Life

11 brilliant (and free) things to do in London

Posted by
Susan Devaney
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If you’re looking to spend less money this month, then we’ve found great things to do in London that won’t cost you a thing. 

Living in a big city like London means you’re never short of things to do. When the weekend arrives, so too does a whole host of new exhibitions to see, brunch spots to try out and buzzing markets to swing by.

But sometimes, trying out new things every weekend means your bank balance is guaranteed to have severely dwindled well before pay day.

However, the UK’s capital city has plenty to offer when it comes to finding brilliant and free things to do.

If, like us, you’re looking to spend less in the coming months then take a look at our edit of the best things to do in London (no cash required). 

Hampstead Heath 

Is there anything better than going for a long walk on a Sunday? Not only does being surrounded by nature help to clear your mind but it also allows you to squeeze in some exercise, too. 

London may have plenty of parks to pick from, but there’s something about Hampstead Heath that makes you feel like you’ve left city life behind for a few hours.

Where: located just six kilometres from Trafalgar Square

Kensington Gardens 

Situated in Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens offers more than just a wide open green space. From its striking Albert Memorial to the Serpentine Gallery, it’s a peaceful place away from the hustle and bustle.

Not forgetting the beautiful Italian Gardens and, of course, Kensington Palace – the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

If you fancy, you could always take a picnic along with you and find a nice spot on the grass for a few hours.

Where: Kensington, to the west of Hyde Park

Natural History Museum 

Home to over 70 million items, the Natural History Museum is a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon. Split into five sections – botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology and zoology – it is full of fascinating facts and wonderful things to see. Not to mention an impressive exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and beautiful architecture, too.

In short, it’s impossible not to be impressed by it.

Where: Cromwell Road, South Kensington 

God’s Own Junkyard 

Found in a cool industrial estate in Walthamstow, God Own’s Junkyard is home to an impressive collection of work by late neon artist Chris Bracey. From signs featured in Hollywood films to giant glittering disco balls and flashing inspirational quotes, it’s certainly worth a stop by.

You can also pop into the in-house café for some tea and cake, too.

Where: Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Walthamstow 

The British Museum 

With an estimated six million visitors dropping by each year, the British Museum is an ideal place to spend an idle Sunday afternoon.

Home to some world-famous objects – from Rosetta Stone to Parthenon sculptures – it not only provides an educational experience but a fascinating one, too.

With a collection of around eight million objects (and counting) it’s the perfect place to find out more about human history, art and culture.

Where: Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London

Tate Modern 

As the UK’s national gallery of modern art, it comes of no surprise that the Tate Modern welcomes around six million visitors per year.

The gallery’s permanent collections may boast big names such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Barbara Hepworth, but its ever-changing contemporary displays never fail to amaze every passing crowd.

And we’re glad to report that the Tate has tackled the gender debate in an impressive way by making sure all solo displays are split 50/50 between male and female artists.

You can find out what’s on here.

Where: located on the south bank of the River Thames 

National Gallery 

After enjoying the beautiful fountains at Trafalgar Square, why not pop into the National Gallery? With an impressive collection of paintings (around 2,300 in total), it’s a quiet spot to go in the centre of London.

From Caravaggio to Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner and Botticelli, the gallery is home to some of the most famous works in the world.

Where: Trafalgar Square 

V&A 

As the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is definitely worth dedicating a weekend afternoon to. Housing a permanent collection of nearly three million objects, it’s an impressive ode to creativity.

From fashion to furniture and sculptures, we’re certain there will be something that’ll take your fancy.

You can see what’s on here.

Where: Cromwell Road, Knightsbridge 

Houses of Parliament 

If you want an educational tour of the Houses of Parliament then you’ll have to pay, but you can gain an insight into the inner on goings for free.

Debates in the Commons or Lords have public viewing galleries, so you can sit and watch what’s happening from the sideline.

Be prepared to queue and expect strict security checks (no liquids).

Where: Westminster 

Hackney City Farm

Sometimes life in London means we don’t get to see much wildlife or farm animals. But, fear not, as Hackney City Farm allows you to pop by and pet the animals for free. It may be a day out aimed at kids, but who wouldn’t want to see a new born lamb in spring?

You can also stop by the café for a bite to eat, too.

Donations are welcomed. 

Where: 1a Goldsmiths Row 

Portobello Road Market 

If you don’t mind facing a crowd, then head to Portobello Road Market on a Saturday morning for antiques trading day. Not only will you see some unique antiques but you’ll also get to soak up a great atmosphere, too.

From its multi-coloured-painted houses to its quaint shops and cafes, it’s easy to see why it’s such an iconic street.

Where: Notting Hill 

The evidence of stress in our lives is everywhere, from bad sleep to increased anxiety. So in January 2019, stylist.co.uk is dedicated to creating a life less frazzled. We’ll be focusing on uplifting news, feelgood features and recommendations for fun things to do, with the goal of making you feel calmer and more positive about the coming year.

Images: Getty / Unsplash 

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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