30 free (or budget) things to do in London

London was definitely one of the places that surprised me the most. When I was there I found out some pretty shocking things. The city may be expensive but there are plenty of budget opportunities to explore London, not to mention the free museums and colorful markets. Another great “feature” of London is that you can easily get to Paris with Eurostar. 

London for sure is a dream destination for many. Even if it’s hard to visit the city for a weekend and enjoy most of the iconic places, it is not impossible. In this article I’m giving you some ideas of things to do in London if you have limited time and tight budget.

 

Platform 9 34

1. Platform 9 ¾

Any Harry Potter fan will appreciate that stop. Follow the line to King’s Cross metro station, take a picture on the platform and who knows, maybe you’ll find your way to Hogwarts… Don’t forget to visit the Harry Potter shop just next to the platform and take a magic wand for your siblings.


Street art London

2. Street art chasing

London has tons of it. Even if you don’t look for it, you’ll find yourself surrounded by portraits, grafitii and any other forms of street art.


Greenwich

3. Be on the East and West Globe at the same time

If you visit Greenwich park you’ll have the chance to step on the Prime Meridian which devides Earh on East and West globe. It’s an iconinc place and you shouldn’t miss it. Also, when you climb the hill you’ll find a spectacular view of the city.


St Pandras London

4. Take a picture of St. Pancras Station’s impressive architecture

St. Pancras is one of the biggest stations in London. Its impressive architecture will leave you breathless. Shoot a picture or two and head to your next stop.


Monopoly

5. Play Real Life Monopoly

Wherever you are in London you’ll find Monopoly references everywhere. I’ve been raised with that game (the UK Version) and when I was in London I was living my childhood again. Bond Street, Park Lane, Oxford Street, Picadilly Curcus, Euston Road, etc… they’re all real, Mom!


Red buss

6. Travel on the front seat of a Red Buss

Even without ending point, you have to take a red buss, go to the second floor and take the first seat. It’s just what you have to do. No explanation.


Camden Market

7. Walk around Camden Lock Market

Camden Market was probably my favorite place in London. You’ll find everything you want to – souvenirs, crafts, piece of arts, clothes. Even if you don’t buy anything, the visit would be worth it.


Camden street

8. Glaze the architecture art on Camden Market

The buildings are covered with unbelievable sculptures. You’ll mostly find yourself taking pictures of the buildings and it’s well explainable.


Stables Market

9. Buy a vintage item ат Stables Market

Stables Market  is located in the historic former Pickfords stables. It’s every vintage lover place. You’ll find many items, clothing and art pieces for alternative sub-cultures right here.


Amy Winehouse

10. Take a picture with Amy Winehouse statue

Amy Winehouse statue is located in the heart of the Stables Market. It’s a life size and you can easily take a picture with her. The bronze sculpture was unveiled in 2014 and sports the singer’s signature beehive hairstyle.


Red phone cabin

11. Take a picture with red phone booth

You don’t want to go to Rome and don’t see the pope, right? Well, for London, it’s absolutely necessary to take a picture with a red phone cabin.


black phone cabin

12. Take a picture with black phone booth

Black phone cabins are harder to find but when you spot one, make sure you have it on camera.


London pub

13. Drink a beer in a London pub

You can’t miss the chance to drink a London beer in a London pub or bar. Spend a nice evening chatting with friends or finding new ones. 


squirrel

14. Play with squirrels in any park

Squirrels are pretty cheeky in London. You will see them in every park in the city or at least they’ll make sure they’re seen.


British Museum

15. Visit British Museum – impressive art collection

Even if you’re not a museum person, you will find The British Museum impressive with its endless pieces of art and history.


London sweets

16. Try some London sweets

You won’t resist the bakeries’ sweets screaming out of the window “eat me, eat me!” every time you pass by… You just can’t.


Picadilly Curcus

17. Picadilly Curcus

Piccadilly Circus is a busy meeting place and a tourist attraction in its own. Get lost in the crowd, take a few pictures of the iconic square known for its video display and neon signs and move on to the next destination.


M&M London

18. Have fun in the world’s largest M&M store

The M&M store on Leicester Square is the world’s largest candy store. It contains a giant wall of chocolate where you can create your own M&M’S selection. There is also a quiz to determine which flavour you are, many big M&M sculptures and places to take pictures of. There is even a recreation of the famous Beatles album cover on Abbey Road.


Leicester Square

19. Be in a movie on Leicester Square

Leicester Square is the centre of London’s cinema land  and is the prime location in the city for world leading film premières. It also co-hosts the London Film Festival each year. You can’t miss the opportunity to feel like a celebrity walking on the Square.


Trafalguar Square

20. Take a picture with a lion from Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is another iconic location in London. Instead of just shooting it, make an effort to climb the lions and take a picture with one of them. It’s an adventure on its own.


National Gallery London

21. Visit the National Gallery

This is the place for the art lovers. Located on the Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The entry to the main collection is free of charge.


Postcard Big Ben

22. Take a “postcard” photo with Big Ben

There’s this red phone cabin with a perfect view of Big Ben. It’s the perfect spot for a “postcard” photo. You can’t miss it because the chances are you have to wait at least a few people who came there first.


Canary Wharf

23. Visit the Canary Wharf business center

Canary Wharf is a major business district. It contains many of the UK’s tallest buildings, including the second-tallest, One Canada Square. You’ll see HSBC Headquarter, Citigroup Centre, JP Morgan building, Barclays Headquarters, Reuters building, etc.


Peanuts

24. Eat caramelized peanuts

You can find people selling caramelized peanuts at almost every attraction in London. If you are wondering if you should buy one, go ahead and do it. They’re tasty.


Tower of London

25. See Tower of London

The Tower of London is also known as Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress. It’s actually a castle and not only it served as a royal residence but it was a prison one time…


Tower Bridge

26. Walk on Tower Bridge

You can’t miss this famous London attraction. Practical Tip: Walk on the side that’s further away from the Tower of London, it’s less crowded there.


Monument of London

27. Find the monument to the Great Fire of London

It’s not as impressive as I expected but it was fun trying to find the Monument of London. It is well hidden between some buildings near the northern end of London Bridge. It commemorates the Great Fire of London which started on 2 September 1666 and swept through the central parts of the city.


St James Park

28. Glaze the swans, ducks and squirrels at St. James Park

St. James Park is a perfect escape from the crowds near Big Ben. It is located in the heart of London and there are plenty of animals to glaze – swans, ducks and of course the cheeky squirrels.


Millenium bridge

29. Walk on Millenium Bridge

There is some more for Harry Potter fans. You can’t miss the Millenium Birdge which was featured in the sixth installment of the Harry Potter where the bridge collapsed following an attack by Death Eaters.


Horse Guard London

30. Take a picture with a horse guard

… or get yelled at from a guard if you get closer.


What is your favourite thing to do in London?

Read more:

10 Times London Got Under My Skin

The Do’s and Dont’s While Travelling the UK

25 Perfect Weekend Getaways in Europe (Part I)

Written by

Travel blogger and tourism graduate from Bulgaria, working in the field of Digital Marketing and PR for travel brands.

Latest comments
  • I did 21.: visited much of the National Gallery. I saw a bunch of photos I had previously seen in art albums. It was weird to see them in reality.

  • I ALWAYS try to sit up front on the red buses. It’s an almost free tour of the city 🙂

  • I never noticed London has black phone cabins!
    I visited London only once, in 2010, just for 3 days. It was the first time I was alone on a plane, and the first time I was in such a big city by myself! I found it to be quite expensive, but, since I wasn’t into Internet back then, I never researched for things to do for free.. What a shame!

    http://www.therussianabroad.com

  • Great list! I’m heading to London in the summer…I know high season….so I’ll need to take advantage of some of these ideas!

  • We call them phone boxes here in the uk, not phone cabins. You’ve given a really good taste of London and it’s a great collection of things to do.

  • I love how in 7-10 and I believe 13 you are kind of saying “be in Camden Town” And I couldn’t agree more! I love it there! Great tips overal!

  • Indeed the best way to travel to London on a budget. I can’t believe their museum is free, London will be on my travel bucket-list this year.

LEAVE A COMMENT