You’ve got some great things in London – you’ve got Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Oxford Street – all that good stuff and all the typical touristy things which, yes, you should do because it is London. But then you’ve got the other things, the slightly off the beaten track things, the “oh I haven’t heard of that place, but it looks good”things, that’s what this list is. We’re not going crazy off the beaten track – if you’re a Londoner then this list isn’t for you, but if you’re first time, second time, or maybe even third time visitor to the city then this list is for you. London can be expensive, so if you’re on a budget, then you should definitely check these out. Even if you’re not on a budget, you don’t want to miss these.
Here we go, the official Matt’s Travel Blog top 5 free things to do in London. Let’s get started.
1. South Bank
Starting at the London Eye, opposite Parliament, and stretching all the way down to the Tate Modern is South Bank, a hotspot for musicians, street performers, pop-ups, open-air book shops and more. South Bank is also home to Shakespeares’ Globe Theatre and the coolest skatepark in the city – a perfect blend of culture. Come down in summer for evenings strolls and watch the sunset behind Westminster whilst you sit on the grass with a cold pint or glass of pimms. Alternatively, come down in Winter and explore a pop-up Christmas Market with food and drink to warm your bones.
2. Borough Market
Further down the River Thames in the shadow of the tallest building in London, The Shard, is Borough Market. A covered market where the only thing more stunning than the food is the smell. With a large selection of stalls selling fresh produce for home cooking or warm food to grab there and then, from all corners of the globe, Borough Market is bound to have what you’re craving.
Meander through the stalls discovering exotic food you’re bound to have never heard of before, and venture into a small section that isn’t covered. Look for a German sausage pop-up and there you will have the best Bratwurst preceded only by German markets in Berlin. Easily the best food in London. That’s why it makes my Top 5 free things to do in London list.
3. Museum of London
London has a lot of museums and galleries, so it can be pretty hard to choose which ones to go visit but if you only get the chance to visit one then make in the Museum of London. Situated by the Barbican, a sight to see in it’s own right, both architecturally and for the story behind the building, the Museum of London is easily the most underrated museum and off the radar of most visitors. The Museum beautifully narrates the construction of London throughout the ages from the Anglo-Saxons to the modern day. There is also a pretty solid cafe in the garden.
4. Sky Garden
Talking of gardens.. if you want to get a good view of the city, go visit the Sky Gardenat the top of 20 Fenchurch Street which offers a 360 degree uninterrupted views across the city. Not only does it provide the best views of London, it’s also free. You do have to book in advance and go at your time slot, but if you take 5 minutes to book you’re going to be glad you did.
But not only does it provide amazing views, it’s also a literal garden, with plants, and flowers, and trees and stuff. There’s also the Fenchurch Restaurant and multiple bars which I’m told are equally incredible – they, however, aren’t free.
5. Camden Market
Want to visit another market? Yes? Correct answer! Last on the list of the top 5 free things to do in London is visit Camden Market and the the underground Camden Stables Market. Less centred around food (unless you visit the Camden Food Market, which is also great), the Camden Market is more focused on stuff, bits and bobs, and hidden gems. It’s a real experience waking through the shops, trying things on, talking to people, it’s great. Also if you’re wanting to get souvineers and an I ♥️ London tee, this is where you’re going to get one.