Everybody loves a cheeky day out in London, but it is notorious for being the most expensive city in England.. so I thought, hey, why not tell all of my loyal followers about all of the free things to in London that you might not otherwise know about?! This is a list of the best free views, the free tours, events, museums, free attractions and even where you can get your hair done for free… this is your ultimate guide to surviving a trip to London on a budget.
The Best Views in London
People who live in London always have the best tips as to where to find the best view of the London skyline without having to queue up for hours to pay for a view that you’ll only spend 20 seconds appreciating. So, as a former Londoner… I though I’d give you a heads up as to my two favourite views from a distance in London.
Greenwich Park, South-East London
This is actually one of the only green spaces in London with a view that isn’t in the North, so it’s quite special… it also has, in my opinion, one of the best.
I think it’s so awesome the way you can see from the BT Tower, to St Paul’s Cathedral all the way across to the Gherkin… it really is one of the best ways to get a good view!
Frank’s Cafe, Southwark
This cafe is essentially a pop-up bar, that has actually been voted one of London’s best roof-top bars by Conde Nast Traveller. It has nearly a 360° view of London which you’ll be able to enjoy whilst sipping on a cocktail; you couldn’t enjoy a better view at sunset, seriously!
The Roof Terrace
A visit to the St. Paul’s Cathedral should be anyway on your bucket list as well as some extensive shopping tours :) The One New Change shopping mall is a great place to shop and then to relax on its roof terrace which boasts amazing views of the St.Paul’s Cathedral.
Free Tours in London
Walking around a city is always free, you can just pick up a map and head to all of the places that you want to take off your checklist. But what about those things that you don’t know about? What about those of you who can’t read maps? That’s where the free walking tours come in!
I think that the company for a walking tour is Free Tours by Foot, they have so many walking tours that you’re bound to enjoy yourself… and will also be able to get better acquainted with your way around. Here’s a list of the options they offer you :)
There are obviously other companies that you’d be able to find on your own.. I just like this company because they have a tour that suits everybody. With them you can literally see the entirety of London for free! There’s another option for those of you looking for a more Alternative experience, and that’s The Alternative London Tour… some of their tours aren’t free, but if you pick carefully they will be (the hint tends to be that there’s the word “free” in the title).
Free Events in London
Yes.. yes, I know.. you’re probably reading the title and thinking “free events… in London… has the Guru gone mad?” well.. I can promise you, I actually haven’t! There are a surprising number of events in London that are free, so you’ll always have something to do.
Take Christmas time, for example, the Winter Wonderland was free for you to wonder through and appreciate how much like a German city it felt… so there are always things you can go to that aren’t going to break the bank. One of my favourites is the Monday night comedy night at the Theatre Royal in Stratford East, where you’ll be able to see some new talent. There are actually a few free comedy nights on in London… google is actually a really useful source on this one!
Parties are what London does best. There are a lot of underground “squat parties” that you will be able to find out about if you keep your eyes and ears open. They aren’t publicised so it pays to know people.. when in London, make friends.. talk to people who look like they might know about the best parties.. it really is the best way to have a good time if you’re there with your mates!
Nightclubs tend to have really high costs to get in, in comparison to clubs across the rest of the country. Fancy a cheeky tip? Sign up to the mailing lists. They send out really good deals to their loyal customers, so by signing up to the list you’ll be able to find out about all of the offers they have on! If you fancied something more bar-like, there are so many really cool bars in London that don’t charge for entry, so they’d be really good alternatives for you. A personal favourite of mine is The Cellar Door, which is just of the strand.. it’s actually a converted toilet, but it is seriously cool (and has amazing cocktails).
Get your Hair and Make Up Done
Trust me ladies, I am well aware that wanting to look fabulous in London is one of the most important part of a trip there. I’m not entirely sure why everybody feels so much pressure to look amazing whilst they’re there, but the pressure is definitely real.
So why not get your hair and make up done for free? Well.. you can do! It’s silly things that we probably all do fairly regularly but just don’t think about. If you walk into a department store, so many of the counters will do your make up for free and not even think about it. You could basically go in, pretend you’re interested in the products and then when they say “so which of our products will you be buying today” you can just respond with the standard “let me think about it and I’ll come back” remark and voila! you have the perfect face of make up for you day out.
As for the hair, now that’s a bit more rare. But in London there are lots of places that will do your hair for free on certain days; it’s all of the posh places that most people are scared to walk into in case they have to pay to breathe the same air as a fabulous man wearing a tight black t shirt with a pair of scissors in his hand.Hari’s Hairdresser on Kings Road offers free hair cuts on select days.. so does Hari’s Hairdresser on Parson Green. You see, these things are available, you just need to know where to look.
Free Museums in London
London is famous for having loads of museums that are actually pretty phenomenal.. and surprisingly, most of them are free. So I figured I’d just run you up a quick list of all of my favourites so you can go and make the most of your time in London :)
As you can see, there is something for practically everybody on that list. Whether you’re an art lover, historian or just enjoy learning about the science behind everything… you will definitely be satisfied with a visit to a selection of these :)
Free Attractions in London
Famous attractions in London tend to be famously costly; going up the Shard, around the London Eye.. but as I’ve already hinted at, sometimes by being where they are, you don’t get to see the best bits. Buckingham Palace for example, completely free to stand outside and enjoy the show.
It’s also completely free to go and have a look at Nelson’s Column, take a glance at the Globe and get beautiful pictures of Tower Bridge from further down the Thames. The Royal Albert Hall, notoriously thought of when London is mentioned.. yet you don’t get to see the outside from within it.. obviously the inside is beautiful and if you don’t mind spending a small fortune on a seat that gives your vertigo, then be my guest.. but really, all of the attractions just need you to look at them from another angle.
Definitely worth remembering that some of the most famous attractions are the parks; have you ever known a park to charge for entry? Didn’t think so.. or if you do, where have you been going? Should’ve been spending your time enjoying the free ones in London!
So there you have it guys. This is the best way for you to enjoy London on a budget, from the eyes of an ex-Londoner! Now nobody has any excuses to moan about costs once you get there, it really isn’t that bad… you just have to know where to look :)
Hope you enjoyed my Free things to do in London guide and leave me a comment below what you liked the most. Do you know of more free things to do in London? :)
Please note that I'm just a blogger who loves to find holiday deals on the Internet and share them on my blog. The deals published on my website are not provided directly by me, but by external travel agencies and providers. Deals must be booked on their websites using the screenshots provided as a guide.