London’s got a bit of a reputation for being pricey and of course, when it comes to property, transport and a pint, it’s easy to rack up a hefty bill. Whether you are stopping by for a quick visit or living in London, it always helps to find ways to keep things within budget. There is plenty to do for free in London, meaning you can save money and still have fun. Here are 101 ideas to get you started.

Architecture & Buildings

  • The London Wall: Head to Tower Hill to visit one of London’s oldest historic sites. The London Wall was built by the Romans around 200 AD both as a defensive wall around the city and also to represent the city’s status. Follow the route on Google Maps to navigate your way around the surviving sections on the north side from Tower Hill, past Aldgate, Bishopsgate, Moorgate and the south section down to Blackfriars.
  • The London Mithraeum: The remains of an ancient temple to the mysterious cult of Mithras brought to life in an immersive exhibition; a captivating blend of ancient and modern. Tickets are free but we recommend you book your tickets in advance online to reserve your time slot.
  • The Singing Lift: Next time you’re at the South Bank, nip into the Royal Festival Hall and into the glass JCB lift on the left hand side of the building. Trust me, you’ll want to go to every floor.
  • Crystal Palace Dinosaurs: Is this Jurassic Park? No, just Crystal Palace park, but there are plenty of dinosaurs to be found. The Crystal Palace dinosaurs are dino statues that were made in the 1850s to accompany the Victorian Crystal Palace. Many of the dinosaurs are inaccurate by modern standards, but that just makes them more interesting.
  • Barbican Estate and Centre: This Brutalist landmark is a large residential estate and cultural centre and it’s worth visiting both. Wander along the Seddon Highwalk and Lauderdale Tower to appreciate the architecture up close; there are often free exhibitions and performances inside the Barbican Centre.
  • London’s Chinatown: With traditional Qing Dynasty designs and authentic East Asian shops and restaurants, the area around Gerrard Street just South of Soho is London’s present-day Chinatown and a fascinating wander.
  • Kenword: On the edge of Hampstead Heath surrounded by tranquil landscaped gardens, Kenwood is a great British Heritage property. Beautiful interiors and a world-class art collection that you can view for free.
hackney graffiti wall
Hackney, bad for cheap rent, good gritty arty vibes. | Photo by chris kirkland

Art (see also Galleries, Statues)

  • Sculpture in the City:

    Every Spring, the City of London financial district is transformed into a temporary sculpture park. Sculpture in the City is an art trail filled with large-scale pieces by international artists.

  • London Mural Festival: Download the latest map here and track down these fascinating, and very Instagrammable, large-scale murals. (Just don’t forget to tag the artist.)
  • E17 Art Trail: The E17 Art Trail is a free biennial art festival that takes place across Walthamstow. The artist-led programme is always eclectic and celebrates the spaces in which art is created and delivered, as well as the art itself.
  • Leake Street Arches: A hop and a step from Waterloo station, this is the largest legal wall for street art in London. Aka the Graffiti Tunnel or Banksy Tunnel, it was transformed in 2008 when Banksy used it for his Cans Festival (see what he did there?) and is different on every visit.
  • Buskers: London is brimming with incredible buskers. It’s not uncommon to encounter a street magician, a classical string quartet, a statue artist, a beat boxer and a junk percussion troupe in the same afternoon. The West Piazza of Covent Garden Market is full of particularly talented street performers as they have to pass an audition before performing here. The South Bank is another good area for street performers, especially at the weekend.
  • Street Art:There is a lot of remarkable street art in London, especially in the North of the city. Street art is of course, often temporary so you can’t guarantee if something you hear about or find online will still be there when you go to visit. Political pieces such as the work of Banksy often get covered up pretty quickly. It’s worth checking out the LDNGraffiti Website to see what is new and current. Some artists to look out for include: Space Invader (@invaderwashere), C215 (@christianguemy), Phlegm (@phlegm_art) and Lily Mixe (@lilymixe).
  • Illuminated River Art Trail: Renowned artist Leo Villareal has used LED technology to ‘paint with light’ and has illuminated nine Central London bridges, including all five along the South Bank. Remember they only light up after sunset, so plan accordingly.

Bridges

    Tower Bridge | Photo by Amanda David
  • Watch the Raising of Tower Bridge: Probably the most iconic bridge in London, Tower Bridge lifts more often than you would think – around 800 times a year. Scheduled lift dates and times are on their website.
  • Albert Bridge, Chelsea: Arguably one of London’s prettiest bridges, Albert Bridge connects Chelsea Embankment to Battersea. It’s worth crossing at night when the bridge is fully illuminated, but the pastel hues and river views are also rather lovely during the daytime too.
  • Paddington Basin Bridges: Part of the redevelopment of Paddington , the Paddington Basin Bridges aren’t your average bridges. They’re two large-scale moving sculptures designed by architect Thomas Heatherwick and can be seen in action on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Millennium Bridge: Enjoy a stroll over the Thames without sharing the bridge with traffic. A slim lateral suspension footbridge in central London, built so you get a view all round (since the suspension bit is on the side, not above the bridge). Located just by the Tate Modern.

Ceremonies & Traditions

  • Changing of the Guard: You simply can’t say you’ve seen London if you haven’t watched the Changing of the Guard.
abney cemetery uk
Abney Park Cemetery | Photo by iStock.com/simona flamigni

Churches & Graveyards

  • Bunhill Fields: This Nonconformist burial ground dates from the mid-1600s and contains the graves of literary greats John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe and William Blake. On the Sunday nearest to the anniversary of Blake’s death (12 August 1827) members of the Blake Society meet at the grave to recite poems, before heading off to the pub; all are welcome.
  • Abney Park Cemetery: One of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ Victorian cemeteries, Abney Park in Stoke Newington is now a park and nature reserve. Its rambling, overgrown walkways are great for an afternoon wander, especially if you’re partial to gothic surroundings.
  • Brompton Cemetery: Also one of the Magnificent Seven, Brompton Cemetery is still a working cemetery. It’s Grade I listed, beautifully maintained, and the final resting place of Emmeline Pankhurst and Dr.John Snow. The cemetery is also home to the stunning, ancient evergreen Cedar of Lebanon tree.
  • St Pauls Cathedral: Join a Choral Service at one of London’s iconic historic cathedrals.
  • St Bartholomew The Great: London’s oldest surviving church has been used since 1143. Another famous film location – the fourth wedding in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
  • St Magnus the Martyr: St Magnus church stands where the old London Bridge crossed the Thames from the City of London. Visit for a the musical High Mass each Sunday, and/or see the 4 metre model of the old London Bridge.

Comedy

  • Angel Comedy Club: The Angel Comedy Club puts on a comedy show every night. There are shows at two venues: the Bill Murray, which is ticketed, and the Camden Head, which is pay as you feel. Get to the Camden Head shows early on weekends: they get busy.
  • Quantum Leopard: If squirming in your seat and edgy comedians aren’t your bag, then Quantum Leopard could be the night for you. Kind, progressive, comedy nights in Kings Cross with no audience interaction. Pay as you feel on the night, with card readers to hand.
  • The Top Secret Comedy Club: Known as a spot for big names to drop in and work on new material before they tour, The Top Secret Comedy Club is a great spot to enjoy some free laughs and cheap drinks.

Farms

  • Spitalfields City Farm: This city farm which also has rare breed animals, a shop and a lovely little cafe is not just for the local community kids. Entry is free unless there is an event (but I’m here to confirm that the annual Oxford & Cambridge Goat Race is worth absolutely every penny).
  • Mudchute Park and Farm: It’s on the Isle of Dogs, but you won’t be limited to canines on this working farm. Mudchute boasts 100 animals, including British rare breeds. The animals are clearly well cared for and the Mudchute ethos is to put the environment first, so the whole place has a very wholesome vibe. Entry is free and some additional activities are available for a small fee, including the adorable children’s donkey rides on Sundays.
  • Vauxhall City Farm: Vauxhall City Farm is one of London’s smaller urban farms, but also one of the oldest and most central. Entrance is free, but you can make a donation if you wish, by cash or card machine.
  • Hackney City Farm: Between the bustle of Broadway Market and Columbia Road on the site of a former brewery, Hackney City Farm is a great place to see urban farming in action. Visit farmyard animals like Hazel the Pony, see the plants and vegetables in the beautiful garden too. Like other urban farms, entrance is free but donations are appreciated.
Tate Modern Entrance Hall
The Tate Modern building is such an interesting space, worth a visit even if modern art doesn’t do it for you | Photo by Dan Fone

Galleries

  • Tate Britain: One of London’s oldest galleries (it was established in 1897, then named the National Gallery of British Art), Tate Britain has a collection of over 70,000 artworks from 1500 to present day. If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of art on display, you can take guided tours for free every day, although special exhibitions are ticketed (around £16 for non-members).
  • Tate Modern: Part of the Tate Galleries, as the name suggests, Tate Modern is newer and has a focus on Contemporary art. As with Tate Britain, major exhibitions are ticketed (Kusama:Infinity Mirror Rooms is long-standing favourite), but there are two buildings filled with international art and the gallery hosts free, monthly late events.
  • White Cube: Contemporary art galleries on Bermondsey Street and Mason’s Yard hosting both big-name and lesser-known exhibitions. If you find the special exhibitions at the major galleries a bit spenny, there have been three Tracey Emin exhibitions at London White Cube galleries over the past four years – completely free.
  • William Morris Gallery: Even if you don’t think you know who William Morris is, you are sure to recognise the distinctive pastoral patterns of the English artist and socialist from the wallpaper and clothing of your artsy friends. The William Morris gallery in Walthamstow displays the world’s largest collection of his work in the Georgian Villa that was the designer’s home. Entry is free to the gallery and the pleasant park that make up the grounds, but cheapos beware not to be tempted by the excellent gift shop.
  • Japan House London: Though you’ll have to pay to eat at the Michelin star restaurant at this Japanese cultural centre, or take home one of the beautifully curated products in the shop, other services at Japan House London are completely free. Waltz in from Kensington High Street and peruse one of their excellent exhibitions, or chill in their library of books about Japan.
  • Guildhall Art Gallery & Roman Amphitheatre: Seventeenth century portraits, Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces and a fascinating range of paintings documenting London’s dramatic history, along with the ruins of London’s Roman Amphitheatre.
  • Institute of Contemporary Arts: The ICA is a cultural centre next to Buckingham Palace. This east London gallery is free to visit with gallery spaces, a research centre and very nice café. Rolling exhibitions are ticketed, but you’ll find new and interesting work on display for free.
  • National Portrait Gallery: (Closed for refurbishment until Spring 2023)

Libraries

  • The British Library: See some of the books, maps and manuscripts that shaped the world, from the Magna Carta to Michaelangelo’s anatomical drawings and Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks to handwritten Beatles lyrics.
  • Swiss Cottage Library: Worth a visit for the architecture as much as the literature, Swiss Cottage Library is a Grade II listed building designed in the 60s by Sir Basil Spence. Inside, you’ll find big spiral staircases and open spaces with comfy sofas where you can sit and read.
  • Reuben Library, BFI: A haven for film buffs, the British Film Institute (BFI) isn’t just one of the best cinemas in London, it’s also home to a fantastic film library. The Reuben library is one of the largest collections of written materials on film in the world and is free to explore.
Things to do in Notting Hill houses
Portobello Road – come for the market, stay for the colours. | Photo by iStock.com/Robedero

Markets

London has an abundance of markets. Outdoor markets for cheap eats, flea markets for bargain hunting, plus winter and Christmas markets for the festive season.

  • Borough Market: Now open 7 days a week, historic Borough Market is a London institution; an eclectic mix of stalls, shops, stands and restaurants with a history stretching back around 1,000 years. Championing sustainable food and community connection, it’s a fabulous place for a wander – and you might be able to bag enough free tastings to tide you over until lunch.
  • Old Spitalfields Market: Formerly just called Spitalfields (and most Londoners still call it that), it may be more gentrified these days, flanked by chain restaurants and bougie boutiques, but it’s still home to some interesting market stalls and street food too. Old Spitalfields Market is open 7 days a week, and it’s a covered market too, so it’s worth a visit even on a rainy day.
  • Petticoat Lane: For more of an old-skool east London market, head to Petticoat Lane (near Aldgate East tube station). The name dates back to the 18th Century and the area’s textile history, but name is actually an umbrella term for several street markets along Middlesex Street and surrounding streets. There is an excellent range of street food stalls from Japanese Katsu wraps to Thai, Jamaican, Indian, falafel stands and fish & chips, at better value than some of the bigger markets. It’s open on Monday-Friday and Sundays
  • Leadenhall Market: A restored Victorian market of Harry Potter fame, which has some of the finest food in London. Located in the City of London, you can find the market off Whittington Avenue not far from Monument Station. Open Monday to Friday, 11am until 4pm
  • Columbia Road Flower Market: A colourful Sunday flower market near Bethnal Green.
  • Camden Market: Known for gaudy t-shirts, incense sticks and booming stereos, Camden has a long history of live music and market culture. Ultimate people-watching opportunities.
  • Portobello Road: Located in Notting Hill, this colourful street is a popular destination and the world’s largest antique market.

Music

  • Royal Opera House: Live at Lunch is a programme of live recitals by the Royal Opera House’s professional musicians and guest artists. Performances are on Fridays at 1pm and are not ticketed; seats are issued on a first come, first served basis.
  • Covent Garden Street Performances: Covent Garden has a tradition of street performances dating back to the 1600s. Today you will see mime artists, dancers, opera singers, bands, magicians: competition is intense for a performance slot, so you’ll be seeing top quality entertainers for free.
  • Free concerts at St Martins in the Fields: Fancy some culture in your lunch hour? St Martins in the Fields, the historic church on Trafalgar Square, puts on an excellent programme of free concerts. Many, though not all of them, are at lunchtime.
  • Bark: Bark puts on regular pay-as-you-feel music nights at The Gladstone Arms, a family-owned pub in Borough. Go for some craft beer and curry, and watch an excellently-curated selection of up-and-coming musicians.
  • The Artery: What if you don’t just want to watch, you want to perform? London has many open mics, but The Artery has to be one of the best. It’s held every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at ultra artsy cafe MAP in Kentish Town.
  • Hootananny Brixton: Catch some ska, roots and reggae rhythms at Hootananny Brixton, and pick up some Caribbean vibes on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
The Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington London
The Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington | Photo by iStock.com/Aivita

Museums

London is renowned for its glorious galleries and museums, plenty of which have free admission.

  • The British Museum: If you only have time to visit one museum in London, then it should probably be this one!
  • The Science Museum: Popular with families, this hands-on museum has more than enough to keep budding young scientists entertained.
  • The Natural History Museum: One of London’s largest and most famous museums.
  • The V&A: Sitting alongside neighbours The Science Museum and The Natural History Museum, the V&A is one of London’s most beautiful museums. An afternoon wandering its opulent hallways is one well spent. The permanent collections are free to visit, and you can peruse centuries-old furniture, artworks, textiles, glassware, ceramics from around the world. Visit during the summer to make the most of the beautiful garden too.
  • The Museum of London: Discover the history of London spanning thousands of years at the Museum of London. It’s open 7 days a week highlighting major events from the past and celebrating London’s diverse communities and individuals. Learn about The Great Fire of London or the East London Grime music scene and everything in between. The MoL is relocating to nearby Smithfield and will be closed at the end of 2022 until 2026.
  • The Horniman Museum: A fascinating and wide-ranging collection based on the natural environment and global cultures, the main museum and gardens are free, although there are charges for special exhibitions. The museum is famous for its huge, overstuffed walrus; apparently the Victorian taxidermist has never seen a live walrus and so had no idea its skin was supposed to hang in folds.
  • The Wallace Collection: Called ‘one of the sexiest collections in Europe’ by the Guardian, with a renowned collection of eighteenth-century French paintings. Wander through the rooms of the mansion admiring everything from Limoges enamel, sixteenth-century armour, jewelled daggers and ornate bronze clocks to paintings by Rubens, Canaletto and The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals.
  • Sir John Soane’s Museum: The former house of British architect and avid collector Sir John Soane, this is a tightly-packed treasure trove of paintings, architectural models, furniture, statues and manuscripts. Exhibitions and some tours are also free.
  • The National Maritime Museum: Ahoy! If boats are your thing then the National Maritime Museum is for you. The building itself is impressive and there’s a lot of seafaring history for both kids and adults to enjoy. Though entry is free, booking is recommended.
  • The Faraday Museum: Home to numerous Nobel prize winners and some of the world’s greatest scientific minds, this small museum explores the history of the Royal Institute and its many groundbreaking experiments and inventions.

Parks & Gardens

London is full of beautiful parks which are great places for meeting friends, enjoying a good book, dabbling in some photography or sketching or sitting back and letting the world pass by. Aside from the popular big parks, there are plenty of lesser known ones that are full of personality.

  • Barbican Conservatory: The second largest conservatory in London with over 2,000 tropical plants and fish, this is a real oasis of calm in the city. Tickets are free but need to be booked in advance online.
  • Kyoto Garden, Holland Park: Chill out in this beautiful Japanese garden designed in the style of kaiyushiki (a stroll garden) with soothing tiered waterfalls, Japanese maple trees and a koi carp pond.
  • Richmond Park: London’s largest park covers an area of 1,000 hectares and is a great place to escape the noise of the city and enjoy a taste of British nature. A beautiful spot for viewing autumn leaves, with wide open spaces, grasslands and deer herds.
  • St James Park: Catch the pelicans being fed between 2:30pm – 3pm each day at the lake, or just admire them swimming and preening themselves in the sun. One pelican in particular is a bit of an attention seeker and regularly joins park visitors on the paths and benches.
  • The View, Epping Forest: If you want to escape the city whilst staying in Zones 1-6, Epping Forest is the place to go. Get on the Overground to Chingford and it’s a ten minute walk to The View, one of two visitor’s centres in Epping Forest with an exhibition centre and a viewing platform on the top floor. There are also maps, guides, and helpful staff to help you with further forest exploring.
  • Victoria Park: Known locally as Vicky Park, this is the jewel in East London’s green crown. Londoners have been coming to Victoria Park in Hackney for over 170 years, and it’s filled with interesting features and landmarks including a beautiful lake, the Old English Garden and the Chinese Pagoda. In the summer, parts of the park are taken over by festivals but visit in the Autumn for lush leaves and fewer crowds.
  • Regent’s Park: One of London’s many Royal Parks, Regent’s Park is also home to London Zoo (don’t be alarmed by the sound of wildlife), as well as beautifully kept rose gardens, a rowing lake and an Open Air Theatre. The park is also the venue for Frieze Sculpture every Autumn, which is one of London’s biggest free art trails.
  • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: One of London’s newest green spaces, purpose-built for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
  • Bushy Park: After Richmond Park, it is the second largest park in London and is famous for its wild deer. Located just north of Hampton Court Palace you can see the remains of medieval farming systems, 17th century water gardens and decorative features representing the height of neoclassical taste.
  • Saint Dunstan, East Church Gardens: The remains of Saint Dunstan, has been turned into a beautiful city garden. Originally built in the 12th century, the church was repaired after being severely damaged in the Great Fire of London only to be destroyed again during World War 2.
  • Hampstead Pergola and Hill Gardens: Overlooking West Heath, the Pergola and gardens is one of the hidden charms of Hampstead Heath. Created by a rich Edwardian philanthropist, this is a beautiful, landscaped former private garden of a now demolished manor house.
  • Hyde Park: Impressive and verdant but it also has the quirky Speaker’s Corner where you can hear all sorts of people expressing their opinions. Hyde Park and the neighbouring Kensington Gardens are impressive in their size. You can also explore the Diana Memorial Gardens and delightful Peter Pan statue.
  • Battersea Park: Opened by Queen Victoria in 1858 and located on the South Bank,Battersea Park has a boating lake, duck pond and kids’ zoo.
London Glassblowing Studio
Glassblowing Studio 2 in Bermondsey | Photo by Alick Cotterill

People at Work

  • The Old Bailey: More properly called the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey has housed some of Britain’s most notorious trials; Ian Huntley, the Krays and the Yorkshire Ripper have all seen the inside of Court One. The public viewing galleries are free although be aware you won’t be allowed to take your camera or phone inside, so plan accordingly.
  • London Glassblowing: One of Europe’s finest glass art galleries with a hotworking studio at the back; watch artists at the furnaces turning white-hot molten glass into delicate pieces of art.

Shops (worth it just for window shopping)

    Word on the Water | Photo by Amanda David
  • God’s Own Junkyard: Described by the late owner and neon artist Chris Bracey as ‘Sodom and Gomorrah mixed with art’, his workshop God’s Own Junkyard is a supremely Instagrammable warehouse with a mind-bending jumble of salvaged neon signs and movie props, fairground lighting and new neon art to buy, rent – or just admire.
  • Word on the Water: A unique bookshop on a century old Dutch barge. Browsing is encouraged and there’s seating for you to read a book and enjoy the atmosphere. They put on live music shows on the boat’s roof too! Word on the Water used to travel around London but has now dropped anchor on Regent’s Canal Towpath
  • Arthur Beale: Head to Shaftesbury Avenue to step back in time. Arthur Beale opened in the 1800 and is filled to the rafters with all sorts of nautical equipment and accessories and even theatrical rigging (handy, what with it being in Theatreland and all). Take a peep through the window, you’ll be greeted by an impressive array of Ship’s wheels, all sorts of rope and seafaring attire.
  • Dover Street Market: Retail is only part of the Dover Street Market offering – it’s a concept store created by Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo and her husband Adrian Joffe that doubles as a gallery. The price tags are eye-wateringly spendy, but window shopping is free and there’s plenty of interesting installations to see too.
  • Carnaby Street: The famous pedestrianised shopping area in Soho – from flagship stores to the latest fashion, and from window shopping to people watching.

Sports

  • Southbank undercroft: Whether it’s the first-rate graffiti or the skating that attracts you to this riverside skate spot, it’s pretty iconic. The Southbank undercroft has been a skatepark since the seventies and is widely regarded as one of the birthplaces of British skating. Unsurprisingly, tourists strolling up and down the Thames stop to watch, so if you have stage fright maybe this one is not for you.

Statues & Memorials

    The Golden Boy of Pye Corner | Photo by Amanda David
  • The Golden Boy of Pye Corner: Look up to find this statue of a stroppy and ‘‘prodigiously fat’ little boy, commemorating the final reaches of the Great Fire of London. Apparently the fact that the fire started at Pudding Lane and stopped at Pye Corner was clearly enough to prove it was God’s punishment on London for gluttony.
  • The G. F. Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice: A humbling and poignant collection of memorial plaques dedicated to everyday heroes; those who lost their lives in saving others. Situated in Postman’s Park and featured in the film Closer, we challenge you to keep a dry eye.
  • Peter Pan Statue: There’s a lot to see in Kensington Gardens, but don’t miss the charming statue of famous local resident Peter Pan. The statue was commissioned by Peter Pan’s creator JM Barrie, and was unveiled in 1912. Today, you can use your smartphone to hear the statue speak as part of the Talking Statues project.
  • Platform 9 ¾ The Harry Potter gift shop at Kings Cross is not cheapo recommended, but you don’t have to pay a thing to snap a selfie at Platform 9¾ in Kings Cross. Crashing your trolley into the wall is also not recommended.
  • Florence Nightingale: Visit Waterloo Place in St James’ to pay tribute to one of the most important women in British medical history. Florence Nightingale was a major figure in the development of modern healthcare and medicine and a statue was made by Arthur George Walker in tribute to her in 1915.
  • Noor Inayat Khan Memorial: One of the more recent memorial statues to be installed in London, is the Noor Inayat Khan memorial in Gordon Square. It was unveiled in 2012 in honour of the Khan’s service and sacrifice as a WW2 secret agent who was captured and killed by the Gestapo in 1944. Her contributions were overlooked until the publication of the biography Spy Princess by Shrabani Basu in 2006.

Tours

  • Somerset HouseIn addition to the exhibitions available in this wonderful building (formerly offices and a car park for civil servants) there are also free guided tours, including one of the fascinating subterranean lightwells and Deadhouse.
  • Wonders of London: Free and pay what you can London walking tours.
Greenwich Park. London, Uk
Greenwich College with the financial district in the background. | Photo by iStock.com/GoranQ

Views

  • Sky Garden: The capital’s highest public garden is at the top of the 160m tall “walkie talkie building” in the City of London. You’ll be able to take in the views whilst strolling amongst lush South African and Mediterranean plants. Entry to the Sky Garden is free, but you have to book.
  • Parliament Hill: The handsome Hampstead Heath has a lot to offer but if it’s views you are looking for, head to the south-Eastern edge area of the park to climb Parliament Hill. At 98 metres, it’s not exactly a hike, but it’s the tallest hill in central London and offers a highly grammable view of central London, though ironically the Houses of Parliament are partially obscured.
  • Greenwich Park: This sometimes underrated park is packed full of history, views, and things to do.You’ll have to pay to enter the Royal Observatory and snap a selfie on the Meridian Line, but climb the hill where it’s located and you’ll get one of the best natural views of the city for absolutely free.
  • Alexandra Palace:  Also known as Ally Pally, this north London landmark is famous for large events including gigs, exhibitions and darts as well as an indoor ice-rink. But, head to the top of its green slopes for one of the best views of London, and pop a coin in one of the telescopes if you want to zoom in on some of the city’s landmarks.
  • One New Change : No, it’s not the name of a boy band, One New Change is actually the gateway to panoramic city views. Enter via the shopping mall by St Paul’s Cathedral, then take the glass lift up to the public roof terrace for stunning views of the London skyline. It’s open daily from 6am until midnight, and also hosts a number of free events for rooftop yoga to Wimbledon screenings.
  • Primrose Hill: Just above Regent’s Park, a central spot that boasts beautiful views of the city and also features as one of our recommended London picnic spots

Walks

  • Strawberry Tours: Free 2-hour guided walks with a range of themes including Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Harry Potter and Jack the Ripper. They are run on a pay-what-it’s-worth basis with an optional collection at the end (looking at the great reviews, you might want to have a bit of cash on you).
  • The Southbank: Enjoy a stroll alongside the Thames on the South bank from London Bridge to the Millenium Bridge and beyond. You can people watch, likely catch a seasonal festival as well as check off a few of the items on this list including the Tate, Southbank Undercroft, and Southbank centre
  • Little Venice: Straight from Paddington train station, you can join the path along the Grand Union Canal at Little Venice. It’s a lovely place for a stroll, with many cafés and eateries along the way.
  • Goodwin’s Court: Another Harry Potter location, a little alleyway that has been frozen in time. Goodwin’s Court is located a short walk from Leicester Square underground station.
  • Abbey Road Crossing:  Contribute your clichéd upload to the instagram hashtag at the spot of cover of the Beatles’ 1969 album of the same name.

Kids

  • Diana Memorial Playground: Located next to Kensington Palace, this playground is a treasure trove for kids, complete with a massive pirate ship as its centrepiece! The Diana Memorial Playground was designed specifically for disabled and non-disabled children to be able to play together, so whatever your child’s needs they should be able to have fun here.
  • Southbank Imagine Children’s Festival: Looking for something fun and cultural to do with the kids over February half term? The Southbank Centre’s annual children’s festivalwill unlock your child’s creativity, and they always have good free events in their programme.
  • The LEGO Store: Two floors of models and Lego bricks at the flagship London store
  • Tumbling Bay Playground: Situated in Queen Elizabeth Olympic park a great playground with lots of space, sand pits, rock pools, tall treehouses, bridges, slides, and swings.

With contributions from Becky Lima-Matthews and Julia Mascetti

Written by:
BIO: Freelance writer, flâneuse and former blogger at London Girl About Town, Amanda is dedicated to sharing the latest on London's restaurants, bars, hidden quirks and general wonderfulness.
Filed under: Things to Do

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