Free things to do in London

There are loads of free activities in London. From exhibitions to live performances, there's something for everyone! Here are some of our top recommendations.

Bridge surrounded by greenery in the Barbican Conservatory

Barbican Conservatory

Credit- Imagenation

Barbican Conservatory

The Barbican Conservatory is the second-largest conservatory in London. It offers a unique juxtaposition of brutalist architecture and a tropical jungle. Entry is completely free, but you do need to book tickets in advance.

Tickets are released one week in advance and can get snapped up quickly. Opening days and times vary throughout the year, so it's best to check the Barbican's website for more details.

Location: Barbican Centre, City of London
Price: Free
Plus: It's a tranquil oasis in the middle of the city
Minus: Opening days are subject to change - keep an eye on their website

Tunnel surrounded by graffiti artwork

Leake Street Arches

Credit - Walid Hamadeh

Leake Street Arches

Leake Street Arches is home to London's longest legal graffiti wall and is a feast for the eyes! Take a stroll through the tunnel to admire the selection of street art murals, and any budding artists can legally leave their mark.

As well as street art, you can also enjoy the community of independent cafes, bars, restaurants and performance spaces.

Location: Waterloo Station arches
Price: Viewing and painting is free, food and drink costs vary
Plus: You look at the art and also legally create your own
Minus: You may have to dodge the crowds taking pics for their social media

I like how close campus is to Central London, there's so much to do and see!

Jessica, LLB (Hons) Law with Criminal Justice & Human Rights

Jessica, LLB (Hons) Law with Criminal Justice & Human Rights
Exterior of National Gallery in Trafalgar Square with fountain in foreground.

National Gallery

Museums and galleries

There are dozens of museums and galleries across London, many of which are completely free to visit.

From local highlights like the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, to well-known national collections at Tate Modern and the National Gallery.

You can also jump on public transport to the Museum District of South Kensington where you'll find the likes of the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the V&A

Location: All across London
Price: Most permanent collections are free, but some temporary exhibits may charge an entry fee
Plus: There's a huge range of art and history across the capital to suit any taste
Minus: Some of the larger galleries and museums (we're looking at you, Natural History Museum) might get crowded on the weekends

London eye with grass and trees in the foreground

London Eye on the South Bank

South Bank

A stroll along the South Bank of the River Thames is a must for any newcomers to London. Starting at Tower Bridge and walking along to Waterloo you can see some of the city's highlights.

You can take in a live show from the street performers, visit Shakespeare's Globe or take a peek at the National Poetry Library at the Royal Festival Hall.

Top tip - you can use the free wifi at the Southbank Centre for a chance of scenery to write your assignments. It's also a great place to people watch.

Location: A short walk from London Bridge Station
Price: Free for a stroll
Plus: Lots of things to see
Minus: As it's all outdoors, you may want to avoid rainy days

Wide image of British Library bookshelves with people working at desks

British Library

Copyright - the British Library

British Library talks and events

As well as having an impressive and historic collection of books, the British Library hosts a diverse programme of talks and events - many of which are free.

From free webinars to in-person lectures and workshops, there are topics to suit all interests.

Location: Great Russell Street, Central London
Price: Free, although some temporary exhibitions and specific events come with a ticket price
Plus: They have a huge range of events, and it's also a great place to study
Minus: To avoid disappointment, you'll need to book in advance on their website