arch a perfect location to found one of the noses.
Find the nose and tag us on social media with #hostelgeeks.
23. Show at Covent Garden
On the lower levels of the Market in Covent Garden, there are usually musicians offering a show.
Just stop by and relax while you attend one of these free shows! You can check the events on their official website https://www.coventgarden.london.
You can also have a drink or eat in one of the bars next to it and enjoy the performance during your lunch.
24. Admire the Harrod’s Food Hall
We get it, you think it is expensive to eat in Harrods. Why on earth is the Harrods on an article about FREE London activities?
Well, here’s the secret: not everything is expensive!
Plus looking is still free nowadays, so you can always get some meal ideas.
Just head to Harrods and have a look. Here is an intriguing video of the dessert haven in London.
25. Check out Picadilly Circus
Picadilly Circus? That already sounds like music in my ears.
This name goes hand in hand when it comes to London and, although I don’t have data to back this up, I think it’s the most famous metro stop in Europe.
Anyway… is it, of course, the busiest place and square in London!
See the iconic bright lights and the famous statue of Eros in Picadilly Circus! It is estimated that around 100 million people pass by the Picadilly Circus – EVERY YEAR.
26. Attend the Chinese New Year
Leicester Square remains a popular tourist attraction in London. It hosts many events, as for example the Chinese New Year.
If you happen to be in London during the Chinese New Year, visiting Leicester Square is a must. An authentic NY’s festivity.
Check out the cool guys from Timeout about ways to celebrate Chinese New Year in London.
27. Tate Modern
Tate Modern building is worthy itself, even only to have a look from the outside.
Plus if there is any collection which you are interested in once you are there, you can always decide to enter.
Some events and exhibitions are free, others are paid and you need to purchase a ticket. Have a look at the official website www.tate.org.uk/ticketing to find more information.
28. Royal Roses
Queen Mary’s Gardens has more than 12.000 roses planted, and can be visited for free!
It is located in Regent’s Park.
If you read this and instantly thought “oh boys, that’s boring!?”, well it is not actually.
12.000 roses, an open-air theatre, and the Delphinium border have full national collection status.
29. Paintings at the National Gallery
National Gallery House has one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world, and you can enjoy free entrance 361 days a year!
The most famous paintings at the National Gallery London are
- A Young Woman standing at a Virginal by Johannes Vermeer
- Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian
- Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses) by Paul Cézanne
- Bathers at Asnières by Georges Seurat
- Bathers at La Grenouillère by Claude Monet
- Doge Leonardo Loredan by Giovanni Bellini
- Equestrian Portrait of Charles I by Anthony van Dyck
- Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame by François-Hubert Drouais
- Madame Moitessier by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
- Mr. and Mrs. Andrews by Thomas Gainsborough
- Samson and Delilah by Peter Paul Rubens
- Seaport with the Embarkation of Saint Ursula by Claude
- Self Portrait at the Age of 34 by Rembrandt
- Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh
- The Adoration of the Kings by Jan Gossaert (Jean Gossart)
- The Entombment (or Christ being carried to his Tomb) by Michelangelo
- The Supper at Emmaus by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
- The Virgin of the Rocks from Panels from the S. Francesco Altarpiece, Milan by Leonardo da Vinci
- Whistlejacket by George Stubbs
30. Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London may be the largest museum of its kind in the world.
and admission is free! Hurray!
In their own words “Get up close to the objects that made history – from iconic maritime exhibits to great British art.”
Have a look at this fun video.
31. Find the Rosetta stone – The British Museum
From a Pantheon to mummies… and even the Rosetta stone!
The world-famous British Museum is home to some of the world’s finest and broadest collections.
Check them out.
The British Musem is FREE!
While other museums of that class cost lots of money in Paris, Madrid and New York City, the British Museum remains free.
There is some controversy about the British Musem. Some of the exhibition items were taken from other countries years and centuries ago and never were returned. While this controversy is a political issue, don’t let yourself be bothered by it.
Anyway, The British Museum is one of the UNIQUE things to do in London, go for it!
We spent around 4 hours here, but you can easily spend the whole day here. This article sums up the 15 must-see masterpieces in the British Museum.
32. Get in a splendid 17th Century Royal Villa
Queen’s House Greenwich was the first classical building in England, and it was designed by the renowned architect Ingo Jones.
Admire the beauty and famous exterior features of the Queen’s House.
Enjoy extraordinary art and see beautiful art in this historic royal house and uncover its hidden stories with expert tours.
33. Get to know the famous British
Get to know the important and famous British in the National Portrait Gallery.
It was the first portrait gallery in the world when it opened in 1856 and admission is, you guessed correctly, free!
34. Art, Modern Art
In the heart of the Royal Park of Kensington Gardens in central London, Serpentine Galleries do offer a vast modern and contemporary art. The entrance is free.
35. Life is about much more than money!
In case you want to check it, visit the Bank of England Museum. It has a free entrance!
The Bank of England Museum has a unique selection of displays and exhibits, covering its role in maintaining monetary and financial stability through to the banknote gallery and gold vaults.
Discover the history of the Bank, its buildings, and the people who have shaped it over more than 300 years.
36. Fly Apollo 10!
From money to Science!
Inside the Science Museum, there is an Apollo 10 command module and a flight simulation.
Now, that got your attention, right?!
In case it does not app(o)eal you, they still have seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits.
It has free entrance, so just head there and have some educational fun. WonderLab is my favorite area. Here you can really get creative and dive into Science. Perfect for families with young children!
Generally interested in Science? Their Youtube Channel is stuffed with incredibly videos about new Science Projects and background stories.
37. Dive the Great Barrier Reef
The next big museum on this list is the Natural History Museum.
Have a 3D Virtual experience at the Natural History Museum. You can dive in the Great Barrier Reef dive or even
take part in a treasure hunt!
This is especially fun for families!
38. See Shakespeare’s home
Even though there is an entrance fee to get in for a tour, you can have a look outside the Globe Theatre.
Totally worth it for literature and history lovers.
There are always different tours and exhibitions. Best is to check out the official website www.shakespearesglobe.com.
39. Climb Europe’s largest escalator
Angel tube station holds the title of Europe’s largest escalator.
It is 60 meters long, with a vertical height of nearly 30 meters,
really worth to “climb”!
Obviously, you will need to enter the train station here or leave. The station is located North of Clerkenwell, the exact address here.
40. W-isit a Gallery
Located in a distinctive arts and crafts building designed by Charles Harrison Town on the East End of London is Whitechapel Gallery.
This Gallery has not a permanent collection but a rolling program of several exhibitions around the world each year.
41. Feed the ducks
Bounded by Buckingham Palace, Saint James Park is the oldest Royal Park.
There, you can feed the ducks, or simply walk around.
42. Visit Platform 9 ¾ – Harry Potter!
Bus station authorities have set up an entrance for Harry Potter fans at King’s Cross station.
The best part? You can picture yourself attempting to cross the wall for free!
Depending on the time of day, it can be busy or no queue at all. We could not figure out any pattern.
The photo-taking is free.
There is also someone from the shop taking photos with you and merchandising like the scarf and such. If you want, you can buy a more professional photo at the shop nearby.
Good to know: Harry Potter lovers, did you know there are tours dedicated to discover the film locations?
This Harry Potter tour is dedicated to discovering all the places and facts about the movie.
Find more about Harry Potter tours and which one to choose in our Fun Things to do in London.
43. The Oldest Market
Located in Gracechurch Street, Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest markets in London.
It is worth to explore for the architectural alone.
44. Hugh Grant’s Bookstore
Visit the bookstore that appeared in the film Notting Hill.
45. Bello Portobello
No visit to London is complete without a visit to the bustling Portobello Market.
Just be prepared for huge crowds. It is totally worth it.
46. Get Fit
London is full of free trails, so being fit is not a money issue anymore.
Check out the best London Fitness trails and some exercise recommendations at Muddy Plimsolls outdoor personal trainer website.
47. Farmer’s market
Horniman Museum is not only a museum.
They do also offer a Locally sourced farmers’ market selling a variety of produce, hot food and more in their Gardens.
The event takes place every Saturday morning.
48. Explore Camden Town…
For most people, authentic and more impressive London is located in Camden Town. It is alternative, a bit odd, quirky, different. This is the artsy part of town.
There, you will find also Amy’s statue.
49. …and Camden Lock Market
Camden Lock Market is a free and fabulous bohemian labyrinth in Camden Town.
Tipp: make sure you visit it as early as possible, as it gets very crowded.
50. Glimpse the Prime Minister
Visit 10 Downing Street and you might see the Prime Minister come and go from his residence! This is his actual residence.
Not sure if you can say hello and sit down for an afternoon tea though…
51. I’m blue, Da Ba Dee…
London is full of buildings with blue plaques.
If you look at them closely, you will discover some history famous people who lived there.
Across the capital, there are more than 900!
52. Tea time
Victoria and Albert Museum is one of the most beautiful and popular museums to visit in London.
Furthermore, their tea room was the first museum restaurant in the world and is almost a museum piece on its own!
So go, enjoy the museum and relax afterward with a warm cup of tea as you take in the gorgeous surroundings.
FYI: the photo was not taken at the Museum, but you get the picture…
53. Shoot the most colorful Street
We know, all the people head to Nothing Hill to take houses pictures. But, HEY! There are also very nice houses in other areas.
Just off King’s Road, in Chelsea. You’ll find one of London’s most colorful streets: Bywater Street.
This is another perfect spot to take Instagram photos in London!
For a long time, Camden has been the epicenter of all things alternative and its inhabitants continue to do it justice by being their lovable, unforgettable selves.
Aside from throngs of sock-and-sandal donning tourists, you will run into goths, hippies and anything in between.
We were lucky enough to spot some fun street artists, keep your eyes and mind open. This is Camden Town!
55. FREE food tasting
Borough Market is near to the South Bank area and it is a very trendy local market where locals do actually pick up lunch.
In Borough Market, you will find amazing food. Many stalls do also offer some free tasting. The visit turns to be totally worth it just before lunchtime.
Also, this is a great place to eat relatively cheap in London. Give it a go! You find anything from fresh vegetables and fruits to fish and meat. The range of street food covers anything between India and the UK and Chile to Canada.
56. Picnic with Thames views
It is always a great idea, and even better with nice views, don’t you think?
Just pack some food and get to Battersea Park. There you can enjoy a nice picnic, with views of the Thames or lake views.
Free Things to do in London at night
Alright, this was already a HUGE list with parks and family things to do.
I also list for you the free things to do in London at night. Although a Pint can be pricey, there’s more than pubs and live concerts.
57. Listen to Big Ben Chime
Stand in Parliament Square at noon and wait for Big Ben to take its music! A great side-effect of being here: You are next to the London Eye. This site is illuminated by night, perfect for photos with bulb (long-term) exposure.
58. Meet at “The Meeting Place”
Admire the beautiful St Pancras International station, where you can watch Eurostars trains arrive and depart.
See the statue of the couple kissing? It was named “The meeting place”.
59. Nighttime Walk
Walk from Tower Bridge to Westminister bridge and see the main attractions lit up.
60. Snap the city
Take night shots of the main attractions and famous streets of London:
- Trafalgar Square
- Westminister Bridge…
With the lights on, the city looks completely different.
61. Party with free admission
Hootananny Brixton club offers many free entry gigs.
If you like reggae, ska, and folk music that’s the place to go!
Check the admissions policy of Hootananny Brixton here.
A cheap, not-free way to explore the nightlife in London is the famous Pub Crawl.
More info on Fun Things to do in London.
62. Tower Bridge… Lifts!
Most people just get to picture themselves on Tower Bridge, but wait and see the tower bridge open and close…
It is really impressive!
At night you can also take great photos.
My photo here…well, it didn’t turn out perfect, but you do better! 🙂
63. South London Gallery
Every Wednesday the South London Gallery opens until late, until 9 pm.
The museum’s cafe, The Habit, also remains open till late. It offers special deals on food!
Just turn up, entry is free, fun is included!
The South London Gallery could be also a great place for a first date. Keep that mind!
64. Neon Wonderland
If you wanna be amazed about how many things you can do with neon lights head to God’s Own Junkyard.
It is a neon art warehouse, one of those places which have to be seen to be believed.
They only open on weekends. Fridays and Saturday entry is free until 9 pm.
65. Explore your nerdy side
An excellent source of free events in London are Book shops:
- author talks
- book launches
- discussion groups
- and some other events
As you will have realized by now, the cultural scene and things to do are endless. Check out Foyles and Waterstones websites, two of the biggest Book shops in London. They keep their websites up to date with the newest events.
66. Panoramic city view
I kept this one until the very end of this list of free activities. So, Eureka, I can finally say: Last but not least, the Sky Garden!
Sky Garden is a unique space in London that offers visitors a chance to experience the city from a different viewpoint. The Sky!
It has a viewing area, terrace, café, bar, and even a restaurant. The restaurant itself is not cheap, but definitely something unique!
The best of it? You can book a free visit to the Sky Garden!
Good to know: Check the time for sunset and plane to be there a little bit before. The colors of the Sky are changing. You would be amazed by how London changes during the day and night lights exposure. I loved to see the difference!
Keep in mind: You can not just show up without a booking. You have to have a confirmed booking from the official website www.skygardentickets.com. Book your visit as soon as you can, it’s really popular. You don’t need any credit card or anything!
Extra 76. The British Library
This is the national library of the UK. They show you some of their beautiful collections and tell the stories of the people who use them.
Find opening hours and reading room hours here.
Money-Saving Tips for visiting London
As we are talking about FREE things to do in London and not the most luxurious and most expensive stuff, you might be also interested in some tricks for spending less while visiting London. Now, that makes only sense…
Here are our best tricks to London on a budget:
1. FREE Museums
Take advantage of all the free museums listed above.
Bear also in mind that on rainy days, Museums are also a good way to keep dry. Okay, here is again the list of free museums in London:
- British Museum
- Natural History Museum
- Science Museum
- National Gallery
- Museum of London
- Tate Modern
- Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
- Imperial War Museum
- Horniman Museum and Gardens
- National Maritime Museum
- V&A Museum of Childhood
- Sir John Soane’s Museum
- Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre
- Wallace Collection
- National Portrait Gallery
- Tate Britain
- Royal Air Force Museum
- Wellcome Collection
- British Library
- Whitechapel Gallery
- Museum of London Docklands
- National Army Museum
- Serpentine Galleries
2. Walk it
Although you will want to use public transport for long journeys, central London is perfect for walking. Use your legs and walk around. You will see many more things.
Again, only in CENTRAL London. If you are planning to walk from North to South or West to East, get ready because that would take a long time!
Good to know: during rush hour, it is actually faster to walk between stations such as Covent Garden and Leicester Square.
3. Buy an Oyster Card
For long distances, use the metro, but do it the right way!
Buy the Oyster Travel Card and save money on each journey. You must buy the card first, but each trip will be 50% cheaper than buying one-day paper travel cards or single tickets.
Make sure you buy one when you do arrive.
The fastest way around is the Hop On Hop Off bus. This is a good investment if you are only here for 3 days!
4. Join a Free Walking tour
We covered this as #1 in this article.
Join a FREE walking tour and get an idea about the city size and history. Even though a Free walking tour is usually not totally free, (it is a tip-based tour), it will be the cheapest way to gather many, many information.
I am sure you will get more than you pay!
Normally guides are super nice and very approachable. Ask them any questions you might have, cheap restaurants recommendations included.
5. Avoid peak travel times
That would be rule number one for saving money while traveling: avoid peak travel times, which makes accommodation and flights prices higher, and save money even before getting one step in the country.
Peak time includes days like New Year’s eve, August, special holidays and celebrations as well as festivals.
6. Use only free bathrooms
Public toilets in London tend to be rather inconvenient, as they are often paying.
Make the most of the bathrooms using them while visiting any attraction (free museums included).
This keeps your expenses down! Venice in Italy it goes the same. Here we recommend instead of paying 1€ just for the toilet, get a coffee on the bar for 1€ – toilet usage included!
7. Sleep on budget accommodations
Accommodation and transport are often the biggest expense while traveling. Try to stay at budget accommodations like hostels or Airbnb and take advantage of our 35€ discount for your Airbnb booking.
We also created a big guide to hostels in London. Here we collected the 3 best hostels in London for you.
- Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage – best for solo-traveller
- Palmers Lodge Hillspring – best for groups and families
- The Dictionary Hostel – best for backpackers
- Generator Hostel London – best party hostel
- Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage – best hostel for Older Travellers
Read: 15 simple booking hacks for hostels
8. Eat cheaply
There are plenty of options to eat on a budget in London. Street food has become very popular and you will find many food trucks, food markets and food stalls with mouthwatering food.
Some of my favorite places:
- Borough Market
- Camden Market
For saving, even more, you can purchase food from supermarkets. The Fresco supermarkets even have an area with microwaves and some seats so you can eat there.
Where to stay in London on a budget?
We discovered two stylish and budget-friendly accommodations, the 5 Star Hostels in London:
Both hostels have a great location, close to a metro stop that will bring you directly to the very heart of London.
These are the perfect hostels on a budget in London. They feature a bar with reasonable prices and even organize pub crawls. This is perfect for the budget traveler visiting London!
A general suggestion: In London, the most important thing is to have a tube station nearby. That way, you will be able to explore the city.
More an apartment or hotel person? Then read this guide about best places to stay in London for a first time visit. It covers all neighborhoods and areas in a more detailed way, including maps and more smart tips.
The Map with ALL things to do in London for free
I sat down and put all of these activities and sights to visit on one handy map. I ordered them by:
- unique and cool
- Sights/ point of interest
- Museums/ Galleries/ Exhibitions
- Best Hostels in London
I hope this map helps you to plan your trip better.
Summary Things to do in London for FREE
London is big and can be an expensive city, but you can find many things to do in London for FREE. We hope you enjoyed our list, and we wish you a great time in this amazing city.
Here you have also all the main top attractions in London which you should not miss:
- Big Ben
- London Eye
- Buckingham Palace
- Westminster Abbey
- The British Museum
- Piccadilly Circus
For some of the places, you will have to buy your ticket beforehand, like the London Eye. The British Museum is FREE!
As you might have noticed, we love to have FUN!
That is why we also collected many articles about fun things to do in Europe:
- Fun things to do in Barcelona
- Fun Things to do in Amsterdam
- Cool things to do in Barcelona
- Fun things to do in Santorini
Hostel Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality hostel, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.The most important things to pack are:
- eye mask
- key chain flashlight
- the right backpack, the Nomatic (our review of Nomatic here) or Lowe Alpine Lightflite 45 Pack
- packing cubes
- generic padlock (fitting all locker types)
- quick-dry travel towel
- universal power adapter
- travel-sized toiletries