Every weekend we publish ‘London on the Cheap‘ with suggestions of things to do for < £5 or free, for every day of the forthcoming week. But there are many things that are always free to enjoy in the capital.
London For Free…Mapped:
London is blessed with hundreds of fantastic, free-admission places to go to for culture, live entertainment and family-friendly activities. We’ve mapped them for you.
View London For Free…Mapped in a larger map
This is a work in progress so please let us know what we’ve missed – email tips @londonist.com, subject line FREE MAP.
If maps aren’t your thing:
The permanent collections of all the institutions listed on our Museums and Galleries page are free entry (with the exception of London Transport Museum and the Royal Academy) and many of them run regular late openings with special events programmed.
Smaller museums and galleries that are free admission are:
- Bank of England Museum
- Bloomberg SPACE
- Brunel Museum
- Courtauld Gallery is free on Mondays between 10am-2pm
- Cuming Museum (currently closed due to a fire)
- Fulham Palace
- Geffrye Museum
- Grant Museum of Zoology
- Guildhall Art Gallery
- Hackney Museum
- Hampstead Museum
- Islington Museum
- Hogarth’s House
- Hunterian Museum
- Kenwood House
- Library and Museum of Freemasonry
- London Film Museum
- Museum of Childhood
- National Army Museum
- Old Royal Naval College
- Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
- Photographers’ Gallery
- Pitzhanger Manor Gallery & House
- Queen’s House
- RAF Museum
- Sir John Soane’s Museum
- Wallace Collection
If you like art there are hundreds of small private galleries to visit. Check out our Art page for reviews and previews, browse the map or just go for a walk along Vyner Street in E2 and Cork Street in the West End. You can also try all the stops on the South London Art Map or the First Thursdays East London art map.
The Barbican Centre is a concrete maze with elevated walkways, surprising gardens and water features, an unexpected conservatory, a special library and the free Curve Gallery. You’ll often find free music or performance in the foyers and there’s plenty of space to sit and people watch.
The Royal Institute of British Architecture building on Portland Place is free entry and they run an active public programme of events including exhibitions, talks and a monthly Last Tuesday late opening.
Bishopsgate Institute Library is an expert on London history and gets all the London periodicals your heart could desire. The institute is a peaceful refuge from the madness of Liverpool Street Station and the bustle of Spitalfields.
The Royal Festival Hall runs a series of free events in the Clore Ballroom as well as exhibitions in its many foyer spaces. There’s lots of seating, tables and sofas and good views across London from the upper floors.
City Hall by Tower Bridge is where the Mayor works, and where the London Assembly are based but it’s also a public building and you are welcome to visit. There’s usually a Londony exhibition to see and the building itself and its riverside location is marvellous. Just outside is the More London Scoop which is home to free outdoor theatre, film and performance during the summer.
Classical music is available to all through free lunchtime recitals at St.Martin in the Fields, St Olave’s, St James’s Piccadilly and the London Symphony Orchestra. Royal College of Music musicians perform numerous free concerts at lunchtime and at rush hour. St Paul’s Cathedral hosts free organ recitals on Sunday afternoons between 4.45-5.15pm.
City Farms are brilliant places to visit with the whole family. There are 13 on our map, all free entry, so you’re bound to find one convenient for you.
Walks and fitness:
- Walk London promotes seven strategic walking routes around London that you can follow yourself as well as seasonal free guided walks
- Explore – pack an A-Z, ride the tube to a stop you don’t know, get off and follow your nose
- The Friday Night Skate and Sunday Stroll are free, weekly marshalled street skates in central London
- Join a free, group cycle ride courtesy of the London Cycling Campaign’s website
- Workout with MoreFit FreeFit in Finsbury Park every Saturday
- Get involved with a Green Gym
- Find a Parkrun
- Watch out for free guided walks in the Royal Parks and check noticeboards in your local park for nature walks and other outdoorsy activities
- Check out our Nature-ist archives for top tips on little known green spaces to visit and use this link to discover Wild London
Talks and lectures:
Check out these links to great institutions which run regular free public lectures
- Gresham College
- LSE public events
- Conway Hall
- The Dana Centre
- Bishopsgate Institute
- The Royal Society
- UCL Lunch Hour Lectures
Also, check ‘what’s on’ at the free museums and galleries and at your local library.
- Help Thames 21 with river clean-ups.
- Get involved with conservation projects with BTCV London or the London Wildlife Trust.
- Find other volunteering opportunities through City Hall’s Team London initiative.