10 Places to Visit in London for Free

London is a big city and there are plenty of things to do and see as we have described in this article about London. We live in London and we know it could be expensive but thankfully there are lots of things one can do for free.

In this article, we are outlining our top 10 things to do and visit in London. These are all places we have been to and keep going back again and again.

Most of the museums in London are free to visit but donations are recommended. You would also notice that some temporary exhibitions are paid for but you can still gain access to the main exhibitions without paying a penny. Here are our favourite places to visit for free.

Top 10 places to visit in London for free

1. British Museum

British Museum

British Museum showcases the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It is the first national museum in the world and has an impressive collection of over 8 million works which is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence.

British Museum

The objects have been widely collected during the era of the British Empire. The museum is easily accessible and you can spend days in there. We really enjoy visiting the Egyptian section and the mummies which is also comparable to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt.

Address: Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG

Nearest tube stations: Tottenham Court Road, Holborn, Russell Sqare, Goodge Street

2. Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum is probably one of our favourite museums exhibiting a range of specimens from various segments of natural history. The exhibits are divided into five main collections including botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology.

This museum is famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture and is great for adults and for vising with kids. There is even an earthquake simulator which we recommend checking out.

Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD

Nearest tube stations: South Kensington, Gloucester Road

3. Science Museum

Next to the Natural History Museum, you will find the Science Museum – a great place to see, touch and experience science first-hand. The museum is very interactive and you can see objects from giant steam engines, airplanes to proto-computers.

Address: Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD

Nearest tube stations: South Kensington, Gloucester Road

4. Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)

Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is the world’s largest museum of applied arts, decorative arts and design. Often referred to as V&A, the museum was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It took us a while to decide to visit this museum but since visiting, we will definitely recommend this place.

The museum owns the world’s largest collection of post-classical sculpture, with the holdings of Italian Renaissance items being the largest outside Italy. If you haven’t been to Florence to see the original statue of David of Michelangelo, then you can see a replica of this in the V&A museum.

Address: Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL
Nearest tube stations: South Kensington, Gloucester Road

5. The National Gallery

National Gallery

The National Gallery is an art museum, conveniently located in Trafalgar Square. It houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.

Some of the most famous paintings which you can see include Virgin of the rocks – Leonardo Da Vinci; Mars and Venus – Botticelli; Sunflowers – Van Gogh and Bathers at La Grenouillère – Monet.

Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

Nearest tube stations: Charing Cross, Leicester Square, Embankment, Piccadilly Circus

Next door, you can also visit the National Portrait Gallery, which is also free.

6. Tate Modern

If you are into modern art, definitely visit Tate Modern. It holds the nation’s collection of modern art from 1900 to the present day including masterpieces of international and British modern art. The museum is located opposite St Paul’s cathedral (on the other side of the river) and has a viewing platform from where you can enjoy great views of London from above.

Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG

Nearest tube stations: Blackfriars, Southwark, Borough, Mansion House

7. Sky Garden

Sky Garden

A top recommendation from us is to visit the Sky Garden – yes, a real garden with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, offering fantastic views of the iconic London skyline. The skyscraper itself is known as the “walkie talkie tower”, due to its unique shape.

Note: It’s free to visit the Sky Garden but you need to pre-book in advance. Make sure you bring an ID document with you.

Address: 1 SKY GARDEN WALK, London EC3M 8AF

Nearest tube stations: Monument, Tower Hill

8. Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster and Big Ben are certainly on top of your list. The Palace of Westminster (informally known as the Houses of Parliament) serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. You can visit the Palace and find out more about the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Did you know that Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell (largest of the five bells) of the clock and the actual Clock Tower is called Elizabeth Tower? The Clock Tower is a British cultural icon recognised all over the world. It is one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

Note: You are probably wondering if you can really visit the Palace of Westminster for free. Yes, you can visit for free, if you are a UK resident! You can book a free ‘Inside UK Parliament’ guided tour by contacting your Member of Parliament (MP) or a member of the House of Lords. More information here.

Address: London SW1A 0AA

Nearest tube stations: Westminster, Embankment, Waterloo

9. Imperial War Museum

Imperial War Museums (IWM) was founded during the First World War (WWI) and is the world’s leading museum of war and conflict. Throughout your visit, you will hear and see the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people who were forced to live their lives in a world torn apart by conflict.

You will find 6 floors with displays from the museum’s vast collections and wealth of objects – from uniforms to photographs, vehicles, films, weapons and works of art, each telling their own story. IWM London examines the continuing influence of war on our world.

Address: Lambeth Rd, London SE1 6HZ

Nearest tube stations: Lambeth North, Elephant & Castle

10. National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum (NMM) is a maritime museum in Greenwich, London. The museum has fourteen different galleries which you can explore and there are also some temporary exhibitions which are paid for.

Whilst there, pay a visit to Greenwich market, the Observatory and see where the Greenwich Meridian is. Greenwich park is our favourite park and you get to see amazing views of London’s skyline.

Address: Romney Rd, London SE10 9NF

Nearest tube stations: North Greenwich. Closest DLR station is Cutty Sark. If you are travelling by boat, stop at Greenwich Pier.

This is a list of our favourite top 10 places to visit in London for free. There are many more other things to do in London which we have described in our London article here.

Final remarks

We are lucky to call London our home and after many years living here, there are still things to do and places to see within the city’s boundaries. It’s great that there so many places one can visit free of charge. On a rainy day, we like exploring museums and re-visiting our favourite exhibitions.

How about you? Have you been to London, if so, share in the comments your favourite attractions. Have you visited any other places for free which you think should be included?

Ready to book? Below are some recommendations to get your trip started:

  • Accommodation – would recommend booking your accommodation through an aggregator such as Booking.com or Agoda to get the best rates. We also use TripAdvisor to read reviews.

  • Transport – consider Rentalcars.com for car renting or if you rely on public transport, you can use Omio for trains, coaches, ferries, airport transfers and even flights.

  • Activities – a great option is GetYourGuide, Klook or Viator for tours, excursions, experiences and tickets to many tourist attractions.

  • Travel money – we have Starling Bank accounts (UK residents only) with 0% fees on FX and a good Mastercard exchange rate. Revolut is another good option.

  • Internet abroad – with Airalo or Nomad you can access a wide range of eSIMs (digital SIM cards) available for different countries and regions.

  • Luggage storage – if you need to store your bags whilst exploring the destination, you can use Radical Storage to find your closest luggage storage and enjoy your journey until the very end.

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