There are lots of fun cheapo things to do in London, including some of the world’s best galleries and exhibitions. Visit The Barbican, Tate Modern, Tate Britain V&A, Natural History Museum , Welcome Collection (to name but a few) and many other London museums for free. If you’re new to London, get started by browsing our mega list of 101 free things to do in London.
Looking to plan an itinerary or narrow it down? Here’s some suggestions to help you decide what you want to do by category, geographical area, or season.
Galleries and Museums
Many of London’s museums and galleries are free to visit
. These include the major museums including The Barbican, Tate Modern, Tate Britain V&A, Natural History Museum , Wellcome Collection, as well as lesser-known ones like Horniman Museum, The Grant Museum of Zoology, William Morris Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, The Photographers’ Gallery and Sir John Soane’s Museum.
Most of these galleries and museums don’t require advanced booking, aside from ticketed exhibitions, so you can be pretty spontaneous with visits.
One of the best things about London is its green spaces. Roughly 47% of London is green, and there are lots of initiatives and organisations to make it even greener
From major parks
like Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill and Battersea Park to lesser known trails like The Parkland Walk, nature reserves, canals and old churchyards
– exploration costs nothing. There are always plenty of free events, talks and exhibitions happening, and we’ll make sure you know where to find them.
London is also home to an abundance of wildlife including Peregrine falcons, flamingos, and green parakeets, and lucky for you, we know where you can spot different species
around the city.
Culture, Events and Live Performance
While ticket prices to live events can be eye-watering at times, there are still plenty of interesting things to see on a budget
from off-peak and cheap-day cinema screenings to free lunchtime concerts and even discounted Opera and Ballet tickets. There are often good deals to be found at the Theatre, especially if you can go at short notice. Even bigger shows often have rush tickets which you can get online using apps like Today Tix or in person at ticket booths around Leicester Square or even the theatre box office itself.
Plays at theatres like the Royal Court, Old Vic and Young Vic often transfer to the West End and tickets are generally much cheaper there. Select theatres also offer deals on particular days or run pay what can schemes for people on lower incomes.
Stay updated with our event page
Things To Do by Area
When planning your London itinerary, it’s easiest to batch activities you’re hoping to do by area. Here are a few suggestions to get you started in central, east, west, north and south London.
A lot of central London areas are within easy reach of each other, so if you’re able to walk the distance it will save you the time and hassle of getting on and off public transport. Places to visit in central London include the bars and restaurants of Soho
, or you could browse the independent bookshops and small museums of Bloomsbury
. And if you need a breather from busy pavements, you can take a stroll through Hyde Park, Regents Park or Green Park.
try and walk the streets that run parallel to the hellscape that is Oxford Street, which is now home to an inexplicable number of American Candy stores and is always crowded.
For more ideas on things to do, check out our other central London area guides:
Visiting north of the river, you’ll be able to check out city views
from Parliament Hill and Primrose Hill, as well take long walks around Hampstead Heath and walk along the Regents Canal from Camden to Angel on a sunny day. If you go a little further north to Tottenham and Enfield, you’ll find hidden gems like Tottenham Marshes
and Forty Hall
Looking for more things to do in north London? Check out our are guides:
Venture south east London to visit the Horniman Museum, stroll through Greenwich Park
, and wander around Borough Market
. If you’re in south west London, there’s lots to see and do in Brixton, or if you feel like you’re on holiday
without leaving the city, hop on the Overground to visit Kew Gardens
, which is home to giant redwood, exotic plants and over 1000 species of bamboo.
For more tips on what to see and do in south London, read our area guides:
East London neighbourhoods include the colourful street art covered Shoreditch, and nearby Brick Lane which are particularly good for browsing in flea markets
and vintage shops
. Go to Hackney for gigs and club nights at Moth Club and the borough is also home to great independent cinemas and theatres including Hackney Empire, The Castle Cinema, The Rio and The Arcola. Further east, head to Stratord to visit the Olympic Park and other walking trails in the area, or Walthamstow for the wetlands, William Morris Gallery and the neon art store Gods Own Junkyard.
For more places to visit in east London, read our neighbourhood guides.
West London may not be as cool as east, but there are plenty of interesting things to see and do there, especially around theNotting Hill area, which is home to the many markets of Portobello Road, pastel coloured streets, and several famous film locations
Elsewhere, Holland Park is home to the beautiful Kyoto Garden
, and the Design Museum, and there are scenic walks along the canal from Paddington to Little Venice too.
Find out more about what west London has to offer in our area guides:
Seasonal activities in London
After the long winter, the days are longer and London is in full bloom. It may not come close to Japan, but April brings streets and parks filled with pastel-hued cherry blossoms, as well as an abundance of cheery, bright yellow daffodils. There are also several public holidays and a few free events happening in Springtime
Arguably the best time to visit, at least in terms of free and cheap stuff – London is a great place to be in the summertime. There are lots of music and arts festivals
across the city, including the legendary Notting Hill Carnival
, as well as art trails
, and on sunny days (yes, we do have a few of those!) you can eat and drink outdoors and take in city views on roof terraces
, or hang out in beer gardens. If you fancy heading to the beach, there are plenty of beach trips within easy reach of London
As the leaves turn, London becomes awash with beautiful colours once more, and with it brings opportunities for tree bathing and general Autumn appreciation
. Favourite spots include Hampstead Heath, and the vast open spaces of Epping Forest and Richmond Park. And if you’re after more rural surroundings – you can get to beautiful national parks, cycling routes and hiking trails by taking a short trip outside London
to visit places like Canterbury, Surrey, and the South Downs. Other seasonal highlights include the London Film Festival in early October and Bonfire Night
in early November with large fireworks displays across London including Battersea Park and Alexandra Palace.
It may be the coldest time of year, but in the run up to the Christmas holidays, it’s also one of the brightest. Most of the city is illuminated with interesting displays around Regent Street and Oxford Street. And once the trees and baubles are down, you can still brighten the short days by visiting one of the many illuminated trails
which normally carry on into January. There are also lots of winter markets to wander around with a cup of hot chocolate or a mulled wine, and remember there’s lots of galleries and museums to visit, whatever the weather.