- Going to the British capital but, like everyone at the moment, feeling the credit crunch? Check out our list of fifteen things to do for free there which includes everything from going to the cinema to being in the audience of a TV show...
1. Visit the free museums
Many of London’s museums are free. But we’re not talking any old museums...we’re talking the city’s top museums! This includes the British Museum on Great Russell St. (which is London’s most visited attraction), the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, the National Portrait Gallery around the corner on St Martin’s Place, the Tate Modern and Tate Britain on the River Thames, and the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, all in South Kensington.
2. Go to the cinema
Located on Borough High Street near Borough Tube station (Northern Line), The Roxy is a bar with a difference – it’s got a bar out the back where you can catch free movies each Sunday through Wednesday. These include everything from Paul Newman classics to kung-fu flicks.
© Image courtesy of Roxy Bar and Screen.
3. Walk along the Thames to see the city’s top attractions
Go for a walk from Westminster Bridge along London’s River Thames to London Bridge and you’ll see a host of the city’s top attractions without spending anything. This includes Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, the Gherkin Building, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge.
4. Catch the changing of the guard
Taking place every day at 11.30am during the summer (and every second day during the winter), the Changing of the Guard in front of Buckingham Palace is one of the most popular things to witness in London. Make sure to get down early to get a good viewing point.
5. See a free concert in National Theatre
If you’re one who likes all sorts of music and you’re near London’s National Theatre on Southbank near Waterloo Bridge, you’d be mad not to catch one of the free concerts there. Taking place Monday-Saturday at 5.45pm, and at 1.45pm on Saturday afternoons, jazz, folk and other types of acts can be seen.
© Image courtesy of Stephen Cummiskey/National Theatre of London.
6. Go to the recording of a TV Show
Just like in America, if you want to be in the audience of a TV show, be it a sitcom, game show or other, you can get tickets for free! All you have to do is visit TVrecordings.com or BBC.co.uk/tickets to see what’s available.
7. Take in a bird’s eye view of London
You can save yourself the price of a ‘flight’ on the London Eye by climbing to the top of Primrose Hill in North London. Here you will be treated to breathtaking views of the British capital for absolutely nothing.
8. Enjoy free DJs in the East End
Don’t fancy paying in to one of London’s clubs to see a top DJ? No worries! You can see them in different bars around the East End. These include The Hoxton Pony (pictured) at 104-108 Curtain Road in Shoreditch and Big Chill Bar on Dray Walk, just off the famous Brick Lane, also in the East End.
© Image courtesy of Hoxton Pony.
9. Enjoy choir singing in Westminster Abbey
While visiting one of London’s most famous attractions may cost £16 during the day, if you leave your visit until when ‘Evensong’ takes place every evening at 5.30pm you won’t have to pay anything. Not only that, you’ll be treated to the sounds of the Abbey’s choir too.
10. Rock out to the latest up and coming bands
Located in one of London’s most famous suburbs, Notting Hill Arts Club (21 Notting Hill Gate), has been showcasing London’s up and coming acts for 11 years now. Its small stage makes it that more intimate, while the old sofas are still perfect for enjoying the tunes.
© Image courtesy of Notting Hill Arts Club.
11. Hear people speak their mind at Speakers' Corner
Found at the north-east tip of Hyde Park near Marble Arch, Speakers' Corner is where anybody and everybody can jump on an old crate and voice their opinion on all sorts of subjects every Sunday. Whether it’s politics or fashion, chances are there’s going to be someone talking about it here.
12. See if up and coming comedians can put a smile on your face
While London is full of comedy clubs, many of these expect you to pay for the privilege of having your funny bone tickled. But there are some that don’t. The Theatre Royal Stratford (Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford) has free comedy nights every Monday night, while on Wednesdays you get to choose between the Comedy Cafe (66 Rivington St) in The City, or ‘Mirth Control’ at The Lower Ground Bar (269 West End Lane) in Hampstead.
13. Go on a free walking tour
What’s the catch I hear you ask? The thing is, there is none! Sandeman’s New London Tours operate a free walking tour in London every day! The ‘Free Tour of London’ leaves from Wellington Arch at 11am and 1pm and takes in sights such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and more.
14. Chill out in London’s parks
London is one of the busiest cities in the world, so it’s good to know the city’s Royal Parks are free to enter when you want to get away from it all. The best-known of these is Hyde Park in West London, while St James’s Park in front of Buckingham Palace is also a great place to relax.
15. See London's most famous sights
Don’t forget that many of London’s landmarks are free. This includes Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square, not to mention suburbs like Camden Town and Notting Hill.