30 Free and Cheap Things to Do in London

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London gets a bad rap for being expensive. After all, it is one of the largest financial centers in the world. Multi-million dollar corporations have headquarters here. Hundreds of wealthy businessmen, celebrities, athletes, and politicians call London home.

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But you don’t have to spend money like these tycoons to enjoy a vacation in London. One of the greatest things about London is that most of their museums are free!

Here are some of our favorite free and cheap things to do in London.

1. Feast your eyes in St. Pancras International

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Make your way over to Euston and pop into this iconic train station for some people-watching and architecture-gazing. St. Pancras is a train station located in the heart of London, built in 1898. The interior architecture is quite impressive. Don’t miss the 9-meter high bronze sculpture, The Meeting Place. FREE

2. Spend all day at Victoria and Albert Museum

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Comparable to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum is equally magnificent. The museum contains an plethora of artifacts, art, crafts and other relics from around the world. FREE

3. Rifle through flea-market finds at Camden Lock Market

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Housed in former stables and wharf houses, the Camden Lock area and market is one of the most unique spots in London. Inside are stalls selling everything from souvenirs to vintage frocks to handmade arts and crafts. Plus there’s a plenty of international food stalls to fuel your shopping spree. Food £5-10

4. Cross the Prime Meridian in Greenwich

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Skip the expensive Prime Meridian museum and cross the Prime Meridian the frugal way. Head to the back of museum and ham it up straddling the line marking where the east and west hemispheres meet. FREE

5. See who’s who at the National Portrait Gallery

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The National Portrait Gallery features portraits of famous Brits throughout the ages. FREE

6. Wander through Notting Hill

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Notting Hill is a quaint neighborhood north of Kensington. Here you will find cute and colorful row houses and an outdoor antique market, Portobello Market. FREE

7. Travel through time at the Geffrye Museum

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This unique museum recreates British home settings throughout history. Learn how people in England have lived throughout the centuries. FREE

8. Gongoozle on Regent’s Canal

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Forget the Thames River – the action is on Regent’s Canal. Spanning more than 8 miles across Northern London, life on the canal has become so idyllic that there is even a word for enjoying its pleasures: gongoozling. See London from another perspective as you stroll the canal, passing the pontoons where people live, work and play. FREE

9. Recreate the iconic Beatles album cover at Abbey Road

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This is a must-do when in London! Whether you’re a Beatles fan or not, it’s worth taking a stroll across the most famous intersection of Abbey Road studios. Check out the surrounding street signage, rich in Beatles references. FREE

10. Learn about science and architecture at the Natural History Museum

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London’s Natural History Museum has plenty of anthropological and biological finds. But also worth noting is the building that the museum is housed in. It’s a striking example of Romanesque architecture, and the building is one of London’s most well known landmarks. FREE

11. Sightsee on a double decker public bus

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This is a no-brainer. In most cities, double decker tour buses cost an arm and a leg. But in London, the public buses are all double decker! Hop on the upper deck of a bus to get the best viewpoint for some of the top attractions in London. £1.50

12. Sample global cuisine at Borough Market

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Borough Market is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London. With rows and rows of stalls, marvel at the artisanal food, fresh produce and definitely stay for a bite to eat. Food £5-10

13. Learn all about London at the Museum of London

This museum chronicles the history of London from prehistoric times to modern day. In the courtyard is a piece of a Roman wall which stood on the site of the museum. Don’t miss the magnificent stagecoach display. FREE

14. Board the train for Hogwarts at King’s Cross station

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Okay, this may only appeal to the Harry Potter fans, but platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross station marks where Harry, Ron and Hermione board the train to Hogwarts Castle. Have a go pretending you’re entering the magical world of Harry Potter. FREE

15. Learn what a quid is at the Bank of England Museum

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Everything you wanted to know about British currency and more. FREE

16. Spot the Duchess of Sussex at Kensington Palace Gardens

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Kensington Palace has long been the home of much of the royal court, and of course most recently home to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, aka Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Although there is a fee to tour the palace, the surrounding gardens offer a peaceful respite to the day. FREE

17. Learn about England’s military history at the Imperial War Museum

This massive museum is dedicated to England’s participation in military conflicts from WWI to the present day. You’ll need a few hours to get through this detailed and informative museum. FREE

18. Take a walk in Hyde Park

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Hyde Park is the largest royal park in London, established by Henry VIII in 1536. The park features many emblematic sculptures and is the location of many public events like summer concerts. FREE.

19. Get hands on Science Museum

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London’s Science Museum is fun for all ages. Exhibits are interactive and frequently changing. FREE

20. Ponder artworks at Tate Modern

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This iconic modern art museum is located in the former Bankside Power Station. The unique interior makes for the ideal setting for viewing artworks by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists. FREE

21. Pretend you’re James Bond at the MI6 Building and Vauxhall Bridge

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If you’ve seen a lot of action movies (like Mission Impossible, 007) you’ll recognize the MI6 building, home of the British Secret Intelligence Service. Run across Vauxhall Bridge and reenact your favorite scene. FREE

22. View the collection at The National Gallery

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The National Gallery features more than 2,000 paintings including famous works by Van Gogh, Rubens, Monet and more. FREE

23. Window shop at Harrod’s

Harrod’s is the most famous department store in London if not the world. Sure, everything for sale is expensive, but don’t let that stop you from marveling at their food displays. Occasionally they’ll host special exhibitions, like the one on iconic cars from the James Bond films. FREE

24. Browse the stalls at Old Spitalfields Market

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Located in the hip Shoreditch neighborhood, the Old Spitalfields Market is a flea market with food and stalls for clothing and souvenirs. FREE, food 5-10

25. Set sail at the National Maritime Museum

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Visit this museum to learn about Britain’s history at sea. Experience major battles at sea and view recreations of famous British military ships. FREE

26. Watch the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace

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If you don’t mind the crowds, it’s worth witnessing the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. In addition to the ceremony, the military band entertains the crowd with a few songs. FREE

27. Get cultured at Tate Britain

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Part of the Tate art museum family, the Tate Britain branch focuses on works by British artists from 1500 to the present day. FREE

28. Visit the bizarre home of Sir John Soane

Definitely one of the weirder museums in London, the former home of famed collector is now the Sir John Soane Museum. On his request, the home has remain untouched since his death 180 years ago and houses his odd private collection, including a mummy. FREE

29. Explore world cultures at The British Museum

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One of the most famous museums in the world, the British Museum contains artifacts and treasures celebrating human history and culture. The unique reading room makes for a perfect photo opp. FREE

30. View the Magna Carta at The British Library

The British Library is famous because it holds a copy of the Magna Carta. Lay your eyes on this important historical document. FREE

BONUS: And just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be more savings, you are in luck. Although this isn’t technically free, the 2for1 deal through the National Rail is a great way to save on many attractions like Madame Tussaud’s, the London Eye and the Tower of London.

Have a tip for another free or cheap thing to do in London? Let us know in the comments!

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