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7 free things to do in London, England

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London. The name alone conjures up $$$$ signs in every budget travellers’ mind. It’s true London can be VERY expensive, however there are many free things to do in this wonderful city. I have lived here on and off for the last 14 years and I have made it my life’s mission to sniff out a bargain. Here are 7 free things to do in London for any traveler.

This article is part of the free Backpacking in Europe Guide where you find more great information, resources and destination guides to plan & organize your trip to Europe!

1) The Museums

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

London has some of the world’s best museums. There are literally hundreds to choose from. From ancient artefacts at The British Museum to old red London buses at the London Transport Museum whatever you are into you will find it. Many are free, so it won’t cost you a penny to see all that they have to offer.

2) Speakers Corner

Speakers Corner at Hyde Park

Speakers Corner at Hyde Park

Fancy putting the world to rights? Turn up at the North East corner of Hyde Park and join in with the motley crew of talkers who cover politics, religion and anything else that comes to mind. This has been going on since Victorian Times and the only rule is you have to stay within the laws of free speech.

3) The British Library

British Libarary

The British Libarary is one of the great free things to do in London

If you are looking for some quiet time in this hectic city, head to the British Library. Not only is the place quiet, it is also very beautiful. If you turn up early enough you can grab a dedicated work desk and use the free wifi to check up on facebook, I mean study the classics!

4) Wander the Markets

Brixton Market

Brixton Market

Markets are a great way to witness local life and London is no exception. Borough market is a foodie heaven (you may be tempted to splash the cash once you smell the glorious food), Camden market is like entering a parallel universe and Broadway market is a perfect snapshot of old London meeting hipster London.

5) British Films Institute’s Mediatheque

British Film Institute

British Film Institute

If it’s a rainy day, head towards the British Film institute under Waterloo bridge where you can watch thousands of archive TV shows, films and documentaries, in their Mediatheque room all for free!

6) Free music

St Martin in the Fields

St Martin in the Fields

Love music? Love Gigs? Apart from the plethora of buskers on the tube there are also places that have free music, some on a daily basis. Rough Trade record shop on Brick Lane host many free gigs. If alternative is not your style, how about classic music at St Martin in the Fields where they host daily lunchtime concerts.

7) Watch a trial at the Old Bailey

The Old Bailey

The Old Bailey

Anybody can attend the public galleries at London’s main criminal court to watch whatever trial is in session. (You are not allowed to take in mobile phones, cameras and large bags.) You can go home saying that you watched London’s criminal masterminds get sent down (convicted in local speak!)

“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
– Samuel Johnson

Believe it or not I actually found this very hard to narrow down only 7 free things to do. There are so many other opportunities. Whenever you get to London check out the daily free offers too as some things are short term only.

Accommodation, Transportation & Must Eat

Sleep
As London is quite expensive it isn‘t that easy to find budget accommodation – the best choices in my opinion are the Safestay, a new hostel which is close to Elephant & Castle which ensures a quick connection to the inner city and the Palmers Lodge, which is nicely designed and also a good location.
 
Get in & around
London is the most served destination in the world when it comes to flights, therefore it‘s easy to access – Heathrow and the City airport are the only ones with an Underground connection.

by plane – the main airport is Heathrow (LHW), beside that there is Gatwick (LGW), Stansted (STN), Luton (LTN) and the City Airport (LCY). Most of the budget airlines don‘t use Heathrow and offer very cheap airfare. Check Skyscanner for the cheapest connections!

by train – London has various big train stations and is the main hub within Britain, moreover it has a direct high speed connection to Paris with the Eurostar via the Channel tunnel from the station „St Pancras International“. Other big stations are King‘s Cross, Paddington, Victoria, Waterloo, Euston and Liverpool Street. Check RailEurope for connection to London!
 
Must Eat
Beside Fish & Chips, the original english breakfast is a must-try when in London – make sure to choose a decent spot. My recommendation is to watch out where construction workers are going to eat. I had a good one at the „Green Cafe“ close to Victoria Station.

The London Eye and Big Ben - it's also free to have a look but it'll cost you entrance fee if you want to see them from the inside ;)

The London Eye and Big Ben – it’s also free to have a look but it’ll cost you entrance fee if you want to see them from the inside ;)

Do you know more free things to do in London?

We love to hear them! Just share it below in the comment section – I will add the additional tips from time to time.

About The Author

Paul & Karen are a couple in their 30’s with a BIG passion for travel. After crossing Europe & Asia without using planes they set up globalhelpswap.com to share tips on memorable & meaningful travel. They also promote free volunteering opportunities around the world. When they are not travelling, you will find them deep in a good book with a bottle of red close by.
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