Top 15 Free London Attractions to Make Sure You Visit

Free London Attractions

Updated On: May 23, 2024 by   Noha BasiounyNoha Basiouny

Exploring London can often seem like an expensive adventure, especially if you are travelling on a budget. That Big Ben you wish to climb, the London Eye you want to see the entire city from, or the famous Madame Tussauds London with its scarily terrific lifelike figures as well as many more attractions that you have been dreaming of visiting do cost a fortune.

Lucky you, London is not limited to paid attractions, rather is brimming with tens of free others. Consider this article your guide to a wealth of spectacular places, iconic landmarks, and hidden gems in London that offer unforgettable experiences without costing you a dime.

So, put on a pair of comfortable trainers, pack a bottle of water and some snacks and let’s explore the Swinging City. Here are 15 free London attractions you can visit.

1. British Museum

The very first fantastic admission-free place you can visit in London is the British Museum, especially if you are interested in history, culture, and art.

The British Museum is one of the world’s most comprehensive museums, with an immense collection of over eight million works spanning two million years of human history, from the Rosetta Stone, which unlocked the secrets of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, to the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon in Greece. Each artefact tells a unique story, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in a wealth of knowledge and beauty without cost. 

As a dynamic centre for learning and exploration, the museum also offers a number of special exhibitions, educational workshops, and engaging lectures, all of which promise an enriching journey through time and across cultures.

2. National Gallery

Free London Attractions

Established back in 1824 and located in Trafalgar Square in the heart of London, the National Gallery is one of the most prestigious art museums in the world. It boasts a vast and varied collection of more than 2,300 paintings all dating from the mid-13th century to the early 20th century, including masterpieces by well-known artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Rembrandt.

Such an impressive array of artworks provides visitors with a comprehensive overview of Western European painting and showcases the evolution of artistic styles and techniques over centuries.

Visiting the National Gallery is a must for art enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. Admission is free, so everyone can experience the beauty and diversity of its collection. The gallery also offers a variety of educational programmes, guided tours, and special exhibitions that delve deeper into the world of art. 

3. Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum, residing in South Kensington, London, is a world-famous institution dedicated to the natural world. It was established in 1881 and has ever since been housed in a stunning Romanesque building that itself is a marvel of architectural beauty.

With free admission, visitors can explore an extensive collection of more than 80 million specimens, covering a vast array of subjects from botany and entomology to mineralogy, palaeontology, and zoology. Highlights include the awe-inspiring dinosaur skeletons, the fascinating Darwin Centre, and the captivating displays of precious gems and minerals.

The museum also features engaging temporary exhibitions, interactive displays, and a range of family-friendly activities, ensuring an experience to remember for visitors of all ages.

4. Victoria and Albert Museum

Free London Attractions

Number four on our list of free London attractions is the Victoria and Albert Museum, commonly known as the V&A.

Located in South Kensington, this art and design museum is named after Her Majesty Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and houses a vast collection of over 2.3 million objects encompassing a wide range of disciplines, including sculpture, ceramics, fashion, textiles, photography, and decorative arts from various cultures around the world.

With free admission to the permanent collections, the V&A provides an accessible and enriching cultural experience for art enthusiasts, students, and families alike, making it a must-visit destination in London’s cultural landscape.

5. Borough Market

Free London Attractions

Borough Market is one of London’s oldest and most renowned food markets with roots dating back over a thousand years. This bustling market is a vibrant centre of culinary delights, offering a diverse array of fresh produce, gourmet foods, international delicacies, artisanal cheeses, freshly baked bread, exotic spices and organic fruits and vegetables. In other words, it is a true feast of senses. 

Whether you are a foodie in search of unique flavours or simply looking to soak up the lively atmosphere, Borough Market offers an unforgettable culinary experience in the heart of the city.

6. Hyde Park

Could anyone be in London without taking a walk around Hyde Park? This is the city’s most iconic green space with stunningly tranquil beauty and rich history. Spanning 350 acres in the heart of the city, Hyde Park offers a serene escape from the bustling streets. It is a truly peaceful oasis for relaxation.

Yet, if you are more into strolling or picnicking, the park provides tree-lined pathways and expansive stunning lawns, or you can go boating on the serene Serpentine Lake.

Moreover, Hyde Park is steeped in history and cultural significance, with landmarks such as the Serpentine Gallery, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, and the Speaker’s Corner, where free speech has flourished for centuries. Additionally, the park hosts a diverse variety of events and activities all year long, from concerts and festivals to outdoor theatre productions and sports events, ensuring there is always something new to discover.

7. Covent Garden Market

Free London Attractions

Another free-admission yet spectacular attraction in London, precisely in the city’s West End, is Covent Garden. This is a vibrant district known for its lively atmosphere that offers an enchanting blend of shopping, dining, and entertainment.

The iconic Covent Garden Market, housed in a stunning 19th-century building, features a variety of unique boutiques, artisan stalls, and street performers that create a bustling, dynamic environment. Here, you can find everything from handmade crafts and vintage treasures to high-end fashion and gourmet food.

Besides its shopping and dining options, Covent Garden is a cultural hotspot. The area is home to the Royal Opera House, where you can experience world-class opera and ballet performances. The surrounding streets, too, are filled with theatres, museums, and galleries, which makes it a hub for the arts.

8. Camden Market

Speaking of shopping, Camden Market is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a unique and eclectic shopping experience. This is a treasure trove of distinctive stalls and shops selling everything from vintage clothing and handmade jewellery to quirky home decor and unique art pieces. The market’s bohemian charm and creative energy make it a favourite spot for both locals and tourists.

What pairs well with shopping is, yes, eating. Camden Market is also a culinary paradise. The food stalls scattered here and there offer an international array of street food, such as mouth-watering Mexican tacos and delicious Thai noodles. Add to this the live music scene and street performances that provide an ever-changing backdrop of entertainment. 

9. Sky Garden

Free London Attractions

Visiting Sky Garden in London offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the city from a breathtaking vantage point. Perched atop the iconic Walkie-Talkie building in the heart of the financial district, Sky Garden boasts fantastic panoramic views of the London skyline, including landmarks such as the Shard, Tower Bridge, and the Thames River. 

Sky Garden is more than just a viewing platform—it is a destination in its own right. The space features multiple dining options, including a stylish bar and restaurants offering contemporary cuisine with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. If you want to indulge in a gourmet meal at sunset, Sky Garden will provide you with a memorable culinary experience in an unforgettable setting.

10. Greenwich Park

When in London, you cannot definitely miss visiting the stunning Greenwich Park located in Greenwich, which itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dating back to the 15th century, Greenwich Park offers a peaceful escape from London’s hustle and bustle with its expansive green spaces, ancient trees, and beautifully landscaped gardens. It is a perfect spot for picnics, leisurely walks, and outdoor activities, offering ample space to relax and enjoy nature.

Additionally, Greenwich Park is home to several notable attractions. The Royal Observatory, situated at the top of the hill, offers magnificent panoramic views of the London skyline and is the site of the Prime Meridian, where you can stand with one foot in the eastern hemisphere and the other in the western hemisphere. Is that not a once-in-a-lifetime experience?

Other parks you can visit totally free of charge in London include Wembley Park, Holland Park, St James Park, and Olympic Park.

11. National Maritime Museum

Free London Attractions

While in Greenwich, you should also pay a visit to the National Maritime Museum, or what do you think can display Britain’s rich maritime heritage better than this place?

As one of the world’s largest museums of its kind, the National Maritime Museum houses an extensive collection of artefacts, artworks, and exhibits that chronicle the history of seafaring, exploration, and naval warfare. Here, you can discover treasures such as Admiral Nelson’s uniform from the Battle of Trafalgar, intricate ship models, and historic navigational instruments.

As it is located in the picturesque setting of Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich, which includes the Royal Observatory, the Queen’s House, and the Cutty Sark. This allows visitors to experience a rich blend of history, science, and art all in one place.

12. Houses of Parliament

The House of Parliament, or the Palace of Westminster, is an iconic symbol of British democracy and one of the world’s most recognised buildings with its distinguished Gothic architecture. A guided tour allows you to explore historic chambers such as the House of Commons and the House of Lords, where crucial decisions that shape the nation take place.

In addition to their political significance, the Houses of Parliament are rich in historical and cultural heritage. You will have the chance to see impressive artworks, ornate interiors, and the magnificent Westminster Hall, which dates back to 1097 and has hosted numerous significant events, including coronation banquets, state trials, and speeches by world leaders. 

13. Bank of England Museum

Another fascinating attraction to visit in London is the Bank of England Museum, located right in the heart of the city. It is housed within the historic walls of the Bank of England and offers a captivating journey into the fascinating world of finance and central banking with a comprehensive overview of the institution’s rich history, its role in shaping the British economy, and its impact on the global financial landscape.

In addition, exhibits in the museum showcase a diverse array of artefacts, including rare banknotes, ancient coins, and intricate gold bars, all offering insights into the evolution of money and banking practices over the centuries. This is besides various engaging interactive displays and multimedia presentations that bring economic concepts to life in an accessible and engaging manner.

14. Spitalfields City Farm

Spitalfields City Farm, located in East London, is an oasis of greenery in the midst of the bustling city. The farm provides a peaceful escape where you can connect again with nature and learn about sustainable urban farming practices. Visitors can explore the farm’s lush gardens, meet a variety of farm animals, and discover the joys of growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs in an urban environment.

Moreover, Spitalfields City Farm plays a vital role in the local community, offering educational programmes and volunteer opportunities that promote environmental awareness and social inclusion. Through hands-on activities and educational tours, visitors can learn about organic gardening, animal care, and the importance of biodiversity in urban settings.

15. Portobello Road Market

Free London Attractions

Another wonderful market to visit is the Portobello Road Market, which offers a vibrant and eclectic shopping experience unlike any other. Nestled in the colourful Notting Hill neighbourhood, this world-famous market stretches for over a mile and is renowned for its diverse array of stalls selling antiques, vintage clothing, jewellery, artisanal goods, and much more.

Beyond its shopping delights, Portobello Road Market is steeped in history and culture. Dating back to the 19th century, the market has a rich heritage shaped by waves of immigration and cultural diversity. Today, it remains a melting pot of different cultures, attracting visitors from around the world with its vibrant mix of street performers, food vendors, and local artisans.

Conclusion

London offers a wealth of free attractions that matches a range of interests and passions. From world-class museums and historic landmarks to lush parks and vibrant markets, the city provides endless opportunities for discovery and exploration without breaking the bank.

Whether you are delving into the past at the British Museum, admiring the views from Greenwich Park, or browsing the stalls at Portobello Road Market, there is something for everyone to enjoy without spending a penny. These free attractions not only showcase the rich cultural heritage and vibrant atmosphere of London but also make the city accessible to visitors from all walks of life.

So next time you are in London, be sure to take advantage of these free experiences and immerse yourself in the best that the city has to offer without spending a dime.

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