London is an exciting city, but it’s not the cheapest! Restaurants and accommodations can quickly add up. Fortunately, many activities are available for free or at a very low cost and allow you to save a lot of money.
How to visit London for free? What are the best ways to visit London without breaking the bank? Here are all my tips!
In London, most of the museums are free. Only the temporary exhibitions have to be paid. For the permanent collections, there are boxes available if you want to make a contribution but there is no obligation.
Among the free and unmissable museums, I recommend you :
- The British Museum where you can admire the Rosetta Stone (which allowed the deciphering of hieroglyphs) as well as the most beautiful parts of the Parthenon in Athens;
- The National Gallery which offers a panorama of the history of European painting from the 13th to the 19th century;
- The National History Museum, where you will have the impression of being immersed in the world of Harry Potter with its magical architecture;
- The Tate Britain, which was founded by Henry Tate, inventor of sugar cubes and a great lover of art, who bequeathed his collection of works to the British state;
- The Tate Modern dedicated to modern and contemporary art;
- The Wallace Collection, a magnificent museum whose collection was assembled by Sir Richard Wallace, collector and philanthropist.
ALSO READ: The most beautiful museums in London
Prepare your stay in London!
What to do in London? What are the essential visits? What are the best places to eat?… Prepare your stay in London with this free travel guide:
Sky Garden: the free rooftop to see London from above
Sky Garden is an impressive bar/restaurant located at the top of a tower in the City district. With a large bay window it allows you to enjoy an incredible 360° view of London.
If a reservation at the restaurant obliges you to dine on the spot, a reservation at the bar or a free visit allows you to discover the place without obligation to consume to simply enjoy the view. Day or night, it’s magical! But be careful, this place is very popular so it is better to book at least two weeks in advance to be sure to have a slot.
The free guided tours of Strawberry Tours
Discover London with a local: that’s what Strawberry Tours offers! Several themes are proposed, around Street Art, Jack the Ripper, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes…
These tours are free even if you are strongly encouraged to bring a small contribution. You pay by the hat at the end of the tour, according to your means and your appreciation of the tour.
Discover Westminster for free
Westminster Abbey is one of the most beautiful monuments in London. Unfortunately, the visit is not free and is quite expensive (about 30 pounds).
To discover the abbey without paying, you have to attend a mass. Be careful though, this option does not allow you to walk freely in the building and photographs are forbidden during the services.
Take the bus…
The famous red double-decker buses are omnipresent in London and are a tourist attraction in their own right. You won’t have the commentary of a guide but, for the time of a journey, treat yourself to the pleasure of observing London from the floor of one of these buses, it’s a nice way to discover the city.
The journey costs £1.65, you will need to use a transport card (Oyster) which costs £5 but which you can then keep for all your London journeys.
… and the waterbus
Several river shuttles allow you to take a trip on the Thames. A good way to see the city in a different and very pleasant way. I recommend you to use the Thames Clippers company (Uber boats) which accepts the Oyster card. It’s easier and cheaper (between £4.40 and £9.00 depending on your journey).
The most touristic route is the BB1 which passes in front of the London Eye, Big Ben, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge…
And you, what are your tips to visit London for free?