London is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world, and it’s also one of the most expensive. But don’t worry – there are plenty of amazing things to do for free in London in 2023. From walking tours to art galleries to historical landmarks, London has something for everyone, and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it all. In this blog post, we’ve compiled the 20 best free things to do in London in 2023 – so whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time resident, you’re sure to find something to do. Let’s explore!
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1) Barbican Conservatory – Free Things To Do In London
One of the best free activities in London is visiting the Barbican Conservatory. This incredible building is located at the Barbican Centre, a place dedicated to the performing arts, cinema, music, and art. This conservatory is home to over 2,000 different types of plants, fish, and reptiles, making it one of the most fascinating places in London. It’s open every Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm and you’ll be able to explore it for free! You’ll be amazed by the variety of colors and textures as you wander through its many paths and ponds. It’s also a great spot to take some photos or just relax and admire the beauty of the nature that surrounds you. So if you want to experience some of London’s greenery without spending any money, make sure to visit the Barbican Conservatory!
2) British Museum
The British Museum is one of London’s most popular free attractions and with good reason. Located in Bloomsbury, the museum houses a vast collection of artifacts spanning over two million years of human history. From ancient Egyptian mummies to Anglo-Saxon treasures and Roman relics, visitors are sure to find something interesting in the museum’s galleries.
Not to be missed is the Great Court – a large open space lined with pillars and the world-famous Reading Room. Also take the time to explore the many shops and cafes within the museum, where you can pick up souvenirs and gifts or enjoy a cup of tea and cake.
The museum hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, covering topics such as fashion, architecture, science, and more. Don’t forget to check out the special events and activities for families, including workshops and storytelling sessions.
The museum also has an extensive online collection where you can explore artwork and artifacts from home. So whether you are looking for an immersive day out or a virtual journey through the past, the British Museum has something for everyone.
3) The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London
One of the most spectacular free things to do in London is to witness the centuries-old Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. Every evening, a Beefeaters guard – also known as a Yeoman Warder – marches through the grounds of the Tower of London to lock the gates. This ritual dates back over 700 years and is a must-see for any visitor to London.
The ceremony starts at exactly 9:53 pm every evening and lasts approximately 45 minutes. Visitors can observe the event from the Byward Tower where they can watch as the Chief Yeoman Warder marches with a lantern and a heavy metal key to lock the main gate. Accompanied by a guard, he calls out “Halt! Who comes here?” to which the guard replies “The keys!” As he passes through each gate, he cries “God preserve Queen Elizabeth!”
At 10:05 pm, the same process is repeated in reverse, as the Chief Yeoman Warder marches back to the Byward Tower with the key. During this time, visitors may take photos, though no flash photography is allowed.
The Ceremony of the Keys is an incredible event that provides visitors with a rare glimpse into London’s past. It is free to watch, and it’s a unique experience that no one should miss when visiting London.
4) Sky Garden – Free Things To Do In London
The Sky Garden is one of the most spectacular places to visit in London, offering 360-degree views of the city. Located at the top of the 20 Fenchurch Street building, it’s free to visit (booking is required), but you can also pay for a meal or drinks at the restaurants and bar located there. It’s a great spot to spend a few hours, taking in the stunning views of the city and spotting iconic London landmarks. The Sky Garden has three levels and is home to a variety of exotic plants and flowers. You can explore these on self-guided tours, as well as visit the two observation decks. There are also regular events and activities hosted at the Sky Garden such as live music and yoga classes. So, if you’re looking for a unique experience in London, then head up to the Sky Garden for a truly memorable day out.
5) Leadenhall Market
Located in the City of London, Leadenhall Market is a stunning Victorian-covered market that dates back to the 14th century. It was originally known as the “Eastcheap” and featured an array of shops selling all sorts of goods from food to fabrics. Today, it’s a bustling shopping district filled with independent boutiques, cafes, and eateries.
Leadenhall Market is most popular for its stunning architecture. The grand hall has a magnificent glass roof and intricate wrought-iron columns, with the entire structure made from Kentish ragstone. There are also stunning stained-glass windows that adorn the walls and provide a warm ambiance to the market.
At Leadenhall Market, you can find all sorts of goodies, from fresh produce to antiques and vintage items. There are also plenty of places to grab lunch or dinner, including sandwich shops, sushi bars, and pubs. It’s an ideal spot to pick up some unique gifts or souvenirs, or just to take a stroll and admire the architecture.
6) Visit the Public Galleries in the Houses of Parliament
If you’re looking for a unique experience in London, then look no further than the Houses of Parliament. Here, you can get up close to the politics and history of the British government, and even better – it’s free! Located near the River Thames, the Houses of Parliament are a must-see for any visitor to London. The best way to see it is by visiting the Public Galleries, which are open to visitors during most of the day. You’ll get the chance to sit in the public galleries and watch debates and parliamentary sessions in action. There are also several exhibitions on show in the building that provide a fascinating insight into its history. Make sure you reserve your tickets ahead of time to ensure entry, as they do tend to fill up quickly.
7) Visit the Chapel of St Peter & Paul in the Old Naval College
Located in the heart of Greenwich, London, the Chapel of St Peter & Paul at the Old Naval College is one of the most beautiful and historic places in the city. Built-in 1698 as part of the Royal Hospital for Seamen (now known as the Old Royal Naval College), the chapel has been beautifully restored and maintained. It is one of the best examples of Christopher Wren’s iconic baroque architecture in the city and a must-see for anyone visiting the area.
The chapel is open to visitors free of charge, and its interior is worth seeing for its wonderful decoration. The high altar and east wall are adorned with stunning frescos, while the stained glass windows showcase an array of vibrant colors. On special occasions, organ music can be heard echoing throughout the chapel, making it even more breathtaking.
As well as its beauty, the chapel also holds a lot of history. It was here that Admiral Horatio Nelson received a posthumous knighthood in 1805, as well as where the funerals of King William IV and Queen Victoria were held.
Visiting this chapel is a truly unique experience and provides a chance to appreciate some of London’s finest architecture for free. Be sure to take your time to explore and admire this wonderful building – you won’t regret it!
8) Brompton Cemetery – Free Things To Do In London
Located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Brompton Cemetery is a Grade 1 listed Victorian cemetery that opened in 1840 and is now one of London’s most beautiful green spaces. It is home to numerous monuments, including some incredibly ornate tombs and headstones dedicated to prominent figures of the 19th century.
Visitors to Brompton Cemetery can explore its grounds and see the graves of some of London’s most notable people, including the likes of Florence Nightingale, Thomas de Quincey, and William Makepeace Thackeray. There are also many commemorative plaques to be found around the cemetery for important historical figures such as Emperor Haile Selassie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and James McNeill Whistler.
The cemetery is open throughout the year for visitors to come and explore its stunning grounds, so why not take a stroll through its paths, admire its monuments, and take in the beauty and serenity that this historic place has to offer?
9) Head to the Royal Parks – Free Things To Do In London
The Royal Parks are some of London’s best-loved attractions and for good reason. These parks offer visitors a unique chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some peaceful time outdoors. From Regent’s Park to St James’s Park, each one offers something different and is free to explore. Take a stroll through Hyde Park and marvel at the vibrant flowerbeds, or head over to Kensington Gardens to spot a few deer. Whatever you choose to do, the Royal Parks make for a great day out in London.
10) See the Deer in Richmond Park
If you’re looking for a free, fun, and educational activity in London, then why not head to Richmond Park and see the deer? One of the largest royal parks in the city, Richmond Park is home to some wild deer herds that you can watch from a safe distance. In addition to being able to watch these majestic animals in their natural habitat, you can also get a great view of the city from the highest points in the park. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon enjoying nature without spending a penny.
Richmond Park is the largest of the eight Royal Parks in London, covering 2,500 acres of land. It is home to 600 fallow deer and around 300 red deer, which graze and roam freely in the park. Watching the deer in their natural environment is an amazing experience and it’s easy to spot them as they often congregate in groups. There are also areas of the park where you can get close enough to take photographs of the deer.
It’s important to remember to give the deer their space when you visit Richmond Park and not approach them or feed them. They are wild animals and should be respected as such. You should also be aware that the deer can be dangerous if provoked, so always keep a safe distance from them.
Overall, a visit to Richmond Park is a great way to enjoy nature for free in London. Watching the deer roam and graze in their natural environment is an unforgettable experience that everyone should have the chance to enjoy.
11) Watch Films in the BFI Mediatheque – Free Things To Do In London
If you’re a film buff looking for a free activity in London, the BFI Mediatheque is the perfect spot for you. Located in the heart of London’s Southbank Centre, the Mediatheque provides an extensive selection of films from Britain and around the world. With more than 4,000 titles to choose from, you can easily spend hours browsing the collection and watching your favorite films for free.
The Mediatheque has been hailed as a unique resource for researchers, filmmakers, students, and film fans alike. They offer a wide range of film screenings, talks, and workshops, as well as access to an expansive archive of films that span from the earliest days of British cinema to contemporary works.
The best part? You can access all this without spending a penny! Simply sign up to become a member of the Mediatheque and you’ll have access to their full catalog of films. In addition, they also provide resources and equipment to help you create your videos and documentaries.
So, if you’re looking for a free activity in London that’s sure to entertain and educate, then head over to the BFI Mediatheque and start exploring the vast collection of films. Who knows what treasures you’ll discover?
12) Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum in London is a must-visit spot for anyone interested in learning more about the world’s wildlife and plant species. This amazing museum is home to over 80 million specimens, including dinosaur bones, meteorites, animal skeletons, and fossils from all over the world. You can explore the vast galleries and exhibitions free of charge, and there are plenty of interactive activities for kids. The museum is also home to an impressive library, as well as a cafe and gift shop. For an educational and exciting experience, make sure to visit the Natural History Museum in London.
13) The Petrie Museum – Free Things To Do In London
The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, named after the renowned Egyptologist, Flinders Petrie, is a must-visit for those who want to learn about ancient Egypt. Located in the heart of London at University College London, the museum holds the largest collection of Egyptian and Sudanese artifacts in Britain. It houses around 80,000 objects from the Predynastic Period to the Islamic era and includes many everyday items used by ancient Egyptians.
Visitors are welcomed to the museum with a large display of sculptures from the temple of Horus at Edfu. The displays also include pre-dynastic pottery, jewelry, figurines, and mummies that were discovered by Petrie in his excavations. One of the most interesting pieces on show is an ivory lion-headed goddess figurine that dates back to 3000 BC.
The Petrie Museum also has an education center that offers free classes and lectures to visitors and school groups. Here visitors can explore life in ancient Egypt through workshops and talks, including archaeological science, mummification, and tomb building.
For those looking for something a little different, the Petrie Museum also runs a café and a small shop where you can purchase souvenirs and books related to Egyptian history. So if you’re looking to explore ancient Egypt without leaving London, then make sure to add the Petrie Museum to your list of places to visit!
14) House of Minalima
For a unique and creative experience, be sure to visit the House of Minalima. Located in London’s Soho district, this is the home of graphic designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, the creative minds behind some of the world’s most iconic Harry Potter film sets.
The house serves as a gallery and event space dedicated to their artworks. Visitors are encouraged to explore the creative world of Minalima and discover the inspirations and processes behind the intricate works on display.
The house contains several rooms filled with Minalima artwork, including original movie props from all eight Harry Potter films. It is also home to rare book collections from around the world, an extensive library, and several interactive spaces for fans of the series to take part in. Additionally, you can purchase exclusive items from their range of products, such as stationery, prints, books, and more.
The House of Minalima offers free entry, making it one of the best free things to do in London in 2023. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to dive into the creative world of two of the world’s most famous movie designers.
15) Fulham Palace – Free Things To Do In London
Located in West London, Fulham Palace is an incredible historical site that visitors can explore for free. With an extensive history of nearly 1,000 years, this site has been the residence of the Bishops of London from around the year 700 to 1975. It features a stunning Tudor Courtyard, beautiful gardens, and a fascinating museum with artifacts and exhibits about the palace’s incredible past. Visitors can also take a free guided tour to learn more about the site’s history and get an inside look into its rich culture. Open every day except Tuesday, Fulham Palace is a great destination for those looking to explore a bit of British history without spending a dime.
16) Free Tours at Somerset House
One of the best free activities to do in London is to take a tour of the stunning Somerset House. Situated near the banks of the River Thames, this magnificent 18th-century neo-classical building is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
Visitors can explore the courtyard, gardens, and galleries at their leisure, but if you’d like to learn more about its history, take a free 45-minute tour. Led by expert guides, you’ll discover the fascinating stories behind some of the most important figures associated with Somerset House, such as Sir Christopher Wren and King George III. You’ll also find out about the development of the building from an 18th-century palace to a cultural center in the 21st century.
During the tour, you’ll have the chance to visit the museum collections, which feature some of the world’s finest works of art, including works by renowned artists such as Claude Monet and John Constable. Plus, you’ll be able to explore some of the incredible spaces inside Somerset House, like the Chapel Court, which is lined with thousands of glittering tiles.
It’s easy to book your place on a free tour of Somerset House; all you need to do is sign up online or call in advance to book your spot. Tours run regularly throughout the week and start at 11 am, 12 pm, and 2 pm.
17) Take a Free Walking Tour – Free Things To Do In London
One of the most fun and educational activities you can do in London is to take a free walking tour. You’ll get to explore some of London’s most iconic landmarks, gain insight into the city’s history, and learn about its culture. Whether you’re visiting the city for the first time or have lived here your whole life, a free walking tour is an exciting way to discover something new.
Many companies are offering free walking tours in London. Each one offers unique experiences tailored to different interests, from food lovers to art enthusiasts. Most tours last around two hours and will take you around the main sites in the city. Whether it’s the West End, East End, City of London, or Mayfair, you’ll get to explore the city from a local’s perspective.
You can easily find free walking tours online, as well as book them directly through the company. More than that, they often offer morning, afternoon, and evening tours throughout the week. It’s also worth checking out their social media accounts to find out when they’re offering special tours such as themed ones.
So, if you want to explore the beautiful streets of London while learning about its history and culture, taking a free walking tour is the perfect activity for you!
18) God’s Own Junkyard
Located in Walthamstow, London, God’s Own Junkyard is a spectacular and unique display of neon lights and other curiosities. The two-acre space is run by Chris Bracey, an artist and lighting designer who has been referred to as the ‘neon wizard’. It houses thousands of neon signs, salvaged from abandoned shops, theatres, and pubs, as well as a collection of vintage Hollywood movie memorabilia.
Visitors to God’s Own Junkyard can explore the neon signs from the 1950s onwards and take pictures of the colorful displays. It also features a cafe serving hot drinks, snacks, and homemade cakes. The surrounding area is perfect for a leisurely walk or bike ride, with green spaces, allotments, art galleries, and vintage shops all within easy reach.
God’s Own Junkyard is open to visitors every Saturday between 12 pm-6 pm. Admission is free but donations are welcome. It’s a great place to visit for people of all ages, whether you’re looking for some creative inspiration or just a day out to admire the bright lights and quirky finds.
19) Public Viewing Gallery at the Oxo Tower – Free Things To Do In London
If you’re looking for a great free activity in London, look no further than the Oxo Tower. Located on the South Bank, the Oxo Tower is home to a stunning public viewing gallery. From here, you can enjoy spectacular views of the city, including the iconic London Eye. The viewing gallery is open seven days a week and offers up to 90 minutes of free viewing time. Basically, it’s the perfect place to take in the sights of London and create some lasting memories.
20) Street Art in Shoreditch
If you’re looking for a fun and free way to explore some of London’s unique art scene, then visiting the street art in Shoreditch should be top of your list. The street art here is some of the best in the city and it changes all the time.
You can take a self-guided tour of the art around Brick Lane, Shoreditch High Street, and beyond. From intricate murals to political graffiti, the street art in Shoreditch is vibrant and full of life. Take your time to appreciate each work, as you’ll find something new with every turn.
In addition to being an amazing art hub, Shoreditch is also home to some other attractions. Spend some time exploring the markets and enjoy a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. There are also plenty of vintage shops that are worth checking out too.
No matter what you do while visiting Shoreditch, make sure you take the time to appreciate the wonderful street art. You won’t regret it!
In conclusion, if you’re planning a trip to London and looking for the best free things to do in 2023, this list of 20 has something for everyone! From exploring iconic landmarks such as the Tower of London and Brompton Cemetery to taking a tour of the Houses of Parliament, there’s plenty to see and do in London without breaking the bank.
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Have fun exploring London in 2023!
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